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Old 07-07-10, 04:07 PM   #1
BearcatBengal
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Looking to buy a sporty/performance hybrid (450$ or less)

I'm not looking to spend a fortune since I obviously don't really know what I'm getting myself into yet. I would prefer my purchase to be somewhere between 250-400, but am willing to go into the mid 400's if I could get substantially greater bang for the buck in doing so.

I'm looking for a sportier/performance hybrid as opposed to a comfort/cruiser hybrid. A highly flexible/adjustable bike would probably be preferable since I'm not sure what is going to feel comfortable in the short/long term. Lightness of the bike is also a priority as I will be carrying it at times and as an engineer inefficient (heaviness being a form thereof) things irk me. Looks/paint aren't extremely important, but I definitely don't want it to look spacey or odd.

I will probably travel 80-90% road and 10-20% bike trails. This is one area I am curious about. What are the real limitations of a hybrid bike vs. a true mountain bike? When people say "off-road" do they simply mean not a paved road or does it imply that the terrain is not even a "bike trail".

I am willing to buy used and/or parts If I could get a substantially better bike this way. My plan is to make a list of about 5-10 bikes here and then try to find them at a local bike store and compare their feel/qualities.

A couple of examples I have been looking at:
http://www.amazon.com/Diamondback-Ed...pr_product_top

http://www.amazon.com/Diamondback-In...f=pd_sbs_sg_42 (would probably have to find one used to fit my budget)

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Old 07-07-10, 05:09 PM   #2
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No takers? I should also mention that I'm 5'10.5" and about 180 lbs.
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Old 07-07-10, 05:25 PM   #3
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trek 7.2 fx for $450. you get entry to a durable frame that treks sells for its $1600 bikes. it's bang for the buck. it's tough enough to handle some abuse at trails.

advantage of a mountain bike is that the much wider tires give you a cushier ride. the rattling of my hybrid on gravel road is not comfortable for the wrists. the wider tires also more stable and balanced whereas the hybrid tires can sometimes fall like they're falling sideways one time and then sideways another time. you can do it with a hybrid but the mountain bike is much more comfortable on gravel roads.

anything that involved jumping or going over logs is out of the question for a hybrd imo but the trek 7.2 fx does have a nice frame.

the 2011s are coming out in a month...see if your shop has 2010 models that they're trying to get rid of.
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Old 07-07-10, 05:32 PM   #4
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I'd look at the Jamis Coda. Should be able to find a dealer who will go down to $450.
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Old 07-07-10, 06:07 PM   #5
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I really enjoy my DB Insight 2, however the Trek 7.2fx is very popular. You should go and test ride, that's the best way!!! JMHO.
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Old 07-07-10, 06:54 PM   #6
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If you do not buy the Trex FX 2, you will have nothing to post about, like add ons for the bike....It is a very
popular bike on this forum...Go Trex, you came up with a winner...Richard Just trying to keep up with
the Jones's.......( Laugh )
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Old 07-07-10, 08:27 PM   #7
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I like my Cannondale Quick 6. I upgraded almost every component on it in due time, but stock it was a terrific bike.
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Old 07-07-10, 09:31 PM   #8
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There seems to be a lot of recommendations in the ~400-450 price range. Am I getting a lot more value going with these as opposed to a bike in the ~300-350 range?

Also I frequently hear that people are unsatisfied with their bikes seat comfortableness. They end up buying gel seat/pads. I would prefer that whichever bike I buy have a comfortable seat so I don't have to spend the extra money for a seat upgrade/gel pad. Unless of course this will make the bike a lesser overall value or significantly more expensive.

I was looking at this Jamis Coda:
http://www.bikeshacksonline.com/prod...etacpg=2009JCC

I noticed that they brag a lot about how the Reynolds Alloy Chromoly Steel is superior to aluminum in terms of road-feel/bumpiness. Is this just propaganda or is their truth to this? I remember reading somewhere that in a blind test riders could not identify steel vs. aluminum.

