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Hello All,

I want to purchase new bike in to stay in my in-laws home abroad. Due to distance I always had a bike in their home. My old Triban road bike decided to give up last year and it is time to buy a new one. It was too expensive to repair it and upgrade it, so recycled it.

When I am at their place my wife allows me to "disappear" from home for 24-48hours. I usually take train get to point A and cycle to point B and then take train back. I cycle sometimes 24hours without any sleep. I cycled that way in Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Last summer it was so hot that most of the luggage was food and water and bike was heavy and not easy to steer. I always take plenty of water, so I would not run out of it ie. when village shops are closed or when cycling at night. There are not many petrol stations that stay opened 24hrs nor supermarkets, so I could buy everything on the go and keep weight to the minimum.

I use panniers to carry all luggage. I do not use any rucksack and at night I wear my Proviz jacket/gillet to be seen, by the drivers.

I am not entirely sure, which bike to purchase. I was fine with Triban and Sora groupset. It was good enough for me and would buy another bike from from Decathlon, but wanted to ask you, what else I could consider. I do not do any long distances over a week or more. It is only day or two, when it is in constant use, then I do short 40-50miles round trips. I use only rear pannier, so no need for a front one. 99% of my routes are on the tarmac, so no off road. On my old one I used 28C and 32C tyres.

This bike will be used for maximum of 2-3 weeks per year and plan to keep it for years.

I would like to purchase a new one, rather than second hand to avoid any potential expenses, problems.

My budget is £1200, but would like to spend less, if possible. 

Any ideas?

9 comments

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John_S [93 posts] 1 month ago
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Hello bartkwiat,

I'm not sure whereabouts you are or whether you're in the UK or not?

If you're in the UK and anywhere near Harrogate, Yorkshire then a really good starting place would be to at least call to speak to or even better visit Spa Cycles.  You could describe to them what you want and they'd be able to suggest some options to you plus you'd be able to take bikes for a test ride.

https://www.spacycles.co.uk

Spa stock bikes of various brands plus the have their own in house brand and do bikes which could suit you such as the following:-

https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s21p3867/SPA-CYCLES-Aubisque-105-Triple

https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s21p3866/SPA-CYCLES-Wayfarer

https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s21p3202/SPA-CYCLES-Steel-Audax-%28Shimano-105-Double%29

 

If you're in London then Temple Cycles currently have a pop up shop in Clapham and they've advertised an event there this weekend only (the final weekend of the pop up shop) whereby they'll be selling some ex demo bikes.  I've absolutely no idea what sort of discounts they'll be talking about but if you live anywhere near there it couldn't do any harm to see if they have any big discounts available on their Adventure disc bike:-

https://www.templecycles.co.uk/products/adventure-disc-copy

https://off.road.cc/content/news/temple-cycles-adventure-disc-marries-classic-looks-with-huge-versatility-3200

https://www.templecycles.co.uk/blogs/blog/a-day-in-hell-an-adventure-disc-review

 

If it wasn't for the fact that I'm assuming you want a bike right now I would have stronly suggested the Fairlight Faran but the Mk1 is now sold out awaiting a Mk2 model in the summer I think.  Swift Cyles in London sell Fairlight bikes and so if you were interested in them you could always ask them if they still have any Faran's in stock or have any ex demo ones for sale.

https://fairlightcycles.com/faran

https://fairlightcycles.com/faran-concept-design-notes

A major thing which I think is great about Fairlight bikes is that the bikes are available in both regular and tall geometries allowing a stock bike to fit a much greater range of people as explianed in this video about their proportional geometry fit:-

https://vimeo.com/180866780

https://www.cyclist.co.uk/reviews/2117/fairlight-faran-review

http://www.headsetpress.co.uk/fairlight-cycles-faran/

 

If you're in somewhere like Germany (where there will be greater availability of this brand) then you could look at bikes from Bombtrack which could suit your needs:-

http://bombtrack.com

It is possible to get their bikes in the UK but they're not so easy to track down.

