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How best to milk my Ride2Work scheme

You may have seen from my 0 to Olympic training thread that I'm going to be doing an Olympic distance triathlon in October. I've never done anything like this and the last time I rode my own bike was nearly 15 years ago.

The triathlon I'll be competing in is the Nice Triathlon in the south of France and it includes climbing up at least 500m of mountain, possibly more (I'm having trouble finding a definitive map of the route).

My work allows me to spend up to £1,000 on a ride2work scheming I end up with about a 32% discount and a year to pay it off but the bike has to come from Evans. So, the question is, what's the best I can get from Evans? Keeping in mind that it has to be original price and not sale price. I don't want to go past the £1,000 and it would be nice to leave a spare hundred for helmet, lights, etc.

So what might people recommend I be looking at?


  • risris Posts: 1,002
    My experience of C2W was that discounted bikes were ok as long as the discount was at the manufacturers end (ie end of season discounts applied to all retailers). Hopefully this hasn't changed over the last few years. You can choose to extend the payment period, too (or you should) so that you come out with smaller payments over a 24 or 36 mo. period. Doing this should also reduce the 'purchase' cost to you at the end.

    As for the bike... Just looking at the website is an overwhelming experience! I'd go to a store, sit on and ride a few and then pick the one with the nicest colour scheme. You are right to try and hold a bit for kit and this can easily escalate - pedals, lights, shoes, helmet, lock (?), gloves, shorts - you might have some of this already though.

    Fwiw, you can achieve a lot with what might appear to be quite little. My first road bike was a ??500 specialized allez - raced and commuted on it for a few years and still use it as my winter bike 7 years on.
  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    Shadebug, I would focus on getting a bike with a good frame... yes this means you are likely to suffer in the short term with slightly cheaper components (who needs good brakes anyway :P) but gives you something you can upgrade. I did this and have turned by Bianchi Nirone 7 (old version of this http://www.evanscycles.com/products/bianchi/via-nirone-7-sora-compact-2015-road-bike-ec059370) into a fantastic package (I upgraded wheels, added clip-ons and upgraded the drive-train to Ultegra over a 3.5 year period) - this is a bike I will commute to work on on Friday and then doing a 70.3 on at the weekend so should satisfy your newbie needs (although disclaimer I am buying a TT bike as I going longer).

  • For what it's worth I've just done this through Halfords (not sure if that's an option for you?) and I went with the Boardman Road Team Carbon @ £999 but they have a 15% discount on them so the remainder was enough to buy a lid and some sundries.

    I'm planning on using mine for upcoming Tri's, it's full Carbon fibre frame and the components are not too bad....

    Defo upgradeable in the long term, pretty much the only full carbon frame I could find for the money and as long as your not a brand snob then you'll get a lot of bike for your money.

    That's my opinion anyway....

  • shadebugshadebug Posts: 23

    Pretty sure my scheme is locked into a 12 month scheme and it has to be through Evans but I popped into Evans and the guy said it was definitely allowed to be used on sale items. You effectively just use the voucher as cash.

    Talking over with him though he suggested that I should probably avoid a full carbon frame considering how I'll be using it, which is to say there's a decent chance I'll use it for one trip and then just look to sell it on, in which case carbon frames supposedly lose their value because there's no way to tell if they're still safe without X-Rays. Perhaps he was just trying to offload some high end alu frames but surely he'd want to offload cheap carbon frames too.

    That also means that the chances of me getting to a point where I'll be upgrading components are kinda slim. Sure, if I get really into it then that'll be a happy surprise but really, I'm thinking a good gear set and carbon forks are what I need to get me up and down the hills.

    We also came up against another snag which is me being a short-arse. Apparently I shouldn't really be looking at any frames bigger than 51 which means that a lot of brands are pretty much out of the question though supposedly women's bikes have a habit of being identical to their unisex counterparts in every way other than colour scheme and seat width.

    So, was the guy in Evans making sense or not?

  • risris Posts: 1,002

    nowt wrong with alu frames - got a couple, including my tt bike. weights are about the same, stiffness is about the same, a little bit less road damping is all. quality of the legs is what matters!

    the bike size thing doesn't feel wrong to me - i would have thought that the physiological range differences between women would include plenty of physiology that is men. i suspect there is a lot of badging for the 'female market' going on when the geometries are the same. get the bike that fits and bugger who they think it's for if it works for you.

  • shadebugshadebug Posts: 23

    Ladies do get a snazzier range of colours...

  • shadebugshadebug Posts: 23

    OK, just to give you something to work with, let's say these were my options




    At the top we have my entire budget going on the bike and I'm on a 48 instead of the 50/51 where I should be

    At the bottom I have a spare 200 for shoes, helmet, etc.

    What should I be thinking about?

  • Alasdair-GAlasdair-G Posts: 21

    Forget the bikes that don't fit you so the 1k Cannondale is out of the window in my books


    In my opinion the Pinnacle, which is Evans in house brand with the 105 groupset looks like your best option, the thing they have cut costs on is the brakes so be prepared.  As with all bike try different sizes and try get the bike that fits you.  You will need the extra money for pedals/bike shoes, helmet, clothes which can all be bought under R2W



    I bought the 2014 version of this bike for commuting and this disc brakes make a big difference, you could if you want swap the tyres for road tyres at about £50


    Good luck with your NIce tri

  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    Shade... As you have some big hills to get up I would be wary of the Arkose... 220 did a review and whilst overall said it was a very good back, phrases like "built like a tank" and "great once you get it up a running" aren't what you want going up a hill in 30 degrees in south of France! Also with travel disc brakes can be a pain.

  • shadebugshadebug Posts: 23

    OK, popped into Evans again to have a chat about fitting and the guy there convinced me to pop a deposit down for one of these


    Looks like it has all the gubbins I want and leaves me a tidy chunk of change for shoes, pedals and a helmet.

    Good plan or does anybody have a better suggestion?

  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    That looks like a solid choice, 105 is a very good groupset - and if the bike fits....

  • shadebugshadebug Posts: 23

    I now have a bike and it is the aforementioned Norco. I also ended up buying the bike's weight in extra gear (though the majority of that is the lock, which now hangs precariously close to the ground because there's not enough room inside the frame with the water bottle and pump there)

    I've yet to have a proper ride on it beyond the test ride with flat pedals but I have attempted clipping in and out and it appears to be something that is not impossible

  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    Haha... Shade, don't worry, clipping in gets natural quickly... That said there is a right of passage which every cyclist experiences where they realise they can't clip out in time and gentle topple like a felled tree... mine was rush hour, Friday morning, at the front of a queue of traffic stopping for a red...

  • shadebugshadebug Posts: 23

    Had my first ride yesterday round Victoria park. Only fell over less than five times before I managed to work out how to get both feet in the pedals. I've yet to forget to clip out at a junction but there's still time. I think the important lesson was that you only need one foot in to pedal and the other can afford to spend some time faffing around trying to get in.

    The other important lesson is that you will not get up to full speed on a lovely sunday afternoon in the park. Nothing but prams and boris bikes.

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