This bike is COMPLETELY AWESOME!!!!... 'Entry Level' my butt!!
My old bike, the nearly 45 lb., Huffy-fied mountain bike, has been retired, with much joy. My new TREK 7100 is 10 times better than the now admittedly barbaric MTB. We have a trail that was once a train track, now a gravel pathway for walkers or bikers [non-motor]. Before, when on the MTB, I would go for 10-12 miles and be worn out, and still have 4 or so more miles until I got back to my car. This past Friday, I [with my wife] rode 20 miles on that same trail, and could have gone further. This TREK 7100 has the most comfortable ride and most excellent cranking of any bike I've been on!
A little side note on the differences, and why the other bike was not a good bike. Albeit, the MTB is a department store bike, . . . how old it is, I'm not sure. When I was riding it with my wife, on a concrete surface, while coasting down a medium incline, my wife would end up ahead of me, even though I weigh more than her, and my bike DEFINITELY weighed more than her bike [she has a Schwinn Suburban, comfort bike]. That makes me believe that my MTB has some rolling issues, perhaps a reason why I would get so tired out on the long rides. Of course, now with this 7100 [needless to say], when coasting down hills, I'll have to lightly tap my brake from time to time, or I will end up ahead of her. As it should be.
Anyway, I DID upgrade the bike before I got it. I wanted the Rapid Fire shifters, and I'm glad I did that. It shifts VERY well. The LBS threw in grips [that were quite comfortable], and a kickstand [which my MTB didn't have], and had to change out the Sunrace cassette for an Altus cassette for the Rapid Fire shifters to work.
Finally, the color of this bike is what I absolutely love. the matte green/matte gold parchment for 2005 is VERY easy on the eyes. My only problem is I may end up crashing the bike because I'm so taken by the color that I keep oogling the frame when riding!!
Anyway, I guess that higher priced bikes may feel or ride better than this bike. If so, I can well understand how professionals get the speed and distance out of what they ride, but as far as I'm concerned, I got the best bike for me!