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Road/ touring/ commuting bike recommendations

Old 01-12-20, 08:50 PM
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cougarkite
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Road/ touring/ commuting bike recommendations

I'm currently riding a 77? Raleigh Record and have been for the past 12 or so years and have decided to upgrade. I've tried to find a replacement a couple times but I keep coming back to my Raleigh so I wanted to ask you all for recommendations.
Most of my riding is city riding under 20 miles or so per outting. What I like about my Raleigh which I haven't seemed to find in other road bikes or touring bikes is the geometry. I'm not sure if that's exactly the issue but I tried a "commuter" style bike and it seemed too laid back, like I was peddling a lot without much payoff. I guess I like to be more over the bike but I dislike how road bike tires are so skinny and fragile. Not sure exactly what kind of rims or tires I have on my Raleigh but know they're 27" not 700cc and feel much wider than most road bikes I've tried. I also prefer flat bars over drop bars. I know this is all over the place but I'm not exactly sure what I should be looking for or where to start. Interested in the REI 1.1 bike but not into the drop bars! Any guidance is appreciated
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Old 01-13-20, 01:18 AM
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What about this sort of geometry? https://www.rei.com/product/122465/c...es-cty-13-bike
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Old 01-13-20, 01:35 AM
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Tire width is not insurmountable; you buy a bike with a frame that can accommodate wider tires. If a typical road bike has 25mm or possibly 28mm, you might look for a frame that could accommodate 32mm, 38mm, even 40ish. Many hybrid style bikes can accommodate wider tires.

You seem to want a flat bar road bike with wider tires and a slightly more aggressive geometry. Flat-bar road bikes come in a lot of varieties. For my commuter I have a Cannondale Quick CX3. I would have preferred a Cannondale Quick 3, but CX is all I was able to find on the used market at the price range I was willing to put into the bike. Anyway, aluminum frame, flat bar, takes tires up to 43mm (but I run 32mm, and often with mudguards). In 1100 miles on this bike last year I had no flats, not one. I was riding on Conti GP4Season tires. As a commuter, I've fitted it with mudguards, lights, and a good rear rack for mounting panniers. I've ridden it up to about 30 miles, though I do prefer a dedicated road bike for rides over 20. But it's been a good bike; ideal for the purposes I have for it.
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Old 01-13-20, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
I hadn't seen that one yet! Could be worth checking out. It does look a little more laid back but the reviews seem to say what I'm looking for. I've been debating though if I should go with the REI touring https://www.rei.com/product/122462/c...es-adv-11-bike in case I do some longer rides. The 1.1 has a much shorter reach it seems like.
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Old 01-13-20, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
Tire width is not insurmountable; you buy a bike with a frame that can accommodate wider tires. If a typical road bike has 25mm or possibly 28mm, you might look for a frame that could accommodate 32mm, 38mm, even 40ish. Many hybrid style bikes can accommodate wider tires.

You seem to want a flat bar road bike with wider tires and a slightly more aggressive geometry. Flat-bar road bikes come in a lot of varieties. For my commuter I have a Cannondale Quick CX3. I would have preferred a Cannondale Quick 3, but CX is all I was able to find on the used market at the price range I was willing to put into the bike. Anyway, aluminum frame, flat bar, takes tires up to 43mm (but I run 32mm, and often with mudguards). In 1100 miles on this bike last year I had no flats, not one. I was riding on Conti GP4Season tires. As a commuter, I've fitted it with mudguards, lights, and a good rear rack for mounting panniers. I've ridden it up to about 30 miles, though I do prefer a dedicated road bike for rides over 20. But it's been a good bike; ideal for the purposes I have for it.
Are you commuting mostly on city roads? I haven't considered a commuter with suspension
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Old 01-13-20, 08:01 AM
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Are you planning to actually tour? A true touring bike meant to carry full loads (think Surly LHT) is going to be somewhat sluggish and heavy for around town riding. It's also likely to have drop bars unless you modify it or build from the frame up, which probably wouldn't be worth the cost. With that said, I commute (and tour) on my LHT.
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Old 01-13-20, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by cougarkite View Post
Are you commuting mostly on city roads? I haven't considered a commuter with suspension
Yes. I liked the Cannondale Quick as a platform for a commuter. I would have preferred the standard "Quick" (no suspension), but it's not my primary bike so I didn't want to put a ton of money into it. Paid about $500 for a 2014 Quick CX-3 (which has a suspension fork) about 14 months ago. I mostly just lock out the suspension forks and it's fine. I could save a little weight had I managed to find one without suspension. But at least the suspension model has a ton of clearance for mudguards, though a slightly more tricky installation. My commute is very hilly, but the weight of the suspension fork is nothing compared to carrying a couple laptops and a change of clothes in panniers.

