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LONG POST AHEAD - Much to say...
Excellent news: the best bit of advice is go sit on some and see how they feel to you and your body frame. Dependent on your torso, the reach to the handlebars will either feel too much of a stretch or not.
Some further news, belt drives are quieter in operation and of course cleaner. However, they are not completely maintenance free, requiring perfect set up to run true and not slightly twisted, otherwise they can and do snap. The bottom brackets do wear out over time, especially if someone has over tensioned the belt. If you are dynamic with pedalling this can also cause some issues with belts snapping, however you'd have to be pushing hard. They are not that great in muddy or dusty conditions as this can cause issues with clogging.
The other downside is gear ratios, very little choice, so ensure the ratios are right for you and the terrain you'll be travelling on. The upside to hub gears, you can change gears at the lights without moving, derailleurs need you to be pedaling to change gears and I've seen people in the wrong chainset cog and rear cogs often, which causes chains to wear prematurely.
700C wheels are less compliant on the road, compared to 29'ers which roll better and absorb bumps better but are slightly slower to get up to speed. Bigger more cushioned tyres which means you don't require suspension forks.
Marin bikes have always had a name & prices to match, nice looking bikes, good frames, comfortable rides but normally cheaper components.
Cannondale, excellent rides, creaky frames always, ride one to see what I mean, the lefty fork can be off-putting to some as it's a single fork to the left side, can be expensive in parts. Unless you're spending more money, at your lower price points, chain derailleurs (messy) and cable operated hydraulic brakes, not as good as hydraulic and will need adjusting more regularly. You either love 'em or hate them. Always look like cool rides. Been around forever, they know how to build rides.
The Cube looks more like the value for money bike. A good mix of nice frames, average mix of lower end high quality pieces and mid range components. Good hydraulic brakes, Shimano hubs and gears (good) not sure about cranksets, you'll need to find out about availability and price there, as already stated, these chainsets & bottom brackets do wear out in a couple of thousand miles dependent on use.
If it was me, draw up a list of what you'll want the bike for and where you will use it, around how many miles you'll use it per year and how much is your top end. Also factor in the possibility you'll enjoy it and wouldn't then have to upgrade to better as this will lose you money in the longer term. Do look at the rims are they double walled, what size are the wheel spokes as they need to be thicker too; in case you are an animal and will be bumping up and off curbs! Naughty...
Remember: Strong - Light - Cheap. You can only ever choose 2...
e.g Strong & light, means it ain't cheap!
If you are going to use a bike for 90% road, with occasional green lanes, I'd go for a Trekking bike like this
Try and get the 29'er version for a softer ride if available and affordable, it comes fitted with all weather protection and carriers so you could attach panniers.
Giant Bicycles used to do an excellent version of this, very comfortable. Do invest in some wet weather gear, Endura cycling gear is good quality and most importantly breathable. All bike shops are on around 30% mark ups for bicycles; some up to 45%, best bet for negotiations, negotiate hard on accessories, that's where retailers make big margins, we used to make up to 150% on certain items... Finally, find a dealer that listens to your questions, plenty don't, find one you feel you can trust and take one for a test drive.
Happy wobbling riding!
P.S. - Bag yourself a great package and cycle happy. On the above model, definitely negotiate replacement of seat post for a suspension model: like this... It takes the sting out of your bum when hitting bumps!
This might be useful reading too: If not already seen? https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/community/round-ups/round-up-hub-geared-hybrids
Yes. I believe they might have a pair of cherry W8 with matching cherry swingbases (making them a sort of SE-) for £4000ish. Even the harshest critic of floorstanders couldn’t fail to admire the sleek lines of these. Their photo doesn’t do them justice, with the pale ash pair in the background making the cherrywood look dark where it’s actually a warm colour (check out stock photos).
Even if the target speaker is a W5, you’d learn a huge amount from trying W8 at home (positioning, multi-directional drivers etc) while of course not being able to assess the bass. In fact I’d go as far as to say you’d learn a lot more from two weeks at home with some burned-in W8 than with some brand new W5.
A bit of digging reveals that I can in fact look at bikes in a selection of local shops, so I'm not limited to the ones on the Cycle Solutions site.
A few that have caught my eye so far are the Marin Presidio 3, Cannondale Bad Boy (stupid name) and the Cube Hyde (the variant with belt drive).
It seems that most manufacturers offer several variants of a given model, with the base one starting at (say) £500, and the more expensive ones offering extras such as hydraulic disk brakes etc.
Plenty of retailers in Newcastle, so I'll go and check a few out and see what feels comfortable.
The answer is simple - the music is the most important - but that is why we hanker after good systems so we can enjoy the music even more. But faced with the choice of limited music and a great system (in the days when you had to buy all your music and it wasn't cheap) or lots of music and a mediocre system then I would take the latter.
Do you sit in the car and evaluate the system or do you just enjoy the music when you drive? Before the days of car audio we all had to have a bog standard AM radio - then an FM radio - then stereo - then multi speaker car systems etc etc. The development of good systems only happened because of the music.
All set up and sounding great. A million thanks to Chris for taking a detour so late at night. I said I'd buy his teas and coffees all day at the Henley bake off. He didn't seem to be aware that they're bottomless at Wetherspoons