• This topic has 21 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 1 day ago by daviduk.
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  • Do I need a new MTB/Hybrid, or should I use my old one (photos)…
  • Premier Icon daviduk
    Free Member

    Hi, I’ve joined so that you can hopefully help me to decide what to do…

    I recall the excitement of choosing a new bike back in the early 90’s. I went to my local cycle shop and they showed me a nice blue Raleigh Ascender (21 1/2″ frame, 26″ wheels. I rode it fairy often with the kids and on UK holidays but its last outing was 2005. Since then it’s sat in the garage or shed. It looks a little sad now.

    So, fast forward 30 years and I see things have changed. But have they changed simply to sell us more bikes with no real benefits?

    Doing a little research it seems the most relevant bike for me might be a Hybrid and I’ve had a look at Voodoo & Carrera but am a little bewildered by the number of models and their hierarchy.

    I’ve stripped and DIY serviced bikes before (apart from gears) so I could clean up the old bike and see if it still suits me for gentle off-roading (no road use) on cycle paths and the like or buy a new (probably slightly used) Hybrid for up to £500 (preferably £300 used). One new innovation (to me) is hydraulic disc brakes and so if I upgrade this would be a starter spec and I’m 6’1″ and 15st so I think a 20″ frame (L) would be right but not sure about 29″ or 27.5″ wheels.

    I’ve looked into Voodoo Bizango; Aizen; Marasa; Bantu but don’t seem to be able to find an easy to read comparison table for their different models. Does anyone have a good link please?

    I guess what I should do is clean up the old Raleigh, ride it, and see if I carry on riding it (to get back to fitness after lockdown laziness). But there will be likely a cost involved replacing some components, and as so many say bike technology has come on I think I’d always feel I should have something more lightweight, agile, and modern. I’m 61 now so need all the help I can get but I was also a fairly fit gym goer prior to the last year. Also, it’s always nice to treat yourself to a new gadget!

    If I buy something more modern, what recent makes/models have hydraulic brakes and are likely to be within my price range?

    Thanks for any help or suggestions.

    Premier Icon chestrockwell
    Full Member

    Do you need one? No, you could tidy your old bike up and use that.

    Do you want a new one? Probably, that’s part of the fun! All the bikes you mention are decent choices with the Voodoo especially highly rated. Disc brakes work much better than canti’s, suspension makes things more comfortable and bigger wheels make everything smoother.

    I’m a huge retro bike fan but your Raleigh was low spec even back then. Modern bikes tend to be heavier than old ones but not maybe in your case. Another option would be to get a second hand retro bike but a higher spec one. You’ll get something very nice for less than £300. Have a look what’s selling on retrobike.co.uk. Size wise you are similar to me so large or XL.

    In your position I’d probably be on the look out for a 29″ Voodoo, that would do the job.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    So, fast forward 30 years and I see things have changed

    Nah, there are still people buying new bikes this summer that come winter will see nothing except the shed for the next 15 years 😉

    Whether a good clean and lube or a new bike will get you out more on it is a toss-up! I’d try the former in the first instance. But admit there is at least some logic in new investment = new commitment.

    Chestrockwell summed it all up pretty well!

    Being a tightwad I’d be looking at upgrading to a used (VGC mid2010s) hybrid thingummy, maybe:

    Giant Escape, Specialized Crosstrail, Vitus Dee etc

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Full Member

    That Raleigh wasn’t a decent spec bike even when it were new. I suspect it’s probably a hi tensile steel frame or at best straight gauge chromo. Bottom of the range Shimano gears / cheap cantilever brakes etc.

    If you get something new you’ll find it much easier / more lively to ride and it’ll also stop well.

    In budget you should pick up some laying with hydraulic disc brakes which are a good jump better, a lighter alloy frame, lighter wheels etc.

    The Voodoo bizango has won a lot of awards for best budget mountain bike. Has an air spring fork and decent enough frame. Vitus Nucleus (when in stock) is also good for a budget mtb.

    That said, I think you need to decide what you want – mountain bikes now tend to have a single front chainring and a wide range cassette. If it’s mostly going to be ridden on smooth cycle tracks etc some people find they don’t have enough range (I.e high enough top speed). If you went for something with no suspension but twin front chainrings that might suit you better.

    At the top end of budget Boardman bikes are great. If the below is in stock anywhere near you or any going secondhand they’d be worth a look.


