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  1. #1
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    Trek 7.3 or Giant Rapid 3! I know's it's a common topic, but help please!

    Need Help! Iím new to the bike world, and figured Iíd start my fitness/recreation rides with something slightly less intense than a fully dedicated road bike. My search has taken me to the Trek 7.3 FX and Giant Rapid 3. I briefly test-rode each of these, but did not get to take full advantage of their capabilities.

    Iím leaning towards the trek just because they have a good reputation, lifetime (I think) warranty as opposed to 1-year for the Giant, and the guy at my LBS personally likes it better. However, Iíve read good things about the taller gearing in the giant, skinnier tiers, steel fork, and the frame is designed more to resemble a road bike, plus the bike itself is great looking. The trekís saddle and bars were more comfortable, but I know those are easily changeable.

    Any opinions?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    You always seem to get more bike for your dollar, with a Giant......

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  3. #3
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    The Giant Rapid is a true road bike with a flat bar. The lower end of the Trek FX line is not. The Giant is more speed orientated, but you will give up a fair bit of comfort to attain it. The FX has a bit more forgiving ride, but can hustle when it wants to.

    Since you are just starting out, the best advice is buy what you like and just ride. One of the many axioms around here is that the first bike will all ways be the wrong one- it will help you discover what type of rider you really are.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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    Road bike will have a shorter wheelbase which you can see in the difference of the "chainstay" length on the two models. A longer wheelbase will give you the option to put on larger tires if you want, plus it will give you a more comfortable ride. Most never use the performance built into a road bike and would be better off with a hybrid. I vote for the Trek.

    PS- I would be interested in hearing feedback on the "Isotone" handlebar system on the 7.3FX, does it smooth out the vibrations as advertised? If it does, one would not need to pay extra for a carbon fork (except maybe for weight saving).

  5. #5
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    If it were me..

    [IMG][/IMG] I would buy the one you ( think ) is the best for you..If you start
    to bike a lot. You will end up with more than one I'm sure... This was my first one after the house burnt down, and still is my favorite after many mods...

  6. #6
    JRV
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    Icculus21, I own both of these bikes! Have had the 7.3 for 3 years, and bought a Rapid 3 in AZ to ride the 2010 El Tour de Tucson, 66 mile event last weekend. The Rapid is a lot
    faster, than the 7.3. I have ridden up to 50 miles on the Trek and trained on it all summer in MN. I found a saddle that worked, for me, on the Trek ( Bontager Nebula Plus ), and when mounted on the Rapid, found that bike just as comfortable for long rides.

    The 700 x 32 Hardcase tires on the Trek are a little more capable for gravel or dirt paths, than the 700 x 28's on the Giant. The derailleurs are better on the Trek. I have had more issues with Chain rub, and missed shifts with the Giant than the Trek. I like them both, but as I am getting more fit, I'm enjoying the ride of the Giant more... You will love either bike.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the great advice (and keep it coming!). It’s funny how I narrow my search down to two bikes, then the more research/advice I get, the more different I find out they really are. It sounds like they each have their ups and downs, which I figured, but it also sounds like I need to prioritize my goals.

    My gatherings from your collective comments;
    The goal is fitness and fun, not commuting or hauling. The Giant is better for overall fitness with its speed and general road bike dynamics (and great looking). But the Trek is probably more comfortable and easier to ride with its hybrid frame, fatter tires, and better drivetrain, yet still a good trainer for a newbie because one might not take full advantage of the road-bike speed.

    Hmm… I’ll be going to the shop this weekend, and I think another test-ride of each is definitely in order.

  8. #8
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Also chjeck tire clearance, and ask if the Giant can take larger tires..... 32s, 35s, 37s?

    If you can fit larger tires, you can enhance the ride and "off pavement" ability of the Giant.

    And, in the long run, it's about the one you LIKE the best.

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  9. #9
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    That's a good point. Although I'm not super concerned about tires. I'll be doing most riding on paved roads/bike paths. I hear the steel fork on the Giant gives a better ride, but I'm sure it can't be that much different from the Trek with it's Isozone handlebar and wider tires. During a very brief test I didn't notice anything, but i'll try again this weekend.

    I really can't wait to get into riding though; It's a (relatively) big purchase and I just to want to make the right choice. So I suppose riding them will tell.

