March 26, 2009 12:39 PM   Subscribe

I have a beautiful, but not roadworthy, 1980 Raleigh Caprice. Now the evenings are lighter, I have the opportunity to purchase a new bike through my work's Cyclescheme and get myself both fit and cycling at a competent level. Help a new cyclist decide on a bike!

SO is suggesting a bike like this , but I fancy something like my Caprice, like the ones at Bobbins or a Pashley Princess. As I only learned to cycle last year, I'll be cycling near my home and in the park for now, not cross-country, and I much prefer a drop-tube frame.
posted by mippy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Why not get your Caprice reconditioned? It's gorgeous. And, that will more than likely be cheaper than a new bike.
posted by infodiva at 1:49 PM on March 26, 2009

Take a look at Bikes for the rest of us.
posted by bdc34 at 2:06 PM on March 26, 2009

Is the Caprice that you linked your actual bike? It looks like its in fantastic condition.

Your specialized link just goes to their flash intro page.

The Bobbins bikes look fantastic. I'm a little curious what you mean by "cycling at a competent level." Before we can start giving suggestions, a few more questions:

How far are you planning to ride at a time?
Will you be commuting?
What sort of clothes do you plan to be wearing when you ride?
Will you be riding mostly in traffic?
How fast do you want to go?
Multiple gears (faster, easier on the legs) or just one (more durable, harder to ride)
posted by craven_morhead at 2:09 PM on March 26, 2009

The Caprice is likely nice (probably still Nottingham-made at that age), but will have 1980s brakes likely on steel rims. In the dry with good setup, they'll give gentle deceleration, but in the wet will hardly stop you at all. It also might have 26 x 1 3/8" tyres, which are harder to get than other sizes.

Pashleys are gorgeous. The Bobbins look okay, but I'm suspicious of the lack of front brake. I very much like my Batavus Crescendo - a very civilized bike indeed.
posted by scruss at 2:30 PM on March 26, 2009

That Caprice is one sexy bike. However, scruss is right about the limitations of those old 3-speeds. I have a 1980 Raleigh Sports with its original steel rims and it's not a bike I'd really want to take out in the rain or in heavy traffic. That said, my commute to campus is mostly suburban and not too hilly. If you need a more versatile bike you can have alloy rims and new brakes put on.
posted by thisjax at 6:44 PM on March 26, 2009

Response by poster: That's not my Caprice - mine is in decent enough nick with a few rust spots, but the mechanics need attention.

OK - I want to ride about 1.5 miles or fewer. It will be for leisure cycling until I have enough practise to make it up to the tube station in medium traffic.

I would rather ride in normal clothing. I don't want to go hugely fast, about as fast as a bus. I only learned to ride a bike six months ago, so am quite clueless.

scruss - it is brakes which are the problem. I could get them looked at but SO, a big cyclist, is dubious that it can be got up to scratch. It rattles when I ride so needs a reconditioning. Pashleys look very similar to the bike I have now, in style and frame.
posted by mippy at 5:40 AM on March 27, 2009

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