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  1. #1
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    1st bike -- Giant Boulder SE vs. Specialized Globe Carmel vs. Trek Navigator

    Hi All --

    First post, about my first bike (at least my first one in 20 years). I am 48 years old, weigh about 380, and am 5'11 with a 30-inch inseam. As a gift to ourselves for our upcoming 20-year wedding anniversary and to start losing weight, my wife and I are buying bikes. We plan to ride primarily on hard-surface roads for short distances (a 10-mile ride would be a big deal for us at this point) but might work up to longer distances if we started getting in better shape. My wife is going to have to get a coasting bike with an auto transmission because she has problems with her fingers and can't brake/shift with her hands. She is 5'4, about 160 lbs. We're looking at getting a Trek Lime or a Giant Suede; she rode a Schwinn Collegiate with the auto-trans and was never able to feel it shift at all.

    We have a number of LBS' in the area (far NW suburban Chicago) but every place I visit gives me a different suggestion. One shop says because of my weight I should get a MTB (the Giant Boulder, $380) and replace the knobby tires with street tires. When I test-rode this bike it felt very strong and I liked the less-upright riding position, but I was winded within a 1/4 mile of riding (admittedly, I am totally out of shape).

    Another shop suggested the Specialized Globe ($399) and told me I didn't need to worry about a heavy frame or bigger tires -- I just needed to make sure that the tires were fully inflated every time I rode. I tried this bike out and it was easier to ride, and I liked the rotary shifters as opposed to the thumb-bar shifters on the Giant. But I worry whether the wheels and narrower tires are strong enough and even after riding it a couple of blocks the saddle was pinching my "neutral zone."

    The third shop I visited suggested the Trek Navigator ($390). It was raining and I haven't been back to ride it yet, but I liked the look of the bike and the Bontrager tires seemed stronger than the tires on the Specialized. But a 4th shop farther away that I was corresponding with via e-mail claimed that Treks are much cheaper bikes than Specializeds (they're a Specialized dealer -- big surprise).

    I am very confused over the whole MTB/Comfort/Hybrid thing, and every LBS wants to sell me the bike they have, not necessarily the one I need. I can't afford to spend more than $400 or so on a bike, and I certainly can't spend $1,000 to get special wheels, rims, etc. I want a bike that is strongly built but one that is going to encourage me to want to ride more, not one that tires me out every time I get on. To be honest, if the bike gives me too much of a workout I am not going to want to take it out of the garage. Any advice from my fellow Clydesdales (love that term) would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member moose67's Avatar
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    The right bike

    I was in a similar situation as your. I'm a little bit taller and at least 70lbs heavier. I had searched around the forums and talked to a lot of people here asking questions about frames and wheels. Everyone said make sure the wheels are strong. I looked at the Specialized Hardrock because of a lot of comments on them for larger riders. I went to my LBS and had a terrific conversation with the owner. He explained first off that the Hardrock was a great bike but it didn't have double wall wheels. This was important. I tried several Hardrocks that did have the right wheels but my problem is that I'm long waisted and even on the largest Hardrock frame I felt like I was over the top of the handle bars. At Tim's suggestion he said I should try the Globe Carmel 3. The only one in the store that day was a 700 and was a little tall for me. He had a 26" that they were putting together and called me the next week to try out. This bike was great. It has the slightly raked seat post for more of a comfort ride. The frame is substantial and the wheels and tires are great. Yes make sure you keep good air pressure in the tires. Mine go from 60-80psi. I understand your price concerns as were mine two years ago when I started this: http://quadrecumbent.blogspot.com/ If I had put the money into a better bike then I would be farther along. I've had my bike a few weeks and have already seen an improvement in my riding. The price on the Carmel 3 26 is about $550. The great thing about the 3 is the 24 speed gears. Being as out of shape as I am it's been great going up the hills and excellent going down that I can keeps pedaling to keep the movement up. Whatever your choice just ride. I've been averaging 2 miles a day riding and increasing every chance I get. Out of the past 10 days I have ridden 9 and hoping to keep going. Word of caution. Start off on short rides for the first couple of weeks. My second ride (first was maybe a mile) I did 3.22 miles on a hilly bike trail and it liked to killed me. I was exhausted and my rear was aching. There's an article on a web page that I can't remember about getting your body use to sitting on the bike seat. It recommends making short rides for the first couple of weeks to allow your body to get accustom to the seat. I'm no expert by any means and my comments are just my experience. Before when I was riding my creation I felt great after I had been riding awhile. I feel great now. I'm hoping to be able to push my rides to 4 miles next week. I did 2.87 tonight and even though I was tired it was a good tired.
    Keep on pedaling.....
    Specialized Carmel 3 26
    'A thought that often makes me hazy, is it I or the others that are crazy?'

