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Old 07-10-10, 08:22 PM   #1
gooseman1992
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Hybrid buying advice/thoughts

Hi all - I know there are a bunch of threads like this. Part of why I'm writing is to get my thoughts down.

I'm new to riding - in fact, I got into it accidentally. I bought a cheap Wal-Mart bike last year, to encourage my daughter to ride.
Turns out, I kinda like it myself! I've been riding a fair amount, and the bike's not holding up well - I've put $30 into it for repairs so far, and the bike was only $90.

I'm looking at new bikes now - trying to find a good bike, that will hold up for the type of riding that I do. I'm mostly riding on paths and sidewalks, and I have the occasional small patch of gravel, or A rough spot if they are working on the path or sidewalk. There's at least
one place where it's uneven, so I kind of pull the front up to avoid damaging the front fork too much...

My budget's around $400, so I know that the quality and features will be somewhat limited. I went to the local Performance Bikes store today and test-rode a bunch of bikes. However, most of them weren't the correct size, so it's hard to know whether I liked them. They are ordering a couple in a size that will fit better, so I'll go back and ride those again.

I also hit the Trek store.

I'm concerned with getting a bike that will last, but will be able to take a small amount of abuse. I prefer the more upright position riding position, and I don't plan on hitting trails - so I'm looking at a hybrid. I'm more interested in fitness than cruising, so I'd like something
a bit more aggressive.

So here's the list of the bikes that I rode, along with my impressions and concerns. If anyone has any thoughts that would help me make a decision, I'd appreciate it.


Fuji Absolute 3.0 - $399.99. I thought this bike rode pretty well, and was quite light. It was a bit big, so they are ordering one for me to ride next week. The only issue I have with this one is that the tires are quite narrow, more like a road bike. How likely is it for me to lose control if I hit one of those gravel patches, or if the path is wet from a recent rain or sprinkler? I know someone who took a turn as it started raining, and the bike went right out from under him. I'd like to avoid that if possible.


GT Transeo 3.0 V-Brake - $399.99. I liked this one as well, but it feels a bit heavier than the Fuji. Well, everything feels heavier than the Fuji :-) But it feels pretty decent. It has a lock-out front suspension; I don't really need this, and I've read some comments in other threads that say that, if I don't need it that I should not get a bike with it, since at this price point the suspension probably isn't very good anyway. Also, this one was a little small, so they are ordering the next size.

Diamonback Insight 2 - $429.99. Again, too large for me, so they are ordering a better size. This rode pretty well though.

Mongoose Crossway 200 - $249.99. This rode pretty well, actually! I was surprised. I'm obviously getting a bit lower components. How much should I be concerned with this, if the bike rides well?

I also rode the Trek 7.2 - it was quite nice! However, it's priced at $529.99 - quite a bit more than the rest. Trek's summer sale starts soon, with $50 off, but it's still about $80 more than the others. Is the bike really worth that much more? What is the chance that they will negotiate?



I rode several more, all in the $350/$400 range, but I didn't like the way they rode, or the riding position. Any feedback or advice is greatly appreciated!



Thanks,
Phil
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Old 07-10-10, 08:49 PM   #2
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I may not be the best one dispensing advice right now, as I'm on the hunt for another bike myself (though some are trying to talk me out of it), but are there any Kona dealers near you? The Smoke is virtually bomb-proof, but the Dew would be a bit more sporty.
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Old 07-10-10, 09:03 PM   #3
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If it were me, I would pick between the Fuji and the Trek. Both seem more road oriented, so you need to decide whether that suits your riding style. If you need something more oriented to gravel or dirt trails, maybe you should consider an older Trek 7100 multitrack, or even much older 720 or 730 multitrack, or an old hardtail mountain bike, for that matter.

But if you want new, either the Fuji or the Trek should more than meet your needs. I have seen those Fuji bikes up close, never ridden one. It seems like a good value, though the 7.2 FX looks on paper to be a better bike with a slightly better level of components. (Alivio rd on the trek, Altus on the Fuji) That sort of thing can be upgraded on the Fuji, but it seems like with bikes, you get what you pay for. This is a tough call. If you get even moderately into road riding you may eventually learn the limits of whatever bike you buy. On the other hand, if this is a passing fancy, you may wish you had saved a few bucks and gotten the cheaper bike.
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Old 07-10-10, 11:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gooseman1992 View Post
Fuji Absolute 3.0 - $399.99. I thought this bike rode pretty well, and was quite light. It was a bit big, so they are ordering one for me to ride next week. The only issue I have with this one is that the tires are quite narrow, more like a road bike. How likely is it for me to lose control if I hit one of those gravel patches, or if the path is wet from a recent rain or sprinkler? I know someone who took a turn as it started raining, and the bike went right out from under him. I'd like to avoid that if possible.
your concerns are valid. avoid this bike. 28 mm will have harsher ride and better chance of slipping when cornering on wet pavement. also, the handlebars are very low and will have you hunched over. also easier to fly over the handlebars when they're low. this is a half ass flat bar road bike. i'd rather get drops than this. i have the 2.0 absolute (better) and i say avoid it.

