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  1. #1
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    Trek 7200 vs. 7300 for Rails to Trails

    Hi,

    I am new to the forums, but have searched the for info about my question, but a lot of info is old or talks about the Trek FX series, so forgive me if this seems old.
    Last year a bought a bike for the first time in twenty years. I spent $170 on a Quest comfort bike not knowing whether I would ever ride it or not. I ride once or twice a week for about 20 miles at a time on the Pittsburgh area Rails to Trails, some paved trails and occasionally down rough paths to get off the trail.
    One of the gears on the freewheel is stripped and the brakes need some work. I'm not sure if it's worth putting any money into it so I was looking at the Trek 7000 series, specifically the 7200 ($489) and 7300 ($579), because I like the front suspension on both and the thumb shifter on the 7300. This seems like a lot of money for me to spend on a bike, but after some research and my past experience-you get what you pay for.
    I would like any input on the 7000 series and whether or not it is worth it for me to spend the extra on the 7300. I don't want to spend the money on a bike, only to wish I had spent a little more and got the "better" model, but I don't want to waste money on features/quality that don't fit my needs.
    Are the prices negotiable at the Trek store?
    Maybe the 7100 ($399) would be just as good for my use or even another brand?
    Maybe the FX series (seems more road than trail to me)?
    Maybe I should get my current bike fixed and not worry about the money, cleaning the bike, etc.
    I am not stuck on getting a Trek, but I haven't looked into any other brands yet.
    I'm 42, 6' tall and 210# and don't plan on being a serious rider, only weekends, etc. I do want a good bike that is durable and has no shifting problems and other issues after being used on the trail.

    Thanks for any advise.

  2. #2
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    I own a 2009 Trek 7300 that I bought in April. I can't tell you whether the 7200 is a "better deal". Depends on your opinion and funds. However I can speak about the 7300.

    Some will say it is more mountain bike oriented, others will say the suspension (Trek SPA suspension) is something you may want to avoid.

    In my opinion and experience the Trek 7300 is nothing like a mountain bike. I own a 2000 Marin Bear Valley mountain bike that has been significantly modified. Even with the mods, the 2 bikes have very different ride qualities.

    The Trek 7300's suspension travels a little bit more than an inch (35mm). It is very good at handling road cracks, minor bumps, vibrations, and other minor road/rail trail irregularities. Given its modest vertical travel, the suspension, at least for me does not significantly affect climbing hills. IMO, the 7300 is closer to a touring bike than a mountain bike: both in geometry and ride quality. It is an excellent bike for rail trails.

    I have made the following changes to mine: added a Brooks B17, trekking bars, new pedals with toe clips, rack, panniers, trunk, computer. My wife's 7300, with the exception of the racks is stock.

    So it all depends what your riding is going to be about. The 7300 is the bike I use to ride with my wife. I do other rides w/o her but for MUP's, rail trails, gravel roads, etc. as I mentioned above it is very good. I don't think you would go far wrong with either the 7200 or 7300.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info.

  4. #4
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    I have the 7100 and it has served me well. If I had it to do over again, I would probably have gone with the FX series and lost the suspension. It just isn't necessary for my kind of riding. I may change my mind on that in a week or so when we ride the KATY trail.

  5. #5
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    My opinion is that the 7300 is head and shoulders above the 7200, and the $100 difference, is money well spent for a better frame and componentry.

    That being said - for the same money, the 7.3FX appears to be a much better bike than either, for the same money as the 7300. The money saved on the suspension seatpost, (worthless, IMO,) and front suspension, is put into better tires, and a little better componentry - a good trade.

    IMO the 7300 is more of a comfort bike, and the 7.3 a better all around bike. It would definitely be my choice. Upgrading to even bettter componentry is simply a matter of maintenance, as the OEM stuff wears out (which may take a long time.) If either bike is capable of larger tires, especially on the rear, a 40mm wide rear tire will do wonders in smoothing out harsher surfaces, considering our weights. Heck, a 40 would improve anybodys ride, but the 35 on the front seems to be sufficient (I've tried both 35 and 40, and have settled on 35F, 40R, for the best of all worlds for riding and handling.) Might seem a strange mix, but it works very well.

    My physical problems require a front suspension, but, I'd rather not have it for the kind of riding we actually do. Does it make riding a little more plush? Yes it does, but at the cost of soaking up energy, as well as bumps. A full lock out suspension is a very nice feature, but not offered on either of your choices.