  3. #3
    Neil_B
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    I'm apologizing in advance, because some people think I'm brusque when I cut to the chase.

    - Avoid the dealer that told you that Treks are 'cheaper bikes' than Specialized. Both companies, and many others, make good bikes.

    - All three bikes are good choices. The saddles can be changed on any of them. The Navigator is a very comfortable ride, but the downside is that it's a very heavy bike. It's not designed to go fast. The other two are less cruiser-like, so they will feel faster.

    - If you are as out of shape as you say, it's probably not the bike and saddle's fault you have some discomfort. Keep in mind a reputable shop will fit the bike to you; all sorts of adjustments can be made for your comfort. As an example, I have a raised stem and pedal extenders on my bikes.

    - Your comfort and performance on the bike will improve as you ride more. It's amazing how quickly your strength and stamina will improve.

    - And finally, when you get the bike, posting pictures is a requirement.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    You're not brusque, and I appreciate your post and Moose's.

    I agree that a lot of my discomfort is due to my size and being out of shape. I can't expect to get on a bike for the first time in 20 years and expect any bike to feel great. As I read more about how MTBs require more effort than hybrid/comfort bikes, I understand why it was harder to push the Giant than it was the Specialized; I'm also thinking I might have been riding up a slight incline that I didn't notice at the time. I'll try the Trek the next time I get over to that LBS and see how it compares. All three of the shops I've been to are located next to paved trails so that's helpful for comparison purposes. I'm thinking it will be quite a while before I would start riding on anything other than pavement.

    I like Moose's suggestion about the Specialized Carmel 3. It's more than I wanted to spend but it has double-walled rims, which I probably should have. Anybody know if there are slightly cheaper bikes with the stronger wheels/rims, or are they only found on the higher-end bikes?

    I promise to post pics when I get a bike.

  5. #5
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    I know what you mean about the discomfort issue. I have just started riding a bike this past month after a 12 year absence. My very first ride made me realize just how out of shape I am. I rode a full suspension MTB on paved roads just 2 miles, and I was sweating like a (insert animal of your choice here) and feeling pain in places I had forgotten about. I have since bought a cheap Mongoose full suspension MTB at Walmart to ride for myself, but am already looking to upgrade to a lighter bike with better components, because I want to increase my riding times, and distances, and keep the bike for a long time.

  6. #6
    Lone Star Tex_Arcana's Avatar
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    Just my $.002. If you intend to just ride on smooth pavement you just might want to nix the suspension. It will actually cause more problems for you with minimal benefit.
    Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

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  7. #7
    Senior Member moose67's Avatar
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    The one thing about my Carmel 3 that I wasn't sure about was the front suspension and the suspension seat post. To my surprise they have worked well except for the seat post. To get the proper leg extension I've had to raise the seat which normally isn't a problem but the fact it compresses does. I know I can raise it but I'm short legged and it could get up there a ways. My first ride was on April 1st and I did about a mile. The next ride I did 3.22 miles and was way too long and hilly. I've been slowly trying to increase my ride and find level areas to ride. Let's face it. I'm fighting physics as much as being out of shape when I hit the hills. Tonight I did 4.05 miles. I was tired but felt great. Find what works for you and enjoy it.
    Specialized Carmel 3 26
    'A thought that often makes me hazy, is it I or the others that are crazy?'

  8. #8
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    In my case, I returned the MTB to Wal-Mart and got a comfort bike. I ended up with the KHS TC-150, but I did ride a Trek Navigator 2.0. I wanted to get the trek, but it was more money (the KHS was discounted because it was a 2008 model) and the frame was an 18 inch instead of the KHS' 21 inch. I felt a little cramped on the Trek. Had the Trek been a 21 inch frame I may have chosen it over the KHS despite the difference in price. Like others have stated, get the one that fits you best.
    Jim

    2008 KHS TC-150

  9. #9
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    I wound up buying a 2009 Trek Navigator 3.0 in blue today. We went to a bunch of bike stores over the last couple of days and I was able to find one where I could put the Nav 3.0 and the Globe Carmel 3.0 side by side. The Specialized just wasn't as good-looking a bike as the Trek, I liked the Trek's ride better, and you can lock out the suspension on the front fork of the Trek, which I don't think you can do on the Globe. It turned out that I needed a 16.5 frame instead of the 18's that several of the LBS' wanted to sell me. Once I was on the 16.5' Navigator it just felt right, enough so that I didn't want to stop once the trailhead came to an intersection and I had to turn around.

