Most Cycle to Work schemes have a limit of £1000, so the competition means urban bikes for just under a grand tend to be great value. It’s still a hefty sum, so how do you choose?
Bikes for urban use come in all shapes and sizes, some are better for pootling to the shops, others are perfect for riding to work, tearing up the towpath or streaking through the traffic at higher speeds. The range of bikes you’ll find in the shops for 2013 has all options covered, and if you’re looking to spend near a thousand quid you can expect a lightweight, comfortable and reliable ride through your urban paradise.
Expect to see aluminium frames with either road or mountain bike components, most commonly from the reliable road focussed Shimano Sora range and the tough ‘won’t let you down’ SRAM X7 or Shimano Deore XT and Deore mountain bike ranges. In some cases, you’ll find a mixture of both road and mountain bike sourced components for a nice range of gears across the flat and hills. Most urban bikes in this price range have the larger sized 700c road bike wheels to ensure fast rolling, stable handling and a good turn of speed.
Around town and especially in heavy traffic, powerful, well-controlled braking is essential to allow you to ride faster and more safely. Typically, hydraulic or cable-operated disc brakes provide the most powerful braking and work well in all weather. Rim brakes offer lightweight and reliable braking but they can be affected by rain.
It’s actually quite hard to spend £1000 on an off-the-shelf women’s urban bike. What you find most often at this price is sporty road bikes like the ones we covered a couple of weeks ago in our article on women’s road bikes under £1000. But the good news is that you can take a bike in the under-£900 category, accessorize with some stylish on board luggage or commuting essentials and still have change from a £1000.
Don’t forget, if these bikes are beyond your budget, we looked at six great urban bikes under £700 last week.
Trek 7.6 FX WSD – £900
At £900 the Trek 7.6 FX WSD looks pretty striking in its shiny eggplant paint (that’s aubergine to Brits). It’s designed to emulate all the best bits of a road bike with road bike 700c wheels coupled with a more relaxed riding position better suited to urban riding.
The components are well chosen, with Shimano’s Deore and Tiagra ranges included to continue the mountain and road bike fusion, and the two front chain rings with 10-speed cassette provide an ample 20 gear choices.
The frame contains vibration-damping material at the rear to absorb road buzz while carbon forks and mountain bike style IsoZone handlebar and grips reduce vibration to the hands for an enhanced comfortable ride.
Cannondale Quick SL Women’s 2 – £800
The Cannondale Quick SL Women’s 2 is a flat-handlebar, fast rolling bike with a comfortable and confidence inspiring heads-up riding position.
Designed for the sporty rider who might want to try some longer road rides or charity events at the weekend, the components are from the road inspired Shimano Sora range with Cannondale’s own mini V-brakes for reliable braking.
The sporty-looking Element C3 wheels are standard road bike size have wide, 32mm tyres to provide comfort from harsh roads and unexpected urban hazards.
Specialized Ariel Comp Disc – £850
The first of two options from US brand Specialized, the Ariel Comp Disc costs £850 and is aimed at weekday commuters who may fancy a bit of off-roading at the weekend. If your commute has towpaths, uneven ground or just typical inner city potholes, then you’ll appreciate the SR Suntour suspension forks with 50mm travel.
The road bike sized wheels are fitted with chunky 38mm Specialized tyres, and are combined with powerful, reliable Shimano hydraulic brakes for a comfortable and safe ride.
Specialized Vita Comp – £800
The Specialized Vita range starts at £400 and has seven flat-barred road-oriented bikes to choose from. The Comp is a the lightest and most sporty with internal cable routing for a smooth frame outline and carbon forks with Specialized’s Zertz inserts to absorb road shock.
Gears are mountain bike inspired SRAM X7 and deliver a good range for flat and hilly situations, whilst the brakes are the reliable Tektro 1.0 V-brakes on the rims.
Ghost Cross 7500 Lady- £1049
The Ghost Cross 7500 is slightly over budget at £1049. but it’s a sleek fast urban warrior aimed at riders who want to get somewhere fast and can take on longer rides at the weekend with ease.
The components are high end with Shimano Deore XT gears and Shimano 445 disc brakes, topped off with 60mm suspension forks to give comfort without compromising on speed or weight.