I had been in the market for a versatile bike for quite a while and was unable to find much that truly suited my needs until I stumbled across the Felt QX70.It really is a great all rounder with a very low price tag for the quality and spec that you are getting.
Here is a look at the latest model, full review follows on the next page:
Basically, I just wanted a bike that was capable of great performance on the trails and mountains but could also be used as a street bike, both for long distances and around town. I almost settled for just buying two bikes and switching them out when I needed each one. This is highly inconvenient though, as my cycling group will often go on week long trips where we do lots of road riding until we reach the mountains where we don’t hesitate to tackle the terrain before returning to the road again.
What caused me to write this Felt QX70 2013 review
Most people who know me, know I’m not the type of person who writes reviews very often, so the fact that I’m writing this review in the first place should say something all on it’s own.
When I first received the bike (very quick!), it looked nice enough, but I was still skeptical about its performance. I didn’t waste any time and immediately took it out on a long ride through some winding roads near my house where I had the opportunity to really kick it up into high gear. The bike rode smoothly and felt great. So far, so good.
Then I came across one of my favorite, yet toughest trails in my area. This trail has lots of hills and rugged terrain and is full of rocks. I rarely come across trails this tough even when I go out looking for them, so I figured there was no better place to test out the Felt QX70 2013.
To my surprise, the transition from road to trail was seamless. The absolute smoothness I experienced on the road was replaced with the gentle cushioning of the ample suspension as I traversed the mountainous terrain. After an hour in, I realized how great my hands and wrists felt – normally by this point they are throbbing in pain on this trail due to the rough terrain. As I hopped and maneuvered my way back down to the street after several hours of trail riding, the transition back was just as smooth as I expected.
Is the Felt QX70 2013 the best multi-purpose bike out there?
Yes and no. The Felt QX70 2013 is an amazing value and I would recommend it to most people without hesitation. That being said, if you are looking to spend $1,000+ on your new bike, there are better options available of course.
On the other hand, I am an avid rider that takes my hobby seriously, and I just can’t justify spending that much on a bicycle. Call me crazy, but I’m more than happy spending less than half that amount and getting the type of performance I’m getting from the Felt QX70 2013.
After several months of riding, I could’t imagine switching back to my old bike (which was way more expensive!). Two thumbs way up! For more information on felt bikes check out their website
Commuting by bicycle is getting more and more popular by the day. This upward trend is the most pronounced in our cities where a large section of commuters are time poor, cash sensitive and body conscious. The bike offers a way of killing three birds with one stone. Others though wouldn’t mind extra cash and time (who wouldn’t) but actually propelling a vehicle with their own energy leaves them breaking out in a sweat. Enter hybrid electric bikes.
These allow the commuter to pedal when he or she wants but when things are getting a little strenuous allow the battery to take over. A number of car makers have got in on the act with the likes of Audi, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz t to name but a few. Adding their big recognisable brand name to bicycles and more recently hybrid electric powered bicycles dubbed ‘ebikes.’
Peugeot have joined the ranks of their automotive counterparts with their Allure range and have just released a new addition, the AE21. It’s a compact hybrid electric bicycle which uses a lithium-ion battery cleverly integrated into the bike’s aluminium frame.
These hybrid bikes have yet to really make an impact on the commuter bike market. However the way fuel and transport costs are going they could make a really convenient alternative especially for short commutes. Stay tuned for the price of the AE21 which has yet to be announced.
Whatever patter they give you at the bike shop about ‘performance fabrics’ or the amazing comfort difference that you’ll notice – don’t believe it.
If you were Sir Chris Hoy or Victoria Pendleton, the use of a Lycra bodysuit might just shave precious seconds from your PB. But I guess you’re not. You are just a normal person who wants to ride their bike to work.
You’re an average Joe or Joanna. Dress like one. A pair of shorts – for ‘muscular ventilation’ – is probably about as technical as your fabrics need to go.
Just as it’s unnecessary to wear a £700 mountaineering jacket that could take you up the north face of the Eiger, for a stroll to the corner shop, the same goes for cycling.
Trendy. Yes. Especially in the eastern limits of our beloved capital city. But practical. Ha!
The freewheel – the device that allows you to rest your legs when your wheels are turning faster than the pedals – was a really good invention. No longer did you have to pointlessly churn the pedals whilst bombing downhill.
But here we are in 2012, and a collection of 21st century Luddites seem to be flooding back to these antiquated death traps. Okay, I can see the minimalist Scando look is quite tidy but just like those cool-looking Danish chairs that seem so tempting at the time, you’ll soon be hankering after something that actually does what you want it to.
