Here’s What Happens When You Buy a Cheap Bike

A few days ago, the designer of the London Cyclist app tapped in to my vast cycling knowledge and asked me whether he should buy this £137.90 bike:

Cyclone bike

I shrugged and muttered “Looks alright”.

My intuition told me he was probably looking for something a little more significant than that.

So I got in touch with my favourite bike shop, Lunar Cycles and asked the owner to take a look at the spec. Here’s what he had to say:

“Looking at the hybrids they do they seem to be really pretty shoddy, the equivalent to a £99 Tesco’s bike. The components are mostly steel so the bike will weigh a tonne, even though he will be doing only short distances I would still say this bike is really pretty sub standard and will rapidly end up costing him loads in repairs, I would strongly recommend he gets something like a trek/specialized/giant etc so in other words a branded bike.”

In other words “avoid, avoid, avoid.”

I can picture him spitting out his coffee upon glancing at the specifications.

I passed on the advice to the designer and thought, that’s the end of that.

A few weeks later, I get a Skype message from the designer.

You can tell what’s coming…

It turns out, he bought the bike and the front derailleur had already broken.

The derailleur is the SHIMANO TX51 which costs £8.79. I was starting to see why things went wrong.

For a start, you can buy the Shimano TX51 wholesale for as little as £0.49.

I wouldn’t want a derailleur on my bike that costs £0.49 to make.

It’s only a matter of time before more components will need replacing.

Buy cheap, buy twice.

How to assess the value of a cheap bike

The temptation will always be there to grab a bargain. If you are looking to assess a cheap bike, try copy and pasting some of the components that are listed in to Google and seeing what their value is to buy. If you find that they are the bottom of the range components, you’ll end up with a bike you’ll hate, that will cost far more to fix.

I ended up advising the designer not to buy another Shimano TX51, but instead to spend slightly more and get a Shimano Fr Derr M410 Alivio. It costs just £5 more but will serve much better over time.

The solution

Buy second hand. You’ll get a way better bike for your money and your local bike shop will be able to fix any small issues.

What readers had to say about cheap bikes

I asked on our Facebook whether readers had any horror stories. Here are a couple:

  • I bought one of those warehouse clearance bikes for a really silly price. from a newspaper a few years ago for my son. Within weeks it fell apart and the front wheel came off while he was riding it! Luckily he wasn’t hurt but lessons learnt. It’s not worth it.
  • Before getting into cycling properly and not having a clue about bikes I brought a bike from Tesco Direct! Bad move it was rubbish so took it back, I then did some research and brought a decent bike (Giant Roam XR2 Hybrid) love it, it’s so worth investing in a decent bike!

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62 Responses to Here’s What Happens When You Buy a Cheap Bike

  1. The Ranty Highwayman 02/10/2013 at 9:08 pm #

    January sales are best. My trusty Carerra Subway was half price as end of season, lives in the front garden and as long as I clean it every so often and lubricate chain, it runs fine. Even did London to Brighton last year!

    • Kepi192 04/10/2013 at 10:37 pm #

      Agree with The Ranty Highwayman, only had my Carerra Subway around 5 months and no real issues. I’ve replaced the grips, saddle and peddles (for SPD’s) purely through personal preference. When I bought it, wasn’t too sure if I could handle anything more sporty – due to health issues – beginning to think maybe should have invested a little more in a higher spec bike, i.e. a few more gears / tad lighter etc. However, have spoken to a few people who know their way around a bike – GoSkyRide leaders etc. and all comment that yes you’re not going to win the Tour de France but it is not a bad little bike for commuting / general leisure riding. Maybe in another year or so, when I am a bit fitter/ stronger (although the health issues – breathing difficulties- will not massively improve) I might upgrade a bit but for now and the foreseeable future my little Subbie is doing the job and as its Red it naturally goes faster!!

    • jim 10/12/2013 at 2:52 pm #

      halfords 1/2 price there always 1/2 price because they are there own bikes,please support a local cycle shop,not a r*p off PLCs that only want mega profit for there share holders.

