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  1. #1
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    Trek 7200FX vs. Trek 3500 vs. G. Fisher Tiburon

    OK Guys...More advice needed.

    Can someone explain to me the differences between the Trek 7200FX and the Trek 3500? Is it really just thicker tires on a mountain bike? I know that some of the components are different, but they are both aluminum frames. If I swapped the tires on the 3500 for slightly smoother for more road use, then what is the real difference between a mountain bike and a hybrid (not comfort) bike?

    Also any thoughts or recommendations between the two Trek models and the Gary Fisher?

    Any thoughts on front suspension vs. not?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    Ok so you are really looking at 3 different bikes here. The 7200FX is what I would call a touring bike or flat bar road bike. The 3500 is a low end MTB and the Tiburon is a Hybrid.

    What type of riding are you giong to be doing? IMO you don't want any suspension unless you are going to be doing real off roading...I don't mean dirt, stone, chip roads I mean trails. Suspension...especially cheap suspension adds a lot of weight and doesn't work all that well anyway. The components of the 7200 FX appear to be just a bit better than the other two bikes. The 3500 and the Tiburon have a bit slacker head tube angle which gives them a slightly longer wheelbase and the seat tube angles are a bit steeper which will get you mor upright.

    For any sort of family riding I would pick the 7200 FX unless you are planning on doing trail riding. If you will be seriously doing offroad riding (a lot of people buy a bike with the intention of doing it but never do) then get one of the MTBs. Differences between the 3500 and the Tiburon are mainly the wheels with the Tiburon having 700c wheels rather than the smaller 26" wheels of the 3500. If you do buy one of the MTBs also look at the Trek 820 which is in the same price range. It has the same components of the 3500 and a steel frame rather than AL and if you want a suspension fork (again I wouldn't get one) it has that too.

    So my choices would be: 7200 FX for just about every type of riding other than trails. 3500 or 820 if you honestly want a bike for trails. But if the Tiburon is in your price range (I see the retail price as ~$350 so correct me if I am worng there) and you are looking for a MTB then why not look at the Trek 3900 which is the ~$350 Trek MTB and has a higher component level than the other two MTBs.

    Hope that helps.
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  3. #3
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    Thank you for your input. That was helpful.

    I plan on riding mostly on roads and bike trails, but these roads could be anything from pavement to dirt/rock roads. I definitely don't want a road bike with the super thin tires and curved handle bars. I will not be doing any hardcore boulder jumping paths through the forest. I have to confess that after reading many posts throughout this forum I am a little confused as to one's definition of a bike that can handle unpaved roads vs. a mountain bike.

    My price range is really sort of variable. I don't want to spend a lot because I am just getting started. So, $350 or less seems like the best I can do for a decent bike.

    Does this change your recommendations?

    Thank you.

  4. #4
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    For sure I wouldn't get a MTB for the type of riding you describe. Here in central PA we are all about dirt roads and fire roads and chip/tar paths. 700c wheels (road size) with wider tires will be fine. I ride 700x28 slicks on my commuter/family bike (click on the Marin link below) and it does fine on these types of rides. The majority of my rides are road (paved) with some tar and chip and a few excursions on to dirt and gravel and I have no issues. If I was going to do more dirt and gravel I would switch to a cyclocross or touring tire in the 700x32-700x35 range...of course you need to check what fits the bike you get.

    I would definitly go for one of the Trek 7X00 FX line (or similar from another company)...maybe spend a little more on the 7300 FX if you aren't budget limited. Other bikes to look at would be the Specialized Sirrus, Giant FCR 4, Marin Larkspur , Kona Dew.
    Last edited by Grasschopper; 06-04-05 at 08:39 AM.
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  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasschopper
    For sure I wouldn't get a MTB for the type of riding you describe. Here in central PA we are all about dirt roads and fire roads and chip/tar paths. 700c wheels (road size) with wider tires will be fine. I ride 700x28 slicks on my commuter/family bike (click on the Marin link below) and it does fine on these types of rides. The majority of my rides are road (paved) with some tar and chip and a few excursions on to dirt and gravel and I have no issues. If I was going to do more dirt and gravel I would switch to a cyclocross or touring tire in the 700x32-700x35 range...of course you need to check what fits the bike you get.

