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  1. #1
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    Trek 7.2 FX for an introductory bike?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm shopping around and trying to get myself an introductory bike. Tried various used sources, but didn't find much luck finding something satisfactory. A local shop is selling 2007 Trek 7.2 FXs for a clearance price of $380 and this has tempted me away from buying used into just buying a new bike.

    How would the Trek 7.2 fair as an introductory bike? Initially it will mainly be used for commuting, but eventually I'd like to break into the more athletic aspects of biking. Specifically I have an interest in eventually being involved in long distance riding and triathlons. It would also be nice to be able to do some light trail riding/off road type stuff, but this is secondary. Does this bike suit my purposes? Sorry if it is a silly question, I'm new to all this and trying to get up to speed...

  2. #2
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    I bought my 2007 Trek 7.2FX for $389.99 back in March of 2007 when I got back into riding and I love it. I use it mostly for commuting and errands around town. It's still my only bike. It's about to turn over 2700 miles, and has been extremely reliable. I've only had 2 flat tires (both in the rear tire) and a broken rear spoke at 2257 miles (not a big deal...I removed the broken spoke and rode the bike down to the LBS, dropped it off, came back an hour later to pick it up, and it cost less than $10). Last Sunday I went on my first "long" ride with no destination (a 26 mile loop with an easy 600' of climbing and a fun moderate downhill where I got it up to 33.5mph without too much effort).

    Some people have mentioned long distance with a flat bar is not comfortable for their hands. Many people consider 26 miles to be a short ride, but with that being my longest single trip ride so far I'll tell you my experience (I have ridden more miles in a day, but spread out between a round trip commute and errands). I didn't experience any discomfort in my hands during the 26 mile ride, but I did get a weird muscle cramp type of pain in my back, on the right side near the waistband of my cycling shorts. It started after about 12 miles into the ride, I went a little further then stopped and dismounted. After a quick self-massage and some stretching I felt good as new. I'm not sure what that was all about...maybe my muscles just aren't used to being on a bike for long periods of time yet? Maybe with drop bars or bar ends one can vary their back position more by moving from one hand position to another and avoid that situation?

    I know at this point I'm going to keep the 7.2FX set up as it currently is, with fenders & front/rear racks, as a heavy commuter/in town errand bike. I'm planning on buying a second bike in the near future, probably a lighter weight road bike with drop bars, to use as more of a long distance pleasure ride/go fast/part-time fair weather commuter and backup for the main commuter.

    For an introductory commuter bike it would be hard to go wrong with the 7.2FX, especially if your childhood experience was like mine and you grew up with flat bar bikes. I think it's good to stick with something you're used to for getting back into things. The 7.2 also has all the necessary attachment points for mounting front/rear racks and fenders, which many more expensive bikes don't have for some strange reason.

    Oh yeah, and I've lost well over 30 pounds (from just over 200 down to the 170 range) since I started riding back in March and I feel great. It's also fun to be able to eat the occasional junk food and not feel guilty about it .

  3. #3
    Just a geek tdister's Avatar
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    As far as bike design (the hybrid/fitness category the FX line fall into): 7.2 would be fine for commuting depending on distance. Most would consider it unsuitable for long distance (depending on your definition), you would def. want a different bike for a triathlon. Too upright, wrong handlebars, heavy among other reasons.

    My 7.3 does nicely on hard packed smoother trails, anything bumpy gets old real fast. The 7.2 has a little more tire under it to help, but is no mountain bike. An off road bike? No.

    The price/equipment level: Should be fine for basic commuting to start, but I would recommend trying to get into a 7.3. Better components, lighter weight and no suspension seat post. More likely to leave a better taste in your mouth for pursuing the other avenues.

    If you are dead set at getting into cycling, I would def try and go up a step price-wise.

    As for bar ends: I was doing fine without them, but got some just because.
    Now, if I got another flat bar bike they would be on it before I ever rode it. Worth every penny and then some.
    Last edited by tdister; 01-19-08 at 02:53 AM.
    Surly LHT complete, Surly Pacer Complete, '94 Marin Muirwoods....and a couple others

  4. #4
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    7.2FX is a great, fairly inexpensive bike for short (<10mi) commutes and recreational/fitness riding, but not well suited to long distance or triathlons. I say go for it...it's a great place to start and there is no rule saying you can only have one bike. Later, when you have more experience and know what kind of riding you want to do, you can buy a bike better suited to those purposes and still have this bike for other purposes and/or a back up/bad weather bike.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Thank you all for the input.