  10. #10
    JRV
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    The Trek is a smoother ride because of the wider tires. If you lower the pressure on the Giant's tires though, the ride becomes pretty good, with the added benefit of still being faster than the 7.3. Somebody on this site posted an article from Bicycle Quarterly about only inflating your tires so that the sidewalls drop 15%. On the Rapid 3 that meant I put my Rear tire at 70 lbs ( Max pressure is 85 lbs.) and my front tire at about 58 lbs. All of a sudden the Giant rides more than smooth enough, and I am able to cruise an easy 2-3 mph faster than the 7.3. YMMV...

  11. #11
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    I was in the same boat as you when i was looking for my first bike. Here's one of my posts on the subject from another thread

    Quote Originally Posted by zoink View Post
    I was looking for a bike matching very similar requirements to yours. I did a lot of research to find what I wanted and ended up with a giant rapid 3, I love it. It's got very similar geometry to their entry level road bike, the defy, which was one of the main selling points for me since I knew I wanted to eventually move up to a road bike. Out of all the hybrids available in my area (not a whole lot unfortunately), and almost all of the ones I researched, it leaned the most towards the roadbike end of the spectrum. The more hybrid aspects of it, the flatbar and triple chainring, make it comfortable and easier to ride for a beginner. I live in a very hilly area and having the wide gear ratio was a life saver during my first couple of weeks, I've been slowly weaning myself off of using the lower gears on my fitness rides in preparation for a true roadbike...but having them there makes commuting easier as well. It's not as versatile as other hybrids since the frame has more roadbike-like geometry, there's not a lot of space for much bigger tires, fenders, and racks...there is stuff available but you'll have to do a little research to find exactly what fits (for example I know the fenders made for the defy will fit...but not a whole lot else). It's a little outside your price range with an MSRP of $650, I got mine new for $600 and I guess there's a chance you could find a 2010 model on sale. Giant is a great brand name and generally for the given price point, especially in the lower end, you'll get slightly better components than the competitors because Giant makes quite a few of the frames for other brands (mostly applies to aluminum).

    The rapid is definitely my recommendation if you know you're going to want a road bike in the future.
    To answer one of the other questions about tire size, I believe the giant will only fit up to 32c tires.

    Giant's frame warranty is also liftime for the original owner, I'm not sure where you got the 1 year info from.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the advice.
    Everybody's feedback is very helpful. At first I was set on trek. As with cars, they say most people know what they want even before researching and testing. I think most of the advice points to the giant, especially since I'd like to move into a dedicated road bike at some point.

    I'm not too concerned about the ride quality; I k ow I'll be doing all paved paths, and the comment about the tire pressure is certainly useful. I'll let you all know how it works out this weekend!

    Happy turkey day

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icculus21 View Post
    Thanks for all the advice.
    Everybody's feedback is very helpful. At first I was set on trek. As with cars, they say most people know what they want even before researching and testing. I think most of the advice points to the giant, especially since I'd like to move into a dedicated road bike at some point.

    I'm not too concerned about the ride quality; I k ow I'll be doing all paved paths, and the comment about the tire pressure is certainly useful. I'll let you all know how it works out this weekend!

    Happy turkey day

    Good choice! How was the Giant Rapid 3, different to the FX? I was deciding between these at one point also, but never got around to testing the FX, and i didnt really want to because i didnt like that Bike shop. (from when i went in )

    I ended up going with the Rapid 3 absolutely fell in love with it on my test rides. Heres something i posted in another Rapid 3 thread recently.

    I tried out the Kona Dew, Dew Plus, and Specialized Sirrus (these were my top contenders) and was planning to try out the Jamis Coda, and trek fx 7.3 but.....

    After trying those all out i realized they all felt pretty good for a commuter bike. Then the guy at the lbs recommended i try the Giant Rapid 3 ( Ill admit i didnt like the color scheme, so i was hesitant ) OMG i pretty much fell in love with the bike instantly. I skipped trying out the Jamis Coda because i liked the rapid 3 so much. Got a good black friday deal on it, 520 dollars for the bike (plus tax).

    Here's why i fell in love with it....

    At first, i didnt really care much about speed, i wanted a comfortable commuter. I wanted something i could switch the wheels on and take it on light off road trails. Then i tried the rapid 3 and instantly felt the difference in speed and weight. It was a little lighter than the dew and sirrus, and i changed my opinion. Now i was willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort for speed. I was also willing to sacrifice my offroad needs since i was probably only going to be going off road a couple times a month. The dew and sirrus werent really THAT much more comfortable than the rapid to me either.

    As for the Trek FX 7.3, i ended up dismissing that bike because the i did not like the service i received at the shop that had the FX in stock, so that narrowed my choice.

