I'm new to cycling and I'm in the process of researching my first "real" bike.
I'm a 5'3/4" (yes that's 3/4" ) woman that's looking to ride in the local greenways/trails (most of which are paved, others are gravel or fine rock powder.) Currently, I'm not interested in 20+ miles rides (although my SO claims that once the bug bites me I'll want to.) but I may get there.
Due to this I've been looking at "hybrid" bikes. The ones recommended by LBS go from the Giant FCR, Cypress SX or Sedona LX; to the Specialized Sirrus or the Trek 7300FX.
I have not ridden any of these bikes, that's the next step, but I would like someone to tell me, in layman's terms, what the biggest differences are between these bikes. Just so you know, I've read several threads and I'm still somewhat confused.
Also, I'm not particularly interested in a bike with a woman's frame since I don't find them particularly attractive. Which of these would offer me the best fit?
One thing I'll say about bike types (can't comment on those specific bikes) is that geometry makes a big difference. It's not just which is better, but which geometry feels best to your body. From my newbie experience that was the most important factor.
From what you said, I think a hybrid or a comfort style bike are your best bet.
Besides that, I'll let the hot shots reply now.
Originally Posted by coffeecake
- it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.
All I can tell you is that I'm 3/4" shorter than you and have been very happy with my Trek 7200 - 15" frame. Incidentally, I had the bike for nearly 3 years and put maybe 500 miles on it in that time. Then, this past January, I was "bitten". Today I logged mile number 1,100 for 2005!
I've been gradually increasing the length of my rides and, a couple of weeks ago, went 60 miles on Atlanta's Silver Comet Trail. Can I go fast enough? Yes, I think so. I'm at the point where I can comfortably average about 14 mph on long rides; I noticed amost a 2 mph jump when I installed clipless pedals although it's probably also partially due to just better overall phyical conditioning.
I recently got a road bike (Trek 1500 WSD, 47" frame) and can go a couple of mphs faster on that although, for the most part, I still prefer the hybrid.
You need a small frame which has a low standover height and is short enough for comfort.
Generally, small frames work best with small wheels, otherwise the designers have to bodge the geometry to fit larger (hybrid style) wheels.
I would suggest using 26" MTb size wheels.
Most hybrids use 700c size which is too large.
Some women's race bikes use small 650c size which is too narrow for general trail riding.
You can easily fit efficient, slick road tyres on an MTB rim.
A style of bike called "comfort" is generally like a hybrid , but using MTB wheels. The Trek Navigator range may be suitable.
(Warning: moderately long post)
I actually rode most of those bikes you mentioned when I was looking for a bike 3 months ago. The only one in your list I didn't try is the Sedona. I am a newb also so my review is not hard core technical...
The Cypress (I tried the base model, not sure if SX was the one) is not like the others. Itís a comfort bike, big cushy wheels, big cushy seat, seat post suspension and a front suspension. Really comfy, like riding in a plush Cadillac on bumpy roads... All that comfort comes at the price of speed. It takes more effort getting up to speed than I wanted (I was looking for a commuter/everything bike). Also my wife said NO because I looked too much like a stereotypical fat old man on a comfort bike when riding it..
The others are more road/fitness oriented.
The FCR & Sirrus were very similar rides. Both are pretty flat handle bar road bikes with wider wheels. I only tried the base FCR (-3 I think) and the base Sirrus since that was my price range. The FCR I tried had the rotating handle bar shifter (not sure what they are called), which I didn't like. The Sirrus had thumb & finger shifters (STI I think is what they are called), which seemed much easier to control to someone who had not ridden a bike in 15 years. The Sirrus has 28c slicks for tires and it felt the fastest of all the bikes I rode. I canít remember the tire width on the FCR but they were probably similar to Sirrus in size but I will say I don't remember it gliding like the Sirrus.
The Trek 7300FX is a lot like the FCR and Sirrus, but it had mountain bike oriented components (Deore vs. Sora on the Sirrus not sure what the FCR had). The tires also were the widest of the 3 fitness bikes and also had the most tread pattern, so it was a little slower ride from the tires and the gearing. It also had trigger shifters like the Sirrus, which was a plus in my book.
I ended up going with the Sirrus. It was the first bike I tried which might have influence me some since it felt so exhilarating being on a bike again... I liked that it felt light and fast. I am out of shape, overweight and I planned on commuting 18 miles roundtrip so I wanted something that was not cumbersome. I ruled out the FCR because of the shifters and I also felt more comfortable on the Sirrus from a geometry perspective. I was torn between the Sirrus and 7300FX mostly because the 7300FX was 100 bucks cheaper. In the end my wife said go with the one you like more since we were going to sell my car and would have the money...
My wife got the 7300FX. She is about 5'1" -5'2", and self proclaimed short arms and legs. She got the 15" menís version because there was no real difference between the men's/women's version of the 7300FXs except the sloping tube. She doesn't wear a skirt when she rides so she didn't care about the tube and thought a non specific womenís design women's version bike would be "wussy"... My wife also did not know how to ride a bike when we bought this and has since learned and likes it a lot. I will say she did not really try any other bikes out... She wanted something fitness oriented and the price was right and it felt as good as a bike could to someone who didn't know how to ride at the time...
MichaelW: I hadn't heard of Terry bikes so I'll check those out. There's a dealer fairly close to me so I'll add it to my list.
Redsail: Thank you so much for your feedback. I appreciate the long and easy to understand post as I'm still clueless on the lingo. Everytime I ask SO a question he looks like he's about to roll his eyes at me but he knows better
Which Sirrus did you get? I can't remember which model I was looking at but it was right at $500.