    I'm weary of getting a more expensive bike (even going up just the $100 or $200 to get an 7.3 FX) because theft is very rampant in my area. I'm at the edge of my budget so I need a balance between something that will suit my needs as a beginner, but still draw minimal attention.

    What sort of distances would really be pushing the capabilities of this bike?

  6. #6
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I did some centuries and some loaded multi-day tours on my old 7200FX - complete with fenders and a rear rack, the kid did the Hancock Hundred on the same bike and Cheri did her first Hancock Hundred and a couple of metrics on a Raleigh Rt-1. The fit of the bike is the most important thing, so buy one that is the right size, have the bike shop make the initial adjustments, then don't be afraid to make tweaks yourself. For long distances, having multiple hand positions is a great help..which can be addressed by putting some bar-ends on the handlebars. The bike is perfectly ridable for long distances and some touring, though not the fastest, the lightest, the most 'loadable' or the most comfortable.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Just a geek tdister's Avatar
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    In trying to think like a thief, nothing on the 7.3 really sticks out over the 7.2 in making it a good target. They are both fairly fancy looking and are good targets From more than 10 feet, they are going to look near identical to the untrained eye. Any higher (7.5) and you start getting low spoke count wheels, carbon fiber bits that make it look fancier.

    If security is high on the list, I would keep perusing the used bikes, preferably steel (cro-mo, not hi tensil) as it just doesn't look as fancy to most people. Maybe an older fully rigid mountain bike? I see many here for very decent prices. Put some high pressure slicks on it and it will be very close to the FX line-up while being much less desirable to thieves.

    Distance is hard to say and will vary greatly with the user. I currently go a maximum of 25 miles in one day on my 7.3. I feel that is almost over the line of getting a more strict road type bike. Once in a while longer trips is one thing, make longer rides a weekly habit and you will likely want something with drop bars and more road oriented geometry. A good windy day will really make you wish for some drops.
    Surly LHT complete, Surly Pacer Complete, '94 Marin Muirwoods....and a couple others

  8. #8
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    This bike is a "best buy". It will perform as well, for rides under 20 miles or so, as a road bike that costs twice as much. It allows you to use beefy 35mm for loaded touring, or light 28mm tires for fast week-end rides.

    If you want a lower riding position, simply bend your elbows. By just bending your elbows you can get into a very low, flat position for riding into the wind.

    The so-called advantages of "drop" bars on road bikes is greatly overstated. In the past month, I've seen over a hundred people out riding on a road bike. Not ONE of them was riding on the drops.

    The longer wheelbase soaks up road shock, and enables you to add a rear rack and saddlebags for commuting or touring. You can add fenders for riding in the snow or rain. This is an ideal bike for someone who may be riding 12 months of the year, not just sunny Saturdays in June.

  9. #9
    Big Mac and No hills. 800over's Avatar
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    I loved my 7.3. I just threw on some bar ends and it made all the difference for the long rides. The 7.2 would be a great bike. Just make sure you get the right size!

  10. #10
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    So I've just come across a Trek 7300 for $250.

    Currently, I'm still leaning toward getting the 7.2 FX (really can't afford the extra $200 for the 7.3 after the cost of getting a helmet, lock, etc). My justification is that either bike is in a price range where I would want to get reimbursed by my renters insurance in case of theft and a receipt would make it much easier. Also there is the issue of getting a good fit height wise. The used bike should be a close fit, but probably not as perfect as getting a brand new bike.

    I'm concerned that my judgment is being clouded by an aesthetic bias for the 7.2 FX though. I just really like the look of the bike and worry I may be making a poor decision based on something that won't even think about after the second the purchase is made.

    A bit of a tangent. I currently have a Kryptonite Evolution U-Lock. I'm thinking of returning it and getting an OnGuard U-Lock because I like the multi-positional mount. Any significant practical difference in quality between the two?

    Thank you again everyone for helping a newbie get started.
    Last edited by deadcactus; 01-19-08 at 02:27 PM.

  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I ride mountain bikes still and a change of tyres to High pressure slicks and I can do century rides on it. Any bike can do milage- it is you that has to work up to it.

    And on locks- A top rate lock and a top rate hawser to lock wheels to frame to immovable object will deter thieves- but that is all. If they want it- they will get it- but the best you can do is make it difficult for them. Only secure way to lock a bike is to always have your hand or your Butt on it- and that does not always work.
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  12. #12
    i like mud discosaurus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadcactus View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm shopping around and trying to get myself an introductory bike. Tried various used sources, but didn't find much luck finding something satisfactory. A local shop is selling 2007 Trek 7.2 FXs for a clearance price of $380 and this has tempted me away from buying used into just buying a new bike.