    I also agree with your assessment that the 7.3 leans more toward the road, and the 7300 leans more toward the comfort line. IMO, that's a very big plus for the 7.3, and one of the things that make it a better choice. It will make a better utility bike, than the 7300.
    Last edited by Wanderer; 09-25-09 at 08:57 AM.

  6. #6
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    Thanks, Wanderer.

    Maybe I'm putting too much emphasis on suspension and I don't really need it. Most of the trails, though, can get pretty rocky in some spots and soft sand in others (stop laughing you MTB'rs ). The cheapo bike I have now has front and seat suspension, but maybe it doesn't do as much as I think.

    I would like to buy a bike that I don't have to put new tires, etc on. Obviously you want smooth shifting and quality brakes, but I'm not planning on doing any high performance stuff or set any land speed records. I need a comfortable bike to ride on the trails or I probably won't use it as much as I should. Also, it's probably going to get dusty and have pebbles and things thrown up onto it. How does this fit in with a high quality vs. lower quality drive train? I would prefer not to have to wash the bike after each use.
    I thought the 7000 series was what I was looking for, so I didn't even look at the FX's when I was in the Trek store. I guess I'll have to look around a little more.

    Take care.

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    Not arguing that front suspension robs energy but I wonder how much energy a 35 mil suspension actually does take away in peddling efficiency; especially on rail trails that have no hills but do have varing degrees of surface quality. Additionally, some of our paved bike paths and a lot of our roads up here are tooth rattling, spine jarring exercises in bike control.

    As to wide tires absorbing bumps: of course they do. But there is no way that a wide tire w/o suspension would absorb as much vibration and bumps as that same wide tire with suspension.

    Suspension posts, well I put one on my Bear Valley MTB (bought used) which is modified with Kona P2 rigid forks, rear road cassette, and Trekking bars (I'm not a fan of flat bars). I guess it too is a hybrid. I find the suspension post works but know I will have to replace it eventually. But then I do not bottom it out.

    As to the Fx being the "better" bike, better is clearly in the eyes of the beholder, the budget, intended purpose of the bike and the owner's subjective opinion about ride quality.

    Not arguing against the FX here. It is a very good bike for the price and I looked at it carefully. But I chose the 7300 to match my wife's bike. I admit that I was leery at first but its been very good for its intended purposes.

    As noted in my previous post, I changed a bunch of stuff on my 7300. That however is another issue. Just noting that the 7300 SPA suspension, and the suspension post, aren't at least so far for me, been beasts that detract significantly from the bike's performance. Good discussion.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    IMO the 7300 is more of a comfort bike, and the 7.3 a better all around bike.
    Timeoff, I used to have a Trek 7200, and I put a few thousand miles on it. It was a great bike for the money. I ended up removing the suspension seat post as well as the suspension fork for solid aluminum to help save weight. I also swapped out the 700x35 tires for 700x28's. If I were to buy another rails/trails bike that is a flat bar, I would probably go with the FX line.

    Go to your LBS and ride the 7000 and FX series. All of your questions will be answered after you ride them.

  9. #9
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Normal maintenance. I wash my bike whenever it gets "dirty." Which is in the eye of the beholder. Everything gets lubed after that. If I WASH the bike, the chain comes off for a complete cleaning and complete relubrication.

    Exceptions -

    whenever braking or shifting becomes less than "normal."

    whenever "stuff" looks or feels gritty.

    It may be once a month, or, every other day, depending on where I have ridden..

    I usually do between 30 - 50 miles every day, on a variety of surfaces, from smooth pavement to country gravel roads. Our "trails" around here are mostly asphalt, with some gravel, and crushed lime, and a few hard dirt paths.

    If you don't require suspension systems, they are not necessary for biking pleasure, and add weight, complexity, and rob energy. Suspension, under normal circumstances, is not required on any of these surfaces. I have front suspension because of physical limitations.

    The vast majority of my mileage is on these MUPs, as we are blessed with a nice trail system. I can go 40+ miles in any direction, without leaving the "trail" system. In many instances, considerably more. Lake Michigan severely limits going farther than 40 miles east. LOL. And, urban sprawl is encroaching on lightly travelled country roads.
    Last edited by Wanderer; 09-25-09 at 10:51 AM.