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Old 07-08-10, 08:29 AM   #9
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There seems to be a lot of recommendations in the ~400-450 price range. Am I getting a lot more value going with these as opposed to a bike in the ~300-350 range?

Also I frequently hear that people are unsatisfied with their bikes seat comfortableness. They end up buying gel seat/pads. I would prefer that whichever bike I buy have a comfortable seat so I don't have to spend the extra money for a seat upgrade/gel pad. Unless of course this will make the bike a lesser overall value or significantly more expensive.

I was looking at this Jamis Coda:
http://www.bikeshacksonline.com/prod...etacpg=2009JCC

I noticed that they brag a lot about how the Reynolds Alloy Chromoly Steel is superior to aluminum in terms of road-feel/bumpiness. Is this just propaganda or is their truth to this? I remember reading somewhere that in a blind test riders could not identify steel vs. aluminum.
according to sheldon brown (late, respected bike guru) - you can have any riding property with either al, steel, or carbon. the tubing will be different. al will have larger diameter tubes. it is a common misconception that a bike made of al will have a harsh ride compared to steel. al has different tubing to make up for its properties and give you good ride quality. the key determinant in how harsh or smooth your ride will be is TIRES! skinny tires have harsh ride whereas wider tires with lower pressure have cushy ride that absorbs road vibrations. some claim that fork makes a big difference too but that's beyond my limited knowledge. the 7.2 fx has steel fork.

it's nice to know that trek's have high resale value. they are tried and tested. if a bike below $300 or whatever gives you lifetime warranty and you like it and you like the fit - go for it. to be honest, my bro's older fx has straight gauge aluminum whereas i have double butted al and i can't tell the difference. so i guess alpha black aluminum (double b) isn't that big of a deal. even a trek 7.1 or 7000 should have lifetime warranty and great customer service.

make sure that your stock tires are wide and cushy enough for you and that the handlebars are high enough for you due to geometry and an appropriate stem i.e. 100-120 no more than 10 degrees.
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Old 07-08-10, 01:39 PM   #10
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I've test ridden over 50 hybrids over the past 3-4 years. In general I have found the aluminum frames to yield a harsher ride than steel, but it isn't always true. A couple of the aluminum frames with carbon forks were surprisingly smooth. Tires do make a big difference, but they aren't the whole be all and end all of the story.

Aluminum, as a material, does transmit more vibration than does cro-moly steel. And the tube walls of an aluminum bike are thicker. So the combination of thicker walls (more material) and less vibration absorption does lead to an aluminum frame transmitting more vibration. And far more than does carbon. But an aluminum frame with a carbon fork, cushy tires, comfortable saddle & grips, can be a smooth riding bike. Smoother than an all-steel bike.

There is no exact formula that you can use. For example, I test rode a high end Specialized Sirrus that had carbon fork, carbon seat stay, and carbon seat post, all with their vibration absorbing inserts and 700x28 tires. Then I test rode a Fuji Absolute 1.0 that all of the same carbon fiber parts, but no inserts, and 700x28 tires. Both had aluminum frames. The Fuji's ride was far smoother. Not even close. To confirm, I test rode a second bike of each and the results were the same. I expected them to be almost identical. The Fuji was also smoother than multiple cro-moly steel bikes that I rode.

So you can never know from reading the spec sheets alone.
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Old 07-08-10, 03:06 PM   #11
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Just food for thought.

This is a Schwinn Trailways, price 239.00 dollars, but something you might want to consider is the
extras you are going to need also..I just started thinking of all the accessories added and the cost, Topeak Rack 29.00 dollars, MtX trunk bag at
REI 80.00 dollas (installed for free), Bell Wireless Speedometer 20.00 ( has been working perfectly ), Bell
Torch Headlamp 20.00 dollars (Walmart), Schwinn Helmet 30.00 dollars Walmart, love the flashing light on the back, Planet Bike Micro pump, 18.00 dollars REI, spare tubes (2) 13.00 dollars REI, Presta to Shrader adapter and Presta extender 6.00 REI, patch kit REI ( do not remember price ), Schwinn water bottle and cage 10.00
dollars Walmart, another water bottle from Dicks Sporting Goods 8.00 dollars, That does not include the tools in the kit or frame bag, already had....Grand Total 239.00 Dollars, .. WOW .. Just some food for thought !]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF9VLGT9g5c Good Luck... Richard

