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Old 07-13-09, 08:08 PM   #1
cervantes3773
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Which bike to choose?

I'm not sure of the best place to post this, so I'll start here. (Mods - please move if this is the wrong forum).

I'm getting back into cycling after several years and am trying to find the right bike for me.

I'll be doing 60 to 70% road biking and the rest on light trails - rails to trails, dirt paths, gravel - no real mountain biking. My girlfriend is looking to upgrade to a Giant FCR or a Trek FX and I'll need something in a similar performance envelope when we ride together.

I want to use my bike for light commuting (to friends' houses, store), fitness, adventure, and weekend touring.

I've ridden several bikes and the Specialized Crosstrail was my favorite. I felt the Trek FX was okay, but a bit uncomfortable. My girlfriend was at a bike shop today and they said that the Scott Sportster was similar to the Crosstrail, so I will check that out this week.

The long and the short of it is - can you guys make any comments on the bikes I've mentioned or offer some alternatives?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 07-15-09, 02:13 PM   #2
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Anyone? Any advice or perspective is welcome!
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Old 07-15-09, 04:38 PM   #3
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Ah, no replies eh? I don't know about those specific bikes & too lazy to look 'em up . You might want to post in the forums that deal with the bikes &/or riding that you want to do. 'Commuting' or 'utility' or 'mountain'. Also post links to the bike catalog for the models you mention. There are so many to choose from & a picture & description will help viewers understand what it is.

I've ridden hybrids & didn't like the too-close, too-upright position. Difficult to make power because of pulling on the handlebars; need to be bent over a bit to use the upper body as a counterweight to the torque from pedaling. They seem comfortable sitting still but are not so good after many miles.

I have road-oriented bikes with medium-width, smooth tires that help cushion the rough streets but are still fairly efficient. The handlebars (North Road or road drops) have different positions. Road drops, in particular, offer an upright position, a slightly bent over position (on the hoods) for relative comfort while permitting making enough power for decent speed, and a really bent over position (in the drops) for aerodynamic efficiency or for making max power. I prefer long wheelbases & relaxed angles (like old Schwinns & touring bikes) for straight-ahead stability. This is what I like; ymmv.

Last edited by duffer1960; 07-15-09 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 07-15-09, 04:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cervantes3773 View Post
I'm not sure of the best place to post this, so I'll start here. (Mods - please move if this is the wrong forum).

I'm getting back into cycling after several years and am trying to find the right bike for me.

I'll be doing 60 to 70% road biking and the rest on light trails - rails to trails, dirt paths, gravel - no real mountain biking. My girlfriend is looking to upgrade to a Giant FCR or a Trek FX and I'll need something in a similar performance envelope when we ride together.

I want to use my bike for light commuting (to friends' houses, store), fitness, adventure, and weekend touring.

I've ridden several bikes and the Specialized Crosstrail was my favorite. I felt the Trek FX was okay, but a bit uncomfortable. My girlfriend was at a bike shop today and they said that the Scott Sportster was similar to the Crosstrail, so I will check that out this week.

The long and the short of it is - can you guys make any comments on the bikes I've mentioned or offer some alternatives?

Thanks for your help!
What you really need to ask yourself on the Crosstrail is whether you need a suspension fork. For the price, you'll get something that is slightly better, suspensionwise, than a pogo stick. It'll take the edge off bumps but a good set of wide tires and gloves would be nearly as effective. On inexpensive bikes, a cheap suspension fork is just added weight. For your purposes, look at other bikes without suspension forks. You'll get more bike for the money. I'd suggest the Specialized Sirrus as a starting place.
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Old 07-15-09, 05:35 PM   #5
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Yeah, I agree with that -- big tires do a lot of the same work, for cheaper and prettier.
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Old 07-16-09, 11:55 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, I want one bike that can do it all (road, trail, touring) and that really doesn't exist. I think a hybrid style bike will work for now until I have the money to buy multiple bikes and a more refined idea of what works for me.

I'm not concerned so much with speed or excellent off-road capability, but rather with a durable, flexible bike that doesn't require twice the work to keep up with my gf on her FCR or FX.

