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  1. #1
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    Make FX 7.3 faster?

    I have a 08 Trek FX 7.3 that has seen about 3k miles thus far and has been a joy for the most part. Thing is I am getting bored of riding on my own all the time and was thinking about riding with the local cycle club, well I ran into them a few weeks ago and well, I was not really able to hang with them as they were doing a steady 19mph, after about a mile my legs were not happy and I had to drop back to my 15mph normal pace. My riding is almost all road or bike path so really the hybrid rout may not have been the best path for me, guess I should have looked around more before I got the FX 7.3.


    Now the what I have been wondering is, is this bike suitable for such rides via upgrades, fork, bars, tires etc. or should I just get a Trek Series 1, or Specialized Allez*. I know what my biggest problem is, is the uprightness of my riding position, I was hoping that lower road cycling bars would help this. I have seen others suggest putting 700x25 tires on my bike in place of 700x38's it currently has. Others have suggested a road cycle fork for the more aggressive angle to drop the bike more.



    *I am looking at these bikes as I have been told by both of the store guys that my 220lb weight isn't the best for carbon frames, losing weight isn't an option with my stocky 6' build, I am actually at my lightest in years.

  2. #2
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    If you're looking for more speed on the cheap, go for the high psi 25c tires for less weight and a little less rolling resistance, and invert the stem to a downward angle for a more aero stance. For a few more bucks, start using clipless pedals/shoes for a little more speed as well.

  3. #3
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    I already have an adjustable stem bar mount and have it basically flat angled, I will rack it down and see how that feels.

    Clipless shoe/pedals are on my list of things to get either way I went, was holding off till I decided what I was going to do.

    Anyone else have any suggestions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    If you're looking for more speed on the cheap, go for the high psi 25c tires for less weight and a little less rolling resistance, and invert the stem to a downward angle for a more aero stance. For a few more bucks, start using clipless pedals/shoes for a little more speed as well.
    Dynodon has great advice for speeding up your 7.3FX. I run 700c x 23 tires on my 7.5FX and I replaced the riser bar with a flat bar (inverting the stem will accomplish a similar purpose). I installed clipless pedals. I can ride a flat and windless 30 miles averaging ~19.5mph with my setup (I also made some other mods, but they contribute little other than weight saving and are much more expensive).

    That said, on my tri bike I average ~20.7-21.3mph over the same course on average. I'm actually even faster on a road bike but that's because I'm riding with others. So the road bike will be faster, no question. If you plan to do group rides, I do suggest getting a road bike.

    In addition to the bikes you mentioned, check out the Cannondale CAAD9 too. IMO you are better off with a good aluminum frame rather than low-end carbon. Your weight is not the issue. Your price range is the issue. You'll get a lot more for your money with an aluminum frame in that range, including a better component spec. And if you're going to invest in a road bike, I suggest investing a little extra for a 105 component spec rather than the Tiagara/Sora stuff...you'll be glad you did.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  5. #5
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    Don't waste your time and money trying to convert your fx into a road bike. You are going to pour a bunch of money into a bike that will never be more than a decent road bike. You can find a good used road bike for 2/3 hundred dollars and see how you like it. In my area there is constantly nice older steel road bikes and alum bikes up for sale on CL. The CAAD9 is a nice frame, but you are looking at around a grand for a complete bike used. Trek, Nishiki, Miyata, Fuji, Bridgestone, among others all have nice older road bikes that you can pick up pretty cheap. Then if you don't like road bikes sell it. You still have your Trek. If you like the road bike you can upgrade it or sell and buy something nicer. In my experience, I got back into biking a couple of years ago with a hybrid. Then like you I wanted something faster. I bought a 92 Trek 1200 for $200 that was in VGC. For the most part I loved it. Did not like the downtube shifting or the 52/42 front gearing. So I stripped it, sold all the components for around $150 and spent about $350 on a 9 speed Ultegra rebuild. Now I have a 19lb bike that is a complete joy to ride. I have since built a 15lb road bike that is a rocket, but still find myself riding the 1200 more than any of my bikes. I still have the hybrid btw and think it is a great bike. It just has different capabilities than road bikes.

  6. #6
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    Contact the local club for a ride schedule and find rides that are more your speed to start with. Riding regularly with the club you'll find you get better and faster. My club has rides that attract riders who average 20mph and 12 mph on the same ride, as well as rides that only really attract the fast guys and others that are mostly attended by the more leisurely riders.
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  7. #7
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    the tire change should be pretty big. try that and see what you can average, and if you get a new bike you have a spare set of tires which is not a bad thing.

    one guy said switching to more road oriented skinny tires gave him a 3mph average boost.

