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Old 07-09-12, 04:59 PM   #1
BijouBikeNoob
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Post Trek FX 7.3 2012 or 2013?

Hi all,

This is my first post and hope that someone can help me out. I'm short woman, 4'8", casual rider who is looking for a commuter bike. After about 2+ weeks of bicycle hunting and test riding bikes at 5 of my LBS's, I've finally decided on getting a Trek FX 7.3 WSD (13"). The question now: which is better, the 2012 or the 2013? The differences I can tell...

2012 FX 7.3: 24 speed; Chainwheel 48/38/28; Front Derailleur Shimano Altus; Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore
2013 FX 7.3: 27 speed; Chainwheel 48/36/26; Front Derailleur Shimano Acera; Rear Derailleur Shimano Alivio

All other things being equal, the 2013 model has slightly smaller lower gears on the chainwheel, a slightly lower quality rear derailleur, a slightly better quality front derailleur, and 1 more rear cog. That's all I can figure out on my own - please tell me if I'm missing something. With my LBS pricing, these actually would cost the same amount of $, so I'm wondering which one to get. Will one last longer than the other, shift better, ride better, or is it just negligible? Do fewer rear cogs really mean fewer repairs? I've only test ridden the men's 2012 15" 7.3 fx IRL, so actually have no idea how the 2013 13" wsd model would compare, but am i wrong to assume it would be roughly the same only fit my short stature better? I plan on using the bike for light commuting (bike+train, or just bike) for work, and for going about town getting groceries and such. Thoughts?
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Old 07-09-12, 07:29 PM   #2
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The main issues are-
9 speed chain costs a little more than 8 speed chain when replacement time comes. Not really a big deal, considering the several 1000 miles you should get from a chain.
9 speed cassette is "slightly more" than 8 speed for replacement, but that almost becomes a wash if you shop around.

9 speed has a MUCH wider variety of cog combinations available if you want to change your gearing.
For that reason alone, I'm very partial to the 9 speed. Else, I wouldn't have spent a bunch of money to upgrade a perfectly good 8 speed bike to 9 speed.
Deore is better than Acera is better than Altus, but they all work just fine IF adjusted correctly.
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Old 07-09-12, 08:07 PM   #3
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Your not gettng alot more bike fof the price, the 7.2 is the better deal with a very reasonable price tag
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Old 07-09-12, 11:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for the response Bill! Do you really notice that much of a difference while riding your modified +geared bike?

I did a quick Google search and found that the Deore on the '12 would cost about $10 more to replace than the Alivio on the '13, and a lot of people are saying that they like the Deore much better than the Alivio. I'm wondering now whether or not I should just go with the '13 model and then upgrade the rear derailleur.

Also, since they kind of downgraded that component, I was actively wondering why anyone would buy the newer 2013 if everything else was about the same. Looking again at the specs, it turns out I missed something important. The 2013 uses Trek's "Alpha Gold Aluminum" for the frame, while the 2012 uses their "Alpha Silver Aluminum." Since the frame is the most expensive thing on a bike (usually, right?), that may be the tipping point for me to go with the 2013. The gold alloy seems to be slightly stronger and lighter; the silver seems to be built with "single wall thickness. From their site:

Alpha Gold: Our premium lightweight aluminum alloy is continuously cold extruded and butted for weight reduction and superior strength. Frames built with Alpha Gold feature some degree of mechanical and hydroforming to create more complex industrial designs for even lighter weight, and are finished using Trek's smooth-weld finishing process.

