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Old 09-05-11, 11:18 PM   #1
Javaslinger
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Too many options... yet no perfect solution?

So, I'm looking to get my first 'serious' bike... I'd like to spend between $750-$1000 for the bike and necessary starting accessories...

I would like a bike to commute to class (about 1 1/2 miles and a BIG hill), possibly do some rails-to-trails type trails, and some road biking....

Now I realize one bike will not do all of this well.. I'm going to have to lean either towards the rails to trails and be slow on roads or toward road biking and not really be able to do rail to trails. Anyway, this is what I have gathered thus far...

I'm thinking I'll have a lot more opportunity to do road/fitness biking than I will getting out on something like the New river trail. But I would hate to limit myself too much...

Soooo... I've got shops in the area that carry Raleigh, Trek, Cannondale and Janis...

I'm looking at the Raleigh Cadent, the Trek Fx, the Trek DS, Cannondale Quick or Quick CX, and the Janis Coda...

If I get something like the Raleigh Cadent (which definitely tilts toward the road end of the spectrum) will be unable to really take this on a rails-to-trails type situation? Can you get a second set of wider tires for it? Will that be enough?

If i get something like the Trek 8.4 DS - Will I be slow as crap road biking? Will it be enjoyable to use this as a road bike? or will I be limited to commuting and light trails?

If I get something like the Janis Coda Sport - Will the extra weight of the steel frame make the giant hill going up to my house totally painful? will the steel frame make noticeable difference in comfort when doing Rails to trails?

In short - I would like to lean towards the road bike end of the hybrid spectrum, but still be able to do rails to trails... even if that means getting a 2nd set of wider tires... What's the best option?

And I'm 5 7" 220lbs 38 years old... portly to say the least... I'm in poor but not terrible shape as I'm an avid hiker/backpacker, but hoping that adding cycling to my daily routine will get me back to a normal weight...

too much info??

Help...

Javasligner
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Old 09-06-11, 04:32 AM   #2
quattroG
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These are all very nice bikes. The Trek would be the one that would better fit the rails2trails rides. But not so good for riding on the road. Even if it has a lock out front fork. The tires and the added weight of the fork would be an issue. I suggest doing what I did. Instead of spending all your money on one bike, look for two. I have a Specialized Crosstrail, similar to the Trek. I bought that as my first bike. But realized it was not good on the road. I then picked up a Diamondback Insight2 for road work. That was a good bike for road work. But ultimately, I ended up purchasing a true road bike. I kept the DB for casual rides with friends.
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Old 09-06-11, 05:43 AM   #3
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I have a Trek 7.3fx and it does fine on the packed limestone rails to trails around this area and it's on the road side of the hybrid spectrum. At somewhere around 26 pounds with a 28X32 low gear will probably be as good or better on the hill as anything else. It would not be suitable for loose gravel or mud so if the trails you are considering are in bad shape it wouldn't be a good candidate.

The other option as quattroG pointed out would be to get two bikes one new and one used. As your subject says, you have many options, which is much better than having two few.

Jim

Last edited by jtaylor2; 09-06-11 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 09-06-11, 07:27 AM   #4
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The Jamis Coda Sport is a great ride for the money. At just under 26 lbs. it does not weigh any more than most of the others you have listed. It has a 26x32 low gear. I'd suggest riding one before you make a decision.
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Old 09-06-11, 07:46 AM   #5
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Help me understand the significance of a 26x32 low gear please? Newbie here...
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Old 09-06-11, 07:53 AM   #6
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26x32 is the ratio of the front gear to the back gear. The smaller the front and the larger the back, the easier it will be to pedal. You will go slower also.

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Old 09-06-11, 08:49 AM   #7
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26X32 will get you up that BIG HILL. Since you need the bike to do the commute with the BIG HILL, proper gearing should be at the top of the list. Mountain bike style ratios will serve you best. You will be slower on the pavement than the road bikes, but do you have a need to keep up with anyone? If you have a top gear ratio of 46X13 or so you will go plenty fast on a flat stretch on pavement.
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Old 09-06-11, 04:54 PM   #8
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I'm going to recommend the Cannondale Quick 4, or the Quick 3 if you want a bike that's a bit more road oriented. I do rail trails all the time on the Quick 3, but the wider tires of the 4 would be more stable on loose surfaces. It's good up hills, too.
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Old 09-09-11, 06:08 PM   #9
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If you are on the cement only, or packed dirt trails, i would suggest not getting a bike with shocks, as it will decrease your efficiency. The FX series is good for trail, as well as pavement, as is the cannonade quick series. I can't speak for Jamis, but I'm sure it will be good also. With you budget, it may be worth spending $500 on a Trek 7.3, and then get some extra stuff like a bike lock, a rack and maybe lights, if you are biking in the morning or at night. As for steel, nowadays, it is as light as aluminum, so it won't be a hindrance.
Good Luck with your bike
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Old 09-09-11, 06:19 PM   #10
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I have decided to head to the Cyclocross bikes.. That seems to be what I'm looking for performance wise...
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Old 09-09-11, 07:35 PM   #11
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I think the cyclocross route is a bad choice. These bikes are geared for competition. None of them are geared for normal folks climbing hills on a commute or tour. You want a bike with a triple crankset where your smallest chainring is smaller than the biggest gear in the rear cassette. That will get you up the hill on your commute and help negotiate dirt and gravel trails no matter what the conditions. The hybrids like Trek FX, Giant Escape and Cannondale Quick and Specialized Sirrus fit your needs as you described them much better then a cyclocross bike. If you want drop bars then look at a touring bike like the Surly LHT. It can take big enough tires for your trail rides and has a well geared triple drivetrain.

Last edited by sedges; 09-09-11 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 09-11-11, 11:10 AM   #12
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After riding a mountain bike for just over a year (mostly on the road), I just purchased a 2012 Jake. I am THRILLED with this bike. After 3 12-15 mile rides this bike feels like it was made for me. I did 28 miles this morning and could go and do another 10 easily. I ride for fun and fitness and wanted to go a little faster but didn't want to sacrifice the ability to get off the road onto a trail during my ride. This bike is plenty fast enough for me, comfortable and inspired confidence in a very short period of time. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about the bike.
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