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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Surly Girly Yen's Avatar
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    Shopping for a new bike

    I'm looking for a new bike after years of not riding at all. I enjoy walking and would like to add cycling for recreation and fitness. I'd like an all-around bike with upright seating to eliminate neck strain. We don't plan to do any (or much) off-road riding or racing or marathon events at this time. We'd just like a couple of good bikes to take off on a ride on a nice Sunday afternoon, or take to the beach or on vacation, or wherever we go for long or short rides. From what I've read and heard so far, a hybrid seems to best fit the type of bike I'm looking for, but I'm open to other suggestions.

    Today we visited 3 bike shops in our area. We were impressed with the Trek bikes and I left there with my thoughts on the Trek 7500. After doing a little on-line research, I've read very good things about the Trek FX series.

    We are not stuck on Trek, we'd consider anything that fits our needs and is a good, solid reliable bike. I prefer to buy a little more than I'll initially use so I can grow into the bike as my fitness improves.

    Can you suggest a good, all-around bike that fits this description?

    So glad I found this place!

    Thanks,
    Yen (aka Jen)

  2. #2
    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    get a breezer its an easy bike to ride and very comfortable kinda like that old three speed you had as a kid
    I am dyslexic so bear with my posts.... [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3
    Yen
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    A Breezer, eh? I've never heard of it but just Googled and found a site with pictures and lots of good testimonials. Not sure though of the handlebars are right for me.

    I don't want a Comfort bike, and not a mountain bike either, but something in between (a hybrid??).

    I need to add that I need handlebars that don't put too much weight on my wrists. I have a prosthesis in my left wrist that prevents it from extending as much as most people's. I've learned to live with it over the years, but it can get sore and stiff if I rest on it. Today I rode a few bikes with either flat or upright handle bars they felt very comfortable.... of course those were short test drives though.

    Jen

  4. #4
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    What you described is a hybrid. In the Trek lineup the 7300 or 7500 would be a conventional hybrid, while the 7.3 FX or 7.5FX would a fitness bike. What's the difference? The fitness bike will not have suspension and will have a somewhat more athletic riding position. I personally don't like suspension on a road bike, but if the roads are really bad in your area or if you have a medical condition where the jostling of an unsuspended bike is uncomfortable, it may be good for you.
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    I would suggest renting several brands and models of bikes over the next few weeks/months and taking them on a typical excursion you expect to ride. A particular brand and/or handlebar may be comfortable for short tips but could become a killer/very uncomfortable on longer excursions.

    Plenty of upright models to choose from...Giant, Fuji, Cannondale, Specialized, etc etc...and you'll find supporters for whatever brand and style and some may come with disc brakes or suspension. It may be blasphemy to some, but adjusting the seat to below the handlebars on some bikes can achieve the riding position that is most comfortable for you...it's going to be your bike afterall and you are the one that is going to enjoy riding it. Don't forget to check out the internal geared/hub bikes for easier shifting/gear selection (esp at a stop).

  6. #6
    Senior Citizen DiRt DeViL's Avatar
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    Hybrid!!!
    "Life is not like a box of chocolates ...
    it's more like a jar of jalapenos.
    Whatever you do today,
    may burn your ass tomorrow."


  7. #7
    Senior Member Woodlark's Avatar
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    Consider a Crank Forward bike such as a Rans Fusion. They are really comfortable to ride and your weight is not on your wrists. I went through the same process as you are going through in the past few months and am really glad I ended up with a Fusion.
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  8. #8
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    Since crank forwards are suggested, you could also look at recumbents. My neighbor has some medical issues also (back or neck, I forget). She really enjoys hers. I think it is a RANS also, but there are a number of manufacturers. They really are quite comfortable.

    Write back with what you pick.

    Good Luck.