    • mike531 11/02/2015 at 3:04 pm #

      Its way better to buy second hand bike especialy old from 70s or 80s as in this period biked were build to.last nowadays they build to put money in them every lenght of time as components are made to wear..where back in a days oned were if maintained lasting forever

    • Danny 15/03/2016 at 7:16 pm #

      I have an Apollo Evade mountain bike that I bought 18 months ago from my local Halfords store. Initially it did have a problem with the back wheel kept coming loose. But after fierce negotiation they (halfords) replaced it with an aluminium crank cassette and rim. I have added a few modifications including schwalbe city jet tyres. So now I have a faster new and improved mountain bike that rides almost like a hybrid. yes its still abit heavy 14kg but so much more responsive and durable in all weathers. i’ve given it a thorough test Clapton to Richmond a distance of 15 miles in approx 1 10 mins!!

  2. Kellyman17 02/10/2013 at 9:59 pm #

    I got a Giant Roam 3 2012 model very late in the year when the 2013 range had been released, and managed to get about £100 off and some accessories just cos The XL frame was produced in high numbers and didnt sell as high as L and M frames and he needed space for the new ones.

  3. Kirses 03/10/2013 at 7:35 am #

    I have a french road bike I bought second hand 3 years ago, it’s around 30 years old and still going strong. Second hand bikes are fab, but do some research before you buy.

    • Bob Davidson 04/10/2013 at 12:38 pm #

      For personal use -absolutely right.. Pre Tom Simpson days I bought a second hand

      bike for £5. It had 5 gears. Cycled with it from Newcastle to Inverness,down to Glen

      Coe and return home- a great ride on a lovely bike. Had a lot of great rides with this


      Also met a a guy who cycled from London to Copenhagen in December on a £12 bike

      he bought off E Bay. Everything worked as it should have done.

      Take a friend/colleague to check bike if unsure. Bonne route!

      • Mark Lumbers 17/04/2017 at 6:34 pm #

        Ive.jist bought.a muddy fox second hand bit brand new and the disc brakes dont seem right!

    • Wicked Uncle Keith 26/08/2014 at 5:20 pm #

      My 1984 Peugeot, All Campy-equipped Mont Cenis is the best bike I’ve ever owned. Addition of a 35 year old Brooks B-66 saddle and 28cm tyres,… and it’s Nirvana. I’d ride it anywhere!

  4. Emily 03/10/2013 at 9:09 am #

    Also, the Ride to Work scheme is great – you can get a brand new bike for almost half the price!

  5. London Bus Chaser 03/10/2013 at 9:14 am #

    Buy a second hand bike and it is most likely stolen.

  6. Peter Cowan 03/10/2013 at 9:18 am #

    I would always buy second-hand if looking for a bargain, but if you have limited knowledge you would still have difficulty in knowing what’s a good bike.

    I would suggest doing some groundwork on t’interweb thingy, set a decent, but fairly broad spec. and then try to find the cheapest bike from a reliable source. A local cycle shop will often have good second-hand stock and, if any good, an interest in keeping you as a customer.

  7. Stu 03/10/2013 at 9:22 am #

    This is a shame if you can’t afford a new expensive bike. Is cycling only for the affluent now?

    • mmm 03/10/2013 at 11:05 am #

      Well, you don’t have to buy expensive and second hand is best. Most importantly, why not think of your budget in terms of what you actually pay right now for travel using other means of transport. In London the monthly cost of commuting to work for me would be around £130, so I thought of my bike-buying budget as the equivalent of 2-3 months’ transport costs. After you start using your bike, you will see that it pays back – if nothing else because the only “petrol” it uses is what you eat. Now, if you think this is about affluency…. spending money on food that is turned into reserve energy in your body, which is then piled up and never comes off, well – that’s affluency!!!!

      • Andreas 03/10/2013 at 1:16 pm #

        Certainly not the point I’m making here. The comment above is an excellent response. I’d also add that if you buy a £150 bike, expect to pay another load of money on repairs for cheap components. You are better off either buying second hand (£200 will get you a good second hand bike) or saving for a little longer and buying something better. Remember, a bike will save you money in the medium to long term. London and the UK in general, despite being a small country, has some of the highest transport costs in the world, the bike is one way to save money.

