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  1. #1
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    Help Us Choose 2nd Bike

    We bought Electra Townies in July 2013 and in the 10 months we have had them have only ridden them about 7 times. We went on a 4.5 mile ride last night as part of an organized group ride and it finally became apparent why we haven't ridden these more: Hills. Or to be more clear: Inclines. These bikes are great on flat ground and of course downhill but up any grade up is a royal pain with the crank forward design. Hills are killing us and we feel like we would like to go a bit faster too.

    We've decided to sell or trade these in and would like some advice.

    Our LBS sells Giant and Specialized so and after doing some research here I put the following 4 bikes on the list:

    Giant Sedona (DX) and Cypress (LX/DX)
    Specialized Expedition and Crossroads

    Got to the LBS and immediately ruled out the Cypress and Crossroads because of thinner tire. I am concerned about it hold me as I am a little over 300 lbs at the present. Tested the Expedition and Sedona but wasn't really feeling it. Also, did not help that they did not have good selection of those models and thus none really in my size. Was becoming a bit frustrated when the LBS sales guy told me that the taller/thinner wheels on the Cypress and Crossroads make it easier to pedal and easier to go faster vs. the Expedition/Sedona. So I decided to test ride a Crossroads Sport. They didn't have an XL frame (I am 6'2") but overall I liked it. Also, it had a flexible seat post that they would swap for a rigid.

    My concern is durability, etc. and the Pros/Cons of the 700cc vs. the smaller/fatter tire (26" ???).

    Giant vs. Specialized?

    Thoughts ???

  2. #2
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    I'm not very good on all the sizes and specs but here is the story of my wife and I. We purchased bikes 4 years ago and they were what I'd call comfort bikes. They were comfy until we tried to go more than a couple of miles. Then they sat in our garage until this spring. We again tried them and after the discomfort of the second ride we purchased a road bike for each one of us and we both started logging miles. We then decided to purchase "fitness" bikes for a change of pace when we wanted it. We are both way more comfortable on either bike and we both have over 100 miles in the last month and are losing weight.
    My advice is to purchase a bike that's comfy and moves down the road nicely and the chances of you both riding lots more has gone up big time!
    I love the road bike for going faster and getting more miles. I love the fitness bike for all other occasions. You are on the right track in my opinion in looking for something else.
    Good luck with the details of that change and happy riding!

    PS.... I'm 6'4" and weighed 282 when we started this spring and now I'm down to 256 pounds and my bikes have handled my weight like champs!
    Last edited by 1loosemoose; 05-24-14 at 08:51 PM.

  3. #3
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    You guys want one of these: Jamis Coda- Giant Escape- Specialized Sirrus

    * Avoid Suspended Forks

    Compare performance and components on reputable bikes, not brand names...

    Most bike frames from a major bicycle company are excellent. Therefore, it comes down to their forks and components. Carbon forks are better than aluminum ones. I personally, prefer steel forks to aluminum ones (though some may disagree with that).

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    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-25-14 at 01:45 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mcmoose's Avatar
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    I agree with the above posters that you want a "fitness" hybrid bike. The Giant Escapes come with 32mm tires, which might be the best compromise for you. I think you'll find them plenty stable, but you can switch up to a 35mm on the same wheels -- or down to a 28mm if/when you want to go a bit thinner.

    Have fun with your new bikes!

  5. #5
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    The tires on the Cypress will do fine from what I see... They are 38s. I ride mostly crushed stone rail trails, and my road riding is more like 4wd with the roads around here... I am running 35mm on my Trek FX, and I weigh 350 pounds. And I would have no issue with the original 32s, I just personally prefer a plusher ride.

    I bought the Sedona 10 years ago, and it has always been a great bike before I moved up to the FX, but after about a year of riding I really wished I had opted for the Cypress instead. I also replaced the suspension fork on my Sedona with a rigid after about 4 years, so you can guess where I stand on the suspension angle.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    If you want to go faster, stay away from suspension forks, unless you are talking super skinny 23 mm tires, I wouldn't worry about thinner tires, so long as you inflate them to recommended PSI. 32 mm tires will hold your weight as will 28.
    Last edited by MRT2; 05-25-14 at 06:45 PM.

