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  1. #1
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    Trek 7.2 FX or 7.3 FX?

    I haven't owned a bike in 20 years. I just bought a 2011 7.2 FX and rode about 15-16 miles pretty easily my 1st day out. I'm now thinking if I already did that much distance, I can only go up from there so maybe I should get a slightly higher model. Problem is that I don't really understand the technical jargon or the benefits it would give me.

    Is it worth the extra $130 to upgrade to the 7.3 FX? If so, could you please explain in layman's terms why. The only obvious issue with the 7.2 I noticed is I hated the handle/grips. It didn't seem comfortable to me for some reason, like maybe it could have been a bit wider or something so I could have had different hand placement.

  2. #2
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    V-49,
    I just purchased the Trek 7300 and love it! It was easy for me...my wife had done all the research and had just purchased the 7300WSD and was happy with it.

    In your case you might go to a dealer who structures the bike specs in an easily comparable way. Our LBS here in Vermont makes that easy, on their web site.

    From what I can tell, the 7.2 and 7.3 have different forks, rims/wheels, tires, rear derailleurs, rear cogs, shifters, handlebars, grips (as you mentioned), brake levers, brakes and the seat post. That being said the 7.2 is a great bike, especially for the price.

    Good luck!

    Cliff in VT

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    If ALL you want is a new bar and grips, it probably wouldn't make much sense to move up to the 7.3. I've ridden the PDX, 7.2, and the 7.3 and I didn't think the bikes where all that different, really. Just ever so slightly better components all around. Might be a big deal for some, but for me it just came down to the color/disk brake preference.
    If I recall, the 7.3 had very similar bars as the 7.2. For $130 there are some nice bar options out there. You may not even use half of that. If you want drop bars though, you may consider a different bike as it could be pricey converting it over.

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jimbojonez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious49 View Post
    Is it worth the extra $130 to upgrade to the 7.3 FX? If so, could you please explain in layman's terms why. The only obvious issue with the 7.2 I noticed is I hated the handle/grips. It didn't seem comfortable to me for some reason, like maybe it could have been a bit wider or something so I could have had different hand placement.
    One thing to consider is the 7.2 and the 7.3 use different bar and grip combinations. The 7.2 has a standard handlebar while the 7.3 and up have the Bontrager Satellite Plus IsoZone Handlebars. The handlebars are very comfortable, but they do not allow for adding bar ends, where on the 7.2 you can. If bar ends are something you might want in the future you might want to consider just putting some Ergon grips on the bar you have now.

    I have a writeup about the handlebars on my 7.5 FX, it uses the same handlebars as the 7.3 http://bartsbiking.com/?p=510

  5. #5
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    The weakest link on the 7.2 is the front derailleur, only because it needs fine adjustments before anything elset, but you can swap it out for cheaper than the price difference of the two bikes & still be stuck with the same thing on the 7.3. It preforms fine it just needs some TLC every once in awhile.

    You can get wider bars, bar ends, different grips, and new gloves for the cost of the upgrade if you're a careful shopper, but the upgrade would only address the grips themselves.

    I'm biased though...I ride at least 70 miles a week on a 7.2.

    Also, I'm fairly certain the tires on the 7.2 are ridiculously good for the price. I'd be nervous with the different tires on the 7.3, but thats probably a matter of where you ride as much as anything else.

    That seems like a solid first ride!
    Last edited by cranky velocist; 06-09-11 at 01:08 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jimbojonez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky velocist View Post
    Also, I'm fairly certain the tires on the 7.2 are ridiculously good for the price. I'd be nervous with the different tires on the 7.3, but thats probably a matter of where you ride as much as anything else.

    That seems like a solid first ride!
    I wouldn't worry about the tires on the 7.3 I have a 7.5 FX and they use the same tires. I have 1400 miles on the tires since i got the bike 2.5 months ago, with 2/3 of my miles on limestone trails and the tires are holding up great.

  7. #7
    Senior Member chibibike's Avatar
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    how can you not put bar ends on? that's just ridiculas.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]]Ready to Ride!

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the quick replies guys. I just went back to the shop and re-rode some of the bikes. I'm thinking of just saying screw it and shelling out for the 7.5 FX.

    The guy told me that the 7.3 is a step up from the 7.2 in terms of quality of components and how long they'll last. But the ride will be very similar. He said that there will be a big difference in the quality of the ride when you jump up to the 7.5. I told him I'm planning on doing maybe 60 miles a week - 3 days * 20 miles. He said at that point, if it was him, he'd get the 7.5. If I was planning on not riding as much then he'd stick to the 7.3.

    I'd rather shell out the money now than have remorse a few months down the road. I didn't notice a big difference in ride in any of them when I tested them. But the parking lot behind the shop is pretty smooth so I'm guessing I didn't get much of a chance to test out the CF fork on the 7.5.

    Jimbo - Since you have a 7.5, you want to tell me what your overall impression of it is? If you think you made the right choice?