But forget that. What about gears? Another great invention. On a fixie you’re in the wrong gear nearly the entire time. Unless you live in Holland. Which I know most of you don’t.
Everyone who rides a fixie says they wouldn’t go back. It’s all about being really ‘connected’ to the bike, apparently.
However, just about everyone else thinks you’re ridiculous for eschewing two of the greatest inventions in the history of cycling, for the sake of aesthetics. Don’t do it.
For some reason – no one likes a sweater. It’s human nature to perspire a little bit when doing exercise. Especially if you’re a big, hairy bloke.
But for some reason, should you arrive at the office with a film of sweat reflecting off your brow, all your colleagues give you a dirty look, as though you’ve just rung off a peal of nose-curling flatulence.
Some of those lucky, beautiful people simply don’t sweat. They cycle all the way to work fully dressed, jump of their bike, straight into their first meeting, not a hair loose, no exterior signs of exercise.
That’s how it should be done. [Sweat gland removal is not yet available on the NHS.]
Either join the smug, self-satisfied clique of cycle ponces, who like to spend their weekends discussing the relative pros and cons of Shimano spoke nipples or scooting around Hackney dressed like a mannequin from Sue Ryder. Or stay in the real world. Ride a bike. Treat it as a way of getting round. Don’t be a gimp.
At RideIn we are keen that cyclists are aware of the dangers and take all the proper safety precautions before heading out on the road. But there is also a lot of scaremongering putting the dangers of cycling out of perspective and crucially deterring people from getting on their bikes like we reported here in this cycle safety article.
With the following infographic commissioned by Osbournes Ltd they have clearly decided to lead on the shock factor leading with the figure ‘17,000 killed or injured every year.’ I wonder what injuries make up that figure? Sore toes? Sprained thumb?
Some really interesting statistics around the number of fatalities on rural roads and the safest places statistically to ride a bike. The advice on road position contained within the infographic is also one of many cycling behaviors we encourage and is also on our list of cycling safety tips. People should be aware of these dangers and take heed of the safety advice but understand that it is all relative and the ‘danger’ of never getting on a bike could be far greater!
To be frank getting the best hybrid bike under £300 in your typical high street retailer is going to be tough. Most of the hybrid bikes on the market now come in at a significantly higher price than £300.
If you are just going to own one bike – then we highly recommend hybrid bikes. They are the do anything machine – best for most cycle rides to work.
These versatile bicycles combine the best elements of mountain bikes and road bicycles. They are built with a similar frame geometry to a mountain bike, making them stable, but have lighter weight frame and wheels more like a road bike, making them across the tarmac.
What this means is you get a comfortable bike, easy to manoeuvre in town, which is light enough to get up speed quickly and not slow you down. To help you compare and find the best hybrid bike for you we have covered what you need to look for in a hybrid and linked through to reviews of our top five best hybrid bikes comparison.
Its 7 gears are plenty to take on any hills on your ride to work but very low maintenance, whilst a decent steel fork can soak up the bumps.
This bike is built as a town cruiser, so you’re sat up straight, able to balance easily and see what’s going on in the traffic.
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Gear type: Derailleur
Gear brand: Shimano
Brake type: V-brake
This is really the sit-up-and-beg bicycle for the 21st century. It’s got a really cool, retro feel with its laid back riding position and swept back 50s-style handlebars.
It may look old school but the Specialized Expedition Sport is a modern machine in many ways. With a simple Suntour suspension fork surprisingly good at soaking up the bumps, and 21 gears, it’s one for those who like a relaxed ride to work.
With rack mounts on the back, it would be easy to set up as a commuter bike.
Gear type: Derailleur
Gear brand: Shimano
Brake type: Caliper
The city topped a nationwide study of cycle routes and bike repair services, carried out on behalf of Virgin Money.
The research also looked at the number of cycling accidents in each location, as well as the level of bicycle theft.
Plymouth’s success was largely due to the low levels of bike crime and very few serious or fatal accidents.
The study found that the 10 most cycle-friendly towns and cities were:
Have you cycled in any of these places? Do you think they’re cycle friendly?
We all know there are many good reasons to cycle to work – from saving money and getting fit, to losing weight and reducing your carbon footprint – but riding your bicycle to work will also help you learn a few other useful things.
Here’s our top five – feel free to add your own below.
