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Old 07-12-05, 08:44 PM   #1
affeking
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Hybrid / Comfort Bikes 200 - $300 range

I haven't owned a bike for probably 10 years (I'm 26) and I'm in the market. Mainly want to ride for fitness reasons. I'll be riding primarily on paved paths / roads, but would also like the option of going on dirt / gravel paths now and then. I've been to a couple bike shops already, and I've learned that I would be best with a comfort or hybrid bike. I'm not sure if all comfort bikes allow some offroading, but the one I looked at (Giant Sedona) did.

I'm looking around online a bit, and I'm not sure how to determine if a given comfort bike fits my specs for being able to do some offroading. In any case, I've just taken a peek at a few hybrid or comfort bikes avail at some local shops, and wanted to hear any specific opinions on these

Giant Sedona (I tried and liked this one)
Raleigh SC7
Trek 7000
Raleigh C30
Raleigh SC30
Gary Fisher Capitola
Trek Navigator 100
Trek 7100

The only one I've tried was the Giant - I plan to hit the shop with the Trek and Raleigh this weekend. I have looked at the Raleigh M20 at another shop, but I'm not convinced it fits my needs being strictly a mountain bike. Any other suggestions on TYPES of bikes / features I should be looking at to fit my needs would be appreciated.

Thanks
Jeff
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Old 07-12-05, 11:22 PM   #2
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I'm in the same boat as you.

I want a hybrid/fitness bike. I am 44, planning to ride for pleasure, but also want to build up to 20 miles at a time, give or take. Maybe later even tackle a short day trip.

I've narrowed my choices to:

Jamis Aragon
Trek 7200 or 7300 (I'd have bought this in a second but I can't get the 7300 anywhere around here......... I like the comfort, and it seems good).
Giant Farrago

Now, however, I'm looking at Bianchi at the store owner's recommendation. It's a cross training bike, but classified as hybrid, too. Will go farther than a reg. hybrid, better componentry, than bikes in the $300 range, but is a good choice before looking at the road bikes ($600+). The Bianchi sells for $429.

What I've found is that the $300 bikes won't satisfy me, or they'll limit me to what I can do, how far I can go.

The least pricey bike I can find that will do what I want is min. $400. If you have some flex. financially, don't rule out expanding your budget...... might be worth it in the long run.

I rode a smaller frame of the Bianchi, and I have to say I think it felt very smooth. Shifted well. Seems to have excellent features for a hybrid. PRAYING this'll be the one for me. I'm so exhausted from looking at all the brands, researching, comparing.

Happy shopping. STop back and let us know what you decide.
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Old 07-13-05, 12:11 AM   #3
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$319, atleast thats what we have them on the floor for.....for a specialized expedition sport. Probably the only bike worth getting, and it's not listed anywhere in your posts
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Old 07-13-05, 05:29 AM   #4
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I recently bought a Jamis Commuter from a LBS. Its a good value in that price range($239). Its a 7 speed but has a good range. Ive set it up for my rainy day commuter.
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Old 07-13-05, 05:40 AM   #5
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Jaci,
Would you mind sharing how a hybrid will limit you in how far you can go? I currently ride a mtn bike and ride 16 miles or so--have just started back into riding after a 3+ year hiatus. I find that now that I've hit my 40s, it just isn't comfortable--could be that it is a poor fit for me. But I would like to increase my miles and had thought about a hybrid. I, too, would like to ride 20 or so miles at a time, with the occasional longer ride. Is a hybrid not good for this? I'm just starting to investigate a new bike--need time to drop hints for dh for Christmas Thanks!

JR
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Old 07-13-05, 05:44 AM   #6
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If you are worried about 20 miles, I have been doing that at least once a week and most of the time twice a week. I have a Gary Fisher Tiburon, and it does me just fine. The only problem I had with the bike is the suspension seat post, and the saddle. I have replaced both of them, and this weekend I will be doing another 40 mile ride. A friend has a Trek 7300, and loves it. He rides 20 with me all the time. Both are great bikes. With 400 miles behind me, I can say the squishy saddle that comes on both bikes suck, but the rest of the bike is great.

