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Another 'recommend me a bike' thread

 
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dan_b



Joined: 15 Jun 2004
Posts: 2496

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:12 pm    Subject: Another 'recommend me a bike' thread Reply with quote

I have domestic approval for deploying the C2W scheme this year, with the proviso that it can take a rack-mounted child seat and/or tow a trailer.

I already have a fun-but-impractical road bike with bits of carbon and not enough spokes.  

I had until recently and will again, when the insurance comes through and I can get it repaired, have the world's least fashionable fixie (two brakes and drops and mudguards and rack)

What I seem to be missing is something that I can use for the aforesaid child seat, for commuting on until I get the fixie running again (and for days when I feel too lazy to push that hard), and I am hoping also for the occasional bit of fairly tame off-road - gravel, grass, mud, etc, probably not downhilling or big drop-offs.

Apparently these days a "general purpose bicycle with drop handlebars" is more fashionably referred to as a CX bike.  To cut to the longlist, and in no particular order, I am thinking about

Genesis CdF/Croix de Fer
Charge Filter Hi
Kinesis Crosslight 5T
Kaffenback
CAADX?
Spezd Tricross
Surly Cross Check

In general I prefer the look of the steel bikes (honourable exception for the kinesis which at least doesn't look hideously modern).  I have no strong opinion on discs, although I can see they might be a big win when stopping with a 12kg passenger on board or pursued by 25kg of trailer.  I haven't test ridden any of them, but I don't think a test ride around the block will tell me about anything much beyond the frame size, saddle comfort and whether I can get on with the shifter style

Budget is, as ever, 1k - although if I can get the rack and child seat in at that price, bonus.
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Torbaydos



Joined: 30 Jun 2009
Posts: 159
Location: Ealing

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:56 am    Subject: Reply with quote

I have a Genesis CDF and I love it. Fantastic bike.  Also, if you get one you can work out the best mounting points for child seats ready for when I need one.

I would avoid Specialized - Not for the bike itself but all the kids in Acton who have no visible means of purchasing reasonable spec bikes have Specialized and I assume your area is the same.

I assume you have checked what your bike to work supplier has available - with my work there was no Surly or Charge on the scheme hence the Genesis choice was made for me.
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ed!
LSST Committee Member


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 6733
Location: E R, London

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:19 pm    Subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure what the hardware requirements are for mounting a child seat, and will assume that your shortlist meets them.

A few of my own personal thoughts:

- I'm not a big fan of cantilever brakes...perhaps they're great if you're good at setting them up (obviously, I am not) or if you're using them for CX, but for general commuter use, I think they're pretty poo.

- If you are sticking with something that uses cantilever bosses, you can get mini-v brakes, which in my opinion, work very well (I have a set of Tektro TRP on mine).

- Disc brakes do indeed have good stopping power.  I'm not sure how fiddly they are to calibrate - I've heard mechanical ones require a bit more attention than hydraulics.  Given that you're a bike tinkerer, I suspect this will be of little concern to you.

- Surly bikes are very versatile (ask Howard, Lan-Lan and David), but sizing is a bit weird...they tend to come out quite long.  I think they're a tinkerer's bike, which again, wouldn't be an issue for you, but I wouldn't go for it because I'm lazy.  I think David even had a cross-check.

If you are looking at the Genesis, ProBikeKit has them on sale, and with an added voucher code (Froome15UK), you could get a further 15% off - £549 in total:

http://www.probikekit.co.uk/bikes/genesis-cdf-2013-cyclocross-bike/10777200.html

Not sure what saving you'd actually make with your C2W option, bearing in mind you may need to pay something at the end of the term.  Could work out cheaper to buy it outside of the scheme.
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Howard



Joined: 24 Jan 2010
Posts: 352
Location: W2 now init.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:06 pm    Subject: Reply with quote

There will be a disc version of the CrossCheck out soon.

Much radness.

Cannondale CX bikes are hard to come by at the moment. Unless you want to buy my 51cm 2011? They are gearing up for 2014 / 15.

Cantis are horrid with the current generation of Shimano brifters - they pull more cable, less mechanical advantage, more grip of death required to stop. If you are on SRAM or Campag I wouldn't worry too much, and as Ed says mini vs are a good option if clearance isn't an issue.

disc version of the Kaffenback looks difficult to ignore and is priced very well.

We have a Kinesis Crosslight Pro 6 in the flat at the moment and I have to say it's quite amazeballs. Especially with 50mm deepsections on it, which I assume you'll fit along with the child seat.

Frankly there is no good braking solution for cross / tourer bikes at the moment - it's either Cantis with all their associated issues, cable pull discs which require expensive compressionless cable, botched half hydraulic half cable systems or hiddeously expensive and ugly all hydraulic that put the expensive bits in the first thing that hits the deck when you crash.

