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  1. #1
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    In need of advice....

    I'm looking for help/advice on if there are any resources I can read to see what kind of bike I should get.

    I recently encountered a catastrophic crash with my Trek 2100 and I'm left to search for a replacement for it. I bought it in 1993 and things have changed a bit in the bike world since then. I commute about 25 miles round trip each day to work for about 9 months out of the year (not in snow).

    I'm lost as to what bike I should get or, more importantly, where do I start to look for information. I'm a "do your research" kind of guy but I haven't the foggiest idea where to go for some independent information.

    Any help?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    I don't know much about current bike offerings, but I do know it will depend on a few things:

    Is your commute 100% road?
    Do you hope to do anything besides commuting (e.g., off-road trails)?
    What is your budget?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgw4jc View Post
    I don't know much about current bike offerings, but I do know it will depend on a few things:

    Is your commute 100% road?
    Do you hope to do anything besides commuting (e.g., off-road trails)?
    What is your budget?
    Thanks for the reply.

    100% road. I have a hybrid I use for trail riding
    I did longer distance riding with it as well. All road or paved. 50 - 150 miles at a time.
    Budget is around $1K

    I was really looking to see if anyone knew where I could go to research more about the differences and make an informed decision. Things are very different since I last purchased a bike. I want to make the right choice.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    I can think of at least two approaches:

    1. Go to the "best" local bike shop (LBS), explain what you're looking for, and ask what they'd recommend. If they want to sell you a $5,000 racing bike, go to the second best LBS and repeat.

    2. Play around online. Look at the web sites of Trek, Specialized, Fuji, Giant, Surly, etc., and do an in-depth evaluation of all the models that look interesting.

    There's an option 0.5 you should try before either of the above, but most people skip entirely. Figure out what you're looking for. If it's a direct replacement for the original bike, figure out what it had, how it worked, what didn't work, etc., etc. For instance, if it had 700Cx20 tires, did you have issues with bad pavement? Look for a bigger tire next time. Have a hard time with hills? Look for a compact double or triple. Did it have a rack and you used panniers during your commute? You'll want rack mounts on the next bike. If you follow through on this step, you'll have some basis for your evaluations.

  5. #5
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Visit a few bikes stores, take some out for a test ride, and see what you like. Most bikes in the same price range are specced pretty much the same. Once you have it narrowed down to a couple choices, if still unsure, you could get additional advice here. Right now, however, most of the decisions you need to make are personal preferences. The only things I would look for are the ability to run wider tires, mount a rack and fenders, and disc brakes, but these are my personal preferences, and your desires and needs may be completely different than mine.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    You could check the big magazines for reviews, but a lot of them aren't really reviews.

    I'd consider some of the smaller brands over the big ones ... Kona,Jamis, etc ... a lot of times you can get a better groupset for the money compared to the Treks and Specializeds. Also you're coming up to model year turnover ... so you may be able to save money by buying last year's bike instead of the new model that's coming out.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    I can think of at least two approaches:

    1. Go to the "best" local bike shop (LBS), explain what you're looking for, and ask what they'd recommend. If they want to sell you a $5,000 racing bike, go to the second best LBS and repeat.

    2. Play around online. Look at the web sites of Trek, Specialized, Fuji, Giant, Surly, etc., and do an in-depth evaluation of all the models that look interesting.

    There's an option 0.5 you should try before either of the above, but most people skip entirely. Figure out what you're looking for. If it's a direct replacement for the original bike, figure out what it had, how it worked, what didn't work, etc., etc. For instance, if it had 700Cx20 tires, did you have issues with bad pavement? Look for a bigger tire next time. Have a hard time with hills? Look for a compact double or triple. Did it have a rack and you used panniers during your commute? You'll want rack mounts on the next bike. If you follow through on this step, you'll have some basis for your evaluations.
    Thanks pdlamb.

    Madison WI has a few bike shops and I've started that process.

