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Old 09-14-09, 10:39 PM   #1
prizm
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Exclamation Perfect Bike to Ride the Streets of Manhattan - Trek 7.5?

Well my 20 year old Bridgestone Mb-5 was ripped off right in front of my building in broad day light. It was kind of the perfect bike for the city. 26" x 1.75 slick tires. Steel frame. Handled the potholes, curbs and dents of the big bad city with a layer of cushion. So long ole buddy.

So now my eye turns to new toys. And the 2010 Trek 7.5 is calling my name. It's much lighter, perhaps more nimble and I'm wondering, perhaps more fragile too? I took one for a very short spin and I was a bit concerned about the brittle feel of the ride. You could really feel the bumps on the street. Cobble stone streets were really, really bumpy. The front end of the bike didn't feel lazy in the slightest. It felt like it demanded your constant attention to steer and focus, like if you let go of the handle bars the steering would wobble dangerously.

So that brings me to my question. Is the 7.5 a good city bike? Anyone have any experience with it? I'm sure there will be a small learning curve to get the ride up to speed - literally, as this bike will be much faster than my last. But does it handle jumping off curbs? Is it nimble? Does it handle potholes and slick roads? I need somewhat of a hearty rig because the city is always throwing something unexpected my way.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by prizm; 09-14-09 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 09-15-09, 07:44 AM   #2
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the fx series makes a good bike for the street. definitely taking your hands off the steering is not advised. i could not let go of the steering on my 7.2 nor can i let go on my 7.7....

but this is a bike that you really should not lock up on the streets of manhattan. and for proof - go to new york craigslist, go to bikes, and search for the word 'stolen' - you will hear absolute horror stories of $2,000 bikes being taken in broad daylight and in front of security cameras.

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Old 09-15-09, 09:45 AM   #3
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A Trek 7.5 FX?



Excellent bike. Don't take your eyes off of it though.
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Old 09-15-09, 09:54 AM   #4
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It's a good choice, but I would switch out the tires with something having a little more tread.
And...it's light enough to carry inside and not have to lock it up outside.
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Old 09-15-09, 10:26 AM   #5
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I ride a í09 7.5 FX in Queens, FWIW and it handles beautifully. Riding w/o hands is no problem either as long as the road surface is relatively smooth. The only concern I would have is the carbon fork since you mention jumping off curbs.. Iíve jumped a few myself and havenít had any issues, but I try to avoid doing it if possible since I donít want to risk breaking the carbon front end while I'm still moving...
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Old 09-15-09, 11:02 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input. Yes, the issue of owning a nice bike and riding in the city is kind of a drag. I love to run errands on my bike, which entails locking up outside for a bit. Or the occasional ride to a movie theater where it's locked up for a couple of hours unattended. A new bike would make me jittery to say the least. I suppose I need to junk up my new bike to make it look like crap... wrap the frame in some ugly tape, keep the seat with me when I lock it up, etc. Sucks, but I suppose that is the reality.

7.5 is still a consideration but I suppose I'll do some research on other good city bikes too.

And yes, I thicker tires are better for city riding, but how thick? The 7.5 comes stock with 700 x 32cm
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Old 09-15-09, 02:09 PM   #7
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But does it handle jumping off curbs? Is it nimble? Does it handle potholes and slick roads? I need somewhat of a hearty rig because the city is always throwing something unexpected my way. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
You're not a modern aluminum hybrid person and the bike and you would only make each other unhappy. The Trek is like.. a mid-range California Chardonnay at an ok price. Fine for people who want it. But you're obviously a Skullsplitter Ale guy, so no.

If you can afford the cash and can lock it ultra-securely, you could buy a Surly Karate Monkey and put Schwalbe Big Apple or XR tyres on it. If you don't want to spend or risk that much, go to www.retrobike.co.uk (it covers the US too) and ask there how to buy a used classic tough-guy bike like a Lava Dome. Feel free to PM me - it'll distract me from my flu and anyone who got ripped off for a classic Bridgestone is obviously both a mensch and deserving.

Used or new, if you're going to ride "hearty" you want a hardtail and preferably cromolly MTB, not an average hybrid.

Re. securing up the bike - google "pitlock skewers"; use a dremel, epoxy and paint to uglify and de-brandname strippable components; use a high end lock like a Kryptonite NY. Never forget that a lock is no better than the whatever-it-is you have locked to.

Re tyres - if you're going to regularly jump off or mount kerbs then you want tyres 1.5'' wide at least. The latest modern fast 2 inchers - those Big Apples - would be even better. 32mms are pure chardonay.

Other advice: maybe get a bike with rim brakes rather than discs, although discs are good - quality discs will attract NY thieves to strip them off. In NY I'd at least consider a singlespeed build - good shifters are very strip-worthy and the city is flat, so why not?

