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Advice on Performance Hybrids for commute

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Advice on Performance Hybrids for commute

Old 05-17-09, 08:38 PM
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teewee
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Advice on Performance Hybrids for commute

Hello all,

I'm new to this forum (and to the whole biking to work deal..) so I'm looking for some advice on several bikes I'm interested in. My commute to work is about 6.3km (Toronto, CANADA) so its not too far, nor hilly). I plan to use this bike for general commuting to work and possibly some non-hardcore trails on the weekends. I tried out several bikes but these are the ones I'm considering.

Trek 7.3FX
Trek 7.2FX
Devinci St. Tropez

The person at the LBS said the difference between the 7.3 and 7.2 is the type of aluminum (being slightly lighter) and better components. But being a beginner biker, I don't think I can "feel" the actual difference in components.

Anybody own any of these 3 bikes? and what are your thoughts/reviews of the bikes?

Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-18-09, 03:00 AM
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daven1986
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Either if you are just starting out and don't know if you will continue or you know you will continue my advice is the same. If you can afford the 7.3 then go for it, it will give you a better base for the inevitable upgrades and you will also want to ride it more as you spent more money on it!

Make sure you test ride them lots, but generally trek is a good make and the bike should last you for ages
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Old 05-18-09, 05:47 AM
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So I went to Trek's site and found this page:

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/compa...lpha_aluminum/

I like that Trek is straight-forward about what their names such as "Alpha Black" and "Alpha White" really mean.

FWIW, I believe the extra money towards a lighter frame and better parts would be well-spent, assuming that buying the better model does not blow your budget. You may not notice the better parts now. But if you ride regularly, it won't be long before you do start to notice the little things. And it's almost always nicer to have a lighter bike.
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Old 05-18-09, 12:58 PM
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Look at wheel strength and your body weight. Be sure to get the bike checked including spoke tension after riding it for a while. My hybrid started popping spokes, and apparently I'm to blame for not maintaining my spoke tension properly and perhaps because I needed a stronger wheel.

This can be confusing too, because I saw a nice Raleigh hybrid with 32 spokes wheels but they aren't as strong as my 24 spoke aero wheels (if they were maintained properly).
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Old 05-18-09, 02:23 PM
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teewee, I will tell you straight up that deciding to commute has been one of the best decisions I have made it a long time. I was in your shoes a year ago not really knowing where to start, but I am glad I did. So I commend your even thinking about doing it. Most don't even get that far. Now to your question:

I purchased a 7.3 FX last year (May) when getting into riding for the first time. I really liked it, then I started to regret not getting a road bike because I enjoy riding so much. Most of this was due to how and where I commute. I have a headwind everyday on the way home, I like to push myself to go faster, I am able to store clothes at work, and other reasons which make getting a road bike a good decision.

My main concern when getting the first bike was would I stick with it. I didn't want to spend a bunch and not continue. I also wasn't sure about the drop bars. A little less than a year later (this February) I purchased an '08 Fuji Roubaix on clearance and I enjoy it much more than the 7.3, not because of any flaw in the 7.3 but rather I outgrew its set of features. I will continue to use the 7.3 FX for my rain bike / cargo bike.

All that said, the 7.3 is a good bike and will certainly do what you need it to do for commuting. I put a rack on the back (the rear brake is a bit tricky to get around but it is doable) as well as fenders which I would suggest if you plan at all to ride on wet roads. I wouldn't necessarily use it for trail riding unless the trails are paved or you change the slicks to more of a cyclocross style tire which can handle road and dirt. You might even try to look at some cyclocross bikes which would be the best of both worlds.

I agree with daven above that if you are fairly confident that you will enjoy riding, then get the best quality bike that you can comfortably afford. The difference in quality of shifting and the feel of the ride will make the commute that much more enjoyable after the newness has worn off and will provide more encouragement on those down days when you are not sure if you want to ride or not.