  7. #7
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl_S View Post
    We bought Electra Townies in July 2013 and in the 10 months we have had them have only ridden them about 7 times. We went on a 4.5 mile ride last night as part of an organized group ride and it finally became apparent why we haven't ridden these more: Hills. Or to be more clear: Inclines. These bikes are great on flat ground and of course downhill but up any grade up is a royal pain with the crank forward design. Hills are killing us and we feel like we would like to go a bit faster too.

    We've decided to sell or trade these in and would like some advice.

    Our LBS sells Giant and Specialized so and after doing some research here I put the following 4 bikes on the list:

    Giant Sedona (DX) and Cypress (LX/DX)
    Specialized Expedition and Crossroads

    Got to the LBS and immediately ruled out the Cypress and Crossroads because of thinner tire. I am concerned about it hold me as I am a little over 300 lbs at the present. Tested the Expedition and Sedona but wasn't really feeling it. Also, did not help that they did not have good selection of those models and thus none really in my size. Was becoming a bit frustrated when the LBS sales guy told me that the taller/thinner wheels on the Cypress and Crossroads make it easier to pedal and easier to go faster vs. the Expedition/Sedona. So I decided to test ride a Crossroads Sport. They didn't have an XL frame (I am 6'2") but overall I liked it. Also, it had a flexible seat post that they would swap for a rigid.

    My concern is durability, etc. and the Pros/Cons of the 700cc vs. the smaller/fatter tire (26" ???).

    Giant vs. Specialized?

    Thoughts ???
    My wife has a Giant, crank forward design, and loves it for the flats. I put a power assist on it, and now she follows me up the toughest hills. Hill Topper Electric Bike Kit, Electric Bike Batteries: Electric-Bike-Kit.com It's a blast. We ride every weekend, 30m r/ts.

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    Thanks for all of the replies thus. Based on what I am reading and what my research is turning up this go round, it sounds like the Expedition and Sedona are not good choices and I will eliminate those as options.

    So my new list of 4 would be:

    Specialized Crossroads Sports & Sirrus and Giant Cypress & Escape 2.

    I am going to have to check out the Sirrus & Escape 2 at the LBS though. From what I have seen those seem to be for someone at a much higher fitness level or am I missing something?

    Thanks

  9. #9
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl_S View Post
    Thanks for all of the replies thus. Based on what I am reading and what my research is turning up this go round, it sounds like the Expedition and Sedona are not good choices and I will eliminate those as options.

    So my new list of 4 would be:

    Specialized Crossroads Sports & Sirrus and Giant Cypress & Escape 2.

    I am going to have to check out the Sirrus & Escape 2 at the LBS though. From what I have seen those seem to be for someone at a much higher fitness level or am I missing something?

    Thanks
    No, not at all. If you were talking Carbon Fiber racing bikes I might agree.

    This is the kind of thinking that is holding you back.

    Don't be intimidated. Something like the Sirrus or Escape 2 is exactly what you should consider getting, if not something a little sportier.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    No, not at all. If you were talking Carbon Fiber racing bikes I might agree.

    This is the kind of thinking that is holding you back.

    Don't be intimidated. Something like the Sirrus or Escape 2 is exactly what you should consider getting, if not something a little sportier.

    I was looking at the specs on the internet and noticed that the Crossroads has 700x45c tire whereas Sirrus has 700x28c. I haven't seen the Sirrus tire in person but that sounds a lot thinner. (and scarier to me)

    Also, I noticed that everyone doesn't seem to immediately recommend Crossroads or Cypress which makes me think there is an issue there.

    You very may be right about my thinking and I am going to try and keep an open mind. I'm seeing myself go on 3-5 mile rides because that is all we were really doing on the Townies.

    By the way, sold my wife's Townie on craigslist an hour after posting it and just sold my Townie this morning so ready to move on now.