    I would definitly go for one of the Trek 7X00 FX line (or similar from another company)...maybe spend a little more on the 7300 FX if you aren't budget limited. Other bikes to look at would be the Specialized Sirrus, Giant FCR 4, Marin Larkspur , Kona Dew.
    I know we are (me in particular) are confusing. It's in our (my) nature. Everything Grasschopper says is true. A hybrid can handle mild dirt roads. But there is a line where a hybrid can't go past. Are you sure you never want to go past that line? A mountain bike, like the 3500 can go past that line and do much more. Of course the 3500 has limitations too.

    Think of it this way, to use a car analogy, a hybrid is a pocket SUV like a Rave4. It can do dirt roads that are smooth and it can do pavement but throw in a few ruts and rocks and it can't go any further. The 3500 is like an SUV like a Tahoe, in that it can go further until you get to big rocks, then it can't go further. A full suspension bike like a high dollar Specialized is like a go anywhere Jeep. Not much is going to stop it.

    Now, if you are sure that you will never want to take off down a trail to see where it goes (and you don't have to jump or fall off cliffs to enjoy mountain biking) and you are always going to stick to paved or crushed rock trails, go with the hybrids. They are relatively fast and as fun as any bike. But if you want to expand your horizon just a little, maybe poke into some backwoods areas or climb a bit of a mountain, get the mountain bike. Sure it will be a little slower on the pavement but trust me, the fun factor is a lot higher!

    I have both road and mountain bikes. I love riding them both for very different reasons. The road bikes are great fitness machines and great long distance vehicles. The mountain bikes are great fitness machines also but they are also smile generators! You don't hear people on road bikes whoop and laugh and generally have a good time like you do when you are out mountain biking. It's like being 10 years old again.

    I would suggest finding someplace that rents both kinds of bike. Try each one and see what you think.

    Hope this helps a little.
    Stuart Black
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  6. #6
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    Err I have ridden road bikes on single track. Those bikes I listed (flat bar rigid fork hybrids) aren't going to meet any limitations. What limitations? Traction? Not unless you are in deep mud? Strength? Nope with the exception being low spoke count wheels which is why I prefer a strong higher spoke count wheel. All of these bikes have geometries closer to a MTB than a roadie...they are like 29ers or cyclocross bikes and can handle about anything other than hard core single track and jumping. Of course the Specialized and Giant are a bit more roadie than the others. And if you are going to do most of your riding on pavement or at worst chip and tar they will shine as you fly by all of those people that bought MTBs (of course hard core MTB rider may keep up but not your average rider). I caught up with someone I work with on my commute yesterday and slowed to her pace. She was riding a trek MTB with knobbies and our avg speed...even including the miles I did before I caught up to her (over 1/3 of the total distanct)...was 3-4 MPH slower than I would have done had I ridden it solo. Hey I have a full out roadie, a "hybrid" and a MTB and the one that gets ridden the most for sure is the hybrid.
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    This is all great info!

    Thank you to both of you!

    Another question...I am 5',10.5" tall. I have ridden a Tiburon 17.5" and a 20". If I have a chance to get a used 20" bike do you think that is a good idea? The 17.5" fit a little better, but the 20" was OK.

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    With ut a doubt get a bike that fits properly. I am 5'10" and my Marin is a 17.5" and is perfect...for sure the next size up of that bike wasn't right. DON'T make a compromize in fit to save a couple of dollars...it will cost you in the long run when you realize you made a mistake and get the right one.
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  9. #9
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    Be sure to ride all the options. I rode Trek's 7100, 7200 & 7300 and then bought a Tiburon because it felt so much better to me. Then I swapped out the suspension (seatpost & fork) ... so it cost more in the long run. Now I love the ride tho!!!! I think Fisher now offers their hybrids without the suspension fork. The cheap suspension was just too bouncy for me. I felt like I was bobbing when I hit the front brake. And of course, at that price, it wasn't adjustable. The bike is also lighter without it. I had a shop change the fork and I rode in with the new fork in a box. Coming home the weight of the suspension fork in the box was significantly more.

    I ride Chicago city streets (not very smooth) and all sorts of limestone and dirt paths very comfortably on this bike. Right now it has 35mm tires at 70 psi and the ride is cushy and grabs nicely on grass and all sorts of odd places. I have run 28mm panaracers which are fast and smooth. The Brooks seat provides enough suspension for me.

