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LBS Recommendation Troubles

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LBS Recommendation Troubles

Old 07-26-08, 07:50 PM
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infecto
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LBS Recommendation Troubles

I know people post these same questions all the time and I have read them over multiple times.

My issue is this. I went to two local bike shops looking for a hybrid. I have not rode in years and want to start commuting (6miles round trip) and maybe take some rides on the weekends. Figured the hybrid would be best to get me started as a road bike has a bit more aggressive posture. I need to get in better shape and do not want to drop $1500 on a road bike just to decide on getting something better shortly down the road. So the first two shops basically ushered me towards a road bike. Obviously I know that for pure asphalt a road bike is supreme. Thing is my commute is only 3 miles on way. The first shop thought I should get a production SyCip or Jamis Allure. The second recommended a Specialized Allez.

Do not get me wrong, all 3 of those bikes seem to be great road bikes. I just do not feel I have a need for a road bike yet and when I do I will get a great frame and work from there and use it purely for long rides (40+ miles). My needs are only for commuting and going to local shops all within a handful of miles around where I live. Maybe going out on a Saturday morning and riding for a couple hours in the country side. I think I can do all of this fine on a hybrid.

So the third shop I went to was more of a trek/giant/scott/waterford/time LBS. They right away suggested a Trek 7.3 FX. I know some people hate Treks but I think for a hybrid its a pretty decent bike. I figure I can buy this bike and ride it for as long as possible doing all my commuting and shopping. When I want to start touring/longer trips I can invest in a road bike. So to my questions.

Would a trek 7.3 FX serve its purpose and last a while with proper care?
Should I instead save for something better (Road/Cyclocross)?
Should a 20" frame fit me decently? I did the basic fitting math and it seems to work out. The LBS guy was basically the same height as me and said the 20" fame will serve me fine.

Basically I do not want to buy this and get ripped off. The bike is going for around $550.
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Old 07-26-08, 08:20 PM
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I just went through the same thing. I went for the Trek 7200 hybrid. With a rear rack, rack bag, removable fenders, new helmet it ran me $630. I then used Trek financing and got 12months no payments, no interest. I'll just pay it off at tax time.

I'm doing 5 miles at least a day to get back in shape and I really like this bike. The Specialized was also suggested, but I wanted the financing. I'm 6'2" 220 lbs and find it very comfortable and I went with and my LBS recommended the 20"".

Last edited by FredOak; 07-26-08 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 07-26-08, 08:25 PM
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Glad to hear I am not the only one. What size frame do you have?
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Old 07-26-08, 08:30 PM
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Get a single speed cruiser and you'll get back into shape faster.
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Old 07-26-08, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dmckean44 View Post
Get a single speed cruiser and you'll get back into shape faster.
I would but those 3 miles have some pretty good sized hills and I do not feel like totally killing myself before getting into work. Also I want to take longer drives on the weekends and its nothing but hills here.
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Old 07-26-08, 08:44 PM
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the reason they're steering you towards a road bike is partly bc there's a very good chance you're going to end up on one eventually anyways, even though you probably think they just want to make a bigger sale.

before you make a decision consider their advice. the hybrid may be the better choice for you now but not for the reason you think.

a hybrid was good enough for me for about 2 years but despite my initial aversion toward road bikes i now have one. and it's far superior to my hybrid in all ways.
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Old 07-26-08, 08:45 PM
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Frame cracked on my 7.3. Returned it under warranty.. got another one.
On the way home from LBS I jumped a curb and the frame cracked on that one too.

Trek's aren't bad bikes if you stick to doing circles in the driveway.
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Old 07-26-08, 09:02 PM
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I understand. I'm not a big fan of hybrids and neither are most LBS employees. They tend to be really low end. Maybe something road-ish that isn't so aggressive would be better for you.

Redline Conquest Sport is a neat bike:
http://www.redlinebicycles.com/adult...est-sport.html

Jamis Coda looks nice and is a hybrid:
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/...es/08coda.html

Jamis Aurora is a really nice all around/touring bike if you can stretch your budget a little bit more:
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/.../08aurora.html
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Old 07-26-08, 09:06 PM
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Can't complain about my Trek so far, frame is 20" infecto.

I have had a road and a mountain bike before. It had just been so long since I've ridden and wanted it mainly for around town and my commute that the hybrid was better. Also I was recently disgnosied with degenerative disc disease and the upright posistion on the hybrid is so much more comfotable on the back then the road bike.
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Old 07-26-08, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by AdrianFly View Post
Frame cracked on my 7.3. Returned it under warranty.. got another one.
On the way home from LBS I jumped a curb and the frame cracked on that one too.