 

The Light Blue Robinson could suit your requirements:-

https://www.thelightblue.co.uk/Sport/5LB8RS353X/Robinson-D-Sora-R3000

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/reviews/road-bikes/the-light-blue-robinson-rd-105

https://road.cc/content/review/174276-light-blue-robinson-rival-1x

 

If you want something a bit cheaper then potentially you might find that one of the Pinnacle (The Evans Cycles in house brand) Arkose builds could be right for you.  Or maybe one of the Genesis Bikes say a Croix de Fer.

If it's at all possible for you to test ride some bikes and preferably with some weight on board so that the bike would feel as it will when you have your kit on it that would be a good thing to do.

Depending on what bike you go for if it were me looking at a bike for touring in an ideal world (and this will all be subjective and personal preference for individual needs and uses) but I would want a rear cassette which includes a decent sized cog at the back, say at least a 32 or even a 34.  Also now these aren't necessarily easy to find on stock bikes but if touring with some weight and gear and if tackling decent sized climbs a sub compact chainset, say a 48-32 or perhaps even lower, is well worth considering.  But as I say this is toally persoanl preference depending on loads of factors.

Good luck finding the right bike for you!

John

 

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Jack Osbourne snr [780 posts] 1 month ago
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Outstanding spread of recommendations John!

I will second your recommendation for SPA Cycles - particularly if it's for a true tourer... SPA specialise in touring kit.

Bartkwiat,

If you're looking for something that can do a couple of days of hard riding with a load, but is a bit sportier than and out and out tourer, there is a very strong contender currently available in Decathlon - the Triban RC 520. 105 groupset, and semi hydraulic disc brakes.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/triban-rc-520-disc-road-bike-navy-105-id_855...

£1200 gets you a lot of bike, so you could also consider the Genesis Croix or Tour De Fer both of which are built around superb steel framesets. I did a solo, unsupported LEJOG on a bike I built around a Tour De Fer frameset and it was faultless. The Croix dear Fer is better for lighter loads or unloaded riding though.

p> 

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ConcordeCX [1075 posts] 1 month ago
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I agree with the recommendations concerning Spa, and suggest that even if you're not near Harrogate you could call them to discuss your needs, and consider mail order. My number 2 bike is a 631 Audax frameset that I bought from them mail order and built up myself. It has been outstandingly good value and would probably suit the type of touring you describe.

My own touring, on my number 1 bike, an 853 made-to measure audax, tends to be over several weeks and lighter weight than yours (saddle bag and front bag only), but I have occasionally used panniers and rack for shorter tours, and I'm sure one of the Spa range would work well for you.

 

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bartkwiat [6 posts] 1 month ago
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Hello All,

Thank you for all your replies. I live in Scotland and too far to get down to England to test some bikes.  Bike is required in Poland, so have to think about shipping costs too.

I have narrowed the list to 

Spa Cycles Aubisque. I do not like their frame colour, but it seems a good bike anyway. Do you think that it is worth paying extra for upgraded wheels.To be honest I am not an expert and have no idea, if paying extra £150, would make any difference

Quote Change to Spa Cycles handbuilt wheelset with Novatec D771/772 hubs and Kinlin XD-230 rims for £150 Unquote

Ribble CGR AL I like their orange frame colour, but based on Trustpilot reviews some people wait for months for their bikes or have other issues and this put me off a little bit.

Orro Terra Gravel 105 has got nice green frame, so this would be perfect to increase my visibility. I think I would have to swap 11-30 cassette for 11-34 or 11-32 at least.

Genesis Croix de Fer.  I like CdF 20 yellow frame, but have no idea if it is worth paying extra for CdF 20 instead of 10.

Fairlight Faran Tiagra. I like their orange frame. Bike is over the budget and I could get a bike with 105 groupset for less, but if it is worth the money, then maybe I should pick this one.

