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too much bike for a beginner cyclist?

Started riding after 30+ years on a cheap MTB from a certain high street shop and have realised I actually prefer being on the road so started to look for a replacement.

Keep getting drawn towards the B'twin bike's as they seem to be excellent value for money.

If I went for the cheaper 540 I'll also be looking to changing to a Compact 50/34 vs the 52/36 it comes with and possibly the tyres. I can (just about) stretch to the 720 without needing to change much of anything. Just add mudguards (assuming it can take them?).

Are there better options for a beginner cyclist? Or is it a fairly safe bet?

Should add I'm massively unfit (though it's getting better - slowly) and a little overweight (only a little)

Thanks for any help/advice.

25 comments

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asinglecrumpet [25 posts] 8 months ago
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I bought a B-Twin Triban 500 in 2014 as my first road bike, had Shimano Sora triple and it was a great bike, bulletproof, and cheap to maintain.

Think it cost me £450 and I sold it a year later for £300 when I upgraded. Didn't really need to upgrade but was getting quite into it and fancied something a bit lighter and a bit posher (not a poser honest), the limiting factor in performance mostly being my weight and fitness and not the bike itself.

I would say the 540 looks like a great bike for the money however if you live somewhere hilly and aren't particularly light you will definitely appreciate a compact crank set and from memory the Hutchinson tyres that came with my model were pretty terrible in the wet.

So if you can stretch to the 720 i'd got for that, you are getting a better frame, a full ultegra groupset, better wheelset, 1.1 kg weight saving for £400. 

Maybe if I had gone for something a little more premium like the 720 to start with I wouldn't have upgraded so soon, but I don't think you can get a better spec/value entry level bike than  any of the B-twin lineup.

 

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JimD666 [64 posts] 8 months ago
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Many thanks for the information  1

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huntswheelers [105 posts] 8 months ago
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you won't go wrong with any of the B'twin bikes.... they put many of the so called brand names to shame for spec, finish, price and build quality

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Simontuck [182 posts] 8 months ago
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Why are you so keen to change to a compact 50/34? I'd say try the oe spec and see how you get on. Unless you're riding up mountains you'll be fine, there's not that much difference as long as you have a decent cassette. Of course, changing the cassette is then a cheaper option to start with. You'd be better off putting the £50 for a chainset towards some decent bibs or shoes/ pedals.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 8 months ago
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Changing outer can be pricey, maybe ask the shop to change both rings when buying the bike. If they won't, then you could just do the inner. Pretty much every groupset manufacturer says don't ride 52/34, but I ran that recently on the missus' bike (actually couldn't get the SRAM 50t outer anywhere) and it was perfect. 

 

Cheap 34t inner. Stock up on some water bottles and other crap from them here too to make the delivery fee worthwhile.

https://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/shimano-ultegra-fc-6800-chainring/ai...

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ClubSmed [486 posts] 8 months ago
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JimD666 wrote:

too much bike for a beginner cyclist?

The B'twin Road Bike Range is an excellent starting place for a beginner road cyclist by all accounts. As to wether it is too much, only your wallet can tell you that  3

JimD666 wrote:

Started riding after 30+ years on a cheap MTB from a certain high street shop and have realised I actually prefer being on the road so started to look for a replacement.

Keep getting drawn towards the B'twin bike's as they seem to be excellent value for money.

Well done on getting back into it after 30+ years, I did a very similar thing. I hadn't really ridden for ~30 years and started back on a hybrid but did not gain a real love till I went for a drop bar bike (though I was part forced into the swap by theft).

JimD666 wrote:

If I went for the cheaper 540 I'll also be looking to changing to a Compact 50/34 vs the 52/36 it comes with and possibly the tyres. I can (just about) stretch to the 720 without needing to change much of anything. Just add mudguards (assuming it can take them?).

As Simontuck says, just try out the original spec and see how you get on. If you feel you need the extra assistance to get you up hills then changing the rear cassette from the 11-28 to a 11-32 will give you greater range than changing the crankset and be a lot cheaper. Unless you have killer hills near you though I very much doubt you'll need it, just keep at tackling the hills till you are king of them  4

Also I generally think that you may well apreciate having a little cash spare to personalise the elements you find could be improved rather than overspend and be stuck with them.

JimD666 wrote:

Are there better options for a beginner cyclist? Or is it a fairly safe bet?

B'Twin are a safe bet, I expect that if your desire for cycling should outgrow the bike then it will only be demoted to a "winter bike" (people with a REALLY nice bike don't tend to ride it in winter as the season can be a little corrosive) and not be completely abandoned.

