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I'm an unfit git 60+ and just wanting to get back to cycling after stopping as soon as I could afford alternative transport at 18!

I will be doing local journeys to the shops and longer stints (say around 1 hour round trips, some of it on steep hills) for keep fit; I may join a local club once I can get on a bike without immediately falling off.

I've been to a couple of local bike shops, Specialize were not very helpful - just said a Crosstrail with hydraulic forks should be fine (with no real explanation), cost £575, and another independent actually spent 30 mins with me and suggested a Merida Crossway Urban 100 Gents 2019 model at £700,

Does anyone have any suggestions?  I'm leaning towards the Merida because I like to support local independent shops, but would be interested to hear what more experienced cyclists say.

24 comments

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ktache [2320 posts] 4 days ago
2 likes

It's nice to have something shiny and new, but have you thought about 2nd hand.  You will get more bang from your buck, you will have to do more maintenance and learn it quicker, but if you talk to your Local Bike Shops, they might have a few in from part exchange.  Less likely to be stolen, and easier to ask for help with fixing.  It will help you to develop thet relationship too.

Best of luck whatever you decide.

The cold is easy to deal with, good gloves a must, you will generate a lot of warmth.  But ice is not much fun.

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CyclingInBeastMode [265 posts] 4 days ago
1 like

As suggestion above 2nd hand will get you more bike for same or less money.

I'm currently selling my sons top end hybrid (part carbon frame/carbon forks/quality components) that has a bigger range of gears than most of the usual contenders, is lighter than bikes costing a grand and more, can fit wide tyres with guards/pannier rack fitments, basically the ideal  commuter that can do much more, however despite Its mint condition I'll be lucky to get £400 for it.

Basically it's a buyers market unless you have something very niche, so 2nd hand bikes can be an extremely good way to get started without throwing a lot of money at something that may not even 6 months down the line suit what you want. It means you have time to consider what you want/don't want and can spend a bit more on something more specific to your needs which you will understand better the more you ride.

Do not get anything with suspension forks, you're not a downhill/MTB racer, a shop suggesting that is clearly trying to shift stock!

luck finding something and enjoy riding.

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fenix [1211 posts] 4 days ago
2 likes

Second hand is great if you know a bit about bikes and sizing.

 

TBH I'd go to your local bike shop.  You should at least get the right size and a working bike.  

The merida looks nice - mudguards are excellent.  Get a track pump too and you wont look back. 

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Simon E [3887 posts] 4 days ago
2 likes

Suspension is unnecessary weight and complexity on a bike used mainly on hard surfaces. Unless you want to visit a third store to get another option - if you have a Halfords nearby you could see if they stock the Boardman. Otherwise the Merida sounds a good choice.

Get some reasonably bright lights (see the road.cc reviews section) and a lock for leaving it parked up then you'll hopefully be all set and you can enjoy riding your bike. smiley

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SilverBugle [12 posts] 4 days ago
2 likes

Unless you are farily knowledgeable about bikes, I would suggest you are more likely to buy something unsuitable second hand.

Of what you have been offered so far the Specialized is the bottom of their suspension fork hyrbid range and is expensive for what it is.

The Merida looks nice and comes with muguards fitted but also looks expensive for what it.

Halfords (Boardman, Voodoo and Carrrera) do a good range of good value hybrids with choice of rigid and suspension front forks.  In ascending order of price.  The Carreras may be a bit cheap but still good value.  The Voodoo Marasa is very good value and gets good reviews.  Boardman do MTX with front suspension and HYB with rigid forks.

F W Evans own brand Pinnacle hybrids are also very good value.  The Cobalt range with front suspension and Lithium with rigid forks.

Don't automatically rule out a suspension fork.  They do add weight, but definiely smooth out poor quality roads.  They would also set you up nicely for some casual gravel/light off roading.

A lot of hybrids have very similar gearing to road bikes.  So where a road bike might be 50/34 at the front and 11 - 32 at the rear, a hybrid may be 48/32 at the front and 11 - 32 or up to 36 at the back.  At 60+ and unfit, unless you are hiding a potential athlete in think you will find those overgeared.

I am a fit 50+ and have just bought a Boardmand MTX with a 48/32 and 11-36.  I rarely use the top chainring.

I suggest you consider a bike with triple chainset.  Some people say they are devils spawn and too complicated but if you can read an instruction manual you should be fine.  They will give a wider range of usable gearing.