    Next down the list is the Voodoo Marasa at a quick look. Its got a triple front chainring though so that wouldn’t be top of my list – a double would be better.

    At the cheaper end you could look at the Carrera Subway. The higher model is around the £300 mark I think. I had one last year for a while and it was ok. Bit heavy but once you’re rolling along it was ok. I’d want the higher model with the hydraulic disc brakes rather than the lower one with mechnical discs.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    But there will be likely a cost involved replacing some components

    It really does depend on what you want to do with it. If you’re going to potter about on cycle paths and the odd bridleway, you could probably get away with a service at the LBS (a new chain, cables, tyres and inner tubes), or do it yourself if you’re confident,  and that shouldn’t set you back more than £60-£100. in spares and labour.  It’ll be fine enough. I’ve seen much worse than yours doing sterling daily service.

    If after you’ve scratched the cycle itch and you still want to carry on, there’s any number of £500 city/hybrids that’ll do equally well.

    Cannondale Trail 8 or Quick 5 are pretty good, but there’s literally a hundred to choose from.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    but there’s literally a hundred to choose from.


    Dr Dew? Would do the do…?


    Calibre Stitch?

    Either would weigh a good 7-8lbs (at least) less than the oldie.

    Premier Icon daviduk
    Free Member

    Near me in the small ads there’s a six month old Voodoo Aizen 29″, 20″ frame with some extras which is “brand new” condition for £400. I think this is one below the Bizango but not sure what’s different? Seller paid £550.

    I saw a Subway 8 ad locally, but roller brakes and gears put me off – forget.
    Is it the Subway 2 I should be looking at?

    Read a little on the Boardman 8.6. used HYB 8.8 near me for £380 but it’s an old ad.

    Bizango seems to be well regarded but £500+ used.

    I think you can tell the old Raleigh isn’t going to be THE one, but I’m aware I may fork out £3-500 for something to replace it in the shed! Thing is I don’t really like road riding due to safety and the nearest safe biking I know of is 30 mins away at Pitsford reservoir. I’m in Leics., near Lutterworth.

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    but roller brakes and gears put me off – forget.
    Is it the Subway 2 I should be looking at?

    I’ve got a town bike with Nexus 3spd and roller brakes. Most reliable, fuss free and scandalously low-maintenance bike I’ve ever had.

    The roller brakes stop my 230lb bulk, a 50lb bike and a pannier of groceries hooning downhill. Not on a dime, mind. That would be disastrous 😬

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Full Member

    Pinnacle Lithium is worth a look, too. I got one for my wife and it’s nice and light, good fun to ride on and off road. With the right tyres it’ll do anything you’d want to do on a rigid mountain bike.

    Edit: meant to type this on another thread, might work for you, though!

    Premier Icon daviduk
    Free Member

    How about a Cube LTD Pro 2017 Black & Orange at £500? Would this be a better buy than a 2020 Aizen at £400, or Bizango at £550?

    Thanks again.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member


    Would this be a better buy

    Recon fork, XT? I’d like the spec more than the Voodoos, so if it’s a 29er hardtail you’re after the answer would be yes from me. ymmv

    Premier Icon mrmoofo
    Full Member

    OP – the answer is question – “what do you want to do on it?

    If you want to ride up and down tow paths with the family, iy will be fine. If you want to commute into work, it will be fine …
    If you want to lob yourself off the side of the Pennines then think about something newer.

    You also need to factor in any cash that you are going to spend. If it all runs , and that figure is 0, all well and good.
    If it needs a service , and cables etc – and you can do it yourself, then it will be cheap enough.
    If you have to send it into a bike shop, then you are beginning to spend money that could have gone to something ore modern.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    I guess what I should do is clean up the old Raleigh, ride it, and see if I carry on riding it (to get back to fitness after lockdown laziness). But there will be likely a cost involved replacing some components

    Looking more closely at the photostream pics of yr Raleigh it looks hardly used. Cassette looks like barely-touched steel and should go on for another 30 years at least! Gripshifts look unworn. Brake blocks and rims barely touched? As long as the BB is functional I’m betting that a hub regrease/cone-adjustment , good clean and lube throughout (replace cables if rusty) is all that is needed. Maybe sand the blocks a little to take the age-sheen from the surface?

    Would be surprised if it costs you anything other than an hour of elbow grease and inexpensive set of hybrid tyres to get up and running.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    As above whether your bike needs a service is about use not age, and that looks little used. Probably worth £100 in the Covid sh market.