Traveling on public transport, it’s easy to lose track of where you’re going. Geting to work on the London Underground is a case in point. It’s amazing how many people don’t realise that Covent Garden and Leicester Square are only a 5-minute walk from each other.
Even if you take the bus or drive, you’re likely to stick to the main roads and have little idea about the rest of the town or city where you live.
As soon as you start riding your bike to work, especially if you seek out some quiet routes, you’ll learn how the different parts of your town or city link together.
With this new knowledge of where you live, you’ll also start to realise that public transport routes can’t take you everywhere, and often take you a really long way around. A journey that takes two buses and 45 minutes by bus, could actually only be a 15 minutes by bike.
If you are a traveling around London and have a fold up bike you can take it on any tube at any time. If you are on a normal bike you cannot take it on the tube between 0730 and 0930 or between 1600 and 1900 and outside of that only on particular tube lines. For detail on tubes you can take it on check the following page: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/bicycle-tube-map.pdf. Taking a bike onto a bus is entirely down to the driver.
For those living in towns and cities, cycling to work will often take you away from the main roads, perhaps on to a towpath or a bicycle track.
You’ll discover that there are actually plenty of pockets of nature thriving in the urban landscape. It’ll brighten up your morning hearing the sound of birdsong or spotting a local fox on his way to bed.
When traveling by car or public transport, the weather doesn’t matter so much. For most of your journey to work, you’ll be heated and under cover. On the other hand, by bicycle you have to consider what to wear to suit the weather which means you’ll become much more aware of its patterns.
You’ll soon realise how to interpret the weather forecast. A rain cloud doesn’t mean you’ll get wet cycling to work – it just means that there is a bit of rain at some point that day. You’ll be unlucky if you get caught in it.
If you pay attention, you’ll soon be able to have a decent guess at the weather from a glance up at the sky.
Not only will regularly riding your bicycle to work help to get you fit, it will also teach you a lot about your body and how far you can push it.
When you first start cycling, you need to take it relatively easy, but as your body adapts to the increased levels of exercise, you’ll start to feel how far you can go.
On some energetic days you’ll want to cycle to work and back, and maybe even add an extra loop on for good measure. While on others you might be feeling tired, so leave you bike locked up at work and get the bus home.
To really enjoy your cycle to work, it’s important to tune into your body’s signals. A tired cyclist isn’t usually a happy one. So pay attention to when you need to rest.
One way to improve your performance in many sports is learning to breath efficiently, and cycling is no different.
Avoid gasping and over-breathing. Inhaling through your nose and out through your mouth helps to keep breathing regular and ensures you don’t take in too much air. Unless your sprinting or taking on a really tough climb, you shouldn’t need to breath in through your mouth at all.
Likewise, it’s really important to breath deep, rounded breaths. This will ensure that you take up as much oxygen as possible when inhaling, and jettison all the carbon dioxide in your exhale. Breathing sharply is much less efficient.
For those just starting out, this can seem quite difficult and awkward but it’s worth persevering as this will really help you get the most out of cycling in the long-term.
In the wake of the Times’ Cities Safe for Cycling campaign, there has been little filling the newspapers and bouncing around the corridors of social media than talk of cycling danger. Rather than encourage more people to get out on their bikes – presumably one of the long-term goals of the Times’ campaign – it has done plenty to reinforce the image of cycling as a daring exploit, only undertaken by the truly mad, bad or dangerous to know. Things got even worse when David Cameron decided to describe cycling UK city roads as “taking your life into your hands.” That’s the same David Cameron who thought that cycling into Parliament was a great photo call back in 2006. Likewise, the tagline “Save our Cyclists”, mimicking the sailor’s distress call is evocative, but unlikely to make wavering would-be-cyclists go out and buy a bike. The campaign was conceived as a result of the serious injury to Times’ journalist, Mary Bowers, so the emphasis on safety is understandable. But surely the overall point is to help more people ride bikes? But exactly how dangerous is cycling on the roads of the UK?
As with anything subject – anecdotal evidence abounds. Everyone knows someone who has had an accident on a bicycle, therefore it must be dangerous. Likewise, most of us will know someone who has had an accident in a car but for some reason we are more likely to move on and accept that as an unfortunate fact of life, unlike cycling accidents. Many campaigners and commentators have come out in the past few weeks, indignant about the cycle safety situation on the nation’s roads, citing first-hand experience to back themselves up. However, to get an unbiased, bird’s eye view of the situation we should turn to the not so compelling, less than glamorous, but sound and increasingly consistent body of research.
