My wife and I have decided to get our first bicycles in 10 years. I have previous road bike experience and my wife used to have a mountain bike. Since we want to remain sitting upright and relaxed and since our bikes will mainly be used in the "burbs" on pavement and perhaps at most on a highly groomed trail a hybrid seems an obvious choice. The bikes will be used for enjoyment and light exercise more than any formal training goal.
For price considerations we are limiting our selection to the Trek 7300/7200/7100 series of bikes, their hybrids. It seems everywhere in our area the 2004 models are sold out and the 2005 are just starting to arrive so this purchase will be made in the next 2-4 weeks as the appropriate 2005 model arrives. Right now mens frames are only starting to trickle in but our LBS says for sure within the next 3-4 weeks they should have any option available. Based on the 7100 series there have been no changes between 2004/05 accept for paint. Details of the 7200/7300 2004/05 differences are as of yet unavailable.
This is where I get lost: I am trying to decide between the 7100/200/300 series. I feel fine about the price of the 7200 so because I do believe paying more you get better components and features I will rule out the 7100. However the price of getting two 7300's is getting a bit steep for the use of these bikes, but I am willing to do so if it will increase my enjoyment of the bicycle. I have asked folks at the LBS want the differences are and they say "a nicer handle bar, better derailleur etc." None of which means anything to me from a practicle standpoint. How is it nicer? Will I notice? What makes one derailleur better than another? Weight? Reliablity?
Assuming the 2004 stats remain the same here are the areas of difference in the 7300 vs. 7200 series. Can you please help me get a concrete idea of "what I am getting" that is better and why if I buy a 7300! Thanks!!!
Price: 7300 $470 / 7200 $390
Wheels: 7300 Alloy F, Shimano C201 R hub; ACE19 rims / 7200 Alloy F, Shimano RM40 R hub, Matrix 750 rims
Tires: 7300 Bontrager Invert HC, Kevlar belt, 700x35c / 7200 Bontrager Invert Select, 700x35c
Handlebars: 7300 Bontrager Bar-Keeper / 7200 55mm rise
Shifters: 7300 SRAM ESP Pro / 7200 SRAM MRX Plus
Front Derailleur: 7300 Shimano T301 / 7200 Shimano C102
Rear Derailleur: 7300 SRAM X.7 / 7200 Shimano Alivio
Crankset: 7300 Bontrager Sport 48/38/28 / 7200 Shimano C203 48/38/28
THOSE ARE THE ONLY DIFFERENCES, that I am aware of besides paint. How will these differences be seen or felt over time? Thanks again!