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Old 08-21-12, 03:19 PM   #1
LeftFrank
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Trek 7.4 FX: To disc or not to disc (weight issue)

I have decided on a Trek 7.4 FX to replace my totaled 2002 Trek 4500 MTB.

The guy at my local LBS called today and said they just received one of these in my size, however it is the disc brake version. I actually wanted the non-disc version due to added weight.

I don't do much riding in the rain (at least not on purpose), so I don't think I necessarily need the discs.
Does anyone here know just how much weight disc brakes add to the 7.4? Any other handling issues (I would think not, but doesn't hurt to ask).

Thanks.
Oh, and the only reason I'm even considering the disc version is that delivery of the non-disc version is at least several weeks out, and I can buy the disc version tomorrow.
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Old 08-21-12, 06:59 PM   #2
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I use my bike for commuting, so weight isn't a big issue. If I could afford to buy a bike with disc brakes, I would. Not really the response you are looking for I guess.
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Old 08-21-12, 08:13 PM   #3
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I go out of my way to buy bikes with disk brakes. My MTB, hybrid, and road bike all have them. I guess I'm not a traditionalist
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Old 08-21-12, 10:02 PM   #4
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I go out of my way to buy bikes with disk brakes. My MTB, hybrid, and road bike all have them. I guess I'm not a traditionalist
Me too. My three all have them. I would not have bought them otherwise.
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Old 08-21-12, 10:39 PM   #5
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Looked at the Trek website again and discovered that the disc brake version of the 7.4 does NOT have a carbon fork, which is one of my deciding factors in getting the 7.4 over the 7.3. Why would Trek do that? That effectively knocks out the disc version for me.
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Old 08-22-12, 04:03 AM   #6
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i built up a road mtb just to try hydraulic disc brakes, nice. never had a bike with composite forks, so no idea if they if they are a show stopper vs crmo steel. never tried aluminum forks either. no rim wear with disc brakes. if i were to buy a bike today i would look for disc brakes. jamis coda elite?
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Old 08-22-12, 01:13 PM   #7
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Count me in the opposite camp. On my Santa Cruz Blur FS MTB? Good hydraulic disks are priceless.
But disk brakes for a road bike or hybrid? Overkill, and needless weight. And the mechanical disk sytems suck in my experience.
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Old 08-22-12, 04:56 PM   #8
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i like the two finger modulation of the hydraulic discs even on steep downhills with acute turns at the bottom where sand collects. for most road use i would agree they are over kill but i like them.
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Old 08-23-12, 04:40 AM   #9
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If disks can keep me from hitting something or running over something, they are worth it.

I just got a 2012 Trek DS 8.5 with Shimano hydraulic disks -- they are smooth and powerful. I like them a lot.

As for weight:
We weighed a 2013 DS 8.1 and my 2012 8.5 and the 8.5 weighed in at 29.5# -- only 1.5 pounds more than the 8.1 even though the 8.4 has a suspension fork, bigger frame and disk brakes and we had just installed a rear rack on it... It seemed like there should have been more of a difference but, the scale doesn't lie (darn it!)

Last edited by GeorgeBMac; 08-23-12 at 04:47 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 08-23-12, 05:16 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by LeftFrank View Post
Looked at the Trek website again and discovered that the disc brake version of the 7.4 does NOT have a carbon fork, which is one of my deciding factors in getting the 7.4 over the 7.3. Why would Trek do that?
Possibly due to the braking forces from the disk brake. Trek may have been trying to hit a price point, and a carbon disk fork might have put them over the top.
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Old 08-23-12, 08:38 AM   #11
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Well, I went ahead and test rode the 7.4 disc, and the difference in road feel and comfort from the non-disc carbon-fork version was dramatic. I also (non-scientifically) estimated the weight difference at about 2 pounds heavier for the disc/non-carbon fork.

For my purposes, the carbon fork comfort and weight difference far outweigh having disc brakes, so I have answered my own dilemma here. I will just have to wait for the non-disc version to hit my local LBS. Unfortunately, this won't be for about another 2 months.
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Old 08-23-12, 09:04 AM   #12
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Bummer about the two month wait. Would it do you any good to step up to the 7.5 model? Could that be gotten in any quicker?
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Old 08-23-12, 04:00 PM   #13
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I looked at the 7.4 w disc and without the same as you ... two weeks ago i found a good deal on a 2011 7.5 triple crank that i prefer ( non disc ) ... no way i was going without the carbon fork ...

edit : forgot to put 'without the carbon fork'

Last edited by ForFun; 08-23-12 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 08-23-12, 04:48 PM   #14
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Last 2 posts: very interesting and apropos.
i went back to the shop today and test rode a 2012 7.5 in my size.
The 2 biggest differences from the 7.4 (besides it being even lighter) is that the 7.5 has 28 tires vs 32 (the shop says they would swap out for the 32 if I choose), and the double crank vs the triple. It also seemed that the 7.4 has one or two gears that are lower than the lowest gear on the 7.5. Would I ever miss those lowest gears? I dunno.

When I rode the 7.4 triple, it seemed there were a lot of overlapping gears that were unnecessary. The double seems simpler and more direct, and I didn't have to jump several gears to get to the one I want. Again, the real decision is whether or not I could live without the lowest gear(s) of the 7.4.


(ForFun: I think you meant to say that no way you were going withOUT the carbon fork. After test riding both with and without, I totally agree).
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Old 08-23-12, 06:29 PM   #15
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LOL ... you are 100 % correct ... i forgot the 'without' and have corrected my post . I also have a 7500 ( 28 front and 32 rear gears) , the 7.5 fx ( 26 front and 26 rear gears) is geared plenty low for me and i do climb a few hills now and then ... the 26 front and 32 rear seems very low to me but im sure its possible for someone to need it. Others may chime in and give you all the gear inches and stuff but from my riding either should work fine ...

My 7.5 fx is a 2011 model with the triple chain ring

Last edited by ForFun; 08-23-12 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 08-23-12, 07:41 PM   #16
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Hmmm.....I have a question then.
The 2011 7.5 has a triple crank where the lowest gear is 26/26.
The 2012 7.5 has a compact double crank where the lowest gear is 34/34.

Would these equate to the same gear?
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