Someone talk to me about rebuilding or new tires...or something?
Until about three months ago, I was commuting and riding for pleasure a Wal-Mart mountain bike that my parents bought me in 1996 or 1997. Actually it was basically the frame and all the parts I'd replaced on it over the years. (I never had enough money to get a good bike, so I just upgraded parts here and there as I could.)
Well, It was getting to the point that a lot of the stuff needed to be repaired and/or replaced again and I was trying to decide if it was worth it to do that or just to buy something new...and then low and behold, my boss gave me a Giant Cypress DX. Here it is.
Now, this is a nice bike, but it's weird to me. It could be that I was used to riding a crappy bike that was too big for me for more than a decade. It could be that I'm used to some heft underneath me, instead of this new-fangled lightweight stuff. I don't know, but I've tried to spend some time getting acquainted with it over the past weeks.
I know for sure I need a new seatpost if I'm going to continue riding it because my legs are too long. I also need to put my old seat on it because this one is all fat and fluffy and I hate it. I'm wondering if I might like it better with a knobbier tire, like my old ones? (If they even make them that width.) I might just need a more...durable...bike. I'm used to going off and on curbs and pretty much riding through whatever I want and under any conditions I want.
Can anyone tell me about experiences with new bikes and how you modified them, if at all? Or perhaps I'm just crazy?
Hybrids definitely ride differently from mountain bikes. They're more road bike-ish with an upright riding position. Most people prefer them for commuting, but ladies-type frames don't take well to curb-jumping or rough off-roading, so I'm wondering if you'd be better off with a mountain bike that has Kenda K-Rad tires on it or something.
I use my cypress for urban riding and trips to the store. Not too much off road but I take shortcuts and some curb hopping. I have a mountain bike I use for winter and a road bike for road trips but I love my cypress.
Frame sizing is very important for a comfortable fit, if your legs are too long you may need to size up. A properly sized seat tube and comfortable seat should fit the preference of the rider. Aside from that i wouldnt do too much changing around of parts as knobbys will add a lot of drag to your ride on the road. But if you are looking into mountain bikes you would need to go into an entirely new category of bikes. I dont know anything about girls bikes though so i cant recomend you much there.
It looks like (to me) that your new bike would put you into a more upright position than most mountain bikes, maybe this is why you feel that something is wrong or lacking in comparison to your mountain bike.
I have found that my position in relation to the handlebars affects not only my comfort but my efficiency at pedaling the bike (especially when I want to go fast or ride uphill); when the handlebars are set lower than my seat I feel that I can "pull" against them (the handlebars) to get more force in my pedal strocks, but for my aging back's sake I have found (for 10+ mile rides at least) that setting the handlebars about level with the seat is a good compromise (my back doesn't feel stressed on long rides, but I still can "pull" against the handlebars with my arms to some degree to help in pedaling when I feel like putting some extra "umph" into my pedal strokes)
Maybe you like the riding position that you had on your mountain bike better than the new bike. You could alternate riding each one for a while and see if you can reach any conclusions...you said you needed a longer seatstem (you do need to get the seat up, or, like was mentioned, the too-short seatstem might be an indication that the frame is too small for you). You need your seat set to where you are getting proper leg extension when you pedal, this might make a gigantic difference in how you feel about the new bike...I'm a noob when it comes to upgrading so I don't know what your options are if you want to lower your handlebars (maybe replacing with flatbars?)...hope this helps
IMO, Giant took a big miss with the Cypress geometry.
Many women's specific bikes have a shorter top tube based upon the premise that more women have longer legs in proportion to torso than men. With the Cypress they took it a bit far. Even the women that tried it at our shop felt it was more than just a bit short. I couldn't tell you if it has improved for this year as we didn't buy any due to the fit issues.
Their women's MTBs however are nicely proportioned and very good values considering the price points and component specs. It sounds to me that an MTB would suit your riding style better in any case.