  11. #11
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl_S View Post
    I was looking at the specs on the internet and noticed that the Crossroads has 700x45c tire whereas Sirrus has 700x28c. I haven't seen the Sirrus tire in person but that sounds a lot thinner. (and scarier to me)

    Also, I noticed that everyone doesn't seem to immediately recommend Crossroads or Cypress which makes me think there is an issue there.

    You very may be right about my thinking and I am going to try and keep an open mind. I'm seeing myself go on 3-5 mile rides because that is all we were really doing on the Townies.

    By the way, sold my wife's Townie on craigslist an hour after posting it and just sold my Townie this morning so ready to move on now.

    Why does 700 x 28 scare you? It isn't super skinny and if pumped up to a high enough pressure, should hold your weight. Besides, if you really like the Sirrus, you can always go up to 700 x 32 or 700 x 35 if you want.

    Tire size isn't that complicated. Skinnier tires are lighter and more aerodynamic, and you run them at higher pressures. But they hold less air so the ride is harder. Wider tires hold more air and you run them at lower pressure, so the ride is more forgiving. But they are less aerodynamic and heavier, and more rubber means more friction.

    what does this mean for you? Because of your weight and the speeds you will likely ride at, 23 mm tires probably are not the best choice. You could get away with 25 mm tires if you really wanted to go fast, but you would have to run them at high pressures. So that leaves the next size up, which is 28. IMO, Unless you do a lot of off-road riding, 700 x 32 strikes a nice balance of comfort and performance, and should be just fine for 300 lbs. Go up to 700 x 35 if you want a little extra comfort, down to 700 x 28 for a little extra speed. 700 x 45 is overkill.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mcmoose's Avatar
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    As I said above, I think the 32 mm would be a good compromise for you. It's plenty stable, and will make the hills less killing (as will the bike with a better geometry, lighter weight, etc.).

    Have fun!

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the additional input. Was at a Trek dealer and ruled out Verve but thought FX 7.2 looked quality but did not test ride as I was in my work attire and time limited. (Lunch break)

    Did a lot more reading here and did up a spreadsheet from manufacturer web sites. On paper the winner is Giant Escape 2. We are going back to our LBS tomorrow to look at Escape/Escape W and Specialized Sirrus/Vita. If one of those feels very good/great that is what we will buy. Otherwise, ???

  14. #14
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    I second the Escape bikes. I am 300 lbs +- and ride a specialized bike with 28cm tires. It held up with no problems. We bought our kids both Giant Escape 2's and i have ridden them 20+ miles and have been very comfy on them. They held up well to the abuse the kids put on them also. I just installed 28 cm tires on my sons bike to help a little with his speed. They look and ride great even with the 28c. We looked at the Vita and Sirrus bikes from specialized, but the Giant bikes seemed to be just a little more nicer looking and have a few extras for the same price point. Good Luck!

  15. #15
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Electra townie bikes are certainly neighborhood bikes, my wife has one and loves it and I'll ride it around the neighborhood with my kids if she isn't with us... it's VERY flat here but if I get a stout headwind it requires some serious down shifting.

    as for tires... I can't advocate a 28c... @ 300# for proper sag you are looking at nearly 150psi on the rear... however moving up to a 32c drops that to a more palatable 115psi... I know many clyds here toute running 28c or 25c (and some even 23c) "without issue" but if they are over 250lbs they are running with under inflated tires... but the sport fitness bikes should be able to run 32 without much of an issue... heck I run 38 or 42c on my touring bike and even with the larger tires and weight I don't notice a huge hit in speed although that bike does lend itself more to a slower "smell the roses" type riding

    as others have mentioned... whatever you get suspension is NOT helpful... especially at our weight it's crap

    best of luck on finding the right bike for yourself
    mtbr clyd moderator

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl_S View Post
    Thanks for all the additional input. Was at a Trek dealer and ruled out Verve but thought FX 7.2 looked quality but did not test ride as I was in my work attire and time limited. (Lunch break)

    Did a lot more reading here and did up a spreadsheet from manufacturer web sites. On paper the winner is Giant Escape 2. We are going back to our LBS tomorrow to look at Escape/Escape W and Specialized Sirrus/Vita. If one of those feels very good/great that is what we will buy. Otherwise, ???
    The second set of bikes my wife and I purchased were both Trek 7.3 FX and we both really love these bikes. We both have road bikes as well but most of our riding is done on the FX's. I'm not saying go buy an FX but I think this style of bike really lends itself to us bigger folk that want to do some miles on our bikes.
    Good luck on finding the right bike for your needs.

