Re-entry n00b needs bike advice...
I've just recently started riding again, currently on a 2002 Trek Clyde cruiser/hybrid type bike.
I'm in the market for something different. My Trek has the internal geared 4 speed Nexus hub. This is fine for bike trails, but leaves something to be desired on the road. It also has wide, low pressure tires that seem to have a lot of rolling resistance.
My confusion is on what type of bike to get. I'm comfortable on the more upright hybrid/mountain bike position. A friend who's experienced says that I should get a pure road bike, but I'm not sure I'd like the drop bars. To me the fitness/hybrids with 700c wheels seem to be a good compromise? I expect my riding to be mostly on paved & smooth dirt trails. But the ride to the nearest trail is 14 miles round trip with some hills. So good road performance is needed also.
My favorite so far (haven't rode it yet) is the Trek FX fitness series. They seem to have a nice spread of gearing & a decent riding position.
What are the main uses and your budget
First, I think that the faster, lighter, more "fitness" or "urban road bike" generally styles are the best bets in new bikes for under $750. However, I gotta ask what kind of riding you used to do and just how upright you feel you need to ride, as well as how long your rides are and whether you plan to commute or go way off road in the next few years?
If you rode road bikes when you were younger, you may find the call of speed beckoning you and may be happiest with drop bars after you get used to riding more. Personally, that's where my incremental increase in bikiing led me last fall. But whether you go with a drop bar bike (look for bars that can be adjust to seat level, making the tops much like flat bars on a fitness bike and the hoods much like bar end extentions, but giving you drop for a head wind or just a fun sprint) or flat bars (make sure you *** bar ends on them), be sure to avoid getting a hybrid with suspension unless you want ride very rough trails.
Some bikes I'd suggest looking at are the Trek FX, the Jamis Coda, the Giant FCR and the Specialized Cirrus. All much better hybrid choices for the mixed road and path rider than the heavy supensioned bike I bought a couple years ago. For entry level drop bar bikes Trek Pilot and Giant OCR offer more comfortable geometry than most. The Pilot especially can get the bars up to saddle height. Better yet, Cyclocross oriented all-purpose bikes like the Kona Jake or my girlfriend's Bianchi Volpe are what I'd call the ultimate "serious rider's hybrid". I mostly ride a Bianchi Axis now that I picked up used.
In the 'old' days I rode quite a bit, both road & off-road. But was nothing more then an average rider. Now I see myself doing mostly short (25-35 mile) fitness/mental health rides. No commuting, touring, centuries, etc.
Going to a few LBS today. My friend also recommended looking at mid-range cyclocross stuff, he says that's all he has for a bike now (he was a high-level racer in his younger days). Kinda' the best of both worlds.
Originally Posted by pHunbalanced
One good thing about your decision is that you can change it down the road if your biking style/routine changes. I've got bikes for just about every scenario. And I love the variety. Bikes aren't that expensive, and they can pay for themselves if you substitute them for a car sometimes.
So, buy the nice hybrid/fitness/flat bar road bike now and down the road if you think you need/want a road bike, then either sell the old one and get a new one, or just buy the new one. Hybrids are about the most versatile style of bike out there, so they are a great "I don't know what kind of bike I want" bike. They work pretty well for everything. On the other hand, road bikes are about the most single purpose bikes there are. Great for their intended purpose, but not near as versatile as a hybrid.
Well, impatience won again.
I went to the LBS & rode a few Trek's. Ending up with a Trek Pilot 1.2. I had a hard time deciding between the 1.2 & the higher priced 2.1. After riding both twice, I actually liked the 1.2 better, even though it was $500 cheaper.
Figured I have my old bike for short rides & rougher terrain. The salesperson at the LBS explained that the Pilot series has more relaxed geometry & a taller headstock then traditional road bikes. Works for me.
And I was really glad I went to a LBS. They really know their stuff & were very helpful. Looked at Trek's at a 'big box' sporting goods store also. Their salespeople were polite & all, but just didn't offer much help on fitting my needs.
I hope you love it
Last onth when my girlfriend was bike shopping, it came down to the Pilot 1.2 WSD vs the Eros Donna vs the Volpe. The Volpe won out as it is set up better for touring and that way I wouldn't have to carry the whole load, but she thought the Pilot 1.2 was the most fun. It seems like a really sensible road bike with very smart geometry for non-racer riders. I think half the people who ride more race-geometry type bikes would be happier in the long run with something like the Pilot. Smart buy IMHO.
Did a 30-mile break-in ride last night on the Trek Pilot 1.2.
Damn, I like it. A road bike sure has its advantages over my 4-speed cruiser.
I was afraid that road bike geometry would be too aggressive for my tastes, but the Pilot is perfect. I might actually get back in to shape now!
Last edited by Too Many Toys; 06-25-06 at 04:05 PM.