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  1. #1
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    New to biking- Gary Fisher Kaitai?

    Hey all,

    Pretty new to biking and new to the forums. Looking for some advice on my first bike purchase. I am 6'0" and about 185lbs and recently started biking for recreation and exercise and I really like it. Where I live I will be biking mostly on crushed limestone bike paths and paved paths/roads and occasionally mild dirt paths....a pretty even mix of the crushed gravel trails and paved. I've taken my father's Trek Multitrack 7200 on several rides now (average 15-25 mile rides) and it seems to ride pretty nice, but maybe a little too upright, as on the long straightaways I often found myself leaning forward and resting my forearms on the handlebars.

    Anyways, I'm on a pretty tight budget- really don't want to spend more than $400 on a first bike (I know, that probably sounds crazy to you all) looking for something used that will fit me well. I came across a 2009 Gary Fisher edition Kaitai that a guy barely used and is offering to me for $350. My question is, is the Kaitai a good starter hybrid based on the needs I listed above? I realize the only way to really see what I like is to hit my local Trek store and see what is comfortable to me, but how is the Kaitai in general? All the reviews I've come across seem to be in favor of the bike, and $350 seems like a great price for an essentially brand new bike that has the front suspension lockout, disc brakes, etc.

    Thanks in advance to any advice!!! Looking forward to becoming an active member of the boards.

    Matt

  2. #2
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    My uncle rides a Kaitai and I've sampled it. Dirt-capable hybrid, basically a narrow frame 29er MTB.

    He rides 70% MTB trails and loves it. The stock tires are decent on and off road, but not awesome at either. Assuming the bike is the right frame size for you, my vote is "Yes".

    That thing you describe on your dad's bike probably means you need a longer stem. If you feel it also on the Kaitai, it isn't an expensive thing to change.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mmj12345 View Post
    Hey all,

    Anyways, I'm on a pretty tight budget- really don't want to spend more than $400 on a first bike (I know, that probably sounds crazy to you all) looking for something used that will fit me well. I came across a 2009 Gary Fisher edition Kaitai that a guy barely used and is offering to me for $350.

    Matt
    I'm with you on the price for a first bike, I think too many people are told that that isn't enough and end up either not buying a bike or spending too much up front on something they aren't even sure about.

    If the kaitai fits you, I would go for it. Only if it fits you. If not, save your money for a bike that does. Buying a used bike is a great way to get into riding, especially when you can buy one that another person barely used. That's the kind of deal everyone wants to get.

  4. #4
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    Thank you both for the advice. I went to my local Trek shop to take a spin on a few bikes before committing to buy the Kaitai used. Glad I did, because the Kaitai the guy was selling used was a 19" frame and I'm definitely more suited to a 21 or 22.5". So, I'll either have to wait until a used 22.5" hybrid comes along (doubtful), look at something not so pricey, like a Bodega, or simply spend a little more than I wanted to.

    Any thoughts on the Bodega? Looks similar to the Kaitai but w/out the front lockout. If the difference between the lowest models of hybrid bikes and something in the mid-range is pretty significant, I don't mind making the investment, it just wasn't originally preferred since I'm new to it all.

  5. #5
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    6'0" -- so am I-- what's your inseam? 22.5" sounds like a big hybrid or MTB. If you fit it like a road bike, you could have major standover issues offroad. I like to keep the top tube comfortably low for anything I'll take in the dirt. Most of the time I prefer 19" but some bikes (and I'm not sure about the Kaitai) I do like 21".

  6. #6
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    My inseam is 33". The girl at the LBS seemed to know what she was doing, but then again she really didn't "fit" me to anything, just said that I looked better on the 21" bike. Since I really have no experience or expectation of what the proper stance on a hybrid should be, the 21 or 22.5" ones that I rode could have been too big for me and I just didn't know it.

    I guess I should probably go to another LBS, find the Kaitai or a similar hybrid, and have them help me see what size frame I really need?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mmj12345 View Post
    My inseam is 33". The girl at the LBS seemed to know what she was doing, but then again she really didn't "fit" me to anything, just said that I looked better on the 21" bike.
    I'm 5' 10.5" with a 32.5 inseam. The 19 is perfect for me.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by derf36 View Post
    I'm 5' 10.5" with a 32.5 inseam. The 19 is perfect for me.
    Hmm, so the 19 really shouldn't feel THAT small for me, as I don't think I have abnormally long legs or arms or anything. I think the problem is that I don't know what the correct posture or stance on a hybrid should feel like, since I've only ridden on my dad's Trek multitrack 7200 (20" frame), which I believe is a more upright position.

    I guess I need to hit the LBS and have someone really explain/show me the proper fit to a frame.

  9. #9
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    Just an update for you all: I just got home from my LBS with a 2011 Kaitai in the White/Black/Green color scheme. Put Ergon GC3 grip/bar ends on along with a matching green water bottle holder and an under-saddle bike bag.

    So pumped! Wish it wasn't dark here in Chicago already... I want to ride!



    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

  10. #10
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    I hadn't seen that color... I dig it. my Uncle's Kaitai is grey/black.

  11. #11
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    I love the green kaitai, I almost bought one. Congratulations on the new ride.

  12. #12
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    good looking bike. What size did you settle on?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by derf36 View Post
    good looking bike. What size did you settle on?
    I settled with a 21", but they changed the stem to a shorter one with slighty more rise, effectively reducing the "reach" distance. It feels great. After riding both the 19" and 21" I really felt like I was right in between the two, so the 21" with the shorter stem feels perfect.

    I'm really excited to take it out for it's first real ride. I felt like a kid in a toy store in the LBS.... wanted to buy every possible accessory but restrained myself You're all much more seasoned than I am, so if there are any accessories you highly recommend, let me know!

  14. #14
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    Trek 7200 is a hybrd bike that looks like it's oriented towards the comfort style of bike so the riding position is more upright. Not as much as those 26" comfort bikes though. I'm guessing it has a big cushy saddle too. Now if it were a 7200FX or 7.2FX, then that leans more towards the performance end of things and might be closer to what you want if you were riding strictly on the road. The Kaitai will probably work out but maybe change out the tires.

    Oops, looks like you got the bike already.

    If you will be riding in hours of darkness, I highly recommend lights. The days will be getting short soon, so it's something to keep in mind. Pretty much any headlight around $50 or 60 or less will be something mainly so others can see you. Even Planet Bike 2W headlight is not very useful going faster than about 10 MPH.
    Last edited by jsdavis; 08-11-11 at 11:00 PM.

  15. #15
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    There are a few discussions about essential gear & accessories if you search the whole site. I can't remember if the one I like best is here or in the roadies forum.

    Helmet, bottle cages, water bottles and a pump are must-haves. I recommend a floor pump but some people are masocists and start with a portable pump. (I see you have the bottles covered.)

    High wants: gloves, cycling shorts, plastic tire bead tool, spare tube, 12mm / .5" thick cable with combination lock at least 5 feet long so you can go through both wheels, frame & around a pole or bicycle rack.

    Nice to have: multi-tool, cycling jersey(s), patch kit (I never patch tubes, but it is cheaper), additional cycling shorts--only one pair is tough to live with if you're riding 4+ times a week.

  16. #16
    Riding Heaven's Highways: In Memoriam justfitme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mmj12345 View Post
    Just an update for you all: I just got home from my LBS with a 2011 Kaitai in the White/Black/Green color scheme. Put Ergon GC3 grip/bar ends on along with a matching green water bottle holder and an under-saddle bike bag.

    So pumped! Wish it wasn't dark here in Chicago already... I want to ride!



    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
    Have a great ride on Lake Shore drive.

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