    Get the bike that talks to you when you test ride it. You'll know it when you ride it because it'll be the one that begs to come home with you. Then you can tweak all sorts of stuff to get your ideal ride. And after that you can start planning your next bike purchase.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasschopper
    Err I have ridden road bikes on single track. Those bikes I listed (flat bar rigid fork hybrids) aren't going to meet any limitations. What limitations? Traction? Not unless you are in deep mud? Strength? Nope with the exception being low spoke count wheels which is why I prefer a strong higher spoke count wheel. All of these bikes have geometries closer to a MTB than a roadie...they are like 29ers or cyclocross bikes and can handle about anything other than hard core single track and jumping. Of course the Specialized and Giant are a bit more roadie than the others. And if you are going to do most of your riding on pavement or at worst chip and tar they will shine as you fly by all of those people that bought MTBs (of course hard core MTB rider may keep up but not your average rider). I caught up with someone I work with on my commute yesterday and slowed to her pace. She was riding a trek MTB with knobbies and our avg speed...even including the miles I did before I caught up to her (over 1/3 of the total distanct)...was 3-4 MPH slower than I would have done had I ridden it solo. Hey I have a full out roadie, a "hybrid" and a MTB and the one that gets ridden the most for sure is the hybrid.
    I hate to continue to confuse the issue but... I know that road bikes can be ridden on single track but they would not be the bike I would choose. We are comparing apples to oranges here because of our different locations however I have ridden in the eastern forest and am somewhat familiar with the issues.

    Limitations (as I see them) of hybrids:

    Gearing. The stock gearing on a hybrid is too high for any but the mildest of singletrack. As soon as the trail turns skyward the bike is sunk. Mountain bikes are geared lower from the showroom which makes them easier for beginners to ride.

    Traction. On a smooth hardpacked trail, a hybrid would do fine. But the tires of those bikes tends to be too narrow for proper grip in sand, mud or loose gravel. Here we have an abundance of sand and loose gravel. Put it on a steep hill and a narrow tire (<1.9" or a 48cm) will break loose and stop you dead. Add that to the higher gearing and you are further limited

    Strength. Not just wheel strength but frame strength. A mountain bike frame is reinforced in different places than a hybrid. The chainstays are stronger, the head tube is gusseted and the frame is usually smaller than a road bike or hybrid. This makes them more capable of taking the pounding that off-road riding demands even if you don't jumps or do drops. The wheels, being smaller are also stronger.

    And, finally speed. Yes, road bike and hybrids are faster but, for a given individual, not that much faster. I commute on a road bike and on a mountain bike. It's hard to compare the speed because I ride trails on the mountain bike on my way to work but there is about a 4mph difference in my speed. I gladly give up those 4 mph's to have the flexibility to go down into the woods and play around. My mountain bike is just plain fun to ride in a way that a road bike just can't match. (I have to compare it to a road bike because I don't have a hybrid )

    A hybrid will do a lot of stuff. A mountain bike will do a lot of stuff too, just differently.
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  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasschopper
    With ut a doubt get a bike that fits properly. I am 5'10" and my Marin is a 17.5" and is perfect...for sure the next size up of that bike wasn't right. DON'T make a compromize in fit to save a couple of dollars...it will cost you in the long run when you realize you made a mistake and get the right one.
    On that I absolutely agree. But be aware that different people can be very different sizes. I'm 5'11" and I ride a 19" mountain bike and a 23" road bike. A 17" frame in anything feels like a kid's bike to me. You want to be able to stand over the bike with both feet flat on the ground and still have 2" of clearance for a road bike and 3-4" if you plan on riding off-road. You don't want to bang the delicate bits
    Stuart Black
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Traction. On a smooth hardpacked trail, a hybrid would do fine. But the tires of those bikes tends to be too narrow for proper grip in sand, mud or loose gravel. Here we have an abundance of sand and loose gravel. Put it on a steep hill and a narrow tire (<1.9" or a 48cm) will break loose and stop you dead. Add that to the higher gearing and you are further limited
    Excellent point. In the snow, which I find to be a bit like sand, I ride a 26" wheeled MTB, albeit with no suspension... and nice knobby tires. I even take that bike if I'm going on a real trail ride. It climbs better and has much better traction.

    Gearing is very easily changed just by swapping a cassette ... but, as you said, "off the showroom floor", the gears are easier on a MTB.

    I'll be the first to admit that my hybrid is kind of roaded up ... I have a cassette on there that is 13-26. I also live in flat Chicago. That with 28mm road tires is a really nice city bike that can take the urban path quite well.