  10. #10
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    And, I agree, the 7300 is a very nice bike, and every bit as qualified to ride where you want to, and is a good compromise of a suspended/unsuspended front end. But why pay for a suspension seatpost that will rob energy, and eventually rattle and become loose.

    I'd rather spend the money on the basic machine.

    The best advice here has already been given - ride them all, and buy the one you like the most. This will include comfort, fit, and overall feel. Not to be discounted, will also be "looks!" Just ask the LBS to make sure everything is set up the same - tire pressure, handlebar, and seat height. That way you can compare apples to apples. Also, ride different size frames of the same bike, with the bars and seat the same height. You might also be very surprised withthe different feel of the same bike in a different size. I, technically, ride a bike that is too big, but far more comfortable for me.

    It's also worth noting how big of a tire can you fit in there. You just might want something different than was supplied OEM. I started out with 45s OEM, and eventually ended up with 35s on the front, and a 40 on the rear, as my favorite tire. And, ride, flat protection, and easy rolling are very important considerations.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Its all about the MONEY & Weight.
    My first bike was a 7200 (not FX series), bougt it used, like new for about $250 4-5 years ago. My older son uses it now.
    I put tons of mileage on it and made a few changes, such as tires and better brake housing.

    What I leaned was this:
    a) You do not need the shocks, not for road biking and these are not meant for REAL Mt trails and NOT JUMPING. They did help with pot holes, but adds lots of weight.
    b) The less money you spend an thats okay will result in cheaper components, such as shifters, brakes and wheels.

    If you will do less than 2000 miles a year, then less $$$ is fine.

    Oh Yeah, check your craigslist, there are always Treks for sale.
    Most people buy them and just decide they don't want to anymore, especially in larger cities where space may be at a premium
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  12. #12
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    My definition of "better," as offered OEM. Tires, rear derailleur, cranksets, shifters, stem, seatpost, seat, brakeset, and wheels. I consider the 7.3's better pieces in these areas, a very good trade for the front suspension and suspended seatpost cost. The 7300 far outshines the 7200 in many of these categories, the 7.3 outshines both, in all. IMHO.

    I consider suspended seatposts a very poor accessory.

    Yes, front suspension does help with vibrations and bumps, no denying that. But, if you ever look at a front suspension, or suspension seatpost, while pedalling hard, you would realize how much energy is going toward lifing your bulk straight up, when you are trying to go forward. My full lock out suspension is usually locked out, unless the surface is known to be rough, or, unknown altogether. This is probably locked out 95% of the time. Sure it helps, and is a physical requirement for me, but, I'd rather not have it. Lowering tire pressure would do just as much, but is not as desirable.

    Again, my personal humble opinion. From my limited viewpoint.

    I rode all the Treks, all the Giants, Cannondales, etc.; and just found the Specialized more to my comfort and liking.

    One ride, and you will decide!

    They are all nice bikes.
    Last edited by Wanderer; 09-25-09 at 11:31 AM.

  13. #13
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    One more point - For this type of riding, I consider "bigger" tires very desirable. The comfort from them is not to be discounted. Conversely, I find the "speed" tradeoff, vastly overrated. Is there a difference? You bet! With the right mix, I can go fast enough, and still be comfortable. Can I tell the difference? You bet! And my experimentation with different sizes has netted me the best mix for my riding in performance and comfort. The 35s on the front definitely give me better and crisper handling, without increasing harshness, and the 40s on the rear give me a better ride and load capability over a variety of surfaces, without increasing harshness ( which the 35 on the rear can't say ) or reducing handling..... In all honesty, this mix is a big improvement over the OEM 45, in all aspects, sacrificing none.

    Sure, I like to go fast when I can, but I'm no "Ricky Racer!"

    I ride for exercise, enjoyment, and utility, not necessarily in that order. I like to enjoy the ride in any of those itterations.

    Ride the rubber off the OEM's, whatever they are, and then decide what you want to replace them with. Just give yourself options when you buy the new bike. Afterwards, it's too late.

  14. #14
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    For the 7200/7300 type bike you can expand your search to almost any major manufacturer and find a similar bike at similar price points... So check out the bikes at every shop in town, and pick the one you like the best, or from the bike shop that you like the best.

    I have never ridden either of those bikes, but I do similar riding, and have a Giant Sedona DX, and it has served me well... I have switched to slicker tires, and tightened down the seat post suspension so that it doesn't move. Also after a couple of years I swapped the suspension fork for a rigid. It rides a little rougher, but feels more nimble. I also tend to stand and use my legs for shock absorbers any time I can anticipate a bump. This is a good habit to get into whether you have suspnsion or not.