  8. Graeme 03/10/2013 at 10:01 am #

    You buy what you can afford. If you can’t afford anything more than £150 then you need to either save harder or buy second hand…

    IMO, it’s best to buy second hand for anything under £300

  9. ChrisS 03/10/2013 at 10:04 am #

    I have purchased all sorts of bikes over the years, new, second hand, cheap and expensive (to me) and all but one have served well. Regular maintenance and they’ve lasted many years, even passed a couple on to others and still going strong.
    Of course you get what you pay for, but if you can only afford a budget bike, just be prepared to get handy with the GT85 and some tools, it’s unlikely that you are going to be making huge demands on your bike if you are just starting out and looking for a cheap ride. If you are looking for something a bit more up-market, try looking at last years models, you can get some great deals online – I saved over £350 on my last bike 🙂

  10. Richard Bloomfield 03/10/2013 at 10:14 am #

    A friend of mine once bought the cheapest bike in the shop, and on the very first outing the chain snapped! She’s now stopped riding altogether, because all the annoying niggles that developed from the cheap components.

  11. Nick 03/10/2013 at 10:20 am #

    I bought a £150 hybrid bike from Halfords, can’t remember the brand, I was being cautious about whether I would be able to ride to work so wanted to start cheap. Within a week almost a third of the teeth on the back cassette has snapped off. So everytime I went to accelerate the chain would slip and I would come crashing down. Took it back and they went ‘oh yeah, happens all the time to these bikes’. And that’s when I learned about the Bike2word scheme and never looked back.

  12. Debbie 03/10/2013 at 12:05 pm #

    I originally looked at cheap bikes because I didn’t know anything about them. In the end I saved up for a pashley and I’m glad I did, it’s a real workhorse. So when I hear horror stories about cheap bikes I know I’ve had a lucky escape!

  13. nilling 03/10/2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Unfortunately, if/when you have an off and the driver offers to pay for the repairs this is the value they will place upon your bike! 🙁 At this price point you are better going second-hand bike from a good LBS.

  14. Elizabeth 03/10/2013 at 3:42 pm #

    used bikes are the way to go. you can buy an excellent quality bike that was formerly high end and very pricey or a small portion of the price if you buy it used.

    • David Smith 03/10/2013 at 3:57 pm #

      Yes or you can wait for the sales as many bikes are dramatically reduced in price to make way for next year’s models 🙂

  15. David Smith 03/10/2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Well this only goes to prove what I have been blogging about for so long. I know times are tough and people want to save money or get into the cycling buzz right now but it’s worth saving up your pennies for a few months and buy something which will do the job and last for a good few years. You can compare great branded bikes on All of them supplied from trusted cycling retailers. Don’t buy cheap!

  16. Vincent 03/10/2013 at 9:36 pm #

    > A few days ago, the designer of the London Cyclist app tapped in to my vast cycling knowledge and asked me whether he should buy this £137.90 bike:

    If that bike was meant to commute, it was obvious from the start that it was simply the wrong bike for the job:
    – telescopic fork isn’t needed when riding in the city and adds weight
    – no mudguard means not riding in the rain
    – no front- or rear-rack: How is he going to go food shopping?
    – no lights
    – the frame looks heavy

    Generally speaking, before making a big purchase in a field you don’t know anything about, it’s a good idea to browser a good forum and ask for advice.

    • C. 14/10/2013 at 2:58 pm #

      What a silly comment, did you get all of those accessories with your bike when you bought it? Brand new bikes rarely even come with pedals!

      It is, however, definitely a good idea to get advice, which is actually what the designer did!

  17. Keith Brown 03/10/2013 at 9:38 pm #

    I’ve got a “Next” Full Suspension, Chinese, “Walmart” bike for less than US$100.00….I use it to trundle up to the “Stop-‘N-Rob” for smokes and sundries, and to tack onto my hippie-bus when camping, and I don’t give a Tuppeney Vomit if it gets stolen. It does everthing I need it to do…and it delivers everything I need. It’s undoubtedly a technical “Piece of Shit”, and I know it….but fair’s fair, it gets me where I need to go, in comfort, with no hassel. Admit it, you Yuppie Twats…there’s indeed a marklet for Shite, Chinks Bicycles!

    • C. 14/10/2013 at 3:02 pm #

      What a moronic comment, we are hear to talk about commuter bikes. Obviously we know that crappy bikes have their place, for many they are a way into the glorious world of cycling, but that’s all that they are really good for. Ditch them as soon as you’ve saved enough to get something that will actually do what you need it to do. Clearly you don’t ever cycle more than a mile or two and I imagine very rarely. I’m not really sure why you think that your comment is relevant to this thread.

      • Marcus 02/09/2014 at 6:29 pm #

        I had a Halfords Apollo for £65, lasted 8 and a half years, I used it as a general bike and did 30 mile round trips when training. In the forest it was so heavy that when I raced my decent bike I could fly.

