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  1. #1
    Pinstriper SemperFi's Avatar
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    Specialized vs. Trek - Decision Time

    Spent last weekend test riding the Trek 7.3 FX and 7.5 FX and this weekend test riding the Specialized Sirrus Sport and Sirrus Comp. I think I have my decision narrowed down to the Trex 7.5 FX or the Sirrus Comp but they're both a bit pricey for me (especially the Sirrus Comp). Not being too savvy on the differences in the components of the two bikes I'm looking for a little guidance. Like everyone else out there I'd like to get the biggest bang for my buck. Here are some specs. Both have aluminum frames. The Trek has an alloy fork, the Sirrus has a carbon fork and seat post. Trek rear derailleur is Deore, Sirrus is Shimano 105. Trek tires are Bontrager 32c, Sirrus tires are Nimbus 28c w/Armadillo. Trek shifters are Deore 9 speed, Sirrus has Shimano R-440-9, Rapidfire. Trek cassette is SRAM PG950 11-32, 9 speed, Sirrus has Sram PG950 12-26, 9 speed. I guess that these are the main vital specs but again I'm a novice at this so I could be overlooking something important. Any comments or recommendations would be appreciated. Sometimes I think I picked out my car (2005 Honda Accord Coupe V6) in less time than I'm spending on my bike decision.

  2. #2
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Allow me to not answer your question fully.

    Here's the things I like:
    Trek: Deore RD with 32 tooth largest chainring in back = better climbing or just low geared "wuss" days.
    Alloy fork = more utilitarian (In my opinion), which is a good thing.

    Specialized: R-440 shifters are very nice (Tiagra quality at least).
    Nimbus 28c Armadillo are just about perfect for commuting and general road riding. A good balance of speed and comfort/durabily.

    So, if only you could combine the two...which would have led me to recommend the Fuji Absolute. A bike which does combine all of those, at a cheaper price tag. In fact, once upon a time I bought that bike, and eventually tired of the flat bars a spent a deal of time and money converting to drops. (There's a lesson there.)

    But then I went to Fuji's website, and saw that with the new 06 model they totally screwed them up, and it's not anything like the bike I had. They even added those crappy "motorcycle" style twist grip shifts. Not a fan anymore.

    So now...man, that's a rough decision. I don't know what to say anymore, since my recommendation evaporated.

    My $.02? The things I don't like about the Specialized the most are what's driving the cost up: The carbon fork and seat post. But...if you bought the Trek, and changed a couple of things if you wound up not liking them, would you eventually equal the Specialized price tag?

    Perhaps...get the trek, and put those 28c Armadillos on for $50 extra dollars.

    How was this for a non answer with lots of rambling?

  3. #3
    Pinstriper SemperFi's Avatar
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    It was a good answer and the rambling wasn't so bad. Cost aside what don't you like about the carbon fork and seat post? Aren't they lighter and absorb road shock better?

  4. #4
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    I feel (opinion here) that carbon is essentially a disposable material. There have been documented cases of load bearing carbon parts failing as a minor structural flaw propagates through the material. Essentially, with enough stress, it degrades or comes unraveled.

  5. #5
    Pinstriper SemperFi's Avatar
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    Good to know, Thanks.

  6. #6
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Carbon fiber shows great promise...but it is an immature technology, to be generous. How many touring or commuter bikes do you see out there made of carbon fiber, or having carbon components?

    Carbon parts are designed to provide maximum strength in the direction of maximum stress. However, bikes are subject to a wide variety of stresses, as well as bumps, dings, spills, maintenance "whoops", etc. There have also been some problems where metal meets carbon; seatposts, bottom brackets, etc.

    Lance rides carbon. Carbon has great "damping" properties. It is VERY light, and strong. Lance is also a pro racer, and if he thrashes a carbon frame getting through the Tour de France, I have a feeling Trek provides him with several "spares". So, by the end of the race, the frame may be questionable for continued use ever again, but who cares?

    I'll assume that you aren't a pro racer, and are looking for more versatility and utility. I know that the Sirrus is not a carbon frame, and merely has some carbon pieces. When I go to the LBS, I drool for a few minutes over the sexy carbon race bikes...and then at purchase time, shy far away from any carbon whatsoever...because my bike is an all purpose road commuter.

    Comfort, incidentally, should not come primarily from a few carbon parts. I don't think I'd ever be able to tell the difference myself...but I'm not a pro, just a commuter and recreational rider. Comfort comes from your tires, saddle, and frame geometry.

  7. #7
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    For the purposes of these bikes, carbon is not necessary and more than likely won't be appreciated. I have a carbon fork on my road bike and I trust it with my life going down mountains at 40+mph but for beating around town, commuting, beer runs, etc. it's not necessary. One tricky thing about carbon seatposts is you have to be careful tightening the clamp. Too loose and it slips of course but too tight and you've cracked it.

