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Old 03-27-09, 04:30 AM   #1
Ninon
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Please help me choose a new bike

Hi folks,

I am in need of some assistance in choosing a new bike.

Iím looking for a bike to commute to work, for fitness and general pleasure cycling and possibly for touring/cycling holidays.

My requirements are Ė
as rust proof and durable as possible (living by the sea and no indoor storage);
a slightly more upright riding position;
must be able to fit a rack/basket and carry heavy loads (I cart considerable amounts of paper around with me most of the time);
mostly road use but capable of negotiating track/trails;
a womenís frame so that I can get on the thing in a skirt if I choose to;
reasonably comfortable seat;
getting up hills faster than my husband!

Iím a keen runner and am looking for a decent bike that I can put through its paces as an alternative to running so donít want a lumping, fuddy-duddy, granny machine but in view of the fact that this has to be a fairly practical work horse, I donít need anything too state of the art.

I have found four possibilities from Trek Ė Iíve attached a table setting out the specification. Can anyone give me some guidance as to the merits of the components/set up of each?

I'd be very grateful indeed for any assistance offered.
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File Type: doc Trek bikes.doc (90.0 KB, 33 views)
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Old 03-27-09, 04:50 AM   #2
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We need to know your budget.

If you're looking for a price is no object do it all load carrier then round the world cyclist mark beaumont's koga-miyata signature is a good one. One downside is the chain and not belt drive it uses.

http://www.koga-signature.com/

what are the trek models please so I can check their spec's on trek's website?
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Old 03-27-09, 04:54 AM   #3
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Also, if you're a runner then I'd strongly recommend Powercranks as an alternative to pounding the pavement.

http://www.powercranks.com/
http://www.powercranks.com/v4pages/videos-list.htm
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Old 03-27-09, 05:09 AM   #4
Ninon
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Hi Mark,

Thanks for the reply. Never heard of powercranks but my knees are not happy at the moment so need to find an alternative to running every day.

The Trek models are as follows:

7300 WSD
7.3 FX WSD
Allant WSD
Valencia WSD

I've attached a word document to my original post comparing specs to save you looking it up on the Trek website.

I have a budget of maximum £500. Be most grateful for any advice, opinions or alternative suggestions.
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Old 03-27-09, 05:19 AM   #5
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No problem - thanks very much - off to check out bikes - you may be better asking for the moderator to move your post to the super-secret womens forum (you need to know the handshake to get in the door). Probably better than a middle aged bloke suggesting random, and expensive, stuff.
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Old 03-27-09, 05:20 AM   #6
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Vallencia as non of the others seem to have disc brakes. Test ride them all and go with the one that feels/fits the best.
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Old 03-27-09, 01:17 PM   #7
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Soma do a frame only Buena Vista mixte style sport-touring road bike.
These guys do a shop build with Shimano 105
Dont worry about using steel by the sea, wax the frame with car wax, the inside should be treated with framesaver and it will not corrode. My steelie lived for 2 years, 24/7 outside with regular seafront rides in winter.

Cannondale are usually good for womens bikes but this year they dont do anything skirt-friendly and quick.

Koga Miyata are good but I dont know about a US source.. Their stock Sportslady model does what it says and costs about £1300, approx $1400. The Lightrunner model has more tyre clearance and heavier duty build.
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Old 03-28-09, 07:58 AM   #8
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I'd start by test riding the bikes you've found, and perhaps trying similar bikes from other manufacturers. Most folks can go 4-5 miles on a bike if they can walk one mile, and that is a decent length test ride. If you know your commute is longer, further might be better. If anything hurts on the test ride, talk to the shop staff about it. A well fitting bike doesn't hurt, and *no* bike should hurt on a 5 mile ride. Depending on what hurts and why, the right solution may involve swapping parts. Saddles are a very common swap, but stems, handlebars and pedals are not a whole lot less common. If you need to swap a lot of parts, it can really add to the cost of the bike, so it pays to do a lot of test rides to find the bike that needs the smallest amount of work.

Faster than your husband is mostly a matter of you, not the bike. Hill climbing is a skill, and when I'm healthy, I have to wait at the tops of hills for my partner. My bike has 7 gears, his has 24... but I *like* hills, ride them often and squeeze every bit out of my gears. He hates hills, and really resists gearing down. The point where my bike is an advantage is I get full use of those 7 gears, because they match up well with what I can do (spin mostly). More gears wouldn't do a whole lot to make me faster, because I'm not strong enough gain anything from higher gearing.

Most bikes can handle a bit of touring, and a bike that does daily duty as a cargo hauler will be fine as long as it fits well. The main thing to look for in a cargo hauler is the chainstay length... 44-47cm is good, less you might find the bike handles oddly with a lot of weight on the rear wheel. It's pretty rare to find stock bikes with more than 45cm chainstays tho. Front baskets can work quite well, but they are a little fussier on how the front end is built than a rear rack is about chainstays... if the bike feels twitchy without a basket, odds are it'll be worse with one. It's common to see bikes built to be twitchier, but if you don't ride much now, the twitchy will make the bike feel fast while not actually *being* fast. In some cases, it can be flat out dangerous because the bike is hard to control.

No bike is going to be 100% corrosion resistant. A steel frame can be treated to minimize rust (the same way a car is), but the parts hanging on the frame need to be checked regularly to make sure they're in good shape. Aluminum frames don't rust, but they can still have corrosion issues, and the parts will still need checking. Figure you want at least one tune-up a year, maybe two if it's a daily rider. With practice, you can do basic checking yourself, so things get fixed before they're a serious problem.

It's pretty easy to get a relatively upright position on a step through frame. The problem is, most bike manufacturers assume that a strong woman who rides hard will prefer a more rigid diamond frame... so getting high quality parts on a step through can be a problem. And a more upright position is something of a disadvantage on a bike. For me it's no big deal, the 6-8 stop signs every mile will slow me down no matter what. For a stronger rider who has open roads to deal with, the extra wind resistance can be a problem. I'd really recommend trying some bikes that are very different from the ones you've posted because you'll learn a lot... a granny bike is quite effective for in town riding, and a touring bike with drop bars is great for long distances.
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Old 03-28-09, 09:46 PM   #9
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7.3 FX if you can ride it in skirt. Otherwise the Allant as it has front baggage provisions, & no excess weight of discs to slow the hill climbing. It would be easier to adjust the bar height on the Allant to match the type of ride.
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Old 03-30-09, 04:16 AM   #10
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I second the Soma Mixte if you can afford it, looks amazing!
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