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  1. #1
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    about to buy a bike - a question

    Uncle Sam treated me well on my tax return and I'd like to finally buy a bike. My goals are to get in better CV shape and to have fun. I also have 2 kids (ages 3 and 1) and would like to include them too.

    I have looked at a few hybrid/comfort bikes at my LBS (Raleigh C40, Specialized Crossroads Sport, and Trek 7200). I enjoyed my test ride on the Trek 7200. I have also looked at a Burley D-lite trailer to pull the kiddos in behind when they come too.

    I foresee that I will be riding mostly on asphalt recreational trails (there's a nice 12.5 mile trail with a trailhead less than 2 miles from my door) but would like the chance to do some non-paved riding, though admittedly I'm less familiar with these opportunities in my area.

    I wonder if I should get that Trek 7200, or if I would do better with one of their models more attuned to road riding (I think called FX)? Are they much different?

  2. #2
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    I've got nothing useful to tell you, but TTT anyway. I have similar questions.
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  3. #3
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    What's your age, weight/fitness goals, and budget?

    I always shy away from hybrid/comfort bikes. To me, the name (comfort) is a give away that it's for comfort, not fitness.

    I've tried mountain bikes but don't like them.

    If you're as young as I'm suspecting go for a decent road bike.

    Pulling a trailer will definitely get you into shape.
    In the summer of 2003, one of our members (SamDaBikinMan) would ride with me while pulling a trailer and I had a hard time keeping up with him.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

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  4. #4
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    I bought a Trek 7200 this Spring. I'm really happy with it. I do most of my riding on a bike path. 15-20 miles with no problems. I bought the deep blue-silver model. I paid $349 plus tax. Good price, it is MSRP'd at $379. I never rode the FX, so I can't comment on that.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH
    What's your age, weight/fitness goals, and budget?

    I always shy away from hybrid/comfort bikes. To me, the name (comfort) is a give away that it's for comfort, not fitness.

    I've tried mountain bikes but don't like them.

    If you're as young as I'm suspecting go for a decent road bike.

    Pulling a trailer will definitely get you into shape.
    In the summer of 2003, one of our members (SamDaBikinMan) would ride with me while pulling a trailer and I had a hard time keeping up with him.
    I'm 32, thin, but not in good CV shape. I'm trying to spend less than $400 on the bike, because that trailer is expensive (about $400), and I foresee accessory costs also (helmet, possibly car rack). My wife is starting to come around to the idea also, so potentially there may be another bike purchase.

    I've heard that road bikes are more expensive than hybrids.

  6. #6
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    I always shy away from hybrid/comfort bikes. To me, the name (comfort) is a give away that it's for comfort, not fitness.
    OK, I'll buy that, but then what is the difference? What, specifically, makes that hybrid bike less suited to fitness? I could understand "less suited for speed," 'cause I assume the angle at which you're sitting, the height of the bars, and maybe the weight and such could be be better optimized for maximum power at minimum weight, and then you'd have a "road bike." But how does that negatively impact fitness? Are you thinking I'd ride harder on a faster bike, or is there something else?

    I don't mean to sound argumentative. I genuinely don't know what I'm doing.
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  7. #7
    But Getting Smaller Bigmark's Avatar
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    I always shy away from hybrid/comfort bikes. To me, the name (comfort) is a give away that it's for comfort, not fitness
    “fit•ness (f t n s)

    NOUN:
    Good health or physical condition, especially as the result of exercise and proper nutrition.”

    Why doesn’t a hybrid fit this category?

    I can tell everyone that since I have been riding my hybrid I have noticed a huge difference in my “fitness” I admit I have only been riding since the start of this season, but the improvements are undeniable. Yes, I have changed my diet, but I did that in January. I purchased my Gary Fisher in March, and have been riding as much as the weather and my schedule will allow. I have over 300 miles, and I have noticed huge changes in my riding ability. I no longer sound like a steam train going up hills, yea the huffing is still there, it just isn’t audible from 2 counties away. I am no physician, but any time you increase your hart rate for an extended period of time you are increasing your fitness. The more this is done the more fit you will become.

