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Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

Re: New to biking in the UK

24 June 2014 - 1:04pm
Thank you guys!

I will keep an eye on retrobikes then, I might find what I need

I would go with 26'' rims. I never tried a 29 (nor a 27.5'', but at this point I'm no longer taking them into consideration).
I also would imagine that if I decide to go with a "retro" MB I will find it easier to get a 26'' as 29 weren't very commons a decade or so ago.

The reason why I like hardtails is because I don't do rough off road so the rear suspension would be just one un-necessary complication.
I also don't like how it looks

Re: New to biking in the UK

24 June 2014 - 12:51pm
hamster wrote:Bicycler wrote:The problem with mountain bikes and uk commuting is the inability to fit full mudguards (fenders). Wet weather and road salt can lead to corrosion problems. The solution unfortunately involves regular cleaning of your bike and components, especially the drivetrain. If you can find one then a single speed or Alfine/nexus hub geared mountain bike might be a better idea than having an exposed derailleur drivetrain.

Most mountain bikes built before about 2000 had mudguard eyes, hence why a secondhand one is better for the task. I absolutely agree that most modern ones are so over-specialised for off-road that they are much less useful for general purpose riding.
Oh, agreed. old rigid mountain bikes were often perfect commuting machines. Ugo51 did specify a hardtail though.

Bicycler, you're right, fenders would be more than useful...I'm really tempted by mountain bikes because it's what I've always had and because I would love to get the chance to do some off-road in the weekends.

Do you reckon it would be possible to fit fenders to a MB if I fit road-tyres?
If I was to take a 27.5 wheeler the diameter would be really close to that of a road bike (700mm, am I right?) and I could fit narrower tyres and fenders. Maybe I could have spare rims with offroad tyres for the weekend, to be used without fenders, of course

Clearance for mudguards* doesn't tend to be an issue for mountain bikes (they are built with lots of clearance for mud). The issue with modern mountain bikes is that they don't tend to have the correct frame fittings for full mudguards. You can fit mountain bike clip-on guards to all mountain bikes but they are not as good for road riding. They are designed to keep the worst of the mud from flying at you on the trails (and they do tend to be muddy in the UK!) rather than keeping the bike free of water, grime and road salt.

I wouldn't be put off using a mountain bike. They may not be ideal but many, many, people in the UK use mountain bikes for commuting (sometimes long travel full suspension models still with the knobbly off-road tyres ) All it means is that you have to take care with regular washing and bike maintenance or accept that you will be paying for the replacement of bits which have gone prematurely rusty. If you give your bike an annual service, wash it regularly and oil the chain you will be doing more than 90% of British commuters. Of course the best solution is two bikes; a cheap practical one for commuting and a fun bike for the weekends.

Wheel size: It is confusing how road bikers use the old French system of tyre sizing and mountain bikers use the old British (Imperial) system. Both are used for historical reasons rather than because they give a good measurement of tyre circumference. A road (700c) rim is exactly the same diameter as a 29er mountain bike rim. Obviously you can't put a very narrow tyre on a very wide rim or a wide tyre on a very narrow rim but at similar widths the tyres are interchangeable (29 x 1.5" = 700 x 37c). Some people do as you suggest and squeeze 700c/29" tyres into 650b/27.5" frames. This is only possible if you have disc brakes rather than rim brakes. It is not an ideal compromise and the only reason to do this is that there is a much larger choice of road tyres in 700c than 650b. For this reason I strongly advise you to choose a 26" or 29" bike. There are vastly more bikes available in either of these sizes than 27.5". Every bike shop will have a choice of wheels and tyres (road and mountain bike) in both of these sizes and they tend to be significantly cheaper. 27.5"/650b is only found on specialist mountain bikes and obsolete utility bikes so your local bike shop may well not have what you need or may have a very limited selection. A commuting slick 26x1.5 tyre will happily use the same rim as your weekend knobbly 26x2.0 mountain bike tyre, or you could have a spare set of wheels if you couldn't be bothered regularly changing tyres.

