I went downstairs earlier to get ready for an afternoon ride on the cheap bike I picked up a few months ago as I wasn't certain if I would keep the cycling up and found to my dismay that, once again, the rear wheel had come loose on the bearing and was wobbling back and forth.
I've been thinking about replacing it since I have kept up the cycling successfully but there's too much information out there for me to make sense of and certain concerns that I don't know how to quantify; but first, I'll put what I'm after.
- £1000 budget
- Road type split: 90% tarmac, 7% gravel cycle path, 3% horrible rutted gravel road
- Commuting 15k each way
- Would be used for occasional long distance cycle rides (Think London to Amsterdam style challenges)
- Rugged/Low maintenance
- 24 speeds preferred (If this is just me being too used to MTBs from my childhood, please let me know)
- Drop bars preferred
- Proper gear shifters that click into place instead of moving a lever and hoping preferred
- Sized for 6'0", 33" inside leg
- Capable of carrying a fat sod who weighs ~100kg (for now)
Normally, I would consider just replacing the wheels with higher quality ones but I think that the bike I have is a size smaller than it should be as I have to have the seat at its maximum height, my legs still aren't fully straight at the lowest point of the pedal and the handlebars won't come high enough for me to take advantage of the drops. On top of that, I prefer airless tyres as I've historically had terrible luck when it came to punctures and am crap at fixing them.
My concerns stem from various throwaway comments such as the review here under disadvantages where the reviewer raises concerns about nuts and bolts falling off. More experienced riders than myself have commented that airless tyres feel like 115-125psi which can only exacerbate the problem. As you can probably tell from the "crap at fixing punctures comment" earlier, I'm not a confident tinkerer - while I know where most of the important bits fit together, that's mainly on a theoretical level and getting out allen keys/spanners is something I view with dread.
After all that context, my specific questions are below:
- Does anything spring to mind that fits the above requirements like a glove?
- Failing that, does anything spring to mind that fits all but one of the above requirements?
- If neither of the above, what should I look for to ensure that the bike is going to fall apart the minimal amount?
- Is there such a thing as a bike made from disparate components, where components are all purchased separately like if you were building your own PC?
- On a slightly different note, as a large chain of stores, is Halfords trustworthy or the PC world of cycling? - I have a LBS near me but their opening hours are almost entirely the same as the hours I work making life a bit tricky.
And once I own said new bike
- Does cycling on horrible rutted gravel roads or even smooth gravel cycle paths harm road bikes considerably?
Bike weight doesn't bother me that much currently - I'd rather something be overbuilt than constantly be worrying about it.
Finally, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if my requirements list is incompatible with the budget. Thanks all,