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  1. #1
    Cactus Hobbit GeoBigJon's Avatar
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    Opinions and Suggestions Needed

    Some background first. I ride a MTB and am looking for a road bike, but not just "A" road bike but one that I can ride daily for fitness, commute for errands, and will pull light touring duty (nothing more than a couple nights). I'm a Clyde, tipping the scales at 296 at 6'2", but am loosing weight as we speak. What I am wanting is some opinions on the Trek Portland. The portland and the FX line were suggested to me by my LBS as the best for what I am wanting. I am wondering if this bike will fill the fitness/commuter/tourer. My LBSs carry Trek, Felt, Specialized, Cannondale, and Jamis (I think, two different stores). The Trek/Felt Dealer doesn't have one and although I haven't talked to him about it yet, I think I would have to purchase before he got one in, so I "think" no test riding. That might not be a bad thing, I don't know too much about bikes (gearing and such), I can fix them (really mechanically inclined), I might be able to build one if I sat down with all the parts (probably couldn't order all the right parts without suggestions), bottom line unless I ride several different bikes I might not know what I am missing.

    Bottom line questions:
    Is the Trek Portland going to meet my want in a fitness/commuter/tourer?

    Its there a better bike in the Trek, Felt, Specialized, Cannondale or Jamis line if I stay local?

    Would I be better off going to Austin or San Antonio Texas and riding several different bikes or trying other brands? (4 hour minimum drive to either)

    I have a budget of 2k if that helps maybe more if I squeezed hard enough and could justify the more expensive purchase.

    Thanks for your opinions and suggestions, Cody.

  2. #2
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    I would consider the Trek 520. Then add fenders, rack, light, lock (Kryptonite is my preference) and of course a helmet. Depending what quality of extras you choose, you should still be under $2000

    Good Luck, and enjoy the journey.

    If you can't ride the bike first, ride other similar bikes by the same maker so you can get a good idea of the size you need. Then when your bike arrives, you can fine tune the fit by adjusting the seat and changing the handlebar stem.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  3. #3
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    The Trek Portland would be a nice commuter and light touring bike, if the price is okay with you that is. I've ridden the Portland and the 520 a few months back and really did like the Portland and the Disc breaks. I passed on the Portland only because I was wanting a more touring bike then a commuter one. I did not get the 520 either, this was only because I located another touring bike for a great price or the 520 was going to be my purchase.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    A few thoughts on this.

    First, I wouldn't want to buy a bike I couldn't first test-ride. Some bikes just feel better than others and if I'm going to put a lot of time on a bike— any bike — I want to be comfortable with it. Yes, it's possible to get a good custom fitting, but no two bikes have an identical fit or feel.

    Second, in the price range you're considering, no matter what you buy, you'll get a good quality bike. The companies you list all have reputations they wish to protect so you won't end up with anything subpar in the mix. The choice of a specific brand is less important than the way a make and model performs.

    Third, my preference is to buy locally or within a one-hour drive from home if at all possible. I'd strongly advise against making a four-hour drive to buy a bike. You'll need after-sale service and you'll get that through your local bike shop. The relationship you have with the shop is important because you'll be back there often. Even if you are mechanically inclined, there are some parts of bike servicing which are best left to the people at the shop.
    Life is good.

  5. #5
    Cactus Hobbit GeoBigJon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the opinions and suggestions so far. It's gonna be tough to try and ride the bike or similar models unless I travel to a larger city. Our population is close to 100k and we are 90 miles from the next city near our size, all our out lying towns are about 2k to 5k population. 200 miles will get you into Austin or San Antonio which will have more available to look at and choose from. Living out here I have come to realize that I must travel to get certain things, I guess picking a bike should not surprise me. My local Trek dealer has about 15 to 20 road and mountain bikes, a handful of kids bikes (BMX style), and a few Mom and Pop cruisers, inventory is really limited. I guess I need to hit the regional forums and see what kind of bike shops Austin and San Antonio have to offer, I would like to try before I buy from the more I read.

  6. #6
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Maybe try trek 520 and Portland in Austin or San Antonio, then return home with the correct size number in your pocket. Order your bike through the local trek dealer. That way you are supporting the local economy and you have an ally for future maintenance in your home town.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    Maybe try trek 520 and Portland in Austin or San Antonio, then return home with the correct size number in your pocket. Order your bike through the local trek dealer. That way you are supporting the local economy and you have an ally for future maintenance in your home town.
    ^^This^^ Is a very good idea.

    It's been a long time, but Austin was full of bike shops last I was there.
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