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    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    Changing to 25 or 23 mm racetyres with high pressure will help ...
    making sure your drivetrain is in perfect condition and nicely oiled will help ...
    exercising and training on higher speeds to find the right cadence will help ...
    but the real issue in trying to keep an average of 20 mph over longer distances is aerodynamics.
    At least lower your bar and heighten your saddle if it's not at your maximum height yet.
    Even better is to get dropbars or, if you're like me and do not like dropbars, get aerobars.
    I've got a hybrid bike with upright position, aerobars and racewheels and I keep up with the roadies

  9. #9
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanan View Post
    I already have an adjustable stem bar mount and have it basically flat angled, I will rack it down and see how that feels.
    I'm not fond of adjustable stems due to flexing issues with ones I've had in the past. When you do find an angle that you feel is comfortable, it's best to replace the stem with a solid version, and it will give you a little more speed as well.

  10. #10
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    Going with narrow high pressure tires will make a world of difference.

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    You are correct in assuming that I have no intention of spending $3.5k+ on a carbon bike as I ride for cardio and conditioning for my legs(I am a gym rat, 950lb max leg press, 330lb DL, if anything my legs are my strongest part).

    I have been seriously eyeing the Specialized Allez Elite Compact which is about the upper limit of what I wanted to spend if I got a road bike.

    That adjustable stem didn't go down so I put the original one back on upside down and it dropped the bars another inch or so. Yea the adjustable stem flexed and creaked quite a bit, it didn't at first but it has been getting worse as of late.

    I plan on heading over to the bike shop today and getting some 700x23 tires and see where that puts me in terms of avg speed over my ride.

    I just went looking for a web page for the cycle club, doesn't look promising... the domain is expired. The club was tied to my gym(QLS) which just got bought out by LifeTime Fitness, my guess is they bailed.

    I have been thinking about going the used bike rout but I feel that I do not know enough about road bikes to judge a good or bad bike condition beyond seeing obvious broken stuff.

  12. #12
    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    I might be mistaken but I think the stock rims of the 7.3FX are not designed to handle 23mm tyres ... it might work though depending on the exact tyres.
    What I did: I bought a second wheelset. This gives me the ability to quickly change my wheels in a few minutes and so I can choose to go either with racewheels and 23 tyres or more sturdy crosswheels and 35mm crosstyres.
    Why choose when you can have both?

  13. #13
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    Well, I ended up going with 700x25 tires, the bike shop guys suggested those to be the smallest for my rims or I might have de-rimming issues.

    I took the bike for a 10 mile spin but seeing as the heat index is 105f I doubt my riding was at normal pace but for those 10 miles my avg speed was 16mph.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdelaaR View Post
    I might be mistaken but I think the stock rims of the 7.3FX are not designed to handle 23mm tyres ... it might work though depending on the exact tyres.
    What I did: I bought a second wheelset. This gives me the ability to quickly change my wheels in a few minutes and so I can choose to go either with racewheels and 23 tyres or more sturdy crosswheels and 35mm crosstyres.
    Why choose when you can have both?
    can you give the components you used and how much a rear wheel cost you?

  15. #15
    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiotekniQues View Post
    can you give the components you used and how much a rear wheel cost you?
    Wheelset: Fulcrum Racing 5 149€
    Tyres: Vittoria Rubino 7,90€
    Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-23 9-speed 48,5€

  16. #16
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanan View Post

    That adjustable stem didn't go down so I put the original one back on upside down and it dropped the bars another inch or so. Yea the adjustable stem flexed and creaked quite a bit, it didn't at first but it has been getting worse as of late.
    Are you still using the original hand grips that came with your 7.3? I found that the original grips were far better in eliminating hand numbness than a lot of grips I've used, but the 7.3 grips always kept twisting around the bar, so I ended up replacing my original grips with Ergon GP1 grips. Since I work urban traffic on a regular basis, I was uncomfortable in using the Ergon GC3 with its extra hand position, since I want my hands as close to the hand brake as possible. The GC3 would be ideal on roads with long stretches of low or no cross traffic, or for cyclists who have faster reflexes than mine.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdelaaR View Post
    Wheelset: Fulcrum Racing 5 149€
    Tyres: Vittoria Rubino 7,90€
    Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-23 9-speed 48,5€
    Does that ultegra cassette work with the deore derailleur that comes with the 7.3? (Optionally, could it be mounted onto the stock rim instead of the 8 speed mtb one it comes with?)