I can say that the bike has very good accommodations for mounting a rear rack, and for mounting mudguards. It's a nice platform for a commuter. And not too heavy for leisure riding either. But my nightly exercise rides (20-22 miles) and my weekend distance rides (40-60 miles) are done on my road bike instead.
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Old 01-13-20, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cougarkite View Post
I'm currently riding a 77? Raleigh Record and have been for the past 12 or so years and have decided to upgrade. I've tried to find a replacement a couple times but I keep coming back to my Raleigh so I wanted to ask you all for recommendations.
Most of my riding is city riding under 20 miles or so per outting. What I like about my Raleigh which I haven't seemed to find in other road bikes or touring bikes is the geometry. I'm not sure if that's exactly the issue but I tried a "commuter" style bike and it seemed too laid back, like I was peddling a lot without much payoff. I guess I like to be more over the bike but I dislike how road bike tires are so skinny and fragile. Not sure exactly what kind of rims or tires I have on my Raleigh but know they're 27" not 700cc and feel much wider than most road bikes I've tried. I also prefer flat bars over drop bars. I know this is all over the place but I'm not exactly sure what I should be looking for or where to start. Interested in the REI 1.1 bike but not into the drop bars! Any guidance is appreciated
flat bar
wider tires than a road bike
geometry that isnt too laid back but not aggressive

So a fitness hybrid. Trek FX for example. There are tons of models with varying frame and component options. Its basically exactly what you describe.

Also, it pays to know what you like about your bike. You say you like the geometry, but you dont know what that geometry is. Finding that out will be good if you really want to get a bike with similar handling.
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Old 01-13-20, 03:14 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
flat bar
wider tires than a road bike
geometry that isnt too laid back but not aggressive

So a fitness hybrid. Trek FX for example. There are tons of models with varying frame and component options. Its basically exactly what you describe.

Also, it pays to know what you like about your bike. You say you like the geometry, but you dont know what that geometry is. Finding that out will be good if you really want to get a bike with similar handling.

I have a Trek FX 3. It is a complete blast on the road, much faster than I expected, and would make a great commute bike. On gravel, however, it is absolutely no fun at all except on the hardest and flattest of dirt roads. It's really a flat bar road bike with a lean forward posture that's really not good for dirt.
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Old 01-13-20, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I have a Trek FX 3. It is a complete blast on the road, much faster than I expected, and would make a great commute bike. On gravel, however, it is absolutely no fun at all except on the hardest and flattest of dirt roads. It's really a flat bar road bike with a lean forward posture that's really not good for dirt.
I dont understand any of this.

- An FX is a 'lean forward posture'? Really? I help maintain a fleet of 30 FX1 bikes each year and cant say I have ever considered it a 'lean forward posture'.
- A 'lean forward posture' is bad for gravel roads and dirt trails? Why? Most gravel raod bikes are drop bar(lean forward) because gravel roads are simply roads that are unpaved.
- Why would the road need to only be flat? The gear range on many FX hybride is very wide which will allow for easier hill climbing when loaded down with gear(bikepacking).
- The geometry(in my size) is more relaxed than most paved road bikes and seems perfectly acceptable for bikepacking and unpaved road riding. 72deg STA, 72.5deg HTA, 445mm chainstay, 62mm trail - all seems quite reasonable and hardly aggressive. The only outlier for geometry is the 62mm BB drop, that is a surprise, really. Its a surprise, but hardly a deal breaker. Oh, and it can clear 40mm tires which is great for bikepacking/gravel riding.

