- 16″ frame – ideal for shorter guys or older kids
- Does the job
- £110 delivered – absolute bargain
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At the beginning of May 2019, my workplace relocated to around 3.5 miles away from my home – their old premises was a convenient stones-throw away from my home.
I used to walk to work as it was so close but I knew that would no longer be feasible after the relocation so I had two choices; buy a car or a buy a bike.
After much deliberation, I decided to get a bike. Nothing fancy, just something that would get me from A to B quickly and reliably.
It would have the added benefit of helping me to keep in shape and I would reassess my options after the Summer months when the weather begins to get colder.
As the route I would be taking involved both on-road and off-road terrain, I wanted a mountain bike rather than a road bike and in the end I plumped for the Arden Trail Mountain Bike that I found on Amazon.
Why I chose this bike
I spent a few evenings searching the Internet for deals on mountain bikes.
My primary buying criteria were that it should be relatively cheap because:
- I may still get a car in a few months so didn’t want to spend loads on a bike that I may only use for a few months
- It would be less likely to be stolen
- I wouldn’t worry so much about the paint getting chipped, it getting dirty etc.
and ideally, it should have a smaller frame but still be a man’s bike – I’m only five foot five and three quarter inches (yes, us short blokes count every quarter inch!)
And, of course, I wanted the bike to be reliable and not fall apart after a few journeys so I looked for something that already had a number of user reviews.
The Arden Trail Mountain Bike seemed to fit the bill perfectly – it had the smaller 16″ frame, had some good reviews (a few bad ones, too so there was still a bit of risk) and was only £110.
So I ordered it on the 22 May and paid an extra few quid for next-day delivery so it arrived on the 23 May.
Putting it all together
As the bike was delivered by courier, it arrived boxed and required some assembly. For this task, a set of allen keys/hex keys and an adjustable spanner were needed.
I wouldn’t call myself an expert bicycle technician but I’m pretty proficient at working out mechanical stuff. The instructions weren’t great but the weren’t crap either.
After removing all the packaging (scissors were needed), I was left with the frame (with rear wheel attached), the seat, the handlebars and the front wheel.
First to be attached was the seat, followed by the handlebars. When putting the handlebars on, it is important to make sure that the forks are the right way around. The frame arrived with the forks the wrong way around and needed to be rotated 180 degrees. They should point towards the front of the bike and the breaks should also be in front of the forks like in the pic below:
I’m ashamed to admit that I’d finished building the bike up and almost finished tweaking the brakes before I realised that the forks were the wrong way around and had to disassemble and start again!
Last thing to attach is the front wheel. I had to loosen the front brake cable and remove one of the brake pads to get the wheel on correctly. Then it was a b*tch to get the pad back on again but I got there in the end!
After putting it all together, a few adjustments were needed. The front brakes needed tweaking so that they were tight enough to do an emergency stop but didn’t rub against the wheel rim. It took about half an hour of adjusting the settings until they were working the way I wanted. It takes a little patience or someone that knows what they’re doing.
The rear brakes needed a lot less work and were ready in about five minutes.
Finally, the tyres needed pumping up a bit before it could be used.
I’ve had the bike about 6 weeks now and have been using it to get to and from work for about 5 weeks.
My route is about 5km/3 miles each way and the terrain is both roads and country paths. Due to our rainy June, I’ve travelled in both wet and dry whether, through rain, mud and dust. There is one medium incline on the way there (and obviously a medium decline on the way home) but it is mainly flat.
And, so far, the bike has been brilliant. I haven’t had a single issue. It does exactly what it is supposed to without fuss or bother.
Would I recommend this bike? Yes I would!
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Thanks for reading.