Best of luck on your decision.
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Old 05-18-09, 02:26 PM
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Get the bike that makes you want to ride, but don't spend so much you feel bad for not riding. In the end, any bike will do, as long as it's ridden.
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Old 05-18-09, 02:29 PM
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I agree with what others have said about going with the better components if you can afford it. You may not appreciate it at the beginning, but as time goes on and you're (hopefully) riding more you'll definitely appreciate the better components.
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Old 05-18-09, 06:23 PM
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Teewee. I purchased a Trek 7.2fx last year for commuting. It's a great bike, but, after a few months I started upgrading components. That's just me. If you can afford the 7.3fx, or even the 7.5fx, go for it. In any event, the Trek 7.x fx series of bikes are, IMO, one of the best all around bikes out there for the money. Welcome to commuting, have fun, and BE SAFE
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Old 05-19-09, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Jerrod View Post
teewee, I will tell you straight up that deciding to commute has been one of the best decisions I have made it a long time. I was in your shoes a year ago not really knowing where to start, but I am glad I did. So I commend your even thinking about doing it. Most don't even get that far.
1+ This commuting thing is without a doubt THE best thing I've ever done for myself!
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Old 05-19-09, 01:50 PM
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go with the trek fx- i purchased a 7.5fx for commuting and put it into service last month. i already had a road bike and a mountain bike that i had been using for commuting but wanted something that was non-suspension, lighter and faster.
so far i have 500 miles on it and it's been great. my commute is 41 miles round trip and it's very comfortable, the drivetrain is also buttery smooth and the bike itself handles well. i set it up with a rear rack, fenders, a headlight a computer and some clipless pedals and it's good to go. i fact i'm staring at it right now and i can't wait to get out of here in 30 minutes so i can ride.
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Old 05-19-09, 09:56 PM
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wow thank you all for the responses and support. feels like a great community from all over the world =P (enough..sentimental-ness heh). I'm actually quite excited to go buy it now heh, even spent today at work looking around the premises for a suitable place to lock the bike. Unfortunately, the office only has a crappy bike rack which they've thrown off to the side near the dumpsters, which are towards the BACK of the parking lot. Hopefully that'll get moved and they'll actually secure the rack to the ground or something. But that leads me to my next question, how do YOU guys lock up your bikes? and what lock do you recc? I've been reading up on Kryptonite locks, and the Evolution Mini looks good, but they're so expensive! whats the word on these? worth it? or I can get away with less. (I work in the suburbs, so the office is not in downtown Toronto or something)
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Old 05-19-09, 09:58 PM
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^ I use an Onguard Mini U-Lock. Cost about $25 from Amazon, if I recall correctly.
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Old 05-19-09, 10:16 PM
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I use 2 Krypto Fahgettaboudit locks (one regular U lock, one big mega chain type) and a cable lock on the wheels. I leave the Fahgettaboudits at work on a railing so I don't have to haul them back and forth every day. Multiple locks = deterrence. Cable lock alone = bye bye bike
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Old 05-20-09, 10:55 AM
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Here is another vote for not buying a hybrid. You should DEFINITELY find a bike that you are comfortable with riding. A vast majority of the people that I know that got a hybrid, regret it later though. After spending the money, they often end up buying another bike and hardly ever touching the hybrid after a short while.

Hybrid gearing and brakes will get really old if you want to ride faster and have more hand positions later on (many more hand positions on standard road bike handlebars). Likewise, a hybrid will also hold you back later on if you want to start riding on gravel/dirt roads, or on mountain bike trails.

I would seriously consider getting something like a touring or plush road bike with fatter tires than usual (28-32 c), or just put slick tires on a lighter mountain bike (no shocks in the rear). No matter what, I would make sure that it has rack mounts for a commuting rack, and that you really do feel comfortable riding it.
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Old 05-20-09, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinyon View Post
Here is another vote for not buying a hybrid. You should DEFINITELY find a bike that you are comfortable with riding. A vast majority of the people that I know that got a hybrid, regret it later though. After spending the money, they often end up buying another bike and hardly ever touching the hybrid after a short while.

Hybrid gearing and brakes will get really old if you want to ride faster and have more hand positions later on (many more hand positions on standard road bike handlebars). Likewise, a hybrid will also hold you back later on if you want to start riding on gravel/dirt roads, or on mountain bike trails.

I would seriously consider getting something like a touring or plush road bike with fatter tires than usual (28-32 c), or just put slick tires on a lighter mountain bike (no shocks in the rear). No matter what, I would make sure that it has rack mounts for a commuting rack, and that you really do feel comfortable riding it.
I'm confused. Hybrids are limited speed wise because of their gearing (which is incorrect), but you're recommending a front suspension mountain bike for a paved commute? The gearing would be the same to boot, but you'd be left with an even heavier bike.

"Hybrid gearing" has nothing to do with it. Aerodynamics and geometry do. The OP didn't ask for a recommendation on a "fast" bike anyway.

Wouldn't having more gearing in the low end be better for a beginning rider? There is nothing wrong with a hybrid for a commuter, especially somebody just starting out. For one, you'd have a lot easier time getting a rack/fenders on one, secondly (and this is a deal breaker for me) they will take bigger studded tires in the winter.

Though a road or touring bike with a more relaxed geometry would be a good option too, especially the touring frame with braze-ons for everything.

My advice is to go back to the bike shop and test ride a bunch of bikes. See what feels comfortable. For commuting, the FX series are a great option.
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Old 05-20-09, 03:22 PM
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It just seems like people end up really wanting either a mountain bike or a road/touring bike pretty soon after they buy a hybrid. If you like going fast, then I say get a non-race road type bike with rack mounts. Road handlebars give you more hand positions, and are much more comfortable on longer and faster rides than flat bars.

I'm not talking about problems with the gear cogs that come on the bike, I'm talking about how easy the combinations of shifters and the handlebars are to switch out later.

If you like the mountain-bike style more, and fancy that you will being riding on gravel roads and trails more often than on the road, then yes, I say get a mountain bike with a front suspension. Weight does not matter as much to trail riders, and without those shocks you will feel beat-to-death off-road. Put some higher pressure slick-type tires on there, and you can go fast enough for it to be fun when riding to work on the pavement or really bumpy roads. Put the stock or other knobby tires on, and you are ready for the trail/woods.

