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Help me make a good decision about a bike purchase

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Help me make a good decision about a bike purchase

Old 08-23-04, 09:27 PM
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bluehurry
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Help me make a good decision about a bike purchase

I've been looking for a bike to commute to work as well as to ride around town on weekdays after work. I also plan on riding (probably just to work and back, approx 2-3 miles each way) in the winter in Denver, CO and I guess I'll probably need to get wider(?) tires or tires with studs(?) or tires with more tracktion(?)... I'm not sure exactly what would be the solution and if those types of tires exist for a 700C wheel or not...

I've done some research online and test rode a few bikes. The 3 that I'm interested in are around the $600 mark: Giant Cypress SX, Trek 7500 FX, and Specialized Sirrus Elite

I'm having a tough time making a decision as all 3 of them have something I like:

Giant Cypress SX:
* best looking bike of the 3
* Consumer Report gave it the top ratings
* Shimano 105 rear derailers
Formula Xero SXR-4 wheels (OEM product, i've read many bad and good reviews of the brand not the specific model used on this bike... so i'm not sure what to make of it)

Trek 7500 FX:
* slick tires but still 32mm instead of the 28mm on the Giant...so it may be more versatile(?)
* mountain-bike cassette in the back = better hill-climbing ability than the Giant's road-bike cassette
* Shimano Deore LX rear derailers, which as I understand is the same level as the 105, except that it's for mountain-bikes.
* Bontrager Select wheels (from what i've gathered this is a good brand... haven't read any specific reviews of these wheels though)

Specialized Sirrus Elite:
* carbon fork and seat post
* 2nd best looking bike of the 3
i've read that there's problems with the rear wheel or something on this bike being weak that Specialized knows about and also problems putting a rack on

--

That's all I can think of right now... does anyone have experiences with any of these bikes or any thoughts on which would be the most appropriate bike?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-23-04, 09:42 PM
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larue
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I am in a similar situation as you and have been shopping for a new bike as well. I thought I had made up my mind and was going to go with the Giant Cypress SX but in talking with the dealer I bought my wifes bike from (gary fisher zebrano) he mentioned this Felt SR91 he had in stock but had yet to build it. After he told me about the bike I did a little research and am leaning more towards the Felt, once I ride it I will know for sure.
It's an awesome ride for the money and is a tad less than the Cypress SX which I found for around $600-630 locally while I can get the Felt for $500.
Here are a few pics.
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Old 08-23-04, 10:08 PM
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Of those 3 I like the loof of the Sirrus Elite best, with the carbon fork and seat post which should cut road vibrations, and weight. Discuss rack and fender mounting with the bike shop. I would suggest looking for a Trek 1000 with drop bars, as the multiple hand position will make for comfort on longer rides (which you will be doing if you get any of these bikes), and will be a lifesaver in strong headwinds.
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Old 08-24-04, 08:50 AM
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Given the conditions under which you're planning to ride, I think the Trek is the best choice. It's got the best hill gearing, as you mention. The extra tire width is unlikely to affect you on shorter rides, and if my usual riding partner is any indication, they won't be a problem on longer rides either. He rides a 7700FX with 35's for everything up to and including RAGBRAI. It's not as fast as my Jamis, but he's a lot stronger rider than I am so it evens out.

Harris Cyclery , for one, stocks studded tires in 700C.

I personally don't care for gripshifters, which the Giant is afflicted with. Around town, I assume you ride with fingers on the brakes, and under those conditions a bump can cause an unwanted shift. That's annoying, to say the least.

Given that Trek owns Bontrager, the value-for-money on Trek OEM wheels is pretty good.

I know someone who went around and around with Specialized about breaking spokes. The lbs finally told the guy that the bike wasn't meant for the distances he was riding. He bought a 7500FX and hasn't broken a spoke since. That's anecdotal evidence, though - YMMV.

I rode both the Giant and the Specialized during the last couple months while searching for my own bike. I borrowed 7500 and 7700FX's, and was able to ride both for longer stints. Of the 4 bikes, I liked the 7500FX the best - it (subjectively, of course) felt the most solid. Remember, though, I really don't like gripshifters, and I know someone who had a bad time with Specialized, so that probably affected my impressions.

When the time came for me to spend money, I bought a Jamis Coda, but my priorities differ from yours.
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Old 08-24-04, 07:29 PM
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thanks for that very detailed response. my gut/brain is agreeing completely with you on the 7500FX. but i'm in lust with the Giant Cypress SX because of the looks, and that Consumer Reports gave it the best marks...speaking of which, does anyone here have any idea WHERE i can find that consumer report article? i've googled it to death and haven't found anything...i would be very interested in reading what the CR people have to say about the various bikes.

so... I think I'll go back and test ride the 7500FX and Cypress SX side by side to convince myself one way or another. again thank you for the response.
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Old 08-24-04, 07:33 PM
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Those Felts look nice... I like the Felt SR71 though. But it's $1000 yikes... *sigh*
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Old 08-24-04, 07:36 PM
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Andrew,

How do you feel about the Sirrus' lower level components front & rear deraileurs? I took the Sirrus Elite out for a 1hr spin and really liked it. Personally I couldn't tell the difference between the carbon fiber fork and seatpost, but that's probably because I'm new and it's a one-time ride. I guess I felt like the trade-off in price was a lot (close to $100) for the carbon fork and seatpost while getting lower level componentries on the front and real deraileurs. Is this a worth-while trade-off?
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