Greetings, I'm glad to have found this place. Nice to know I'm not the only weirdo who likes to strap camping gear + a few things to the back of the bike and take off!!! What better way is there to travel, really...
Anyway, I am looking for a new bike & decided I wanted something nice--my previous bikes have been low-mid price hybrids and before that, the old 10-speeds of the 1970s (Remember those?) Today I test-rode a yr. 2001 Trek 7500 fx hybrid. Really liked it--faster and lighter than I'm used to & the price is OK since its last years model. My biking is commuting (every day as long as theres no snow on the ground or heavy rain) & touring in the summer (on paved road & cinder trails) so this seemed a good all purpose bike.
But now I'm wondering if this bike would work for all the situations I would want to use it. Like..... how do the skinny tires do on cinder trails? How easily are those tubes and tires replaced if youre stuck in some sleepy little town w/ just a hardware store or something, no full service bike shop?
I would also worry about it being so... nice! My last bike was stolen (someone sawed thru the cable apparently) and so Im a bit paranoid... Obviously I need to get a better lock... but I wonder if even that would be enough to stop a determined thief? This may be a dumb question, but is there ever a point where your bike is just too attractive to theives to risk leaving it outside, like when youre at work or something? I do need a bike that will get used heavily almost every day under various circumstances and that I don't have to be too paranoid or fussy about.
Any advice or thoughts about what kind of bike to get would be most appreciated, or feedback from anyone about this particular model. Bike purchase is a huge decision!
this may seem like a terribly simple suggestion, but why not commute on an older, uglier bike and use your new baby for tours and recreation? i commute to work everyday, but i'm able to park it inside. the only annoyance comes when coworkers/customers relentlessly ring the dinger. if you've gotta park outside, perhaps an elderly bike would be best for the commute, know what i mean?
as for your other questions: i'm a clueless newbie myself, so unfortunately i cannot be of that much help to you. i'm sure others on this particular board will be of more help, but you might want to re-post the questions on the touring forum at this same site as well....
I'll second that; while my commuter isn't exactly a "beater" bike, it's not nice enough to really draw attention, while the road bike I'm getting in next Friday-or-so sure is.
What kind of lock did you have?
I'm assuming you're talking about the 700x23C tubes that most road bikes use? They tend to be reasonably resilient, and can always be patched in case of flats. I'd be more worried about damage to a set of lightweight rims, but I'm not too familliar with the type of road you mentioned, so I'll leave that one to more experienced members...
Trek make a bike purpose-built for strapping on camping gear and hitting unsurfaced roads. Its a touring bikes, the Trek 520.
The standard tyres can be replaced with 28mm ones for faster riding on roads.
How tall are you, the 520 is not so good in its smaller sizes ( a bit too long) and other makes may be better.
Touring bikes are not a theivable as other styles, but they ride better than hybrids and carry more than standard road bikes.
I have 2, a nice one for play and a nice one that looks bad for work.
The 7500FX belongs to the subtype "flat bar road bike." It's lightweight with 700c wheels a road bike, but has an upright seating posture like a hybrid. The gearing is intermediate, like a hybrid -- actually fairly well set up for touring.
The 2002 model I see on their website has fairly fat (700x35c) touring tires that would be suitable for pavement, gravel, dirt, and other such surfaces.
Not a bad bike if the upright posture is what you want. The biggest disadvantages to this sort of bike for touring are (a) that you're not very aerodynamic when you're sitting bolt upright, and this becomes an issue on long rides, and (b) these bikes can be fatiguing on long trips because there aren't enough different hand positions, and because they tend to put all your weight on the saddle.
But many people like them, even for touring and charity centuries and such, and that's why it's such a fast-growing category. This particular model seems to me a much better design than Trek's hybrids, with their unnecessary suspension forks and other dubious "comfort" features.
The alternative, as MikeW points out, is a real touring bike -- today's evolution of the sport/touring "10 speeds" you mention. Even more than the Trek 520, I'd point you toward the Bianchi Volpe (particularly), the Fuji Touring, the Cannondale T800, or the Novara 9REI) Randonee as road bikes designed to go comfortably for long distances.
I applaud your decision to treat yourself to a new bike; it's about the best present you can give yourself!