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Trying to figure out what bike to buy!

Old 03-14-16, 07:32 PM
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tmet5
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Trying to figure out what bike to buy!

So I am looking for a bike to commute to work and something that I can take on a trail for 40+ miles. Most of the trails I do are not paved (its not gravel but something similar, no mud or dirt). I dont want to spend more than $1,000. I would mostly use it to commute but there are a few bike trails here in Southern Illinois that I would like to do on occasion.

A few bikes ive been looking into are:

Giant Escape 1
Escape 1 (2016) | Giant Bicycles | United States

Renegade exile
renegadeexile

Trek 7.2
7.2 FX | FX | Fitness bikes | City bikes | Bikes | Trek Bikes

Any advice is greatly appreciated!(also sorry if this is in the wrong place)
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Old 03-14-16, 11:33 PM
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Commute length? Frequency? Terrain? Two bikes? Optimized commuter: 28mm tires, rack(s), fenders, lighting. Optimized MTB: knobby tires.
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Old 03-14-16, 11:53 PM
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I'd personally look at the Trek Dualsport or the Specialized Crosstrail. Both are fairly good for unpaved/improved pathways. My go to for longer commutes my District, but there are times I wish it had a suspension fork.
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Old 03-15-16, 02:47 AM
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If you decide to go with the escape, you should get the escape city, it comes with rack, fenders and I believe a bell.
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Old 03-15-16, 07:21 AM
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had an escape as a commuter. real solid bike all things considered.
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Old 03-15-16, 08:49 AM
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The Jamis is the coolest by far.
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Old 03-15-16, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
The Jamis is the coolest by far.
Agreed! Do you really want to dork it down with rack(s), fenders, etc.? I wouldn't, but, if I did, I wouldn't then want to take it on 40mi. of single track like that. With a $1000 budget I could easily get two (one new, one used) bikes, each optimized to the hilt for its respective purpose. N+1... N+1... N+1...
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Old 03-15-16, 09:38 AM
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I'd vote for #2 , especially if you're intending to take it for 2+ hour rides on mixed surfaces. You'll appreciate the options for hand positions with drop bars. It is by far the most versatile (and most expensive).
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Old 03-15-16, 10:43 AM
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# 1 Pick the bike shop you like doing business with, First. Here it sells Trek , neither of the other 2.
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Old 03-15-16, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Agreed! Do you really want to dork it down with rack(s), fenders, etc.? I wouldn't, but, if I did, I wouldn't then want to take it on 40mi. of single track like that. With a $1000 budget I could easily get two (one new, one used) bikes, each optimized to the hilt for its respective purpose. N+1... N+1... N+1...
Looks pretty cool to me.

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Old 03-16-16, 04:52 PM
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cyclocross (stronger) or a touring bicycle will do that work.

ideas:
bikesdirect windsor tourist
nashbar touring bike
walmart gmc denali, bottom but works

Last edited by roashru; 03-16-16 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 03-16-16, 05:32 PM
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I really dislike flat bars and rim brakes, so that eliminates the Giant, and Trek. I find drops far from ideal for transportation, and off pavement cycling which eliminates the Jamis.

Assuming you want fixed fork, I'd opt for the Trek Allant 7.2. At $599 it leaves plenty of room for different bars, a better saddle and all the other things one may want or need..
Allant 7.2 | Allant | Urban & commuter bikes | City bikes | Bikes | Trek Bikes
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Old 03-17-16, 12:50 AM
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deciding on what bicycle to get also depends on how you like to ride some bicycles have long chainstays and wheel base while others are short and always ready for fast action.
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Old 03-17-16, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
I really dislike flat bars and rim brakes, so that eliminates the Giant, and Trek. I find drops far from ideal for transportation, and off pavement cycling which eliminates the Jamis.

Assuming you want fixed fork, I'd opt for the Trek Allant 7.2. At $599 it leaves plenty of room for different bars, a better saddle and all the other things one may want or need..
Allant 7.2 | Allant | Urban & commuter bikes | City bikes | Bikes | Trek Bikes
You dislike flat bars and you find drops bad for commuting and off pavement? So that leaves using drops and for pavement rides only. I find drops great for off pavement- crushed stone rail trails(which the OP mentions) are really similar to pavement when it comes to drops...as in its the same type of riding, just wider tires is typically all thats needed.
And riding on the hoods during transportation rides sets me as high as if I were on a flat bar.