JimD666 wrote:

Should add I'm massively unfit (though it's getting better - slowly) and a little overweight (only a little)

I was in the same situation as I was a Consultant so living out of hotel rooms without much opportunity to exercise or eat healthy. I quit and got a job closer to home and started commuting by bike the ~3.5 miles each way to work. The commute took me the same amount of time as any other mode of transport but the weight dropped off (3 stone and counting) and my base fitness increased substantially.
If you too are considering using the bike to commute it may be worth noting that the 540 can take pannier racks where as the 720 cannot.

JimD666 wrote:

Thanks for any help/advice.

You are most welcome, I just hope it is useful to you and not just my ramblings

 

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JimD666 [64 posts] 8 months ago
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Thanks all.

 

Really looking at the compact as I can primarily see the use of 34+28 far more than I can 52+11. Currently living in a flat(ish) area (Bucks) a couple of steep hills but not too long. Within a year or two though looking to be back in Cornwall. The hills arn't majorly steep, theres just a hell of a lot of them  1 3 years of smoking damage will take a while to reverse (OK not actually reverse but improve at least)

Freed up a little more cash so the 720 isn't a stretch any more. Doing so has opened up a few other options. Looking at the Ribble CGR in all it's yellow glory at the moment.

 

Problem being I look at the Ribble and think "Yup thats the one. All year round use no problem" Then I look at the 720 and start grinning instead...

 

Sigh. Head vs Heart. It's tough call  1

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ClubSmed [486 posts] 8 months ago
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JimD666 wrote:

Really looking at the compact as I can primarily see the use of 34+28 far more than I can 52+11.

But if you stuck with the 52/36 set up and just added an 11-32 cassette to the back you would have the use of 36+32 which is easier than 32+28. See chart below.

You can pick up a 105 11-32 cassette for ~£35 which should leave you plenty of money spare for things like pedals, shoes, new tyres, mudguards and anything else you think you need

If you did it this way you would also be able to keep the pannier rack options which may be some of the reason you are looking at the CGR?

But if you are really opening up then you could look a second hand as you can pick up some absolute bargains from people who were in your situation a year or two ago and have either not followed through or are splashing cash on a new shiny  3

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mikepridmorewood [40 posts] 8 months ago
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I went for a 540 as a winter bike, mainly as I was sick of bodged on guards fitted to summer bikes that constantly rubbed. The 720 AF has got the clearance for proper guards either.

My suggestion would be 540 for a year, keep it as a winter bike and buy a really nice summer bike for next year  1

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JimD666 [64 posts] 8 months ago
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If I went to the 11-32 wouldn't I need the longer rear mech fitted as well? I've read you can get away using the shorter version but not sure it's worth the risk?

 

Everything I can tell about Decathalon seems to suggest the bike comes with the spec it does. Any changes are made  at an additional cost to the buyer - If I got them to do it - I don't do mechanics  1

 

Did look at ebay etc for 2nd hand stuff, biggest problem with that is the only person I'd trust enough to look with me is around 8k miles away for another 5 months. I'm not trusting my own judgment on whats good or not.

My budget is £1250 (£1500 at a push -sell kidney and live on the Dogs kibble etc) for bike and anything attached to it.

 

I have a seperate budget for stuff that attaches to me  1 Mainly because I'm also replacing a load of my Dog walking gear so anything I can get that pulls double duty gets a bigger tick than just pure cycling gear.

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JimD666 [64 posts] 8 months ago
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mikepridmorewood wrote:

I went for a 540 as a winter bike, mainly as I was sick of bodged on guards fitted to summer bikes that constantly rubbed. The 720 AF has got the clearance for proper guards either.

My suggestion would be 540 for a year, keep it as a winter bike and buy a really nice summer bike for next year  1

 

Love the idea but....

 

Only have room for a couple of bikes. One each for me and Her  1

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ClubSmed [486 posts] 8 months ago
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You could also look at ex display model bikes like this
https://www.scotbycycles.co.uk/2328/products/2016-cannondale-synapse-all...

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JimD666 [64 posts] 8 months ago
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ClubSmed wrote:

You could also look at ex display model bikes like this https://www.scotbycycles.co.uk/2328/products/2016-cannondale-synapse-all...

 

 

Not sure how much coinfidence I'd have in that though.....

 

The blurb descirbes is as "Reliable Shimano Tiagra 10 speed offers excellent shifting and performance at a very good price."

 

while the Tech Spec listing says it has SRAM Rival 22........which the pictures seem to back up. Just read up on SRAM and not sure I like the way the shifters works.....

 

Your point is very valid though and I have been looking at ex-displays and older models etc. Problem is in finding one of the right size at times. Found a couple of cracking deals only to find the bike was in Small or X-Large....

 

I chose my last car fast than this!

