My Carrera Subway 8

I had my Carrera Subway 8 serviced this week, I’ve done over 2,000 miles on it in the last 8 months and I’m fairly pleased with it.  It cost me £280 and in the time since purchasing it I could easily spent twice that much commuting to work on the tram.
The major disappointment has been the tyres which were clearly not up to the rigours of the mean streets of Salford.  The tyres fitted as standard were Continental Sports Contact and being Continental tyres I thought they would be decent but I had punctures to both front and rear within 4 months.   I knew removing the wheels would be complicated so as soon as punctures had to be repaired I replaced them with Schwalbe Marathon Plus that had served me well on my previous bike. As expected I’ve had no punctures since, and according to the Bicycle Doctor it is also the preferred tyre of the Greater Manchester Police.
Replacing tyres is tricky because the bike has both drum brakes and in hub gears. Drum brakes are quite different to standard block brakes or disk brakes and probably not as effective.  There are heat-sinks to dissipate the heat generated by them, I’ve read that people have had problems when braking continuously down long descents but I tend to use my brakes quite infrequently so that doesn’t bother me.  Their appeal to me is the fact that they are enclosed safe from the dirt and the elements so performance does not degrade as much in the wet and also they don’t need as much day to day attention.
The in-hub Shimano Nexus 8 gears are maintenance free in a sealed unit that you don’t even oil. The changes are good as long as the tension is correct in the gear cable and I’ve found jumping up and down multiple gears as easy as shifting single gears.  The 8 speed is supposed to be equivalent to a standard 21 speed bike but I’ve lost a couple of useful top end cogs that I used on my 24 speed Claude Butler. 5th is the direct gear where no ratio is applied and the one that you should spend most time in.  Since I use 6th gear more than any other maybe I just need a bigger crank and that would also give my top end cruising speed again.
Most of the reviews seem to say good bike and great value (even at £350 that it used to be) but it’s let down by the Halfords level of service.  The store I bought my bike from has 4 mechanics at it and only one seems to be prepared to touch the bike because it is a little unconventional.  When Michael first serviced the bike after 6 weeks he said the chain had stretched and would need to be replaced in the next 6 months along with the rear cog but when I took it in last week he decided that the chain could be replaced in isolation (he obviously didn’t want to disturb the rear hub either).  I took a maintenance contract with them but the check sheet wasn’t completed so I don’t know what they did, I suspect they only did what I specifically asked to be done and I also had to ask them to further tighten the rear wheel as it had previously worked itself loose when I had removed it.
I like the feel of the bike, it seems sturdy and not too uncomfortable although I wouldn’t like to spend more than 2 hours in the saddle, the Claude Butler Legend was more comfortable but was also more twitchy at low speed.
Overall I’d recommend any bike with a Nexus 8 hub for maintence free commuting, not necessarily the Halfords Carrera model but then at £280 earlier this year it was at a price that couldn’t be beat. 

About holmesinho

Happily married father of 2 living in Prestwich 5 miles north of Manchester, England. I cycle most days though mostly commuting and also enjoy running and triathlon.
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5 Responses to My Carrera Subway 8

  1. sid says:

    Sounds good to me –Ive just bought a Subway 8 -It feels ok and SooooSmooooth -No complaints Yet–Im Happy-.Its Quality.

  2. gene says:

    I have to say that in the cold climate, we have here ,I’ve had bother with the hub gear subway ,they seemed to stick ,this led to me having to have the hub gears replace at £78 ,One year later the same problem only to be told that the back wheel needed to be replace at the cost of £250 ,the bike it self was fine, it give problems in cold weather, hub gears are not suitable in the frost they stick.

  3. holmesinho says:

    Yeah if you see a later post on this blog you’ll see it failed for me too and after a particularly cold winter if I remember rightly. I lost use of a few gears after being blown off the bike but when it failed completely the inside of the hub was rusty and beyond economic repair. I passed the bike on to someone turned it into a single speed which is what I should have done considering a bought a single speed earlier this year.

  4. Steve says:

    Can you tell me what size Schwalbe Marathon Plus you fitted to you subway 8 please? The Continental are 26 x 1.6 but I cant find a match with the Schwalbe. I have the Marathon Plus on my bike and agree that they really good. My daughter wants some extra grip on the subway 8.

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