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  1. #1
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    should I buy a Trek 5200 WSD or is it too much bike for me?

    Hi -

    I'm 48 years old, work as a scientist outside the home and use to ride my cheap Bianchi ($300 almost 20 years ago) on 10-20 mile trips with friends before I had twins 9 years ago. I even rode during my first trimester (first 3 months of pregnancy). I'm 6 ft and weigh, unfortunately, 185 lbs - about 40 over my pre-pregnancy weight. So, I've started exercising again. And I want to buy a new bike.

    I'm willing to spend some dollars on this bike with the assumption that this may be the last and only serious bike I buy. I live northwest of Boston, near Concord. For those not familiar with the area, it's a great place to ride. Lots of country roads - a mixture of flat and hills, the latter both gradual and steep. Early morning rides are phenomenally glorious. With that all being said, I've started to look for 'my' bike. I remember, with envy, borrowing friends' light road bikes that seemed to transport me effortlessly up the hills in Harvard, MA.

    So I went to Belmont Wheelworks in Belmont MA and test rode a Trek 5200 WSD 56 cm. For male readers, the WSD suffix indicates that the frame is sized for a woman (i.e. long legs and short torso in a short height). I am short waisted BUT I have long arms AND long legs. I'm so use to a male Bianchi frame that this frame seemed a little cramped on the length. Maybe I just need to get use it to it.

    As many of you know, this is a nice bike. My question is - is this too much bike for me or should I continue to consider it? The reason why I ask is that I wiped out on my test ride. Did you laugh?

    Now this is only the third time in my life that I've fallen off a bike. I finally found some steep, albeit residential, hills in Belmont to test it on so that I could approximate the hills near my home. I'm not familiar with the new gear changers and so this took a little getting use to. Even in spite of not finding the sweet gear ratios for getting up steep inclines, this bike really knows how to climb hills. I wiped out when I was gradually coming down a hill; frequent stop signs required that I keep a slow speed. While I thought Iíd gone over the handle bars, I now believe - based on my experiential memory coming back and the bruises on my left side - that I must have braked faster on the front then the back and so lost my balance. I fell to the front left and watched the bike slide on its side, stopping 5 ft in front of me.

    Other than some surface scrapes, and a left shoulder/arm stiffness that Iím dealing with the day after, I came away unscathed. But the bike didnít! The front wheel was extremely bent, as well as the front fork to some extent. I walked back to the bike shop (30 min) carrying the front of the bike. Now I know why I wanted a light bike Ė easier to carry! I am now $400 poorer ($200 for each component) and with no bike to speak of. Considering combined prices for the yellow Schwinn Varsity that I bought in 1970 and the Bianchi in 1985, I spent the same amount to test ride a bike!

    So, with the above prolonged introduction, my questions to you are as follows:

    Why did the wheel and fork bend? Can stopping improperly bend a wheel? Or did I catch the wheel in a pothole? Or did the weight distribution on falling bend the wheel? Any and all hypotheses considered.

    Secondly, should I still consider this bike or is this too much bike? I think this may have been a freak accident due to my 9 year hiatus as well as having worked all day combined with this being an unfamiliar ride on unfamiliar terrain. But my husband is concerned about my safety. I am too! Also, while I like the lightness of this bike, is it ridiculous for me to consider a bike of this performance type? Can you suggest other bikes that I should consider and that donít weigh too much? Iím also concerned that if I buy a bike of this quality, that Iíll need to spend a lot of money to maintain it and that it will also require time on my part.

    Iím open to any and all suggestions. Just donít kid me too much about my accident. As you might imagine, Iím now legendary at this bike shop.

    Thanks. I appreciate your insights.