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I also rode the Trek 7.2 - it was quite nice! However, it's priced at $529.99 - quite a bit more than the rest. Trek's summer sale starts soon, with $50 off, but it's still about $80 more than the others. Is the bike really worth that much more? What is the chance that they will negotiate?
530? nonsense! last year one shop near me tried to sell me a trek 7.2 2008 for $550! he went to a magical computer that had the nationwide trek inventory. he price was high because only one was left, the one on his floor! next visit i go to the next bike shop and they have the 7.2 for $460 .

480 seems more reasonable and hopefully with a sale you can get it lower. if this out of your budget the trek 7.1 is not bad. i like the upright, higher handlebar yet performance geometry of the fx.

good luck
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Old 07-11-10, 12:17 AM   #5
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In my experience (admittedly limited) it's not the size of the tires that holds the road, it's the compound of the rubber. Better tires can make all the difference. When I started riding I was under the mistaken notion that knobby, more agressive tires would hold the road better when things were wet. The opposite is in fact true; slick tires hold the road much better - wet or dry. My hybrid's tires are slick with sipes to channel water away when things get wet and they hold way, way better than the cheap Kendas that came with the bike. Also they are 35s vs. the Kenda's 38s. The same is true for the old MTB that I sometimes commute on; I used to have 26*2.125 knobbies on it, but now I have 26*1.75 slicks and the old girl feels much more sure-footed.

FWIW I like the Jamis Coda for the type of bike you are seeking, but I'm partial to steel. I would ditch the suspesion seat post for a rigid one before I left the store with it, though. It may be a little more expensive than othere bikes you've ridden, but IMHO it's worth a test ride.

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Old 07-14-10, 09:52 AM   #6
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+1 on ditching the suspension seat. I have one on my hybrid (Specialized Crossroads), as well as a fork suspension, and I'm pretty sure that I don't need them. When I bought my bike a few years ago, it seemed like a good idea, but I didn't really know what I was doing. I'm primarily riding on local streets, and occasionally on a dirt path. I feel like I'm losing more of my energy in the suspension when I'm really pumping the pedals than I'm gaining in comfort other times.
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Old 07-14-10, 10:08 AM   #7
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I was very much in your shoes just a few days ago. However, being a long time runner and having on going "runners knee" it was time to try something lower impact. My wife has been hounding me for years to ride with her, so I started my research. I had made my mind up on getting a Trek FX 7.3, but was concerned about road styled tires, and $639 price tag. I went back to my local Trek dealer and looked around a bit more, they just happened to have a white 2010 model FX 7.1 in my size and I was in love. The non road tires were exactly what I was looking for, wider, but still very very much thin when compared to a traditional tire. The tred and thickness of the rubber just made me feel more comfortable about my purcahse, considering how I'll be riding.

I love my FX 7.1, but will likely do a few upgrades over time to my liking. Likely I'll get some Ergon GC3 grips, and potentially a new seat down the line. Other than that, the FX 7.1 comes in at $439...

I suggest you contact a Trek dealer and look at the FX 7.1.


(2011 models are no longer in white)

edit. My wife liked mine so much she upgraded her cruiser hybrid to a 2011 Trek FX 7.1 WSD... she loves it!
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Old 07-14-10, 10:45 AM   #8
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I'd look at the Giant Escape 2 as well.
It has virtually the same components as the Trek FX 7.1 and is a little cheaper.
I found that it is a little faster and had a better ride than the Trek.

+1 on the Jamis Coda

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Old 07-14-10, 11:20 AM   #9
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"what is the chance that they will negotiate"

$530 is the MSRP.
The MSRP should allways be negotiatable to at least 15% off.
In sales you can go 30% or more sometimes.
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Old 07-14-10, 05:34 PM   #10
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I was very much in your shoes just a few days ago. However, being a long time runner and having on going "runners knee" it was time to try something lower impact. My wife has been hounding me for years to ride with her, so I started my research. I had made my mind up on getting a Trek FX 7.3, but was concerned about road styled tires, and $639 price tag. I went back to my local Trek dealer and looked around a bit more, they just happened to have a white 2010 model FX 7.1 in my size and I was in love. The non road tires were exactly what I was looking for, wider, but still very very much thin when compared to a traditional tire. The tred and thickness of the rubber just made me feel more comfortable about my purcahse, considering how I'll be riding.

I love my FX 7.1, but will likely do a few upgrades over time to my liking. Likely I'll get some Ergon GC3 grips, and potentially a new seat down the line. Other than that, the FX 7.1 comes in at $439...

I suggest you contact a Trek dealer and look at the FX 7.1.