I still have Triban RC520 in my mind, but I would have to purchase Triban in Poland.If I decided to buy Triban in UK I would have to swap brake cables to suit right hand drive/cycle and nearest to my home Decathlon(Edinburgh) told me that they would not do this for me even for extra charge. My father in law would not be able to check, if there are any damages to the frame,etc. upon delivery and they live 2.5 hours away from local Decathlon shop in case of any problems.  He is too old for this and scared to take any responsibility. I phoned Decathlon nearest to their home and they told me that it will not be possible to walk in to the store and drive away with the bike or collect within few days, because there is such big demand for their bikes, so would be without a bike all holiday. That is why I am tempting to consider other brands like above, where I could check bike myself and raise any concerns before shipping to Poland. I spoke with retailers who sell above listed bikes and  been told that they would make changes without charging me anything extra. Some even told me that they can swap tyres to suit my needs at no additional cost. 

I went to few bike shops in my area and they all tried to convince me that any of above are not good and whatever they have in stock is much better. Despite my tight budget that I already stretched, some shops tried to convince me to buy even more expensive bike, so I said to myself that I will ask you all again for advice.  Which one from above would you recommend as value for money(excluding Triban)?

Thank you for you help in advance

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John_S [93 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Hi bartkwiat,

Further to your message as to whether the extra charge for the hand built wheels from Spa are worth it can depend on a few factors.  For example hand built wheels could be considered a desirable upgrade for reasons such as they could be considered to be better built with more accurate spoke tension and being truer than a machine/factory built stock wheel that would come with many bikes.  However whether it’s worth the upgrade cost to you can depend on many factors such as the uses you have for the bike and how tough their life will be due to factors such as weight on the bike, including all of the gear that you’re carrying plus you as the rider.  One thing to think about is whether you’re comparing apples with apples if all of the other bikes that you consider don’t have hand built wheels.  On this subject there are lots of people on the Cycling UK Forum ( https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewforum.php?f=5&sid=459aae187f250e5778db07bcbfaf99ae ) who are very knowledgeable about Spa bikes and their wheels and so it could be well worthwhile asking your questions, as well about the bike, on there as well.

 

Regarding the Fairlight Faran I agree with you about the colour and I think that the orange frame looks fantastic!  But unfortunately if you need a bike by a deadline you won’t be able to get one at the moment because the Faran Mark 1 is now sold out and the only way to have got one would have been if for example you got lucky and Swift cycles in London had any ex-demo bikes for sale.  But being in Scotland that won’t be an option and unfortunately the updated Mark 2 version of the Faran isn’t going to be available until the summer and delivery may well be after the time when you need to have the bike by.

 

In respect of the brake set up what are you used to and which way around is it that you want to have the brakes set up on the bike that you buy?  Is it:-

1.  set up in the UK/ Australian style of the front brake located on the right-hand side of the handlebars and the rear brake on the left-hand side.

or

2.  set up in the North American / Continental European style being the opposite with the front brake on the left-hand side and the rear brake on the right-hand side?

 

With whoever you buy a bike from I’d be firstly checking whether they can or cannot set up the brakes in your preferred style because this may help influence who you buy the bike from.

 

In respect of the bikes shops in your local area did they give any specific reason why they don’t think that the bikes suggested above are good options?  Not to say a local bikes shop doesn’t have a more appropriate bike for you because they may well have (plus it’s great to support your local bike shop) but for a LBS to dismiss out of hand the bikes above just because they don’t stock them, particularly if they’ve never ridden the above bikes or have detailed knowledge of them, I think is pretty poor service if they’re only interest is to sell you a bike that they have in stock.

 

With your budget being stretched and just trying to think of ways to maximize value for you.  On this subject I just wondered how much is it going to cost you to ship the bike to Poland after you’ve bought it in the UK?  I wondered about this versus whether there is an option to buy it from somebody who will deliver it directly to where you need it in Poland?  Also given exchange rates is it cheaper to buy a bike from somewhere on the continent in Euro’s and have it delivered directly to Poland versus buying a bike in the UK in £ and then ship it to Poland where you want to use it?  My apologies because I have no idea of the answer to this but they are just things that popped into my head.  Just as food for thought if for example you liked one of the Bombtrack bikes if you look at their website and look at the Distributors section it lists:-

Distributor:-

Germany, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Scandinavia, Baltics:-

https://www.traffic-distribution.com/

 

Good luck figuring out what bike is right for you whether that’s from a LBS or somebody else.