    Signed -

    'Test-ride wipe-out (TRWO)'

  2. #2
    You're just a fat kid Moistfly's Avatar
    Join Date
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    It's only "too much bike" if you wont get enough use out of it to justify the money you spend on it. In any event, any bike is going to require maintenance and while the 5200 does have higher-end componentry in my opinion the cost of replacing that componentry probably isn't going to sting any worse than maintaining a lower end model. I believe the Treks' have WSD designs for the 1000, 2100 and 5200, if you don't feel you can push a 5200 to it's full potential you may want to look at the 2100. Also, Specialized has the equivalent of a WSD line of bikes in the dolce models, they are roughly equivalent to the Treks' but give you the opportunity to look at another selection in the same price range. As for what caused your accident, I have no idea.

  3. #3
    'Bent Brian
    Join Date
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    Wellington Ohio
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    Trek 1000, Rans Tailwind
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    Get a bike that fits you well and performs as you would expect it to. There is nothing worse than getting one that leaves you with aches and pains because it doesn't fit you right. In my opinion, ideally, the price is secondary. Due to various physical aliments I've just switched to a recumbent. It is bigger, heavier, and more expensive than my road bike. But guess what? In the past two weeks I've spent more time and miles on the recumbent (and far more fun) than I have in the last year on the road bike! I've even started limited commuting to work. It fits me well, I feel comfortable and confident on it, and with the gearing the extra weight is not a problem, in fact downhill it is a bit of an advantage. (Yes the extra 10 pounds of the recumbent over my road bike was a big concern but I actually don't even notice it.) After looking at the specs on many models and brands I narrowed my choices to basically two machines. These were the ones I checked out and made my final choice. The important thing was that the bike fit me, and fit the use I intended to put it to. The bike I actually purchased was the Rans Tailwind, a compact long wheelbase. Keep looking and you will find the bike that is right for you. Make fit and comfort your first priority and then worry about the price. Sometimes a more expensive bike isn't necessarily better.

    'bent Brian

  4. #4
    Year-round cyclist
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    The "WSD" suffix has a lot of marketing hype in it. As a 6' tall woman, you should be fairly comfortable on any tall bike, with the proper stem and, maybe, narrower handlebars than the ones that come standard with the bike. All these swaps (especially stem swaps) should be done free or at least very cheaply.
    BTW, the WSD you tried seems too small for you; I think it's a common mistake nowadays to place people on too small frames.

    As for whether or not you should buy the 5200, a lot depends on your riding style and on how severely you are attacked by the cycling bug. If I were in your shoes, I would first get re-acquainted with cycling on the old bike (get it tuned up first), then buy a new bike customised with the gears you prefer.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montrťal (Quťbec, Canada)

  5. #5
    cliff
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    England
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    Quote Originally Posted by lfouser
    Hi -

    I'm 48 years old, work as a scientist outside the home and use to ride my cheap Bianchi ($300 almost 20 years ago) on 10-20 mile trips with friends before I had twins 9 years ago. I even rode during my first trimester (first 3 months of pregnancy). I'm 6 ft and weigh, unfortunately, 185 lbs - about 40 over my pre-pregnancy weight. So, I've started exercising again. And I want to buy a new bike.

    I'm willing to spend some dollars on this bike with the assumption that this may be the last and only serious bike I buy. I live northwest of Boston, near Concord. For those not familiar with the area, it's a great place to ride. Lots of country roads - a mixture of flat and hills, the latter both gradual and steep. Early morning rides are phenomenally glorious. With that all being said, I've started to look for 'my' bike. I remember, with envy, borrowing friends' light road bikes that seemed to transport me effortlessly up the hills in Harvard, MA.

    So I went to Belmont Wheelworks in Belmont MA and test rode a Trek 5200 WSD 56 cm. For male readers, the WSD suffix indicates that the frame is sized for a woman (i.e. long legs and short torso in a short height). I am short waisted BUT I have long arms AND long legs. I'm so use to a male Bianchi frame that this frame seemed a little cramped on the length. Maybe I just need to get use it to it.

    As many of you know, this is a nice bike. My question is - is this too much bike for me or should I continue to consider it? The reason why I ask is that I wiped out on my test ride. Did you laugh?