    We drove 100 miles to Madison, WI earlier this week to find a 2008 Trek Lime on closeout for my wife, and had a very pleasant experience at the Trek Concept store. We spent quite a bit of time with several outstanding salespeople who didn't look down on us for wanting to get a coaster bike (as opposed to one LBS guy who sniffed when we asked about coasting bikes and said "people who are serious about cycling don't ride those." Needless to say we didn't shop there, and we didn't bother to tell him that the coasting bike was the only kind my wife can use because she has had surgery on both hands and can't manipulate handbrakes and shifters. The Trek store guys, even though they obviously were used to dealing with hardcore cyclists, couldn't have been nicer. They were the ones who suggested I should try the 16.5 instead of the 18.

    I should get the bike on Tuesday or Wednesday and will post pics if someone can explain how to do it. Do I need a Photobucket account or something like that?

  10. #10
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Photobucket is the easiest way, Just use their forum code, the one that starts out [IMG] (Bottom one in their stack of codes for each pic.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  11. #11
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by unipresser View Post
    I wound up buying a 2009 Trek Navigator 3.0 in blue today. We went to a bunch of bike stores over the last couple of days and I was able to find one where I could put the Nav 3.0 and the Globe Carmel 3.0 side by side. The Specialized just wasn't as good-looking a bike as the Trek, I liked the Trek's ride better, and you can lock out the suspension on the front fork of the Trek, which I don't think you can do on the Globe. It turned out that I needed a 16.5 frame instead of the 18's that several of the LBS' wanted to sell me. Once I was on the 16.5' Navigator it just felt right, enough so that I didn't want to stop once the trailhead came to an intersection and I had to turn around.

    We drove 100 miles to Madison, WI earlier this week to find a 2008 Trek Lime on closeout for my wife, and had a very pleasant experience at the Trek Concept store. We spent quite a bit of time with several outstanding salespeople who didn't look down on us for wanting to get a coaster bike (as opposed to one LBS guy who sniffed when we asked about coasting bikes and said "people who are serious about cycling don't ride those." Needless to say we didn't shop there, and we didn't bother to tell him that the coasting bike was the only kind my wife can use because she has had surgery on both hands and can't manipulate handbrakes and shifters. The Trek store guys, even though they obviously were used to dealing with hardcore cyclists, couldn't have been nicer. They were the ones who suggested I should try the 16.5 instead of the 18.

    I should get the bike on Tuesday or Wednesday and will post pics if someone can explain how to do it. Do I need a Photobucket account or something like that?
    I'm glad you had a good experience getting the bikes.

    My one big suggestion for the Navigator is that you get the shop to swap out the suspension seatpost for one without suspension. The bouncing up and down eats into your pedal stroke Here's my 2006 Nav with a large saddle and 'straight' seatpost.


  12. #12
    Fat man on a little bike. Big Fat Paulie's Avatar
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    My .2 cents

    I bought a Trek 820, yesterday. One test ride at the LBS was all it took. 5'8 over 300lbs is all I know, will keep updated as to bike durability and any problems. Good luck, been at least 10-15 years since I was on a bike, until yesterday that is...

  13. #13
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    Very nice bike. I like the panniers -- I'm hoping to get some of those eventually to ride to the grocery store. I'll start out with a rack and work up from there. The LBS is going to throw in a free bottle rack and water bottle as part of the package.

    How much should I expect to pay for swapping out the seatpost? Should I keep the suspension post in case I want it later, and just pay for a new post?

  14. #14
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by unipresser View Post
    Very nice bike. I like the panniers -- I'm hoping to get some of those eventually to ride to the grocery store. I'll start out with a rack and work up from there. The LBS is going to throw in a free bottle rack and water bottle as part of the package.

    How much should I expect to pay for swapping out the seatpost? Should I keep the suspension post in case I want it later, and just pay for a new post?
    My shop swapped the seatpost for me gratis. I've never looked back.

    BTW, those panniers were horrible. The attachments to the rack are terrible. Even cheap ones from Nashbar are better. I currently use these from Avenier (a division of Raleigh USA):


  15. #15
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    I would think a straight swap would be free. You can get a seat post fairly cheap if you want the suspension later but I don't know anyone who actually has kept using one for an extended amount of time.

    They really do eat up energy while pedalling.

    Congrats on the new ride!

