Best way to spend £500

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by bikersdozen

Hi all,

Keen for some of your expert advice:

I currently ride a 2011 CAAD 10 which I love but also use it for a dirty 16km commute into central London. I've since come across a £500ish bike-only budget (don't ask) and am tempted to invest in a straightforward commuting machine. Any recommendations on how to best spend that budget? Spotted a 2011 Felt TK4130 Track Bike for £350 recently that looked a bit poncey but potentially a good deal? Any thoughts??

Your opinions would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks.

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by prendrefeu

Central London?

....for a straight-forward commuting machine, I would buy something that:

1. Doesn't look like an ideal target for thieves
2. You will be comfortable locking up
3. Is not a track bike (sorry, they're meant for that track, and frankly they're too 'hip' right now for everyone. See point #1)
4. You can ride in virtually any weather.

With those criteria set, and your budget, start hunting. :D

Only buy that track bike if you plan on taking it to the track and using it proper. Otherwise someone else will sell your stolen track bike for considerably less than the steal of a price you're seeing now and you'll be out 350 quid.
Exp001 || Other projects in the works.

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by bikersdozen

Sound advice. Difficult to quash all excitement for an anti-theft monster though. Any rough diamonds in the second-hand market to keep an eye out for?

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by LEC135

Boring but I'd keep commuting on the CAAD10 and spend the £500 on chain/bloc cables etc after winter or maybe some crap winter wheels

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by Dammit

Commuting in London means you won't need more than one sensibly chosen gear- 48/19 for example.

Get a second hand Langster for £200-£300, service it and put mudguards on it, buy decent tyres and a good lock.


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by u9ge

If buying to commute your best with a functional frame for a single speed/fixed, look at pompino's and roadrats with some cheap bomb proof track wheels. Then get bargain basement shopping from chain reaction/ebay for all the stem, crank etc also empty your spares bucket from other bike builds.

Commuting into central London you need mud guards (proper ones), over time the crap on the roads will eat your Caad so the less mechanic parts the better and 28mm tires, also get a good 80 inch + gear on the bike, it will sort your leg strength and sprinting ability out no end.

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by MajorMantra

Pompino was going to be my suggestion too, or any decent fixed that will take full (not Crud) guards. Don't buy a silly faux track bike though, and don't buy a real track bike either as they don't take guards (or a brake) in some cases.

£500 is on the high side if you're planning to lock it up outside in London. If you haven't already got them, I'd spend some of it on a couple of decent locks. See LFGSS for recommendations.

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by iamalex

If you plan to regularly lock it up outside then I wouldn't pay more than I could stomach losing through theft. Our office in Borough Market has a shuttered private car park with security cameras and still bikes were regularly cut free from railings. In the end the building banned them from the car park - mine stays in the office now. Over the last few years I've had three incidents where people have tried to steal my bike off of me while I'm on it.

For my London commute I bought a garish-green secondhand Genesis Flyer for £180 in good nick. Add in some Rubinio Pro tyres (Averaging one puncture per year) a Kryptonite lock, crud guards & lights and you're good to go. Perhaps cheaply swap out stem/bars to get a good fit (Brixton cycles gave me new bars, stem, brakes and cables for £15!). My daily commute is only 8miles or so but can happily do 20 when needed. No problems with one gear - haven't been beaten by a London hill yet. I ride with a freewheel and brakes. It's a great fun bike even if pretty heavy.

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by Brandonnie

i would say just get a fixed gear bike and push a monster gear!!! haha go brake less and thieves would have a hard time riding away with it!

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by SSB

I use a Kona Jake for commuting, I picked it up NOS for less than the equivalent of 500 GBP some time ago. The major road I use to commute is rather hilly, so I can't use a fixed gear unless I want to bust my knees. I run it with a set of cyclocross tires, since I often encounter gravel and cracked roads in Toronto. I also run it with a pannier rack and mudguards, since I don't want to get my suit dirty on the way to work. It's a setup that is good enough to ride leisurely after work without having to go home and change bikes.

As for locks, I wouldn't spend too much on them. Not too long ago, a news agency here showed how easy it is to cut one of those expensive Kryptonite locks off without anyone (including Security) outside a busy university library noticing anything wrong. At the ground level of my office tower, the bike couriers in the financial district congregate there all day long and I always give them goodies to watch out for my bike. It's worked since May at least.

I've seen a courier here use a CAAD10 Ultegra all year round, and it seems to do the job well even during winter with all the salt and snow.
2012 Cannondale CAAD10

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by MajorMantra

The logic of having tough locks is partly that it's an arms race. If a thief is confronted with two similar bikes, one with a cheap or weak lock, and one with two big eff-off D locks, which one do you think he'll steal?

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by timzcat

Get a lock and a quick release seatpost clamp. Lock the bike and take the saddle and post. Now the theif has to walk or run with the bike or be a good rider. :thumbup:

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by digitalnorbs

give it to me=)

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