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  1. #1
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    Newbie needs help choosing: Giant Cypress vs. Cannondale Adventure

    Hello All,

    I am a newbie who has been prowling your boards for sometime, learning from all your good advice. I think I am ready to buy, after visiting my LBS, but would like input on the choices I have come down to.

    Who I am: I am a late 40's female, who used to ride fairly regularly about 20 years ago :-), former motorcycle rider (from age 12 - 44), who is trying to get back into some kind of shape (weight is 225, but is coming down from 260, so I am doing very good with that and want to keep it up!), and I have always enjoyed bicycling. I still had my old 10-speed mountain bike, but I knew bikes had changed considerably, so I had purchased a used Raleigh Talus 2.0 bike last year via CL for $100 from a student at the local university who was going back to his own country. I thought it was a great price for a 2010 and it was in really good shape. I did spend $60 getting it checked out/tuned up at the LBS where I am looking to buy new. Long story short, the Raleigh is problematic for me in that it is too tall (18" men's frame and I am 5'5") and I don't feel confident on it. (Some of that may come from all the motorcycle riding in-between my bike time - my cruiser motorcycles always sat considerably lower than the Raleigh!) That, and since my weight is way up from where it used to be, the riding position would make my hips hurt after riding. So I went back to researching and found I really like the hybrid bikes. Upright riding position for my older body, and they will fit my riding uses - namely light exercise riding around my neighborhood and occasional jaunts on the rails-to-trails with my nieces and nephews. And with my 28.5" inseam, they seem to fit me nicely, whether a men's small frame model or a women's.

    So this week, I was at the LBS and the salesman listened to what I want to do, and I was impressed that he didn't try to upsell me to fancier/more expensive bikes when I told him I was looking for something entry-level. He showed me a men's XS Giant Cypress in dark blue ($400), which looked big, but I suppose that's because of the 700c tires. He told me Giant tends to run large in their frames ("no pun intended" - I laughed). Then he also showed me a "leftover" silver Cannondale Adventure (I'm not sure of the model, but I seem to remember seeing the word "four" somewhere on the frame). By leftover, I figured that meant the previous year's model, right? It was a small men's frame, which he told me was on sale for $450 because it was a leftover (I think the sticker price was $550). He told me that the Cannondale was a better bike for the price, but didn't go into the specifics. Do any of you know what he meant by that? I guess I should have asked more questions. I told him I was going to make a decision by the end of the month, to which he told me the Cannondale might not be there in two weeks. I said that was fine, if not, I could look at what else was available. (Not sure if that was true, or just trying to make me to get a rapid decision - is there that much of a demand for leftovers?)

    He brought both bikes outside to let me test ride them. First I rode the Giant. He hadn't put the seat at the proper height, so I had to stop and raise the seat to make sure my legs were hitting the mark right. (I have had an ACL replacement, so if the seat height isn't right, I feel it immediately in my knee). Once I did that, I really liked the ride around the parking lot (2x). Level lot, so you couldn't really see how it might do on hills (I have a few near my home). The seat was very comfortable and once I adjusted the height, it felt really good.

    Then I tried the Cannondale. Before I rode it, I said to him, "so you think I'll like this one better, hmm?" To which he replied, "ride it and see." I made sure the seat was at the right height before I started on the Cannondale. Right away, I noticed that I didn't like the seat - it seemed too "springy" - it doesn't have a stem suspension like the Giant, just the springs under the seat itself, so that felt strange, like the seat was swaying. And I was distracted during the ride because a tag on the bike kept flapping against the rear wheel, making the same sound we used to get from baseball cards in the spokes when we were kids. :-)
    But I did like the shifters on the Cannondale better. While they were also grip shifters, the numbers were in large, clear windows above the grips so they gave me better visibility to what gear I was in.

    When I came back, my first impression was that I liked the Giant better, as it seemed to have a smoother ride and I had liked the seat better. He took the seat post off the Cannondale to show me how the spring under the seat can be tightened up to be less "springy." I wasn't sure how much of a factor the tires played into the ride, since it was on a smooth parking lot. Maybe the Giant had more road friendly tires than the Cannondale? Not sure.

    I plan to go back today or tomorrow to look again at these things I am considering and the things I wasn't sure about. In the meanwhile, I'd appreciate your thought on these two bicycles, and, if the Cannondale is gone by the time I'm ready to buy, is there anything I should take a look at before just going with the Giant? My LBS carries the following brands that have hybrid models: Specialized, Bianchi, Cannondale, and Giant.

    Thanks in advance for your expertise, experience, and help!

  2. #2
    Ha ha ha ha ha giantcfr1's Avatar
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    Just tell the bike sales assistant your concerns and they will swap your bits over to please you. Then you have the bike you want.