        When I began racing I used the Apollo and finished 14th (out of 50) in the novice class in my first XT race on it. You do need to be able to adjust the mechs although I only had to do mine once (in 8 and a half years!!) it was also borrowed often by mates and my dad. It was ideal at motorcycle race meetings for moving around the track and dumping once near where you wanted to be.

        I’ve got more bikes than I know what to do with now but if I was in London I would get another rather than risk someone stealing or damaging one of my good rides.

  18. Tom R 04/10/2013 at 9:48 am #

    Its also a bad bike to buy for the following reasons – you don’t need suspension for commuting on roads or even canals/paths, and the suspension on this bike will be no good for off road riding – so its just a heavy weight on the front of the bike.

    You should have included the write up of the bike from the website selling it – that would have been amusing!

    We really need to be getting supermarkets to sell cheap dutch style bikes with mudguards/racks/lights etc

    • aross 06/10/2013 at 12:23 am #

      I beg to differ. With the state of londons roads I have gone for front suspension and it has saved me having to get my wheels straightened every week.

      Although I personally wouldn’t buy this bike as it is cheap rubbish.

  19. John Somers 04/10/2013 at 10:35 am #

    I agree with Andreas here…if you look at purchasing an unbranded bike new for <£150, with all the gears, bells & whistles etc then it is more than likely to be totally crap, which will cost you more in the short and medium term…never the long term because they'd rarely last that long!

    If you really have a budget that is that low, then you really do either need to look at the second hand market (though PLEASE get someone who REALLY does know about bikes to check them out with you!!) or you go single speed/fixie.

    For example look at Fixed Gear Frenzy for some astounding prices of their unbranded single speed bikes, that OK may not have all the gears (obviously) bells, whistles etc but will provide a really good entry level commuter/town bike that doesn't weigh as much as a small town car!

    If you go down the second hand route do check out you nearest LBS for deals on any part ex's or second hand bikes they may have in stock…such as Chelsea Bikes before getting tempted down the Ebay or Scum Tree route (in both cases caveat emptor is the operative phrase…both sites are renowned for disposing of stolen bikes!).

    I only mentioned the two shops because I have either dealt with them in the past or know those that run them and in both cases…so yes I trust them (no I'm not on commission before anyone asks!), so get a friend who does cycle a lot along for advice, if you do or do not take that advice well it is up to you then!

  20. mikeg 04/10/2013 at 10:44 am #

    Second hand is good. I recently bought a Holdsworthy 1970’s tourer for £ 145.It runs beautifully. Though over time I expect to change things, as and when needed.

  21. Rob 04/10/2013 at 10:50 am #

    I think the issue here is a lack of knowledge. I recently bought a single speed commuter bike (Genesis Day One) from Gumtree for £120. I spent a few weeks scouring and found a shoddy looking advert for what looked like a decent enough bike. I made a call to the seller, who was a respectable middle aged man and told me a bit more about the bike (certainly not stolen).

    I went to collect and the bike was dirty and a little neglected, but fundamentally solid. An hour of cleaning and tweaking got me a fully functioning smart looking bike. In the 6 months I have owned the bike I’ve ridden it daily and spent about £30 on maintenance.

    I could easily have bought a complete dog of a bike for the same money if I didn’t have some idea of what I was looking at. But then again I could have just gone to a shop and bought a new bike for the £600 I’ve saved in commuting costs over the last 6 months.

    I agree with “Buy cheap buy twice” but if you put the effort in you can still get yourself a bargain.

  22. Ed 04/10/2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Andreas should be renamed “Annie” like Anne Robinson from Watchdog has been.

    Talk about stating the bleeding obvious! All good and well buying 2nd hand – IF you know what you are looking for & looking out for.

    My tip is if buying new and have budget constraints expect to spend at the least £300.

    You can get VERY reasonable bikes for that if you are willing to do the work to look. Last years Charge Scourer was available for around £275 brand new!

    Join proper bike forums like Bikeradar & Cyclechat and get the advice off cyclists.

    I also recommend “scouring” places like Google & Gumtree & seeing if there are any trustworthy mobile mechanics.

    I found a guy like that who now does all my major bike repairs at my convenience, he comes round in his converted prison van that has been pimped into a bike shop and charges at least 1/2 as much as my LBS’s which are a bunch of elitist, timewasting idiots!