  9. #9
    Yen
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    Thanks everyone. After riding many different bikes over the weekend and really enjoyed the following:
    Cannondale (Adventure or Weekend Warrior) w/Armadillo tires
    Specialized Crossroads
    Kona Dew Deluxe
    Giant Cypress

    We both felt most comfortable and had the most fun on the bikes with upright bars and wider seats due to our wrist and shoulder problems (though my husband really likes Cannondale Road Warrior ). At 50+, I felt like a kid again (whhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! ). When I think about how I felt, I want to go out and ride, and ride, and ride. That seems to indicate that the upright geometry is right for me. But..... which type of tire is best for our all-around goals? We know we do not want a cruiser or recumbant. What we want is something between a cruiser and a mountain bike.

    We know we want a bike for everything from relaxing jaunts around the neighborhood (when time is limited) to longer rides for miles, including neighborhood hills when our leg muscles are stronger (where'd they go???), everything from easy recreation to longer fitness rides, but no mountain biking (and probably very little off-road unless we come upon a trail while riding on a road). We live in the foothills with inclines of various degrees but also flat streets. There are local bike trails and streets with bike lanes. Basically, we want an all-round bike with an upright position.

    Would any or all of the above bikes be suitable for hilly areas?

    I am so overwhelmed with the choices and afraid of making the wrong one. I'm afraid if I get fatter tires I'll wish later they were thinner so I could go faster. Yet, speed is not one of our priorities (at least not at this time). I'm afraid if we get thinner tires we'll wish we got fatter tires.

    Tho' the salepeople at every LBS said we could swap out a flat road-bike type bar for an upright bar with an adjustable stem if necessary (plus a wider comfortable seat), I wonder if this is commonly done or if it is better to buy a bike that comes with those items instead.

    I just want to stress that we want to do a lot more than just ride around the neighborhood, but are not concerned about speed as much as efficiency and riding for fun and fitness.

    If anyone has any comments on the above bikes I'd love to hear 'em.

    Jen

  10. #10
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    They'd all probably do fine for your use. The most important thing is to find one you're comfortable on. If you like the upright riding position of a comfort bike, then get one. If you'd like a more athletic stance, go with the Road Warrior or Dew Deluxe. As far as tire size goes, I believe all those bikes use 700C wheels. If you get a bike with wide tires, you can put smaller ones on if you want them. The opposite isn't always the case, as a bike set up for smaller tires may not have frame clearance for wider tires. While narrower tires are generally faster, that is more important the faster you are. For those of us who are a little older, we're not that fast anyway and it is not as important.

    On that climbing thing: The best bike to get up a hill is the lightest one. Weight overrules anything else, as wind and rolling resistance aren't that much of a factor at climbing speeds. Since a bike without suspension is generally lighter, the Road Warrior or Dew Deluxe would probably be better climbers. However, if you're not comfortable on that style, you'll probably never ride the bike enough to find out how well it climbs. As the roadies say, it's 10% bike, 90% motor. (That's you.)

    Which brings me to my last point: If you like the bike and it makes you want to ride, that's the best one for you. If it's the more comfort bike style that you feel good about, get the Adventure or the Crossroads or the Cypress. You might be 1 mph slower than you would on the Road Warrior or the Dew Deluxe - so what? You're still a lot faster than you would be if you were not riding at all, which you probably won't be if you get a bike you're not comfortable on. On the other hand, if you are more athletic and plan to be riding a little more aggressively, then the Road Warrior and Dew Deluxe are better choices. But, given a choice between getting what you now you want now versus what you might think you want in a year or two, get what makes you feel good now.
    Last edited by FormerFF; 03-19-07 at 09:45 PM.
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  11. #11
    Yen
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    Thank you for the additional excellent advice. Now that I have them narrowed down, I want to ride them again in one single day and see which one suits me best. Then I will be ready to buy.

    Jen

  12. #12
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    The Cannondale and Giant, depending on the model #, has the widest range of gearing...so you can go up hills easier and go fast on flats.

    Would ask the LBS if they could mount Armadillos or Schwalbe Marathon or Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires on the bikes you end up buying. Flats are something you would want to minimize happening on your excursions since both of you have some physical handicap that may cause some difficulty in changing tubes.