Trek's aren't bad bikes if you stick to doing circles in the driveway.

Or for doing a few loops around France.

Sorry to hear about your troubles. I'm not a Trek fan per se, but I did get a used one that I ride to work.
They seem to have a pretty good reputation, but with any company, things happen.
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Old 07-26-08, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dmckean44 View Post
I understand. I'm not a big fan of hybrids and neither are most LBS employees. They tend to be really low end. Maybe something road-ish that isn't so aggressive would be better for you.

Redline Conquest Sport is a neat bike:
http://www.redlinebicycles.com/adult...est-sport.html

Jamis Coda looks nice and is a hybrid:
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/...es/08coda.html

Jamis Aurora is a really nice all around/touring bike if you can stretch your budget a little bit more:
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/bikes/.../08aurora.html
The biggest thing attracting me towards the Coda is the steel frame. The problem with the other bikes are drop down handles. I do not thing I would be comfortable with them at this point in traffic to be honest. My goal is to get a decent "roadish"/hybrid bike and ride it out for a while and then when I get in better shape go for a solid road bike. Lastly I feel like I should get in much better shape and lose weight then get fitted for a road bike and invest in a solid bike. I understand the whole "low-end" feeling of a hybrid but when you are overweight and just looking to get back into riding and hauling stuff around I see a hybrid as a great option in my mind. I would much rather have a solid hybrid type bike with a rack to carry all my stuff in and a solid road bike to have fun on the weekends or switch it up with commuting. Please tell me if I am seeing this wrong though.

I have been seriously giving some though towards a coda. The biggest thing for me is the possibility that a steel frame is going to give me a longer life than aluminum. Am I crazy in this assumption?
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Old 07-26-08, 09:39 PM
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If you're interested in a hybrid, I would choose a Trek 7300 over a 7.3 FX. The 7300 has a very adjustable handlebar and a fairly upright riding position that is, to me, what having a hybrid is about. The 7.3 FX, by contrast, has a more aggressive position - which has advantages in certain situations - but if you don't like drop bars, you most likely won't like flat bars set low like drop bars.
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Old 07-26-08, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by infecto View Post
The biggest thing attracting me towards the Coda is the steel frame. The problem with the other bikes are drop down handles. I do not thing I would be comfortable with them at this point in traffic to be honest. My goal is to get a decent "roadish"/hybrid bike and ride it out for a while and then when I get in better shape go for a solid road bike. Lastly I feel like I should get in much better shape and lose weight then get fitted for a road bike and invest in a solid bike. I understand the whole "low-end" feeling of a hybrid but when you are overweight and just looking to get back into riding and hauling stuff around I see a hybrid as a great option in my mind. I would much rather have a solid hybrid type bike with a rack to carry all my stuff in and a solid road bike to have fun on the weekends or switch it up with commuting. Please tell me if I am seeing this wrong though.

I have been seriously giving some though towards a coda. The biggest thing for me is the possibility that a steel frame is going to give me a longer life than aluminum. Am I crazy in this assumption?
The Aurora has axillary levers so you have the option of riding on the tops, the brake hoods or down in the drops and you still have brakes in all three positions. The Aurora is also a steel frame bike. And yes, the steel frames tend to last longer than aluminum. You could actually buy a Coda or a Coda Sport now and then sometime in the future set it up more like the Aurora, you'd just have a more sloping top tube.
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Old 07-26-08, 11:57 PM
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If you do plan on eventually getting a road bike, why not go for a bike now that will be very different than a road bike? Many of the hybrid bikes remind me of wanna-be road bikes and I've found riding them to be a bit disappointing (not bike snobbery, there is just something about mtb components on a road bike that I don't like). You say you plan on commuting 3 miles each way and going to shops, so maybe you should take a look at some street/city/urban bikes (whatever they want to call them)...a bike with some good hauling capacity.

I used to commute on my road bike to work (~6 miles round trip, brought it up in my office). I never really felt comfortable leaving it locked up in front of stores (too many quick releases and too many expensive parts that could be stolen or damaged). I also didn't want to put a rack on it, so my hauling capacity was pretty low (i.e. whatever I could fit in my backpack). After riding my gf's commuter bike and hauling groceries on it, I realized how useful and functional having a commuter/grocery bike would be. So, I decided to get myself an urban commuter bike...threw a rack and panniers on it and have been very happy. The road bike is for long rides or going fast, the urban bike is for function.