The other day I read a letter in the Metro in which the writer voiced his opinion that anyone who took greater risks should pay more for the NHS. He gave examples of the obese, habitual drunks and even skiers. I wondered if he thought cyclists should be included on that list. So, how does cycling compare with other activities that we take part in regularly, without a second thought for safety? A UK study, admittedly based on data collected in the 1980s, shows that those taking part in tennis or football were statistically more likely to die than people riding bikes. Even more hazardous was swimming, shown to be seven times more likely to result in an untimely death. With the increases in road traffic since the 80s, cycling may have become a bit more dangerous but it is unlikely to be the daring, “life in your hands” pursuit depicted by the Prime Minister. A similar study in the more car-orientated US, this time based on information collected in the 1990s, looked at the risk of death across a range of activities per million hours. So, this took into account the fact that people usually spend a lot more time in a car than riding a bike. Once again swimming turned out to be a more deadly activity, as did traveling by car. Frequent flyers can relax though, as going in a plane was safe by comparison. So, cycling may not be quite as dangerous as we perceive.
The other great cycle safety debate hinges around whether riders should wear a helmet. In the UK we have gone from the 80s, when barely anyone wore a helmet (who remembers the Tuff Top?), to today where, at a guess, at least 50% of cyclists are wearing head protection. Common sense and some robust research have shown that, in the event of hitting your head, a cycle helmet offers you protection. Of course – a helmet is better than nothing. But we have to remember what cycle helmets were designed for. In order to comply with safety standards in the UK, helmets must be protective in the event of a vertical fall from one metre on to tarmac. They are designed for falling of a bike. Full stop. Nothing else. They make no claims to be effective in collisions with cars. So every time a newspaper concludes a report of a road accident involving a bike with the phrase “the cyclist was not wearing a helmet” it enforces the misconception that a helmet may have helped.
Another reason that helmets may not be the safety panacea they have often been painted is that wearing one also changes other people’s behaviour towards you – particularly drivers’. A 2006 study from the University of Bath demonstrated that when a cyclist wears a helmet, drivers are more likely pass within one metre of them, increasing the chances of a collision. The study only collected information on one cyclist around the Bath area (although it included data on the interactions with more than 2,000 vehicles) but it does suggest that the case for wearing a helmet is not so clear cut.
Adding to the ambiguity are larger pieces of research looking at the bigger picture. A 2006 review, published in the British Medical Journal, examined data cycle accidents in regions in Australia, New Zealand and Canada where helmet use had been made compulsory. The research found that while helmet use had increased massively, as you’d expect, the legislation had no effect on the number of bicycle accidents which resulted in a head injury. Helmets alone, in the event of a low speed collision, have been proven to give your head greater protection. So the overall picture must be more complicated. Another often cited theory is that cyclist who wear helmets, feeling more secure and confident with their protective headgear, are more prone to taking risks. However, there appears to be no solid research that proves this either way.
In response to the spotlight on cycle safety, several politicians have raised the issue of a law to enforce the use of cycle helmets in the UK. Even before the current focus on cycling, the WI had been considering adopting the promotion of a helmet use law as the centrepiece of their campaigning for the coming year. Let’s hope they take a close look at the research before pressing ahead. So, to sum up – bicycle helmets protect your head in the right situation but their use may change the behaviour of drivers, and possibly cyclists, cancelling out their beneficial effects. Not to mention discouraging large numbers of people from cycling, be it through perceiving it as dangerous or not wanting to mess up their hair. There’s no experimental data on the latter but I think I have all the anecdotal evidence I need.
The current discussion around cycle safety is healthy, especially considering that cycling has been shown to be much more dangerous in the UK than in many countries on the continent, but it has to be considered in context. It’s also more dangerous to drive in the UK than it is in Malta or Iceland but we are not thinking of importing road traffic policy wholesale from those countries. As well as a focus on safety and investment in infrastructure, what cycling really needs is to shake off its dangerous image. People need to see all the positives in cycling – and there are many. It keeps you fit and healthy. It helps you loose weight. It’s better for the environment. It’s cheap. It’s convenient. And, above all, it’s fun. Children are a pretty good barometer of what is fun – and kids love their bikes. The feeling of balancing with the wind in your hair might lose its thrill a little as the years go by, but who doesn’t love whizzing down a hill and maybe jumping neatly off the curb? The parliamentary debate on 22nd February did touch on “the joy of cycling” but this was framed within a much larger, gloomy, safety-focused debate.