  23. Gautam Pindoria 04/10/2013 at 1:52 pm #

    i wanted a bike with a low budget… managed to save my self £500 on RRP because it was end of line and last years model…(RALEIGH 200) brand new. not had any major issues .. u just need to know what u want and keep looking. but deffo wouldnt buy anything from anywhere without research.

  24. barton 04/10/2013 at 2:52 pm #

    when my beloved bike was stolen in 2011, and I needed to replace it, I wasn’t very flush with cash at the time, so my budget for a new/used bike was under £250. Sadly, time was of the essence (as cycling is how I got everywhere), and while I was borrowing a friends for a while, it was making my whole body hurt (too small).

    There were no good (read: working) used bikes in my size, so I went new. I bought a Trek Hybrid on sale (previous year’s model) – and it wasn’t even the entry level Trek, but a mid-range hybrid. I hated it immediately. In fact, within the first 6 months I had spent another £300 making it rideable AND reliable. New chain, new bottom bracket, new sprockets, new brake cables – new brake pads within the first week! – and a new rear wheel within the first month (my LBS got the manufacturer to pay for a new wheel b/c it was a manufacturing issue, and not a use issue).

    So, did I learn my lesson? No. The next bike I bought was an off-brand steel touring bike. It went back to the manufacturer b/c of an issue with the drop arms – after spending £££s at the LBS trying to find out what was wrong with it. Waste of funds.

    • Ed 04/10/2013 at 2:58 pm #

      I’m not really sure of the point you are trying to make….?

      “and it wasn’t even the entry level Trek, but a mid-range hybrid” – so better than an entry level but somehow within 6 months you needed to replace or in your words,

      “In fact, within the first 6 months I had spent another £300 making it rideable AND reliable. New chain, new bottom bracket, new sprockets, new brake cables – new brake pads within the first week! ”

      I have owned my hybrid since new & still doesn’t need a new BB or chainrings in over 3000 miles.

      Haven’t changed anything apart from the V brakes & levers to Avid Single digit.

      Sounds like you got a turkey!

  25. Dave 04/10/2013 at 3:21 pm #

    I paid £300 for my hybrid, which came with Deore LX chainset and Schwalbe Marathon tyres. I have owned it for over 3 years, not even a puncture in that time and although it is now just my winter bike it travelled 22-30 miles a day on my daily commute for 2 1/2 of those years.

    The only costs have been carrier and Ortlieb Bike Packer panniers. Look at what you are buying, haggle for better deal, my bike normally would sell £450. Even with my carrier and panniers I’m not there yet!

  26. GFK 04/10/2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Interesting that in all the comments above only 1 mentioned a visit to a good local bike shop …

    On s social media site I post on a debate has recently been had about the internet vs the local bike shop and all of the argument basically came down to the fact that the ‘net was cheaper than the LBS … in the short term – returns, warranty etc are all far more complicated, and so is trying to buy a bike on the basis of reviews.

    Where buying anything of any importance on the basis of reviews, cavear emptor … the caveats apply to the reviews as much as to the purchase!

    Just don’t do it – you’ll get polarised “I love every minute I spend on it” style reviews, and “total crap, not in a million years” type reviews of the same product because seldom will the reviewer tell the reader what they were looking for when they made their purchase. Also, people love to at themselves on the back, and they love to whinge – the 80% in the middle of the infamous bell-shaped curve never post, of course …

    A bricks and mortar operation run on an independent basis (so steer clear of the chains) on the other hand generally has far more of a vested interest in selling the right product for the job – you may pay more – but remember, the time you are saving browsing badly written, agenda-ridden opinions on the net is now being given to you by the guy in the store (and he will generally have a lot of real-world experience).

    The guy on the store wants you to come back, maybe not to repeat purchase a bike but he’s quite like your ongoing servicing work, clothing purchases and all the rest – so within boundaries (I can see the negative comments this is going to get on the horizon already) he’ll try and sell you as decent a bicycle as your budget allows – just be realistic about what you want and what it’ll cost you to get it.

    • Ed 04/10/2013 at 10:49 pm #

      WTF are you on about????

      Utter gibberish. The guys in my LBS couldn’t be more elitist & unwelcoming if they tried. Unless you are giving them over £1000 for a new bike they really couldn’t care less.

      Their “repairs” service is awful. Once I have a front mech to be fitted & they said 20 minutes for a tenner. 3 HOURS later I got the bike back after them royally fkincg me over.

