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  1. #1
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    Need help choosing - 7 or 21 Speed?

    Let me start by giving a little history on myself:

    1. 46 y/o female with full blown osteoporosis.
    2. have not ridden in MANY years.
    3. never learned to shift gears.
    4. have arthtitis in my hands and knees.
    5. have limited flexibility
    5. live in an area with some rather steep hills.
    6. about 70 lbs overweight.

    Requirements for bike:

    1. Easy to ride.
    2. Easy to mount and dismount.
    3. Easy to learn to use gears.
    4. Easy on the $$$.

    Use of the bike:

    1. Exercise & weight loss
    2. Running errands (Store etc.)
    3. Long range goal to use to commute to work (10- miles each way)

    I have looked at several brands and models of bikes and am pretty well settled on the Giant Suede. Now I am trying to decide if I "need" the 21 speed. Originally, I figured the 7 would be best to start out and then could be upgraded later if the need arises, but much to my dismay, when comparing them at the LBS, I realized that the frames are different. The DX (21-speed) has a Knob built into the frame for the attachement of the Front Derailleur that is not present on the non-DX model.

    What's eyeryone's take on this? Is there another way to add a Front Derailleur to the 7-speed? (I know we have some Giant Dealers in this Forum)

    Thanks in Advance!

    ~annie~

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I'm thinking that you'll be happier with the 21 speed. It'll give you several easier hill climb gears than the other model. From the information that you provided, I suspect you will find a use for the easiest hill climb gears you can find. As an added bonus, I'm sure that I could find a way to retrofit the front derailleur later, but it's going to be MUCH more expensive than buying the bike with the triple front derailleur now.

  3. #3
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    I did a google search -an electric bike?
    http://store.nycewheels.com/giant-su...tric-bike.html
    If so -I would doubt you could modify the design easily.
    As R.G said...costly and might void your warranty.
    .

  4. #4
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    The difference in MSRP is only $50. Short summary: go with the DX and never look back.

    Longer explanation: the lowest gear you have with the 7 speed is 36.5 gear inches, 46 front x 34 in rear. The lowest gear you have with the 21 speed is 24 gear inches, 28 front x 32 in rear. [ A "gear inch" is the number of inches traveled with each revolution of the pedals. ]. Don't worry about gear inches, with the 21 speed you have about 7 lower gears than the lowest you have with the 7. 24 GI is the target for people riding loaded touring bikes. 36 would be way way too hard for someone with physical difficulties and good hills. I would predict if you get the 7 speed, you won't be riding the bike much as it's not suited for your physical condition. I had a 35gi as my lowest gear and it was too high, i.e. hard to pedal on moderate hills. If you're not sure, take a test ride on the 7 speed and see if you can climb your hills.

    Good luck, let us know what you decide.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  5. #5
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Most shops let you take some test rides. See what gears you end up using. If the 7 speed ends up being only a bit hard on you, that's ok, remember, you'll be getting in shape as you ride more. At which point, you won't need as many speeds.
    My commuter has 27 speeds but 99% of the time I'm in the middle chainring using 5 speeds.
    7 speeds is inherently a lot easier to use since there's only one shifter as opposed to 2 shifters, 1 to control the front 3 gears and 1 to control the rear 7.
    EDIT: oops, sorry it's a derailleur, I thought it was internal. Yeah, then it's def possible to add a couple cogs in the front, not worth it in my opinion.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    [ A "gear inch" is the number of inches traveled with each revolution of the pedals. ].
    Nope. The distance you travel with each revolution of the pedals is gear inches times pi.

    To understand gear inches, think back to the high wheeler days. The bigger your front wheel, the faster you could go. When chain drive "safety bicycles" were invented, the manufacturers had to think up a way to compare their speed potential with the high wheelers that cyclists were used to. Thus was invented the concept of "gear inches".

    Technical nit picking aside, Silver's right about everything else.

  7. #7
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    For a person with your concerns all the discussion about gear inches
    is nice but in your case not the deciding factor. What's the most
    important factor here is........how comfortable you are.....while
    you are riding the bike. In other words......it doesn't hurt to ride.

    That can only be settled by actually trying both bikes out in a
    setting where you will ride them. I'm assuming you've explained
    your needs to the LBS and if they want to sell you a bike at all
    they should be willing to let you try both....one at a time. I AIN'T
    TALKIN' ABOUT A QUICK RIDE AROUND THE SHOP HERE EITHER .

    I don't know of , nor can I think of, any other way for you to truly know
    unless you go through this excercise to let your body tell you what
    it prefers.

    All the best, mate.

  8. #8
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    I live in a hilly area and have arthritis in the hips and 1 knee, you will need the lowest gearing (gear inch's) you can get so the 21 speed is an absolute necessity.
    I am average weight and did between 6,000 and 8,000 k's last year and I still have to make sure I have low gearing and spin fast (spinning fast takes a while to get used to but will dramatically reduce pain in the joints).
    If I don't ride my hips hurt more, so long term it will help a lot.
    Goodluck
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  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the info. I have definately decided on the 21 speed. The LBS where I will be purchasing my bike does not have the Suede in stock, so he will be ordering it in for me. He had me ride a Giant "Farrgo" and showed me the difference between what a 7 & a 21 will do. (The shop is in a hilly area so I did try the hill thing a bit.)