    Now I agree that a Hybrid bike increases your drag, and your speed will suffer, but to me who cares. I am out for exercise, and I am getting it. I probably will never ride another century, but that is not what I am working for. I am looking to increase my hart rate for an extended period of time while enjoying what I am doing. And yes I am comfortable while I am at it. I have ridden my son’s road bike, and in my physical condition, that bike is not for me.

    To say you will not increase your fitness while riding a hybrid bike is just not true. If you drop me an e-mail I will be glad to send you my charts that prove riding has increased my fitness.

    Anyhow like I said I ride a Gary Fisher Tiburon, and as of yet have had no problems with it. My cycling page has a good write up on the bike, and how I feel about it.
    ~~"Get on your bikes and ride!"~~
    Working to be JustMark

  8. #8
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    I've bought a few recently and as stated before in any given price range there is very little difference in componentry between brands. I would stay away from the comfort but gravitate to the hybrids. The comforts appear to be more set up for a slow ride in the neighborhood. Fit, test ride, LBS service and what you prefer for some options are the big things. Bought an '04 Fisher Zebrano last year, put 1100 miles on it, liked it worked good, LBS replaced noisy bottom bracket under warranty. Got stolen. Bought a new '02 Raleigh C500 on ebay over winter. cranked fork as tight as it goes, put 700X25 street tires on it, replaced seat and post. Like it better than the Fisher, better components, faster (could be the year of riding in too) smoother. currently 600+ on it. Bought my 13 YO boy a Trek 7100 last year had LBS swap out the twist shifters for trigger and he likes it and it hasn't had any problems that weren't teen inflicted. My ex has a '02 Marin San Rafeal she loves and has had few problems with over 2.5K miles. All were in the $300-400 range.

    I would also say you really don't need the suspension forks for most asphalt/packed gravel trails and would look at the FX treks for that reason. If I hadn't been looking on ebay for a deal and went to my LBS for a new bike I would have gotten a solid fork. Fortunately the one I have can be adjusted pretty tight. Pulling the trailer will really raise your fitness especially on hills. I really notice when I'm dragging my 6 YO on the tag a long up hills (could be the pack a day yet too).

  9. #9
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    If my experience is any indication, hybrids are great for fitness. They're light enough so that you dont' ache all over after your ride. Since your body provides most of the resistance, it matters little which bike you buy from a fitness standpoint. Other considerations become more important -- how much you want to pay, where you will ride, what brands your favorite LBS carries etc.

    If its fitness you're after, I would strongly recommend the Wal-Mart Roadmaster Mt Fury (I own that too). By the time you get used to lugging 40 pounds of hi-ten steel, you will have buns of steel too :-))

  10. #10
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    I don't think I would want the front suspension. I sat on something with the front suspension at a Dick's here and although I didn't ride it, it sure felt loose to me.

    Jvenugop, I've already got a cheap POS I can ride. At 315 lbs., I don't think the weight is that relevant to what I want to do either way. I mean, what's it really going to benefit me if I get a bike that's ten pounds lighter?
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  11. #11
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maythurner
    I've heard that road bikes are more expensive than hybrids.
    What's the old saying? "You get what you pay for."
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

    I thought of that while riding my bicycle -- Albert Einstein

  12. #12
    But Getting Smaller Bigmark's Avatar
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    Friday I got of work at noon, and my 15 year old got off at 1, so we loaded up the bikes, and headed to a favorite trail. We punched out 20.01 miles at a 13.86 MPH pace. It was a good workout. I noticed he was in dire need of new tires, so we headed to Boardman Cycle Sales, and grabbed 2 new tires, and another water bottle rack with a down bar attachment, (Zach’s Schwinn only had pins for 1 rack) We put them on, and I repacked his wheel bearings. Saturday we hit the Metropark trail, and I told him not to pace with me, with a smile he left me behind. (he would pace with me to be kind) I put on my tunes, and off I went. I didn’t feel that great, but I was pushing along. We passed while I was heading south (My web page has a link to the Metropark map) I turned and headed north. I was about a half mile to the north end when he passed me going south. We butted fists and kept on. I made my turn, and headed back south. I was about 2 miles to the end when we made our last pass, and I got back to the end, and turned to go back to the trail head. By now I was huffing pretty well, and my legs were burning. I got back to the car, where Zach was stretching, and did my math. 20 mph at 14.12 mph! Not bad for a 41 year old 306pound guy. But I did Zach’s math, and he punched the trail out with an impressive 17.98mph. That was a great ride for a 15 year old on an old Schwinn Sprint.