*'fenders' are usually referred to as 'mudguards' in British English

Re: New to biking in the UK

24 June 2014 - 12:50pm
Have a look at Bikeradar.com, some knowledgeable guys on there in the mtb forum.
http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=20005

This site is more about touring on roads

Al

Re: New to biking in the UK

24 June 2014 - 10:12am
Bicycler wrote:The problem with mountain bikes and uk commuting is the inability to fit full mudguards (fenders). Wet weather and road salt can lead to corrosion problems. The solution unfortunately involves regular cleaning of your bike and components, especially the drivetrain. If you can find one then a single speed or Alfine/nexus hub geared mountain bike might be a better idea than having an exposed derailleur drivetrain.

Most mountain bikes built before about 2000 had mudguard eyes, hence why a secondhand one is better for the task. I absolutely agree that most modern ones are so over-specialised for off-road that they are much less useful for general purpose riding.

To the OP: I have bought 4 bikes on the retrobike site - there is a very active feedback forum so plenty of supporting information to give trust. If you use PayPal (not Gift) you get your money back if the sale is bad.
For a modern do-anything bike, try a Surly Troll or Ogre.

Re: New to biking in the UK

24 June 2014 - 10:03am
welllll...a hybrid bike is what I need, a mountain bike is what I want

But I see your point. At the moment I'm actually thinking that a cheap (very cheap) hybrid is what I need, just to start easy and see how I like commuting by bike. Then, if I see I like it, I will get a better bike later on...

Re: New to biking in the UK

24 June 2014 - 9:59am
Depends if you really need a mountain bike? Or would the likes of a hybrid suit you better, so you can fit proper full mudguards etc.

Most bikes have components made by Shimano and spares are readily available so I wouldn't worry about that. The main difference from Italy is likely going to be the amount of salt we use on the roads during the winter, terrible for bikes, you'd need to at least wash the salt off your bike once a day to keep it from seizing up.

Re: New to biking in the UK

24 June 2014 - 6:41am
Thank you for the answers guys!

The retrobike.co.uk website is amazing, I do love retro bikes, although I don't see myself buying a bike online. Not a second hand at least. Anyway it's a good place for info

Bicycler, you're right, fenders would be more than useful...I'm really tempted by mountain bikes because it's what I've always had and because I would love to get the chance to do some off-road in the weekends.

Do you reckon it would be possible to fit fenders to a MB if I fit road-tyres?
If I was to take a 27.5 wheeler the diameter would be really close to that of a road bike (700mm, am I right?) and I could fit narrower tyres and fenders. Maybe I could have spare rims with offroad tyres for the weekend, to be used without fenders, of course.

Re: New to biking in the UK

23 June 2014 - 4:42pm
The problem with mountain bikes and uk commuting is the inability to fit full mudguards (fenders). Wet weather and road salt can lead to corrosion problems. The solution unfortunately involves regular cleaning of your bike and components, especially the drivetrain. If you can find one then a single speed or Alfine/nexus hub geared mountain bike might be a better idea than having an exposed derailleur drivetrain.

Re: New to biking in the UK

23 June 2014 - 10:28am
Spares are fine here, so generally no problems. Kona in particular are very popular and well-suited to the UK, as they have details like the seat tube clamp slot on the front side.

Have a look at www.retrobike.co.uk for good secondhand deals, usually on older machines which sound very suitable for the use you have in mind.

New to biking in the UK

23 June 2014 - 7:18am
Hello everyone,
I've just completed the registration to the forum, as I'm looking for some advice on what bike to buy.
I'm looking for a mountain bike, mainly for commuting along a cycle path and to have fun on hills during the weekend.
I have no experience of the bicyle market here in the UK. Is there any brand you would suggest over the others for availability of spare parts? I'm from Italy and I'm used to riding since I was a wee kid, but other there the weather is...how to put this delicately...different so that the bike is not really subject to any corrosion of any sort.
What I'm saying is that, given I'm planing to use the bike all year around, I foresee a great deal of rust to deal with, so what brand offer a good availability of spare parts for when something will have to get replaced (and I'm sure it will...).