Alpha Silver: Our proprietary blend of lightweight aluminum alloy is continuously cold extruded to a single wall thickness. Frames built with Alpha Silver feature some degree of mechanical forming and are finished using Trek's smooth-weld finishing process.
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Old 07-09-12, 11:42 PM   #5
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@dusty01 Please elucidate! Tell me why it's a better deal. For some reason, I only tried the 7.1 and the 7.3, but they skipped over the 7.2 at all the Trek dealers I visited.
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Old 07-10-12, 12:16 AM   #6
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I just did a side by side comparo of the 7.2 and 7.3 FX WSD models. For what you are wanting to do, the 7.2 does offer the better value. The 7.2 is set up to be a bit more comfortable (steel fork and wider tires); the 7.3 a bit zippier with 700x32 tires.
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Old 07-10-12, 12:32 AM   #7
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I just did a side by side comparo of the 7.2 and 7.3 FX WSD models. For what you are wanting to do, the 7.2 does offer the better value. The 7.2 is set up to be a bit more comfortable (steel fork and wider tires); the 7.3 a bit zippier with 700x32 tires.
See, the reason I liked the 7.3 over the 7.1 was because it was "zippier," lighter, and seemed more comfortable. It was just more fun to ride. The 7.1 also had the 700x35c tires and honestly, I felt no more comfort there.

What I really am interested in is if I should go with a 2012 or 2013 FX 7.3 at this point, and why. Is a Deore rear derailleur on the '12 worth the omission of the extra rear cog on the '13? Is there noticeable difference in a 48/38/28 chainwheel vs. a 48/36/26?
http://calmarcycles.com/product/trek...m#.T_vMHSIaOed
http://calmarcycles.com/product/trek...m#.T_utOiIaOef

Last edited by BijouBikeNoob; 07-10-12 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 07-10-12, 12:57 AM   #8
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The highest possible gear combo is the same for both models- 48x11, so your potential max speed is a non-issue. The 9spd on the '13 offers a closer ratio between the cogs, which will help you maintain your cadence better. The '13 also has slightly lower gearing for climbing with that 26x32 combo.

You might notice a difference between the front chain rings, but then again, you might not. I've got a mtn triple on my bike, and I hardly use the middle ring and use the inner ring even less. Odds are, unless you have a lot of hills, you'll end up using either your outer or middle chain ring almost exclusively.
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Old 07-10-12, 01:01 AM   #9
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You might also find this to be of interest, as this person has the same handlebar as the 7.3. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...rop-conversion
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Old 07-10-12, 01:21 AM   #10
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Both my bikes are 9 speeds.
One has an Altus RDER and the other has an Acera.
It's something I never think about because they both shift fine.
I'd have to go look at them to see which is which.
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Old 07-10-12, 01:44 PM   #11
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The highest possible gear combo is the same for both models- 48x11, so your potential max speed is a non-issue. The 9spd on the '13 offers a closer ratio between the cogs, which will help you maintain your cadence better. The '13 also has slightly lower gearing for climbing with that 26x32 combo.

You might notice a difference between the front chain rings, but then again, you might not. I've got a mtn triple on my bike, and I hardly use the middle ring and use the inner ring even less. Odds are, unless you have a lot of hills, you'll end up using either your outer or middle chain ring almost exclusively.
^This is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for. Mostly I'm going to be commuting on flat paved terrain, but there is the possibility of me taking this into San Francisco, the city of hills. I'm a little worried about missing some of the "zip" on the middle ring, but I guess going from 38 to 36 isn't that much...is it? I haven't bought a new bike in about 10 years (when I was a wee lass), and I'm pretty new to this world of looking at cassettes and derailleurs and shifting ratios, so need all the help I can get!

Also, is it true that 9 speed d'er rear setups wear out faster than the 8 speed ones? I've been reading comments where folks say that the 8 speeds have sturdier chains, and the 9 speeds have more issues.

