Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Please help me choose a bike

    I'd appreciate any and all advice! I am a 58-yr-old woman who once really enjoyed cycling, meaning I rode about 100-150 miles per week, joined a club, did weekend touring, etc. Now I am 40+ pounds overweight and have arthritis in my shoulders, hands, knees and feet. My last "serious" bike was a nifty Cannondale hybrid--today I have an old touring cheapie in the garage, but it hurts so much in all kinds of places (especially my wrists) whenever I get aboard that I thought I would never be able to ride again, and have been limiting my activity to walking, swimming, and yoga.

    Then I saw an article in Arthritis Today magazine about bikes built to be more comfortable with cushy seats and a more upright riding position. A light went on! Maybe, just maybe, I could find a bike that would suit my needs.

    I went out and tried the Giant Revive, and really loved the lumbar support and the riding position, but did not love the price tag nor the really jittery steering as a result of the small front wheel. It also seems it would be difficult to put on a bike rack, and it's also extremely heavy. I've looked at but not yet ridden the Giant Suede and the Trek Navigator and Trek Sole Ride. I haven't checked out recumbents yet either, but I gather they are pretty pricey, plus I would worry about being that low to the ground when riding in traffic.

    I have to say, that in 3 separate bike shops, my experience has not been pleasant. No one seems to be very interested in addressing my issues nor were the sales people very knowledgeable about their own comfort bike lines (and I don't think I should be invisible just because I'm not young, thin, and looking for the newest hot wheels!).

    Bottom line: I want something for casual/exercise riding in my suburban neighborhood and my (very hilly) local state park that is super-comfortable on the joints and tush and not horribly expensive. (In my former life I would not have balked at $1000 for a bike, but now it wouldn't be worthwhile for the amount I'll be riding--I'd prefer to stay under $500, unless more would buy me something really fantastic and clearly worth it.) It should be easy to carry on a standard bike rack and capable of reasonable hill-climbing. Oh, and I discovered in trying the Revive that despite years of previous cycling, I'm more comfortable nowadays with being able to easily put my feet on the ground when stopped.

    Any suggestions either for specific models to check out or specific features to look for as I continue my quest? Or am I looking for something that despite the new "comfort bike" labels doesn't really exist?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Plano, TX
    Posts
    73
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you're looking for a true "comfort" bike, then I'd recommend the Trek Navigator 300. It costs just over $400 and is a very nice bike. I have one of these myself.

    http://www2.trekbikes.com/Bikes/City..._300/index.php

    If you're looking for something a little speedier but still quite comfortable, then I'd recommend a "hybrid" bike, like something in the Trek 7xxx line. I also have one of these, a Trek 7300. It costs about the same as the Navigator 300.

    http://www2.trekbikes.com/Bikes/City...7300/index.php

    I'm not trying to put a plug in for Trek bikes--these just happen to be what I have. Most all of the major bike manufacturers carry a line of comfort and hybrid bikes.

    The comfort bikes are very nice for short trips around the neighborhood or cruising down city/park bike paths. They handle well and are plenty comfortable for that type of riding. They may be a bit much if you plan on doing 20-30 mile rides out on the open road, especially up any inclines. You'll find that they start to feel heavy and the 26" inch tires have a lot of rolling resistance out on the road.

    The hybrid is kind of a cross between a comfort bike and a road bike. They have the ergonomics of a comfort bike, but they come with narrower 700c tires and weigh less, similar to a road bike. I've taken my hybrid bike out for rides over 50 miles and it's been plenty comfortable without being a bear on a ride of that distance. Sure, I was passed by a number of true road bikes, but that wasn't the point.

    You should test ride a bike of each type and see what feels right to you. Try these two types from different manufacturers as well, if you can.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Cherry Hill,NJ
    Posts
    1,129
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Another vote for the Trek 7300. I've not ridden one, but have been helping a friend go through the process you're going through. So far, the 7300 best fits the bill between performance and comfort. The lowest price we've found is $399. The 7300's sister bike is the 7200. The 7200 gives up the suspension fork, has a different seat and shifters all for a about $50 less than the 7300. Then there is the FX version of these bikes, which is lighter and more performance oriented. The riding position isn't quite as upright as the standard model. All look like great rides for a person looking for this type of bike. My friend is going for a 7300.
    There is no excuse for getting shabby treatment from a bike store. If you're in a large metro area get the phone book out, call the shops in the area and ask for the manager. Tell them what you're looking for and ask if they can help you. From there, you be the judge. Comfort level with the people you're dealing with is definately a buying factor. Just so you know price isn't necessarily a reason for not getting treated well. There exists within the industry a certain amount of snobbery. Don't let it stop you.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    240
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Breezers or Electra Townie may be bikes to check out- they are upright and supposedly comfy - I am not certain how light they are.

