Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

Advice Please -- Can you suggest a good low maintenance commuter bike?

I have one of these: http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/mountain-bikes/product...

It has served me well as a low-maintenance bike for my short, flat commute (6 miles, largely along a tow path) and pootling about with the kids at weekends.

But, it is getting a bit worn and I want to have a spare.  So, I am looking for a new bike.

I want:

(i) hub gears.

(ii) straight bars,

(iii) low maintenance, and

(iv) a 'clean' look.

Since I am looking for an all year round low-maintenance commuter, the set up I want will include:

- a dynamo hub and good LED lights, ideally with a well designed front lens (to avoid blinding other road users) and a stand-light;

- a rack,

- puncture resistant tyres (such as Schwalbe Marathon Plus)

- full mudguards.

Nice to haves include:

- Gates belt drive:  like what I hear about low-maintenance and lack of rattle, but worry about reliability and/or unplanned obsolescence;

- disc brakes: I like the idea of good wet-weather braking but I am not sure the extra complication is worth it; and

- a matt black finish.

Options

I have looked at:

(i) The Cube Hyde Race (£899.00)

https://www.evanscycles.com/cube-hyde-race-2017-hybrid-bike-EV287866

Verdict -- A great looking bike.  But I would need to add mudguards and lights.

Weight: 12.3 kg

(As against 12.43 for the Courier Nexus)

(ii) Kalkhoff Durban 7 2017 Men's (£499.00)

https://www.edinburghbicycle.com/kalkhoff-durban-7-17-mens.html

Weight: ??? kg [not known]

Verdict -- This looks like a great option.  The front runner.  Just edging clear of the Cube.

(iii) Kalkhoff Endeavour 8 2017 Men's (£859)

https://www.edinburghbicycle.com/kalkhoff-endeavour-8-2017-mens.html

Also great looking.

Verdict - unsure: does the spec justify the price hike from the Durban?

(iv) Thorn Mercury, Matt Black (£2,000 +)

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/bikes/thorn-mercury-520l-matt-black-ex-...

Verdict -- A fine spec, but seriously pricey.  Would I ever use its potential?  I certainly wouldn't leave it locked to a lamp post ... and that's a problem.

(v) Marin Fairfax SC2 IG (£950)

https://www.edinburghbicycle.com/marin-fairfax-sc4-belt-17.html

Verdict -- too ugly.  (You can't account for taste.)


(vi) Genesis Day One 2017 (£799)

https://www.edinburghbicycle.com/genesis-day-one-20-2017.html

Verdict -- great looking.  But I want flat bars.
-

(vii) Cannondale Bad Boy 1 2017

https://www.edinburghbicycle.com/cannondale-bad-boy-1-2017.html

Verdict -- I don't like the look of that lefty fork..

Any thoughts?

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My front rims last years and 1000s of miles with rim brakes. My first SON bearings wore out before the rim. Rear rims do wear out much more quickly especially in the winter. Never worried about aluminium rims steel ones were awful. Pothole damage usually matter of wrong tyres or wrong pressure (and not looking out for potholes of course). However if `i was speccing a new utility or winter club run bike now I'd go for discs and have a hub dynamo on the utility. Good though it is I do find the hub dynamo drags a bit on my tourer/winter bike. But it is great if night riding is your thing.

My last front wheel didn't last too long, the rim having worn down to the safety line in about three or four years.   The one it replaced lasted for ages and ages, but then I spotted some crosswise cracks of unknown cause and swiftly retired it.   I've yet to wear out a rear wheel rim; I retired my last rear wheel because the bearing was worn and corroded.   Needless to say the random replacement intervals mean different wheel designs, which would make swapping rims problematic.   I guess one just needs to be a bit more organised than I am.

Obviously I try to avoid potholes, but that's getting harder and harder (one does need to devote some time to observing vehicle movements :)), and many roads now are in an appalling state, with wall-to-wall defects.   The W&B towpath also has a rough surface, which is noticeably worse than when it was first laid.   The constant rough ride has certainly caused problems with my lock mount, which is due for re-engineering again.

Robert,

I've just rediscovered this thread - and I owe you thanks.

I ended up buying a Simplicity from Chris in Cambridge.  It took a while to find a chance to get to Cambridge (work, family ...) but when I did Chris was a joy to deal with - and I am loving the bike.

The shiny Brooks bits aren't my thing - and I have some more practical Ergon grips on the way - but the build quality seems excellent.  My commute is a lot more fun and I am tempted by longer rides ...  

Thanks again,

Shivaji


Robert Jones said:

You could look at the upcoming 2018 Marin Fairfax SC6 DLX.

look here

Has literally everything you want.

We will be stocking Marin for the 2018 season, so bikes will start coming in soon

Thanks Jon - that does look interesting.

But I have bought a bike and I think my N + 1 will be a different type of bike.  (Perhaps a tandem... )

A quick search also suggests that the Marin is about twice my budget.

Cheers,

Shivaji

And you said the Marin was ugly at the start of this thread. :-)

I think it looks fine though.

Shivaji Shiva said:

Thanks Jon - that does look interesting.

But I have bought a bike and I think my N + 1 will be a different type of bike.  (Perhaps a tandem... )

A quick search also suggests that the Marin is about twice my budget.

Cheers,

Shivaji

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