    I think cwemley could easily go either way from what his/her post says about road, paths and some gravel. A hybrid can't jump and a MTB can't fly on pavement. But I do think a hybrid can be pushed pretty far toward being a cyclocross bike or be pushed into being a fairly efficient road ride. Set-up position, gearing and tires are all very easy to change around.

    I feel an echo coming on:

    A hybrid will do a lot of stuff. A mountain bike will do a lot of stuff too, just differently.

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    This is all great input!

    Cyccommute you have some valid points.

    This got me looking at specs again. The Tiburon has a 700X42 tire and the Trek 7200FX has a 700X35 tire. Does this make a huge difference?

    Again traveling on regular (potentially potholed) paved roads and unpaved roads, but no moutain climbing. I may experiment with an MTB at some point.

    Thanks!

    Chip

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    I wouldn't call it huge. It also depends on smoothness and psi (inflation hardness). A smoothish 42 tire with a high psi might even be faster than a knobby 35 w/ less air. It might mean that there is more room for fenders on the Tiburon. But, I imagine both those bikes have plenty of room for fenders.

    What it might mean is that the rims are wider on the Fisher. You may be limited by rim width on how narrow a tire you can run on those rims. Check the rim width for each and then see the range of tire widths that will potentially fit. I'd consider that a potentially limiting factor if you want to go far either direction.

    The Sheldon Brown article on which tire fits which rim:
    http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

    His website has a wealth of information on all matters bicycle.

    Good luck!!

  15. #15
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    On that I absolutely agree. But be aware that different people can be very different sizes. I'm 5'11" and I ride a 19" mountain bike and a 23" road bike. A 17" frame in anything feels like a kid's bike to me. You want to be able to stand over the bike with both feet flat on the ground and still have 2" of clearance for a road bike and 3-4" if you plan on riding off-road. You don't want to bang the delicate bits
    Got to also take into account different geometries. Different companies measure their bikes differently and different geometries can yield a bike of similar fit but with a different size number.

    cwemely - If you can get the Tiburon with a rigid fork that would be a better choice IMO than with the suspension fork. If you have a Kona dealer in your area really take a look at that Dew I linked to and the Marin Larkspur, both are based on MTB designs.

    Edit: ok I now see the link was worng, fixed I believe.
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    Good discussion! Cyccocommute makes some interesting points....ones that are casting doubt on my recent purchase!!!!
    With a 15yo steel Giant MTB, I was ready for something a little more up-to-date and comfortable - hopefully to spur me to get out more often and back into "fighting shape". I kept going back and forth between comfort / hybrid / 700mm / 26". I purchased a Novara XR a couple weeks ago (700mm). I've been hitting the rails to trails by my house and enjoying it.

    However, the other day I went on a section of the trail that was not yet groomed....with my son on his trail-a-bike behind me. All of a sudden I began to wonder whether I made the right choice? Stupid internet..too many choices/information...too easy to reseach and then doubt!

    I was out the other day in the state park by my house (which has a lot of MTB trails), and I longingly looked down the trails but stayed on the groomed paths (not that I've ever really truly mountain biked before).

    Today I was on the rails to trails, and tried to take a path / shortcut back to my house - through the state park. Of course it got too rustic so I backtracked to the path.

    I like the Novara XR, nice componets, good value in REI's sale that just ended. And when I look at where I've ridden over the last 15 years, it's virtually all street and / or path. So why now all of a sudden do I wonder if I should have gotten a mountain bike? I'm not even thinking 26" comfort! .....but comfortable mountain bike! Then maybe add an adjustable stem and a suspension seatpost.....

    Sigh....of, I bought the wife a Novar Metro 700mm bike...one down from the XR...probably perfect for her though!

    I should just stay of the internet and keep riding!

  17. #17
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cz9h3d
    GHowever, the other day I went on a section of the trail that was not yet groomed....with my son on his trail-a-bike behind me. All of a sudden I began to wonder whether I made the right choice? Stupid internet..too many choices/information...too easy to reseach and then doubt!

    I was out the other day in the state park by my house (which has a lot of MTB trails), and I longingly looked down the trails but stayed on the groomed paths (not that I've ever really truly mountain biked before).

    Today I was on the rails to trails, and tried to take a path / shortcut back to my house - through the state park. Of course it got too rustic so I backtracked to the path.

