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Old 09-02-13, 07:06 AM   #1
janellewilson
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Runner looking for a hybrid cycle

Hi all!

I am a super newbie. I've not ridden a bike much since high school. I currently have a cruiser bought at a garage sale that was a cheap big box store bike to start with. It is too large for me and does not have enough gears to make it viable to ride around my neighborhood. I've ridden it about two times.

I am a (slow) runner (intervals of walking and running actually) and am currently training for a half marathon. However, I'd really like to add cycling to my fitness routines. I have a history of knee troubles (two major surgeries in high school), but I've been doing well with interval running. I know cycling would be a good option to decrease impact on my knees.

I'll be primarily cycling in my neighborhood and a local park both with paved roads/paths. My neighborhood is pretty hilly (we live in the foothills of the Appalachians). I like the upright form of a hybrid bike, as I have some neck/shoulder issues that I think would be aggravated by a road bike. Plus a road bike is not in the budget.

I'm hoping to spend between $400-$500 on the bike. (I'm a middle school teacher. . . ) We've been to some local shops, and I've tried out different Raleigh models (Detour 4.5, Detour 3.5, Venture 4.0, Route 3.0). I know I do not want a suspension fork. I'm wondering if I should be looking at something a bit more performance hybrid oriented, and if so what. (We had been focusing on Raleigh's because my husband is from England and loves British connections here, but when he found out they are no longer designed in England, he decided it's not a big deal.)

Also, I know I need a women's frame. I am 5'1" and very petite. I've ridden both unisex and women's models, and the distance to the handle bars is much more comfortable on a women's frame.

So, what other brands should I be considering? What models do you think would be best for the type of riding I'm hoping to do (paved but steep hills primarily for fitness). I apologize for the length of the post, and I thank you in advance for your suggestions and advice.
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Old 09-02-13, 10:09 AM   #2
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I am no expert by any means but I am very happy with my Giant Escape II. Its a mens model but they make both. It has no suspension but I have rode it on some pretty rough unpaved roads and while not real comfortable it was doable. On streets it is great and I have also rode it on the shoulder of some of our highways and it does fine. I have only had it a month but have over 400 miles on it and other than one flat it has been trouble free.
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Old 09-02-13, 10:38 AM   #3
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General Overview..

Brands have their fans , but there really is little difference.. Giant alone, Makes several brands for other companies .

Ditto Merida, and there are several other Contract Manufacturers , all tending to be 'over-there'..


The brand name is the Name on the frame , the components are made by other Companies , bought in Bulk.

Go shop for your favorite Bike shop, first, then they will be there to help you after the sale . they will carry several brands .

the Bottom line a $500 bike will be more similar to other $500 bikes of the same type, than Different .

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Old 09-02-13, 06:43 PM   #4
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I am very happy with my Giant Escape II. Its a mens model but they make both.
The bike shop that is literally around the corner from my house carriers Giants. I tried an Escape 3 today in the women's model, and I enjoyed it. I like that the shop is so close to my home as well. Plus, they are ready to sell 2013 models, so the price was good. However, my husband didn't want me to make a rush decision. Looks like I'll try a couple more bikes before making a decision.
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Old 09-02-13, 06:47 PM   #5
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Go shop for your favorite Bike shop, first, then they will be there to help you after the sale . they will carry several brands .

the Bottom line a $500 bike will be more similar to other $500 bikes of the same type, than Different .
Thanks for the info. I think I'm getting closer to knowing what would be a good fit for me. My husband has wanted me to go more towards the comfort hybrids, but I am leaning more towards the road hybrids. I don't think I'll be taking the bike on anything unpaved, and I think in terms of fitness riding, it will give me more to work with. I guess it's good to know that brands don't really make a difference at that price point - which means I won't have to worry as much about making the "wrong" choice.
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Old 09-03-13, 12:59 AM   #6
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The Fuji Absolute series of bikes has two models with "step-through" configurations, if you can find them. They are nice bikes for the money... cheaper components in those models, but, not junk. I bought my wife a Fuji Absolute3 LE from Performance Bike. It has better components than either step-through model, and it has a Unisex frame that is low enough that it is almost a step-through. My wife loves the bike and she is riding almost daily.
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Old 09-03-13, 01:01 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info. I think I'm getting closer to knowing what would be a good fit for me. My husband has wanted me to go more towards the comfort hybrids, but I am leaning more towards the road hybrids. I don't think I'll be taking the bike on anything unpaved, and I think in terms of fitness riding, it will give me more to work with. I guess it's good to know that brands don't really make a difference at that price point - which means I won't have to worry as much about making the "wrong" choice.
The road hybrids are better because they have a lot less weight and rolling resistance. Your knees would benefit from spinning without the need to push as hard. Let the gears do the work for you.
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Old 09-03-13, 07:12 PM   #8
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That's what my research so far was showing with regards to weight, knees, etc. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 09-07-13, 08:17 PM   #9
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The more I shop and try out different bikes, the harder making a decision seems to be!

So far, I have ruled out Raleigh Detours, Routes, and Ventures. (The more comfort side of the hybrid spectrum.)

