His Brain is Gone!
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Paoli, Wisconsin
Bikes: RANS Stratus, Bridgestone CB-1, Trek 7600, Sun EZ-Rider AX, Fuji Absolute 1.0, Cayne Rambler 3
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As you note, they use different shifters, derailleurs, brakes, pedals, crankset, cassette, and chain.
Most of these are upgrading from Shimano Deore-level components to Deore LX level. That's just one step up in the Shimano line, but it is a true step up. Most consider the LX components to be worth the cost of the upgrade for anyone who is going to use the bike a lot. But the standard Deore line is still good quality.
The two wouldn't ride much different. You might like the more precise action of the brakes and shifters, or you may not even notice the difference. The LX line is used on a number of reasonably decent mountain bikes, so it is designed to take some abuse.
It basically comes down to a price vs quality. I think both are decent values. Both are easily capable of 50+ mile rides.
You might find that after you ride for 6-18 months, that you want something with better performance. This isn't uncommon for people who ride longer distances. To that end, you might want to check out the Trek FX line before you buy, as those bikes are lighter and have a more aggressive geometry. I really like the 7.6 FX. And if you like it but would rather have an adjustable stem like the 7500 does, then they can swap that for you.
But if the FX isn't comfortable, then you might not ride much. So it is important to get a bike that you enjoy riding now and doesn't discourage you.
I own a 2000 Trek 7600 and it has been a very good bike.
"Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour
There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post