John

 

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John_S [93 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Hi again,

One thing to consider is that if for example you decide you do want to buy the Triban RC520 from Decalthlon in the UK but you end up wanting to change the way the brakes are set up.  If Decalthlon have said that they won't do this for you how about at this stage getting a quote from a local bikes shop that you trust to do the work.  I don't know how easy or difficult this is to do given that I think the Triban comes with the TRP hybrid disc brakes with a cable to a hydraullic caliper.  But if you ask a LBS how much it will cost for them to set it up as you want it at least you know and you can factor that into the total cost of a Triban to see if it is value for money to you or not.

Given that you're in Scotland and based upon the bike that you've described that you want I would have suggested the Shand Stoater because that would probably suit you nicely but unforatunately it will be a fair way over budget.  There are also lots of colour options that you can buy the Stoater in and so you could have hopefully found a colour that you wanted:-

https://www.shandcycles.com/bikes/stoater/

https://off.road.cc/content/news/shand-cycles-update-the-stoater-their-versatile-touring-and-gravel-bike-2729

 

Just out of interest what bikes have your local bike shops suggested that you do buy from them if they don't think that any of the above bikes are suitable?

John

 

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bartkwiat [6 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Hello John,

 

Yes, I need continental Europe brake setup, otherwise turning and signaling turn by hand will be very difficult. When it comes to the maximum gross weight(myself, bike and luggage) is 90kgs(14st 2lbs). ROE of GBP to EUR and PLN fell recently...again and have to take bank charge into account too, so prices are very similar, however I must admit that Consumer Rights are much better here in the UK too. 

I spoke with Spa Cycles and others and they will be able to do changes to suit my needs, so nothing to worry about.

Bikes I was offered were:

Trek 920 2019

Boardman ADV 9.0

Merida Silex 400

Cinelli HoBootleg

Cannondale Topstone 105

Dawes Clubman

 

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John_S [93 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Hi bartkwiat,

That's good that Spa Cycles could change around the brakes to the continental Europe setup in ordre to suit your needs and much better than spending extra money seperately after purchase to change it around if that can be avoided and plus it's nice to just receive the bike setuo and ready to go for you.  I know from what people have mentioned on this forum and others that Spa Cycles have a good reputation and they are meant to be good to speak to for advice on the phone but hopefully you've already found that to be the case.  As further reassusrance/guideance on Spa Cycles bikesas mentioned you could do worse than to ask about them on the Cycling UK Forum ( https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewforum.php?f=5&sid=0983078156915e436fc1421de4e58db9 ) because ther's plenty of people on there who know about their bikes as well.

 

Regarding the other bikes that have been suggested to you by bikes shops I'll hold my hands up to not knowing them well and so my apologies but perhaps other people on here will have eihter ridden or owned some of those bikes and will comment on them.

 

One thing that is worth considering whn looking at any new bike is comparing it to your previous Triban bike and what you either did or didn't like about it and would have changed if you could.  Consider factors such as:-

  1. Geometry (I'll come back to that in a minute);
  2. Gear Ratios;
  3. Braking type (for example rim or disc brake and with disc brakes cable or hydraullic).

 

1. Geometry:-

On the subject of geometry this is the number one place that I would start when considering a bike.  It wasn't always my number one consideration but that was before I'd thought about it much.  However after the purchase of my first expensive bike to me (a £1,000 2014 Genesis Day One Alfine 8) the fact that the geometry wasn't right for me on long distance rides made me wish that in hindsight I'd made a different purchase.   Without going into loads of details my Genesis bike was built around a frame designed by Genesis as a cyclocross / urban single speed bike and the kind of bike made for short stints of time on the saddle.  This meant that roughly the frame geometry included quite a steep seat tube angle and a fairly long reach and short stack so that you're sort of streched out in an aerodynamic position (this is sort of rough generalisations just to illustrate).  Anyway the outcome of this is that the frame geometry isn't that comfortable for me on long endurance/touring type rides.