  5. #5
    Senior Member lookinUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    My Bikes
    Trek 520 and Trek Madone 5.2
    Posts
    403
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm also an 'older' woman - and was very overweight and have some arthritis as well. Like you, I used to ride a lot. I bought a Trek Navigator 300 about 9 months ago. It has suspension and is VERY COMFORTABLE to ride. I can recommend it highly.

    Over the course of many months, I lost about 35 pounds and have just purchased a Trek 7500FX which is a hybrid, but a pretty fast bike. I sold the Navigator although the LBS would have taken it in trade and now ride the 7500FX about 75 miles a week. Promised myself a road or touring bike after loosing another 50 pounds or so!

    Don't think you can go wrong with the Navigator - or a similar bike.

    Trek Madone 5.2 wsd

  6. #6
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks to everyone for your advice--will definitely check out the Navigators and 7xxx series! And thanks also for the encouragement about weight and bike store issues!

    Hope to hear from more of you also!

  7. #7
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    688
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by lookinUp
    I'm also an 'older' woman - and was very overweight and have some arthritis as well. Like you, I used to ride a lot. I bought a Trek Navigator 300 about 9 months ago. It has suspension and is VERY COMFORTABLE to ride. I can recommend it highly.

    Over the course of many months, I lost about 35 pounds and have just purchased a Trek 7500FX which is a hybrid, but a pretty fast bike. I sold the Navigator although the LBS would have taken it in trade and now ride the 7500FX about 75 miles a week. Promised myself a road or touring bike after loosing another 50 pounds or so!

    Don't think you can go wrong with the Navigator - or a similar bike.

    Congratulations, I'm around 30 pounds overweight and I'm going to use people such as yourself for inspiration. I'm going to take it slow though and aim toward a pound or two a week.

    By the way, I also was very close to buying the 7500FX. I ended up going another direction, but it seems to be a very nice bike.

  8. #8
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dripping Springs, Texas
    My Bikes
    Trek 7200, Lashout Electric Bike, Raleigh Talon
    Posts
    825
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My husband and I are both turning 50 this summer. For our birthdays, we each got a bike -- he got the Trek Navigator 200 and I got the Trek 7200. We're both happy with our purchases. I'm also overweight and have lost about five pounds in the last couple of months -- but since I'm building muscle, I believe I've lost more than five pounds of fat.

    I added fenders and a rack to my bike and am working up to a full commute eventually. Good luck and enjoy your new bike!

  9. #9
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    W. Sacramento Region, aka, Nut Tree
    My Bikes
    Giant OCR T, Trek SC
    Posts
    3,259
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You might look for a used or new last years model Revive to keep the price down.

    About your Revive concerns:

    1. price: when we bought ours it was about 800. The MSRP for the models are:
    1.1 Basic revive $700 , 8 speed
    1.2 Revive DX $900 , 7 speed
    1.3 Revive LX $1000 , 21 speed
    The LX is new and with the miles you are talking about, I would go with more speed options for easier riding. Just for comparison, full recumbents run between $1,500 to $3,000. Mostly because of the low unit volume.

    2. Steering.
    The Revive is sized between a regular Diamond Frame bike and a recumbent. It is really a semirecumbent. It does has a longer wheelbase, i.e. distance between the tires so it will take longer to turn. I don't think the "jittery" problem is because of the small front wheel. Small front wheels are standard for recumbents to keep the weight down. The first time I rode the Revive I had trouble with steering as I had to think about steering instead of just using normal responses for DF bikes. Then I figured out I had the handlebars a tad too far out. I had them out for getting on the bike and didn't pull back far enough.

    3. bike racks
    You need a rack for a recumbent bike. Sportsworks makes one that is easy load and unload. There may others. You need to support the bike from the bottom as there is no top bar to clasp on to.

    4. Weight
    It is just a tad heavier than my touring bike, as is typical of recumbent type bicycles. It's all about trade offs. You take on a tad more weight but gain:
    4.1 Enclosed gearing so no messing with oily chains
    4.2 Back support. If you need it, like my wife, this and full recumbents are the only way to go. This is an example of a full bent:
    http://cannondale.com/bikes/05/cusa/model-5BMER.html
    4.3 easy shifting. Probably not a problem for you with the miles you were racking up, but was an issue for my wife.
    4.4 Low to the ground, so low lift up. With bad knees this can be a real blessing.

