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Old 04-30-08, 07:35 AM   #1
heyman421
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Urban Commute / Towpath bicycle?

Hey guys.

Awesome forum you have here.

Anyways, i'm a novice cyclist looking for something mid-range i can use to commute to class through the city (4-5 miles) and take on a gravel-paved jogging/bike trail through the valley here in NE Ohio.

I've narrowed my search down to two bikes that i'm just crazy about, and i was hoping some of you could help me weed one of the contestants out!

The first contender is the Trek bike-path 7300 http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...0_series/7300/

Closer to the mountain-bike side of the hybrid spectrum, this baby would run me an even $500 at the local shop.

The second option is the Raleigh Performance-Hybrid Cadent FT 1 http://bicycleworldandfitness.com/it...gId=39&id=2983

This one's closer to the road bike side of the hybrid spectrum. It's lighter and faster than the trek, but lacks front suspention. It would run me $480 locally, and includes 1 year of free maintainence!

I love both bikes immensely. Both have rapid fire index-shifting, both are very sleek and light (slight edge to the raleigh) but the bottom line is that i'm a true novice, who's never paid this much money for a bike (spending more is COMPLETELY out of the question) and is scared of a true road-bike for durability reasons.

Can anyone out there offer some insight about either (or possible both) of these bikes, and help me choose one?

Thanks in advance, everyone!
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Old 04-30-08, 11:12 AM   #2
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I started out with a front-suspension hybrid and found that at that price point, it's really not worth it. It didn't really soak up the bumps, so it was just a bunch of extra weight to push around and extra parts to maintain. Yeah, they squish down nice in the showroom, but the quick, hard bumps experienced on the road, they don't absorb at all.

Now I have two road bikes instead. Road bikes are not the delicate flowers many people would have you think. Race bikes with fancy low-weight, low-spoke count wheels, are not a good choice. But road bikes affordable by mere mortals are plenty durable.

Now in my third year car-free and commuting daily, the only thing I've done is put a flat-spot in a front wheel. I was drafting a Jetta at over 30 MPH and hit a pothole that had a nice collection of hubcaps nearby. Didn't even flat the tire. Finished the ride to work, and rode it to the LBS, then back home.

The lessons here are that road bikes are not frail, and that drafting cars before they've patched all the winter potholes is dumb.

Last edited by tsl; 04-30-08 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 04-30-08, 05:38 PM   #3
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Good to hear an experienced opinion.

I was leaning toward the cadent already (nicer parts for the money.)

Does anyone think i SHOULDN'T buy the cadent over the 7300?
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Old 04-30-08, 07:45 PM   #4
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The right tires & a steel LUGGED frame are all the matter
for your light duty use.
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Old 04-30-08, 11:45 PM   #5
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I would agree with choosing the Cadent. I have a soft spot for Raleigh as a brand, but I also think that a rigid fork will be better in the long run. My first bike was a hybrid with a suspension fork, and I quickly noticed the extra effort it was taking. Learning how to relax my arms and stand on the pedals gave me much more control over bumpy bits.

Whatever you end up with, may it be the start of many years of happy riding!
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Old 05-02-08, 03:17 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. Between the 7k series and the Cadent, i'm definitely more interested in the Cadent. The fact that's it's cheaper makes the deal even sweeter.

Just to add a little gas to the flame, however, how do people generally feel about the Trek SU2.0?

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...rt_urban/su20/

It's $40 more than the cadent, but has disc brakes, and isn't white......

Has reviews, too, which is something that the cadent 1.0 lacks (all the reviews i found are of higher models)
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Old 05-02-08, 03:45 PM   #7
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If you can afford the SU 2.0, you should probably take a look at the 7.3 FX; IMO it's a little nicer than the 7000 or Cadent - I think that the Deore derailleur on the 7.3 is a (small) step above the Alivio derailleur on the other bikes, and I don't think that disc brakes are useful or desirable given what you need the bike for.

