Which Bike to Choose

I am lucky enough to have a choice of bikes to ride at any one time , and I don’t just mean a choice between road and mountain bikes . At this moment of time I have a choice from 9 road bikes and 1 mountain bike oh and there is also the tandem .

 Marin Bear Valley

It makes a nice change to have such a variety of choice, normally I only have a couple to choose from but the last few weeks have seen a couple of projects reach completion .


Listed below is my selection of road bikes, not in any specific order, just the way they came in to my mind.

First up is a rather nice W Pollard Speciallite single speed bike. This is a fantastic bike to ride and own , I have no real idea of its age but I would guess the frame is from the 70’s but I could be way out. At some point in its previous life it was modernized to take allen key style brake calipers . I have owned this bike for approaching 3 years and always enjoy riding it .

 Single speed Pollard

Next up is a rather special Ian May badged bike that has aero profile tubing that in honesty looks more like somebody used a vice to squeeze the tubing a bit . As the frame has no IMC prefixed frame number I can only presume it was not made by Ian May himself . It’s another bike that has been in my stable for a few years and one that does not get as much use as others , I would estimate it has covered about 150 miles in 2015 so far .

 Ian May

The third bike is a 1980’s Claud Butler Sierra with a bit of a twist to it in the shape of carbon handle bars , stem and tubular and sprint style wheels help to shave a bit of weight off it . It uses Reynolds 501 throughout its frame and forks . This is a nice bike to ride and has only been around for about 2 or 3 months and in that time has had lots of new components fitted i.e. Tubs , Brake cables , drive chain and 7 speed rear screw on block . Asking £145 .

 Claud Butler Sierra

Next up is a Tony Butterworth badged road bike built round a tange tubed frameset that had sat unused for a number of years before being built up a couple of years ago by its previous owner as his audax bike.  For whatever reason it didn’t see a lot of use under his ownership . It’s a nice mixture of older style steel frameset with more modern running gear that all adds up to a very capable bike . Asking £275 .


The fifth bike is a nice original late 1970’s or early 1980’s R.E.W Reynolds road bike that has loads of patina and character , apart from some 700c wheels and my Selle smp saddle the bike is still running the same period parts it was first fitted with , i.e. 10 speed non indexed gearing , Bluemells and Wienmann center pull calipers . These R.E.W bikes are really good fun to ride with the added bonus of being quite few and far between .Asking £125.

 Blue R.E.W Reynolds

And then what must be the most modern bike in my  stable at the moment, a 2009/10 Ridley Crossbow road bike, it is also the largest bike in my collection at 62cm !! This is also the only alloy framed bike I have, it also boasts carbon forks . The gearing is a mixture of shimano mechanisms and crankset operated via campagnolo sti units . Although this should be way too big for me I can actually get quite comfy on it especially now that I have flipped the steeply raked stem around . The frame has seen little use during its life and would make a great road bike for somebody over 6ft tall . Asking £325 .

 Ridley crossbow

Next up is the “Pretty boy “ of my stable a late 80’s Dave Hinde road bike finished in an attractive ( to some ie me) mix of purple and an almost pink colour with a Columbus Slx frame with nice chromed front forks and drive side lower stay . Full ultrega gearing and brake’s with Shimano 105 tricolour hubs laced to Mavic anodized rims . This is another great bike to ride that also stands out from the crowd . Asking £350 .

 Dave Hinde

Number 8 is a blue Ian May built road bike that actually has an IMC prefixed frame number so is one of a few Ian May built bikes . I have no idea what tubing is used as its not the lightest bike in the world but by far not the heaviest either . I bought this as a frameset and built it using parts I had in the garage . It’s a shade on the small side for me but with the long stem on it I am comfortable enough . Some people say there were less than 100 Ian May built bikes whilst he was in business , there doesn’t seem to be any records to back this claim up but I have knowledge of 5 other Ian May badged bikes and only this one has an IMC prefixed frame number .

 Ian May

Lastly but not least is the latest arrival in the Racing Bike Biggs682 stable, it is a 2000 model year Peugeot Performance bike with Columbus aelle tubing and Shimano running gear . The bike came with the original Hutchinson tyres on and doesn’t look or ride like it has had a lot of use at all . Myself and loads of other cyclist’s like Peugeot bikes as the older models make excellent commuting and or general hack bikes and most of us have owned or ridden a Peugeot at some time in our cycling life .

