Categories
Bikes Buying Guide Road Bikes

A Handy Guide to the Different Types of Road Bikes

With the huge focus on cycling in the past few years, and more and more people getting into the sport it can be confusing to navigate the various buzzwords that come with the sport. What’s the difference between a cyclocross and a performance road bike?  Who knew there was more than one type of road bike?! Which bikes are better for commuting, hybrid or a road? Don’t worry we have put together this handy guide to help you pick and choose the right one. So if you want to know your TT bikes from your touring bikes grab a pen and some paper and let’s get to it!

Performance Road Bikes

First up, the performance road bikes, these bikes are generally very sleek and made to be as light as possible. These fellas are made to go fast and get that one up on your opponent.  The performance road bike frames can be made from the usual bike materials: aluminium, and steel, each giving a different feel for the rider. Whilst the upper echelons of high-end performance bikes will be made from carbon fibre, which reduces the weight of the bike considerably. Stiff frames are common, giving responsive handling that will give you the edge on other riders. Cutting through the air is the name of the game and the position of the rider is an important aspect. With these bikes, the lower front end puts the rider in an aerodynamic position, allowing a faster, smoother ride. If you expect to find yourself competing, get yourself on one of these and get over that finish line.700 M CAAD Optimo Disc Tiagra

What we recommend under £1000: Cannondale CAAD Optimo Disc Tiagra – 2017 Road Bike – £949.99 Replacing the old CAAD8, the CAAD Optimo has the same geometry as the more expensive CAAD12, but is made from a lower grade aluminium. Not to put you off, though, this bike has got it where it counts (look at those disc brakes)!

Sportive Bikes

If you want a more relaxed version of a road racer, we have the sportive road bikes. Designed for long distance riding, they accommodate slightly wider tyres, which give far more grip and comfort. Sportive bike frames have been built with more vertical compliance, allowing for a more comfortable ride over extreme terrain such as the world famous Paris-Roubaix. Slightly heavier than a road racer, this bike has it where it counts, with lower gearing helping the rider get up those big hills. If you want to push yourself to go further than before, sportive bikes are the one for you. They are your stead for your endurance rides.cannondale-synapse-disc-tiagra-2017-road-bike

What we recommend under £1000: Cannondale Synapse Disc Tiagra – 2017 Road Bike – £  The Synapse Disc Tiagra is built for versatility, combining a sturdy and lightweight frame allowing you to push yourself up those climbs and take it easy on the descents. This is a perfect entry level road bike.

Cyclocross Bikes

Cyclo-cross bikes are the tougher, muddier cousin of the road racer. Cyclo-cross is mostly a winter discipline, with riders having to tackle an off-road course, getting extremely muddy and a touch of hurdles. Due to the obstacles on the course, dismounting and carrying their bike over with a quick remount is a common feature of the winter races. With this in mind, the more frequent frame materials are aluminium and carbon, offering a lightweight bike to pick up whilst leaping over a stray fallen log. Cyclo-cross bikes that are used for the race circuits tend to be slightly higher off the ground than road racers, this gives them great mud clearance! These bikes are probably the best if you want to feel that crisp winter air, don’t mind getting a bit dirty and especially if you like jumping over things in your path.
ridley-x-bow-20-disc-2016-cyclocross-bike

What we recommend under £1000: Ridley X-Bow 20 Disc – 2016 Cyclocross Bike – £649.99 The main workhorse of the Ridley fleet, the X-Bow is ideal for the introduction to Cyclo-cross. Though also a great one for commuting!

Touring Bikes

The Bear Grylls of the road bikes, the Touring bike is made for the great outdoor adventure. Pack up everything (including the kitchen sink) and leave your daily commute behind. Touring frames are built to last, with wider gaps between tubes allowing for maximum luggage space. With rear racks, mudguards and all sorts of saddlebags, the tyres of a Touring bike are designed to carry all that weight and more! The frame material for touring bikes, generally are made of steel which is easily repairable no matter where you are in the world! Disc brakes are becoming more common, which gives you a fair bit of control in all sorts of weather you will be encountering. This is the bike you take to ride from Barrow, Alaska to Rio Grande, Argentina!ridgeback-voyage-2016-road-bikeWhat we recommend under £1000: Ridgeback Voyage – 2016 Road Bike – £799.99  This bike is built to carry everything. With a classic look, full-length mudguards and a fitter pannier rack this bike will carry you all the way to Timbuktu.