    Anyhow, 20 miles at 14.12 mph defiantly gave me a good workout.
    ~~"Get on your bikes and ride!"~~
    Working to be JustMark

  13. #13
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maythurner
    Uncle Sam treated me well on my tax return and I'd like to finally buy a bike. My goals are to get in better CV shape and to have fun. I also have 2 kids (ages 3 and 1) and would like to include them too.
    . . .
    Last year my aunt gave me a trailer she had used with her daughter. I took out my 15 year old bike and started pulling my two daughters (they were 1 and 3 last year). They loved it. Definitely start your new exercise regime like this. Definitely get a bike for your wife so that you can have family outings. We have a lot of fun doing family rides like this ending with a picnic somewhere.

    My 15 year old bike was just not going to cut it (I did not oil the chain once when I was a kid) so I opted to buy a hardtail mountain bike as I wanted to start real mountain biking and have also joined a club. I have even opted to commute to work 1 to 2 days a week when I don't have to pick-up/drop-off my kids at grandma's.

    For leisure rides a mountain bike will be fine but if you want to start doing longer rides (commutes) it may not be the best option but this is primarily because of the knobbie tires. What I did was to buy a set of slicks that I switch as needed.
    First Class Jerk

  14. #14
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    So I went ahead and bought the bike. A Trek 7200 with a Burley D-lite trailer. I also picked up a Thule Speedway 3 bike trunk rack. My 3 year-old is ecstatic, my 1 year old enjoys riding shorter rides; she may need to be a little older to have the attention span needed to be belted in for longer rides.

    I've been out 3 times, always with the trailer and 2 kids, and not for very long yet (35-40 minutes was the longest. I have been impressed with how easily I can throw the bike on the trunk rack and toss the trailer in the trunk and drive to the trailhead. Putting it all together takes literally about 3-4 minutes and we're off and riding.

    I can tell that this will help my fitness quite a bit. Towing 2 kiddos up a hill is tough stuff. So anyway, I've enjoyed all 3 products in the short time that I've had them, and am looking forward to longer rides with either just me on the bike or me pulling just my 3 year-old.

  15. #15
    Senior Member va_cyclist's Avatar
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    I personally like hybrid bikes for the type of riding you're describing, and they also work better for hauling trailers than pure road bikes.

    There doesn't look to be a great deal of difference between the Trek 7200 and 7200 FX other than a few component changes (shifters, handlebar, seat) and $30.00 in price.

  16. #16
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    The main differences between the 7200 and 7200FX are the solid fork and trigger shifters, and $30 less for the FX. Those were all plusses for me. Oh, the FX also has a different saddle.

  17. #17
    But Getting Smaller Bigmark's Avatar
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    You will have a blast, and when your kids get older, they will say, “Remember when you would haul us all over with your bike, that was fun.”
    Times spent with kids are the best of times.
    ~~"Get on your bikes and ride!"~~
    Working to be JustMark

  18. #18
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmark
    You will have a blast, and when your kids get older, they will say, “Remember when you would haul us all over with your bike, that was fun.”
    Times spent with kids are the best of times.
    I love taking my daughters out on the trailer. I know how fleeting these moments are which is why I enjoy them to the max.
    First Class Jerk

  19. #19
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Hybrids are not the same as comfort bikes. In fact, from my point of view they are the best for fitness (the Trek FX series are actually labelled as being "for fitness" or so). Road bikes are great for, well, the road, but will fail miserably on an unpaved trail. Mountain bikes are great on the trail, but sluggish on the asphalt. A hybrid is by definition a cross of the two and provides the best of both worlds the way I see it. I won't trade my hybrid for a road bike or for an MTB if you paid me to do it!

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