OMG New bike, question mark?

The last thing I need is a new bike. I have four at the moment, in reverse order of purchase (follow the links for pics):

  1. a Bob Jackson Vigorelli fixed-gear 631 steel track bike, which has become my main commuter steed (2009);
  2. a Focus Cayo Expert full-on carbon race bike (2008)
  3. a Trek 1200 aluminium race bike, which was my good bike before the Focus (2005)
  4. A Holdsworth 531 steel road bike, bought when I was still at school (1989)

However, I also can’t turn down a good bargain, and as I can take advantage of a) the Cycle to Work scheme, which gives me almost 50% off a bike for commuting*, b) Wiggle accept Cycle to Work payments on discounted bikes, and c) it’s sale time.

I’d like to do more bike touring, and was umming and aahing about whether a dedicated touring bike should be my first priority, and then I realised – the Holdsworth is a big, sturdy beast of a bike (there are a dozen or so photos of it on my Flickr “bikes” set) to which I could attach all manner of racks, panniers and the like. Not 0nly that, but making it roadworthy and touring friendly will give me a much-needed project on which I can practise my currently extremely limited fettling skills. Perfect!

So, the only hole in my vélownership is a mountain bike. And, handily, Focus do them, Wiggle sells them, and two models are heavily discounted:

  1. the Focus Northern Light 2009 – very affordable (only about £300 with C2W), solid, decent spec, a good starter machine, and appears to come in the perfect size for me.
  2. the Focus Raven 2009 – still only £550-ish with C2W (because, insidiously, the more you spend, the more you save), with a carbon frame and an excellent spec. And, more importantly, I think it’s FAR prettier. The one potential issue, though, is that the Large size – of which, as I type, there is only one available – may be a bit too large for me (a problem I’ve had with my last two road bikes), while the Medium may be too small – although I have been advised to “buy small” when considering MTBs. So even if I do go for this one, which size to get… (you can check the spec here – click on “description” for sizing info. I am 6′ and 34″ inside leg)

So, before I make a horrible mistake, I urge any readers with bike savvy (especially MTB nous) to comment on this post and give me the benefit of their advice. Thank you!

*(theoretically)

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