TT – Time Trial/Triathlon

If you want a bike that is faster than a Lamborghini and is pushing on the speed of light, then you’ll probably have to keep looking. If you’re looking for a bike built to go as fast as possible with the most aerodynamic design, then a TT bike is for you! The majority of these bad boys are made from carbon, leaving no space for anything to weigh them down. All brake and gear cables are routed through the tubes themselves, taking away anything that is going to slow it down. The rider sits low and extended over the bike, with aero bars extending out the front for cutting through the wind. Rounding off the set up is carbon fibre rims, slicing through the air with very little resistance and using up less energy. One to pick up if you’re thinking of breaking some land speed records.cube-aerium-hpa-pro-2016-tt-bike

What we recommend just over £1000: Cube Aerium HPA Pro – 2016 TT Bike – £1199.20 Now I know this is over £1000, but really the lower end of the TT bikes generally don’t go below a grand. The Cube Aerium is built for speed, and if you have the need for speed then this is a good place to start! It combines a lightweight frame with an aerodynamic design to cut through the air and push you faster and faster.

Hybrid Bikes

Not technically a road bike and not technically a mountain bike either. Hybrid bikes are the Frankenstein monster of cycling world, taking the best bits from the road (the large/light frames and the 700c wheels) and mountain (the flat handlebars and the disc brakes) disciplines and combining them into a smooth, fast commuter’s dream. The frames, mostly made from aluminium, allow a good combination of strength and the advantage of being lightweight (useful for carrying all your work essentials). These are no nonsense bikes; not something you’ll be using in the Tour De France with, but getting you to and from work. The rider sits more upright on a hybrid, with comfort and more importantly safety within traffic in mind.charge-grater-3-2016-road-bike

What we recommend under £1000: Charge Grater 3 – 2016 Hybrid Bike – £679.99 Simple gearing, full length mudguards, and an aluminium frame, the Charge Grater is one of the perfect commuting bikes. Nothing complicated, just get on and ride!

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide Electric Bikes Hybrid Bikes Mountain Bikes Road Bikes

Best Bikes Under £500

If you’re looking to buy a new bike for under £500 there are plenty of bargains to be had. It’s also the time of year when brands such as Specialized and Cannondale start to reduce this year’s models as they release details of their new ranges for 2018. Specialized for instance are offering up to 33% off selected models, some of which feature here.

What you should expect from a £500 bike

If you’re looking for the best bike you can buy for £500 there are a couple of things you should consider spec wise. Firstly for that kind of money you should expect it to have a good quality, durable aluminium or frame. The Specialized Rockhopper Sport for example has an A1 Premium Aluminium frame. This means is going to be fairly light and able to handle a few knocks and bumps.

specialized-al-aluminum-frame

At the £500 mark, you should also be expecting disc brakes as opposed to conventional V-Brakes. V-brakes still feature on cheaper bikes around the £250 mark so aren’t completely extinct. Disc Brakes however perform so much better, especially in poor weather conditions when it’s rainy and muddy. They also stop you faster and give you more control over your braking so it’s no surprise manufacturers are using these more and more.

Most mountain bikes these days come with suspension forks at the front of the bike to provide a bit of cushioning on bumpier sections of road or trail. It’s important to remember that not all suspension forks are equal. They range from basic to high performance. At the £500 mark, you would expect a functional suspension fork with around 75 – 100mm of travel and if you’re lucky a lock-out mode. Travel refers to how much the forks move up and down to absorb the shock of the bumps in the road. A lock-out feature gives the rider the ability to turn the suspension off. Turning off the suspension is particularly useful on steep climbs and flat sections of a smooth road.

Specialized Sirrus

Specialized Sirrus 2017 Hybrid Bike

Looking to get into shape this summer? Then look no further than the Specialized Sirrus. This hybrid bike is the perfect option for people who want to get out and explore, and keep fit at the same time. The no nonsense approach to design means this bike will give you everything you need, but nothing that you don’t!

With reliable components, and a premium, lightweight A1 frame, you’ll be riding for years to come. And don’t worry about long days in the saddle; with comfortable body geometry components that take the sting out of riding, you’ll be able to push yourself to the limit every time.

Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Dirt curious and looking to find your legs on the trails? Then the Specialized Rockhopper Sport is the bike to live out your mountain biking fantasies. This entry level mountain bike places focus on the long haul performance, and is built to last; with components selected  for their strength and durability, and corrosion resistant hardware, you’ll be able to tackle whatever the trails throw in your direction.

With a lightweight, A1 Premium frame and geometry that’s guaranteed to make you feel planted, confident and efficient out on the dirt, you’ll be climbing the trails and making light work of the descents every time.

Specialized Alibi Sport

Specialized Alibi Sport

Who has the time to be pumping this, and fixing that? No one! That’s why you need the Specialized Alibi Sport in your life. Ready to roll whenever you are, this hybrid bike removes any need for dirty maintenance, thanks to it’s anti rust chain and puncture proof, airless tires that will never go flat, and never need pumping!

