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Old 03-24-10, 07:17 AM   #1
cyber_hawke
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Flat Bar Road Bike - Buy it for the frame or buy it for components?

After having my carbon fiber roadbike creamed by a hit and run driver, I am in the process of replacing it with a flat bar hybrid and have been looking within my budget (~$1100). I do commute a couple of days a week, ride for an hour or so a couple of evenings a week and try to get in a longer ride on both Weekend days....not really a fair weather biker, but will not commute with more than an inch of fresh snow.

In looking at bikes, I have found that I can get a bike from a well known company with a great frame and ok components (ie Trek 7.6fx or Sirrus Comp) or I can get a bike from a not so well known company, questionable frame but better components (ie Jamis Coda Elite or Fuji Absolute 1.0).

So my question is, do I look at investing the money in the frame knowing that the components are OK and expect to replace them over time....or do I not worry about the frame so much and focus on ensuring that I am getting a better system of components? Since I found that I need a small bike (was a shocker) or 17.5, the bikes I have had a chance to ride feel comfortable and I really haven't had a chance to ride all of the bikes in the same configuration, I just am trying to figure out where to make the trade off....frame or components? This should help focus me on what to spend time on to find the bike and then ride it.

Last edited by cyber_hawke; 03-24-10 at 08:54 AM. Reason: added some clarification on what I have tested
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Old 03-24-10, 07:47 AM   #2
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Don't sell the Jamis, or Fuji, or Giant, short. All are very capable, manufactured, and well engineered bikes. As are many others.

With that, you kind of answered your own question........
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Old 03-24-10, 07:55 AM   #3
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Frame. You can always upgrade as you grow with the bike. And components change or break over the years so you will probably get new components eventually.

I had the same choice a while ago with a road bike. I got the better frame with 105/ultegra grouppo. I figured I can upgrade later. At this point I still have no need to.
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Old 03-24-10, 08:41 AM   #4
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someone else posted about that Trek and I thought it looked like a nice bike. I say test ride the controls and see which feel more intuitive then get the bike that's got the stuff you like. I find it disconcerting that so many people buy nice bikes and immediately swap out some of the gear. why not just get the bike that has the gear you like? but then, I'm a simple man.
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Old 03-24-10, 08:55 AM   #5
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I have to admit, that while I haven't ridden the correct size on all the bikes, the Trek 7.6FX in 17.5 rode like a dream....I didn't notice any issues with it. As for Sirrus, all they had was the basic in the right size and it rode ok, but not nearly as light or nice as the Trek...but again was basic. Haven't found a Fuji or a Jamis in the right size. Any ideas where to look in the DC area?
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Old 03-24-10, 03:18 PM   #6
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Haven't found a Fuji or a Jamis in the right size. Any ideas where to look in the DC area?
If you go to the main web site for each brand, there is almost always a Dealer Locater option available. Both Fuji and Jamis make nice bikes.

I test-rode a 2009 Fuji Absolute 2.0 last Fall and loved it, but was especially taken with the Jamis Coda Sport (steel frame)-which I ultimately bought. It was a tough decision between the two, and I think I would have been happy with either one.
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Old 03-24-10, 06:13 PM   #7
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or I can get a bike from a not so well known company, questionable frame but better components (ie Jamis Coda Elite or Fuji Absolute 1.0).
Just what is it that is "questionable" about the frame of a Fuji Absolute? I just bought a 1.0 so no experience with reliability, other than that the frame and everything else is great. It is fast (granted, I am comparing it to a Dahon Mu P8 folder), nimble, and I even took it on a short dirt trail jaunt a couple of days ago to see if the 28 mm tires would handle more than I intend to throw at them as a steady diet and they along with the rest of the bike handled that quite well indeed. Hardly more than a light warm up for a 29er I suppose but this Fuji that pretty much looks like a road bike with flat bars and these tires that pretty much look like slightly chubby road tires handled the soft spring dirt, a little mud, turf, pine needles, the occasional root, and a short, steep, gravel upgrade with aplomb. If I've ever tried such terrain on a bike before it must have been decades ago because that little trip seemed like a totally new rush to me. An eye opener really. It's enough to make me think I "need" a third bike and the bike I need next is a 29er! Anyway, I'm not suggesting that the Absolute should be subjected to this routinely, just that I have no questions about the frame.

Hurrumpf,

Ken
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Old 03-25-10, 11:06 AM   #8
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Fuji is not well known?