    I think you'll be very happy with a bike in the price range you are looking in, just test ride a few (hopefully under your typical riding conditions) to see what you prefer.
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    I learned a lesson in the definition of "better" when I bought the 7300 for my wife.

    Before we went shopping I explained to her the pros and cons of various options: steel vs. aluminum, flat bars vs. road/trekking etc., front suspension vs. no suspension, step through vs. top tube, etc. I thought I did pretty well.

    So we started visiting bike stores and she test rode some bikes: Specialized, Urbane, Trek: all hybrid models. She falls in love with the WSD Step through model of the Trek 7300. She will tell you her 7300 looks fabulous and that she loves the ride the suspension seat and post provide better than without. (She also owns an old Trek 7005 rigid ford MTB). I said fine: 2 7300's please.

    So the definition of better depends. Me? I'm after Bike N +1 for my own reasons. But I realized that defining "better" is like the guy in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" looking for a definition of quality. Can drive you nuts and take your money. But that's what a N+1 bike is all about isn' it?

  16. #16
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    I tried to get my wife to ride a new bike, so that she would have easier riding on "new stuff."

    She wanted nothing to do with even looking - She's still riding her old Shogun, 10 spd, with 27X1 1/4 gumwalls. The one I converted to old Schwinn upright bars and levers...... back in about 1980.

    Better to her, is relative to normalcy.

  17. #17
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    Thank you for all of the comments. You guys have been able to give me a lot of insight into things that I wouldn't have even thought of. I never would have guessed that suspension would rob energy without giving that much of a better ride. I wasn't even considering a bike without suspension, but now I will have to revisit the 7100 and take a look at the FX's as well as other brands (I haven't been anywhere but a Trek shop).

    I tend to be the type of person to decide on a particular type of something (Trek 7000 series) and then buy the most expensive model because if it cost more, it most be better. Not always true. I might and up getting a less expensive bike and changing some components once I ride it for a while. My biggest fear on buying is wishing that I had bought a better (read expensive) model because of comfort or brake/drive train component issues on the cheaper models. I also would rather spend money on the upgraded model and keep it stock than have to upgrade components. On the other hand, I don't want to buy a really good bike (FX) that is not suited for the type of riding I do or has expensive components that are not necessary for my use. For some reason, the FX seems to be more geared to paved surfaces, than dirt trails. I'll have to take a look.

    Ideally, I would decide to get the 7100, because of the price and simplicity of it.

    By the way, I think the 2010's are out. Is there any difference in the 2010 vs 2009? Should the 2009's be cheaper? Do Trek and LBS's negotiate on prices, or is it just sticker price?
    You guys also mentioned to take the bikes for a ride. Are you talking about just around the parking lot, or can you actually try it where you'll be using it? I would think that if you tried it out and brought it back dirty, etc., they would not appreciate that.

    Thanks for all the help.

  18. #18
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    Yes, 2009s should be cheaper, and easier to negotiate prices on.

    Yep, suspensions are a double edged sword - essential if you need it, not missed if you don't.

    Take the longest ride the LBS will allow, and once you settle on one, ask to take it for a longer ride before dropping the check on the counter.

    Don't worry about the tires, as most all will be fine on multiple surfaces, in these bike lines. I've ridden 1" 1 1/8 and 1 1/4 tires on a lot of different gravel and dirt, as well as various paved surfaces, for a lot of years, and these range from 28mm to 32mm wide. Now that I'm old - wider, and more comfortable, is a good thing for me. LOL

    Sometimes, it pays to buy a more upscale model than the cheapest, just for the better components.

    Just be careful, as we tried to inform about the diminishing returns on the most expensive in any given line.

    Tires are also able to be negotiated when buying, especially if you want larger - you might have to pay a price difference, if there is one.

    IMHO the 7300 is the best buy for the buck in the 7000 series, and possibly the best alternative to a suspended/unsuspended front end, as is the 7.3 in the FX line.

    Personally, I like the Specialized bikes for ME - they just fit ME better. Trek may be your holy grail, which is why there are so many different manufacturers.

    Other opinions may be different.

    Ride as many as you can in your price point, and the decision will really be easier than you think. One will stand out above the rest.