Test ride everything, keep notes, and when you ride the one that is right for you, you will know it.
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Old 07-13-05, 06:40 AM   #7
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If you want a little of both, then a comfort bike is probably more what you are after..more than a hybrid anyway. The main difference, as far as I can see is that the hybrids have smooth (road) tires and most comforts have tires that accomodate both paved and offroad.

I have the Trek Navigator (300 model) and its tires are smooth in the middle and nobby on the sides. This makes it (tire wise) ok for either pavement or offroad (but not ideal for either). Mine also has suspension in the fork and seat which is also good for offroading I believe.

Hybrids are about the same but with smooth tires all the way, which makes them pretty much only pavement bikes. To me the name is misleading.....when I first got into this hybrid "spoke" to me as being a hybrid between road and off-road, but that is not the case. I think its more of a mountain bike frame/syle with road tires.

The Nav 300 and 100 have the same frame....only real difference is components I believe. Not sure if the 100 or 200 have the suspension or not, but you probably want it if you want to offroad a little.

BTW....I've since put road tires on my Trek Navigator 300 as I only ended up riding pavement....and it is much smoother. I do love the bike.
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Old 07-13-05, 08:57 AM   #8
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I've gone on several rides over 50 miles on my Trek 7200 (longest ride = 62 miles) and my husband and a buddy recently rode 220 miles over 4 days on their Trek 7300's. Your top speed is somewhat limited by the size of the tires (say compared to a road bike) and you might wish for more hand positions on the handlebars but the bikes are certainly up to the task.
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Old 07-13-05, 09:17 AM   #9
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I ride my Raleigh C-40 a minimum of 30 miles a day 6 days a week, and as many as 70. If you want more speed/hand positions, you can install an aero-bar like I did. I can routinely do a 30 mile ride at 15-17 mph. I've actually had the bike up to 30 on a flat and 47 down hill.
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Old 07-13-05, 10:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
can routinely do a 30 mile ride at 15-17 mph. I've actually had the bike up to 30 on a flat and 47 down hill.
Yea, these Hybrids are great bikes. The other day I did 18 miles, and averaged 14.6MPH. I do have to admit that if I was in better shape that speed would be much better, but for now I am happy with that. As a mater of fact, I think that speed is to much for me in my current shape, but it felt good to do it. I didnít feel like I was pushing myself until I hit the long upgrade around the 14 mile marker. But like the old saying goes. It was up hill, wind in my face, and hot.

The only limiting factor in my riding is me.
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Old 07-13-05, 12:50 PM   #11
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I've been riding this bike for 3 years now. I do wonder what I could do on a decent roadie....
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Old 07-13-05, 12:59 PM   #12
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You can do LOTS of riding, and significantly longer distances than your 20 mile goal, on a $300 bike. It's the motor that counts. My $275 bike I've gone on a 60 mile rides with. I put 2000 miles a year on it last year. I am also 44, BTW.

My son rides my old 1986 road bike, which has a market value of like $0, and looks like absolute crap, and he goes out most weekends and rides 40 miles on it, at 17 MPH avg.




Quote:
Originally Posted by jaci
I'm in the same boat as you.

I want a hybrid/fitness bike. I am 44, planning to ride for pleasure, but also want to build up to 20 miles at a time, give or take. Maybe later even tackle a short day trip.
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Old 07-13-05, 01:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingTermite
If you want a little of both, then a comfort bike is probably more what you are after..more than a hybrid anyway. The main difference, as far as I can see is that the hybrids have smooth (road) tires and most comforts have tires that accomodate both paved and offroad.
- good advice here, IMO... first, you won't spend as much for a comfort bike... if you get a comfort with Kenda Kross tires, you'll be able to do a bit of both smooth and off-the-path stuff... that said, i started with a Marin comfort bike, but ditched the Kenda Kross tires for a pair of Tioga City Slickers, as i found myself on smooth road most of the time (went from 26x1.95s to 26x1.5s)...

- good luck, let us know what bikes y'all get and how they work for you!