I ride a Swobo Otis (3 speed internal hub, 26 x 1.5" tires, no quick releases, good for hauling stuff, not fast, but not slow either). They also sell a version with a 9-speed hub (the Dixon) and a more road styled 3-speed with skinny wheels (the Novak). I wanted something really simple and low maintenance, so the internal hub was a great choice for me.

http://swobo.com/bikes/collection/

I normally commute 6 miles, but due to some dog-sitting duties, I was commuting 13 miles a day last week. I still found the Otis to be relatively fast and very comfortable on the longer ride. But, just like a single speed might not meet the needs of everyone, 3 gears also might not be enough for everyone.

Marin has a wide range of street bikes that I know many people have been happy with. My gf has the 2007 Larkspur...it's a very solid bike and I find it very comfortable to ride...she does a 16 mile commute on it. I've also heard good things about the Muirwoods model.

http://www.marinbikes.com/2008/us/bi...es_locator.php

Obviously Trek also has their own line of urban bikes...

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2008/urban/

Just my thoughts...and good luck with getting back into biking...don't be afraid to take every bike in the store for a test ride :-)
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Old 07-27-08, 01:25 AM
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I was in your position a few months ago.

Didn't think I'd be comfortable with drop bars and those brake levers.

So I bought a Trek 7500. A $750 bike with a comfortable riding position, good components (Deore LX), a front shock, and some cool looking wheels.

I put 600 miles on that bike before I sold it. I found that it just wasn't reliable enough for my commute. After one month of riding it, I broke a tooth on the rear cassette. That almost made my face have an intimate introduction to the pavement on a major intersection.

Another time, the cheap-ass aluminum pedal disintegrated under my foot. That also almost caused a crash.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when the chain snapped -again in the middle of huge intersection and on a green light. I got it repaired and sold it.

I'll probably never buy another Trek again. It's not that I think the frames are bad. I had no complaints with that. But the components seemed cheap.

I got a Swobo Dixon and have had zero reliability problems. I love that bike.

But now I'm craving drop bars and road bike as I get more fit and want to go faster.

So overall, if I had it to do all over again, I probably would have gone for a Jamis Aurora.

Instead, I'm going to have two bikes soon.
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Old 07-27-08, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by AdrianFly View Post
Frame cracked on my 7.3. Returned it under warranty.. got another one.
On the way home from LBS I jumped a curb and the frame cracked on that one too.

Trek's aren't bad bikes if you stick to doing circles in the driveway.
i have punished my trek mnt bike for the last 8 years without any problems...
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Old 07-27-08, 08:11 AM
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Last week I narrowed my choices to the FX 7.3 by Trek and the Soho. I commute four miles each way with some "fun" hills I have to climb.

I settled on the Soho 1.0 and take delivery tomorrow from the LBS. It was 699 out the door.

Our LBS (Peachtree City Bike Shop) is outstanding. Never snobs. Just nice. Very helpful. The shop across town seems to be full of bike snobs. They don't take beginners seriously, which is a mistake.

That's why the LBS I purchased from (twice) gets my business. They act like what I'm doing is cool (commuting four miles each way). They don't try to sell me things I don't need, but make legitimate offers of things that might be helpful. But no pressure at all.

I feel very confident to ask any "dumb" question I have. No problems.

Anyway, I'll give a report on the Soho in one week after I've ridden it a few days to work and back.
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Old 07-27-08, 08:13 AM
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If you can find someone that sells Giants, their Cypress hybrid is a pretty good starter bike. I ride mine 11 miles one way, 4 of it over rough gravel, and have 14000 miles on it with no unexpected problems. I replaced the rear wheel almost immediately; the gravel roads were destroying spokes. Other than that, just standard wear stuff; brakes, chains, at 10K a new bottom bracket and rear derailler.

The K2 from REI seems like a heck of a deal too. My wife and daughter each have hybrids from them and they're more bike than what I got from Giant for the money (between $300 and $400).

Wheels seem to be the problem, particularly rear wheels. Every bike that I've seen so far, including Treks, have weak wheels. It's possible that if you just went over them and stress-relieved them and retrued they'd be OK. I built a new rear with DT butted spokes and it's not given me any trouble since then (13000 miles). It was my first wheel build.
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Old 07-27-08, 08:22 AM
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The Trek Soho 1.0 was built specifically for commuting. It's heavier than the Trek fitness series, but lighter than the 7000 series (but not by much). The difference is that the wheel set is much stronger than the fitness bikes, and it has disc brakes to get you more control in adverse conditions. Futhermore, the cables are internal (in the frame instead of on top or below) which makes it better for mist, light rain, etc. if you are forced to be in those conditions.

If you step up a notch to the Soho 3.0 (there is no 2.0) then you get sealed gears and such so that you worry even less.

