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  1. #1
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    How to add some bounce to bike. It does have a carbon fork (Trek FX 7.5). Tires?

    Hello -

    If I've written too much (as I often do), please just read/answer the first couple of questions - and please forgive my ignorance in general.

    1. Not that I necessarily would do this, but can a front shock be added to a bike w/ a carbon fork?
    2. How much would making the tires fatter help without compromising in other ways too much? What size would you recommend I go up to? They're supposed to have such great tires but they don't feel all that great to me - probably cause of what I was used to beforehand. They're Bontrager Race All-Weather Hard-Case, 700x28c. Does the amount of spokes make a difference in any way? I think they have only 24 spokes.

    Re. the handlebars I butchered the bike as I did my Bianchi - which is to say I had my LBS remove the mountain bike style handlebars (kept them should I ever need them) and replace with one a bit more forward and upright - sorta like a semi-cruiser style...I also replaced the seat with a soft cushy gel one. Still not quite there though.

    ____

    Purpose is just for getting around town mostly for fun with some long-ish city rides around the river, etc. I do like to pick up some speed on long paved trails that stretch on for several miles so it's not always just a comfort ride. I try to avoid gravel though on my old bike I'd go on it without a second thought. It was more hybrid than road bike and this Trek leans toward road bike. Selling it's not an option at this point.

    This bike is obviously beyond my needs (long story why I chose it) and is of course a great bike. The only issue is that I'm still comparing it to my '91 Bianchi Advantage hybrid w/ chromoly steel and added front shock. That bike felt so amazing but alas was stolen. The original tires on my Bianchi were a bit too mountain-bikish so I put on some slightly thinner, better ones...but this newer bike's tires are super thin in comparison so that might be part of the problem.

    The feeling I had with my old bike - lacking the proper terminology here, sorry - is that it was like a pliable rock (!). It was a super tight, sturdy, slightly bouncy ride (totally exaggerating - it just never felt rigid). Yes it was heavier but whatever I did, it shifted well and I was able to get a lot out of it...don't really know how to describe what I mean. What I guess I'm trying to say is that no matter what gear I was in, it seemed to have a lot of power and I felt the workout in such a way that there was always a lot of speed and it sorta gave back. It make me feel like I had strong legs in a good way. I know - totally inarticulate here!

    In comparison, this Trek FX certainly feels good, but just not as great as the Bianchi did. This bike feels like I can't quite find that sweet spot and it doesn't "give back" in the same way. Geez, this is sounding...never mind I won't go there. It doesn't feel as durable (cause it's aluminum?) and I hear strange little squeaky sounds sometimes (not a clue what it could be) and I seem to peddle too fast or else it's a bit too hard - although again I'm exaggerating - just trying to get across the point. It's just missing that special something. I know it takes time to get used to a new bike and I'm trying to be patient.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by Theresse; 03-04-13 at 07:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
    Hello -

    If I've written too much (as I often do), please just read/answer the first couple of questions - and please forgive my ignorance in general.

    1. Not that I necessarily would do this, but can a front shock be added to a bike w/ a carbon fork?
    2. How much would making the tires fatter help without compromising in other ways too much? What size would you recommend I go up to? They're supposed to have such great tires but they don't feel all that great to me - probably cause of what I was used to beforehand. They're Bontrager Race All-Weather Hard-Case, 700x28c. Does the amount of spokes make a difference in any way? I think they have only 24 spokes.

    Re. the handlebars I butchered the bike as I did my Bianchi - which is to say I had my LBS remove the mountain bike style handlebars (kept them should I ever need them) and replace with one a bit more forward and upright - sorta like a semi-cruiser style...I also replaced the seat with a soft cushy gel one. Still not quite there though.

    ____

    Purpose is just for getting around town mostly for fun with some long-ish city rides around the river, etc. I do like to pick up some speed on long paved trails that stretch on for several miles so it's not always just a comfort ride. I try to avoid gravel though on my old bike I'd go on it without a second thought. It was more hybrid than road bike and this Trek leans toward road bike. Selling it's not an option at this point.

    This bike is obviously beyond my needs (long story why I chose it) and is of course a great bike. The only issue is that I'm still comparing it to my '91 Bianchi Advantage hybrid w/ chromoly steel and added front shock. That bike felt so amazing but alas was stolen. The original tires on my Bianchi were a bit too mountain-bikish so I put on some slightly thinner, better ones...but this newer bike's tires are super thin in comparison so that might be part of the problem.

    I'm trying to say is that no matter what gear I was in, it seemed to have a lot of power and I felt the workout in such a way that there was always a lot of speed and it sorta gave back. It make me feel like I had strong legs in a good way. I know - totally inarticulate here!