Getting back to the point though, you eliminated 2 bikes due to them being flat bar and then suggest a flat bar bike. You mention different bars...do you mean some butterfly bars or something?
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Old 03-17-16, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by tmet5 View Post
Any advice is greatly appreciated!(also sorry if this is in the wrong place)
If I were limited to only those 3 choices, I would get the Jamis every time without a second thought.
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Old 03-17-16, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
If I were limited to only those 3 choices, I would get the Jamis every time without a second thought.
Do you have recommendations for alternatives? I'm in a similar position to the OP, and I am currently leaning toward the Jamis.
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Old 03-17-16, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Dead_Ant View Post
Do you have recommendations for alternatives? I'm in a similar position to the OP, and I am currently leaning toward the Jamis.
Do you want to ride drops or flat bar? That decision will eliminate a large part of the market either way. There are dozens of solid options for under $1000...thats a lot of money, so options could seem endless.
I would try to buy used most likely, but if I were to buy new I would go to a few local shops and try out what they have in the type of bike I want. Just choosing drops or flats will narrow down the options considerably.
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Old 03-17-16, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You dislike flat bars and you find drops bad for commuting and off pavement? So that leaves using drops and for pavement rides only. I find drops great for off pavement- crushed stone rail trails(which the OP mentions) are really similar to pavement when it comes to drops...as in its the same type of riding, just wider tires is typically all thats needed.
And riding on the hoods during transportation rides sets me as high as if I were on a flat bar.

Getting back to the point though, you eliminated 2 bikes due to them being flat bar and then suggest a flat bar bike. You mention different bars...do you mean some butterfly bars or something?
This is all personal preference, and for me, drops are only good for play riding on good roads and conditions mostly due to the brakes being in a terrible location and their narrowness. There are many choices beyond flats and drops. The two flat bar bikes have rim brakes I which is the main reason I discounted them, changing the bars would be simple
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Old 03-17-16, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Do you want to ride drops or flat bar? That decision will eliminate a large part of the market either way. There are dozens of solid options for under $1000...thats a lot of money, so options could seem endless.
I would try to buy used most likely, but if I were to buy new I would go to a few local shops and try out what they have in the type of bike I want. Just choosing drops or flats will narrow down the options considerably.
I prefer drops, but I'd be fine with flats if the price is right. I've kept an eye on the used market, but it really seems like luck of the draw there.

I've tested the Jamis. I like it, but I am not experienced enough to really say if I would prefer it over another bike. It's pretty much the top end of my price range (not including accessories and what not, that's a separate budget).
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Old 03-17-16, 09:43 AM
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I have the Jamis' big brother, the Expert, but I only got it after test riding about 15 different road bikes or so. Before I went on all these test rides, I was oh so sure I'd get one of those brightly colored QBP family (Surly, All-City, etc.) steel bikes. I didn't think I'd choose a carbon bike.

Test rides on a variety of conditions to try to simulate your real commute ride (hills, patches of gravel, potholes, etc) will teach you a lot more about each bike than hours of reading on the Internet.

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Old 03-17-16, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Dead_Ant View Post
I prefer drops, but I'd be fine with flats if the price is right. I've kept an eye on the used market, but it really seems like luck of the draw there.

I've tested the Jamis. I like it, but I am not experienced enough to really say if I would prefer it over another bike. It's pretty much the top end of my price range (not including accessories and what not, that's a separate budget).
GT Grade Claris
Specialized Diverge A1 SubCompact

A couple of options which are billed as 'do it all' bikes.
Room for wider than typical road tires, disc brakes, drop bars, mounts for fenders/rack. Both models have multiple levels, these are both in the range of the Jamis.
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Old 03-17-16, 10:25 AM
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Another vote for the Jamis Renegade from me, for many reasons:

It's not Trek or Giant (I think smaller brands are just more unique)
Hydraulic disc brakes
Tubeless-ready with really nice Clement Xplor tires
Brazeons for racks, fenders, and 3 water bottles
Through-axle fork

That seems like a lot you would get for msrp $839.

Two dings against the Jamis: Claris 8-speed seems kind of weak, but in reality it's probably fine. Aluminum fork to go with Aluminum frame, might be 'chattery', but hopefully wider tires (35 provided) can smooth that out.

Bottom line, I think the biggest potential reason to go for the Trek or Giant you listed over the Jamis Renegade, is if you want a flat-bar bike instead of a drop-bar bike, which is an entirely personal and subjective choice. (But Jamis also makes flatbar bikes, look at their Allegro line, which can get you down to the pricepoint of the Trek & Giant you're looking at)
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Old 03-18-16, 08:09 AM
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Of the bikes you listed, my vote goes to the Jamis.
I also like the Kona line for the $. Check out the Jake, Sutra (my favorite), Rove, or the Dew Deluxe.
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The Fairdale Weekender is a very popular bike here in Austin, Tx.
You can get it with sweep bars, BMX bars (different and useful setup), or drop bars. Very versatile steel frame.
2016 Weekender Archer | Fairdale Bikes
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Old 03-18-16, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by AusTexMurf View Post
The Fairdale Weekender is a very popular bike here in Austin, Tx.
You can get it with sweep bars, BMX bars (different and useful setup), or drop bars. Very versatile steel frame.
2016 Weekender Archer | Fairdale Bikes
That's an attractive bike with a good spec that I hadn't noticed before, thank you for pointing it out. Looking at their site, all their bikes seem really appealing to me, I like the layout and the colors.
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Old 03-18-16, 02:33 PM
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I thought Kona's Jake The Snake competed quite well when I was in my test-riding phase. I was also impressed with the Private Jake although that is more of a borderline CX racing bike.

Bianchi Volpe Disc/Volpe Classic were also quite good.
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