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  1. #1
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    Looking for my first new bike and am overwhelmed with choices

    After commuting on my dad's Trek 7300 FX for three months, he wants it back.

    My wife has offered a new bike for Christmas (up to $750 or so, preferably closer to $600), so I'm scouting the local shops. Trek, Giant, and Jamis seem to be the big ones.

    I am overwhelmed with the choices in this price range. I rode a Giant Seek 3 for a bit and enjoyed it, but I don't know if disc brakes are more trouble than they're worth. The two Trek dealers pushed the 7.2 FX, and one is ordering an Allant for me to try (I do like the included fenders and rack). I haven't visited the Jamis dealer yet.

    As far as what I'll do with it, it's 90% commuting on slightly hilly terrain, 7.5 miles each way, all suburban/rural pavement. I enjoy the more upright riding position of the 7300 FX (for visibility reasons), but don't like how headwinds slow me down. I often wish for dropbars when I'm heading downhill, as it's hard to break 25mph on this bike. Other riding would be general errands, and perhaps some light touring in the future. I'm definitely not a racer, but I'm not a cruiser either. I like to get the most speed from my efforts.

    Can anyone help narrow down my choices a bit? Should I aim for something like the Seek (MTB w/ slicks) or should I steer more towards a urban/utility bike? Or should I forget both and go for more of a straight road bike?

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Trek , Dual Sport are OK disc Brakes will be a good all weather stopper.

    &700c wheels, 35 ish tires..

    want Drop Bars? Redline conquest classic, steel frame
    triple crank..

    Add accessories , rear rack and Mudguards, and Lights.

    At a given price point there are more similarities than differences..
    across the brands , from contract manufacturers .

    Giant made bikes for other brand name Importers ,
    in addition to their own. so you can have several brands
    its just the contract specs that differ. and name.

    back at the shop, state your Price Point, and see how many are
    offered, at that $ amount.


    I like Trekking bars now on MTB type Bars, bending over
    into the wind is reaching ahead, not Down.

    and all the MTB bars controls slip right on the open rear side..

    With a layer or 2 of padded tape around the figure 8 bend.

    the bike can be altered at the shop, you don't have to leave it
    as it came out of the box

    .[ like a Wally World bike with no staff to repair it.]

    Good luck with your 25 MPH, you will get older
    and that wont matter as Much ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-12-12 at 03:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    The use you describe is pretty much urban/utility...except for the go fast part. If that's all you plan to keep doing, then urban/utility maybe with a rack fits the bill. If you expect you'll start doing longer rides for the sake of riding, then road bike is the way to go. The one suggested by 10 Wheels certainly is a good one in your price range, though being "mail-order" you'll need have a degree of mechanical aptitude to assemble and adjust it, or pay a shop willing to do that for you. You also should considering budgeting for (or putting on your list for Santa) accessories you may not have; clipless pedals, shoes, helmet, glasses, gloves, lights, pump, tools, bottle cages and bottles, etc...

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    The use you describe is pretty much urban/utility...except for the go fast part. If that's all you plan to keep doing, then urban/utility maybe with a rack fits the bill. If you expect you'll start doing longer rides for the sake of riding, then road bike is the way to go. The one suggested by 10 Wheels certainly is a good one in your price range, though being "mail-order" you'll need have a degree of mechanical aptitude to assemble and adjust, or pay a shop willing to do that for you. You also should considering budgeting for (or putting on your list for Santa) accessories you may not have; clipless pedals, shoes, helmet, glasses, gloves, lights, pump, tools, bottle cages and bottles, etc...
    Those bikes do not require a mechanic to put together.

    They are test ridden. Each item is adjusted and checked off.
    Then packed for shipping. Buyer bolts the bars on, the seat post and pedals.
    Checks air in the tires and off you go.