      I suggest buying EVERYTHING online, asking in forums & getting a reliable mobile bike mechanic. LBS are just for the clique of the workers & for idiots who don’t have a clue therefore your LBS will try ripping you off.

      The sooner most of these shops go under the better!

      • GFK 14/10/2013 at 6:48 pm #

        Well, I did say you need to go to a good bike shop – that doesn’t necessarily mean one run by elitists or the unwelcoming.

        Mobile repairers can be good – but they can be awful … why should they be any different to a bricks and mortar operation after all? I know some very good ones & I know some that I’d not send my worst enemy to.

        I’d have to disagree on LBS, I’ve worked in them for 35 years on and off and I don’t think we have ever ripped anyone off – since many of my customers have followed me shop to shop, I can only assume that in general we’ve been doing something right.

      • Pennfold 28/04/2016 at 4:50 pm #

        I got to admit this seems like my experience too. I’m new to cycling and brought an Apollo from halfords. I noticed problems right away with the gears when I changed them. I too it back and they adjusted them and said there nothing really wrong. I had an accident with the bike (my fault) but it could me nearly half of what the bike cost to repair. My second accident happened nearly 9 miles from my home and I couldn’t repair it. I brought the tire and the pump from halfords. Even though they sold me the bike less than a month before they couldn’t tell me what size I needed. I ended up buying the wrong one. Had to go back and get the right one. The pump they sold me was rubbish. It broke after a few uses.

        Prior to this I had taken my bike to a LBS who charged me the same as halfords to replace the tires on the wheel. The store man asked me about my knowledge of bicycles and when I said I had only been riding a few months he took advantage of that. I know this because I told him I thought it would be more money to change the rear tire of the bike (because it had the gears on it) than the front. He agreed!
        I found out later that was codswallop!

        I’m with Ed on this. Local bike shops are no better than chains and both are out to rip you off.

  27. extremereading 05/10/2013 at 12:59 am #

    A couple of years ago I bought a hybrid for £150 as an alternative for day to day riding [shopping, going to work, etc]. It’s made of steel so of course it’s heavy and uphill rides are almost always done on a low gear, often the granny wheel. Apart from that it is still going strong and gives no trouble at all. Gearing is excellent, handlebars very comfortable [once you’ve got used to wide bars], and for what I needed [a day to day knockabout] and at £150 it takes some beating.

  28. crudgie 05/10/2013 at 7:11 am #

    the factors are how often to be used how far journey is speed important any big hiills assess risk of being stolen, area ,leave outside. how big is your budget. can you do your own maintenance . is fashion , elitism an issue
    2nd hand can be cheaper. assess if it is a quality or cheap bike. how much wear already . is size correct.
    note you can buy 1/2 a dozen 99quid bikes for the price of an average brand{
    {which in my opinion are overpriced new}

  29. Ed 05/10/2013 at 11:22 am #

    Why anyone would want a supermarket or Sports Direct “mountain bike” when they mainly ride on road is beyond me. Small 26″ wheels, pointless suspension, small chainrings and low gearing all combine to make a cumbersome, heavy and slow bike.

    Get a hybrid with 700c wheels, bigger chainrings, slick tyres but still keeping a comfortable upright position and with bosses for racks etc.

    I have a Scott Sub 30 – I bought it as a direct replacement for a stolen one and can’t see myself ever getting rid of it.

    Looking on Ebay I can see that they average at around £200. Scott Sportsters, the range down go for even less.

    It’s not “elitism” having a decent brand. More or less any Scott, Specialized, Giant, Trek, Cannondale, Marin etc is going to be infinitely better than a Dunlop or Muddy Fox.

    Which is ironic really because in the early 90’s Muddy Fox were a very decent brand. Until SD took over.

    Just don’t do it. A complete false economy. If money is tight – save up a bit longer & have a budget of £200 second hand or £300 new. There are some great deals to be had.

    My 1st hybrid a Scott Sportster was £175 off Gumtree & was basically new. That was 1/2 the price of new shop price.

  30. Janos Feher 06/10/2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Why I agree the price represents the value you get, I wouldn’t blame the weekend ranger customer only to buy a cheap bike. „He might think if a manufacturer like Shimano has a good reputation, they make racing components, why shouldn’t I trust them?”