Just not sure how this bike is considered 'lean forward' or inherently bad for gravel roads. To each their own though- there is a reason why 'gravel' covers so many varied styles of bike geometry.
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Old 01-13-20, 08:43 PM
  #11  
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Trek 7.3 FX vs. Coop ADV 1.1

I don't normally weigh in on these discussions but since I have commuted with both the Trek 7.3FX and Coop ADV 1.1 I thought I'd share what I experienced. (Besides, this is a great way of procrastinating on doing my taxes...)

My commute is 16-20 miles round-trip, depending on how I go. There is gravel and dirt on a portion of some of the routes. The bulk of my cycling is utility (commute, stores, errands).

For about 12 years I ran on a Trek 7.3 FX as shown.


Aluminum Trek 7.3FX, about 2006 vintage (past commuter)

It was a flat bar but I added bar end extensions so I could get a bit lower profile.

About two years ago the frame cracked at the bottom bracket so I had to replace it. I wanted steel for durability and imagine that I will do some touring when I manage to retire, so I wrangled a close-out ADV 1.1:


REI Coop ADV 1.1, about 2018 vintage(Current commuter)

Here are my observations on the transition:

1. The bar end shifters and drop bars took some getting used to. There was not as much reach as I was used to. Maneuverability is much lower than the flat bars since rotation is limited to keep from hitting knees/frame. I ended up replacing the stem with as long a reach as I could get (140 mm, if I remember right). That helped a lot. The bike is now much less "twitchy" and I have more knee room when turning. Overall, I spend 90% of the time on the drops. I like the bar-end shifters as I can just press down with the heel of my hand and upshift.
2. Time will tell, but I hope the frame is more durable than the Trek aluminum. I run with a fairly heavy pannier load almost all the time, and I think that may have contributed to the early demise of the Trek.
3. I ran out of real estate on the drop bar for mounting lights (I mostly commute in the dark). Solved with a bar extension.
4. I was used to using a handlebar mirror mounted on the left bar end. I've looked and looked and looked and I can't find any handlebar-mounted mirror that works with drop bars and bar-end shifters. I've converted over to a helmet-mounted mirror (Take-a-Look) which takes a while to get used to. Fortunately, I'd been practicing with the helmet mirror for about 3-4 months before the Trek failed, so I was ready.

Since most of my riding is either road or trail with relatively few stops and turns, I'm happy with the touring bike style overall. However, if I was in more of an urban setting where I had to maneuver more (sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.) I'd rather have the flat bar.

Finally, in terms of frame geometry, I dunno. I got used to both.

YMMV.
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Old 01-14-20, 05:58 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I dont understand any of this.

- An FX is a 'lean forward posture'? Really? I help maintain a fleet of 30 FX1 bikes each year and cant say I have ever considered it a 'lean forward posture'.
- A 'lean forward posture' is bad for gravel roads and dirt trails? Why? Most gravel raod bikes are drop bar(lean forward) because gravel roads are simply roads that are unpaved.
- Why would the road need to only be flat? The gear range on many FX hybride is very wide which will allow for easier hill climbing when loaded down with gear(bikepacking).
- The geometry(in my size) is more relaxed than most paved road bikes and seems perfectly acceptable for bikepacking and unpaved road riding. 72deg STA, 72.5deg HTA, 445mm chainstay, 62mm trail - all seems quite reasonable and hardly aggressive. The only outlier for geometry is the 62mm BB drop, that is a surprise, really. Its a surprise, but hardly a deal breaker. Oh, and it can clear 40mm tires which is great for bikepacking/gravel riding.

Just not sure how this bike is considered 'lean forward' or inherently bad for gravel roads. To each their own though- there is a reason why 'gravel' covers so many varied styles of bike geometry.

By "flat", I meant smooth. On the road, my FX 3 is absolutely great on hills. I've ridden many hilly century+ hills on it, and I often pass right by people on drop bar bikes on climbs like they were standing still.