I have also tried the following:
  • Giant Escape 3 - great price on the bike, and I initially liked it but after trying a few others wasn't my favorite. (The brakes were a little wonky even after they attempted to adjust.)
  • Trek FX 7.2 - I really liked this bike. It was a fast, smooth ride and the braking was amazing. However, I would probably opt for the FX 7.1 due to price; they did not have one in my size or the WSD design to test ride.
  • Jamis Coda Sport Femme - This one was okay. I'm not sure if I have a fair comparison because the majority of the streets around this particular bike shop are brick. The one bit of asphalt was nice. However, it's a higher price point.
  • Raleigh Cadent FT1 - I liked this one. Test rode on same streets as the Jamis Coda Sport. However, it was an even higher price point and not a women's design. Is the Alysa the comparable bike from Raleigh?

Any thoughts or recommendations? I look at the specs for each bike, but I don't know what most of the terms with regards to derailleur types, crank, cassette, etc. really mean. Perhaps there is another bike I should try I haven't seen yet? I love how they are all fast, and I enjoy the style so much better than the comfort hybrids. When I started looking, I had no idea bike shopping and decision making was such a lengthy process!
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Old 09-08-13, 03:35 AM   #10
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For getting up your hills, look for 3 gears on the front and 8 or 9 on the rear. 9 would be much better if in your price point. Check this link, you will see 3 numbers listed under the "details" for the crank - this is the 3 gears on the front. This bike has a cassette of 9 gears (on the rear) This is the bike I will most likely be getting very shortly myself. It is the Fx4

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes.../fx/7_4_fx_wsd

There or other Fx models out there such as the Fx 2 and 3 - however, I am going with the 4 because of the carbon fork (bike lighter because of this) and it has the gearing I need for my hills
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Old 09-08-13, 03:41 AM   #11
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My wife and I have been logging a lot of rides together. She is on a Fuji Absolute3 LE I bought for her at Performance Bike. It's a triple on the rear. Shimano Altus. We don't have as many hills in Mid Ohio as lots of riders on the forum, but, we always have a prevailing wind. Mary Rose is still learning how to let the gears do the work for her.
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Old 09-08-13, 11:16 AM   #12
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For getting up your hills, look for 3 gears on the front and 8 or 9 on the rear. 9 would be much better if in your price point. Check this link, you will see 3 numbers listed under the "details" for the crank - this is the 3 gears on the front. This bike has a cassette of 9 gears (on the rear) This is the bike I will most likely be getting very shortly myself. It is the Fx4

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes.../fx/7_4_fx_wsd

There or other Fx models out there such as the Fx 2 and 3 - however, I am going with the 4 because of the carbon fork (bike lighter because of this) and it has the gearing I need for my hills
I test rode the FX 7.2, and I really liked it. However, I had thought I would go with the 7.1, but the 8 gears instead of 7 is definitely something I should think about. The 7.3 and 4 are out of my price range. The other bike I rode with 8 gears was the Jamis Coda Sport, which is similarly priced to the Trek FX 7.2.

I plan to mainly ride my neighborhood, which is my current running route. This an elevation map of my current route, although there are other side roads I don't typically run. How does it compare to the hills in your area?
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File Type: jpg elevation.jpg (24.9 KB, 5 views)
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Old 09-08-13, 11:20 AM   #13
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My wife and I have been logging a lot of rides together. She is on a Fuji Absolute3 LE I bought for her at Performance Bike. It's a triple on the rear. Shimano Altus. We don't have as many hills in Mid Ohio as lots of riders on the forum, but, we always have a prevailing wind. Mary Rose is still learning how to let the gears do the work for her.
I checked into this bike when you mentioned it before. My local Performance Bike shop does not have it in stock, as when I first went shopping there, they only bike they had fitting what I was looking for was a Schwinn. I also would need a women's frame because I am petite, which isn't available, and they do not appear to have it in my size based on the online availability. I'm glad you're wife is enjoying the bike, though!
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Old 09-08-13, 11:30 AM   #14
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FYI, my wife is 5'2" with short legs. She has a Trek 7.4 FX WSD in 13-inch frame and is extremely happy. It is lightweight and offers smooth ride. I have an FX myself and would highly recommend it. I believe the 7.2 FX has the exact same frame geometry as the 7.4. Good luck with your quest!
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Old 09-08-13, 11:43 AM   #15
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FYI, my wife is 5'2" with short legs. She has a Trek 7.4 FX WSD in 13-inch frame and is extremely happy. It is lightweight and offers smooth ride. I have an FX myself and would highly recommend it. I believe the 7.2 FX has the exact same frame geometry as the 7.4. Good luck with your quest!
Thanks! I'm 5'1", but I was comfortable on the 15", and all the bikes I've been testing have been 15-16", so I guess that means my legs aren't too short. I think overall, the Trek FX 7.2 ride has been my favorite, so it's good to hear both of you are happy with the Trek FX line.
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Old 09-08-13, 11:46 AM   #16
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Thanks! I'm 5'1", but I was comfortable on the 15", and all the bikes I've been testing have been 15-16", so I guess that means my legs aren't too short. I think overall, the Trek FX 7.2 ride has been my favorite, so it's good to hear both of you are happy with the Trek FX line.
You must! I'm 5'5" and ride a 15-in. frame.

Glad you liked the 7.2 FX. I test rode several models including a Cannondale, a Novara, a Marin and a couple of GTs. Like you, the FX was my favourite.
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