  3. #3
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    Those two bikes have similar specs. One thing to mention is that I've seen several posts where people say they are not too happy with twist shifters. If I have found the right bikes, the Giant has 35mm tires and the Cannondale has 38mm. Wider tires will offer a more comfortable ride, but I think 35 is sufficiently wide. I would think 28s would be too narrow as might 32. I recommend test riding several bikes, even ones out of your price range just as a comparison. The brands you listed are all quality brands. Congrats on getting fit! Biking is very relaxing and fun.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  4. #4
    Junior Member WEBUYFUN's Avatar
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    Im a newbie myself and not to familiar with the Giant . But I recently bought my wife ( also 5.5 ) a Cannondale in a mens small and she is very happy with it . Her's is a 2012 and came with suspension seat post & spring seat . I agree the seat took a little to get used to but after a few miles it was very comfortable .It also has a quick adjustable neck that lets you change the bar height that I liked . You could have your dealer swap out the post and seat . They will cut you a good deal and work it into the sale of the bike .

    Just a thought to keep your riding an exercise interesting . I recently signed up for a couple local charity rides with various mileges 25,50,75 & 100 . Sign up for one that you think would be a challange and train for it . Its been getting my butt out on the bike for about 100 miles a week now trying to get in shape for 2 100 milers this coming fall . Best of luck to you !!!


    Kevin
    If your not living on the edge your taking up too much space

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    Thanks for the advice!

    Thanks for the ideas about swapping out components. I knew I could do something like that, but I thought that it would be something I would have to do after I purchased it. I like the idea of getting the dealer to work it into the deal.

    I really don't mind the grip shifters. It's actually one of the things I liked about my Raleigh, as opposed to the old thumb shifters on my ancient 10 speed, where I was just guessing what gear I was in most of the time.

    a1penguin, regarding your advice to test ride bikes that are out of my price range... I'm wondering to what purpose? What should I be looking for as I am riding the more expensive bikes? Trying to see whether the Giant or Cannondale feel more like the better bikes? Just the idea of taking test rides is an entirely new experience for me!

    I will be going back to the LBS today to take a second look at those bikes. Any specific suggestions of which models of bikes beyond my price range that I should ride? (Keeping in mind the hybrid brands my LBS carries - Specialized, Bianchi, Cannondale, Giant).

    WEBUYFUN, I'm glad your wife likes her Cannondale. I believe the Giant also has a quick adjust neck. But wow, I don't know if I can even think about a 25 mile ride yet! Maybe next summer. Right now, I just want to get used to the whole idea of riding again on a regular basis. I rode a section of our local rails-to-trails a few years back, four miles in and four miles back was about all I could do, but then again, that was on my old, steel, 10-speed mountain bike. Whichever bike I choose, I know that the advances in material that I can now afford (one of the advantages of getting older ) should make the riding easier.

    I really enjoyed riding when I used to do it, and am hoping to find that enjoyment again. I will post back after my trip to the LBS today to keep you updated on my search. Thanks for your input!

  6. #6
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    Focusneon - I am a newbie such as yourself - I too just purchased a bike for exercise and to find that passion I had a few yrs ago - trust me, you will find it Best of luck - one thing that really motivates me is logging onto these forums every night after a tough day at the office

    All of these folks have great experience and valuable insight to share - I am constantly learning and it has really become a motivator for me -

  7. #7
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    Welcome To Bike Forums, FocusNeon!

    IMO I think that you might want to consider the Giant Sedona, as well as the Giant Cypress. While the Sedona has size 26" wheels, the Cypress has 700 c. You might feel more comfortable on a bicycle with a lower profile. That's why I'm suggesting the Sedona. Likewise, the Cannondale Adventure 3 26" has a similar profile not unlike that of the Sedona.

    Good Luck!

  8. #8
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    And the winner is......

    .... The leftover Cannondale Adventure!

    So here's how it was decided. I went to LBS#2 and rode a Giant Sedona and a Jamis Citizen 3. Liked the Sedona better than the Jamis. The Jamis had trigger shifters, which sort of reminded me of shifting on a motorcycle, but have to say that i actually found it distracting to have to think about up or down on both the left and right grip, especially when (and yes, i think this is strange) on the left grip for the crank, up was the lower trigger and down was the upper trigger, which seems counterintuitive, considering the right shifters for the rear derailleur are top trigger up and bottom trigger down. Still shaking my head over that one. I did manage to put that aside and concentrate on the ride, but still didn't quite "feel" right. The Citizen was also a leftover 2010 which they were offering for around $400, so it was comparable to the Cannondale in price and year.

    Rode the Sedona after that and I did like it. They didn't have an XS frame, so i was riding a S frame, so it seemed very similar to the XS Cypreess i had previously ridden at LBS#1.