    I have looked at the Trek, Specialized and Giant web sites and looked at bikes. I am thinking I'm a cross between Road and Touring as most of those sites "classify" riders. That's kinda the confusing part for me.

    And as for .5, I have done that and it's great advice. Never thought about tires though.

    Are there any independent publications or sites that would help rank bikes and options?

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    You could check the big magazines for reviews, but a lot of them aren't really reviews.

    I'd consider some of the smaller brands over the big ones ... Kona,Jamis, etc ... a lot of times you can get a better groupset for the money compared to the Treks and Specializeds. Also you're coming up to model year turnover ... so you may be able to save money by buying last year's bike instead of the new model that's coming out.
    Thanks ill.clyde. Does Wheel & Sprocket have a good selection in Milwaukee? I bought my Trek 2100 from the old Rainbow Jersey in Milwaukee almost 22 years ago.

  9. #9
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Str3tch View Post
    I have looked at the Trek, Specialized and Giant web sites and looked at bikes. I am thinking I'm a cross between Road and Touring as most of those sites "classify" riders. That's kinda the confusing part for me.
    I think you want a Trek Cross Rip. For $1100 or less, you can get the one with disk brakes. $850 for the budget model.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Haven't been to W&S recently ... not since last year when I was shopping for tires, but the one I went to (Fox Point) had Trek and Salsa for sure ... Their website sucks (a recent redesign really blows) but I see they carry Focus now too.

    There's Erik's Bike Shop in Whitefish Bay (I took my Trek there recently for service) and I know they carry Specialized and Raleigh (have flat bar road bikes in both). I had an excellent experience with the service on my bike and they're super friendly. I think there's an Erik's in Madison if you're out that way (sounds like you might be).

    I bought my Kona last year at Cory the Bike Fixer in downtown MKE. They carry Jamis as well. Small, independent shop with a bunch of bike gearheads really. South Shore Cyclery in Cudahy carries Cannondale I believe.

  11. #11
    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Str3tch View Post
    Any help?
    ***disclaimer: I work in a Trek shop***

    The Trek Madone 2.1 would be the direct, current model replacement for your 2100. Sometime in the past decade(?) they divided their road bike names by 1000, so the 2100 is now the 2.1, the 5200 carbon bike is now the 5.2, etc. I'd agree with DiabloScott to look at the CrossRip bikes, too. The 2.1 exceeds your budget, but the 1.5 might also be worth looking at. Me? I'd save a bit more for 105 components on the 2.1 or CrossRip Ltd.

    Other than Trek, I like the Kona Jake or Honky Tonk.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus regarding mconlonx View Post
    You, I don't generally think of you as clueless. You're kind of ok.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  12. #12
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Str3tch View Post
    I recently encountered a catastrophic crash with my Trek 2100 and I'm left to search for a replacement for it. I bought it in 1993 and things have changed a bit in the bike world since then.
    I commute on a 1984 Trek, so I can't help

    For that distance you probably still want a road oriented bike with drop bars. If you don't plan to also use it for fast club rides or races, you may look for a bike that accomodates racks and fenders. Tour and cyclocross models are popular commuters.

    You don't actually need the lastest bike or technology. A good quality older steel bike like I ride will be sturdy and durable and and not as expensive as a new bike so less cash up front and less money lost if it is stolen or wrecked.

  13. #13
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    A country bike/adventure bike/all-arounder is your best bet.

    Salsa Vaya, Specialized AWOL, Jamis Bonsanova, Fairdale Weekender Comp, Diamondback Haanjo Comp, Trek Crossrip and Giant AnyRoad fit into this type of bike.

    They can take fenders, racks, a headlamp and 35c tires. They're ideal for commuting and for riding country hardpack/gravel roads.

    A do it all bike with drop bars.

  14. #14
    Meta-Whiner gregjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    I'd save a bit more for 105 components on the 2.1 or CrossRip Ltd.
    105 level not that much more expensive and well worth it.

