After a bit of research, I decided to build a road bike in order to commute. I'm not looking into buying one since I don't find it that interesting and personal. What used bike and parts should I buy on a £400 budget?
I can't give product recommendations as those are off topic here.
On a tight budget you should consider buying a complete bike. Building a bike up from components is generally more expensive than buying a complete bike. You can always think about upgrades at a later time to make it more personal.
That said, I understand the idea of building up a bike yourself. If you really want to go that way find the best sources of used components in your area. Where I live EBay, Craigslist, and the local Facebook marketplace are the best sources.
Make sure you understand potential compatibility issues, especially if you are looking at older frames.
Don't forget to factor in the cost of any special tools you will need.
What used bike and parts should I buy on a £400 budget?
With the information provided we can't tell what kind of commuter bike you are looking for.
Get a clear idea of what you want in a bike. Then your budget and what's available will narrow your selection. Test rides will narrow your search further.
What do you want in a bike?
What riding position do you want? There is a range of riding positions ranging from:
Full upright <--------------->Full tuck
What kind of handling do you want?
Bike frames are designed so that they fall into a scale ranging from:
Highly Maneuverable/Rough Ride <-----------------> Less Maneuverable / Smooth Ride
- What tire size (particularly width) do you want?
Some commuters use a range of tire types from slick mountain bike tires(of various widths) to 25c. If your commute includes pretty beat up road wider tires are better. If you have smooth roads go with narrower tires.
These are a few of the key factors you must have in mind to know what kind of commuter bike you need. A lot of what you need to know can be determined by test rides. Your local bike shop should be willing to let you test ride some bikes and talk about your needs.
I'm not looking into buying one since I don't find it that interesting and personal.
There is nothing more personal than:
- Researching the correct bike for your situation.
- Test riding bikes at the local bike shop to verify your research
- finding a good used bike that meets your criteria
- Tearing the bike down completely to clean and lubricate and then re-assemble
- Put in many miles of saddle time and determine what you would like your bike to do better.
- Change the components you've identified and verify the change with more saddle time.
For commuting, I highly recommend considering the following parts:
puncture proof tires. This goes somewhat against the road bike philosophy, but punctures make you very slow.
Since you quote in £ fenders are probably included in your list.
- Think about internal gear hub vs. derailleur gears, and if you decide for an internal gear hub, a chain case (which make the bike much lower maintenance)
- If you want to go clipless, decide whether you want to use pedals that have a side for "normal" shoes. If you'll commute also with "nice" shoes, think (test) how the pedals are with them (bear's paw -> not so nice soles?)
It that commute basically only to transport you or will you also want to do e.g. your grocery shopping with the bike -> strong back and possibly front racks.
With front racks, you may want to consider maneuverability: a bike that is easy and steady without front racks will typically need "work" to steer when the front is packed. A bike that does fine with packed front usually behaves somewhat "nervous" without that load.
Possibly no need to get expensive racks right now, but if you consider that you may want to get them in future, you can check whether the bike you get now is compatible with that.
Depending on where you leave the bike: a used bike that doesn't look fancy may help keeping it...