TL;DR - expect to faff with your brakes.

A friend of mine picked up a used 631 Bob Jackson tourer in mint condition for £350 recently. Complete bike, including bomb-proof handbuilt wheels.

Sorry no answers, just food for thought.
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Xia



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 902
Location: Geneva (Suisse)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:13 am    Subject: Reply with quote

What age are you little one?

I highly recommend not going for the rear seat attachment but instead add a front seat attachment, much more fun for both of you:
You can interact with them and they get to see the road. Down side, when the fall asleep, its harder to ride and keep them upright.

http://cyclosannemassiens.fr/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/P5060372.jpg.
http://cyclosannemassiens.fr/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/participants-Voirons-sal%C3%A8ve-2012.jpg


I have also have a trailabike so that I can carry both kids, including some alpine climbs. Hook is on a separate aluminum seat-post that I swap when trailing. Catherine also has a hook on her bike. The small trailabike is usable age 3, but I had to cut the seat-post.

Brakes ARE an issue, when coming down from my local climb with the kids, I never go above 30kph to allow the bike to stop with only one brake => loads of heat and usually I'll stop to let everything cool down (including my forearms), disc will make a big difference.
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Xia



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 902
Location: Geneva (Suisse)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:50 am    Subject: Reply with quote

Howard wrote:
hiddeously expensive and ugly all hydraulic that put the expensive bits in the first thing that hits the deck when you crash.

If you consider crashing as part of your buying choice decision... please don't carry a kid!
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Howard



Joined: 24 Jan 2010
Posts: 352
Location: W2 now init.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:15 am    Subject: Reply with quote

You could swap 'when you crash' to 'when the bike falls over at the cake stop'

Happy now?

Kids bounce anyway.
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Barrie



Joined: 21 May 2006
Posts: 1758
Location: Brentwood-ish

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:21 am    Subject: Reply with quote

Xia wrote:
I highly recommend not going for the rear seat attachment
 Do they only work for smaller children? ( than the rear seats ).  One thing I read about the rear seats was about suspension, apparently the unsprung ones can be quite jarring.

I've got a trailgator, so I can detach the wee beastie and let us ride independantly ( e.g. I can ride us both down to Richmond, then detach him so he can ride alone on the paths... the re-attach when it gets too steep for him ( and his mum, but I refuse to tow her too! ).  Hmmm I guess he was about 3 1/4 when I first used it?

http://www.trail-gator.com/


Works nicely off my hybrid, should work off Paula's but she's wobbly enough on her own... I won't risk on my road bike due to carbon frame & seat post... ( and frankly, I need all the gears on the triple to drag his lazy ass up the steeper hills Smile ).
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Xia



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 902
Location: Geneva (Suisse)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:08 am    Subject: Reply with quote

Barrie wrote:
Xia wrote:
I highly recommend not going for the rear seat attachment
 Do they only work for smaller children? ( than the rear seats ).  One thing I read about the rear seats was about suspension, apparently the unsprung ones can be quite jarring.

Yes, after a certain size, you need to cycle with your leg too open and it is painfull, but then they are the right size to move to the trail a bike.
Suspension not much of an issue, the saddle is pretty soft,  they see the road and I tell them when it will be rough plus when younger, they have nappies, so extra cushioning.

The attachment you use, how fast and stable is it? Can you use it for long rides including climbs and downhills? I might consider that for my eldest who is now keen to cycle with us on her own bike.
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dan_b



Joined: 15 Jun 2004
Posts: 2496

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:16 am    Subject: Reply with quote

Xia wrote:
What age are you little one?

I highly recommend not going for the rear seat attachment but instead add a front seat attachment, much more fun for both of you:

Got one of those already (the Yepp Mini, chosen because it has a five point harness and Geoffrey is an escapologist), on my wife's bike, but found it incredibly fussy about the bikes it'll fit to: it needs a steerer that's quite long and quite vertical, meaning a quite upright riding position - otherwise the seat back presses into the rider's chest.  Doubly so with drop bars.


So it's on her bike and I'm permitted to look for alternative child carrying arrangements for when I need to take him on mine ;-)
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Barrie



Joined: 21 May 2006
Posts: 1758
Location: Brentwood-ish

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:41 am    Subject: Reply with quote

Xia wrote:
Yes, after a certain size, you need to cycle with your leg too open and it is painfull, but then they are the right size to move to the trail a bike.
When I looked I thought they had a much lower max weight than the rear chairs, quite limiting... Might've just been the models I looked at though...

Quote:
Suspension not much of an issue, the saddle is pretty soft,  they see the road and I tell them when it will be rough plus when younger, they have nappies, so extra cushioning.
That comment was for the rear chairs, apparently it's because they're mounted directly over a wheel... if the mounting is rigid then all jolts are passed directly through,  hence some of them are sprung ( one way or another ).