Definitely get one with disc brakes.

With your bugdet I would suggest you look at Cobalt 4 (double chainset but low ratio) and Cobalt 3 (triple chainset) both suspension forks, and Lithium 4 (triple chainset) with rigid forks.  All 20% of at the moment.

At Halfords look at the Voodoo Marasa (triple chainset rigid forks), Subway 3 (triple chainset suspension fork), Boardmain HYB 8.6 (double chainset, rigid forks), and MTX 8.6 (triple chainset, suspenion fork, and MTC 8.8 (double chainset, suspension fork).

 

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CyclingInBeastMode [265 posts] 4 days ago
0 likes

I'd say you'd have to be absolutely clueless to buy a bike 2nd hand that doesn't fit you or work, you get on it, you try the brakes and gears, if they don't work you walk away and look elsewhere, not rocket science!

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Mungecrundle [1647 posts] 3 days ago
2 likes

Tbh unless a £1000 is back of the sofa money for you, I'd advise you to keep an eye out in the local paper or eBay for something near enough to go look at before bidding. Like CIBM says it's not rocket science to throw a leg over and check it works. There are a lot of very lightly used bicycles around for not a lot of money.

I'd suggest some sort of hybrid style bike, flat bar, upright riding position, wider tyres, comfy seat, low gearing for any hills and not worry too much about method of braking or whether it has suspension or not. Hopefully you can find some nice cycle paths or singletrack locally away from traffic. You don't even really need special cycle clothing, just dress appropriately for the weather and go out to regress into a 10 year old boy again enjoying the freedom and thrill of a bicycle.

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Xenophon2 [133 posts] 3 days ago
3 likes
CyclingInBeastMode wrote:

I'd say you'd have to be absolutely clueless to buy a bike 2nd hand that doesn't fit you or work, you get on it, you try the brakes and gears, if they don't work you walk away and look elsewhere, not rocket science!

 

I'm calling BS on that.  OP hasn't ridden nor owned a bike in 40 years.  It's very easy to buy a lemon new let alone second hand if you don't know exactly what to watch out for.  Unless you know what you're doing or bring along a friend who does, I wouldn't advise purchasing second hand.  It's not cheap if it doesn't fit well or if you incur significant repairs a month after buying.

To the OP:  stay away from suspension forks, especially cheap ones, you don't need them.  The Merida looks nice.  You can get cheaper but if you don't want to learn bike maintenance I'd invest some cash in a local dealer who already took 30 minutes to explain the basics.

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Judge dreadful [444 posts] 3 days ago
3 likes

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

 

a nice bit of kit, with a decent spec, and a lifetime warranty on frame and forks.

 

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/rr-900-af-road-bike-black-105-id_8529249.html

 

or this if you want a more 'road' than 'gravel / adventure' type bike.

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chocim [11 posts] 3 days ago
1 like
Judge dreadful wrote:

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

 

a nice bit of kit, with a decent spec, and a lifetime warranty on frame and forks.

 

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/rr-900-af-road-bike-black-105-id_8529249.html

 

or this if you want a more 'road' than 'gravel / adventure' type bike.

 

Or, if you want a flat-bar hybrid, go for something like the Riverside 920:

 

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/riverside-920-hybrid-bike-id_8405267.html

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schlepcycling [118 posts] 3 days ago
0 likes

How about the Planet X London Road, you can have a flat bar version with hydraulic disc brakes and mounts for muguards and a rack for £799.99

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBPXLDNFLATAPEX1/planet-x-london-road-sram...

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LastBoyScout [663 posts] 3 days ago
2 likes
SilverBugle wrote:

Don't automatically rule out a suspension fork.  They do add weight, but definiely smooth out poor quality roads.  They would also set you up nicely for some casual gravel/light off roading.

A lot of hybrids have very similar gearing to road bikes.  So where a road bike might be 50/34 at the front and 11 - 32 at the rear, a hybrid may be 48/32 at the front and 11 - 32 or up to 36 at the back.  At 60+ and unfit, unless you are hiding a potential athlete in think you will find those overgeared.

I am a fit 50+ and have just bought a Boardmand MTX with a 48/32 and 11-36.  I rarely use the top chainring.