Last edited by meanwhile; 09-15-09 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 09-15-09, 02:39 PM   #8
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^ excellent idea for single-speed bike. but, as i look at craigslist, i notice that a ton of single-speed bikes get stolen - almost more than other types of bikes. it's currently the trend here in nyc nad people are spending big $ building up single speed bikes. although someone may have spent little money on a single-speed build up, uneducated bike thieves would probably try to steal it anyway - just because it's a trendy model and they would be able to sell it for more.... just an assumption though...

i've always thought about this - if i ever needed a bike that i had to lock up outside, i would scour the net/neighboring towns/states to find like a trek fx 7.3 (2007-2008-2009) that had the bejesus used out of it so it looks horrendous. as long as it's in working condition, i'd pick it up.

then i'd buy new components for it and maybe a new (or used) wheelset OR keep the existing wheelset and buy 25mm/28mm tires for it. it's still a quality ride but it'll look hideous.

fwiw

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Old 09-15-09, 05:22 PM   #9
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^ excellent idea for single-speed bike. but, as i look at craigslist, i notice that a ton of single-speed bikes get stolen - almost more than other types of bikes.
Yes: you can't make the bike as a whole less desirable by making it a single speed. (Well - not in major urban centres. I suspect the bike thieves where I am the moment haven't even heard of a fakenger or a fixie. My crosser with its drop handles is weird enough.) But you can lock the frame and the bike as a whole past the abilities of a theft who isn't willing to use power tools for a period of minutes. The advantage of a single speed is only that you pare away the most tempting strippable components. Shimano ultegra shifter/brake levers, for example, retail for about $350. A thief can remove them in a couple of minutes with an ordinary allen key - I just wouldn't have them on a bike that I had to leave parked in NY.

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it's currently the trend here in nyc nad people are spending big $ building up single speed bikes. although someone may have spent little money on a single-speed build up, uneducated bike thieves would probably try to steal it anyway - just because it's a trendy model and they would be able to sell it for more.... just an assumption though...
A bike with one of the high end locks - eg an NY3000 - is extremely (but not absolutely) safe against whole-bike theft unless you leave it out repeatedly overnight. It's the bike-strippers you have to fear. And the bike croppers, who will cut a bike's frame to steal it to sell for the components. (They use vans and tend to do racks of bikes wholesale and fast - so even an uglified bike might get taken in the heat of the action. But the more obvious the ugly the less likely this is.) An SS bike uglified the way I recommend doesn't have enough strippable value to make component theft worthwhile. It's drastic but - "Ya gotta do what ya gotta do."

Quote:
i've always thought about this - if i ever needed a bike that i had to lock up outside, i would scour the net/neighboring towns/states to find like a trek fx 7.3 (2007-2008-2009) that had the bejesus used out of it so it looks horrendous. as long as it's in working condition, i'd pick it up.

then i'd buy new components for it and maybe a new (or used) wheelset OR keep the existing wheelset and buy 25mm/28mm tires for it. it's still a quality ride but it'll look hideous.

fwiw
Buy any ok bike, strip the transfers, tape the frame - or better put dozens of stickers on it - slosh gold and pink paint on the rims to destroy their ebay value, fit pitlock or transx skewers, and fill the heads of any hex bolts using a hot melt glue gun. You'll be able to clean it out when you need to adjust them, but a thief won't want the work. Regrettably the gold and pink paint (or puke green and orange) are essential - a half stoned thief has to see at a glance that the bike isn't a good investment of his time. You still need an NY3000 class lock though - any bike that can be ridden without power tools being used away is worth taking.

Another trick I've known couriers use is to stick sand or even small bike parts - nuts and washers - to frames and rims with epoxy and then spray paint over the resulting mess. This looks absolutely terrible and must deter thieves wonderfully. However it will probably become cool and backfire some day...

You have to take anti-theft strategy to a whole other level in NY, I'm afraid. Great place - I love it - but your bike thieves are truly dedicated.
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Old 09-15-09, 10:40 PM   #10
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Great suggestions on a NY bike.

Unfortunatly I was riding my Bridgestone for about 10 years in the city without incident. It just so happened that this time I locked my bike up like a jackass. I missed the frame and just looped it into the front wheel. locking the wheel to itself to the pole. The frame and back wheel where fair game. It took only 2 hours in broad daylight to see the error of my ways and some dud ganked me -Now my wheel and chain are firmly secured to the pole.

The kryptonite lock NYC Fuggedabout is a very strong lock. Once when I locked up my bike and returned to unlock it, the key broke off in the lock. I was permenantly chained to the pole. The fire department showed and tried to snap the chains with massive pliars... the jaws of life kind. They couldn't even dent one of the links in the chain. Finally, a locksmith came out with a buzz saw and for a charge of $140 he was able to cut the chain like butter. The lession is... NYC Kryptonite locks work very well. They weigh a ton but get the job done.
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Old 09-16-09, 06:40 AM   #11
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Great suggestions on a NY bike.

Unfortunatly I was riding my Bridgestone for about 10 years in the city without incident. It just so happened that this time I locked my bike up like a jackass. I missed the frame and just looped it into the front wheel. locking the wheel to itself to the pole. The frame and back wheel where fair game. It took only 2 hours in broad daylight to see the error of my ways and some dud ganked me -Now my wheel and chain are firmly secured to the pole.
Ouch.

