/ Accessing Munros by bike

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Kalna_kaza 12 Jul 2019

Having done 100 plus Munros I'm looking at buying a bike to cut down on the long walk ins. Mainly going to use it on estate and forestry tracks and possibly some easy single track / paths.

Initially I was thinking of a front suspension mountain bike with disk brakes but a friend said to consider a gravel bike. I'm looking to spend £400-£600. What would people recommend?

Siward 12 Jul 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

I'd get an old, but serviceable, hardtail mtb from ebay. Less worry about leaving it unattended for a couple of days. Save the cash for bikes you stay with.

Just my 2p of course but that's what I do. 

OwenM 12 Jul 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

I got a mountain bike with front suspension from Edinburgh co-op for around £700 for doing just this. Works really well.

Guy Hurst 12 Jul 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza: Some of the Boardman hardtail MTBs from Halfords are pretty good around that price point and would easily cope with what you describe, and a fair bit more. One of those from eBay (they crop up often, in good condition) would be ideal, and leave you a good amount of beer money.

Better than a gravel bike for that job, I'd say. The front suspension can save you a lot of grief on many Scottish hill tracks.

Post edited at 08:10
Rigid Raider 12 Jul 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

Yes a gravel bike is a fashionable toy but an ageing mountain bike is really all you need. Front suspension helps when you're on those tracks with rocks the size of cricket balls and disc brakes make a difference in wet muddy conditions. Look around and find a bike recycling scheme, there's one in Wigan that will certainly have something suitable at a bargain price: http://www.thebrick.org.uk/works/gearingup/

Flat pedals for walking boots and a cable lock are all you need. We used mountain bikes on Mount Keen and found them invaluable for the long treck in.

Mike-W-99 12 Jul 2019
In reply to Rigid Raider:

Yup,  nothing fancy required at all. I’ve a grunt suspension mtb that’s getting on a bit that’s just fine. Sometimes I just take my commuting bike with no suspension if I know the path is good.

Post edited at 12:27
Kalna_kaza 12 Jul 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

Thanks for the input everyone, I'll have a scout for some eBay bargains.

veteye 12 Jul 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

I use my old hybrid bike(~27 years old) which has no suspension, narrower Kevlar type tyres, and drop handle bars. The pedals have toe-clips, which I can still use with big boots(straps virtually undone).

I used this bike in May to get to the northern approach to Seanna Bhraigh. (Which I have to say was one of the best days out in the Munros, heading up the eastern ridge of the corrie, and down the western one.)

There may be places where front suspension is of great service, but the above route is mainly on estate gravelly roads, where the old bike is probably faster, due to less friction.

boriselbrus 13 Jul 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

Whereabouts are you based? Bike Station in Edinburgh and Perth do recycled bikes that would be suitable. 

TheseKnivesMan 02 Aug 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

Logging in for the first time in a few years!

I would recommend a MTB over a gravel bike without hesitation. Gravel bikes are cracking for zooming along estate tracks, but when the ground becomes rocky and bumpy  amodern hardtail (not necessarily and expensive one) will get you much further. 

In saying that though, during the February heatwave this year a good friend of mine and I ventured out to Carn a'chlamain on the bikes; him on his Whyte long travel hardtail and me on the gravel bike with the intention of riding up and down to the summit as much as possible (I thought the track was a lot smoother than it was!)

We both came a bit unstuck on the way up and ended up pushing a lot (me moreso as my gearing was way too stiff) but we actually both managed to ride all the way down from the top to the estate track. It's just he was about three times as quick as me and probably a lot less buckled by the end of it all. I still can't believe I didn't blow out my 38mm gravel tires. 

Graeme G 02 Aug 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

Hardtail MTB. Some tracks can be pretty rough and you’ll be glad of the extra capability over a gravel bike.

Go 2nd hand if you think that’ll get you a better deal. The frame is the most important thing. Everything else can be changed/upgraded later.

OwenM 02 Aug 2019
In reply to OwenM:

> I got a mountain bike with front suspension from Edinburgh co-op for around £700 for doing just this. Works really well.

I must be going daft in my old age, the bike was £300 not seven. More within your budget.

Sean Kelly 02 Aug 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

Wished I had used my bike much earlier on my round. Only cost me £30 but got me into some remote places. Ben Alder & An Scargoch for two. But I did trash my tyres on Lurg Mhor. And as has been said a cheap bike is less likely to be pinched, and makes for a speedy return journey.

Cog 02 Aug 2019
In reply to Sean Kelly:

>   And as has been said a cheap bike is less likely to be pinched.

Does that happen on remote hills?

Mike-W-99 02 Aug 2019
In reply to Cog:

I know someone who had theirs pinched in the southern cairngorms. Not remote and it was left in the carpark by whoever "borrowed" it.

Post edited at 20:06
Andrew Lodge 02 Aug 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

We used to do this a lot when we lived in Scotland many years ago, the bikes were early rigid mountain bikes but I would go for front suspension every time given the option.

We often found that we were hardly any quicker then the walkers going up the glen but certainly made up a lot of ground on the way out, we would find a landmark and just carry them a few yards off the track and lay them down in the heather. There was more chance of us not finding them than them being nicked.

Graeme G 02 Aug 2019
In reply to Cog:

> Does that happen on remote hills?

Cheap padlock through the rear wheel and frame. Sorted.

Kalna_kaza 03 Aug 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

Thanks everyone, I ended up getting a Cube Nature Pro through the cycle to work scheme which allowed me to get a decent bike for less. I've been using it a fair bit at home but can't wait for my next Munro trip.

Sean Kelly 03 Aug 2019
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

Yes I used to park my bike in the heather and note some nearby defining landmark for finding it on return. A cheap bike is OK for around town as I would park it outside a shop and know it was not worth nicking.


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