 

For me I prefer a more upright relaxed riding position but this is completely my own personal preference and everyone wants different things from low stretched out and aero or more upright and relaxed.  But these factors can influenced by who we are and how much time we have to train and for example get used to aero positions such as the pros can.  But it is also influenced by our body shape and what is suitable for us.  One of the easiest ways to understand this is by watching this Fairlight Cycles video and whether or not your going to buy one of their bikes or not doesn't matter because it will still illustrate a point for you.

https://vimeo.com/180866780

As Fairlight mention in an ideal world we'd all get a bike fit to make sure that the bike we buy is tailored to us and will be comfortable and suitable for the riding that we'll be doing.  However in the absence of having paid for a bike fit a good reference point for you to start with would be by putting your measurements, height etc., into the "Find Your Fit - A. Fit Guide" section of the Fairlight website:-

https://fairlightcycles.com/calculator/?v=79cba1185463

THis fit calculator will then recommend a framze size to you according to your own riding style/type.  What is great about Fairlight is unlike many other companies they offer both a regular and tall geometry version of each of their frtame sizes.  This means that in the absence of you going for a full custom/bespoke bike made only for you and your own geometry choices at least with Fairlight with the two frame size versions you stand a much better chance of getting on of their frames to fit you.

This would be great if you could then just go ahead and buy the Fairlight bike recommended to you however the problem with this is for example it's going to recommend a Faran frame size to you but that frame will be unavailable whilst the mark 1 verison has gone out of stock and although the version 2 is expected in the summer I appreciate that will be too early for you.

But what you can do here is look at the frame geometry of the Fairlight frame size that is recommended to you, paying particular attention to specifications such as stack, reach and headtube length, and then compare that to other bikes that you're considering.

At the same time I've mntioned looking at the specifications of your previous bike.  For example if you can it's worth looking at the geometry of your prvious bike and were you really comforatble on your previous bike or was it either too aggressive or too realxed for your personal preferences with frame geometry?

With a knoweldge/underdtanding of geometry you can start looking at geomtery charts to help get an idea of whether or not a frame is right for you.

 

2.  Gear Ratio's

Again here what gears did your previous bike have?  Did it have a single or a double chainring set up and what size(s) was the chainring and what size cassette did it have.  With respect to what you had were the gears right for you and was the easisest gear easy enough for what rising you were doing and touring that you were doing & intend to do in the dfuture taking into account the weight of gear that you'll have with you and the types of terrain/climbs that you'll ride on. If you go for one of the bikes recommended to you with a single chainring does this give you all of the gears that you want?  If you get a bike with a double chainring would one with a sub-compact chainring, say 48-32t or lower, suit you best.

 

3.  Braking type:-

Again what type of brakes did your previous Triban have and what did you or didn't you like about them and do you have a preference for what you want to get on your next bike.

 

As mentioned I have made mistakes in the past when buying bikes which I've now learned from them and whereas in the past I would have only been comparing speification sheets for who had the best groupset etc. for the price now I take a much closer look at things like the geometry first plus also not necessarily the most expensive components but well thought out components with future compatibily where possible.

 

Good luck with making your choice!

John

 

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John_S [93 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Hi again,

Also another thing to think about with any bikes that are being recommended to ou by shops is whether the bikes have the necessary braze ons (fixing/mounting points on the frame) to attach any accessories, for example a rear pannier rack or mudguards, that you might want to fit to the bike.

 

For example you've mentioned that with your riding you "... use panniers to carry all luggage".

Now just when staring to take a very quick look at the bikes that have been recommended to you by shops, and I could be completely wrong here because I'm looking at an image on a website as opposed to having the actual bike to check over, but if you look at the Merida Silex 400 I can't see any braze ons / mounting points on the chainstay tubes to attach your rear pannier rack to:-

https://www.merida-bikes.com/en/bike/138/silex-400

 

As I've said I don't know a lot about any of the bikes that have been recommended to you locally but it's well worth looking at them carefully to assess whether they really meet your needs in terms of exactly how you want to use the bike and what accessories you want to be able to attach to it.

Best of luck!

John