I bought this bike as I wanted to get back into cycling after nearly 25 years and not spend a fortune. I have to say it's a pretty good buy. A cheap bike is usually a sign of poor construction and general dodgyness but as it had Raleigh's name to it and had Shimano gears I took the chance.
It comes in a large cardboard box in several pieces which require assembly. It's a doddle to put together. The seat needs putting on, the handlebars as well plus the front wheel and pedals (which come with L and R markings). There is an allen key and a rudimentary spanner for installing these so no worry if you haven't got tools to hand. The included instructions show how to put it together and they also go into detail on things like brakes and the gears. It also comes with a little bell for alerting dozy pedestrians.
Before riding for the first time you will have to:
- Grease the chain and gears (any lube from a bike shop will do)
- Pump up the tyres to 40-65psi (they're not flat but they're not at correct pressure and you will notice that if you try and cycle any distance)
- Adjust the brakes so the wheels turn freely
- Possibly adjust the gears
- I also had to deflate the rear tyre and pop it off the wheel as the valve was coming out at an angle, making it impossible to put a pump on but having said that the tyre is dead easy to get off and on again
I've ridden around 20 miles on it so far and it's behaved itself pretty much. The method of gear change is by a rubberised twist grip which is OK but not perfect, there might be a bit of clanking as it changes, make sure you twist the grip on the left to the actual number and not the clicks in between. Braking is good, you might get the odd squeak but it's firm in application. Beware if turning the bike upside down on hard surfaces as the plastic on the gear selectors can scratch easily, as I found out.
It has some handy holes for screwing in an air pump/drink carrier, a stand and other accessories. Mudguards can also be fitted and there was enough room on the handlebars to add a cycling computer to get distance/speed etc.
All in all I'm happy with it. I'd recommend it as a starter bike if you're just getting into cycling again. You haven't spent too much and you can upgrade to a better model in the future if you decide it's for you. Also good if you just want a basic bike for local use/commuting that isn't going to break the bank or give you sleepless nights if it gets nicked. It's not perfect but you could do a lot worse for a touch over 80 quid.