(2011 models are no longer in white)

edit. My wife liked mine so much she upgraded her cruiser hybrid to a 2011 Trek FX 7.1 WSD... she loves it!
I also have a 7.1. It will probably suit the needs that you are looking for. I am happy with what I got for the money. They are on sale here for $399, while the 7.2 is $499.

However, most of my riding is solo. I plan to "upgrade" to a road bike that is a little lighter, different posture (out of the wind) and a little softer ride.

Good luck with your choice.
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Old 07-15-10, 12:43 AM   #11
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I also have a 7.1. It will probably suit the needs that you are looking for. I am happy with what I got for the money. They are on sale here for $399, while the 7.2 is $499.

However, most of my riding is solo. I plan to "upgrade" to a road bike that is a little lighter, different posture (out of the wind) and a little softer ride.

Good luck with your choice.
Thanks. I'm pretty new to the sport in general so while I'd love a 1.2 right now I plan on riding on this 7.1 FX for quite awhile and make a decision to upgrade at a later time. Glad to hear you liked yours, you seem about a year ahead of where I am today.
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Old 07-15-10, 07:38 AM   #12
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Congrats on your choice - it's a very nice choice - lots of upside, with not so much outlay......

Don't worry about upgrading, until things start to wear out. IMHO
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Old 07-17-10, 11:11 AM   #13
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I may not be the best one dispensing advice right now, as I'm on the hunt for another bike myself (though some are trying to talk me out of it), but are there any Kona dealers near you? The Smoke is virtually bomb-proof, but the Dew would be a bit more sporty.
Seconded. I bought a Dew over a year ago as my first bike in about a decade. The riding position is the most comfortable I'd found of the bikes I tried out. After my weekly grocery store trips, I still smile when I realize that my bike is actually lighter than the groceries I loaded onto it.
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Old 07-17-10, 02:17 PM   #14
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In my experience (admittedly limited) it's not the size of the tires that holds the road, it's the compound of the rubber. Better tires can make all the difference.
It's both - a wider tyre can be set to a lower pressure with same rolling resistance, this gives a bigger and more circular contact patch, which improves handling. But tyre compound is just as important, yes.

Quote:
When I started riding I was under the mistaken notion that knobby, more agressive tires would hold the road better when things were wet. The opposite is in fact true; slick tires hold the road much better - wet or dry. My hybrid's tires are slick with sipes to channel water away when things get wet and they hold way, way better than the cheap Kendas that came with the bike. Also they are 35s vs. the Kenda's 38s. The same is true for the old MTB that I sometimes commute on; I used to have 26*2.125 knobbies on it, but now I have 26*1.75 slicks and the old girl feels much more sure-footed.
Completely true.
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Old 07-17-10, 09:05 PM   #15
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Hi all - I appreciate all of the advice. I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for my decision ;-)

I actually found a Kona Dew that I liked! It was comfortable, fit well, felt fast...it was priced well: $389, a 2010 leftover. Plus, the shop offers lifetime maintenance - tune-ups, adjustments, etc. I have to pay for parts, but the labor is free.

I'm excited, even though this is more money than I've ever spent on a bike. It's also quite possibly more than I've ever spent on ALL of the bikes that I've owned, put together :-) I look forward to my first real ride on it!
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Old 07-17-10, 09:57 PM   #16
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Lucky you. I contacted my LBS (who happens to be the only Kona dealer in OK) to check on the availability of the Dew Plus. Out of 56's, but could get a 54. I ride a 20.5 rigid mtb/hybrid, so I didn't tell him to order it, as I'm not sure it would be a proper fit.
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Old 07-19-10, 10:30 PM   #17
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If you'll be primarily riding on pavement, with the occasional hard pack smooth dirt trail, by all means, get a bike with 700c wheels, probably x32 or x38 widths on a hybrid. 26" wheels are better for hard core dirt riding. I just switched from a cruiserish hybrid that had 26x1.9" wheels to a flatbar hybrid w/ 700x40c tires, and its way easier to go faster, farther, climb hills, etc..
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Old 07-30-10, 09:06 PM   #18
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I just got a great deal on a Diamondback Insight 2 at BikeNashbar.com. They are having closeout deals. You can't beat these deals. You have to check the site often. They had a 6 hour deal where they had an additional 20% off the sale prices plus free standard shipping. I paid 319.00 + 25 shipping (standard shipping is 13.99, bikes are over sized rates of 38.99 shipping. So they take the standard rate off the 38.99 and you end up paying the 25 for shipping) + tax. The Insight 2 is normally a $599.99 bike. They also have the Insight 1 for 240.00. + shipping + tax. Dick's has the Insight 1 on sale around here for 399.99. So you can see these are great deals. One comment. there are limited sizes available. I think the 20% off will also start again on 8/3. That is what's on there sales catalog that I got in the mail.
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