  18. #18
    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromitoid View Post
    Does that ultegra cassette work with the deore derailleur that comes with the 7.3? (Optionally, could it be mounted onto the stock rim instead of the 8 speed mtb one it comes with?)
    It's a 9-speed cassette so it will work with most 9-speed derailleurs like the deore you speak of and definately not with 8-speeds.
    On a 7.3FX I would not recommend you to get an ultegra cassette though, as it would mean that your cassette would by far be your most superior part and there is no point in that ... in that case you could easily settle for a "tiagra" cassette and save yourself half the price or more ... your choice ofcourse
    I have an XT rear derailleur and so I chose the quality of cassette that goes with it, being the ultegra.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdelaaR View Post
    It's a 9-speed cassette so it will work with most 9-speed derailleurs like the deore you speak of and definately not with 8-speeds.
    On a 7.3FX I would not recommend you to get an ultegra cassette though, as it would mean that your cassette would by far be your most superior part and there is no point in that ... in that case you could easily settle for a "tiagra" cassette and save yourself half the price or more ... your choice ofcourse
    I have an XT rear derailleur and so I chose the quality of cassette that goes with it, being the ultegra.
    I see your point. However, I wondered if the cassette will fit onto the stock wheel as a replacement? Any compatibility issues there?

  20. #20
    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromitoid View Post
    I see your point. However, I wondered if the cassette will fit onto the stock wheel as a replacement? Any compatibility issues there?
    Any new shimano cassette should fit on any new shimano wheel-hub ... so: yes
    If you have a 9-speed deore derailleur than any 9-speed cassette should work with it, since the typical deore derailleurs have a wide range and a long cage.
    That means you can also put road-cassettes on them as they are smaller.
    It doesn't work the other way round though: you can't just take a mountainbike-cassette and make it work on any road derailleur.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Are you still using the original hand grips that came with your 7.3?
    The original grips went long ago, I have some specialized branded grips that look very close to the Ergon GP1 in your link. I also have some bar ends to provide more hand positions and better leverage for sprints.


    I went on a ride last night about 7pm when it cooled down a bit, the new tires are nice, they ride so much smoother then the factory tires.

    The lower hand position of the inverted stem seems to have helped my avg speeds, I was running 16.7mph avg over 27.3 miles according to my gps rout tracker with start/stops from lights/intersections trimmed out. Still not fast enough to really hang with road bikes, I think I am just going to have to get a road bike if I want to ride with road bikes.

  22. #22
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    I agree with the guy who said you should seek group rides that you can (just) hang with. That should help you get faster better than anything else. You can move up to faster group rides as you improve, but I think you are right, to hang with fast roadies, you probably need a road bike.

  23. #23
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanan View Post
    ....... not fast enough to really hang with road bikes, I think I am just going to have to get a road bike if I want to ride with road bikes.

    2.5 mph gain is going to be tough without going to more expensive options. Maybe talk to your LBS into letting you take an overnight test ride on a good road bike, and see how much it improves your average speed.

  24. #24
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    Even roadies get dropped at group rides. So don't feel bad. What you should do is work on your fitness. I think you will be surprise at how much potential even a hybrid can be given strong legs.
    If all else fails there's always strap one of these on your 7.3fx and stick it to the Lance wannabes!

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  25. #25
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    For most people, speed isn't about the bike. It's about their physical conditioning and abilities.

    I'm not a very strong rider. Really not strong, as in in most situations, I'm driving a 50" gear or so, and I'll regularly drop down to 30". But I can go 12-15mph in those tiny gears, which means I'm twiddling the pedals at 80-100 rpm. A lot of folks will insist it's the edge of what's possible on platform pedals... but I do it.

    The biggest thing I can do for my speed is get stronger. Working on squats, crunches and pushups, doing interval training or hill repeats, working on sprints... all of those will up my speed. You're probably in the opposite position. You've got the strength I don't have, but you don't have my speed. Working on cadence drills and playing games with how fast or slow you can go will buy you a lot. Really work on getting the most out of your gearing.

    In general, it's a lot easier to do work on the bike's engine for big gains than the bike... especially when you're slow. For someone who can sprint at 25 or 30mph, the gains from working on the bike would be noticeable. For us, the engine is just too lousy.

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