    The Trek components are Shimano mountain bike type and the Sirrus has the road versions. So the Trek is geared lower; it'll have a bit less on the top end but can climb easier. Both bikes can take fenders and racks; the Trek can even take front panniers. The Bontrager wheels and tires are quite nice; my wife has the WSD 7.5FX. On the Road forum, Alex wheels have not the best reputation. The Trek tires are wider; a more comfortable ride. If you plan on hauling stuff or kids with your bike; get the Trek. The Sirrus is going to be the faster bike; if I wanted something fast to keep up with the roadies, I'd get this over the Trek.

    In the recreational riding forum the FX series has been discussed and the 7.3 was the best bang for the buck.

    I don't think you'd go wrong with either bike but no sense in paying for components you don't need. I can point out the differences but really, for most folks these aren't that great. What's most important is which one is the more comfortable. If the bike isn't comfortable, you won't ride it.

    Another consideration is the service you'll get from the Local Bike Shop(LBS).


    Okay, you wanted an opinion so go get the Trek, if it is comfortable. They do let you take test rides, don't they?

  8. #8
    Banned wagathon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle
    . . . One tricky thing about carbon seatposts is you have to be careful tightening the clamp. Too loose and it slips of course but too tight and you've cracked it.
    I've had my current setback FSA carbon seatpost on two bikes, the previous being steel, and I don't think I could have cracked it before twisting off the seatpost bolt: the CF is very thick on the FSA.

  9. #9
    Pinstriper SemperFi's Avatar
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    That's a bundle of great information . Now I'm more confused and undecided than ever.

  10. #10
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle
    The Trek components are Shimano mountain bike type and the Sirrus has the road versions.
    The rear cassette only, I presume? Is the front also a mountain bike crank? Interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle
    The Sirrus is going to be the faster bike; if I wanted something fast to keep up with the roadies, I'd get this over the Trek.
    If you want to do this, I'd look at a non-flat bar road bike, though still something suitable for "all purpose" work.

  11. #11
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SemperFi
    Now I'm more confused and undecided than ever.
    So, my sinister plot has succeeded! Bwaa hah ha ha ha! (evil laugh.)

    Sorry, Semper Fi (I assume you're a marine?)...the intent wasn't to confuse you, of course. Perhaps, since it seems you already have a MTB/ATB, you may be interested in shopping actual roadies, and not the "flat bar hybrid" crowd?

    Like I said in my first post, I started with a flat bar Fuji Absolute...and after not too long was going through some time, effort, and money to turn it into a drop bar roadie. I'm not complaining, since I enjoy the mechanical tinkering and wouldn't have done it any other way, but still...there is a moral in that story, somewhere.

    I think that bbattle and I are on the same page though in saying that the Trek is probably the best deal for the money out of the two. Of course, I hope it doesn't also have a "mountain" crank on it...because then you're almost buying a MTB again, just a bit lighter and more road friendly.

    Again, with the non-commital answers!

  12. #12
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    Don't sweat it, Semper Fi. Both bikes are quite nice. Both will give you the more upright geometry of a mountain bike without the mountain bike weight and useless(for the road) suspension. The Sirrus is set up more for the road while the Trek is more capable of handling dirt roads, fire trails, and rougher roads due to the wider tires and slightly lower gearing. But since there's room for fenders on the Sirrus(and the Trek), you can easily put on some wider tires for those trail rides. Likewise, if you got the Trek and wanted higher gearing, changing the cassette is not that expensive.

    So, either way you go it's cool.

  13. #13
    Semper Fidelis
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    most shops will or should let you take the bikes on a test ride, get a bike fit on the ones you think you would like and take them for a test ride.
    May not be a deciding factor but it can/will give you an idea on what you may really like. the newer bikes like the trek pilot, cannondale synapse with a higher head tube could be very helpful, of course depending on the bucks ya want to spend

    Oh yea by the way.
    SEMPER FI

  14. #14
    Pinstriper SemperFi's Avatar
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    I guess I should have mentioned that I have two herniated discs in my lower back so that's why i'm staying away from a true road bike with drop bars. I don't think that type of setup will ever be suitable for me. I don't ride the mountain bike anymore because it's too sluggish for the road. By the way the Trek crank is Bontrager Select 48/36/26 but I don't know what this means. Is this the "mountain crank" that you mentioned? The Specialized chainring is 52a 42s 30s.

  15. #15
    Semper Fidelis
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    guess I should have mentioned that I have two herniated discs in my lower back so that's why i'm staying away from a true road bike with drop bars. I don't think that type of setup will ever be suitable for me. I don't ride the mountain bike anymore because it's too sluggish for the road. By the way the Trek crank is Bontrager Select 48/36/26 but I don't know what this means. Is this the "mountain crank" that you mentioned? The Specialized chainring is 52a 42s 30s.
    __________________________________________________________________________________
    sizeing of the chain rings up front for hills or touring =triple ring
    Mtn crank yes could be used on the road as well, I believe

    48 teeth
    36 teeth
    26 teeth

    specialized gearing is more for the road and touring.
    Something else you may want to look at is a compact double, if it is for road riding.
    big ring 50-51 teeth
    should not be more than 14 teeth difference as the shifting will be thrown off
    small ring 34-36
    basically this gives you more than enough essential gearing for road riding

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