Finally, the Soho has that grippy rubber padding in various locations to make leaning your bike on a pole or other metal structure much easier. It won't slip and fall. Even the underside of the seat has a special rubber pad for carrying your bike if you have to carry it over obstacles or up stairs.

I can't wait to ride mine tomorrow.
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Old 07-27-08, 12:06 PM
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My first "real" commuter bike was a Trek hybrid. I can't comment on the 7300 vs 7.3fx question -- the models were different back then -- but I do remember it as a very nice utility bike, and a good reintroduction to riding after many years with a car.

The bike was eventually stolen after years of reliable service. By then, I was sufficiently committed to biking to go with the plan that others on this thread have mentioned: own several bikes, each very different from the others, rather than one to do everything. Which means I'll probably never own another hybrid...but I will never for a moment regret buying that Trek. It served me well, covered a lot of roles, and in a way it was the most important bike I ever owned: it convinced me that life really is better getting around by bike rather than by car.

In that sense, a "neutral" bike like a hybrid is a great choice to start commuting with. A road bike can work fine as a commuter...if you already know exactly what your needs are, and have thought about how to adapt the quirks of the bikes to the things you want it to do. A hybrid gives you a better sense of "do I like commuting by bike," rather than "do I like commuting with this specific bike?" And the first question is probably the important one for you to answer right now.
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Old 07-27-08, 12:25 PM
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Well if you want a recomondation for a Coda .. I've got one and have put about 400 miles in the last month or so. I have about a 20 mile round trip run and really do not have any real complaints .. But jump on one for a test ride if you haven't .. Also from talking to my lbs i'd do this quickly cause the Coda is an extremely popular ride this season.
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Old 07-27-08, 12:31 PM
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i was going between the trek 7.3fx and a kona dew plus ... the kona won out ... because of the cheaper price, disc brakes .. and it just felt more solid to me over the trek ... (and the 100$ cheaper was a nice bonus) ...

i wanted disc brakes mostly because of the rain / mud and such around here, and so i wouldn't have to worry later on about the braking surface wearing down the rim ...

mine won't be used as a commuter all that often though ... mostly as a cruiser for when i am just wanting to put in some miles but not go off the road like i normally do.
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Old 07-27-08, 02:06 PM
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After looking and riding several different brands (Trek, Specialized, Giant, Kona) I came back to the LBS shop that sold Trek. But what really caught my eye was a Gary Fisher Monona hybrid. Next to the Specialized Sirrus, it seemed to be the fastest and most agile bike, but it felt more sure-footed. I wound up with the Gary Fisher Monona, and have been very pleased with it. Gary Fisher is made by Trek anyway.
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Old 07-27-08, 02:23 PM
  #24  
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Things to keep in mind with most new bikes in the category you're looking at:

The saddle, grips, and tires are s h i t on new bikes and basically for test-ride purposes. They pick them in order to keep the retail price competitive. You will likely upgrade these items before they wear out.

Hybrid bikes are mountain bikes with road features.

Components on bike-shop models will work well regardless of their racing credentials.

For a short commute and recreational riding, you want a reliable bike with a comfortable saddle, and good tires. You also require a bike that can carry small loads and not be a burden if it rains a bit or encounters a puddle

Consider your overall budget
Find out what a good saddle and tires will cost.
find out what essential accessories will cost (pump, helmet, fenders, bags, rack, tool/flat kit)
Subtract the cost of the upgrades you will need from the overall budget.
Take the remainder and buy a new or used reliable bike with geometry you are comfortable with. If you buy used subtract $80 from what you are willing to spend on the bike so you can take it in for a complete tune up.

Examples:
$500 budget
Good tire upgrade = $70
Saddle upgrade = $50
Tool kit and desired accessories upgrades = $100
New base-bike budget would be $280
Used base-bike budget would be $200 + $80 tuneup

$750 budget
Good tire upgrade = $70
Saddle upgrade = $100
Tool kit and desired accessories upgrades = $100
New base-bike budget would be $480
Used base-bike budget would be $400 + $80 tuneup

$1000 budget
Good tire upgrade = $100
Saddle upgrade = $120
Tool kit and desired accessories upgrades = $200
New base-bike budget would be $580
Used base-bike budget would be $500 + $80 tuneup

Last edited by Jeffbeerman2; 07-27-08 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 07-27-08, 03:15 PM
  #25  
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I too wanted a comfortable commuter bike. Test ride as many bikes as necessary till you find one that satisfies your expectations and price point. My experience with many sales people is they sell what they have and not always what you need. For me, this Specialized Expedition with a couple of additions, did the trick--

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