 Peugoet Performance

So as you can see there is a wide ranging choice of bikes to use.

Carrera Ramblings

The last few days have seen me using a 2013/4 Model Carrera TDF ltd road bike , and to be honest it was a nice bike that I have always said is an ideal introduction to the world of road bikes without breaking the bank too much .

Carrera Ltd

A lot of people sneer at the idea of using a bike supplied by Halfords for whatever reason. Yes, I am sure quite a few people can re tell horror stories galore about them , but then there will always be bad tales about any shop or retailer if you look hard enough . I must admit my local Halfords doesn’t seem too bad in all fairness .

I have owned a couple of the earlier 1990’s Carrera road bikes and I have always liked them and they normally come with some great retro paint jobs to boot .

The bike I was using was in standard specification apart from a change of tyres . I normally ride 80’s road bikes with non-indexed gearing and side pull brakes so it always makes a change to try a bike with modern calipers and sti controlled gearing . Although the Shimano Tourney gear levers and mechanisms fitted are at the lower end of the range offered I found them perfectly fine in operation in comparison to my regular mounts . Shifting the levers brought a resounding click as either mechanism moved the chain to whatever gear it was being asked to do .

Carrera sti

A couple of weeks ago I used the Ridley cross bow I blogged about and that is fitted with Campagnola Veloce sti control units mated to shimano 105 and sora mechanisms and these were a lot quieter and smoother in operation for sure . But then the cost of the sti units and mechanisms alone are more than the Carrera TDF sell for new .

Campagnolo Veloce

I also used my time on the Carrera as a comparison to the steel retro road bikes I normally ride. The first thing I noticed was that it felt a bit lighter but certainly not by a lot, even when fitted with a carbon fork . The quality of ride was good and felt smooth on the mixture of roads and cycle paths I rode it on . The handling was not as precise and positive compared to the Aende I have been using lately even though both were fitted with Vittorio Rubino tyres .


The other thing I did notice was that the Carrera didn’t feel like a hooligans bike like some do i.e. the Dave Hinde I have at the moment makes you feel like you have to ride it as fast as possible at all times whereas the TDF was quite happy bumbling along .

Dave Hinde

Frame construction on the Carrera was quite well finished for what is a lower end bike and the welds were not too big and ugly in all fairness . But I could never get excited about a welded joint especially when comparing to a lugged frame .

Dave Hinde

My overall thoughts on the Carrera was that it would make a great intro road bike if the buyer wanted a new  bike for the same price you can buy a good quality steel retro bike with a lot more character and style . The bike arrived with a rear hub that needed rebuilding so I think anybody buying a new one would be well advised to have the hubs checked and adjusted before taking delivery .

My new mate Dave

The last few days have seen a new arrival in the Racing Bikes Biggs682 stable and so far me and my new mate “Dave” have done a 13 and 23 mile ride, so we are getting well acquainted slowly but surely .

Dave Hinde

Some people have said the colour scheme is nice some have said it’s not so nice . I personally like it and that’s without the extra charm of chromed fr forks and drive side lower rear stay .

Dave Hinde

It’s a Columbus slx tubed frame with lugs that are Cinelli stamped, which is a first for me . The paintwork is very clean with just a few very minor blemishes here and there .The chrome is in a very good clean and shiny condition which is always nice .

Dave Hinde

It’s a very nice, comfortable bike to ride on during the distances I have ridden so far and the only thing I would change is the as new Cinelli stem for one about 15 – 20 mm shorter. But for the time being I am happy to make do with this one .

The gearing and brakes are taken care of by Shimano Ultrega components that are nice and shiny just like the chromework and don’t look to have had much use at all . The wheels are Shimano 600 ‘tricolour’ hubs laced on to Mavic MA40 anodized rims .

Dave Hinde

It’s a short wheelbase frame with nice fairly tight clearances that all make it very sure footed on the road, confident in the bends and seems to be quite happy on the few fast downhill sections that we have covered so far .

Dave Hinde

No matter what you think, you have to admit all of the above certainly make it stand out from the crowd which is what a lot of cyclists like from their bikes .