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Old 07-08-10, 03:06 PM   #12
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@Tom, A carbon fork would probably put the bike out of my price range though, right? Also the 700x28 tires on the bikes you mentioned, aren't those pretty slim for hybrid tires? Would I really be able to do bike trails, light grass, etc. on those?

I would ideally like to go with the slimmest tires that will still allow me to do some bike trails and other light/smoothish non-road things. What kind of tire sizes would satisfy this?
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Old 07-08-10, 04:46 PM   #13
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I wasn't recommending 700x28 tires. I don't like those tires, even on roads. I like a smoother ride. I purchased the Fuji Absolute 1.0 that I mentioned above, and the first change I had the shop do to it was to swap out the 28mm tires for 32mm. I like 32mm to 38mm on bike trails.

As to the carbon fork, yes that will put the bike out of your price range. I was merely noting my experiences.

As to what you can buy for $450, that can really vary. I recently purchased a 2009 Electra Amsterdam Sport 9d that listed for $750, for just $375 on a bike shop clearance sale. A couple of years ago I purchased a RANS recumbent that listed for $1800 for $1000, it was two years old but still new in the shop. I love clearance sales on older models. But always make sure it fits you correctly, don't take a good deal on an ill-fitting bike.
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Old 07-08-10, 04:51 PM   #14
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The Trek 7.2FX is the one. bk
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Old 07-08-10, 04:54 PM   #15
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One option would be the new 2011 Escape 2 from Giant, if it is in shops already. Looks like a reasonable, pared down fitness hybrid for $410.

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...11/6963/43122/
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Old 07-08-10, 05:04 PM   #16
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I ended up buying a Trek 7.2FX a few weeks ago. Fantastic bike - I paid around 460 for it and don't regret it, love the bike. My wife picked the Jamis Coda Femme - she like the ride a lot better than the 7.2FX WSD (due to the suspension in the seat post is what I say.)

I just don't think you can go wrong with the Trek.
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Old 07-09-10, 12:23 AM   #17
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@xoxoxo, I saw the youtube vid in the link you posted above. It seems like a great bike for the price. Is that thing some kind of diamond in the rough? The big box retailers mostly carry junk, right? How much does it weigh (w/o the accessories attached)?

I went to a bike store today (yesterday technically) and while they had a decent selection, good services policy, quality bikes, they did not have all that many choices within my price range. They had 3 bikes between 400 and 500. They had a Trek 7.2 FX (2010 I believe) for 490 (seemed a bit steep). a 7.1 FX for 410 (2011, odd considering the 7.2 was a 2010). Finally a Scott Sportster P6 for 410. I'm assuming all of these prices are before taxes also (If I buy locally there's no avoiding the taxman). Consider the fact that as xoxoxoxoxo mentioned above, I will have to buy a ton of other accessories to have a truly complete setup, I'm not satisfied with these prices. What do you guys think? I also gave them all a spin and they all felt great. The gear shifting on the Scott p6 sportster oddly seemed significantly less smooth (slightly strange mechanical clicky sounds, slightly slower, etc.) than the 7.2 FX.

Anyhow unless they carry used bikes or I can bargain them down a significant amount then I'm going to have to find another store and/or reassess my needs/options.
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Old 07-09-10, 01:27 AM   #18
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That Schwinn Trailways is not a fitness/performance hybrid. It is a standard hybrid, with suspension fork. A few pounds heavier than a fitness hybrid, more upright seating position, designed for more comfort than speed. It also has lower-end parts, like wheels, derailleurs, etc., than the $400-$500 bikes from Trek and Giant mentioned in this thread. The Trek model that would be most equivalent to this Schwinn is their 7000 hybrid. But even there, the 7000 has some higher end parts.

