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  1. #1
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    Need Advice on Bike Purchase

    hi everyone!

    i recently made the decision to research the purchase of a new bike in order to join this exciting sport of cycling. it all started when my wife was given a bike by one of her family members that could not use it ( a Schwinn single speed cruiser, 2 year old model). she has enjoyed so far riding it around our subdivision and i want to buy a bike so we can ride together and expand our travels.

    here is my question, i need a little help in narrowing down my research. we plan to ride mainly on paved roads and streets as well as paved bike paths at some of our local state parks. i've talked to a friend that suggested that i look at "hybrid" or "comfort" type bikes. another factor to consider is that i am 6 feet 6 inches tall. what actually is the rule of thumb for fitting the size of a bike frame according to one's height? also what brands/models does anyone have experience with that would fit my needs. i stumbled upon the Trek website and looked at the 7300 & 7500 hybrid. any other brands with similar models that may fit the bill? i am probably working on a $500 budget for the bike.

    thanks to all for taking the time to read and respond.

  2. #2
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    Hybrid bikes are fine for general purpose riding on roads and well prepared trails. People use them for commuting and touring as well.
    The rule of thumb for bike sizing is to stand over the horizontal "top tube" and have about 1-3" of clearance. Its OK to have more space.
    The other dimension that is probably more important is the length of the bike, from saddle to bars. Larger bikes are longer, so pick a size which allows you to ride in a comfortable position, not too stretched out, and not too upright.

    It is more importatnt to pick a good bike shop that you like, than any particular brand. They will help you pick out the right size. All the main brands, Trek, Giant whatever make good bikes in this price range.

    For a big guy, fat-tubed Aluminium frames are probably best. Look for wheels with lots of spokes, 36 rather than 32 for extra stength.
    "Comfort" bikes are usually designed with low grade suspension and are heavy and inefficient compared to less complicated designs. You really dont need suspension for the riding style you mention.

    You may find that your hybrid bike is a lot more efficient than your wifes heavy singlespeed, and you may want to consider getting her something better for longer rides.

  3. #3
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Another good option is an entry-level mtn bike with "slicks' (street tires).

    You didn't mention your weight, but I would guess it is a fair amount if you are so tall. A mtn bike is a good bet to handle weight well.

    Your best bet is a good LBS (local bike shop) who will listen to you. If they don't ask you about your riding desires, skill, etc., then go somewhere else.

    A good bike fit is really important.

    And, it will probably be about one day until you outride your wife in her "comfort" bike.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ChiliDog's Avatar
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    I am about to purchase a 2002 Trek 7300 for just the reasons you state. I mainly ride a road bike (Specialized Allez), but I want another bike for casual riding on rougher roads and some light trail.

    Hybrids vary, so be studious. Some have 700cc (larger) wheels, others have 26" wheels (like mountain bikes). There are other differences among them as well. For casual riding this will not make much difference to you, but if you wanted to start riding a little farther and faster for fitness workouts, the 700 will offer you a chance to put a skinnier, higher pressure tire on it, which may or may not make a bit of difference to you in the long run!

    I'd suggest looking at Trek's 7000 series and the 7500fx and 7700fx. Also Specialized Sirrus, Crossroads, Expedition and Sequoia. Cannondale has the Adventure 400 and Silk Adventure bikes which are nice. Bianchi, Jamis, Giant, Raleigh, Diamondback, and many others have "hybrids" and "comfort bikes".

    I'd say hit the local bike shops and start test riding. Your initial impression of what you want may change the more you look and ride. Good luck!
    Ride like a kid again...out the door, not a care in the world~

    2005 Trek 7300fx; 2010 Fuji Saratoga 1.0 crank forward

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by DnvrFox
    Another good option is an entry-level mtn bike with "slicks' (street tires).

    You didn't mention your weight, but I would guess it is a fair amount if you are so tall. A mtn bike is a good bet to handle weight well.

    Your best bet is a good LBS (local bike shop) who will listen to you. If they don't ask you about your riding desires, skill, etc., then go somewhere else.

    A good bike fit is really important.

    And, it will probably be about one day until you outride your wife in her "comfort" bike.
    what features found on a mountain bike (not found on a hybrid) would benefit my physical build. i'm 6'6", 255 lbs.

    thanks

  6. #6
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Trailblazer
    what features found on a mountain bike (not found on a hybrid) would benefit my physical build. i'm 6'6", 255 lbs.

    thanks
    1. They generally have 36 spoke wheels, not 32 or less.

    2. They are built to take heavy use such as you might have with typical use of a mtn bike. Therefore, the frames are generally quite strong, which would be beneficial for your weight.

    Certainly a hybrid would work for you. But, you might also want to look at a mtn bike.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  7. #7
    Just Say No to 26" Wheels
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    "what features found on a mountain bike (not found on a hybrid) would benefit my physical build. i'm 6'6", 255 lbs."

    Another viable option is a bike designed for a Clydesdale (over 6 foot and over 200 pounds). Gary Fisher makes a series of mountain bikes called Two-Niners (mounted tire size equals 29 inches). I mention him because it is the first US production company to have that size bike in production (this being the second year of his Two-Niner series). These are mountain bikes that use 700c rims, but run the nice fat tires for mountain bikes (knobbies, semi-slicks and slicks available). I would assume that you would take the XL frame size and be able to dial in the fit perfectly with the proper stem and handlebar for your riding position preferences.

    Other companies make 29" mountain bikes as well. Surly makes a nice chromoly frame called the Karate Monkey (comes with rigid fork) that you can build up as a hybrid, a mountain bike with gears, a single speeed and it won't set you back too much in price. You can view it here:

    http://www.surlybikes.com/frames/karatemonkey.htm

    If doing a build such as this (or another custom frame maker) - choosing sturdy hubs and rims would be a must for your weight.

    Going back to a 26" wheeled mountain bike and features that might be good for your size would be the ability to choose rims, hubs and a lacing pattern that you would not be able to destruct. There are also a plethora of suspension forks that are targeted at your weight and size. A lot of the components used in Freeride and Downhill mountain biking are used for Clydesdales to insure a durable bike that can handle the load.

    BB

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