    Left LBS#2 and went back to LBS#1. Saw the same salesman from earlier in the week. Both of the XS Giant Cypress' had been sold, one earlier Saturday and the other one the day before. He said he could order another one, which i thought would be fine, but the Cannondale was still there so I asked him if I could take another ride on it. We took it outside and this time, i not only rode it around the building, but also took it over the shopping center's parking lot where some roadwork had recently been dug up and patched so I could try some rougher surfaces and i liked how it handled that. Still not happy with the seat, but the salesman said that can be easily changed. Although he didn't have any Giant seats in stock, he had four on order, so i will go back later to buy one of those.

    Lucky for me, he seemed to have forgotten that he had previously told me 420 on the price and instead said 380! Good for me! At that price, and considering it was only the seat that i didn't like, well, the decision was made. And the great thing about a small frame is that i only need to release the front wheel and it fits in the back seat of my Ford Fusion. When i want to go to the rails-trail, that means no car carrier and it's more secure inside my car too.

    I kept staring at it after i got it home. It's so awesome looking! Plan on taking it out today for a nice little ride around the neighborhood, but not too far since i don't have the rest of the kit I probably need, namely a helmet. Never rode a motorcycle without one, and having wrecked a bicycle at age 8 and suffered a skull fracture (we didn't have bicycle helmets in the early 70's for kids!) that hospitalized me for a week, i plan on thinking safety first!

    Suggestions on what else i should get/need for the bike? I already plan on taking the fenders off my Raleigh and putting them on the new bike. I think i need to eBay some of my old motorcycle kit that i no longer use to help pay for the new bits i am sure i will want for the new bike.

    Thanks once more for the advice and for following my adventure of choosing my new bike - 2010 Cannondale Adventure 4!!

  9. #9
    Ha ha ha ha ha giantcfr1's Avatar
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    How exciting. There's nothing better than a new bicycle to stare at. Oh yes there is, riding of course.

    Have fun and stay safe.

  10. #10
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your shopping experience. You did your homework, took test rides and found the right bike for you! As for what else you need for you bike will depend on how you plan to ride. A bottle cage and water bottle are mandatory. I like the Polar insulated water bottles. But since you have a small frame bike, don't buy large water bottle! I also recommend cycling gloves, for the same reason you wear gloves on the motorcycle: sliding protection. If you get gloves with gel padding, they also provide a bit of comfort, although once you get in better shape, you don't spend a lot of time leaning on the bars gasping for breath.

    If you start taking longer rides, you'll probably want to be able to fix a flat on the road. You'll need: seat wedge to hold parts, spare tube, pair of Pedros tire levers, vulcanizing patch kit, frame pump. Total cost: $50-60. Some people use CO2 cartridges; I've not bothered. Why a tube and patch kit? You use the spare tube for the first flat and the repair kit for the second flat.

    Riding in the rain? Full fenders.

    Clothes all heavy with sweat? Get a cycling jersey. A bright colored one so you can be seen, which is why I recommend cycling specific. Running or other technical clothing works too. Chafing down there? Get some cycling shorts with a chamois. You can get padded liners if you don't want tights.

    Riding at night? PBSF rear blinky and bright, bright headlight.

    Start with what you need and add as you go. I spent the first two years buying stuff and clothing for commuting in the winter. I'm happy to say I have not bought any bike accessories or clothing in the last year. I noticed my tires are beginning to look kind of flat, so I should probably have a set of spare tires.

    Enjoy and happy riding!
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  11. #11
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    A1penguin, thanks for all the great tips on what gear i should begin thinking about. I went for a very short ride today, just around the neighborhood. I am more out of shape than i thought! My thighs felt the burn on some of the uphills that we have in the neighborhood. Yes, i had to use the granny gear, but i don't mind, since i am one! . The ride didn't change my opinion about the seat... That definitely is going bye bye. But i plan on riding every day that i can so i can get stronger and go for longer rides. But the bike rides so nicely on the street that i enjoyed myself, even with the burn.

    I ordered a Bern helmet, one of those that looks more like a skateboarding helmet. I just like the extra coverage, and since i have a big head, regular bike helmets always sit funny. It should be here by Wednesday. The LBS included a bottle cage and bottle with the purchase, so that's covered. I will be moving the fenders from my Raleigh over this week (i am actually fairly handy with a wrench- you have to be when you own older motorcycles) . I have an old underseat storage pouch... I just need to get the items you mentioned to go in it. And probably take a lesson on how to change a flat bicycle tire too.

    I rode in regular shorts today and found out why people wear bike shorts- as I pedaled, they kept creeping up the inside of my thighs and i had to keep tugging them down! While i am not yet prepared to expose the world to my fat a$$ in bike shorts (giggle-no on wants to see all that!) i will have to look into some solution to that issue.

    I can't really tell you all how hopeful i am that this will be the impetus for taking my weight loss up a notch. I'd really like to be down to 200 by September, and if i can commit to riding every day, even if just the little trip like i took today, maybe i will be able to accomplish that goal. Maybe by next summer, i will even (gulp) try biking shorts! Thanks again.

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