    Now this is only the third time in my life that I've fallen off a bike. I finally found some steep, albeit residential, hills in Belmont to test it on so that I could approximate the hills near my home. I'm not familiar with the new gear changers and so this took a little getting use to. Even in spite of not finding the sweet gear ratios for getting up steep inclines, this bike really knows how to climb hills. I wiped out when I was gradually coming down a hill; frequent stop signs required that I keep a slow speed. While I thought Iíd gone over the handle bars, I now believe - based on my experiential memory coming back and the bruises on my left side - that I must have braked faster on the front then the back and so lost my balance. I fell to the front left and watched the bike slide on its side, stopping 5 ft in front of me.

    Other than some surface scrapes, and a left shoulder/arm stiffness that Iím dealing with the day after, I came away unscathed. But the bike didnít! The front wheel was extremely bent, as well as the front fork to some extent. I walked back to the bike shop (30 min) carrying the front of the bike. Now I know why I wanted a light bike Ė easier to carry! I am now $400 poorer ($200 for each component) and with no bike to speak of. Considering combined prices for the yellow Schwinn Varsity that I bought in 1970 and the Bianchi in 1985, I spent the same amount to test ride a bike!

    So, with the above prolonged introduction, my questions to you are as follows:

    Why did the wheel and fork bend? Can stopping improperly bend a wheel? Or did I catch the wheel in a pothole? Or did the weight distribution on falling bend the wheel? Any and all hypotheses considered.

    Secondly, should I still consider this bike or is this too much bike? I think this may have been a freak accident due to my 9 year hiatus as well as having worked all day combined with this being an unfamiliar ride on unfamiliar terrain. But my husband is concerned about my safety. I am too! Also, while I like the lightness of this bike, is it ridiculous for me to consider a bike of this performance type? Can you suggest other bikes that I should consider and that donít weigh too much? Iím also concerned that if I buy a bike of this quality, that Iíll need to spend a lot of money to maintain it and that it will also require time on my part.

    Iím open to any and all suggestions. Just donít kid me too much about my accident. As you might imagine, Iím now legendary at this bike shop.

    Thanks. I appreciate your insights.

    Signed -

    'Test-ride wipe-out (TRWO)'
    Hello and thanks for your interesting story. Your re introduction to cycling was similar to mine in a few ways, although I managed to fall off going uphill and it was on my old 79 Bianchi while I was training to get in shape for the new bike that I had ordered (last year). I hadn't done much riding for many years and was in too high a gear for the steep hill - unable to change down without damaging the gears (left it too late) I came to a halt on the hairpin bend and fell into the bushes! I was not very familiar with the new Shimano SPD SL pedals that I'd recently fitted and this made sure that I had no chance of just stepping off the bike. Luckily no damage incurred, although it was tough trying to feel good while passing drivers watched me climbing back out of the bush!
    I am 48 and I bought a Seven - a serious lightweight road bike. Now cycling is another world. I ride faster and further than ever before in my life. Riding is just such fun! Buy the Trek and it will change your life!
    If a long top tube is more suitable for your physique then you could go for one of the mens frames, perhaps with a shorter stem. How about a 5500? or even the 5900? I think these are great bikes - you'd really benefit from their light weight and stiff frames.
    Which wheels were on your test bike? I have not heard any bad reports about Bontragers, so I think that the front wheel probably flipped sideways at high speed and suffered a high impact. This would have been exacerbated by any road surface irregularity, particularly potholes. I don't think that your bodyweight was a factor - this is only a problem with 200 lb + riders using ultralight wheelsets.
    If you are a bit concerned about the wheels then have something else fitted. I have been using both Mavic Ksyrium SLs and Campagnolo Eurus on my bike on 50 mph descents with a bodyweight of 198 lbs. Rock solid!

    The better your bike the better your cycling will be! Just take it easy for the first few rides till you adjust to your new machine - after that it will just get better and better!

    Cliff

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