In my previous post I mentioned that my beloved (nee neglected) hybrid bike had suffered massive injury. It’s left outside partially exposed to the elements and after 3 months of non-use, I attempted to ride it and the chain seized, breaking the hanger, and derailleur. The rest of the bike is in such a bad state and considering it’s 20+ years old I thought it’s time to look for a replacement.

 

I already have a road bike, so a replacement bikes purpose would be general pottering around on canal/foot-paths, and some urban riding. I haven’t tackled any trails in the past. A hybrid bike is your Jack-of-All kind of a bike doing all things well, but not doing any one thing brilliantly.

Cycling is expensive and bikes can quickly go into “car-territory”. To persuade you to part with your cash, there are numerous stepping points, “for an extra £50 you can have x, y, or z”. Ultimately you need a budget and mine is constrained between £200-£300. That is to say I want to pay the lower end but will ‘push the boat out’ to £300. As a colleague at work pointed that, £300 is what some people pay for a seat post.

 

300poundhybrid-slider
Spend a little more?

 

There is an affinity within the cycling community to only use your Local Bike Shop (LBS), and while there is merit in this. I was going to look at all options include online deals.

Almost all bikes share the same components and typically at this price point they are Shimano based. Shimano group their product range in a hierarchy but it’s important to note that there there is a tipping point between cheap/cheerful and longevity. What I mean by this is the items at the top of the scale are made with weight saving in mind and may not last as long as the industrial-strong siblings lower down the change.

The hierarchy is as follows:

1. No brand <<<< CHEAPEST
2. Tourney 6/7 speed
3. Altus 7/8/9 speed
4. Acera 8/9 speed
5. Alivio 9 speed
6. Deore 10-speed
7. SLX
8. Deore XT
9. Zee (downhill specific)
10. Saint (downhill specific)
11. XT Di2
12. XTR
13. XTR Di2 <<<< MOST EXPENSIVE (REMORTGAGE HOUSE MONEY)
For £300 you will likely get a mixture of parts up to Acera level. Unfortunately given so many layers in the hierarchy there is always the temptation to spend more.

 

 

The Shortlist

I looked at the main sites and found the following from each.

1. Halfords

All the bikes in the price range have unbranded/Tourney components. I wasn’t impressive by the offerings.

2. Evans Cycles

Evans didn’t have anything suitable under £300. There were a number of options at £325 and above.

3. Rutland Cycles

Rutland Cycles have a few shops local to me, available selection was limited to clearance stock. I did find the Giant Roam 3 2016 for £270 down from £399.

300poundhybrid-giant
It’s main features are:

  • Respected Brand
  • 8-speed Acera
  • Front Suspension with lock-out
  • Undeclared weight but approx 13kg

4. Wiggle

Wiggle had a few in the price range, but the one that look my fancy was the Verenti Division 2 (2016). Down to £258 from an alledged £370.

Verenti is Wiggle own in-house brand.

300poundhybrid-verenti

It’s main features are:

  • 9-speed Acera
  • 11.7kg
  • Fixed suspension
  • Cable Disc Brake

5. Decathlon

I am not a bike fan of Decathlon’s design of standard hybrid bikes. The only one I considered was the Triban 500 Flat Bar Road Bike and then changing the tyres for something more robust.

300poundhybrid-triban500fb

It’s main features are:

  • Similar to my existing Triban 520
  • SRAM/Microshift groupset 7 speed
  • 11.4 kg
  • Only bike I have tested out

 

Selection Process:

A Flat Bar Road Bike is not the same as a Hybrid, it’s not really suitable for uneven tracks even with a change of tyres which meant that the Triban 500FB was eliminated. (Out of interest it’s the only bike of the three with a decent review Cycling Weekly gave it 9/10)

It became a face off between the more road-focused Verenti or the Giant with the MTB cues. Despite spending some time pondering the pros and cons between the two, there isn’t much to seperate them.

The Giant is the better/bigger brand and it looks stunning, whereas the Verenti looks more functional (dull) but has better components. I couldn’t find a single review on the Verenti, no articles on road.cc or cycling weekly. The Giant had more of an online presence, and I found some good YouTube videos.

In the end I asked a few people who I trust and their thoughts were to go with the Giant.

 

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