Ironically, if you'd used pitlock skewers to protect the wheels you might well have kept the bike - each skewer effectively has a lock.

Quote:
The kryptonite lock NYC Fuggedabout is a very strong lock. Once when I locked up my bike and returned to unlock it, the key broke off in the lock. I was permenantly chained to the pole. The fire department showed and tried to snap the chains with massive pliars... the jaws of life kind. They couldn't even dent one of the links in the chain. Finally, a locksmith came out with a buzz saw and for a charge of $140 he was able to cut the chain like butter. The lession is... NYC Kryptonite locks work very well. They weigh a ton but get the job done.
That's impresssive!
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Old 09-16-09, 03:10 PM   #12
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Good googly moogly! Right now, my "strategy" is I never leave the bike, period.

BUT, the siren song of using it more as a sort of commuter is seductive. Chances are that I may upgrade, maybe in '10. I suspect what I have now ain't worth more than 100 bucks, although it really is in pretty good shape overall. A little ugliness added and it may be a good not quite beater. I THINK not many would be interested in stripping 19 year old gears... although the seatpost DOES have a QR...
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Old 09-19-09, 06:33 PM   #13
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I'd go with something the thieves don't want - a $89 to $99 Wally World beach cruiser
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Old 09-19-09, 07:10 PM   #14
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the fx series makes a good bike for the street. definitely taking your hands off the steering is not advised. i could not let go of the steering on my 7.2 nor can i let go on my 7.7....
Why is that? Just curious.
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Old 09-19-09, 10:54 PM   #15
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The FX frame-geometry is highly responsive to ANY movement. Including riding hand's free. Just an autonomic twitch from your leg could send an FX across the street or a tight-turn that would buck you off. This is often the case with aluminum-framed bikes. Crunch! As a guy I talked with, who had been thrown 3 times on his Cannondale (aluminum), stated: "They're not as forgiving as steel-frames."

So it's a good idea to keep at least one-hand on the handlebars at all times.
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Old 09-20-09, 05:33 AM   #16
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Whatever you get, lock it by the frame, not the wheel. Test ride, I'd pass on a bike I couldn't ride hands free.
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Old 09-20-09, 07:40 AM   #17
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Other than the skill of the rider, hands-free almost demands the bike be in excellent balance. While there is more to it, everything torqued to factory standards goes a long way towards that.

Theoretically, the fx bikes 7.5-7.7 have both carbon forks and a damper on the seatstay, so they shouldn't be quite as twitchy.

If I wanted a bike to ride city streets, as a commuter, I'd look at things like a 7xx series bike or even a Navigator (being mostly familiar with Trek...).
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Old 09-21-09, 10:23 AM   #18
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i've been riding my '10 7.5fx for awhile now. I have a busted finger on my right hand so I haven't been out as much as i like, but i commute and city ride all the time. it has great take off speed and is very nimble. I don't jump curbs with it, because I ride the road till i hit my destination. I get a lot of complements on my bike too. The new paint scheme is flashy so you have to be careful were ya lock it up.
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Old 09-21-09, 11:27 AM   #19
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If I was FORCED to live in the city (really, you would absolutely have to force me to, Ill never do it on my own free will) I would buy a cheap target Schwinn hybrid bike, and wrap the frame with camo tape available in any hunting store. That outta deter most theives. Chaining an angry rottweiler to the bike might not hurt, either.

Is moving to a more sane place an option?

I would personally want suspension fork if roads were bad with lots of potholes and debris, helps to cushion you and the frame. Pitlock skewers and seatpost binder are also very good ideas in high-crime areas. Buy the best heaviest duty chain and lock that you can.

Not sure I would risk a brand new $700 or so bike that might just get ripped off again, though.
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Old 09-21-09, 01:25 PM   #20
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Is moving to a more sane place an option?
Not a chance. I love NYC. After living all over the country, including amazing towns like Seattle, there is no comparison to NY. Living anywhere else feels like I'm sitting in the waiting room of life. So dull. I feel so alive here.

Still pondering that new bike. If anyone has any input, I'm all ears. Single speed bikes aren't really doing it for me at the moment. I love my gears. Not sure why, I just do.

Still kicking around the 7.5fx. The flash factor worries me a bit... but, oh well. You only live once.
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Old 09-21-09, 03:10 PM   #21
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Come to think of it, this might really suit you - a Kona Paddy Wagon. It's a drop handle single speed with a tough cromolly frame. Faster than a 7.5 (unless you have a steep hill to climb), much tougher, very little to get stolen by bike strippers. It can take 32mm tyres - a little narrower than I'd like, but not bad. If you found a really clever LBS they could probably fit swap the rear wheel for one with a Nexus IGH hub and fit a JTEK shifter - you'd then have 8 gears, but covering a wider range than 8 derailer gears.

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/catego...-wagon-06-8998
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