    Manufacturers such as Shimano or Suntour should drop their dangerous product lines or regulators should enforce a minimum standard as they do for other vehicles.

  31. Graeme 07/10/2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Janos, the bigger manufacturers do conform to set standards.

    All bikes sold in the UK should conform to BS6102 part 2, and the components on them instrinsically should likewise conform.

    Most manufacturers are now geared up for the more aggressive EU standard, which is not yet fully in force but is not far away.

    The problem is that whilst the components might well conform and bike are *supposed* to be correctly set up, they aren’t always – hence my comments about going to a reputable, independant local bike shop.

    A great deal of how the bike works is about set-up … I am suspicious of the report above where the writer says the “FD broke” … almost nothing to break in a FD, but you can damage it by poor set-up …

  32. Orla 11/10/2013 at 10:50 am #

    I paid €200 for my city bike from my local bike shop. Had it for 10 months now and it’s been going well. In fairness I only cycle 6km a day through Dublin city so I’m not exactly straining it.

  33. Ralphie 17/10/2013 at 11:47 pm #

    I have had great success with inexpensive cycles. I would suggest that many who have not are in some way responsible for some mechanical failures. A rider who fails make proper and timely adjustments should not attribute all mechanical failure to inexpensive fitments.

  34. Dave 11/12/2013 at 3:16 pm #

    I have supported my LBS buying lamps, tyres, derailleur and accident repairs coming to more than £1000,but they got ratty when I bought my hybrid (carbon forks and ally frame) somewhere else since their cheapest bike was a steel Road bike for £500 and they wouldn’t bargain price with me

    I now support a guy who rides to work and trades in a shop under the railway line.

  35. Andy 17/01/2014 at 2:31 pm #

    I started cycling a few months ago as a long term replacement to the depressing and expensive tube commute. As people have mentioned, I weighed up the potential monthly savings and considered my budget to be 6 months of those savings. I then spoke to several friends, one of which could sense I knew diddly squat and wanted to help me from falling into a snake pit. He gave me a few options of brands and also the minimum quality of mech sets to look for given that I’d ride it every day and also for leisure at the weekends. Finally, with my brief and budget in mind, I just searched on eBay daily until the right bike showed itself – which it did. I was able to purchase a Trek 2.3 Domane with a full Shimano 105 set which was loved by its original owner. It only cost £450 and would cost about 3 times that brand new from Evans.

    Additionally, I’m lucky that at my place of work, there is a biweekly lunchtime cyclist meet up which is run by a couple of experts. They are great to talk to and they taught me how tune my gears, look for chain wear and general maintenance – look for a group like this in your area, and if you can’t, hit up YouTube where you can learn everything.

    In conclusion, ask a lot of questions to people you know who cycle AND don’t be too cheap, think long term not only because it’ll cost you more in the long run, but you will take greater care of a bike that you love to ride.

    • Marcus 02/09/2014 at 6:45 pm #

      Evans sounds expensive, I’m looking at a brand new Btwin Mach 700 Carbon framed racer with full 105 groupset and aero wheels for £849.00. 5 year guarantee on the frame and 2 years on the parts.

      Plus if you do a ride to work scheme you can save more money on your tax, my work doesn’t do it though and I can’t wait for them to sort it out. Also I don’t think Decathlon do it either but Halfords do.

  36. Simon McClelland 15/08/2014 at 4:14 pm #

    Why not buy a cheap £150 bike and then slowly replace all the components as they wear with good ones until eventually swapping the frame. Pay as you go riding, it allows a small spend per month (off set by petrol saved etc) will give you a fabulous understanding of the mechanics and you will end up with a fully customised bike specific to what you want

    • Marcus 02/09/2014 at 6:49 pm #

      It’s not that simple as parts from different groupsets are not all compatible with each other. Plus you would complicate things further when you swapped the frame as you would most likely need all new cables etc.

      The most expensive parts are usually the gear shifters (STI on racers) and dictate which other parts you can use from which groupsets. Obviously wheels and frames are dearer in general.

  37. Vauxvon 15/09/2014 at 8:26 pm #

    I bought a new Halcyon Aquilla last year June and it totally broke in half yesterday. Rode it pretty much everyday anywhere from 3 miles to 30 or so. Not impressed. Was crossing the road by St Pauls (after quick ride from N1) and thought the back wheel gave out but when I looked down – it was the actual frame (the wider aluminium part) of the step-through.