    With your experience I would imagine that you can maintain and perform at least minor repairs on a bike. You can get a lot more bike from Nashbar or Bikes Direct than a "company name painted on probably a Giant frame anyway" store. You can probably get a few levels higher in components for the same money. There's threads to search for on the topic. As many opinions favor as oppose. One of the latest positive reviewed bikes is the Nashbar 105 cross bike. Well in your budget and especially well equipped for the money.

  15. #15
    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
    105 level not that much more expensive and well worth it.

    With your experience I would imagine that you can maintain and perform at least minor repairs on a bike. You can get a lot more bike from Nashbar or Bikes Direct than a "company name painted on probably a Giant frame anyway" store. You can probably get a few levels higher in components for the same money. There's threads to search for on the topic. As many opinions favor as oppose. One of the latest positive reviewed bikes is the Nashbar 105 cross bike. Well in your budget and especially well equipped for the money.
    I are a mechanic, so yes...

    Based on this thread, I indeed went and looked at the BikesDirect offerings and found this bike with Ultegra 10sp at $999. All kinds of offerings there with 105 for less money in various road and cx models. Same with Nashbar.

    Unsure of mechanical experience of OP, so did not suggest these. But now that you've brought it up...

    Personally, I'd be looking at a mail-order bike, knowing I could get it together and adjusted properly. For anyone not so mechanically inclined, I'd suggest calling around to local shops and seeing if they'd assemble and adjust a new, sourced-online bike, what it would cost to get that done, and then subtract it from overall budget to come up with an adjusted ceiling budget. Some shops resent mail-order bikes; I work in a shop and it leaves me scratching my head -- labor is labor; shops don't actually make money on bike sales; why not court online sales labor...

    The other factor with mail order bikes is fit. Again, I know my fit, can read and understand geometry/sizing charts, so no qualms about buying online without test riding. For those without experience or knowledge, it might be best to buy a bikeshop bike to test ride different sizes, get advice about fit, have a bike set up correctly in the first place, and hopefully get some gratis follow-up service.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus regarding mconlonx View Post
    You, I don't generally think of you as clueless. You're kind of ok.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  16. #16
    Let's Ride! RidingMatthew's Avatar
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    if you figure out what kind of bike you are looking for you could also try to see what is comparable at www.bikesdirect.com I have a motobecane fantom CX that I commute on and it has pretty solid for the past couple years now.
    Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility, Free Market, Pro-Life In God We Trust
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    I'm going to advocate something different, and it's not for everyone, but if there's a store near you that you can try a couple out, don't overlook recumbents, especially for commuting. For me, the comfort and ease of riding is totally worth it for day to day commuting. I still have a DF mtn bike for non-commuting, mostly offroad leisure riding, but I actually look forward to my rides a lot more now (of course, I'm getting older....).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    ***disclaimer: I work in a Trek shop***

    The Trek Madone 2.1 would be the direct, current model replacement for your 2100. Sometime in the past decade(?) they divided their road bike names by 1000, so the 2100 is now the 2.1, the 5200 carbon bike is now the 5.2, etc. I'd agree with DiabloScott to look at the CrossRip bikes, too. The 2.1 exceeds your budget, but the 1.5 might also be worth looking at. Me? I'd save a bit more for 105 components on the 2.1 or CrossRip Ltd.

    Other than Trek, I like the Kona Jake or Honky Tonk.
    Hey, I was looking at the Trek 1.5. A 2013 model and a 2014 model. Do you know the big differences?

    Thanks.

  19. #19
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    CL and ebay to find another Trek 2100.....
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  20. #20
    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Str3tch View Post
    Hey, I was looking at the Trek 1.5. A 2013 model and a 2014 model. Do you know the big differences?

    Thanks.
    Price? Should be able to score a deal on a '13. For '13, they used the frame design that used to be used on the 2-series aluminum bike because they replaced the 2-series with the new Madone Al frame; unsure what is being used for 14, but the components look near identical. One of the better values.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus regarding mconlonx View Post
    You, I don't generally think of you as clueless. You're kind of ok.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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