I suggest you consider a bike with triple chainset.  Some people say they are devils spawn and too complicated but if you can read an instruction manual you should be fine.  They will give a wider range of usable gearing.

Definitely get one with disc brakes.

All of this ^

Hybrids with suspension fork tend to have wider tyres with a light tread and would be ideal for gravel tracks, such as tow paths or local nature reserves. They're also probably lower geared.

Hybrids with rigid forks tend to have narrower, slick tyres and higher gearing for roads.

My father in law had a Crosstrail Pro with triple chainset, which was a good bike and perfect for him.

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Bryans58 [3 posts] 3 days ago
7 likes

Thanks for all the feedback everyone.  I'll probably get it new, mainly because the wife will be buying it as a Xmas pressie and she has even less of a clue than me!

Unless people reckon it's a bad buy I guess I'll go for the Merida Crossway Urban 100, mainly to support my local bike shop (https://www.northwoodcycles.com/ - if there is a better option on their website I'll also look at that). 

I don't mind paying up to 10% more to support local businesses, they get enough of a kicking from big online sellers, so I like to help them where possible.

 

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John_S [97 posts] 3 days ago
2 likes

Hi Bryans58,

I can absolutely applaude you spending money on the high street instead of online because the high street needs a;; of the help that it can get right now and it’s a great idea to support your local shop!

I’d say just spend some time in your local shop and try as many of their bikes as you can and try a good variety of brands and hybrids, drop bars etc. and get a feel for yourself as to what feels good for you.

If you want to get to try an alternative to what you can try in the shop most local to you and are interested in trying a British brand then for something different if you happen to be in London you could go to the Temple Cycles shop ( https://www.templecycles.co.uk/pages/contact ).  They’re a British brand who focus on getting the basics of bikes right and might possibly have something that appeals to you such as:-

https://www.templecycles.co.uk/pages/classic-lightweight-landing
or:-

https://www.templecycles.co.uk/pages/adventure-tour

But if you try & then buy something that you like from your local shop then good luck and I hope that you enjoy getting back on a bike!

John

 

https://www.templecycles.co.uk/blogs/blog/a-bike-for-life

 

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Simon E [3887 posts] 3 days ago
1 like
Bryans58 wrote:

I don't mind paying up to 10% more to support local businesses, they get enough of a kicking from big online sellers, so I like to help them where possible.

If they are a halfway decent shop you'll get customer service that is worth far more than that 10%. smiley

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SilverBugle [12 posts] 3 days ago
1 like

Small world - I cycle past that shop quite often.  Looking at the hybrids on offer on their website and your budget I would say the Crossway Urban 100 is a good choice.  It comes complete with a kickstand and mudguards, both of which will find useful.  When you go back, I suggest you also look at the Crossway 300.  This is £50 more, but includes a supension fork, a fair jump in quality of the gears and wheels and a suspension seat post.  I find the roads around Northwood pretty lumpy, you might find the suspension useful.  Hopefully they will let you test ride both and you can decide. 

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henryb [101 posts] 2 days ago
1 like

You don't say what size you are, but how about a medium size Genesis Equilibrium? You can fit a pannier rack and proper mudguards for local pootling about and shopping, and then it'll hold its own on group rides if you join a club:

https://www.freewheel.co.uk/genesis-2017-equilibrium-disc-20-md-ex-display-gng43mp001

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Eton Rifle [160 posts] 1 day ago
2 likes

Just to weigh in on the suspension forks issue. I had a Specialised Crosstrail Elite as my commuter for a couple of years. I reasoned that the suspension forks would come in handy when I went off-road. Thing is, I hardly ever did and when I did the tyres were not up to muddy conditions and spun.

The bike was stolen in January and I bought a Whyte Stirling, a hybrid with a rigid carbon fork and 32c tyres (the Spesh had 38c). Honestly, I don't miss the suspension forks at all. The Whyte is much more responsive and faster with the rigid fork and feels much more stable cornering at speed. My average speed went up over 10% with no additional effort.

If you're going to be riding mainly on roads, I'd go with a rigid fork.

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Bryans58 [3 posts] 1 day ago
0 likes
SilverBugle wrote:

Small world - I cycle past that shop quite often.  Looking at the hybrids on offer on their website and your budget I would say the Crossway Urban 100 is a good choice.  It comes complete with a kickstand and mudguards, both of which will find useful.  When you go back, I suggest you also look at the Crossway 300.  This is £50 more, but includes a supension fork, a fair jump in quality of the gears and wheels and a suspension seat post.  I find the roads around Northwood pretty lumpy, you might find the suspension useful.  Hopefully they will let you test ride both and you can decide. 

