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  1. #1
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    New bike for new dad

    Hello riders (and hopefully some dads),

    I'm going to be a first time dad soon and it's got me thinking how much I used to love riding a bike (back in the tween days (94?) I had an all chrome Dyno Air that I loved riding through the forest preserves and just about anywhere all summer long) as well as my health...which I've let go in favor of work. I'm turning it around.

    After reading, reading, reading this forum for that past weeks, I've been jotting down recommendations of Hybrid, Commuter and Dual Sport bikes. I'm still not sure what is the best type for me and hope you can help as well as guide me to which bikes I should focus on test riding/buying from my LBS.

    I plan to commute to work (10 miles round trip) a couple days a week Spring-Fall, hit the bike trails at least once per month, evening cruises with my wife (she's got a Giant Suede), and eventually outfit it with a trailer or carrier for my little ones. I won't be going off road, marathoning, hitting jumps, or going crazy fast. Think rear rack and maybe fenders.

    I'm of the mindset that I'd rather spend more upfront for quality and maintain them to make them last. So without further ado, here's the compilation of hybrid/commuter/DS bike in the 600-800 MSRP range. Components (and their ranking of quality) is still unchartered ground for me. If you could either 1) order by best value of bike/bike components to MSRP or 2) order them by what you'd recommend I evaluate based on my intended use, I'd really appreciate it. After which, I'll do some test rides and report back my findings as well and purchase decision to hopefully help the next new dad. If there is a model that you feel worthy to add to (or remove from) the list, please let me know and I'll update this post.

    (All bikes are 2012 model):
    $800 - Cannondale Bad Boy 9
    $700 - Cannondale Quick 4
    $725 - Cannondale Quick CX4
    $850 - Diamondback Trace Pro (priced from Amazon.com)
    $570 - Giant Escape City
    $620 - Giant Roam 1
    $700 - Giant Seek 3
    $560 - Jamis Coda Sport
    $680 - Kona Dew Plus
    $750 - Marin Muirwoods 29ER
    $750 - Redline DS2
    $610 - Specialized Sirrus Sport
    $690 - Trek 7.3 FX
    $650 - Trek 8.3 DS
    $680 - Trek Marlin

    Thanks!

    Edited - removed the following as I prefer LBS
    $700 - Fuji Absolute 1.0 (priced from bikesdirect.com)
    $700 - Motobecane Cafe Noir
    $600 - Motobecane Cafe Sprint
    $400 - Motobecane Elite Adventure
    Last edited by cwikone; 03-19-12 at 03:23 AM. Reason: Removed bikesdirect options from list

  2. #2
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    To Bike Forums, Cwikone!

    We will try to assist you with all of your cycling questions to the best of our abilities!

    IMHO Cwikone, your bikesdirect list needs to be eliminated one way or another, first.

    Otherwise, after test-riding all of the other bicycles, where does that leave your bikesdirect bikes? ....There's no way to test-ride them...

    You're not going to value the advice of others over your self-experienced comfort level while test-riding a bike. That would not be too prudent in my opinion.

    Therefore, I would suggest that you either select from bikesdirect right now and forget about the more local bikes, or just test-ride all of the local bikes and forget about bikesdirect.

    Since I am a chromoly steel enthusiast, I will substantially shorten your list by making the following recommendations:

    1) The Jamis Coda Sport

    2) The Jamis Coda Comp

    3) Marin Muirwoods 29'er

    Good Luck!

    - Slim

    PS.

    The Jamis Coda Series

    The Jamis Coda is an award-winning hybrid bicycle. It won Bicycling Magazine's Editor's Choice Award for the Best Flatbar hybrid of 2011.
    The Jamis Coda is a very agile, reliable, and durable bicycle. I have personally ridden the Coda and it's one of the smoothest riding bicycles that I've ever had the pleasure of riding.

    The Jamis Coda can be easily outfitted with both rack and fenders. Though it comes stock with 32mm tires, it can be accommodated with 38mm tires. The Jamis Coda is a universal-all-seasons type of bicycle. Just about the only seasonal modification that I could envision you making, would be to go from wide treaded winter tires to the more narrow slick tire for the remaining seasons.

    Since the Jamis Coda Series is made of chromoly steel, you shouldn't consider cash payment as a purchase, you should consider it more, as an investment!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 03-19-12 at 11:04 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    To Bike Forums, Cwikone!

    We will try to assist you with all of your cycling questions to the best of our abilities!

    IMHO Cwikone, your bikesdirect list needs to be eliminated one way or another, first.

    Otherwise, after test-riding all of the other bicycles, where does that leave your bikesdirect bikes? ....There's no way to test-ride them...

    You're not going to value the advice of others over your self-experienced comfort level while test-riding a bike. That would not be too prudent in my opinion.

    Therefore, I would suggest that you either select from bikesdirect right now and forget about the more local bikes, or just test-ride all of the local bikes and forget about bikesdirect.
    Agreed. I wasn't sure I could swallow buying a bike without test riding first. Plus, a relationship with my bike and an LBS over the long run will probably save me more headache, grief and perhaps money than going with a bikesdirect bike. Striking them from my list.

    Thanks SlimRider for your suggestion.

  4. #4
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    And thanks for the fancy welcome!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwikone View Post
    And thanks for the fancy welcome!
    It's our pleasure!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 03-19-12 at 04:31 AM.

  6. #6
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    Congratulations on the new addition! I myself am a fairly new dad (my son is turning two in June), and just went through this process, though admittedly not a deeply as you are.