Performance Bikes carries Fuji, I think HTO still does too. City Bikes carries Jamis and usually has the complete line of Codas. I noticed a fitness store across from Springfield mall is carrying Jamis now,but I'd be hesitant to buy a bike from a non-bike shop.
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Old 04-01-10, 04:48 AM   #9
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Update, was on a business trip to Dayton OH and had a chance to ride a Jamis Coda Elite, bike was great...fit just wasnt right for some reason. Seemed to be short and while I could have put an adjustable stem on it, I wasnt up or down on the handlebars...sort of uncomfortable in between. This probably sounds like whining but I do believe the more comfortable it is, the more I will ride it and get the benefits of riding. Maybe I should start another thread titled...buy if for the fit, price or best deal?
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Old 04-01-10, 06:44 AM   #10
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You will get the same answers...... LOL

BUY the one that fits the best - you will be happier riding it, and ride it more.

Forget the componentry - you will replace it as it wears out, or breaks.

One other thing to consider - if I'm not mistaken - the Trek will accept wider tires than the Sirrus...... I think
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Old 04-01-10, 10:46 AM   #11
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So how does geometry of the bike fit in? If I compare two bikes from different manufacturers (strictly from a fit perspective), what do I consider, other than top tube length and stand over height? Is everything else pretty much adjustable by moving stem and seat?
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Old 04-01-10, 11:36 AM   #12
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I am sure you could get the Coda Elite more properly fitted to you. Stem change, handlebar change, offset seatpost (maybe?) etc, etc. I drooled over a Coda Elite before buying my basic Sirrus. I love my sirrus, though the basic version SHOULD come with a CF fork, it does get a bit rough sometimes...Someday I might throw a CF cyclocross fork on it (need the canti bosses for v-brakes).

Try to find a Sirrus Elite. Its around $900, might be more comfortable for you.

But, I would not think less of the Jamis Coda. Jamis makes some real nice bikes, and a steel bike is really going to offer a comfy ride on the long haul, even if it weighs more. Jamis really offers a lot for the money, and the Elite has disc brakes, which would be really really nice in the rain/wet. V-brakes have always stopped me fine, even offroad, but offroad biking doesn't have cars involved...
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Old 04-01-10, 01:03 PM   #13
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Since then I rode the Trek 17.5" 7.6FX and it rode like a dream, but the parts were not as good as the Coda Elite. By the way, the Jamis seemed to have a very high stand over height. I am going to ride a Sirrus Comp in the small size on Saturday and a 17" Fuji Absolute 1.0. Then will decide on which bike to ride.
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Old 04-01-10, 02:50 PM   #14
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That is the geometry. Some bikes have a compact or sloping geometry and some have a more traditional geometry. Compact geometries also often have longer top tubes and lower stand over.
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Old 04-02-10, 07:59 PM   #15
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Update, was on a business trip to Dayton OH and had a chance to ride a Jamis Coda Elite, bike was great...fit just wasnt right for some reason. Seemed to be short and while I could have put an adjustable stem on it, I wasnt up or down on the handlebars...sort of uncomfortable in between. This probably sounds like whining but I do believe the more comfortable it is, the more I will ride it and get the benefits of riding. Maybe I should start another thread titled...buy if for the fit, price or best deal?
FWIW, I have a 2009 Jamis Coda Sport and love the ride that steel offers. Maybe you could go up a frame size on the Elite?

In the end, I would go for the one that feels the best. It doesn't help to get a good deal if the bike isn't comfortable-you'd be much less likely to ride it. Component level preference can be a personal thing, but all the models you mentioned are great bikes.
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Old 04-04-10, 09:38 AM   #16
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Final Entry:

Jamis Coda Elite: Went back and tried the Jamis Coda Elite in a larger size, stand over had almost no clearance. Once on the bike, it rode great but was stretching out a little too far.

Fuji Absolute 1.0: Only source I could find in the local area was Performance Bikes. I got the impression that the salespeople were not trained and were only allowed to talk to a customer for 3 mins. I did get a chance to ride the 17" bike and it rode fine, but felt a little small. When I asked to ride a larger size, got switched to another sales person who knew little about hybrids...got disgusted and left.

TREK 7.6FX: Very nice ride but it seemed that the 7.6 had a better frame than the 7.5 but transitioned from decent MB parts to lower quality RB parts. Next bike up was the 7.7FX and that was out of my price range.

Specialized Sirrus Comp: Tried a small but it was a little small, so tried a medium. LBS even took off the stem and put on an adjustable one (on the demo bike), after a little adjusting it was riding like the best bike I had ridden, but was still not the bike that I wanted in terms of 105 parts. The bike shop owner spent some time with me and really tried to talk me into staying with a comp (for the price it had much better parts than the TREK), while (believe it or not) my wife insisted that I go with a more expensive model (Elite I think). Bottom line, the LBS owner gave up and offered a discount on the Elite that I could not pass up. He ordered it and it should be here on Wednesday......Wife says "Happy Easter!"
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Old 04-04-10, 10:31 AM   #17
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You will like it - a lot!

You can replace componentry, with any you want, as stuff wears out. Then, you will like it even more.

Ride lots, and enjoy......................
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