getting ready to order DS8.4. started looking at the FX line. any opinions on how these FX bikes ride...carbon forks vs shocks etc. everyone i run into says "just get a road bike" but i ride packed trails, back dirt roads, and paved. like the upright MTbike feel. never really rode a road bike. how do these FX bikes handle all around....thanks
Hah....I was kind of in the same position as you except I bought a 7.5FX first and it's sitting around collecting dust.
I ended up getting a Marin Muirwoods 29er that I ride daily. It's similar to the 8.3 I guess but has a long rigid steel fork; IE suspension corrected. My FX certainly feels quicker and but I like the ride on the Muirwoods more. It's like a tank in good and bad way. It's slower but more comfortable ride and I am more confident thrashing it on poor roads.
If you are riding dirt, definitely do not get the FX. I've rode some packed dirt trails on the FX before and while it worked, I was careful and slow. It was not a confident feel at all. That's not to say the Muirwoods or the DS is much better since they have street tires. They'll handle the bumps more and some dirt, but if you ride in loose stuff a lot, you'll want different tires. I still have to be careful with the Muirwoods on dirt. I've dropped it at least once or twice in hard pack making too aggressive a turn and watched the front tire slip out. It's more capable than the FX but not by a whole lot, at least not in stock form.
that helps alot. still leaning toward the 8.4. i dont off road almost never. but the back roads in Pennsylvania are anything but forgiving. i think the DS will be the better choice. ill just go with a medium tire. something that will roll fast but still let me ride the dirt roads... i just thought the FX would be about the same but lighter. the more i think about it the fork shocks on the DS will make riding slower cause of the weight, but better experience all around on road and trail.
When I say dirt, I don't mean off-road really. The dirt trails I've ridden on are more like hiking trails so they are fairly well maintained despite that they are dirt. There are no big tree roots or large rocks that people would trip on for example even they they are dirt so it's bumpy and uneven. The paved roads I ride on sometimes are not well maintained either and there are big bumps and holes I've learned to avoid. Some of these roads are a bit secluded only partly open to cars so I don't think the city is in a big hurry to fix them up. I honestly don't miss having suspension compared to my old mountain bike even on the FX but I certainly do like the ride on the Muirwoods more.
I bought my utopia as a spur of the moment kind o d thing. I only test road 3 hybrids, the kaitai, fx 7.5, and utopia. The fx 7.5 was a nice bike and a fast ride but just felt like a flat bar road bike. I already have a very nice road bike. The kaitai and utopia felt like pure fun so I went the DS route. I mostly ride on the road but i have taken it on light and some not so light trails and it does great. The fork locks out nicely and I don't feel any give when climbing hills but when I need it I just reach down and unlock it and it smooths out pretty much any surface. It's heavy though, that is my only complaint. If it was about 5 pounds lighter I would never ride my road bike but the weight starts to tire me out on a hilly ride over 30 miles.
like i said. i ride mostly roads and some hard packed dirt roads/rails to trails type stuff. im not sure if im hung up on the 8.4 dual sport due to lack of experience on anything other than a regular mountain bike which is odd because i never go "off road". if i wouldnt take my wifes car on it...i dont ride on it. was really considering the fx 7.5disc for an all around everyday exercise/family time bike. could enjoy slow rides with the kids, but still get out and push it alittle on my own on the roads etc and still feel ok on the shoulder or light gravel/dirt. i have not ever riden more than 15 miles. but i am planning to. im in good physical shape and have been a runner all my life. but as of late my joints have been taking a pounding...ive learned that i can ride my bike longer farther and harder than i run and still get great cardio w/o the joint pain. current bike is a 10yr old dept store mountian type hardtail and stright forks with over 2in dirt tires. anything else will feel and ride like a lexus im sure. just want to make the best decision...ahhh choices.
Test ride both. Perhaps you may be able to rent something similar also and see how that goes.
The bike shops I've visited usually just require I leave a credit card if I take a bike out for a test ride. I've taken bikes out for 20 or 40 minutes before just so I can see how it handles various elements. Ride it around and see how you feel on it. Take note your body position. Note how it handles bad pavement, trolley tracks, sewer grates; try climbing some hills and if you are fortunate to have dirt roads nearby, try it on that. The FX In stock form, I'd definitely think twice about going too fast on dirt roads because the tires are pretty slick and don't grab well on anything loose. My Marin Muirwoods 29er is definitely better since the tires have some tread and fatter tires, but still not as great as my old MTB with knobbies. Many years ago, semi-slicks were all the rage (I am not sure if that's still the case) but I've heard mixed things about them and have not tried them myself.
