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  1. #1
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    Newbie bike for city fitness: recommendations

    Hi. I would love advice for someone looking to ride for fitness. I am 5'1" 130lbs and live in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I'd like to ride in Prospect Park and on Ocean Ave down to Coney Island, all on asphalt bike paths. Based on online research, I'm looking at the Cannondale Quick 5, Specialized Vita, Trek 7.2 FX, Gary Fisher Wingra, Raleigh Cadent FT1 and the Giant FCR3 is a bit more pricey. All are around $500 which is my budget. Yelp and Citysearch have high ratings for Bay Ridge Bicycle World, but I don't think they carry all of these. So far, I've only been able to test ride the Specialized Vita. Any advice would be great.

    Thanks,
    Ali

  2. #2
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    The Trek FX bikes are very good. There is a sort-of war between Trek owners and Cannondale owners. Each defending their steeds. So I'd suggest taking each for a good test-ride. But I'm familiar with the Trek models, having settled for an FX 7.5 (I have money it appears). I looked at the 7.2 and read the component list and they look solid and can be swapped-out as the spirit moves you. I'm sure the Cannondales can claim the same.

    Either way you go, one of the hybrids would be the way I'd push you. They are good transportation. They are fast. And they are fun!

    Oh yes - see if the shops might not have a sale for last year's models. That's one good way to save some $$$.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  3. #3
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    Each of the major brands sell nice bikes in the $500 price range. Your satisfaction with your bike depends FAR more on the quality of the bike shop than the brand of the bike. Visit the two or three shops that are closest to your home. If a shop is six blocks from your home, it is easier to stop by for adjustments than if the shop is six miles from your home.

    A good shop makes sure the bike is the correct size, that the seat and bars are adjusted to fit you, and that the wheels are "trued" and the braking and shifting carefully tuned. In a month or so, after you have put some miles on the bike, the shop will check over the bike and make any adjustments that are needed.

    Try to ride every day. Riding just once a week will leave you sore and tired, while riding every day will soon have you feeling ten years younger.

  4. #4
    Member ksmoondoggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
    The Trek FX bikes are very good. There is a sort-of war between Trek owners and Cannondale owners. Each defending their steeds. So I'd suggest taking each for a good test-ride. But I'm familiar with the Trek models, having settled for an FX 7.5 (I have money it appears). I looked at the 7.2 and read the component list and they look solid and can be swapped-out as the spirit moves you.
    I have a Trek 7.3 FX and love it. It is my first bike (since I was a kid) and I choose it over the 7.2 because it had slightly better components out of the gate. I also wanted to keep the price in the $500 range and I bought mine new in 2007 for a little over $500 but it lists over $600 now. BTW I also liked the Specialized.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    One note of warning. You are 5'1" which is as far as bike makers go, is xxxs.
    Take care with the size of the bike and with the dimensions. The critical dimension for sizing these days is the reach or length of the bike (saddle to bars), since they allow plenty of standover clearance. The wheel size is an important factor in reach. Squishing large 700c hybrid wheels into a small frame requires some bodging of the frame geometry and stretching of the frame so the smallest sizes are proportionately quite long.

    The usual advice around here is that riders under about 5'2" should avoid full-sized standard wheels (700c) and opt for one of the smaller sizes such as 650c (small road racing size) or 26" MTB.
    The tyre selection for 650c can be limitting (to very narrow width only) but 26" MTB size tyres are available in the form of road slicks (ie not knobbly) and in useful sizes from 1.25" upwards.

    I have bikes with hybrid size and MTB size wheels and there is little difference in efficiency due to the wheel diameter.

    The other dimensions which you need to keep an eye on are:
    The length of the cranks: 170mm is medium so look for 160 or 165mm. Avoid long 175mm at all costs.
    The height of the cranks off the ground (bottom bracket height). For small riders, a high bottom bracket makes mounting the bike much harder.
    Handlebar width: can be cut down to size with a hacksaw!.
    Brake lever reach with small hands.



    Most bikes using 26" wheels are either off-road style or low-performance comfort style. Canondale (Bad Boy) and Scott (Sub) both make quite high performance 26" road bikes marketed as sports urban style.
    Terry Precision specialize in small bikes for womens and make a hybrid style bike using 26"MTB wheels. Terry usually take care with all the dimensions and components to fit smaller women.

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