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  1. #1
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    Need help deciding on a new bike? * newbie *

    Let me start off by saying hello to everyone. I have been lurking around here for weeks and have found this site to have an immense amount of knowledge. I have not been on a bike since my late teens (BMX), except for the once or twice I borrowed my fathers Trek navigator (I didn't like the upright position).
    I want to stay in the 300-600 range.
    My main reason for wanting a bike is for fitness first (I have recently lost almost 30lb and want to get fit) and leisure second. I am 31 and 186lb, 5' 6" so to the best calculation I found online I should need a 15" frame...? The LBS didn't do any type of sizing he just showed me a 15" off the bat. I am kinda short so I don't hold that against him I will be using it 90% on paved surfaces and 10% on dirt trails & gravel. I live in Fort Wort, TX. so there are plenty of paved places to ride.
    I have found these bikes to be similar but would like to know the difference. Also if you have additional bicycles you would suggest for a beginner please do so I'm open to all the help I can get.

    Trek 7.3 FX
    Jamis Coda Allegro 1.0
    Specialized Sirrus
    K2 Astral 3.0
    Scott Sportster P4
    Last edited by Allshookup; 03-18-08 at 09:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    Your best bet is to be fit at your shop. There is more to fit than frame size so you would be best served by going to a shop that will measure you and fit you to a bike.

    The style of bike you should get will depend on the type of riding you will do. Yes, the surface type helps, but also do you plan on doing organized and/or group rides? What distances? Are you looking for a bike that you get a sweat going or more leisurely paced? You did say fitness, but I am not sure how hard you want to go on the bike. Often, MUPs (multi use paths) are crowded and can restrict your ability to get a hard workout.

    The Trek 7.3 FX is a very popular bike. It performs well by accounts here, try a search on 7.3 FX and you will find plenty of threads. You will probably also be able to find info on the other models you listed.

    If you need the multi purpose aspect, the bikes like the 7.3 FX are good choices.

    Things to think about with the purchase of the bike are a comfortable helmet, pedal system, shoes, shorts, water bottle, pump, lube and repair kit (maybe a small bag to carry it).

    Also shop around for the LBS you want to use. If you are not comfortable with bike maintenance you will want to be comfortable with who you have work on it.

  3. #3
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    I noticed that all the bikes you've specified have flat handlebars. Are you thinking of riding for more than an hour at a stretch? If so, you will most likely find that a drop bar bike is more comfortable for longer rides.

    One of of the problems you run into when looking for a moderately priced drop bar bike is that there aren't many of them around. Jamis does make the Ventura Sport, and it is priced similarly to the Allegro 1. I don't think that Trek or Specialized make drop bar bikes in that price range.

    I have one of each - a new Cannondale Bad Boy, which has flat bars, and an ancient steel framed Trek with drop bars. It's nice to have your head up when you're mixing it up with traffic, especially if you're loaded down with groceries. (I use the Cannondale as a utility bike as well as for exercise and fun) But if I'm going for a two hour ride, the drop bar bike is much more comfortable because it offers many different riding positions.
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by FormerFF View Post
    I noticed that all the bikes you've specified have flat handlebars. Are you thinking of riding for more than an hour at a stretch? If so, you will most likely find that a drop bar bike is more comfortable for longer rides.
    I have noticed that also with fitness bikes. I don't quite get why the manufacturers do that, but they do. MTB's use to have similar flat bars with slight bends, they have evolved into suspended more upright positions with "riser" bars (nearly the same bends but with a slight rise in the bar). The single speeds they sell, that seem to have almost the same geometries, will have the same flat bars but some of them add the bar ends for extra hand positions. They look sleek but I prefer the position options of the traditional drop bars.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    To add to your list:

    Raleigh Cadent FC1
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cman's Avatar
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    Look at the Kona Smoke 2-9 Great value

  7. #7
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    Just a little update on my bike search... I was at a LBS last weekend looking again and they had a new old stock 2007 Trek 7.5 FX marked down trying to move it... I took it for a test ride and WOW it is a really nice bike. MSRP is like $789.00 they had it marked for $689.00, I was able to talk the owner down to $624.99 that is $164.01 off...
    I found a two 7.5 FX's on craigslist but they were $599.00 and $650.00 used.
    So I am now the proud owner of an 07 Trek 7.5 FX! It was past the high end of my price scale but it is way more bike then I was going to get at the lower price point and it's new. I took it right out and put a quick 3+ miles on it. I couldn't be happier with my purchase.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allshookup View Post
    Just a little update on my bike search... I was at a LBS last weekend looking again and they had a new old stock 2007 Trek 7.5 FX marked down trying to move it... I took it for a test ride and WOW it is a really nice bike. MSRP is like $789.00 they had it marked for $689.00, I was able to talk the owner down to $624.99 that is $164.01 off...
    I found a two 7.5 FX's on craigslist but they were $599.00 and $650.00 used.
    So I am now the proud owner of an 07 Trek 7.5 FX! It was past the high end of my price scale but it is way more bike then I was going to get at the lower price point and it's new. I took it right out and put a quick 3+ miles on it. I couldn't be happier with my purchase.
    They are a really well set up bike. It can last you forever if you maintain it well.

    Before you get too far on the bike decide on any customizations you would like of the bike. That is, did the shop fit you to the bike, is the saddle comfortable, do you have the pedals you like.

    They should have spend at least 10 minutes checking your fit. If the most significant change would likely have been the stem. It is not too expensive to change. Some LBS' charge to change some don't. Since you got a good deal they may be less inclined to not charge but a better shop not in a bind will swap it.

    Negotiate now for clipless pedals if you think you will go with that. They may give you a small credit on the stock pedals (do not expect much, maybe $10). Clipless is a great thing to have if you start riding more seriously. Depending on your riding style, consider pedals that will not be too bad to ride with street shoes for those quick run about times when you don't feel like putting on your dedicated cycling shoes.

    If you are not completely satisfied with the saddle, negotiate to have that swapped out now also. Again, do not expect much credit for your stock saddle. A comfortable saddle is the one place you don't want to compromise. They are like speakers to audiophiles and monitors to computer geeks. It is the highest return investment you can make.

    Consider picking up a set or two of cycling shorts (Performance is having a sale for the next few days). Shorts start around $30 and can go over $100. ~$50-60 is a good price point.

    Get a well fitting helmet if you are wearing one. One that sits on your head and does not move all around. It should fit like a glove to be more effective and make you look less like a "dork" . They have some top quality helmets on sale in the $60-80 range. Do try them on, helmets are like shoes and are a very personal fit. I personally fit Limar and Louis Garneau very well. I have never fit Bell and Giro well. You want your helmet to feel as good as your saddle.

    Consider a small repair kit, pump and lock.

    Did you get the disk brakes?

    Congrats on a really nice bike! If you ride just a few miles a day and make it part of your lifestyle, you will see a big change in just a few months.

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