    Don't be afraid to wear out the OEM stuff before switching - it has to be servicable, or they wouldn't sell any.

    Feel free to return here to confuse us even more. Have fun!
    Last edited by Wanderer; 09-25-09 at 08:48 PM.

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    Thanks again for all of the input. I guess I'll have to take a look around-this time, armed with more knowledge. I'll take a look at the Trek 7000, 7100, 7200, 7300 and the FX series. Then I'll check out some other brands.

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    In my search for a new bike, I came across a couple of others that I liked.
    The Specialized "Globe"- 24 speed ($500) and the Cannondale "Adventure" ($469). Does anyone have any thoughts on these bikes. They appear to be bigger than the Treks and more comfortable. I don't know if this would be a plus or minus for me as far as comfort vs performance. I can get whatever tires I want on them.
    Any input is appreciated.

  21. #21
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    MHO - the Globe series are "comfort" bikes. Comfort bikes are for general neighborhood riding, slow and flat, and short in miles. They are great bikes to ride over to the park with the grandkids, sit for awhile to watch them on the playground, and then amble back home.

    For that, they are great - but not very comfortable for more spirited, or longer distance riding.

    If that is what you are after, go for it.

    I don't like them. Again, MHO.

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    One more point - whenever test riding a bike.

    If "stuff" doesn't seem to work right (brakes, shifters, etc) make sure you mention it to the shop. It might be a simple adjustment needed after sitting assembled for awhile. "stuff" stretches, or shrinks, once it gets a little age on it.

    It could make a BIG difference in your test rides, and your ultimate decision.....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    MHO - the Globe series are "comfort" bikes. Comfort bikes are for general neighborhood riding, slow and flat, and short in miles. They are great bikes to ride over to the park with the grandkids, sit for awhile to watch them on the playground, and then amble back home.

    For that, they are great - but not very comfortable for more spirited, or longer distance riding.

    If that is what you are after, go for it.

    I don't like them. Again, MHO.
    Yea..They do seem more like comfort bikes. The Cannondale, less so. They were pretty nice though, but I think I would be disappointed in the long run.
    I also went to another Trek store, but was unable to try anything out at either place because it was raining all day.
    The LBS store was very helpful-I wish they sold Treks. The guy at the Trek store must just be Sunday help because I seemed to know more than he did. I'll go back to the first Trek store I went to.

    Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post

    Personally, I like the Specialized bikes for ME - they just fit ME better. Trek may be your holy grail, which is why there are so many different manufacturers.

    Other opinions may be different.


    Feel free to return here to confuse us even more. Have fun!
    I rode the Trek 7200 and 7300 today. Both seemed a little stiff to me (I think I liked the 7200 over the 7300, as far as the ride).

    I looked into the Specialized Crosstrail, but the only one available was the elite-($720)-a little over my budget. This bike, though, seemed more comfortable to me, but I was not able to test ride it.

    I was also shown a Specialized Hard Rock Comp Disc ($550). Technically it is a MTB, but the rims are very narrow and slicker tires can be put on it. Any thoughts on this bike for Rail Trail uses. I think the guys at the shop said that it basically a better bike than the Crosstrail, but slightly heavier and had cable disc brakes. He also said that 29" tires could be put on it. Whether that's good for me or not, I don't know.

    Any thoughts on the Crosstrail or Hard Rock will be appreciated. 80% of my riding will be on rail trails (some in good shape, some not), 10% off trail and 10% street or paved paths. Also, the Hard Rock might handle the dirt, dust etc than the Treks.

    Thanks again for all the advise.
    Last edited by Timeoff; 09-29-09 at 12:08 AM. Reason: Typo

  25. #25
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    You really have to ride them to make a choice.

    I really like my Crosstrail - it's a comfortable bike, which is easy to ride, and rides nice.

    For ME, 700 tires (29ers) are head and shoulders above the 26" for the type of riding we do (we are very similar). The 26" even feel slow and sluggish.

    I also tried the Hardrock, and it doesn't compare to the Crosstrail in riding comfort and efficiency.

    You really have to find one to test ride to make a decision, but, I still STRONGLY recommend you get one with a lock out suspension, if going the fron suspension route.

    For ME, the Crosstrail is an amazing bike.

    Ride more bikes, and it will be easier to decide....

    And, don't give up on the Treks! Stiff isn't necessarily a bad thing.........LOL

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