    I like the Novara XR, nice componets, good value in REI's sale that just ended. And when I look at where I've ridden over the last 15 years, it's virtually all street and / or path. So why now all of a sudden do I wonder if I should have gotten a mountain bike? I'm not even thinking 26" comfort! .....but comfortable mountain bike! Then maybe add an adjustable stem and a suspension seatpost.....

    Sigh....of, I bought the wife a Novar Metro 700mm bike...one down from the XR...probably perfect for her though!

    I should just stay of the internet and keep riding!
    This morning I went for a 15 mile ride with my wife and daughter both of whom ride mountain bikes with nonaggressive tires. I rode my Stumpjumper hardtail with semislick off-road tires. After riding with them for about an hour we got back to a trail that has some flat single tracks that follow a creek bottom, so I took of bombing down the trails while they rode the hard surface. I still have a blast doing flat single track and I have since I started riding mountain bikes in '83. I have a whole herd of bikes to choose from and I still take the mountain bike most of the time.
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    Just got back from another ride. If anything, I'm determined to find out if I "like" my Novara XR or not - so at least my obsesiveness might lead to me losing a few pounds! Today I like it! Took paved bike trails to the local soccer fields, rode around....pretty much like I'd expect 90% of my riding to be....and the XR "cross bike" did great! I think I'm determined to just ride the heck out of it. If for some reason I'm biking all the time, and find that it limits me, then I'll just buy another bike (my tires are 700 x 40, could get a more agressive tread too if needed)! At least I'm not in front of the computer when I'm riding! And I still have my 15yo Giant Sedona if I feel the need to hit the single tracks near my house.

    I noticed a comment in the $500 MTB thread that has been one of my objectives when buying my latest bike - I fit more the comfort/cross bike profile, yet don't want to ride a bike that looks like my Grandpa would ride it! But I also don't want a MTB with the seat 12 inches above the handlebar!

    Oh yea, My XR @ $499 ($400 on sale) pales in comparison to a $2800 Stumpjumper!

  19. #19
    But Getting Smaller Bigmark's Avatar
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    I picked up a Tiburon S in March, and in eastern Ohio, the weather has not been to cooperative. I have managed to put just under 300 miles on it, and love every mile. I am 5í 10 also, and go just over 300 pounds. The fork and saddle suspension are always getting a workout, and I am glad I have them. So far I have not found anything about the bike to complain about. It shifting is positive and smooth, and the upright seating is very nice. I have the 17 Ĺ inch, and it is just the right size. I did add toe clips, but that is all it needed.

    Yesterday a friend took his new Trek 7300 for itís first ride, and loved it. It also shifted well, and he also made the comment about how much he liked the suspension. I looked closely at this bike, and the reason I purchased the Tiburon was the shifting. I was not too keen on the twist shift, but he got use to it quickly and had no problem with it. The Trek is also a 24 speed, where the Gary Fisher is a 21 speed. And the Trek has little LED lights in the pedals which I thought was very cool.

    In my humble opinion I think you will do well with either bike. Just try to get tires with the street tread on them, I had the choice in on / off tread, or street tread, and I am glad I chose the street tread.

    Also remember RIDE FOR YOU.
    Mark

  20. #20
    But Getting Smaller Bigmark's Avatar
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    I forgot to add my web address. In the cycling page you can see a good picture of the bike, and the handlebar bag ($6.00) I was looking for one to put sunscreen and my phone wallet, keys, and camera, and found that one at Dickís sports, where I purchased the emergency pump, and patch kit. I had the saddle bag and tool kit already. I road the Stavich trail which is 10 miles out without even a patch kit , which is not the brightest thing I have done. I am wound up today, because my new bike shorts came in, and I want to see how much better they make the ride . Anyhow here is my web address.
    http://users.zoominternet.net/~meisenbraun/cycling.htm

  21. #21
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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    May 2005
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    Fairhaven, Massachusetts
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    Novara Randonee, Felt Z45, Marin Belvedere Commuter
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    I have a Tiberon and highly recommend it. I rode it all winter and now use it for a 10 mile daily commute. I have a road bike that does lots of miles but my tiberon has a lot more hours on it.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

  22. #22
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    I am looking for a hybrid for exercise and recreation. I will use it strictly on paved roads. I have seen the Trek 7300 but not test driven it. Also looked and rode a Cannondale Adventure 800 which I liked but its a bit pricey. The front forks and seat springs are important to me as I am very senior. Any advice will be appreciated.

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