I'm looking for a hardtail bike, 26'' or 27.'55, not much fork travel, I'm not planning on doing big time off road. Budget is quite limited so I will be looking for a second hand bike

cheers

Ugo

Re: Mountain bike for my bro

22 June 2014 - 6:29pm
Hey thanks for the replies, he would like to get into the sport but im pretty sure he knows very little about it. A decent entry level mountain bike is a suppose what i would like to get him but something decent. Thanks for the recommendations, ill check them out.

Re: Mountain bike for my bro

22 June 2014 - 9:13am
When you say he wants to get into the "sport" do you mean that he just wants to ride an MTB or he actually wants to race?
And what style of MTBing is he interested in - XC, enduro, DH, All-Mountain, etc etc?

If he just wants to have a go and isn't yet sure what style of MTBing he wants then probably best to go for a mid range hard-tail gentle XC type bike. Travel around 100-120mm on the fork, mech disc brakes (unless you can afford better), bars up at seat level or beyond (rather than a full on nose down XC), etc. As mentioned by MC, Boardman and OnOne both have good reps, but there are loads others that fit the bill.

Re: Mountain bike for my bro

21 June 2014 - 9:57pm
More than anything else....a correct fit. The wrong sized bike will always be a pig, no matter how fancy. I would prioritise:
Frame-most modern frames will take a lit of hammer, don't go for something heavy duty unless he's planning big jumps.
Forks-good rigid forks are better than cheap suspension. Yes, they may be harsh, but are more predictable than pogo forks.
Wheels-the best spec. you can get for the money.
I wouldn't get too hung up on running gear, most modern groupsets ride very well, and will all wear out.
Recommendations? Boardman for value, but variable levels of Halfords service. On-one bikes for decent specs and a very good ride, but a bit heavy.

Mountain bike for my bro

21 June 2014 - 9:59am
Hi all, I previously asked for advice on a bike purchase on these forums and was very happy with the response (thank you!).

I want to buy my brother a decent mountain bike as he'd like to get into the sport. I know very little about mountain bikes so what should I look out for when purchasing? Also, any specific recommendations would be amazing.

Josh

Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

14 June 2014 - 12:14pm
james-o wrote:Not very, or not as much as some would suggest, unless you define mountain biking by the speed across technically demanding trails.

Most (almost all?) MTBs are designed to use a sus fork so they may feel more jarring at the front than they need to when a rigid for is fitted.
http://www.jonesbikes.com/bike_design.html - An example of how to design a comfy rigid bike - these bikes may not be that readily available or a practical option for all, but from experience I'd say the ideas work and the design is sound. Better than sound really. Worth a read for perspective anyway.
Basically, get your weight back and away from the front wheel, use bigger width and diameter tyres and consider adjusting your hand/wrist angle by using different bars to help adapt to the different demands.
Suspension is great but it's not essential, I don't use it for most of my riding these days.

Seconded (if your pockets are deep enough)

I love mine with either it's skinny wheel on the front


Or it's fat wheel up front for more technical trails if speed isn't as important but fun is


I wouldn't do this on a full susser, but Jeff the builder doesn't seem to mind it being a rigid bike




Re: Singlespeed for a happy life on the hills

4 June 2014 - 9:33am
Farawayvisions wrote:I fear the hunger for a Rohlof will not go away. Deep pockets required. Try one: IME the hub is fine, but the shift quality (ie feel at the shifter) is an acquired taste due to the slack inherent in a twin cable layout.
YMMV, of course.

Re: Singlespeed for a happy life on the hills

3 June 2014 - 8:28pm
I just built a Trek 830 SS for the hills,loving the one gear scenario!

Re: Trail Manners?

3 June 2014 - 4:32pm
I can't believe that happened to your poor children. I would be shaking my fist in anger as I chased him down to make him apologize to my frightened kids if that happened to us. Mountain biking is a dangerous activity and I think all cyclists on trails should take diligent care when cycling down trails in-case of collisions with other cyclists

Re: Singlespeed for a happy life on the hills

2 June 2014 - 4:13pm
Oh my, I am speechless but very grateful ( and honoured.) Wonderful pictures.
Loving the blog and can't wait for next post!

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