    Have fun looking....
    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 11-12-12 at 03:29 PM.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  6. #6
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    If you want drop bars, I was impressed with the Jamis Satellite for the price. You should be able to deal at this time of year.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    LBS is there for service after the sale .

    traditionally accessories are discounted with new bike purchase -10%
    and installed Gratis.

    take offs like stem and tire swaps you get trade in value ,
    since they are new, and can be resold as such.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-12-12 at 03:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    I think you'll always be wishing for drop bars, from the sound of your post. So it would make sense to me to go that route. That Ridley is a nice little package for $750. 7005 aluminum is a step up from the 6061 standard on bikes in that price range. A Tiagra group is as good as you'll need for the immediate future. The weak point on it is the Alex wheels, but they're fine to start with. When you're looking to upgrade down the road (assuming the saddle gets along with you now) make those your first priority.

    You can tweak the stem/spacers to give you a more upright ride, if visibility is a concern, but my bet is that after a ride or two to get acquainted with the riding position, you'll find that forward visibility will be fine.

  9. #9
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    most bikes in sub 1k range will come with alex rims. Just ride the crap out them and save up for new ones.

  10. #10
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I've been using disk brakes for the last 3 years or so. They have advantages and disadvantages, but all in all, I can't see a lot of reason to use them or to avoid them.

    If you're reasonably light, you're in good shape. If you're on the hefty side, you may find yourself upgrading wheels, shortly, also.

    Good lights are VERY handy to have.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the responses, everyone. I already have most of the accessories I need, so they'll be coming over to the new bike.

    I will open up my search to road bikes too, since I think I will end up wanting drop bars.

    That Ridley does look nice, but I'm sticking with the local shops, even though better deals may be found online because of the service aspect.

    Is there any durability difference between a steel fork and an aluminum fork? My route to work has some sections that are badly in need of repaving and I don't want to have anything crack or bend.

    I will check out the Satellite at the Jamis dealer. In addition to end-of-year deals, my friend also races for the store team, so he alluded that I might get extra discounts for knowing him.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    Thanks for the responses, everyone. I already have most of the accessories I need, so they'll be coming over to the new bike.

    I will open up my search to road bikes too, since I think I will end up wanting drop bars.

    That Ridley does look nice, but I'm sticking with the local shops, even though better deals may be found online because of the service aspect.

    Is there any durability difference between a steel fork and an aluminum fork? My route to work has some sections that are badly in need of repaving and I don't want to have anything crack or bend.

    I will check out the Satellite at the Jamis dealer. In addition to end-of-year deals, my friend also races for the store team, so he alluded that I might get extra discounts for knowing him.
    You can't go wrong with the Jamis Satellite Sport model. It's a very nice ride!

    PS.

    I think you'll find that chromoly steel forks are more forgiving than aluminum ones...

  13. #13
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    Found this Trek 520 for $500 on CL, not too far away. I hear that this is a real workhorse of a bike.

    Thoughts?
    http://harrisburg.craigslist.org/bik/3386874377.html

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    Found this Trek 520 for $500 on CL, not too far away. I hear that this is a real workhorse of a bike.

    Thoughts?
    http://harrisburg.craigslist.org/bik/3386874377.html
    If it fits and the frame is true, grab it!

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    If it fits
    is the key, once you know the dimensions of what your frame size should be,
    then you can ask better questions, buying 2nd hand.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    Found this Trek 520 for $500 on CL, not too far away. I hear that this is a real workhorse of a bike.

    Thoughts?
    http://harrisburg.craigslist.org/bik/3386874377.html
    A touring frame might be right up your alley. They aren't slowpokes, by any means. I don't lose much in average mph when I ride my ancient Schwinn Super LeTour. With a 52/39 crank and a 13-27 6 speed freewheel, I can get it going pretty well, even with 27 x 1-1/4" tires and heavy steel rims. Only problem is with the 6 cogs, I have some significant gaps. With that 9 speed cassette on the Trek, it won't be as big an issue. You'll be going plenty fast on descents if you can get a good cadence going on your 48/11 combo.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Those bikes do not require a mechanic to put together.
    Agree. Not a mechanic, just a bit of mechanical acumen. Pic below is how bike looks when it arrives from CC. Some minor assembly required. Fit needs to be adjusted. DRs will need adjustment after some riding, usual tuneup checks, etc.. This is a custom built bike. I don't know the degree of assembly that is required by their factory built bikes, but it could be significantly more if it ships to you the way it normally ships to dealers.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Looigi; 11-13-12 at 02:20 PM.