:-)
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Old 07-13-05, 02:42 PM   #14
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I don't do the off-roading thing--ride mainly country roads with some uneven, broken pavement or occasional dirt roads. I took the knobby tires off the mtn bike I currently ride (bought almost 10yrs ago at a <gasp> super-sports-store) and put on less knobby ones. From what you guys have been saying--thanks btw--I've enjoyed doing searches on the various bikes that have been mentioned--I should be looking more at a hybrid with some comfort features. After visiting the Specialized site I was more drawn to the Crossroads than the Expedition because the Expedition had bigger tires. At the Trek and Raleigh sites, again, I was drawn to the bikes with smaller tires. I do want a bike that will keep me in a more upright position. On my current bike I feel like my shoulders are jammed up close to my ears, and I have to lean so far forward to get to the handlebars. By the end of my 16 mile loop my back is screaming. I'm avg about 14.5-15 mph--but good glory, someone is doing 30 on flats and 47 downhill--WOW!!! I feel like letting out whoops when I hit 30 downhill!!! Thanks again for the comments, reviews, advice--keep 'em coming. I'm looking forward to visiting a LBS to get an up close and personal look at some of the bikes. Do LBS let you do road testing of the bikes? I've never bought from a real LBS before, so I'd like to know what to expect.

JR
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Old 07-13-05, 04:28 PM   #15
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Most local bike shops I've visited, they allow you to test drive so long as you leave them with a driver's license and credit card to cover damages if they were to occur. I'd stress that it is very important to test drive bikes. I'm 54 years old and recently purchased a hybrid (Jamis Coda Elite). I tried a Trek, but it had handlebars not to my liking at all. I suppose the FX would have been a different story, but chanced on a Jamis shop and test drove one of their hybrids. Everything on the Jamis seemed right to me. Unfortunately, they didn't carry the model I wanted and said they'd have a hard time getting one, so I had to order online. Still, I love my new bike.
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Old 07-13-05, 05:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingTermite
If you want a little of both, then a comfort bike is probably more what you are after..more than a hybrid anyway. The main difference, as far as I can see is that the hybrids have smooth (road) tires and most comforts have tires that accomodate both paved and offroad.
KT and all - thanks for the great advice. I feel reassured in my thoughts that a comfort bike is the way to go for my requirements. I guess what it comes down to is that I need to test drive a few more and see which I like the best. I'd really like to stay in the $300 range. I might consider looking at used bikes if my price-point won't get me a quality bike, but I'd prefer new. I'm not sure how to assertain how much work would be needed on a used bike. I'll take a closer look at the bikes you all suggested - hopefully they have em at my LBS. Looked like the one I tried last week only had the Giant Sedona in my price-range.

I'll keep you all posted on my findings.

Thanks
Jeff
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Old 07-14-05, 05:43 AM   #17
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Be sure to ride as many as you can; especially in terms of a true "comfort" bike vs a hybrid. I've been riding my hybrid for 3 years. Recently on a vacation trip I rented a bike for a day. The shop advertised Trek 7200's so that's where we went figuring we'd feel quite at home on the bikes. Turns out all they had were Specialized comfort bikes. I don't recall the exact model but it was a VERY upright riding position with somewhat higher handlebars and a weird springy seat. Personally I didn't like it, kind of a creepy feeling. That said, somebody "comfortable" with that bike might find the Trek hybrid just as "creepy".
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Old 07-14-05, 06:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peekay
I've gone on several rides over 50 miles on my Trek 7200 (longest ride = 62 miles) and my husband and a buddy recently rode 220 miles over 4 days on their Trek 7300's. Your top speed is somewhat limited by the size of the tires (say compared to a road bike) and you might wish for more hand positions on the handlebars but the bikes are certainly up to the task.
I put extensions on the bars of my Trek 7200 and they help with more hand positions. They were less than $20 and worth it to me because I also put rearview mirrors on them, which are helpful during my commute.
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Old 07-14-05, 08:10 AM   #19
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I have a hybrid raleigh c40 (cost right around $300)for commuting and general riding that I have had for 2 years - I have done 50 mile rides on it with no trouble. My only criticism is that it is rather heavy - but I don't know if it is heavier than other hybrids or not. I tested two other brands (specialized and something else) before I bought this one and I just felt like this one fit me better - quality wise and weight wise I think they were all around the same and lbs said they were.
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Old 07-15-05, 06:33 PM   #20
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Hey all, me again. I still haven't bought a bike, but I had a chance to stop at one more shop. This time the salesman was really encouraging me to go hybrid over comfort, although he wasn't able to answer my questions much to my liking and I'm not sure I was getting great advice.