Thanks, I'll have a look.  The roads are bad enough in a car, must be murder on a bike, I guess I need decent gel shorts as well!

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Bryans58 [3 posts] 1 day ago
0 likes
henryb wrote:

You don't say what size you are, but how about a medium size Genesis Equilibrium? You can fit a pannier rack and proper mudguards for local pootling about and shopping, and then it'll hold its own on group rides if you join a club:

https://www.freewheel.co.uk/genesis-2017-equilibrium-disc-20-md-ex-display-gng43mp001

I'm 6'2" (188cm), so large I guess. Apparently the one the shop suggested has a decent mudguard and can accept most pannier racks.

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Eton Rifle [160 posts] 1 day ago
0 likes
schlepcycling wrote:

How about the Planet X London Road, you can have a flat bar version with hydraulic disc brakes and mounts for muguards and a rack for £799.99

Aee you sure? Pretty ropey groupset and entry level brakes for £800. Another £200 gets you Shimano 105 and some better brakes (Shimano MT-400). Ha'porth of tar and all that...

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBPXLDNFLATAPEX1/planet-x-london-road-sram...

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henryb [101 posts] 15 hours ago
0 likes
Bryans58 wrote:
henryb wrote:

You don't say what size you are, but how about a medium size Genesis Equilibrium? You can fit a pannier rack and proper mudguards for local pootling about and shopping, and then it'll hold its own on group rides if you join a club:

https://www.freewheel.co.uk/genesis-2017-equilibrium-disc-20-md-ex-display-gng43mp001

I'm 6'2" (188cm), so large I guess. Apparently the one the shop suggested has a decent mudguard and can accept most pannier racks.

 

This is pretty good too - a 'large' (56cm) frame, and a good spec for the money (and mudguard eyelets, etc.): https://www.freewheel.co.uk/saracen-hack-black-56cm-ex-brand-sample-bike-rn251556sp001

 

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zero_trooper [402 posts] 9 hours ago
0 likes
henryb wrote:
Bryans58 wrote:
henryb wrote:

You don't say what size you are, but how about a medium size Genesis Equilibrium? You can fit a pannier rack and proper mudguards for local pootling about and shopping, and then it'll hold its own on group rides if you join a club:

https://www.freewheel.co.uk/genesis-2017-equilibrium-disc-20-md-ex-display-gng43mp001

I'm 6'2" (188cm), so large I guess. Apparently the one the shop suggested has a decent mudguard and can accept most pannier racks.

 

This is pretty good too - a 'large' (56cm) frame, and a good spec for the money (and mudguard eyelets, etc.): https://www.freewheel.co.uk/saracen-hack-black-56cm-ex-brand-sample-bike-rn251556sp001

 

Great discount! However, not wanting to get into a geometry debate, the OP is 188cm tall. He's guessing an L frame, I'm guessing more a L/XL, so all the more reason to go down the Local Bike Shop route for peace of mind.

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henryb [101 posts] 9 hours ago
0 likes
zero_trooper wrote:
henryb wrote:
Bryans58 wrote:
henryb wrote:

You don't say what size you are, but how about a medium size Genesis Equilibrium? You can fit a pannier rack and proper mudguards for local pootling about and shopping, and then it'll hold its own on group rides if you join a club:

https://www.freewheel.co.uk/genesis-2017-equilibrium-disc-20-md-ex-display-gng43mp001

I'm 6'2" (188cm), so large I guess. Apparently the one the shop suggested has a decent mudguard and can accept most pannier racks.

 

This is pretty good too - a 'large' (56cm) frame, and a good spec for the money (and mudguard eyelets, etc.): https://www.freewheel.co.uk/saracen-hack-black-56cm-ex-brand-sample-bike-rn251556sp001

 

Great discount! However, not wanting to get into a geometry debate, the OP is 188cm tall. He's guessing an L frame, I'm guessing more a L/XL, so all the more reason to go down the Local Bike Shop route for peace of mind.

 

Very true - it'll always be a bit of a toss-up buying online. However it's easier to work with a frame that's slightly small (by changing the stem, for example) than one that's slightly big.