Giant FCR Series
I wanted to post a review on the purchase of my new FCR namely because when I was trying to decide which bike I wanted and was looking for thoughts on the FCR, information was pretty rare. I'm assuming that's because the FCR series is new for this year.
Anyway when I first went out looking for a bike, I decided that I wanted a true hybrid. We live next to a big park that has some choppy paved roads and I figured most of our day to day riding would be there with some quick rides just around the block.
I budgeted out about $500 for the bike give or take a little depending on how much more I liked a particular bike. I set did my customary tons of research (I am a fanatic about research, reviews and information when I purchase anything) and narrowed down my choices to the Giant Cypress, Trek 7xxx, and Specialized Crossroads lines. These bikes seemed to be very well regarded, had the upright riding style, suspension forks and more comfortable riding feel that I thought that would suit me well at the price point I was looking for (actually cheaper than I budgeted).
First I went to the local Giant dealer. The owner was a fantastic guy. Very likeable, very knowledgeable. I could tell he was a serious riding enthusiast. I wasn't sure what I wanted exactly but figured I would ride more of the road bike first to make sure that wasn't what I wanted. I ended up trying the OCR 4. This was the first time I really rode a bike since HS. I had rented a few hybrids on some vacations over the last couple years (I think they were Trek 7xxx now that I think about it) but other than that, was pretty new to the recent advancements in bikes over the years.
That being said, the OCR 4 was brutal on my ride around the block. I could feel every bump, crack an surface irregularity on the pavement in what seemed to be the back of my skull. These were the kinds of roads I figured I would predominantly be riding on so I immediately brought the bike back and "X'ed out that model from my choices.
My gf is very small and the only bike that the lbs had in her size was a Giant mtn bike that she felt was sluggish and heavy. The lbs told us he would get a Giant Cypress for her to ride the following day so we decided to come back the next day and try it out (He had a Cypress for me that wasn't built).
The next morning before heading off to the Giant lbs we decided to stop by the local Trek dealership and try the 7xxx series hybrids. The dealer was a slimey used car salesman type that immediately made us uncomfortable with his pushy style. I test rode the 7100 and my gf test rode the 7000 women's.
We both thought the bikes were sluggish. The frames felt heavy and the gear shifting and components felt shoddy. I rode the 7200 afterwards and the components felt a little better but the brakes were off and the frame still felt sluggist and heavy. We also tried the Specialized Crossroads and liked it better than the Trek bikes.
We left to return to the Giant dealer. We got on our Cypress DX bikes and immediately loved them. The frames felt lightweight and nimble compared to both the Specialized and especially the Trek. The components felt solid, the brakes stopped quickly and the shifting felt smooth. The Giant dealer didn't mess around offering us both bikes for a very low price and with no tax. I think he made an error in calculation and seemed to regret saying it after the fact but we took him up on it and bought the bikes on the spot. I thought about paying another $80 or so for the LX but I didn't think another $80 was worth it for basically disc brakes. For some reason the Giant Website lists the Cypress DX with the Shimano Acera derailer and the LX with the Shimano Alivio derailer but both my DX and my gf's DX both came with Alivio derailers. Go figure.
We rode the bikes around and have really enjoyed them. They ride extremely comfortably and the suspension fork definitely makes a big difference in terms of comfort on roads that are anything that perfectly smoothed pavement. The bikes feel surprisingly light and nimble for hybrid bikes and the upright riding style makes you feel you can cruise around forever.
My friend purchased a Specialized Sirrus that I test rode. The bike definitely felt harsher over bumps with it's rigid fork but not uncomfortably so like my initial ride with the Giant OCR did. The bike did have the upright handlebars though not the risers so I was able to ride upright but with my back slightly arched. But the narrower tires and lighter frame made the bike feel MUCH more faster and the handling felt much quicker. So - I decided to go back to my Giant lbs and try out the FCR series. I rode the FCR 4 which only confirmed my earlier ride on the Sirrus. The bike was so much lighter and nimble than my Cypress. It was rough over bumps but the Comp fork did a decent job soaking them up so that it wasn't unbearable.
I test rode the FCR 3 and the components were head and shoulders better than the FCR 4. The price differential was substantial but knowing what an upgrade freak I am about basically anything I buy - I knew that I would be combing the internet for shifter, derailer and other component upgrades by 12pm next week. Taking that into consideration, the extra couple hundred dollars (My dealer was offering a similar great deal on the swap) - I decided to go for the FCR 3 now.
So I made the move and am very happy with the bike. The FCR 3 has a very light frame. It is essentially a road bike with upright handlebars and slightly wider tires (700 x 28). I'm trying to adjust to the more hunched over position and the seat is so hard it's almost unbearable but otherwise I love the bike and prefer it over the Speciaized Sirrus.