    The gears and brakes on a modern bike will be so much nicer to use, and it’ll be lighter and handle better also. Whether that’s worth it to you depends on how much you will use it.

    There is a plethora of choice but rarely much real difference between similar models from different brands.

    Premier Icon jaymoid
    Full Member

    I’d buy a new bike for off-road use and clean this one up and use it for a pub bike/country lane cruiser/popping to the shops/etc.

    My friend had this bike when I was young, the reflective paint brought back memories. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Premier Icon daviduk
    Free Member

    I noticed one 3* Halfords review of the Bizango said:
    “Bought a Bizango in September 2020 and have ridden it approx 350 miles, no distance at all. Only used on road, cycle path and canal towpaths and has been cleaned after every ride to remove accumulated crud, without using a pressure washer.
    The bottom bracket is shot and having to be replaced. The really bad part is that there is only 1 BB to fit..the one in it now, a Truvative Powerspline, no one else makes one with a matching 12 spline axle. I wish I’d discovered this prior to purchase, researching it brings nothing but terrible reviews. The bearing seals…well, just don’t! If you never intend to ride anything other than in bone dry conditions, fine, otherwise beware. Looking at around £100/125 to replace crankset and bottom bracket with a more reliable type, just hope I can sell on the original crankset to recoup some outlay.
    Gave 3 stars as besides this major design fault, the rest of the bike is good quality and rides beautifully.
    Get this sorted, Halfords”

    Is he right? Makes me wonder which brand has longevity and reliability in addition to doing well in bike reviews. Who has the best balance of this and ridability?

    Also one professional review of the Cube LTD Pro referred to it as a “bone shaker.”

    As for my old bike I’m guessing as with cars the tyres will be shot away by now so what’s a good cheap replacement bearing in mind I may be selling it on/throwing it away!? And does it need inner tubes still. Thanks all.

    Premier Icon docrobster
    Free Member

    I’m in Leics., near Lutterworth.

    Whereabouts? I grew up on a farm near gilmorton, went to Lutterworth high but moved away aged 13. We used to ride our converted grifters/road bikes with cow horns on something we called the bombhole when I was a kid. Near Walcote. It’s probably just a small dip in a field

    Premier Icon daviduk
    Free Member

    Yes, near Gilmorton.

    Googling Voodoo Bizango bottom bracket throws up a number of BB problem posts. Most quite recent. Poorer components on a newer bike? Sounds like cost cutting.

    So back to which quality brand to look at? Or is quality AND reliability a more costly endeavour? I think Voodoo is now a noo from me.

    Premier Icon docrobster
    Free Member

    Bottom brackets are consumables. I wouldn’t discount a brand based on that. The bb in my £1800 bike has gone rough within a year. Same as all the ones that came fitted to whole bikes bought new. I will replace it with something better when it dies.

    Premier Icon daviduk
    Free Member

    Thanks. The chap above seems to think it’s a big deal and the BB is a strange one. Is he over reacting? What other BB could be fitted?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    My brother had that exact Ascender!

    Powerspline BBs are fairly rubbish unfortunately and I don’t think anyone makes a compatible upgrade any more. Realistically you either replace them quite frequently or you upgrade the cranks. But, the way to think of that is that basically it’s a place they’ve saved money where it’s fairly easy to deal with it in the future, in order to make the most critical parts higher quality. If you’re going to have a duff part, you’d rather it be the cranks than the forks.

    Premier Icon daviduk
    Free Member

    Hmmm… so what have I been looking at over the past day or so?:

    Boardman MHT 8.6 1×10 £450 Slighty used
    Trek Marlin 5 21 speed 2020 £395 Brand new retail
    Carrera Subway 21 speed £140 Tidy
    Specialized Crosstrail 27 speed £180 Fair
    Boardman Comp 2×9 X7 £300 Excellent
    That Voodoo Aizan 2×9 £400 As new

    I’m probably looking at different types, yes? Still learning!

    Anyhow, one thing that strikes me is the move toward a single front gear and 9, 10, 11 gear rear cassette. I do recall the complexity of two shifters so quite like this, but there must be a better reason than that?

    So only the MHT 8.6 satisfies that requirement and has hydraulic discs, but I guess I should be after 29″ wheels too?

    Getting too fussy?

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