    Like you, I wanted something that I could use for paved trails and roads with my wife and a trailer. I occasionally will ride alone or with my brother, but more for touring/fun than speed or competition. I was coming from a Specialized Crosstrail that was too big (wrong size) for me. I wanted something like the Crosstrail without a suspension fork and disc brakes. I went with the Trek 7.4 FX and so far, it's great. It doesn't feel big and bulky, but still stable enough to pull a trailer without any problems.

    What I found is that bikes, hybrids especially, in this price range are rather similar. The component groups are all rather comparable, etc. I would say the big difference would be in frame material (steel or aluminum) and geometry. Personally, I would find these locally and ride them, and not get too hung up on the components. I know you want to get the best available in your budget, but, for myself, the top criteria is how the bike rides with you on it. I rode several bikes, and decided on the 7.4 because it had the best ride and best fit for my body type, and I felt at home on it. The best bike in the world is useless if you never ride it.
    Last edited by cashmonee; 03-19-12 at 09:00 PM.

  7. #7
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    Setting aside the issue of bikes, I'd recommend the Burley Bee trailer. Very easy to set up and also to collapse, if you need to make some space, or if you're taking it in your car someplace.

  8. #8
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    Cashmonee - Your suggestion finally clicked with me. I've read similar posts on this forum as well as others to just keep test riding until you find one that fits. I really think you (and everyone else) is right. I started a spreadsheet of components for each along with determining what is/isn't better. Frankly, after my first test ride, I'm thinking it's a waste of time to continue. I'm going to post a review of my first test ride to follow.

    erg70 - thanks for the suggestion. I took to CL and found one used (fewyears old) for $160. What sorta used priced would you expect these to go for?

  9. #9
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    I had the opportunity to test ride a 2012 Marin Muirwoods 29ER.

    Initial Impression: I really love and appreciate the understated look. The simple black, without any fancy logos, colors or graphics is definitely my personal preference. In the sea of bikes, I noticed this one the least. To me, that a huge plus for security as I would think that it wouldn't catch the eye of a bike thief. I've read some posts regarding the decreasing craftmanships. Looking at the welds, they looked chubby to me, unlike those on my wife's Giant that was smoother and less pronounced. (9.5/10)

    The first 100 feet: I'm 5'11 and wear a size 32/32 jean. I was fitted for a 20.5" frame. The bike looked and felt huge to me. I attribute this to the 29ers since this was my first time ever (knowingly) seeing them in person. Adjusted the seat and the bars was quick. Hopping on the saddle I found it very uncomfortable. I remember my Dyno Air with it's plastic shapeless seat being more comfy. Hmmm. I headed out of the shop and was on my way. I quickly became comfortable with the shifters. They were fast and smooth. I enjoyed the downshift feature where I could drop 3 cranks with long thumb push of the right trigger. Made it easy when braking to a stop to get to a gear to make startup easier. Again, this is all new to me. The disc braking was also new to me. I found that stopped was actually pretty easy. I was able to feather the front break most of the time without any worry of locking up and heading over. (7.5/10)

    The ride: I rode for almost 25 minutes. Street, grass, gravel. I ventured over rough pavement and just really tried to cycle through all the gears and speeds. Went up and downhill. I would say the ride wasn't harsh, rather, I'd say it felt deliberate and stable...hard to describe. Then again, the ride wasn't really comfy. I guess I was expecting more of a smoothness over the rough terrain, but instead felt the bike was more just powering through (although effortlessly). I was really hoping to be thrilled with this bike, if not for the reasons that it gets a lot of praise, the pricepoint, and the muted look. (7/10)

    Summary: I was very satisfied with the bike overall. I think it performed well and I'd be happy to own it. I feel that there is something better out there yet though. Since this bike was my first (29er, disk brake, modern shifter, steel frame, etc). I plan to reride after testing the others and revisit these initial thoughts.

    Next up, the Treks.

  10. #10
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    so what's the latest, did you test ride any other bikes? I test rode that marin yesterday and liked it. killer look too. I may buy it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwikone View Post
    I'm 5'11 and wear a size 32/32 jean. I was fitted for a 20.5" frame. The bike looked and felt huge to me. I attribute this to the 29ers since this was my first time ever (knowingly) seeing them in person.
    It's a mountain bike frame so you probably want to size down to the 19" and it's possible (but not likely) the 17" will fit you better. The bike shop employee may have sized you up for a traditional hybrid in which case a 20-22.5" would probably be best for you.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwikone View Post
    erg70 - thanks for the suggestion. I took to CL and found one used (fewyears old) for $160. What sorta used priced would you expect these to go for?
    For a used Burley Bee, that's pretty good. Of course, that all depends on what shape it's in, if nothing's missing, etc. It retails for new around $280.

  13. #13
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    Hey bfn'rs,

    Been outta town and busy at work. Tomorrow (later today) I'll be riding the treks (marin, 7.X, 8.X DS). I'll report back after the rides.

  14. #14
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    I enjoyed 4 years of riding an entry level mtb with my eldest daughter. That bike has since been retired to shopping duty as I have a better one. But, its been revived, regreased, readjusted and ready for a new carrier and baby basket (can't recommned those enough) for my youngest as soon as she gets old enough.

    Just about any bike will work for carting the kids around so it comes down to what else you want to do with it, and how comfortable it is. My previous bike was too small, but I never realized until I got my new one. Day and night difference to comfort.

  15. #15
    Albatross bars are cool!! 1987cp's Avatar
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    I bought an '80s tourer cheap on eBay when I wanted to start riding with my son, and added a $35 Bell child carrier. I keep swapping out things like bars and chainwheels in favor of better comfort and convenience (same was with most older road-ish stuff), and I wish I could get 27" tires wider than 35mm, but so far it's been pretty decent.

    Now that the little guy's approaching 5, I'm liking the idea of a kidback tandem ....... supposedly you can kidback starting at age 2-1/2!

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