What sort of bike do I need to ride with a road club?

Do I have to have a road bike with curly drop handlebars to ride with you?

For the 'Newbies Rides' it's fine to come along on a hybrid road bike (one with road-tyres and straight handlebars).  We completely understand that you may want to give riding with a club a go before committing to buying a road bike.

Picture of a Hybrid Bike
A hybrid bike - Fine for newbie rides, not recommended for regular club rides

For regular club rides you'll find that all our members will be on road bikes with drop handlebars.  Group riding works better if everyone is on the same style of bike and it can be very hard work trying to keep up with people on road bikes if you're riding a hybrid.
Triathlon aficionados must please remove their tri-bars! Time Trial bikes are not permitted on club rides.

A drop bar road bike
A drop bar road bike

How fancy does my bike have to be?

You certainly don't need the latest and greatest carbon wonder-machine to ride with us, we simply ask that your bike is in good working order and has gears sufficient to get you up and down the Oxfordshire hills.  Our members ride everything from steel commuting workhorses to featherweight carbon exotica.  Ride whatever bike brings you happiness!

I want to buy a bike, what do I need to know?

That could turn into a very long discussion indeed!  You'll find other members of the club are a great source of information on this subject, so do ask that question on our facebook group.  

Size is everything

If you're not experienced in buying bikes it's really easy to buy the wrong size bike, especially if you are new to road bikes, which always feel a bit odd at first. A bike that's too small will often fill twitchy and nervous, a bike that's too-big will feel slow to react and ungainly, both of which will make your first road biking experiences unpleasant and stop you enjoying the thrill of skimming along in harmony with bike and road!

Unhelpfully, bike sizes are completely inconsistent between brands, and even between models from the same manufacturer.  A size 52 from Specialized may be a completely different size from a size 52 Bianchi for example.  For that reason our biggest recommendation is to buy your first road bike from one of the many excellent bike shops in Oxford, rather than being tempted to buy one online.  A good bike shop will offer you a test ride on a range of bikes in a range of sizes so you can see what feels right for you.  

Which bike shop?

Oxford has some great bike shops.  We are can highly recommend beeline bicycles on the Cowley Road, probably the majority of our members got their first bike there and they offer a 10% discount on bikes (yes bikes!), kit and components to existing Condors members.  In addition to being a top bike shop, beeline also very kindly sponsor the Condors and they also sponsor the Oxford Road Race League, so they are very in touch with the local road biking scene.

How much do I need to spend?

Getting started in road biking doesn't have to be too expensive.  You can find some great deals on second hand bikes at around £200-£300 both through the club and also on the Buy and Sell Cycling Stuff in Oxfordshire facebook group.  You do need to be wary on bike sizing though, so this may not be the best route if you are new to road bikes.

At around the £350 mark Decathlon offer the excellent B'Twin Triban 500, which has won a host of awards for being excellent value for money.  It's certainly not the lightest bike out there, but it's much, much better than most of the other bikes in this price bracket.

The next step up from that are the entry level models from the big, well-known bike brands such as Specialized and Trek.  These start around £550 and typically offer the benefits of all the R&D efforts of the big firms.  These bikes will be good out of the box and also make a great platform for upgrading in the future if the road bug bites.

Are the £100 supermarket bikes any good?

There are a lot of cheaper bikes out there offered by the cut-price bike shops in Oxford and also in the supermarkets.  These often look the part but you'll find they are too heavy and often have too few gears to be enjoyable steeds to ride regularly over hillier terrain.  We'd advise against buying one of those for club riding.

Beeline Bicycles
Bike Oxford
Green Oak
Peloton Espresso
Broken Spoke
Custom Cycle Coaching
White Chilli Creative Studio

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Next Events

Condor Women's Spring Sessions
07-05-2019 6:00 pm
Category:  Training Sessions
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