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  1. #1
    Tyrannosaurus Mex nwduffer's Avatar
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    In My Area: Trek, Specialized, Marin

    I recently lost 25 lbs and want to get back on the bike to add to my exercise. A million years ago I had a Trek Antelope (800 something or other) that I liked well enough. Got rid of it when I had kids, and now all the kids have bikes and we've started riding on our camping trips and around the neighborhood. Last year, so we could all get bikes, the wife and I got cheap bikes at WalMart (I know, I know) and I paid less than $100 for some Next Avalon cruiser/hybrid type bike. It's a hunk-a-junk, with one crank that's always wobbled since the day I got it...and I'm ready to get back to a better bike.

    That being said there are only a couple bike shops around and they pretty much sell Trek, Giant/Specialized, or REI up the road sells Marin bikes. I keep seeing the Trek FX or 7000 series pop up, but wanted to get some input on my particular situation, which is.

    1. I get the kid bike seat. Got a two year old in the seat behind mine, which has to get mounted on the new bike.
    2. Would also like it to double as a commuter bike, less than 3 miles to the office. I can strap my backpack into the seat, so don't necessarily need saddlebags (or whatever they are called these days.)
    3. Will mostly be roads, or the occasional well worn trail when RV camping.
    4. I'm 37, 230 lbs, 5' 10" and will use it for mostly lighter riding, to get some exercise, and haul the kid around when he wants a ride.
    5. I'd love to spend $500 if possible.
    6. I hate seats that hurt my butt.

    Thanks in advance. I've been reading here all night...what a great resource.

    Paul
    http://weightlossgrace.blogspot.com
    I've lost 26.4 lbs so far, 11.6 left to reach goal.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    What you're looking for, I assume, is a road bike with flat (non-drop) handlebars, somewhat like a mountain bike. There's a number of different styles of these: Comfort bike, hybrid, fitness, and then something that is like a mountain bike on road tires. If you look at the riding position on all of these, the comfort bike is the most upright. I should add that there are some comfort bikes that have their pedals positioned farther forward, and some that have them in the more conventional position. In the Trek lineup, the pedals forward comfort bike would be the Pure, while the more conventional comfort bike would be the Navigator. These bikes are mostly for noodling around at a relaxed pace, preferably on a relatively flat landscape.

    Next up on the scale are the hybrid bikes. In the Trek lineup, this would be the 7000 series, like the 7200 or 7300. These still have an upright riding position and most of them have suspension, but are tuned for a little more athletic riding than a comfort bike. The term hybrid refers to the bike being a hybrid between a mountain bike and a road bike.

    A fitness bike is quite similar to a hybrid, but with a more athletic riding position and (typically) no suspension. Trek's FX series is their version of a fitness bike. I personally don't like suspension for a road bike, as it adds weight and the flexing of the suspension consumes energy. Where I live the roads are good but it's quite hilly, so I need all the energy I can get. If it's fairly flat but the roads are bad, you might want the suspension.

    Last, but certainly not least, are the hybrids that are more mountain bike frames with road tires, and sometimes road sized wheels. Mountain bikes generally have 26 inch diameter wheels, while road bikes use 700C sized wheels. Trek's SU100 and SU200 are examples of these, as is Specialized's Globe. The Treks use 26 inch wheels, while the Specialized uses 700C wheels.

    All of these bikes will fit your needs, you just have to decide where in this continuum you fit. One think to rememeber, though, is that if you want to mount a rack to hold the child seat or panniers (saddlebags), you won't be able to get a bike with disc brakes. That would leave the SU200 out. Most road bikes don't use discs anyway.

    On the child carrier, you might want to consider a trailer instead. If you fall over, it's a long way to the ground for the child. Much of the bicycling industry is trying to move people away from child carriers. When you children get to be 4 or so, they can ride on a trailercycle, which is a sort of a half a bicycle that attaches to an adult bicycle.

    Oh, yeah, on that seat thing. I used to work in a car dealership. The used car manager had a saying: There's an (derriere) for every seat. (He used a different word) Well, with bicycle seats, there's a seat for every (derriere). All you can do is try them. There are lots to choose from. You wouldn't want a racing seat for a comfort bike or vice versa.

    I used the Trek lineup for example, I wouldn't particularly recommend for or against Trek. Specialized and Marin also make bikes in these categories. You may have to shop around to find the different styles, not all dealers will have all these different styles. The best bet is to ride them and see if one of them speaks to you. I found that true of my Cannondale Bad Boy. It just appealed to me more than anything else I rode.
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  3. #3
    Tyrannosaurus Mex nwduffer's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks for the great reply. I tooled around town today and hit the shops that had the different bikes. As you mentioned, the comfort series seemed to make the most sense for what I was after. I was tempted to go hybrid, but I think with a toddler in tow nearly half the time, the wider tires on the comfort seemed to be a little more stable to me. If I really get back into it, I suppose I could also get a 'more serious' bike for longer rides, etc.

    I ended up liking the Navigator bike you mentioned the best out of all the bikes I tried in my range, and picked up the 200 model. $399. Picked up a new child seat because our bracket system didn't really fit right on the newer design, which was $100. Inexpensive bike computer, water bottle cage, pump, and I was out the door for about $560, so right in the ballpark.

