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Old 05-11-09, 12:36 AM   #1
ehinrj01
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Recommend a hybrid/comfort bike

I am looking for a comfort or hybrid bike that lies slightly on the off road end of the spectrum. My riding will consist mostly of joy riding on gravel and dirt country roads. I am looking for something with a relaxed/upright geometry because my lower back hurts when riding a mountain bike. My price range is 300-450ish. I would like front suspension and possibly a seat post suspension. Something with a wide range of gears would be good. My area is hilly. Steel or aluminum frame would be fine. A comfy seat is a must. Thank you.
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Old 05-11-09, 04:44 AM   #2
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I suspect that some of your requirements are in conflict with each other. IMHO, adding suspension to a bicycle in that price range is not a good return on investment. It will amount to little more than a pogo spring and will add too much weight to your choice at the same time that its price costs you good components needed elsewhere.
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Old 05-11-09, 07:45 AM   #3
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We recently got a Cannondale Quick 6 from REI for about $350 for an inexpensve commuter. (High crime area) Unfortunately, the sale ended yesterday. It does not have front suspension though. For the price it seems fairly nice. It can take a rear rack.
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Old 05-11-09, 08:27 AM   #4
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My first bike (as a 50+ rider after a long hiatus) was a Trek 7200 with front suspension and supsension seatpost. I'm with Madmaxx: Even on the cratered roads around Motown I'm not sure the front suspension was that big a help. The suspension seatpost made more of a difference IMO.

I'd look more at overall comfort and fit. Beyond that there's no substitute for patiently trying different bikes till you find what suits you, and a good bike shop that will allow and help you to do so. By 'suits you' I mean that no one but you can decide if the solution will be a hybrid, or a cruiser, or whatever. All I'd say for sure is that road and cyclocross bikes are probably out!

As for your gravel & dirt country roads, the tires will make the most difference in terms of handling. Depending on the bike you choose you might wind up replacing smooth pavement-oriented tires with something with more of a tread, more like mountain bike tires. The LBS might be willing to do so for free or a modest charge depending on the price of the replacement tires.

If you can, adjust your budget up $100 or so. It'll widen your options.

Last edited by bcoppola; 05-11-09 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 05-11-09, 08:55 AM   #5
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You may want to give the lower end Specialized Cross-Trail a look.
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Old 05-11-09, 09:10 AM   #6
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Keep your eye on Craigs List. I just sold my hybrid for $350; it was still in great condition with Shimano 105 RD, a really nice bike. I sold it because it was too big for me. You can get a lot more bang for your buck through Craigs List than buying new in your price range.
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Old 05-11-09, 09:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
I suspect that some of your requirements are in conflict with each other. IMHO, adding suspension to a bicycle in that price range is not a good return on investment. It will amount to little more than a pogo spring and will add too much weight to your choice at the same time that its price costs you good components needed elsewhere.
I will add to this from MM- and from bcoppola- Rigid forks but with wider tyres will work better. If you get 26" wheels then you can go as wide as 2.0 on tyres that have just a bit of tread- they are called semislicks.

And if you have a back problem- Don't eliminate road bikes till you have tried one- The more stretched out ride position does help some backs.

So out to the shops and window shop- and test ride.
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Old 05-11-09, 03:35 PM   #8
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There are a number of bikes of this general ilk. These are comfort bikes that have a semi mountain bike frame with fat 2"-ish tires and wide saddles. There are other bikes that have hard tails and more aggressive riding positions that would also handle that type of use, if you were so inclined.

Giant Sedona:
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...le/2304/32214/

Specialized Globe Carmel 1
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...=38418&eid=208

Jamis Explorer 2:
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...explorer2.html

Contrast these with the Jamis Trail X2:
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...9_trailx2.html

The Trail X2 is a lower-end, hardtail mountain bike. No seat post suspension, smaller, less-padded seat, lower handlebars, heavier-duty front shock, disc brakes.

The Marin Stinson is a bit more aggressive for a comfort bike:
http://www.marinbikes.com/2009/us/bi...cs_stinson.php
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Old 05-11-09, 03:44 PM   #9
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Trek 7200 with 700x35c tires. Good all round comfort bike. bk
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Old 05-11-09, 07:51 PM   #10
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Specialized Globe Carmel 26. I am not sure of the price but I think its close. I have ridden it. It is quite upright nice ride but I have never ridden it on a gravel road. I don't own one but if I were in the market for a new bike I would get the three speed version. No hills here.
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Old 05-12-09, 01:17 AM   #11
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I would recommend either the Trek Navigator 2.0 or the KHS TC-150. I have ridden both, and they are both comfortable, and have front suspension and a suspension seat post. They are both just over $400 at my LBS. I agree that you should shop around and test ride a few different brands/types of bikes so you can get a feel of what you really like. I did, and ended up with the TC-150. Can't say that I agree with the pogo spring front suspension comment though. Mine smoothes out the bumps quite nicely, even for a sub $500 bike.
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