    Did I miss any concerns?

    My recommendations:
    A- lowest budget: get your current bike resized to see if that helps. It may be sized for a previous size you and not a current size you. Make sure the handlebars are high enough. You won't be riding in the drops, so get the best fit for bar/hood riding positions.

    B- modest budget: stay away from "hybrid" "comfort" "mountain" "road" bikes.
    Not hybrid, because you don't want the heavy tires or the discomfort over time.
    Not comfort, because you like riding and fewer gears would not be a good match, nor the heavier tires.
    Not mountain, again: heavy tires and discomfort over time
    Not road, because you deserve a comfortable ride.
    Here I would look for a good used semi-recumbent like the Revive, or a full recumbent.
    With limited market size, you might be able to find some real bargains. Just allow yourself time.

    C- average budget: go with the Revive LX for the newly expanded gear range. A local performance shop should allow you to buy the bike and if within 30 days, you just can't get used to the semi-recumbent, have a full credit exchange on another new bike.
    You justify the price as 1. it's cheaper than physical therapy, 2. it's cheaper than monthly health club memberships, and 3. the new improved physical you means you can do more when not exercising. Also remember performance usually has good plans to spread the purchase out over time at zero or no cost.

    D- good budget: get a full recumbent. Go the recumbent subforums for recommendations on purchases and models. Remember it will take about one to two months to get used to a full recumbent.

    Well, didn't mean to write a novel, but your concerns seem much like my wife's. Hope this helps a bit.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  10. #10
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dripping Springs, Texas
    My Bikes
    Trek 7200, Lashout Electric Bike, Raleigh Talon
    Posts
    825
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    Not comfort, because you like riding and fewer gears would not be a good match, nor the heavier tires.
    Lots of good information here but I did want to mention that the Trek Navigator that my husband has, which is considered a comfort bike, has a 28/38/48 with an 11/32 cassette -- the same as my hybrid. I'm not pushing the bike over any other -- just wanted to point out that not all "comfort bikes" have fewer gears. But it definitely has heavier tires.

    On edit: Make that "28", not "29".
    Last edited by Longhorn; 07-09-05 at 04:09 PM.

  11. #11
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    W. Sacramento Region, aka, Nut Tree
    My Bikes
    Giant OCR T, Trek SC
    Posts
    3,259
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You're right longhorn. I forgot they have expanded comfort bikes recently. To bad they didn't put a 24/36/44 with that cassette, hills would have been even easier. Thanks for the update.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  12. #12
    Member steel_knee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Ventura, CA
    My Bikes
    Dahon Speed TR
    Posts
    29
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A different view, look at Dahon 20 inch folders. I am a male 67 years old with some of the same problems and was close to buying an Electra, a very nice comfort bike, but I wanted some to travel with and not have to put on car top. Looked at the Dahon site, then rode a few, bought a Speed TR and now do 15 to 20 mikes a day. Best Bike I have ever owned.
    Ernie, 04 Dahon Speed TR (mine) and 05 Speed P8 (wife's), Ventura CA

  13. #13
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dripping Springs, Texas
    My Bikes
    Trek 7200, Lashout Electric Bike, Raleigh Talon
    Posts
    825
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    You're right longhorn. I forgot they have expanded comfort bikes recently. To bad they didn't put a 24/36/44 with that cassette, hills would have been even easier. Thanks for the update.
    Now that you mention my gearing, do you think it would be worthwhile for me to change to the gearing you mentioned for my hilly, 17-mile commute? The last hill is 10.7% over about 0.2 mile. I have to zigzag up that one (see below.) And if you know, how much would such an alteration cost? I rarely use the 48. Thanks!


  14. #14
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    W. Sacramento Region, aka, Nut Tree
    My Bikes
    Giant OCR T, Trek SC
    Posts
    3,259
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Longhorn
    Now that you mention my gearing, do you think it would be worthwhile for me to change to the gearing you mentioned for my hilly, 17-mile commute? The last hill is 10.7% over about 0.2 mile. I have to zigzag up that one (see below.) And if you know, how much would such an alteration cost? I rarely use the 48. Thanks!
    The other most helpful forum member on gearing has been gagnon. He has a tandem with 24-38-48 x 13:32 on a tandem and a 22-34-44 x 12:32 on a touring bike.