    I never tried out the Escape though. They weighed the Giant Rapid 3 at about 22-23 pounds, compared to the Kona which i think was at 25-26 pounds? I didnt think weight made such a difference until i biked home with my backpack and Ulock on my back. lol. The brakes on the Giant were really nice IMO. Rack is possible on the Rapid, my LBS is installing a rack for me on friday. Fenders are possible too, but you have to have your LBS order them for you from Giant.

    My best advice? Go to a bike shop and test out every bike you are even the tiniest bit interested in. (its been said a hundred times lol) I underestimated the power of a test ride. Dont be afraid to stay in there a couple hours comparing different bikes. I am new to biking (this is my first real bike) and i underestimated how different different bikes could be. I ended up getting something that i dismissed at first due to the color and due to me looking for comfort rather than speed.

    So try out a bunch, and make sure you really want either more comfort or a bit more speed. You may end up liking the speed enough to sacrifice a bit of comfort

    Would also like to add, i asked the guy at the LBS what are the biggest/thickest tires the rapid can fit and he said that maybe some 32's? Im not 100% sure on that though! Ill ask him again tomorrow. He said it probably is possible to switch out the tires to handle some fire roads and stuff. Ive never been/seen a fire road besides online so dont take my word on it!

  14. #14
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    Today's the day! I'll let you all know how it works out. Although the giant seemed like the more fitting choice, two different people at two different LBS's recommended the trek! Like I said before though, I'll prob just test them both and go with the bike the feels better.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icculus21 View Post
    The Giant is better for overall fitness with its speed and general road bike dynamics (and great looking). But the Trek is probably more comfortable and easier to ride with its hybrid frame, fatter tires, and better drivetrain, yet still a good trainer for a newbie because one might not take full advantage of the road-bike speed.
    I don't quite grasp the logic of this. If the primary objective is fitness, how does that point to the one that is more like a road bike? I have to ride my hybrid (7.5FX) much further/longer or much faster to get the same work out as with my MTB/ATB.

    The type of bike path and proportion of roads/path usage might make a difference too. Some MUTs/bike paths aren't layed out to let you take advantage of faster bikes: the curves can be too sharp, too frequent or the paths too busy to zoom thru on a roadie type hybrid. To me that is the worst of all worlds: a fast bike that you cant ride fast and thus dont get all you can from either the ride or the bike. When I ride the 7.5, I am almost always the fastest thing on the path. That said, if you eventually want to move to a road bike, and only expect to have one bike at a time, the more road like one might be a better choice.

    Before you buy though, you might give some consideration to which tires fit how you plan to ride. There is little reason for the LBS not to put the tires on that you want as part of the deal.

    YMMV

  16. #16
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    I Purchased the rapid 3 today and absolutely love it! I gave both bikes another thorough test drive, and basically settled on the giant because it was significantly faster and felt more 'planted' to the ground.

    Both bikes were ergonomically equal, and I wasn't able to notice any differences in shift quality. The one thing that was vey noticeable is the softer ride on the trek due to the tires. It almost felt like it had flat tires compared to the giant, and I liked the firm, fast ride. I was looking for a bike geared more for fitness and road use, and the giant was he better fit. For the record, i did like the trek very much, but it seemed just a little lax in comparison. The giant is what they say, a flat-bar road bike.

    So far the first few miles went well. I'll post some pics tomorrow!

  17. #17
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    I loves my 7.3 FX, its fast and quick handling around NYC traffic. I have been riding it almost everyday and this bike is totally up for the ruff and tumble, sharp turns, and instant stops. Now my lungs and legs are getting in better shape I can maneuver around like humming bird. I don't think it would make much of a difference if I had a the Rapid 3. I am starting to understand a basic element about riding hard and fast which is really not about the bike. Enjoy your new bike.

  18. #18
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    Yeah I hear ya, and it was definitely a tough decision, hence starting this thread to get additional input. I actually test rode both bikes on the streets of NYC twice, and then rode the Giant home up the west side bike path to the ferry.

    It definitely depends on riding priority, and mine is mainly for fitness. The trek is probably more versatile, and would have been good for a combination of fitness, errands, commuting, dodging traffic, etc… It ended up being between a true hybrid vs a flat-bar road bike. In the end it was really the slightly more aggressive nature of the Giant that won me over.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonix View Post
    I don't quite grasp the logic of this. If the primary objective is fitness, how does that point to the one that is more like a road bike? ....YMMV
    I see what you’re saying, I should clarify…

    When I say fitness I mean road-riding. You’re right in that different types of bikes/riding are all different forms of fitness, depending on what you’re looking for. So basically what I meant was that I will be doing mostly road so I was looking for something more towards a road bike. In which case the Rapid was a better fit.

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