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Old 05-20-08, 08:28 AM   #1
bigburd05
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Girlfriend's recreational bike Trek 7.3 FX or Specialized Vita?

My girlfriend is looking for a bicycle. She positively hates mountain bikes as they appear (or are) heavy and cumbersome. She's not what you would call fit, and is nervous about it all being too much effort, so wants as light a bicycle as possible. She wants to cycle recreationally, on tarmac, and perhaps on some light trails, but nothing too "lumpy". I've tried to narrow down the choices, and ended up with two bkes that are as light as I dare suggest. The two are the Specialized Vita and the Trek 7.3 FX (wsd). Both are girlie friendly geometry, but the Specialized appears lighter, being based on a road specific frame. two of the 3 lbs that stock the Specialized have stated that it is a road bike and to be very careful if going off road. The 3rd lbs said it's ok for canal paths but not anything more strenuous like forestry trails. The lbs shops and reviews I've read for the Trek are more positive about its abilities to cope with trails.

The Specialized looks and feels lighter, hence my dearest's keenness for it. I don't see significant difference betwen it and the Trek, but on the lbs recommendation, I would suggest to her to go for the Trek (but am afraid that the first time she has to put some effort in on it, it's be MY fault that she didn't get the Specialized ;->)

What are opinions out there about the Specialized's ability on some light trails, and any differences between the two bikes (just about the bikes, please, not about her lack of enthusiasm for putting effort in, despite the temptation )?

Cheers
Iain
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Old 05-20-08, 08:41 AM   #2
lil brown bat
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I have a few thoughts here:

1. Obviously, your girlfriend should ride both of these bicycles and see which works for her. I tried the 7.3 wsd and ended up going with a standard configuration (in the 7.5, but that's for other reasons). My lbs owner said he thought it was a matter of what (and how) I'm used to riding -- I've got the exact proportions that the wsd is for, but it just didn't feel right for me -- so I would be a bit leery of considering the wsd an automatic match.

2. Given the type of riding your girlfriend is likely to be doing, I wouldn't be too concerned with getting the lightest bike possible. It just won't make that much of a difference. In fact, for someone who's not a cyclist, is probably going to drop it and not take super-good care of it, sturdy is not a bad way to go.

3. It seems like ever since the advent of the mountain bike, everyone who wants to get a bicycle for some recreational riding has this belief that they'll "do some trails" with it. Almost none of them do any more than the occasional cut across the corner of a lawn. Unless your girlfriend really has a specific place that she wants to ride that's on dirt, I would give the ability to ride on dirt a weighting of just about zero in choosing a bicycle.
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Old 05-20-08, 08:59 AM   #3
envane
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Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post

3. It seems like ever since the advent of the mountain bike, everyone who wants to get a bicycle for some recreational riding has this belief that they'll "do some trails" with it. Almost none of them do any more than the occasional cut across the corner of a lawn. Unless your girlfriend really has a specific place that she wants to ride that's on dirt, I would give the ability to ride on dirt a weighting of just about zero in choosing a bicycle.
Actually, there are lots of offroad trails around that people ride, but they're hard-packed earth and ride almost as smooth as pavement, yet they get this idea they are now "mountain biking". This is an issue where people really need to be specific on what sort of "trails" they want to ride.
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Old 05-20-08, 09:09 AM   #4
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My feeling is that you should be steering her towards "easy to ride" and not "lightweight". Otherwise, just pick the one that will look the best gathering dust in the corner.

I wouldn't send an out-of-shape inexperienced rider off the pavement with 28c tires (what the vita has).

Either way, put her on them and make her make the decision.
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Old 05-26-08, 03:20 AM   #5
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Many thanks for the posts. She has now ordered a Trek 7.3 FX WSD, which I think will be ideal. I hear all thje comments that the Vita is really a road bike, and the 28 wide tyres are not suitable. The Trek 7.3looks like the ideal compromise for weight, comfort, light trails and tarmac. The 7.5 looks like a nice upgrade to it, with carbon forks, uprated components and better wheels, but she couldn't quite justify the extra 150 for an occaisional bike hobby. Looking forward to getting out and about with her, hopefully smiling and enthusiastic...
Cheers
Iain
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Old 05-27-08, 07:08 AM   #6
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So, did she actually ride it before she bought it?
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Old 06-03-08, 02:03 PM   #7
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she did have a wee pedal along the road from the bike shop, on both the Trek 7.3 and the 7.5, deciding on the cheaper option despite (or possibly because of) my "bike nerd" comments about the value of carbon forks and other upgrades between the models ;->

Now awaiting delivery and some pleasant Scottish summer cycling weather (bets for which comes first ;->)
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