  18. #18
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    If it fits and the frame is true, grab it!
    +1. That would be a really nice bike for the price. IF it fits and the frame is in good condition. Even if you have to replace some components, it would be a good deal.

  19. #19
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    The one shop has gotten the Allant in. I'm going out tonight to test it out.

    No response about the 520 yet.

    And I need to find some time to get to the Jamis dealer (it's about a 30 minute drive away). I have read of reliability problems for the Satellite Sport on the web. Anyone on here have any problems?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    The one shop has gotten the Allant in. I'm going out tonight to test it out.

    No response about the 520 yet.

    And I need to find some time to get to the Jamis dealer (it's about a 30 minute drive away). I have read of reliability problems for the Satellite Sport on the web. Anyone on here have any problems?
    Apparently Jamis has reduced the quality of some of the 2013 Satellite Sport components in favor of maintaining a more marketable entry level road bike price point. Unfortunately, the quality of the Satellite Sport model has suffered as a direct result of this change for the 2013 models.

    Hopefully in the future, they will see the error in their ways...

  21. #21
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    Checked out the Allant, a 7.2 FX, and a 520 tonight. I can see why the 520 would be great for touring, but I don't think it's the bike for everyday commuting. The 7.2 FX just didn't feel right. I think it was trying to be too many things. The Allant was much lighter than I thought it would be, and it felt like I was riding on a cloud. If nothing from the Jamis dealer piques my interest, I think the Allant will be in my garage by the end of the week.

  22. #22
    Senior Member robbyrocks12345's Avatar
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    Look at the Trek 1.1, I bought a 7.1 fx my first serious year of riding and ended up buying a roadbike in the same summer.
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes..._1_h2_compact/#
    2012 Trek 1.1
    2011 Trek 7.1 Fx

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbyrocks12345 View Post
    Look at the Trek 1.1, I bought a 7.1 fx my first serious year of riding and ended up buying a roadbike in the same summer.
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes..._1_h2_compact/#
    Much nicer components, but more expensive and doesn't come with a rack or fenders or even a chainguard (so add another $100+). Plus, the tires are 700x23 which makes me worry about getting flats on the route I take (lots of bumps and potholes). It looks nice, but it's out of my price range.

    As my wife said last night, "you want to tour, but you've never done it. Why not start with a commuter bike and then get another bike to tour with in a few years when you're ready." Sometimes she can be smart. It does make sense, as 100% of my use for at least six months will be commuting/running errands.

  24. #24
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    You don't say how you carry loads when you're commuting. If the load's in a backpack, you might want to steer clear of a road bike, as that position will put more of the load on the middle of your back than a more upright position (like a cruiser or hybrid).

    IMHO, touring bikes are great do-everything bikes. Commuting? Put the load in panniers, on racks, and go. Shopping? Take empty panniers and a lock. Bad roads? Heftier frame and tires than skinny-tired road bikes. Steep hills? Gear down, spin up. Group ride? Take off the panniers and it's a road bike. Touring? It's like it was made for it, since it was!

    Also, check out some of the web resources on S24O. You don't have to start with a cross-country ride, just head down to the nearest state park for a quick overnighter.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    You don't say how you carry loads when you're commuting. If the load's in a backpack, you might want to steer clear of a road bike, as that position will put more of the load on the middle of your back than a more upright position (like a cruiser or hybrid).

    IMHO, touring bikes are great do-everything bikes. Commuting? Put the load in panniers, on racks, and go. Shopping? Take empty panniers and a lock. Bad roads? Heftier frame and tires than skinny-tired road bikes. Steep hills? Gear down, spin up. Group ride? Take off the panniers and it's a road bike. Touring? It's like it was made for it, since it was!

    Also, check out some of the web resources on S24O. You don't have to start with a cross-country ride, just head down to the nearest state park for a quick overnighter.
    I normally strap my backpack to the rear rack. Panniers are on my list to get.

    I feel the Allant would be great for commuting, shopping, bad roads, and steep hills (it was lighter than it looked, and goes down to 28+12 gearing). I don't see myself doing group rides in the near future. Touring would be at least until next year and my wife has given implicit permission to get another bike for that if/when I start doing it regularly.

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