  9. #9
    Senior Member chibibike's Avatar
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    he's just trying to get as much money as he can. there's hardly any difference from any of the FX bikes. your 7.3 has a carbon fork doesn't it? that's as good as it gets unless you want a bike with shocks on the fork. If you want a smoother ride than FX get one of the Gary Fisher line of hybrids like the Kaiti Utopia etc...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]]Ready to Ride!

  10. #10
    Senior Member jimbojonez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious49 View Post
    Thanks for the quick replies guys. I just went back to the shop and re-rode some of the bikes. I'm thinking of just saying screw it and shelling out for the 7.5 FX.

    The guy told me that the 7.3 is a step up from the 7.2 in terms of quality of components and how long they'll last. But the ride will be very similar. He said that there will be a big difference in the quality of the ride when you jump up to the 7.5. I told him I'm planning on doing maybe 60 miles a week - 3 days * 20 miles. He said at that point, if it was him, he'd get the 7.5. If I was planning on not riding as much then he'd stick to the 7.3.

    I'd rather shell out the money now than have remorse a few months down the road. I didn't notice a big difference in ride in any of them when I tested them. But the parking lot behind the shop is pretty smooth so I'm guessing I didn't get much of a chance to test out the CF fork on the 7.5.

    Jimbo - Since you have a 7.5, you want to tell me what your overall impression of it is? If you think you made the right choice?
    I love this bike, i have absolutely no regrets about getting it. I have meant to put a full review of it on my blog but haven't been able to find the time to finish it. The biggest difference between the 7.3 and 7.5 is the carbon fork and a higher level of components. The carbon fork is great, it makes riding much more comfortable than a standard aluminum or steel fork. You only feel the bump of potholes, etc and not the impact in your wrists. The fork also does a great job of dissipating trail vibration if your a trail biker. My only issue with the bike is the handlebar issue i pointed out earlier, i actually went and replaced the whole handlebar setup so i could add bar ends. http://bartsbiking.com/?p=510 If your only doing 20 miles you may not have a need for bar ends, the stock handlebar and grips are very comfortable, but on longer trips i just need different hand positions.

    One thing i would mention is you want to save yourself some cash for accessories and figure that into your budget. I upgraded to SPD pedals and shoes this year and will never go back to clips.

  11. #11
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    The 7.3 has aluminum or something and the 7.2 is steel. The 7.5 is CF. The manager at the shop is a neighbor of mine and he agreed that if I was going to be riding a good amount, I should get the 7.5 if I had the money. I don't think he'd steer me wrong . . . hopefully.

    Chibi - I just noticed you're in VA too. I'm in northern VA and ride on the W&OD trail.

  12. #12
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    The 7.2 and 7.3 have steel forks and the 7.5 has the carbon which is supposed to absorb shock. I've never had a carbon fork but many people swear by carbon forks. I ride an aluminum bike with a steel fork and the ride's just fine. The shock absorption factor is a personal preference. I personally think forks with shocks are serious overkill if you are not riding on dirt like a mountain biker, but some people like them even for road riding.

    The 7.5 also has a nicer wheel set and nicer derailleurs, so the 7.5 should be lighter and shift better.

    So a lighter, better shifting bike with a smoother ride (only over actual rough road mind you). That would be what you'd be paying for with the extra $400. Whether it's worth it depends on how much riding you plan to do, over what terrain, and how fast you expect to go.

    Last edited by Schwerelos; 06-09-11 at 03:36 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwerelos View Post
    The 7.5 should be lighter and shift better. So a lighter, better shifting bike with a smoother ride (only over actual rough road mind you). That would be what you'd be paying for with the $400. Whether it's worth it depends on how much riding you plan to do, over what terrain, and how fast you expect to go.

    Perfect. That's something I can understand. Thanks for the simple explanation.

    The road I'm riding over is pretty smooth for the most part. But with the 7.2, when I went over wooden bridges, I could feel it. Same when I would cross a street for the 1 mile I have to ride to get to the bike trail. I'm hoping all that should be much smoother with the 7.5.

    I know how I am. I'd rather spend the $400 now than have it in the back of my mind and a few months down the road keep thinking 'I should have bought the 7.5'.

  14. #14
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    have they made a fix yet so that you can put bar ends on?
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious49 View Post
    I know how I am. I'd rather spend the $400 now than have it in the back of my mind and a few months down the road keep thinking 'I should have bought the 7.5'.
    Yeah, I think you pretty much get what you pay for so all you have to be sure of is what you want. I have a 2008 Giant FCR3 that I've been having a blast on . . . but now I wish it were lighter and had better wheels. It's more expensive to upgrade now than it would have been to buy the higher end FCRs at the time.

    The bar end thing could be an issue. I really, really love my bar ends and it's nice to have two hand positions and be able to get more aero. Below is a pic from the Trek site on the ISO handlebars. Kind of lame that they don't allow for modifications, but hopefully enough people will want bar ends that they will make a change.