  16. #16
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    To each their own I guess. My KHS TC-150 has the suspension seat post, and I love it. I would not trade it for anything. It may eat up some pedaling efficiency but I can live with that for the comfort it gives me.

    With that said, Congratulations on the new Trek Navigator. I am sure you will love it, with or without the suspension seat post.
    Jim

    2008 KHS TC-150

  17. #17
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unipresser View Post
    I wound up buying a 2009 Trek Navigator 3.0 in blue today. We went to a bunch of bike stores over the last couple of days and I was able to find one where I could put the Nav 3.0 and the Globe Carmel 3.0 side by side. The Specialized just wasn't as good-looking a bike as the Trek, I liked the Trek's ride better, and you can lock out the suspension on the front fork of the Trek, which I don't think you can do on the Globe. It turned out that I needed a 16.5 frame instead of the 18's that several of the LBS' wanted to sell me. Once I was on the 16.5' Navigator it just felt right, enough so that I didn't want to stop once the trailhead came to an intersection and I had to turn around.

    We drove 100 miles to Madison, WI earlier this week to find a 2008 Trek Lime on closeout for my wife, and had a very pleasant experience at the Trek Concept store. We spent quite a bit of time with several outstanding salespeople who didn't look down on us for wanting to get a coaster bike (as opposed to one LBS guy who sniffed when we asked about coasting bikes and said "people who are serious about cycling don't ride those." Needless to say we didn't shop there, and we didn't bother to tell him that the coasting bike was the only kind my wife can use because she has had surgery on both hands and can't manipulate handbrakes and shifters. The Trek store guys, even though they obviously were used to dealing with hardcore cyclists, couldn't have been nicer. They were the ones who suggested I should try the 16.5 instead of the 18.

    I should get the bike on Tuesday or Wednesday and will post pics if someone can explain how to do it. Do I need a Photobucket account or something like that?
    You don't strictly need a photobucket account, but most sites, including BF have severe limits on the size of photos, but will show links from photobucket as if they are local. I have 3-4 sites I used photos on, and all are linked to my photobucket account.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Rob_U's Avatar
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    I've had my Navigator 2.0 for a year now, I didn't change the seatpost, but I sometimes wish I could lock out the front shocks like you can on the 3.0. I'm about ready for more of a hybrid bike now, but I can't afford get one right now (I would keep the Navigator as well), so I am about to change the 1.95" tires for a set of 1.5" for less resistance. Since my weight loss, I have changed the original saddle for a Specialized Body Geometry model (not in the picture), it's a little harder on the sit bones (lees now than when I tried it last year), but the "the Boys" are much happier.
    About the panniers, I have the Trek Interchange rack, trunk pack, and panniers, and the attachment system is quick and, holds well. I had the trunk pack all of last year, and I have made a couple of grocery runs with the new panniers this year, and so far no problems - I take them off, and take them in with me. They do cost more though.

    Trek 7.5FX, Trek Navigator 2.0, Trunk Pack, Panniers, and Cargo shorts, okay, sometimes MTB shorts
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  19. #19
    Senior Member TinyBear's Avatar
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    Cool bike congrats.
    My Bicycles: Giant Boulder SE, Giant Seek 1
    My cheater bike: 2010 Honda CBF600SA

  20. #20
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    I picked up the Navigator 3.0 from the LBS today and I'm as happy as a 10-year-old kid with his first bike. I rode a mile with my wife on her new Trek Lime and could have gone further but she wanted to go home. After we were in the driveway I couldn't immediately put the bike away, I just had to stand and look at it for a while. If I had the space I'd put the bike next to my bed so that I could gaze at it as soon as I woke up (like little Ralphie going to sleep with his Red Ryder BB ***). Now I can't wait for the UPS guy to bring me my Saris Bones RS rack so that we can load up the bikes and take them out in the country.

    My wife and I got the new bikes as gifts for each other to commemorate our 20th anniversary, which is May 20. I already know after one ride it was a great decision, and I also already know that I will soon to able to recognize a 1-degree incline from a quarter-mile away. Who knew my neighborhood had so many hills in it?

    Pics to follow soon.

  21. #21
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by unipresser View Post
    I picked up the Navigator 3.0 from the LBS today and I'm as happy as a 10-year-old kid with his first bike.
    When I picked up my Navigator 3.0 nearly 2.5 years ago, I felt the same way. Except I'd never had a bike as a child, so it WAS my first bike. I was a 40 year old kid.

  22. #22
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    congrats

    Congrats on the 20th anniversary and the new bike. If you stay faithful to biking like you have your marriage, you'll reap real long term benefits. Post pics!

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