With it’s premium A1 frame and body geometry grips and saddle designed specifically for women, not only does the Alibi provide a comfy ride, but also offers a wide range of gears, to help you conquer any hill that stands in your path.

Cannondale Trail 5

Cannondale Trail 5

Ready to fall in love with mountain biking? Then the Cannondale Trail 5 is here to take you on your new journey. After 30 year’s worth of designing bikes for the world’s top racers, Cannondale have learnt a thing or two, and have packed this bike with technology and features that offer fast, confident fun for every ride.

Specialized Pitch 650B

Specialized Pitch Mountain Bike

One of this year’s best sellers, the Specialized Pitch is the bike you need if you want to get off the road, and onto some trails. Equally part-performance driven, the Pitch was created with a light, aluminum frame and quality components; hand selected for their long term strength and capability.

Cannondale Quick Althea 2

Cannondale Quick Althea 2 Hybrid Bike

Ready to explore? The Cannondale Quick Althea 2 is waiting to bring out your adventurous side. Whether you’re looking for a bike to get you from A to B for your daily commute, or you’re looking for something to take on some dirt-road exploration, this hybrid bike is your perfect match in all things adventure.

Scott Aspect 750

Scott Aspect 750 Mountain Bike

Designed to be light, efficient and not too harsh on you wallet, the Scott Aspect 750 is a firm favourite for a reason. Featuring a nifty fork lockout mechanism, disc brakes and Syncros components, mountain bikes perfect for novice riders don’t get much better than this.

 

Specialized Vita

Specialized Vita 2017 Hybrid Bike

The Specialized Vita is your perfect partner in all things fitness. With this hybrid bike, you don’t have to worry about emptying every last pound in your pocket to get out, have a great ride, and stay in shape; the Vita offers a fantastic value bike that will enable you to ride with maximum efficiency, whilst making sure you stay comfortable in the saddle.

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide Electric Bikes Hybrid Bikes Mountain Bikes Road Bikes

Buyers Guide to 2016 Cube Bikes

Cube Bikes once wore the mantle of the young up and coming German Bike brand but they are now fairly ubiquitous in the UK bicycle market.

If you were going to ask what kind of bikes do cube make then it would be much easier to tell you the kinds of bikes that they don’t. They were originally known for their mountain bikes but now they make everything from road bikes and mountain bikes to kids bikes and electric bikes.

They are without a doubt one of the best selling brands that we stock and that is because for accessible, robust and inexpensive bikes a Cube is pretty hard to beat.

Who are Cube?

Cube bikes was founded in 1993 in the corner of a furniture factory in Waldershof in Germany. At that point they had only 50 square metres of space. Now over 20 years later their production floor covers over 20,000 square metres and they export all over Europe and Asia.

What kind of bikes do Cube make?

At the time of writing this guide we stock over 243 different models of bicycle from Cube including;

Our best sellers however are the…

Cube Stereo 140 HPA Race 27

The Cube Stereo 140 HPA Race is a true all-rounder with it’s perfectly balanced suspension, 27.5 inch wheels and the new Shimano XT 2×11 groupset.
Cube Stereo 140 HPA Race 27 - 2016 Mountain Bike

Cube LTD Race 2X Black 29

The Cube L TD Race 2X Black 29 has one of the best aluminium frames ever developed Cube and feels as good on the trail as it does on the race course. The bike comes fully equipped with a Shimano XT 2 x 11 transmission, air sprung front suspension fork and hydraulic disc brakes – plus the bike looks really stealthy.
Cube LTD Race 2X Black 29

Cube Attention SL Kiwi & Black 29

The Cube Attention SL Kiwi & Black 29 is a well-balanced, sporty hardtail with a comfortable and efficient ride position, a high quality 30 gear transmission and a Rock Shox air sprung suspension fork.
Cube Attention SL Kiwi & Black 29

Cube Attain Race

The Cube Attain Race brings a little of the racing spirit to longer rides, after-work blasts with your training buddies or regular training sessions.
Cube Attain Race

Cube Cross Hybrid Pro 400

The perfect entry level e-bike, ideal for cyclists who are looking for a faster and easier commute to work or gentle rides in the Forest or Countryside. The Cube Cross Pro 400 is incredible value for money and makes e-bikes more accessible.
Cube Cross Hybrid Pro 400

How much will it cost for a Cube bike?

Cube make bikes all across the price ranges and to be honest with you for every price range that you have we can find a great Cube bike to suit.