    Bars.JPG

  16. #16
    Senior Member sh00k's Avatar
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    if you shop around, you will find a shop that will sell you a 7.3 for slightly more than the price of a 7.2... i paid around $540ish for my 7.3 and im in love with it. put a couple hundred miles on it so far this season, gonna try to make it at leats 500 before the summer ends

    so either shop around for a deal or check out craigslist. tons of people buying bikes, having buyers remorse and throwing it back on there. im one of them
    2009 Trek FX 7.2 (Blue) -- SOLD!
    2010 Trek FX 7.7 (White) -- SOLD!
    2011 Trek FX 7.3 (White) -- Haven't sold it yet! haha

  17. #17
    Senior Member sh00k's Avatar
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    the 7.5 is nice - i had a 7.7 and was in love with it. but riding only 60 miles a week almost doesn't justify spending that price for the bike. that's actually why i sold mine - bc i barely rode it. i recall doing a 45 mile ride on my 7.7 and i felt fine afterwards - no noticable pain or anything and that's what that bike is built for - comfort. i've done 20+ mile rides on my old 7.2 and my current 7.3 - either bike is perfect for rides that length.
    2009 Trek FX 7.2 (Blue) -- SOLD!
    2010 Trek FX 7.7 (White) -- SOLD!
    2011 Trek FX 7.3 (White) -- Haven't sold it yet! haha

  18. #18
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    Ok, small bits of not so quite right information in here. The 7.2 and 7.3 are both aluminum frames. Both the 7.2 and the 7.3 are the Alpha Black alum, better than the Alpha White alum of the 7.1. The 7.2 has a steel fork, where as the 7.3 has an "alloy" fork, and the 7.5 has the nice carbon fork. The IsoZone grips on the 7.3/7.5 etc are very nice, and believe it or not *do* help absorb some shock. HOWEVER, at this time you cannot add bar ends due to the specific design of the bars & grips. When queried about this, Bontrager/Trek has replied to multiple people that a bar-end system is "being developed". So you have to chose if you want bar ends now vs waiting, or if you want the "nicer" bike and swapping out bars.

    The main "upgrades" with the 7.3 over the 7.2 are:
    • Bars & grips (if you consider them an upgrade)
    • Rear Derailleur
    • Crank
    • Brakes (only slightly better, tbh)
    • Wheels/Tires


    The tires on the 7.3 and 7.5 are fine, I've ridden them on road, hardpack, gravel etc. In the end, I'd say ride each model you can for as long as you can, and pick which one you like the most that is in your budget. I would have loved a 7.7FX, but for the price of that i could get a very, very nice used road bike.

  19. #19
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    A little confused. You said you already bought the 7.2.
    Are you thinking of selling it and buying a 7.5?

  20. #20
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    A few caveats based on what I was saying yesterday:

    - All things being equal, according to what I've read, tread matters little but tire width matters a little more. Unless the 7.3 & 7.5 have tires composed of a better material (they are not readily advertising as such), the primary difference is in rider preference - 32's or 35's. An upgrade will give you a different flavor. I wasn't suggesting that a lower end bike came with better tires - but I also don't think 32's are default 'better', it depends on the rider.

    - Carbon forks significantly alter a bike (or so I'm told). This isn't an upgrade as much as it is a change in bike class. Going with a 7.5 might well be the right decision - but in that case you might want to compare the 7.5 to other carbon-forked bikes, not the 7.2 & 7.3.

    - Personally, I'm a strong rider because I spent most of my life pushing my endurance on bikes which were not optimal decision for everything I needed to do with it. Obviously you get what you pay for...but if you're returning to riding after a couple decades off, you might need a couple seasons to begin to be in a position where you can utilize the better features. The world is full of veteran, 'pro' commuters who do 60 miles a week on modified mountain bikes. By choice. A higher end bike might make that easier or faster or even less maintenance intensive, but the average rider does not pay 7.5 prices for 60 miles a week of riding. Maybe some would if they could afford it, but many wont.

    More power to anybody who falls in love with a bike they can afford, any bike - but watch out! You've potentially just doubled your expenditure before you've even left the show room. If your prepared to do that, check bikes outside the FX series also.
    Last edited by cranky velocist; 06-10-11 at 07:42 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Bob Nichols's Avatar
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    I bought a 7.5 Wednesday and love it. I've been contemplating this for over a year and I finally broke down. I considered the 7.3, but finally went with the 7.5. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but that's nothing new. Ha!
    Trek 7.5 FX

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AChristie View Post
    A little confused. You said you already bought the 7.2.
    Are you thinking of selling it and buying a 7.5?
    The shop has a 14 day exchange/return policy. So I'm going to take the 7.2 back and pay the difference between the 2.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious49 View Post
    The shop has a 14 day exchange/return policy. So I'm going to take the 7.2 back and pay the difference between the 2.
    Sweet deal! Unless cash is tight you definitely need to get more bike than you need.
    I'm sure you'd be satisfied with the 7.2, but cycling is the place for passion, not analytic thinking.

    Beware that after a while you'll want clipless pedals and shoes though.

  24. #24
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    Just swapped mine out for the 7.5 FX. Can't wait to ride it and see if I can actually spot the differences between this and the 7.2 I originally purchased.

  25. #25
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    I hear the 7.7 is sick!

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