Regardless, thanks for the advice and if you have any more, please pass it my way!
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Old 07-16-09, 01:54 PM   #7
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Check out the Kona Dew series, Similar to the Trek FX, although somewhat more mountain bike biased - especially with the P2 chrome-molly fork. No seat or fork suspension to absorb energy and the disc brakes (on the Dew Plus and up) are fantastic! A great value in a performance hybrid/urban bike.

If you plan to do mostly road work then the Specialized Sequoia is a nice option - even has the capability to add racks and panniers. A very comfy road bike. (trying to get my wife one as road worthy option to her Specialized Globe comfort bike).

Another option is a cyclocross bike. Kona's Jake and "Jake the Snake" are very nice options here.
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Old 07-16-09, 03:59 PM   #8
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Get a hybrid bike, trying it on for size so you avoid ones that have short reach to the bars. Tires between 32 and 37 mm width - it will be cheap to change later if you decide you want more comfort or more speed. Add bar end extensions to provide variation in hand position.
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Old 07-16-09, 04:06 PM   #9
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I bought a Trek 7.5 FX - which I utterly customized - but not due to bad components - just because customizing is what I do. The FX-series are very nice bikes. They are fast and very responsive. As hybrids swing between mountain and road bikes on a metaphorical pendulum, the FX-series is on the road-bike side. A hybrid no doubt, but a very quick and nimble one.

I highly recommend them.
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Old 07-28-09, 10:29 AM   #10
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I just bought an FCR 2 a few weeks ago. I would say that about 90% of my riding is trail, but I am training for the MS 150 ride in September. You can find some 2009s discounted right now due to 2010s coming out.

I really like it. It's a little more of a "harsh" ride than the Trek I was using, but I like the speed I have gained. I am still a little intimidated by a true "road" bike, so this bike fits my needs.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-28-09, 10:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cervantes3773 View Post
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, I want one bike that can do it all (road, trail, touring) and that really doesn't exist. I think a hybrid style bike will work for now until I have the money to buy multiple bikes and a more refined idea of what works for me.
I think that what you need is a touring bike...

A tour is usually done on a road, so those terms to me are identical, unless you are like some in the Road Cycling forum that insist that to be called a Road Bike, a bike of the same configuration must have been raced in a major professional race.

And a touring bike will have wider tires than usually used by the Lance wannabes, and will therefore be just fine on a rail trail and on gravel. I ride mine in those conditions.

I don't own either one, but bikes like the Novara Safari or Randonee touring bikes look interesting to me for all around riding like you are looking for. I personally rider an old Schwinn Voyageur with an updated drive train.

While they aren't necessarily made for speed, if you can't keep up with your girlfriend on one of these bikes, ride more.
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Old 07-28-09, 12:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by cervantes3773 View Post
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, I want one bike that can do it all (road, trail, touring) and that really doesn't exist. I think a hybrid style bike will work for now until I have the money to buy multiple bikes and a more refined idea of what works for me.

I'm not concerned so much with speed or excellent off-road capability, but rather with a durable, flexible bike that doesn't require twice the work to keep up with my gf on her FCR or FX.

Regardless, thanks for the advice and if you have any more, please pass it my way!
Id second the idea of the touring bike, as they are excellent all rounders, and can adapt to different settings by a simple change of the tyres, if youre wanting a fast bike then you could fit 25c tyres, or use 32c for touring and trails, the only thing a touring bike wont be good at is off road, and if youre going to do too much off road on rough tracks/ mountain biking, you may be better off with a cyclocross bike, which may beable to take more punishment, and can be fitted with off road tyres, and then changed back to road tyres when you want to do touring/road riding, whichever you go for, my advice would be to steer clear of anything aluminium or carbon and go for good old fashioned steel, which is repairable and gives a much better on road ride.
Also make sure that the bike has got a good spread of gear ratios, depending on how hilly the area is where youll be biking, dont look for top of the line groupsets, more like mid range, think Shimano RSX/Tiagra groupset (which the Dawes Galaxy uses), which is uber reliable but not very expensive.
Also if touring, make sure its a bike that can take full mudguards (mudguard eyelets on fork and frame) and pannier racks.
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