    Why order from a shop theat doesn't stock the bike I am looking for you might ask.....

    Well I have not only been shopping for bikes but also bike shops. I have walked into shops where the didn't know diddly, or they have a no refund no exchange policy, or no discount on anything if you buy a bike, or they tried to up sell me to a different brand or model, and in one case the kid (16 & 1st job) was just downright rude pointed to bikes and walked away (no other customer in shop).

    The shop where I will be making the purchase has a working owner and a tech (his son). They ask questions and actually listen to what the customer has to say. Plus the owner leads a "fun ride" every Sunday open to all. He does this not only to teach newbies like me, but also just for the fun of it. So I'll go the extra 10 miles just to give my $ to someone I feel deserves my loyalty. In the meantime till my bike gets here, I'll be trying to ride my old piece of junk "$5 storage auction piece of junk MTB" to atleast get a little bit of a workout.

    THANKS AGAIN ALL!!!!

    ~annie~

  10. #10
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Was hoping you'd pick the 21 speed 'cause you can't use gears you don't have
    which would be the case with the 7 speed.

    That said, I'm glad you're supporting a LBS that ADDS to the sport of cycling
    in a very real way as it IS worth the money longterm.

    Here's a thought for you to consider.........
    For winter use (or bad weather) consider buying a good used stationary bike
    to "keep in shape" I bought a barely used Schwinn AirDyne for a song and it
    now sits on my enclosed front porch for those days I don't have time or am
    unable ,for the above reasons, to ride daily. It helps me manage my joint
    flares nicely.

  11. #11
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad
    Was hoping you'd pick the 21 speed 'cause you can't use gears you don't have
    which would be the case with the 7 speed.

    That said, I'm glad you're supporting a LBS that ADDS to the sport of cycling
    in a very real way as it IS worth the money longterm.

    Here's a thought for you to consider.........
    For winter use (or bad weather) consider buying a good used stationary bike
    to "keep in shape" I bought a barely used Schwinn AirDyne for a song and it
    now sits on my enclosed front porch for those days I don't have time or am
    unable ,for the above reasons, to ride daily. It helps me manage my joint
    flares nicely.
    How about getting fenders and riding through bad weather and the winter? Heh, I can't imagine it gets too cold up in northern nevada. BTW, annie, if you have osteoporosis, you might want to consider doing some weight lifting and taking a calcium supplement. If you pick up the habit and cycle a lot, there could be a slight risk that sweating a lot w/o replenishing vital minerals can leech more calcium from your body. I wouldn't go jogging but you need to put some stress on your bones to build or maintain density. Cycling and doing weights can combine to give you a good overall healthy workout w/o the stress that running imparts on your joints.

  12. #12
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    How about getting fenders and riding through bad weather and the winter? Heh, I can't imagine it gets too cold up in northern nevada.
    While this might seem like a good idea (and it is for "normal" people) when you fight joint
    problems bad weather is not your friend. Joint flares caused by apporching bad weather can
    ruin your day quick. That is why I suggested the stationary bike to get out of the weather and
    still ride.

  13. #13
    Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    How about getting fenders and riding through bad weather and the winter? Heh, I can't imagine it gets too cold up in northern nevada.

    Only 24 below in December/January. But only 6' snow last winter.
    ~annie~

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by anniesartistry
    Only 24 below in December/January. But only 6' snow last winter.


    Yikes....

  15. #15
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anniesartistry
    Only 24 below in December/January. But only 6' snow last winter.
    Yii..... this is in the mountains or something? 24 below?!... they don't even get that upstate...

  16. #16
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    Yes we are in the High Sierra Mountians. It is desert so there are great temperature swings. A few years back we had over 2 weeks in the winter where we never got above 10 F and was sub zero at night. The snow this year was a new record (6'), but I don't think it went sub zero due to the snow.

    ~annie~
    ~annie~

  17. #17
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I commute year round, from 0-100 F, rain or shine, but uh... if I lived there, I'll chicken out.

  18. #18
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Riding around in sub-zero temps? On a bike called a Fargo? That somehow seems appropriate. I used to live for a short time in Grand Forks, ND and rode regularly through the winters there.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  19. #19
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anniesartistry

    Why order from a shop theat doesn't stock the bike I am looking for you might ask.....

    THANKS AGAIN ALL!!!!

    ~annie~
    You made a great decision. Let us know how it works. We also ordered our bikes from LBS and they did not have the models we wanted in stock. Other places were closer and/or cheaper, but couldn't match service, so go for the service. It pays over time.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  20. #20
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    I'm sure the 21-speed is the right way to go, and you will learn fast on the gear changing. Key thing to remember is that the instructions you give from the left and the right hands move things in the opposite way. So your right hand twists or clicks up to change the gear up (and make it harder to ride), and twists or clicks down to change it down (and make it easier). But your left hand (which controls the front chain rings) clicks up to make it easier to ride, and down to make it harder. Once you've persuaded your brain to accept that idea, it's easy.

    Of course there will always be times when you change up when you meant to change down, usually when you are going up the steepest part of the hill, and you really need a lower gear. That's when you get off in a hurry and push the rest of the way.

    Have fun.
    Zero gallons to the mile

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