I know I'm buying what's considered a "low end" hybrid bike, but it's a big purchase for me, so I'm just trying to get the best bike possible.
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Old 07-10-12, 01:48 PM   #12
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For that reason alone, I'm very partial to the 9 speed. Else, I wouldn't have spent a bunch of money to upgrade a perfectly good 8 speed bike to 9 speed.
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Both my bikes are 9 speeds.
One has an Altus RDER and the other has an Acera.
It's something I never think about because they both shift fine.
I'd have to go look at them to see which is which.
Oh, I thought you meant that you had upgraded an 8 spd to a 9. I was asking if you noticed a difference from before (the 8) to the after (the 9). Good to know that there's little difference between the systems if they're tuned correctly. Unfortunately I have zero bike maintenance skills and will be at the hands of my LBS. The good news is that they offer free tweaks to the breaks and gear/shifts for the life of the bike. I actually changed stores because they have the better policy (though the prices are slightly higher).
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Old 07-10-12, 01:50 PM   #13
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You might also find this to be of interest, as this person has the same handlebar as the 7.3. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...rop-conversion
Same handlebar...not *quite*. LOL
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Old 07-10-12, 02:06 PM   #14
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Same handlebar...not *quite*. LOL
If you opt for the 7.3, it has that IsoZone handlebar. So you will need proprietary adapters to mount any bar ends or bar end mirror.
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Old 07-10-12, 02:18 PM   #15
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^This is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for. Mostly I'm going to be commuting on flat paved terrain, but there is the possibility of me taking this into San Francisco, the city of hills. I'm a little worried about missing some of the "zip" on the middle ring, but I guess going from 38 to 36 isn't that much...is it? I haven't bought a new bike in about 10 years (when I was a wee lass), and I'm pretty new to this world of looking at cassettes and derailleurs and shifting ratios, so need all the help I can get!

Also, is it true that 9 speed d'er rear setups wear out faster than the 8 speed ones? I've been reading comments where folks say that the 8 speeds have sturdier chains, and the 9 speeds have more issues.

I know I'm buying what's considered a "low end" hybrid bike, but it's a big purchase for me, so I'm just trying to get the best bike possible.
There is less material in 9spd drive trains to begin with, so you have to replace them a bit more often. If cadence isn't a priority for you, 8spd is just fine. If cadence is important, you can either go with a 9spd or swap the stock 8spd 11-32 for a closer 12-28. You'll lose some off the top and bottom, but will have an easier time finding the 'sweet spot' to maintain your cadence.

You might want to play around with the numbers using a gear calculator. I've used Sheldon's and I have as yet to hit the max potential speed for my bike.
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Old 07-10-12, 02:31 PM   #16
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Get the 2013....ya know ya want to!
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Old 07-10-12, 02:59 PM   #17
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I personally think the rear derailleur is much more important than the front so I'd go for the 2012. I seriously doubt you'd notice a difference between the two bikes though. Don't worry about gearing with a triple, I've yet to meet a hill that felt too steep for my 2011 7.5FX with its 26x26 low gear.
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Old 07-10-12, 03:07 PM   #18
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Get the 2013....ya know ya want to!
LOL. I don't! I really don't know. I only have test ridden the 2012 FX 7.3 in the men's 15"; whatever bike I get, I'm buying somewhat blind since I'm ordering the WSD & am getting a 13" frame. If I get the 2013, that's yet another factor that's unknown.
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Old 07-10-12, 03:18 PM   #19
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You may be working yourself up over nothing. Has the LBS checked to see if they can still get the 2012 in your size? May not be available, so then your decision will be a lot easier to make.
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Old 07-10-12, 04:09 PM   #20
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You may be working yourself up over nothing. Has the LBS checked to see if they can still get the 2012 in your size? May not be available, so then your decision will be a lot easier to make.
Yes they still can.
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Old 07-10-12, 05:45 PM   #21
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If you opt for the 7.3, it has that IsoZone handlebar. So you will need proprietary adapters to mount any bar ends or bar end mirror.
Actually I found the bars to be quite comfortable. Maybe I'll be singing a different tune in a month or two, but just starting out, it's fine. Sucks about not being able to easily mount a mirror though; that would've been useful. Very useful. Oh well.
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Old 07-10-12, 05:48 PM   #22
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I personally think the rear derailleur is much more important than the front so I'd go for the 2012. I seriously doubt you'd notice a difference between the two bikes though. Don't worry about gearing with a triple, I've yet to meet a hill that felt too steep for my 2011 7.5FX with its 26x26 low gear.
That's what was stopping me from ordering the 2013 - the r.der. on the 2012 is just *sightly* better, and with the 8 sp cassette it might last longer. Good to know about the gearing being a non-issue though.
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Old 07-10-12, 05:51 PM   #23
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Okay. Well, thanks everyone who had input on this thread! I've decided to go with the 2013. If something breaks, I'm going to just upgrade it to something better.
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