It handles like crap on bumpy gravel, and it is a really unpleasant experience. I would prefer my crappy cheap cx bike in that context any day. We can argue about why all day, but I don't see the point.
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Old 01-14-20, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Are you planning to actually tour? A true touring bike meant to carry full loads (think Surly LHT) is going to be somewhat sluggish and heavy for around town riding. It's also likely to have drop bars unless you modify it or build from the frame up, which probably wouldn't be worth the cost. With that said, I commute (and tour) on my LHT.
Ideally I'd like to start touring but in reality probably no so for now I think it'd be wise to stick with something more nimble. Maybe the Trek FX3?
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Old 01-14-20, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
flat bar
wider tires than a road bike
geometry that isnt too laid back but not aggressive

So a fitness hybrid. Trek FX for example. There are tons of models with varying frame and component options. Its basically exactly what you describe.

Also, it pays to know what you like about your bike. You say you like the geometry, but you dont know what that geometry is. Finding that out will be good if you really want to get a bike with similar handling.
Yeah the Trek FX3 has peaked my interest...any experience with it?
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Old 01-14-20, 06:48 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I have a Trek FX 3. It is a complete blast on the road, much faster than I expected, and would make a great commute bike. On gravel, however, it is absolutely no fun at all except on the hardest and flattest of dirt roads. It's really a flat bar road bike with a lean forward posture that's really not good for dirt.
Been looking more into the FX3. Glad to hear you've enjoyed it. I was wondering if the FX4 is worth the couple extra hundred dollars...https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/compare/
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Old 01-14-20, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
I don't normally weigh in on these discussions but since I have commuted with both the Trek 7.3FX and Coop ADV 1.1 I thought I'd share what I experienced. (Besides, this is a great way of procrastinating on doing my taxes...)

My commute is 16-20 miles round-trip, depending on how I go. There is gravel and dirt on a portion of some of the routes. The bulk of my cycling is utility (commute, stores, errands).

For about 12 years I ran on a Trek 7.3 FX as shown.


Aluminum Trek 7.3FX, about 2006 vintage (past commuter)

It was a flat bar but I added bar end extensions so I could get a bit lower profile.

About two years ago the frame cracked at the bottom bracket so I had to replace it. I wanted steel for durability and imagine that I will do some touring when I manage to retire, so I wrangled a close-out ADV 1.1:


REI Coop ADV 1.1, about 2018 vintage(Current commuter)

Here are my observations on the transition:

1. The bar end shifters and drop bars took some getting used to. There was not as much reach as I was used to. Maneuverability is much lower than the flat bars since rotation is limited to keep from hitting knees/frame. I ended up replacing the stem with as long a reach as I could get (140 mm, if I remember right). That helped a lot. The bike is now much less "twitchy" and I have more knee room when turning. Overall, I spend 90% of the time on the drops. I like the bar-end shifters as I can just press down with the heel of my hand and upshift.
2. Time will tell, but I hope the frame is more durable than the Trek aluminum. I run with a fairly heavy pannier load almost all the time, and I think that may have contributed to the early demise of the Trek.
3. I ran out of real estate on the drop bar for mounting lights (I mostly commute in the dark). Solved with a bar extension.
4. I was used to using a handlebar mirror mounted on the left bar end. I've looked and looked and looked and I can't find any handlebar-mounted mirror that works with drop bars and bar-end shifters. I've converted over to a helmet-mounted mirror (Take-a-Look) which takes a while to get used to. Fortunately, I'd been practicing with the helmet mirror for about 3-4 months before the Trek failed, so I was ready.

Since most of my riding is either road or trail with relatively few stops and turns, I'm happy with the touring bike style overall. However, if I was in more of an urban setting where I had to maneuver more (sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.) I'd rather have the flat bar.

Finally, in terms of frame geometry, I dunno. I got used to both.