You'll have to decide where to compromise. The FX is basically a flat bar road bike and won't do well on anything not paved. My Muirwoods is a hybrid but the geometry is like a 29er mountain bike. It's slower definitely, or at least it feels that way. The longest trip that I've done on my Muirwoods is about 25 miles on pavement with about 500 yards of it on 20 ft wide mixed use dirt trail. There are plenty of people faster and slower than me whether I'm on the FX or Muirwoods.
I've eaten roadies for lunch with the Muirwoods and a 50-60 year old man on a full suspension bike complete with knobbies has left me in the dust while climbing a hill.
took my buddies fx out for a while yesterday very nice, light and fast...then went to LBS today and tried the DS 8.3 very different. i liked the quickness of the fx but the DS is more my style, longer, taller and bigger all around. seemed to handle better kinda like a tank, felt more tough if that makes sense. soooo im going DS 8.4 all the way...now just have to find one.
Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
I own a Trek 7.5FX. It rides very nicely on paved roads. It rides like crap on uneven dirt or unpaved roads. My Nishiki road bike feels better than my Trek under all conditions. Of course, my Nishiki has a cromoly steel frame while my Trek FX has an aluminum frame.
Comparing the Trek (an aluminum bike) to a Muirwood ( a steel-framed bike), is like comparing apples to oranges. IMHO steel trumps aluminum everytime unless there's a manufacturing problem with QC.
I purchased a 8.4 DS about a month ago and I really like it. I previously had a Diamondback Insight 3 which is similar to the FX. Although the Diamondback was lighter by 6 pounds and faster (which really doesn't matter to me) I like the 8.4 better for the riding conditions I encounter (greenways and rails-to trails in central Florida). I did change out the tires to 700 X 35 Michelin Pilot Trackers because of all of the people who complained about the stock tires being prone to flats. Great bike and I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again
Thanks for the feedback. first nonstock photo ive seen. talked to 4 shops within 125 miles of me and all say no DS 8.4's until end of sept or mid oct...bummer. dont want to go with lesser model. you will have to post a review of how it rides.
When I first started looking for one my lbs didn't have one and told me that it would also be Sept. before they would have one. I drove about 50 miles away and found one with the proper frame size. It rides great although with the current setup it weighs 34.6 pounds. I'm still fine tuning it so I can get rid of the numb right hand. I recently changed out the stock handlebar stem for an adjustable one and that has helped with a more upright riding position. I put it on my trainer the other day and rode it for 35 min. without my hands going numb, now I need to take it on the trail and see if it helps there.I usually ride this bike on 30 mile trips and it is a very comfortable bike to ride. I usually inflate the tires to 80psi for the pavement but I can go as low as 60 which should make the ride more cushy. Here is a bigger picture. Hope u can find one quicker than Sept. or Oct.Bike_1.jpg
Made my decision....it seemed to take forever for my LBS shop to get both of these bikes in so i could ride them for a while and compare side by side. Going with the FX 7.5. loved both bikes, but the fx just felt way nicer. of course the ds rode smooth also, but cant have both. As i tested and loved both rides (although they were different) i forgot about the ride so to speak and gave more thought to my wants and riding habits. im on the road all the time except for hunting...then it hit me, whichever i get im not going to be throwing it in the back of my truck with treestands ladders etc...i have an "older go to schwin MTB" that i take hunting. this new one will be my work out partner...fx fit better, lighter, and the carbon fork absorbed alot w/o the wierd feel of the ds shock.
It was definitely strange how riding each bike separately at different times really played with me as they are both great...but testing them together i could really feel how different they both are and which one fit me best. This is what really helped me choose.
After all the research, web sites, questions, posts, and feedback. it really came down to having both available at the same time to make a good comparison. the fx 7.5 will be orderd on my next day off (next week) from my LBS .
Funny enough I've been asking myself the same question, except for a different reason, I'm going to be doing alot of curbhopping and urban sport.... not quite bike messenger but I've been known to push it a little beyond normal reason of sanity. This will be my first "big boy" bike and i want to do it right, my wifes cringing at the thought of spending 700-800 on a bike when her's cost 120 at walmart, but theres no explaining the difference to her until she rides a good bike.
What do you guys think would be better for urban sport... a shock or is the extra money spent on it better spent on acessories like a bike computer?
Last edited by horus11B; 09-01-11 at 05:57 PM.
Reason: edited for clarity.