    North Road handlebars would probably be the most comfortable for you. They come in several widths...from 22" to 27" wide.

    Saddles/seats are a personal preference and you just have to find one that fits you and is comfortable. Price may not be a factor in saddle selection either. I know a few women that preferred a $17.00 Amazon.Com Schwinn Adult Ergonomic Bicycle Saddle or pillow top saddle over their $70.00 Brooks B17 saddle...so it all depends on each individual. The main thing is not feeling that the seat is assaulting your body on longer rides.

  13. #13
    Yen
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    What about a road bike with comfort bars, an adjustable stem, and a comfortable saddle like those found on the comfort bikes? After reading some of the posts I'm afraid we will want more out of them in a few years if we want to go further or faster. But, we can't be sure of that without riding them first. If we buy a comfort bike like the ones I mentioned above (except for the Dew Deluxe which is a different classification) and in a year or so want it to go faster or be more versatile, can we just swap some components, add a new seat and new bars, and have the best of both worlds? Is it that simple, or would we need to buy new bikes?

    We will go shopping again this weekend..... can't wait!

    Jen

  14. #14
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    Plenty of people have switched out stems and dropbars on their road bikes to alternative choices. It's fitting all the components on the new handlebars that could be a challenge. It's a bit like cars and one can customise and/or replace parts to fit their personal preferences. The bike brands and models you mentioned should be able handle almost any riding condition or distance without a problem and are very versatile/all-around bikes. As I mentioned before, saddles/seats are a very personal thing, every body is different, and people have different thresholds and opinions on what is comfortable for them. In the end, it's up to the individual to determine what is right/best for them and if they enjoy riding their bikes.

    You seem to have a good idea what you like and what you want the bike to do. Now it comes down to making the purchasing decision. Your LBS seems to be very helpful and accommodating too....by their willingness to tailor the bike to your specs. Personally, I would suggest adding a rear rack. You might like riding your bike so much that you start going shopping with it and need a rack to mount baskets/panniers to bring the goodies home or want to pack some munchies/drinks/change of clothes/first aid kit/etc on a long excursion.

  15. #15
    Yen
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    Thank you, Sci-Fi. I forgot that you answered my latest question before I posted a new one about it in this forum this morning.

    Honestly I feel frustrated that I need to customize a bike just so it will fit me for all types of rides. I thought I could just go into a bike shop and leave with a bike. I'm afraid I'm going to have to spend a lot of $$$ on items to make it feel right for me, but I also fear that a stock comfort bike will not allow me to do long-distance riding due to a sore seat.

    Oh, to be a kid again!!!!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    If you compare a "comfort" bike to a "hybrid" bike, you might be surprised that the geometry is about the same and the only difference is the tire and rim size....26" tires and rims for a comfort bike and 700c tires and rims for a hyhrid bike. The 26" tires are a lot wider and "absorbs" more of the bumps than a 700c tire would/could. On the other hand, a bike with a 700c tire, in general, can go a lot faster.

    Changing handlebars isn't really a major or radical change nor is it going to cost you an arm and a leg. Many people change them because one style of handlebar may allow them to ride longer distances in comfort. The bicycle companies follow the changing trends/tastes of potential buyers and that's why you see the majority of comfort and hybrid bikes with straight handlebars.

    The main thing is make sure bike fulfills the expectations and requirements you need it for and to perform at that level for a variety of purposes and road conditions...and do it in comfort and be reliable.

    The sore butt comments have a ring of truth, but with the proper seat/saddle, those concerns should be minimal. Just buy a Brooks B66 saddle or something similar. Seats/saddles with springs, as well as North Road bars, have been used for decades on almost all types of bikes, including long distance touring.

    I have a classic 3-speed bike that came equipped with all those old school north road handlebars and sprung saddles and have no problem riding it for 50 miles or more nor am I ashamed to be seen riding it. People at this forum salivate over ANT bikes and they are old school designs with modern components (see the pictures of Ant Bikes below):



    No need to over analyze everything, some things may have to be changed on your new bike so you can enjoy riding it to your hearts content.

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