  38. mark leeming 04/10/2015 at 8:11 pm #

    Just caught up on this site. I like many people do not have a shed load of pennies. If I bought new it would have to be a BSO, but i know they are not great so i buy second hand. I have had all sorts and some would do what they were bought for, people mention plastic brake arms, they work fine at 7 mph. I currently ride an old Marin and it is great compared to the cheaper new bikes, Lift it up with my little finger. I change gear and you hardly hear it, you just feel it harder to pedal, the brakes stop me well from 20 mph. Most people ( years ago ) would not go out and buy a Lada or Skoda car, but they will buy the cheapest of the cheap bikes. I would suggest any newcomer thinking of a new “cheaper” bike, buy a second hand one first and try it out, get a feel to it, learn about some of the better bikes. Except for the newness and possibly disk brakes I would not fork out £500 on a trek or similar over my £35 Marin.

  39. Rob 30/09/2016 at 6:32 pm #

    Invest some time and effort and learn how to service your own bike. Or even build yourself a bike! Used parts can be picked up online for next to nothing, you’ll have exactly what you want but beware, you’ll forever be tinkering with it and you will never be ‘finished’.

    I cycle to and from work every day on a used bike I picked up for £180 (only the frame and forks are left of what it was when I originally got it). It’s only a few miles but it takes half the amount of time as public transport and I get good exercise. I don’t remember the last time I paid for transport to get me there or back. Sometimes I wish I lived further away from work so I could ride my bike even more every day!

  40. mike 15/10/2016 at 11:46 pm #

    My daily commuter is a £125 argos single speed fixie. Other stores are available 🙂 With all cheap bikes you will have to replace parts as they break or wear. This bike is now 2 years old. In that time I have replaced tyres, bottom bracket as it snapped riding up a hill, handle bars as they snapped riding away from traffic lights, chain, General wear and tear, pedals cos they wer shockingly shit, front brake just as a upgrade and chain ring for different gear ratio. You might be thinking thats a lot but now the bike is tailored to me and is probably the best £125 ive ever spent. I also own a £700 road bike but still prefer riding my cheap fixie and get great pleasure from overtaking guys and girls with expensive road bikes 🙂 ps I do all my own repairs and maintenance so it is still a very cheap bike

  41. Gariloki 05/09/2017 at 10:42 am #

    I know it won’t keep the cogs of capitalism turning, but I wholeheartedly agree with everyone recommending buy good quality used gear. With canny bidding, I bought a £800+ Marin for £106 from eBay a few years ago. The ad said it didn’t run well, chain comes off etc. Turns out all it needed was a 30min session to calibrate the gears and brakes. What a bike! Still going strong and smooth today. Inspired by my luck with the Marin on eBay I bought a hybrid Trek RRP £700 for £150 for my wife which needed absolutely no work to it at all. Smoother ride than the Marin if honest! I have to add, the paintwork on these machines was immaculate with only a couple of minor scuffs on the Marin.
    There’s a mountain of people out there that must have the best of the best from the get go with new hobbies and then lose interest and sell their gear after a while. You may not get the most recent models but you can get a steal on quality.

  42. Jim 01/01/2018 at 8:16 pm #

    I disagree!!!!
    I bought once an Apollo mountain bike second hand for £30 in great condition. New cost around £110. Bottom line is that the only thing that I did replaced was a pair of brake calipers £11 and tyres to get Kevlar ones to be puncture safe £25. The bike served me well for 2 years then gave it to a friend. I was doing 45 minutes cycling going to work and 45 back. Also using it on my days off to go to town and shopping. Bottom line is that if you need a bike to commute and use it as your transport go for cheap bike will do the job. As all things in this world if you maintain it a bit like remove dust and mud from cogs and chain and oil it will last you for ages like mine. Another advantage of the cheap bike is you don’t worry much for the thugs to try to steal it cos they going for more expensive ones. I wouldn’t have peace of mine locking on a bike rack a £500-£700 bike and pray to find it intact when I come back from my shopping etc. The bottom line is this. There are plenty opinions like mine when you decide what to buy. The first thing you need to do is ask your self why you need a bike for. And also what’s your budget set your highest amount you can afford. Is daft to go and buy a bike cos someone that could afford £1000 means that you must do the same. Also have in mind more expensive bike more expensive maintenance if you don’t do it your self and you pay your local bike shop plus more expensive parts.
    In other words think wise before you buy.

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