Best Cube bikes under £500

Best Cube bikes £500 – £1000

Best Cube Bikes £1000 – £2000

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide Road Bikes

Road Bikes Explained

Road bikes come in many different shapes, sizes and specifications. Some road bikes are more orientated for racing whilst others are designed for cycling longer distances. You can also get road bikes that are designed for your daily commute. Manufacturers usually offer a range of road bikes starting with entry models that progress all the way up to performance specifications used by professional riders who race for a living.

No matter what type of road bike you choose, they will have all been designed with tarmac in mind. That means they will be equipped with fast rolling 700c wheels with thin tyres and probably classic drop handlebars. Generally speaking, a road bike is made up of the following parts:

  • Frame
  • Fork
  • Wheels
  • Groupset
  • Brakes
  • Finishing Kit

Frame Types

The bike frame is often the biggest difference between bikes. Frames can be made from a whole host of different materials including steel, aluminium, titanium and carbon. The material used to build the frame will affect how the bike feels to ride, it’s durability and how heavy the final bike is.

Carbon
Carbon fibre is a really stiff and super lightweight. Generally this material is used to make high performance bike frames.

Aluminium
Aluminium is the most common material used to make road bike frames because it’s fairly lightweight, strong and much cheaper to use than carbon fibre

Steel
Legendary frame building material. Some riders believe that steel offer a slightly more subtle ride feel compared to aluminium but is slightly heavier.

Titanium
Highly sought after material, only used on boutique / high end frames. It’s super strong but also very lightweight.

Forks Explained

Forks for road bikes will be designed in tandem with the frames geometry. Forks can be a mixture of different materials from full carbon, carbon forks with aluminium steerer, aluminium forks with carbon dropouts or they will have built in shock absorbers to minimise the impact from the road conditions.

Aluminium forks are the cheapest to make and are the most common material in entry level bikes and are often seen on the sportive bikes thanks to the lightweight attributes of aluminium. Aluminium forks can also be bonded with carbon dropouts to make the overall weight of the forks lighter than the full aluminium version. The steerer for aluminium will forks is exclusively made of aluminium to keep the forks lightweight.

Carbon is used in forks to reduce the weight further and to introduce a stiffer feel and response. More rigid than aluminium, carbon forks are found in the higher end road bikes and bikes of race specification. The stiffer forks will increase the feel from the wheels and ultimately the feel from the road. Carbon forks can have built in shock absorbers or deflectors and in the high end bikes the carbon will be weaved in such a way that it soaks up the bumps without any inserts or defining features being altered.

The addition of deflection technology is becoming more common especially in gravel and sportive bikes. The deflecting inserts or ‘Zertz’ which Specialized use is a simple rubber deflecting pad which is built into the fork and on the rear of the frame. Bianchi use very clever technology in the production of the forks and frames which absorbs the shocks of the road whilst still remaining stiff and the lightweight.

Disc brakes options are readily available in both aluminium and carbon. On entry level bikes the forks will have built in mudguard and rack mounts.

Do Bike Wheels Make A Difference

The wheels make a massive difference to the feel and handling of any bike. As with groupset the variations are quite large. Some wheels are Aluminium rimmed and others are Carbon rimmed. The spokes can also be either aluminium or carbon.

For real speed the wheels can be deep section or more standard looking with the TT or Track style wheels which can be either Disc or 3 – 5 spokes.

The wheels which come with a bike are generally ideal for the bike but upgrading wheels is considered to be the first option to improve the bike.

Groupsets Explained

The term groupset is the collective term for all the gears, levers, brakes and chainsets. Road bikes will have groupsets from 3 main components manufactures: Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo.

Brakes

Road bike generally have calliper brakes, but with the introduction of disc brakes has thrown a different aspect into the mix. Calliper brakes offer better aerodynamic qualities than the disc brakes alternative, but disc brakes offer better stopping power and are less affected by the bad weather and the muck off the road. Calliper brakes are cable operated and disc brakes are either cable or hydraulic operated. Hydraulic systems are better than the cable operated system in both feel and performance.

Finishing Kits

A finishing kit is the collective term for the handlebars, stem and seatpost. Manufacturers are working to make their products the best, whether it is the most aero or the most comfortable.

Handlebars come in different widths, reach, drop height and overall dimension. There is a handlebar to suit every rider. Some handlebars will be more compact than others, whereas others will be more comfortable and will be ergonomically designed to remain comfortable.

Stems are available in different lengths and angles to suit any rider and can be made of either aluminium or carbon.

Seatposts can be made aluminium or carbon and can come with different saddle mounting angles. These can be offset by a couple of degrees, layback or have no offset. Offsetting the seatpost is where the saddle does not sit directly above the seatpost. Layback is where the mounting has been moved towards the rear of the bike and no offset is where the saddle is mounting directly above the seatpost. Impact and deflection solutions are available in seatposts but are found towards the higher end.