  17. #17
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    I started at around 450 with 700x32
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  18. #18
    Senior Member FLJeepGuy's Avatar
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    Since you are looking at the Specialized Sirrus and Crossroads, you might want to consider the Specialized Crosstrail. It sits right in between the two. I'm 6'/295lbs and the Crosstrail fits me perfectly.

  19. #19
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    Bought bikes. (his and hers)

    2014 models - Giant Escape 2 - Photos and more soon

  20. #20
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    Very nice, let us know how they are for you.

  21. #21
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    Again, thanks to the forums and people here we took a leap of faith and decided that a skinnier tire bike would hold us and we eliminated Specialized Crossroads and Giant Cypress from contention. We went to our LBS to ride a Giant Escape and Specialized Sirrus (Me)/Vita (Wife).

    We arrived and I road a Large Giant Escape 2 and it was nice. It was obvious that with my height (6' 2") and built that maybe the XL frame would be better. Road XL frame Escape 2 and it was better. Really liked the Giant Escape 2 but wanted to try the Sirrus. Unfortunately they had no base model Sirrus and the Sirrus Sport model was a Medium frame. The had a large Sirrus Expert Disc Carbon (only $2250) so I test road that. It was light has a feather and felt like it would go a thousand mph. However, something about the geometry just didn't feel as good as the Escape. Side note: Just shows how fit is so important regardless of price. I wish they would have had a standard Sirrus/Sirrus Sport in my frame size to test. However, I'm pretty sure I would still pick the Escape 2. Decision made for me: Giant Escape 2.

    Wife started out with the Specialized Vita in her size (Small) and it was kind of the same thing. She didn't look stable on it and she didn't feel that comfortable. The only Giant Escape 2 in the store was an XS frame so she tried that. She liked it much more than the Vita even though it was obviously not the ride size. The LBS said that had a Small frame at the other store that they could transfer over the next day. We went back the next day and the wife road again and loved the Escape 2 in the right size. Decision made for wife: Giant Escape 2.


    Photos of the new Giant Escape 2 Bikes:

    Both


    Mine


    Hers


    Me again


    Her Giant Seat Bag


    My Cateye Padrone bike computer


    Free kickstands (Giant doesn't include them - LBS did)


    She gets a kickstand too

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Well at the risk of sounding old I sure wish we had kick stands on our bicycles.

    Nice looking rides and I'm betting you are both going to really like them. Safe riding!

  23. #23
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    good looking bikes and looks spot on for the type of riding it sounds like you want to do... they will grow with you to some degree and when you move beyond them they will make for nice neighborhood bikes

    one thing I don't think that was mentioned... make sure you have a decent floor pump with a gauge... keep the tires inflated here is a quick calculator to give you an idea of about how much pressure you should be running (the 2nd one on the page is easiest IMHO) Bicycle tire pressure calculator start with what it recommends and then with time you can play with more or less air and see what feels "right"

    enjoy em man get to riding and see what sort of organized/charity rides are in your area... even if it's a short ride you'll meet a bunch of neat people and have a reason to train and ride
    mtbr clyd moderator

  24. #24
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    Good choice. I think you guys will love putting on the miles. My wife and I are on our second batch of Escapes.. Last year we bought Escape RX0 with alum frames and this year we upgraded to the RX Composites. Giant makes a GREAT bike for the $$$. Enjoy

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DowneasTTer View Post
    Good choice. I think you guys will love putting on the miles. My wife and I are on our second batch of Escapes.. Last year we bought Escape RX0 with alum frames and this year we upgraded to the RX Composites. Giant makes a GREAT bike for the $$$. Enjoy
    Speaking of Escapes… It looks like 2015 gets rid of Escape W women's model in favor of a model named Alight. Our LBS will have them next week. However, do not see any real information on the web about them.

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