    We went back and forth on trailer vs seat last year when we got our cheap(er) bikes. I kind of like the idea of a trailer for the reason you mention...not going down with me if we crack up, but wasn't in love with them being further back, lower to the ground, and essentially kind of separate from me. Most of our riding is really just crusing around the same path in our neighborhood, or around the loop at the campground, so it seems to fit us well for now. As he gets bigger, I like that trailercycle idea. I've seen those online before and thought they were a great idea. This will probably be the last summer before he has to move to something like that anyway.

    Gonna try the saddle that came on it for now, and then see if I need to adjust from there. Thanks again for the input, really was helpful!

    Paul

    http://weightlossgrace.blogspot.com
    I've lost 26.4 lbs so far, 11.6 left to reach goal.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Glad to have been of service. Sounds like you're ready for a fun summer.
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  5. #5
    Tyrannosaurus Mex nwduffer's Avatar
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    Yes, you were, I appreciate it.

    On another note, turns out my brother has a Burley D'Lite trailer thingy that they've just about outgrown, so I'll be able to use it and give both options a shot and see what works best. He said they used to toss a portable dvd player and a bag of popcorn in for their youngest to have her own rolling theater...how fun!

    Thanks again,
    Paul


    http://weightlossgrace.blogspot.com
    I've lost 26.4 lbs so far, 11.6 left to reach goal.

  6. #6
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    Wanted to pipe up and say that I read some of your blog.. you're doing awesome. The bike certainly helps melt away the pounds. I started off with an 05 Specialized Rockhopper, got a 2006 Giant OCR C3 road bike, then added a 2007 Marin Rift Zone FS to the stable recently. I find myself riding more and more, and in less than a year I dropped 63 lbs and have maintained all winter.

    You are going to have one fantastic summer!
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  7. #7
    Yen
    Yen is offline
    Surly Girly Yen's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your weight losses!! Do find it easier to lose weight from riding a bike vs. other activities such as walking? I've been walking for a while and took off 25 pounds, slowly... but I imagine weight loss being easier once I start riding (in addition to walking). I have only 15 more pounds to lose... it seems that adding a new activity on top of the walking I already do should make that a breeze.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    Congratulations on your weight losses!! Do find it easier to lose weight from riding a bike vs. other activities such as walking? I've been walking for a while and took off 25 pounds, slowly... but I imagine weight loss being easier once I start riding (in addition to walking). I have only 15 more pounds to lose... it seems that adding a new activity on top of the walking I already do should make that a breeze.
    I started a gradual loss when I cleaned my diet and started walking the dogs. But once I started riding regularly, the pounds poured off. I like to powerwalk, Im not a big runner, and I enjoy hiking, but the bike is what does it for me. These days, I eat like a horse to maintain. It's a pleasant change!
    2007 Ridley Orion Road Bike

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    Early 80's Univega Viva Sport Road Bike

  9. #9
    Tyrannosaurus Mex nwduffer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugdawg1
    Wanted to pipe up and say that I read some of your blog.. you're doing awesome. The bike certainly helps melt away the pounds. I started off with an 05 Specialized Rockhopper, got a 2006 Giant OCR C3 road bike, then added a 2007 Marin Rift Zone FS to the stable recently. I find myself riding more and more, and in less than a year I dropped 63 lbs and have maintained all winter.

    You are going to have one fantastic summer!
    Thanks Pug,

    I figured I'd start here with this bike. The gal at the shop made a comment along the lines of 'adding another bike later if I wanted a road bike' and it was the first time I've ever thought about actually having more than one bike..what a concept.

    Congrats on the weight loss! Amazing to know that it's in our control. In the past two weeks, the bike has definitely become my preferred exercise method...and I'm looking forward to a great summer.

    Thanks again!

    Paul
    http://weightlossgrace.blogspot.com

  10. #10
    Tyrannosaurus Mex nwduffer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen
    Congratulations on your weight losses!! Do find it easier to lose weight from riding a bike vs. other activities such as walking? I've been walking for a while and took off 25 pounds, slowly... but I imagine weight loss being easier once I start riding (in addition to walking). I have only 15 more pounds to lose... it seems that adding a new activity on top of the walking I already do should make that a breeze.
    For me, I've only just started riding again, and since I usually have my 9 year old with me, or I'm pulling a trailer with the 2 year old, I haven't really gone much longer than 45 minutes. So I'm not making it a massive workout at this point, just something to burn 300-400 calories, and keep building the stamina. So it's about the same as when I was walking on my incline manual treadmill. But I'm looking forward to some good rides here in the future.

    I'm doing about 6-8 miles at a time. My brother wants me to sign up for a 26 mile ride in may, so I may start working towards that.

    As for the weight loss, I just cut back calories to start with, and then added in some light exercise along the way. I set my target calories to be 500 less than what someone my size, age and fitness level would normally burn in a day, and try to hit about 1500 per day (whole story on my blog.)

    As I step up my riding, I'll be curious to see the effect.

    Thanks for posting!

    Paul
    http://weightlossgrace.blogspot.com

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwduffer
    A million years ago I had a Trek Antelope (800 something or other) that I liked well enough.
    I've got a Trek Antelope 830 down at our beach house. I can't remember when I bought it, but it's been a while--1990? It's a nice bike, as you say, a real workhorse, although a little on the heavy side. I rode it here in the city for years before moving it down to the coast for weekend and summer use.

    I took it out for a ride in the country on Sunday, and I've decided to fix it up a little. I'm going to put some new tires on it (the one on the front is original equipment!) and some Shimano PD-M324 pedals. That ought to keep her rolling for at least another fifteen or twenty years. LOL!

    Ekdog

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