    You are already with a 28, I would drop that to a 24 or maybe 22. If you a zigzagging, the 24 would probably be enough. It's about 2 gears, going from current 23.6 GI to 20.3 GI. A 22tooth ring would drop that to 18.6GI but that's like walking. Assuming you have a long derailer you'll be a tad over specs but should be ok.

    I just switched from a 30-42-52 x 12:25 to a 28-42-54 and shifting is not a problem. Part cost will be about $20 to $30 and labor will be about $10 to $15. If you go for the 22, then you should also get an overshift stopper, such as the 3rd Eye Chain Watcher or the N-Gear Jump Stop.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  15. #15
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks to all who have given suggestions! I think I may have been a bit misleading (in my overly long original post)--at this point I want to just get back into very easy riding, don't expect that I'll be doing 20 miles a day any time soon.

    So now I am leaning toward the Electra Townie, 21 speed model, which seems very comfortable (thanks, farrellcollie, for the suggestion, the first I'd heard of the brand), is not horribly heavy, although the tires are pretty fat, and should still give me enough gear choices for my hilly park. (And it is really funky-looking-cool besides!) And I do like the "flat foot" idea--it does make me feel less precarious after this long away from riding.

    I'm figuring the Townie might do the trick for what I want to do now, and if I want to get more serious I'll either go for a full recumbent (thanks for the very comprehensive and helpful advice about bents and the Revive, HiYoSilver) or one of the Treks. First I want to see if I can do this bike thing again at all.

    The most helpful shop I've found is building a Townie 21 for me now, but I haven't paid for it yet--I'm still going to try the Revive one more time and think a bit more about the whole thing before I finally decide, but I'm excited!

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3,192
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You will never know how comfortable bike riding can be unless you try a long wheel base recumbent. Bike riding without pain!

  17. #17
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Weaving thru the cowpud outside Modesto CA
    Posts
    1,123
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Had a Rans Tailwind...medium wheelbase recumbent. Downhill like a cannonball, uphill like a snail with me on top spinning low gears like an anaerobic hummingbird. But the ride is comfy, the position casual, a great machine for cruising. Didn't much like having myself in heavy traffic be eye-level with truck wheel-hubs. It took me 2 months to develop an efficient recumbent spin. Eventually sold the recumbent, went back to road bikes. Just my experience. I did meet a number of "fanatical" 8-) recumbent riders. Short wheel-basers like the Lightning, some of the Vision bikes, etc. must be real road rockets once you master the feet above you hips position.

  18. #18
    Wheezing Geezer Bud Bent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Crowley, Tx
    My Bikes
    Bacchetta Corsa, RANS Stratus XP
    Posts
    1,782
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by phxbound
    Thanks to all who have given suggestions! I think I may have been a bit misleading (in my overly long original post)--at this point I want to just get back into very easy riding, don't expect that I'll be doing 20 miles a day any time soon.

    So now I am leaning toward the Electra Townie, 21 speed model, which seems very comfortable (thanks, farrellcollie, for the suggestion, the first I'd heard of the brand), is not horribly heavy, although the tires are pretty fat, and should still give me enough gear choices for my hilly park. (And it is really funky-looking-cool besides!) And I do like the "flat foot" idea--it does make me feel less precarious after this long away from riding.

    I'm figuring the Townie might do the trick for what I want to do now, and if I want to get more serious I'll either go for a full recumbent (thanks for the very comprehensive and helpful advice about bents and the Revive, HiYoSilver) or one of the Treks. First I want to see if I can do this bike thing again at all.

    The most helpful shop I've found is building a Townie 21 for me now, but I haven't paid for it yet--I'm still going to try the Revive one more time and think a bit more about the whole thing before I finally decide, but I'm excited!
    Welcome back to cycling! Your plan sounds fine. Just keep recumbents in the back of your mind if you find the comfort bikes still cause pain and/or you decide you want to put in more hours and miles on a bike. 30+ years of machine shop work have cratered my back and hurried my arthritis along, but I ride over 100 miles a week, and am 22 lbs lighter, since buying my recumbent (although most of my miles lately have come on my tandem recumbent with my wife, rather than my own bike).
    Bud
    * 2009 RANS XStream
    * 2007 RANS Stratus XP
    * 2006 Bacchetta Corsa
    My Blog - uneasy-rider.com

    They told me it's ok to post mileage over in the commuting forum, so you'll probably find me there these days.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •