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.
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- Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:32 pm
- Location: Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California
....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.
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.
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.
£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.
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.
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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