Convincing people that cycling is fun and safe will serve to encourage more people to get cycling – a key ingredient for making riding bikes safer on our roads. An international research study found that as the numbers of cyclists on the road increases, the likelihood that they will be involved in an accident decreases. This is not only due to their being fewer cars on the road – drivers’ attitudes and behaviour change as they see more cyclists around. This has already been shown to be the case in the UK. In the decade following the 1973 oil crisis cycle traffic increased by 70%, while over the same period the fatality rate per cyclist fell 50%. It’s the critical mass argument in practice. Cycling becomes normalised, people begin to believe that cyclists have a right to be on the road, not just cars. At the moment cyclists are an annoying minority to most motorists. Irrelevant at best. Sheer volume will change attitudes but that won’t happen without more people taking up cycling. More cyclists will mean that more drivers are also cyclists and vice versa which will increase understanding on the roads. And experience is really a very powerful tool. Many HGV and bus drivers are now being asked to take cycling awareness training which involves getting on a bike and cycling in traffic with an instructor. Having first-hand experience of what it feels like to have a lorry a few metres behind you, revving its engine, with traffic trying to squeeze past, can really hit home.
I am not afraid of cycling and have happily cycled to and from work in London, Bristol and several other cities over the years, often along busy roads. But, the thing is I grew up in a small village riding bikes all day every day. I am at ease, comfortable and balance on a bike – and I had a lot of opportunity as a child in a safe environment to get that experience. That’s not to say I haven’t had a few falls. A couple of months ago I w as on my way to the train station and a cyclist came unexpectedly around a blind corner, I misjudged a curb and went flying over the handlebars. Any injuries? Not even a graze I was surprised to find. A look across the press in recent days would give you the impression – especially if you had never ridden a bike – that every cycle accident was fatal. Far from it, more than 8 out of 10 cycle accidents end with only very minor injuries – a few cuts and bruises. Unfortunately, not everyone grows up with the opportunity to cycle as much as I did.
A review of interventions to promote cycling, carried out by the Institute of Education, found that campaigns that promoted cycling as a healthy and convenient method of transport, alongside infrastructure improvements, were the most likely to be successful in boosting cycling numbers. Even if they choose not to cycle, most people understand that riding a bike i s a healthy pastime. But not so many really appreciate how convenient it can be. A journey that would take an hour on two buses with a change in the middle becomes a 15 minute bike ride. You can turn the walk to the local shop from a 20-minute round trip to five minutes, there and back. The problem is that these benefits are not obvious until you have got used to riding a bike and learn your way around your local area. The review of campaigns to get people cycling also discovered the improving infrastructure was particularly important for encouraging children to take up cycling. This ties in with the fact that one the key fears parents have for their children is safety – so traffic free path means they will allow their children to cycle. This is great news, as today’s cycling children will be the adults who ride to work in the future.
As well as improving infrastructure, cycling lessons are surely a key way to build people’s confidence and the likelihood they will integrate cycling into their daily lives. We used to call it cycling proficiency when I was at school, now it’s Bikeability, but it amounts to the same thing – giving young people confidence on bikes and helping them learn the rules of the road. It’s great that you can even do these as an adult these days – so it’s not too late for anyone. Not only should the Government be encouraging and funding schemes like this, but private companies that can afford it should consider putting this in alongside a Cycle to Work Scheme. Parents too need to take responsibility by allowing and accompanying their children on their bikes. I have no research to support it, but I’ll bet the child of a cyclist is far more likely to become a regular cyclist themselves. As well as getting people to perceive cycling as safe, it would also help if it was considered as a bit cooler. It’s got a lot more mainstream in the past few years – thanks to huge efforts by campaign groups, some top British athletes endorsing cycle training and some trendy single speeds – but it still hasn’t quite lost the sweaty Lycra badge. Why can’t we all effortlessly cycle around in our normal clothes as they seem to manage so well in Amsterdam? Surely it can‘t all be down to the hills.
If you’re afraid of cycling, remember it’s really not that bad. If you aren’t out riding a bicycle because you are scared of having a fatal accident, then you should also consider giving up tennis and football too (but golf‘s OK). Walking down the street and driving in France are also out. When you look into the odds it starts to seem like an irrational fear. Don’t get me wrong, there are some dangerous sports out there where the risks are a lot higher than everyday life – base jumping, for example – but cycling is so within the bounds of everyday risk levels that it’s crazy to dismiss it. So get on your bike, get fit, save money and above all have some fun and stop worrying.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Got another point of view?
Please leave a comment below.