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Old 09-08-17, 10:06 AM   #26
MRT2
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So I just went to a local dealer. They only deal Trek, but after speaking with their salesperson, we did determine that a mountain bike is probably the best way to go, as far as versatility is concerned. I will still be looking at hybrids, and will be doing a test drive in the next week or two! Will keep everyone posted.
Only if you want to ride single track. I have 3 bikes, including a modern mountain bike, and I absolutely hate riding a mountain bike on paved roads or paths.

So, you said at the beginning you want something light that will allow you to go long distances, and the LBS put you on a bike that would be an absolute pig riding any kind of paved surfaces. Look elsewhere as they are not steering you in the right direction.

A spouse of my wife's friend recently went through this process and wound up with the Kona Rove AL. Now that is a versatile bike that can ride long distances, but still handle some gravel or other light off road. KONA BIKES | ROAD | ROVE | Rove AL
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Old 09-08-17, 10:08 AM   #27
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So we looked at three different bikes.

Marlin 5 and 7 and the Verve 2.

Didn't look into the DS models..

What are the biggest differences between the Marlin 5 and 7 and the DS 2 & 3? Is it that big of a difference for a beginner ? Is the extra money worth it? BE HONEST!
Two entry level mountain bikes and a comfort bike. The DS is more of a hybrid, so better suited for roads (less of a pig than a true mountain bike)
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Old 09-08-17, 02:09 PM   #28
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Budget is the issue for me...With a limited budget, 2 kids and one on the way, I don't want to spend more than $450-500. However, just from browsing online, it seems that it's an attainable budget, but at what cost? (Seen some $300-$400 deals at bikesdirect.com) Wife wants me to get a $100 walmart bike, but I've always been the type to appreciate quality and love finding good deals out there.
Trek has some hybrids in the $400-$500 range. The 2018 Trek FX2 is closer to the top of your range but specs look decent. It's an 8 speed with usable components that can be upgraded in the future.

The advantage of a Trek (or any LBS bike) is you can buy it from a local Trek dealer and have it properly assembled and fitted. Most dealers will also do adjustments for free (or at least the first). Department store bikes are assembled by clerks and mail order you are responsible.
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Old 09-08-17, 04:57 PM   #29
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Following as I am in a similar situation with budget. The issue for me is budget for everything needed to get going right away. What are the essentials (other than a helmet). I keep reading about all the extras and I am a bit overwhelmed.
That depends. At a minimum, spare tube, tire levers, and inflation device (mini pump or CO2 cannisters and inflator), seat bag to hold your spare tube, water bottle and bottle cage, floor pump, for pumping tires up at home, lock (if you plan to leave the bike unattended).

Other accessories you might find yourself wanting are short or long finger cycling gloves, computer, rack (to transport your bike), lights, riding shorts, jersey, windbreaker, shoes, clipless pedals, eye protection. You might already have some of this stuff. If you don't ride at night, you won't need lights. And maybe you already have a van or pickup truck and hence, don't absolutely need a rack to transport your bike. And maybe instead of a jersey, you might just bet by with a technical shirt or light jacket that isn't cycling specific. And, plenty of people get by with sandles, hiking shoes or running shoes and flat pedals instead of cycling shoes and clipless pedals.
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Old 09-09-17, 07:41 PM   #30
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You guys have been awesome with your responses, thank you!! I've been quiet as I've been traveling to get away from Hurricane Irma, which will be passing about 45 miles West of us...Pray for FL guys!! We are in for a rough one!!
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Old 09-10-17, 06:11 PM   #31
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Look at a Giant ATX lite. Maybe the ARX in the 2018 model. Good bike for the money
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Old 09-13-17, 09:05 AM   #32
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Any reviews out there on the Giant ARX 2018??? I can't find anything!!
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Old 09-13-17, 09:30 AM   #33
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Any reviews out there on the Giant ARX 2018??? I can't find anything!!
Giant makes a lot of different models in different markets. Almost all of them are a good value for the money. But the flip side to the shear breadth of Giant's offerings changing yearly is, a given model will seldom develop the sort of cult following that you get with some smaller brands. You really need to figure out what it is you want. My personal view is, stay away from mountain bikes as you just don't have many mountains in Florida.

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/arx-2-2018
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Old 09-13-17, 09:37 AM   #34
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IF I can find a hybrid that will be just as good in pavement as it is in dirt/gravel paths, that's what I'm going to go with. I'll be staying away from Mountain bikes, MRT you hit the nail in the head when you said the LBS was steering me in the wrong direction.
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Old 09-13-17, 09:57 AM   #35
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IF I can find a hybrid that will be just as good in pavement as it is in dirt/gravel paths, that's what I'm going to go with. I'll be staying away from Mountain bikes, MRT you hit the nail in the head when you said the LBS was steering me in the wrong direction.
You are describing just about any hybrid, or alternately adventure bike that you should be able to buy at just about any local bike shop. Don't know why the one LBS is steering you to the Marlin, and Verve instead of the FX2. Do you even have a lot of dirt or gravel trails in your part of florida? a quick google search of central florida bike trails gave me links to trails that are mostly paved.
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Old 09-13-17, 03:04 PM   #36
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I recently got a Trek 7.2FX for 395 down from 480 MSRP. Now is the PERFECT time to get a deal on the 2017 models.

What I would do is find a select few bikes you like.. color, type, etc. Giant Escape, Trek FX, Sirrius Specialized, Fuji Absolute,Cannondale Quicks will be good targets for you. Find the color you want, then find your most likely size using the companies charts.

Call up the local shops inn the area and see whats in stock. go test ride them. Its better to get a good fitting bike than to save a few bucks.

If you want someone good on trails, Id go with 35mm tires. They are a pretty good sweet spot between road speed and trail comfort. I just did 30 miles on a moderately kept crushed stone trail and it wasnt too bad. A moutainer would have been ideal, but it wasnt painful, and this was with fully inflated tires.
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Old 09-14-17, 02:52 PM   #37
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A lot of good advice here. Definitely stay away from MTB's unless you plan to actually mountain bike most of the time. For what you describe I'd check out a Giant Roam 3. They are under $500 and are great adventure bikes. I bought a 2018 a few months ago and couldn't be happier. The Trek DS1 is similar as is the Specialized Crosstrail though both a bit more expensive.

The shop I bought the Roam from also does a lifetime service plan for an additional $60. I've brought mine in once for a tune up and a few times just for advice and minor adjustments so it's already paid for itself. Assuming you find a good LBS that doesn't try to sell you a mountain bike for casual riding in FL I'd say it's worth the additional cost.

As for accessories, a decent helmet is a must. Everything else can come later. You'll want a bottle cage if you plan to ride for extended periods. As you start riding farther out you'll want to put together a small repair kit, maybe a cell phone mount and a bike computer if you want to be able to track your progress. None of that is mandatory though aside from the helmet.
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