YMMV.
Really into your FX setup! Do you know the 7.3 equivalent for today's line? I've been looking more into the FX3 vs the FX4 sport https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/compare/
The 1.1 does seem like a great touring bike at the price but as you've mentioned, since I'm doing 95% city commuting, I think I should go with something more agile.
Thanks for all the info!
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Old 01-14-20, 06:56 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post

Since most of my riding is either road or trail with relatively few stops and turns, I'm happy with the touring bike style overall. However, if I was in more of an urban setting where I had to maneuver more (sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.) I'd rather have the flat bar.
Heh. I sometimes chuckle inside when I try to take my LHT up something like a ramp from a riverside trail up to street level. Lots of tight corners can make it tough. I need one of those warning like you see on semi-trailers: "This Vehicle Makes Wide Turns." The long wheelbase has its advantages when loaded and out in the open. In close quarters, not so much.

Back in October I did a group overnight camping trip. Most people opted for the gear transport option, but I carried my own stuff. At one point we came to a relatively tight right turn on a steep grade. I instructed the people in our sub-group to hang back because I knew I would have to swing wide and cut back to the right in order to make it.
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Old 01-14-20, 07:59 AM
  #18  
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There are a lot of old, better, Ralieghs that show up on Craig's listor E-Bay, or yard sales, etc . There are also a lot of Japanese bikes from the early eighties available. These bikes probably have similar geometries to you Record. Why not just get a bike from that vintage that has a cro-mo frame and good components?

If you indicated your location, someone might point you to a co-op or something similar in your area where you might find a bike to upgrade to.
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Old 01-14-20, 10:42 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by cougarkite View Post
Been looking more into the FX3. Glad to hear you've enjoyed it. I was wondering if the FX4 is worth the couple extra hundred dollars...https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/compare/

I don't like the specs on the 2020 FX 3, I think they downgraded the drive train. If you can get a 2019 or earlier, it's a bargain: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...olorCode=black

FX 4 looks like a good bike for the money, but didn't you just double your budget?
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Old 01-14-20, 10:52 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Heh. I sometimes chuckle inside when I try to take my LHT up something like a ramp from a riverside trail up to street level. Lots of tight corners can make it tough. I need one of those warning like you see on semi-trailers: "This Vehicle Makes Wide Turns." The long wheelbase has its advantages when loaded and out in the open. In close quarters, not so much.
I took my Novara Randonnee out on the C&O Canal trail a few years back for a day trip. After riding for a while, I thought I'd just pop over the river to Harper's Ferry. I made it up the steps, but I remember thinking it was too bad the ferry didn't run any more. Can't imagine doing that with panniers.

Have you ever considered a touring unicycle?
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Old 01-14-20, 11:57 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by cougarkite View Post
Yeah the Trek FX3 has peaked my interest...any experience with it?
I work on a bunch of FX1 bikes, but no experience with the FX3. Based on a cursory look, they are too different for any experience to apply.
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Old 01-14-20, 12:59 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I don't like the specs on the 2020 FX 3, I think they downgraded the drive train. If you can get a 2019 or earlier, it's a bargain: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...olorCode=black

FX 4 looks like a good bike for the money, but didn't you just double your budget?
I'll be on the lookout for a 19... the FX4 is $1200 and the FX3 is $800. Not quite double the budget but if it's a bike I'll ride for a long time and the components are good for the price, the extra hundreds are worth it.
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Old 01-14-20, 01:03 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by cougarkite View Post
I'll be on the lookout for a 19... the FX4 is $1200 and the FX3 is $800. Not quite double the budget but if it's a bike I'll ride for a long time and the components are good for the price, the extra hundreds are worth it.

I'm embarrassed to admit I got this thread mixed up with the guy looking for a $500 do all bike.

For what it's worth, I recently rode my 2017 FX 3 round trip overnight from Nashua NH to Amherst MA and it was great.
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Old 01-14-20, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I'm embarrassed to admit I got this thread mixed up with the guy looking for a $500 do all bike.

For what it's worth, I recently rode my 2017 FX 3 round trip overnight from Nashua NH to Amherst MA and it was great.
No problem That's comforting to hear...I talked to someone today at a local shop who said the FX4 is better for longer distances but it's nice to hear the FX3 is as well!
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