    In comparison, this Trek FX certainly feels good, but just not as great as the Bianchi did. This bike feels like I can't quite find that sweet spot and it doesn't "give back" in the same way. Geez, this is sounding...never mind I won't go there. It doesn't feel as durable (cause it's aluminum?) and I hear strange little squeaky sounds sometimes (not a clue what it could be) and I seem to peddle too fast or else it's a bit too hard - although again I'm exaggerating - just trying to get across the point. It's just missing that special something. I know it takes time to get used to a new bike and I'm trying to be patient.

    Thank you!
    1361851226581.jpg Add a quality suspension seat post, and GATORHARDSHELLS.. Bike still weighs 17.5 pounds is quick and responsive, handles well and is very comfortable. Just the tires alone made all the difference in the world. and if there is a sweet spot, I found it.
    2013 TREK 7.6 FX

  3. #3
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    You buy that Trek new or used? If it is a current or only a model year or two old, you may be able to find the info regarding the tire size on Trek's website. Just navigate to your model and then find the "ask a question" link- odds are someone else has already asked and hopefully has gotten a response.

    Not a wheel builder, so I can't really help you as far as the spoke count goes. I believe the spoke count (and material and lacing pattern used) has less to do with ride comfort than just structural durability.

    Don't think you can simply add a shock to a carbon fork- you'd have to swap out the fork. Thing is, I don't think that would be a wise move, as that frame wasn't designed with a shock fork in mind- you add one, and it may more adverse effects than the one positive you are hoping to gain.

    Oops, doesn't look like I answered in the order asked ...

  4. #4
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Sorry for such a short answer, to your long well written post. But I have been through a lot of bikes, to find that perfect setup for me. There were things I had to sacrifice, no rack, not good off road, etc.. That's what I have the Trek for, but my son is starting to always ride it. And I can't stay off the Sirrus. The Trek 7.5 is an awesome bike, just keep working at it..
    2013 TREK 7.6 FX

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    Thanks XoLive - appreciate the advice and no worries about the short post! It helps make up for my ultra long one! I'll look into that - hadn't considered a shock for under the seat. In fact now I wonder if the shock I had added to my Bianchi years ago was a front shock or a seat shock. I STUPIDLY have no pictures and just can't remember!

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    Thanks No1mad. It's a 2012 model and I bought it new. The tire info I put in my post is accurate: Bontrager Race All-Weather Hard-Case, 700x28c. I usually research everything to death when I'm going to spend more than a couple hundred bucks anyway and this time my research was kinda lame. I'm kind of embarrassed actually, that I bought it - have some buyer's remorse - for a couple of reasons. One, I'm not a true cyclist compared to most of the people on here and the bike is way more than many would argue I need. I do love to ride though - I just don't get to as much as I'd like and I'm not a commuter. My goal is to start doing more errands on the bike though - e.g. going to get some panniers for grocery runs. Secondly, I'm not a big fan of any name as ubiquitous as Trek, even though that's kinda superficial of me. I live in Portland where most of us take pride in smaller companies. Hell no one will even go near a Walmart. I'd gone online to this and another forum asking what people recommend for a good all-around hybrid these days (being out of the market for so many years) and the majority seemed to point to the Trek FX line if sticking with a hybrid. I looked at the current Bianchis and anything resembling a hybrid seemed to be crap IMO. I was going to get a Trek FX 7.3 women's hybrid but only the men's bikes felt right with my taller torso. I wasn't in the mood (so to speak) for a "boy color" so I jumped up to the 7.5 model just to get a more girly white (in a man's bike). How ridiculous of me. And you can see the name TREK in HUGE bold black writing. Ugh. Well, that's the long story. One day I'll get some tape and cover that up!

    I was worried that would be the case (no shock on carbon fork)... But maybe under the seat will work. If it's even necessary after fatter tires.

    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    You buy that Trek new or used? If it is a current or only a model year or two old, you may be able to find the info regarding the tire size on Trek's website. Just navigate to your model and then find the "ask a question" link- odds are someone else has already asked and hopefully has gotten a response.

    Not a wheel builder, so I can't really help you as far as the spoke count goes. I believe the spoke count (and material and lacing pattern used) has less to do with ride comfort than just structural durability.

    Don't think you can simply add a shock to a carbon fork- you'd have to swap out the fork. Thing is, I don't think that would be a wise move, as that frame wasn't designed with a shock fork in mind- you add one, and it may more adverse effects than the one positive you are hoping to gain.

    Oops, doesn't look like I answered in the order asked ...

  7. #7
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    I would just sell it and buy a 29'er mountain bike or dual sport bike. Converting bikes is expensive and involves many compromises.

  8. #8
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Suggest you pick up some lightweight (folding) 700x40 tires. You can run those at lower pressur than the tires currently on the bike and that'll make a BIG difference. A suspension system in the city is really unnecessary, but skinny high pressure tires give a harsh ride on any bike.