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ClubSmed [486 posts] 8 months ago
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I think you need to make a list of things you need on your bike and things you would like, something like this:

Compact Crank and/or 11-32 cassette - Need? (I still think you could cope with semi compact and 11-28 but it's your call)

Shimano Groupset Tiagra plus - Need? (you seem to have chosen at least Tiagra bikes and dismissed SRAM)

Clearance for Mudguards - Need (going of what you've said it's a must?)

Clearance for at least 28mm tyres - Need? (Just assuming you want a more cussioned ride)

Mounts for Mudguards - Like (as long as you have clearance there are other mouning options)

Mounts for Panniers - Like? (I don't think you  have specificaly mentioned this but I get the impression you would like this?)

 

 

Once you have your check list of requirements it will be easier to compare bikes that meet your specific needs

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fustuarium [232 posts] 8 months ago
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ClubSmed wrote:

I think you need to make a list of things you need on your bike and things you would like, something like this:

Good idea. Maybe use project management method of Moscow. Must-Should-Could-Wont.

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JimD666 [64 posts] 8 months ago
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I've been playing around with a gear calculator and I think you lot have manged to stop me from rejecting the 52/36 with 11/28 cassette....

I'll at least give it a go.

Groupset: simply put I can't afford the top range and I'd prefer something up from the bottom so Tiagra/105 is my starting point. Ultegra only came in to view becasue of the B'twin. Dismissed SRAM more because I'm really, really unsure about the shifting method. Push it in one distance to shift one way, push in a bit further to go the other?! That sounds, well, odd frankly.

Mudguards are a really would like, but I'm prepared to risk the clip-on versions and hope I'm one that thinks they are great and not a pile of crap.. 

I like comfort so would prefer to be able to shoehorn in at least a 28mm. I may be able to live with 25mm, until I ride one I have no real conception of the difference.

Panniers not needed. If it can take them - great,  if it can't - no issue.

Everything comes down to a test ride. I can live with a lot if it makes me smile  1

Problem being if I'm really looking at the B'twin's it's a 2 hour round trip to the nearest one. Will be off there in the near future anyway as we need to replace some of our walking gear.

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I am a human [40 posts] 8 months ago
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JimD666 wrote:

Dismissed SRAM more because I'm really, really unsure about the shifting method. Push it in one distance to shift one way, push in a bit further to go the other?! That sounds, well, odd frankly.

I thought that about SRAM at first, but having used it I have absolutely no worries about it.  The shift paddle makes really obvious clicks that you can both feel and hear, so it's very clear what the derailleur is doing.  The shift lever is really big, too.  It's a great system - try it if you can.

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cyclesteffer [284 posts] 8 months ago
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Also worth looking at Merlins own brand, Wiggles Eastway and Verenti range, Chain Reactions Vitus bikes range, and Evans Pinnacles. also good value and sometimes some corking end of season bargains.

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cyclesteffer [284 posts] 8 months ago
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Oh yes, and SRAM is really good. I can swap between Shimano, SRAM and Campag no problems. They are all intuitive to use.

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JimD666 [64 posts] 8 months ago
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cyclesteffer wrote:

Also worth looking at Merlins own brand, Wiggles Eastway and Verenti range, Chain Reactions Vitus bikes range, and Evans Pinnacles. also good value and sometimes some corking end of season bargains.

Oh dear.

More choice. Like I needed more choice. I'd not seen the Merlin ones before. They look rather nice with some good offers curently on.....

 

EDIT: On further looking at the Merlin ones...They look very, very nice......

Any one have any experiance of them? Looking at the Axe7 Pro 105 Disc Brake or the ROC105 both come with free peddals and shoes.....

 

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rdmp2 [26 posts] 8 months ago
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Been beaten to it, but if you want one bike for all year, what about Pinnacle Dolomite from Evans? Compact chainset, 11-28 cassette. Mudguard mounts, clearance for 28c tyres + full guards. Hydro disc brakes, Tiagra/105 depending on budget. Lower spec than BTwin, but maybe more practical?

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ClubSmed [486 posts] 8 months ago
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JimD666 wrote:

On further looking at the Merlin ones...They look very, very nice......

Any one have any experiance of them? Looking at the Axe7 Pro 105 Disc Brake or the ROC105 both come with free peddals and shoes.....

The ROC105 is showing out of stock for me but he Axe7 Pro 105 Disc looks fantastic and very nicely priced!

I was going to second the Pinnacle suggestion but at the price and spec of the Axe7 it is hard to justify going for anything else

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JimD666 [64 posts] 8 months ago
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Now need to find something for the wife. Shes 2 inches to short for the Merlin ones  2

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JimD666 [64 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes

Pulled the trigger on Merlin Axe7.

Thanks to all who helped a confused mind find clarity  1

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ClubSmed [486 posts] 8 months ago
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JimD666 wrote:

Pulled the trigger on Merlin Axe7. Thanks to all who helped a confused mind find clarity  1

Excellent, I wish you many grinning miles!