The Schwinn may be a very good bike for $200-$240. Many Schwinns are decent bikes for the money.
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Old 07-09-10, 01:45 AM   #19
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The price gap between the ~$400-$500 trek/giant/jamis/scott etc. and the ~150-300 mass produced brands like schwinn doesn't seem to add up logically to me. It seems as if you could buy a decent schwinn and then just buy 20-50 dollar component upgrades for it (better seat, tires, brakes, etc.) to spec it up to be in line with or better than the "entry level performance" bikes at less cost.
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Old 07-09-10, 09:49 AM   #20
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Typically, you are not going to get a bike that is equivalent with a $400-$500 bike for less money by buying a $150-$300 bike and putting into it $200 to $250 (let alone $20-$50) in accessories and component upgrades. First, the frame will generally not be of the same quality. Second, the better components in the more expensive bike are cheaper when purchased in quantity by the bike manufacturer than an individual can purchase, and one would be buying components twice, the original components with the bike and the upgrade components to replace them. So, I think it is generally a fallacy that one can get essentially the same bike for less by buying a cheaper bike and upgrading components. It is actually likely to cost more approaching it that way. If you want the features and components of a $400-$500 bike then you should look for the $400-$500 bike that you like.
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Old 07-09-10, 10:01 AM   #21
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The price gap between the ~$400-$500 trek/giant/jamis/scott etc. and the ~150-300 mass produced brands like schwinn doesn't seem to add up logically to me. It seems as if you could buy a decent schwinn and then just buy 20-50 dollar component upgrades for it (better seat, tires, brakes, etc.) to spec it up to be in line with or better than the "entry level performance" bikes at less cost.
Tis what I did. I bought a Trailway, the only thing left to replace is the seat. Only cost about 100 to replace the crankset, brakes, stem (cause I broke the adjuster, my fault), and obviously tubes, but that's pretty much any bike. The tires that come with it are quite good actually. Saved 150 dollars. The frame has mounts for fenders and a rear rack as well, so no worries there. Held 50lbs just fine, no horrible flexing or anything.
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Old 07-09-10, 10:26 AM   #22
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Check the Specialized Sirrus out. The Specialized Body Geometry seats are among the most comfortable OEM seats on the market. Butttttt, your butt does have to get used to them.
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Old 07-09-10, 10:41 AM   #23
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Check the Specialized Sirrus out. The Specialized Body Geometry seats are among the most comfortable OEM seats on the market. Butttttt, your butt does have to get used to them.
Seat choice is very personal; some people hate the SBGs.

And seats are easily changed - a decent store should be willing to swap seats around and discount the value of the seat your bike came with.

As for the requirement that the bike be light and cheap... well, these tend to be opposite properties. For $450 I'd concentrate on getting a bike that fits you reasonably well and which doesn't fall apart or kill you.

Re. buying used - yes, you can spectacular deals this way if you are patient. I got around a 1000 worth of almost unused cyclocross bike for less than a quarter of its new value on ebay - but it took me a year of stalking and bidding to get a deal that good.

Other thoughts: it's usually worth upgrading the tyres that come with a cheap bike to better ones, never expect the first saddle you try to suit your ass, and if you're going to ride in rain then pay for an upgrade to pink Kool Stop brake pads.
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Old 07-09-10, 01:21 PM   #24
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I know this has to be a bad idea somehow, but why not just buy a less expensive road bike (which will usually be more performance oriented because its a road bike) and buy hybrid tires for it?
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Old 07-09-10, 01:59 PM   #25
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Why not figure out what kind of bike you could use, find the bikes that meet those criteria, try them out, and choose the one you like the best? If it is over your budget, consider deferring immediate gratification which might drive you to get something less than that, and save up to get what you want. Trying to make a particular cheap bike into something it may not be well suited for may turn out in the long run to be more frustrating than finding a bike you like, and if you have to save up for it because you think it costs too much then do it.
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