    The other suggestion is to undo your handlebar mod. A more upright position also transmits all road shock directly to your now vertical spinal column. A more forward stance will let your arms act as shock absorbers, shift some of the weight off the seat, and increase pedaling power. Yeah - you could put in a seatpost suspension system - but most of them tend to break pretty fast.

    If you want to play around with handlebar position a bit and try out different heights - an adjustable stem will let you do that.

    Everything that's been suggested is definately much cheaper than looking at a new bike. And you already have a good one.

  9. #9
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    Given the information you provide ... I suspect the tires. The stock Bontragers you have are durable, but they are bricks, and unnecessarily narrow for you/the kind of riding you describe.

    Assuming the Trek is the correct size, and you have it set up comfortably for you, what I would do: purchase a set of high-quality, folding (not wire bead) road tires in size 700x32. Have them installed, and set (or have your LBS set) the pressure (front and rear) according to your weight, not the "maximum sidewall pressure".

    If you do this, using one of the tires I list below or similar, I expect you would find your bike to be significantly more comfortable while still being as quick or quicker (less rolling resistance) on the road.

    Tire suggestions:
    Schwalbe Marathon Supreme (folding), 32
    Panaracer Pasela TG (folding), 32 (these do have a raised tread, so good for unpaved surfaces while still being very quick on-road)
    Vittoria Voyager Hyper, 32
    Grand Bois Cypres 700 (x32)

    The last mentioned can be mail-ordered through Compass Bicycles (http://www.compasscycle.com/tires.html); on that site you'll also find a really useful guide to setting tire pressure (http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/BQTireDrop.pdf).

  10. #10
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
    1. Not that I necessarily would do this, but can a front shock be added to a bike w/ a carbon fork?
    No,you'd have to replace the fork. Since your bike was designed for a rigid fork,a suspension fork would effect the bike's handling.


    Quote Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
    2. How much would making the tires fatter help without compromising in other ways too much? What size would you recommend I go up to?
    All long as you use quality tires,going wider won't mess anything up. How wide depends on your frameset. Most hybrids will handle up to 38's,but YMMV. Also note that wider tires tend to weigh more(depends on the makeup and bead design),and if you want to add fenders later on,you'll be limited by what will fit under them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
    Does the amount of spokes make a difference in any way? I think they have only 24 spokes.
    None,it's the design of the rim that determines how a wheel will ride.

    The bike you're on now is a completely different animal to your old one. It's designed more for performance. Some 32-35mm 65-85psi tires with folding beads will increase your comfort level without slowing you down or causing fit issues.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/F600/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes/Novato,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Suggest you pick up some lightweight (folding) 700x40 tires. You can run those at lower pressur than the tires currently on the bike and that'll make a BIG difference. A suspension system in the city is really unnecessary, but skinny high pressure tires give a harsh ride on any bike.

    The other suggestion is to undo your handlebar mod. A more upright position also transmits all road shock directly to your now vertical spinal column. A more forward stance will let your arms act as shock absorbers, shift some of the weight off the seat, and increase pedaling power. Yeah - you could put in a seatpost suspension system - but most of them tend to break pretty fast.

    If you want to play around with handlebar position a bit and try out different heights - an adjustable stem will let you do that.

    Everything that's been suggested is definately much cheaper than looking at a new bike. And you already have a good one.
    Good advice there. Check to make sure the 40's will fit. 38's maybe if the 40's won't. Didn't that bike come with the Isozone handlebars? They should be pretty comfy.

  12. #12
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    I'd suggest investing in a Thudbuster ST suspension seatpost. these are very unlike the usual suspension post, they are a parallelogram arrangement with a elastomer 'spring'.

    fat cushy gel seats suck with a even slightly forward riding position, you might consider a firmer slimmer seat, to go with the thudbuster.

    while others suggested 40C tires, I'd say a 35c with a high threadcount would be better, something like a Vitorria Randonneur Hyper, this gives an excellent ride. 40C tires tend to be on the heavy side.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    Thudbuster ST suspension seatpost
    +1, I have had great success with these.

    Easily tunable with a range of elastomer hardnesses too.

  14. #14
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    Put on some Schwalbe Big Apple tires on your bike is all you need to add some bounce. 2" wide ones if they will fit your bike. My wife and I have a set on four bikes and we love them.
    Life is good O^o

  15. #15
    tkm
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    Bontrager Race All-Weather Hard-Case, 700x28c
    Those tires do ride kind of harsh, relatively speaking. On my '11 Trek FX 7.5, I put a set of Bontrager hybrid 700x35's on it and it is much more forgiving for the bike paths when riding with the family. Just make sure the tires are the foldable variety as that will help keep the weight down.

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