Based on that conversation and these posts, it sounds like a hybrid makes sense because I will likely be doing mostly on-roading. In fact, after thinking further about what there is nearby, I'll probably be 80% paved, 10% dirt, and maybe 10% gravel or offroad. I got the feeling that the only reason people suggested a comfort bike was for actually OFFroading - ie not just pebble or dirt roads.

With this new info in mind, does a hybrid make more sense for me? What advantages do I get out of the hybrid over the comfort bike? On the comfort topic, I'm really more concerned about less stress on my joints and muscles, because I have fibromyalgia. I'm not sure if I'll notice big differences going comfort over hybrid here. Any thoughts?

Thanks again for all of the great advice.

Jeff
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Old 07-15-05, 06:53 PM   #21
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I'm really more concerned about less stress on my joints and muscles, because I have fibromyalgia. I'm not sure if I'll notice big differences going comfort over hybrid here. Any thoughts?
Check the Giant Suede http://www.giantbicycles.com/us/030.....asp?range=207
(300.00 for 7- speed 350.00 for 21-Speed) . It is a "Flat Foot" "Comfort Style" bike and will put less stress on the joints. I did a great deal of research and found that this was the "safest" and easieset to ride style for someone with medical problems.
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Old 07-17-05, 08:04 PM   #22
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Diamondback Wildwood, great bike for the money, $258.00 at lbs, it has the kenda tires someone mentioned, had it for about 6 weeks now, nice bike for 10 to 20 mile rides, riding gravel paths and pavement mixed, suspension seatpost and fork.
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Old 07-18-05, 08:01 AM   #23
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affeking, have you actually ridden both types of bikes? Let's look at the Trek line as an example. If you ride something from the Navigator line (their comfort bike) and something from their 7X00 line (their hybrid bike) you should definitely feel a difference in your riding position. A little pedaling will give you an idea of how the bikes handle differently and what suits you better. I know the hybrid will handle your 10% dirt and 10% gravel roads okay and I GUESS the comfort bike will also get you across that terrain. Ride both kinds of bikes and see what you like best. Since you still have a lot of uncertainty I think you really might benefit from testing bikes from a single manufacturer as opposed to comparing the Trek Hybrid to the Specialized Comfort - might be too much gray area to get an accurate idea of what it is exactly that you want. Good luck!
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Old 07-18-05, 08:59 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HWS
I ride my Raleigh C-40 a minimum of 30 miles a day 6 days a week, and as many as 70. If you want more speed/hand positions, you can install an aero-bar like I did. I can routinely do a 30 mile ride at 15-17 mph. I've actually had the bike up to 30 on a flat and 47 down hill.
Holy hell, and I thought I put my C40 through its paces. Aero bars on a hybrid with shocks is something I have never seen.

Furthermore, please please please get a road bike. I put a couple of thousand miles on my C40 before I got a road bike, and the difference is amazing. I don't even have a particularly high end roadie, but at this point (after getting a third bike also) I actually dislike riding the C40, due to its "squishy yet chunky" ride and rarely ride it anymore. Only in the rain.
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Old 07-19-05, 10:30 PM   #25
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i have owned an Electra Townie (sold it on eBay) and currently own and ride a Giant Sedona DS and a Giant Suede. I have to say i absolutely LOVE the Suede and put on more than 30 miles per week alternating with the Sedona (which is no longer being made in the DS configuration). They are both great but if I had to pick one, I would take the Suede.
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