    How would the Trek 7.2 fair as an introductory bike? Initially it will mainly be used for commuting, but eventually I'd like to break into the more athletic aspects of biking. Specifically I have an interest in eventually being involved in long distance riding and triathlons. It would also be nice to be able to do some light trail riding/off road type stuff, but this is secondary. Does this bike suit my purposes? Sorry if it is a silly question, I'm new to all this and trying to get up to speed...
    Yes, this bike will suit most of your purposes, if you're willing to make a few small compromises. It's a great commuter and a lot of bike for the price, especially if it's reduced to $380! I've ridden about 2,000 miles on my 7.2 FX since June last year. It will probably not be suitable for triathlons (it's pretty heavy and doesn't have as aggressive geometry as tri/tt bikes), but for training riding and entry-level competition until you find out exactly what you want in a performance bike, definitely ok.

    Distance: With proper fit and adjustment, and maybe a little equipment swapping, any bike can be good for long distances. For this one, I suggest swapping the handlebars for something like trekking bars, 3-speed style bars, or adding barends to make the risers comfortable for longer rides. Also, I hate the stock saddle, but ymmv. I ride mine with a leather touring saddle (vintage Ideale 80) and I'm very happy with my soma sparrow bar. You might have to play around with frame size and seatpost/stem heights to get a good riding posture for longer distances. The stock setup is pretty upright, not so good for longer distances, but easily mitigated with adjustments and minor component swaps. I ride a very small frame with a longer seatpost, and the sparrow bar sits a little lower than the top of the stem so the grips are about even with the saddle.

    As for off road, this bike is perfect for paved, gravel, crushed limestone trails, and very very modest singletrack. For anything more than light off-road--like stream crossings, rocky, rooty trails, big drops--I would recommend investing in a separate off-road wheelset with double walled, wider rims and thick knobby tires. Otherwise, the geometry is very similar to a mountain bike and with a more durable wheelset and tires, would probably do well even on rougher stuff than I ride.

  13. #13
    `````````````` CaptainCool's Avatar
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    Last summer was my second summer on my 7.2FX. I put 1200 miles on it in 14 weeks, including a couple of centuries in the California mountains. My commute this year is just under five miles each way, though I'm doing that on an old steel single speed for the winter.

    For the long rides, I learned the hard way that soft seats suck. I've swapped out the seat, brake pads, added bar ends, clipless pedals, and a rack, panniers, and full fenders for commuting duty. 28mm tires are about as narrow as you can go on the stock rims. I've seen a couple of these bikes with butterfly bars. They also come up in Mechanics with people wanting to put drops on them, but that's a hassle. The stock gear range is huge, and I was glad to have the 28-32 for my first few mountain rides.

    It's a trooper. It can do a lot. I would say it's an excellent starter bike. I would definitely recommend it over the 7200 for road riding. I now have a good idea of what I want in a nice road bike.

  14. #14
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    Buy the 7.2 or 7.3. Even if you turn into an athletic rider with multiple bikes, a good hybrid is a versatile, useful machine and you really can't go wrong with a Trek hybrid. Tip--shops aren't identical; bike assembly matters. Buy from a shop that doesn't force 20 minute assemblies on their service departments; try to not price-shop as a shop that's too eager to discount is probably going to give you a second-rate assembly. There isn't a ton of margin in bikes and you very much do get what you pay for.

  15. #15
    `````````````` CaptainCool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feldman View Post
    Even if you turn into an athletic rider with multiple bikes, a good hybrid is a versatile, useful machine and you really can't go wrong with a Trek hybrid.
    This is true, too. I'm thinking about turning mine into an xtracycle when I move back out to California this summer.

  16. #16
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    I have almost 4000 miles on my 7.3 and love the bike. I do a 10 mile ride every day on my lunch hour, still running original tires but have changed chain and cassette.

  17. #17
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    i have one an older one as well. put 500 miles on it and knew i was hooked.

    so now i use the bike to get me back and forth to the gym in the nice weather....

  18. #18
    Eugenian mr_nickos_jr's Avatar
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    I am a bike amateur, this is the most I spent on a bike, but I liked it a lot. Of course, I have never had other decent bikes to compare it to, only some cheapo's that gave me a sore back. Needless to say, my trek 7.2 fx has worked for going to/from work for the past 6 months, and I have no issues with it (other than what any bike would have: flats every so often, oiling chain, new break pads, etc).

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