Like I said, the gear issue is mostly about the shifters, not the gear cogs. It will cost you a lot of money to switch-out the shifters from a hybrid to road-type handlebars later. In some cases, you end up having to replace the derailures AND the shifters to move to road handlebars. It can get even more complicated and expensive if you try to hook up say hydraulic disk brakes to road bike brifters.

Have fun. That is the important part.


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Old 05-21-09, 05:57 AM
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How about, get a hybrid on craigslist for cheap, ride it around town and any local trails, and then in 3 months when you're ready for EITHER a mountain bike or a road bike, hit up the stores again and test ride whatever you're leaning towards?
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Old 05-21-09, 06:18 AM
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Sorry but "Performance Hybrid" sounds too much like the contradiction of terms: "Luxury Apartment". Good luck performing on a hybrid.
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Old 05-21-09, 07:21 AM
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Although in the past I've said I'd have bought my Forge instead of Coda were I starting over, I don't find hybrids (especially those that are essentially flat bar road bikes, like the Coda) nearly as bad as this thread would suggest. I still ride mine because it offers things my road bike doesn't, like a more relaxed position, more stability, a smoother ride, and a far greater willingness to be ridden hands free. Were I starting over now, I might not buy a Coda due to the price, but I could see myself buying a Forge CTS 1000 (see above) and a Forge M Street, which is one of Forge's hybrid offerings. Buying both bikes sets you back less than $500, and you get to learn first hand which style you prefer, which may come to depend on the day, your mood, the terrain, or a number of other factors.
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Old 05-21-09, 07:32 AM
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BTW - I raise my drops on my bikes because I like drops but I'm not a racer. I use steerer tube extenders; long stems & stem extenders depending on the bike.
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Old 05-21-09, 07:47 AM
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Bottom line, people who spend tons and tons of time riding generally like drops for the variety of hand positions (and the speed/aerodynamics/lighter bike that tend to go along with that - read: road bike).

However, I tend to ride shorter distances, in a city, and I like my hybrid. It's a non-suspension 700c wheel Trek hybrid, and it works extremely well for city riding. I'm not the fastest person out there, but I'm not trying to be! For a few miles in the city, hybrids work very well - it's what they're for!

Want more hand positions? Get a trekking bar. All the positions of drops, without having to swap out brakes or gears or anything.

I actually just put some swept back bars on mine, and pointed them down a bit so I can still put some weight on my hands - most comfortable I've ever been on my bike!

Last edited by exarkuhn15; 05-21-09 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 05-21-09, 07:55 AM
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I had a Trek 7500FX (AKA 7.5FX) for a number of years. Great all around bike. I put it thru all the paces, rain, trails, jumping curbs etc. I did all the service work myslef and never had to take it to the LBS. I sold the 7500FX a little while ago and purchased a cyclocross bike, which works better for my commute. As far as locking my bike up, I store my bike in my office, perks of the job.
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Old 05-21-09, 08:28 AM
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+1 on a 7.3 with trekking bars, IF the bike fits you properly. Unless you're flexible, you'll lose out on being comfortable in the drops of a road bar. Trekking bars are a very cheap ($20-$25) upgrade that will make a world of difference on multi hour rides.
The main things I like about my 7.3fx is the frame is aluminum which makes for a great winter bike, and it can fit some pretty wide tires, great for rougher roads or unpaved trails. The component set has been problem free for me, other then the brake pads and saddle.

I've had no problems with it other then the wheel needing re-trued after the first few weeks. I started at ~260lbs, it's been a great commuter/cruising bike.
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Old 05-21-09, 11:50 AM
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wow thanks so much once again for all your opinions..keep it up!

one of my concerns was how versatile this hybrid would be. In terms of ability to commute and do other things. Unlike many of you with multiple bikes, each tailored for a specific use, I 'plan' to try and keep this new hobby limited in terms of how much I'm investing (having...way too many money holes..which I'm sure you call can identify with =P) One idea I thought of, was getting a low end MTB, throw on road tires, lock the suspension (at the LBS they called it dual-sport bikes) when used on the road. However, am i correct to say that these dual sport type bikes won't beat out the performance/comfortness of a true hybrid when used on the road (which is my primary purpose)
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Old 05-21-09, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by exarkuhn15 View Post
However, I tend to ride shorter distances, in a city, and I like my hybrid. It's a non-suspension 700c wheel Trek hybrid, and it works extremely well for city riding. I'm not the fastest person out there, but I'm not trying to be! For a few miles in the city, hybrids work very well - it's what they're for!

Want more hand positions? Get a trekking bar. All the positions of drops, without having to swap out brakes or gears or anything.

I actually just put some swept back bars on mine, and pointed them down a bit so I can still put some weight on my hands - most comfortable I've ever been on my bike!
My commute is short as well (6.3km one way) and I'm not looking to be the fastest biker on the road.., so I'm not too overly concerned about long distance biking and hand fatigue.. or should I be concerned? roadbikes handles do look comfy =P
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