Quote:
The attachment you use, how fast and stable is it? Can you use it for long rides including climbs and downhills? I might consider that for my eldest who is now keen to cycle with us on her own bike.
There's a little play/slop at the flexible coupling, I expect you get similar with the trailabike?
It's enough that I can feel, but not enough to be a problem ( or I'd look in to trying to resolve it... ).  It makes me a little nervous of my wife doing the towing... I'm 80kg, she's about 45kg ( and doesn't cycle much ), Ollie plus bike is about 30kg... so she doesn't have much of an advantage to balance him.

Other than it solidly built (a bit more weighty than I'd like really ) and the  couplings won't be breaking.  I did sheer one of the ( M8? ) U bolts when fixing it to Ollie's bike initially, with a torque wrench... I think it was just a faulty bolt... both the vendor and the manufacturer sent me replacements straight away ( so I've actually got a spare o_O ).

I initially bought it for a trip to CentreParcs, there were quite a few in use there...

I've dragged him up the steep cycle path in Richmond... i.e. needed the easiest gear on my triple ( the only time it's been used in anger?  and Paula gave up and walked ), the main point of note was my front wheel going very light ( again, I'd expect this would be the same with the trailabike? ),balancing at that speed also took a bit more concentration that normal.  That ended up being a (slow) two hour ride - Ollie got a bit cold after he'd stopped peddling.

The bracket on the childs bike is likely to strip some paint... you probably could pad it with something... some cloth?  insulating tape didn't work... but I'm not too worried as I'm sure the bike will outlive it's usefulness anyway.
Check that this bracket will fit OK ( send me a pic of that part of the frame if you're not sure? ).

The instructions suggest it's not been designed or tested for off-road use, but there's enough vertical movement for some decent sized bumps - but you need to take them slowly to avoid launching the offspring in to orbit Smile  I wouldn't go anywhere too rough just from a control point of view, I wouldn't worry about the bar breaking though without anything you're likely to think is reasonable to drag a child over!

I ride it with SPDs, but unclip when that might result in my flopping over Smile.  I did drop the saddle so I can reach the ground a bit more easily ( again, I'd guess this would be the same with trailabike ).
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Xia



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 902
Location: Geneva (Suisse)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:53 pm    Subject: Reply with quote

dan_b wrote:

Got one of those already (the Yepp Mini, chosen because it has a five point harness and Geoffrey is an escapologist)


This is mine, different design (and probably not eu approuved...):
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Child-Bike-Seat-Front-Mounted-Top-Tube-Leco-/390272770722?pt=UK_SportGoods_CyclAcces_RL&hash=item5ade11e2a2
It is installed without the back  attachment and belts, I still remember Chloe trying to get out at speed when she was younger....  Tristan managed to put is feet in my wheels exactly once Smile


Trailabike is incredibly stable and sturdy, I have no issues using it at speed on flats, on mountain downhills nor on trails and Chloe + bike = 36kg.
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dan_b



Joined: 15 Jun 2004
Posts: 2496

PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:47 pm    Subject: Reply with quote

Little bit of thread mniing here: it took a long time to make my mind up, then longer to get the cyclescheme voucher, then a couple of weeks for the shop to get the bike in, but finally I have a Genesis Croix de Fer courtesy of Big Steev Bikes

Only ridden it the six miles home so far, and that without trying to do anything clever as I was using flat pedals and having to concentrate quite hard not to slip off them, but so far so good.  Still keep changing gear in the wrong direction, though

Obligatory kitchen photo:
http://www.dropbox.com/s/zbgl1gmc7hazws1/2013-12-06%2022.29.55-1.jpg
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Eugene



Joined: 02 Jan 2007
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:16 pm    Subject: Reply with quote

Long time no see, peeps!

I've finished the postgraduate, got a job in Sheffield and moved  up here a few months ago. I've sadly had to pack up my speed skates, as Sheffield has a combo of rough road surfaces and steep hills! But, I've joined the local ice speed skating club and am planning to do a lot more cycling.

Like Dan, I'm considering getting a new bike on the C2W scheme, and also thinking of a CX bike rather than a carbon road bike. . I'd like to do some gentle off road stuff, and also would like rack/mudguard mounts for some light 3-4 day touring... so I feel like CX would be better (although I am tempted by the Decathlon Triban 7 which seems really good value for £600).

I've had a little look around at the Croix de Fer bikes you guys have listed. Does anyone know much about the Focus Mares bikes (e.g. AX 4.0 or AX 5.0) or the Whyte (http://www.jejamescycles.co.uk/whyte-dorset-road-bike-id79462.html)?  Or say the Ridley X-Bow? How do these compare to the Croix de Fer?

Or what about building one using the Ribble bike builder? Would that be better/worse?
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