I also think that you will be better off with the 32mm tires on the 7.3 than the mountain bike tires on the SU 2.0.
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Old 05-02-08, 04:09 PM   #8
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ah, i knew there would be a catch.

I didn't know enough about the su2.0 to know that i has mountain bike tires. The closest vendor that has them in ~1 hour away.

One of my favorite things about the cadent was the fact that it had roadbike tires.

The SU2.0 is still seems like a tremendous bike for the price. The local vendor wants $499, and obviously i would miss out on free service, since it's an hour away.

Seems like the cadent is sitll closer to what i want, tho, and spending more was only a consideration because from the specs, it seemed like the su2.0 was trek's version of the cadent. I really have no desire to spend more than $500.

If anyone has any other thoughts/recommendations, i've got a whole extra week to hear them. I was planning on choosing a bike this weekend, but it's raining, so it's going to wait till next weekend.
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Old 05-02-08, 05:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heyman421 View Post
If anyone has any other thoughts/recommendations, i've got a whole extra week to hear them.
Okay.

In another thread in the Commuting forum, someone was asking about this:

$400 on sale. Seems like a screamin' deal. And it already has a rack and fenders. I would suggest spending the savings on lights and Kevlar-belted tires for puncture resistance.

BTW, my rig also has 700x28 tires. I was very surprised at how well they do on gravel bike paths.
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Old 05-02-08, 05:36 PM   #10
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Since your near the valley, couldn't hurt to look at leftover 07 and save a little if your size is available.

http://centurycycles.com/itemdetails...ogId=1&id=1870
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Old 05-03-08, 10:03 PM   #11
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Honestly, I'd rethink the idea of going fully rigid if a lot of the miles are going to be on gravel towpath.

If this path is anything like the ones I've ridden, there will be places where it just sucks. I was riding my Bad Boy (rigid fork) on one here and took it to the adjacent paved trail at the first opportunity -- I got tired of having my wrists & butt banged up. There were parts that had muddied and hardened into clumpy patches, and there were long stretches of washboard. I could do one of two things -- stand up the whole time or find another route.

I'm probably one of the last people who'd still recommend a suspension seatpost, too. Good for smoothing out annoying bumps without the weight, complexity, and inefficiency of rear suspension.

An ideal setup would have a lockout fork so that you can ride "rigid" when you need to, but that'll bump the price by a good chunk.
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Old 05-06-08, 03:06 PM   #12
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I'm looking at the Cadent as well... I've narrowed my choice down to between the Cadent FT1 and the Giant FCR3. I have not found a cadent locally to ride yet but a cool dealer is ordering me one before I decide. The Giant is a few dollars cheaper and the gears are slightly different on them. I lean toward the Cadent still but still have not made up my mind for sure.

I tried to paste a table of the specs here but it looked like crap.

Anyone have any input on the differences between the two?

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Old 05-06-08, 03:51 PM   #13
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Not much to add, but I like the Cadent a lot
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Old 05-07-08, 12:54 PM   #14
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Just FYI,the Cadent has a straight blade alloy fork. I'm seriously not a fan of alloy forks,esp when combined with skinny high-pressure tires. I stopped commuting on my Big Buzz because riding it every day started to bother my carpel tunnel.

"MTB tires" on the SU? They're street slicks. And they probably give a good ride. MTB tires are fat knobbies used off road. I've got 3 bikes with 26x1.5" tires;they all ride good and are plenty fast. In fact,the SU has the advantage in that both skinny performance tires and fat treaded tires that fit it are readily available at local LBS's. People talk about putting fat 700cc tires on bikes,but how many local shops actually have them on hand? I can go into just about any shop in the DC area and walk out with a set of 1.5",med to high pressure,puncture resistant street slicks,and a set of 2.1" knobbies for snow/trails.
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Old 05-07-08, 01:32 PM   #15
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I ride an FCR3 and love it.
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