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Another 'buying advice' thread (Trek 8.5 versus Cannondale Trail SL 29er 2)

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Another 'buying advice' thread (Trek 8.5 versus Cannondale Trail SL 29er 2)

Old 12-31-11, 05:40 PM
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jsm0372
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Another 'buying advice' thread (Trek 8.5 versus Cannondale Trail SL 29er 2)

Hello Bike Forums!! Just joining the board in search of some buying advice. I know the two bikes fit into different riding styles (hybrid vs. mountain bike) but I wanted to get some thoughts/opinions from those of you in the know. Some background....

I currently have a Trek 7000 ZX that I ride mostly on paved trails with some limited/light off road. The issue I have is that most everyone I know has a hybrid so I run out of gear a lot sooner and often find myself getting uncomfortable after 15 miles of riding continuous (numb hands, etc.). I originally started shopping the 8.5 DS and even considered a CX bike so I could have something that could replace my 7000 while still giving me good off road and on road capability. Well, I've talked myself out of the CX bike given the performance aspect for which it is made and rode the Cannondale 29er. The 29er felt really comfortable so enters my dilemna.

Assuming I want to replace my 7000 and have a good bike that can keep up with some roadies but also perform off road, which would be the better option? I do realize this might be 'apples and oranges' just need some thoughts from the community.

Thanks and Happy New Year!!
Joe
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Old 12-31-11, 05:48 PM
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mechBgon
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The 7000 DX was a pretty nice rig (XT, RockShox SID) and far more off-road bike than either of the two you're considering. Assuming it's still healthy, I'd keep the 7000 ZX for off-roading and pick up an actual road bike for your road riding.
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Old 12-31-11, 08:08 PM
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IMHO, you should keep the Trek 7000 and get either a Jamis Satellite Comp or a Raleigh Grand Prix, for a genuine road bike.

Happy New Year!

- Slim

Last edited by SlimRider; 12-31-11 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 01-03-12, 10:03 AM
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Thanks for the recommendations so far!! Just a little more information, while I like road bikes, I'd really prefer something that wasn't so specific in its function. I guess my question really should have been phrased to ask if the 29er would make a decent enough bike for pavement while being perfect for a little off road or if the Trek DS 8.5 would be better suited to the task given that it's being offered as a 'dual sport' bike.
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Old 01-03-12, 11:03 AM
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Well, let's see...

You say that you've been limited by gearing, at least in top speed. If you can get taller gearing on any bike, you'll start getting into aero issues once you cross 17-20 mph or so, which means that your body position will become a bigger factor. You'll need to decide if you want to crouch low over MTB bars or have the option of using drop bars and the variety of hand positions they offer.

How much off-roading do you do now? Do you want to do more, or go bigger, or do less?

I've got some ideas --
--------------------------------------
Get the 29er and retire the 7000. Deal with the low MTB gearing on pavement and learn to spin your cranks at 120 rpm or higher.

Either keep the 7000 or get one of the other bikes, and use thinner, smoother tires better suited for the surfaces upon which you've enjoyed riding.

With any of these three bikes, get tires better for pavement and switch the handlebars to drops. You can do this more or less cheaply depending on what shifters and brake levers you decide to use (bar-end shifters, or road-style STI shifter-brake "brifters", or whatever) and whether you change the rest of the drivetrain for different gearing. This way, you'll retain the suspension for offroading while gaining a handlebar that'll be easier for beyond 15 miles.

Get a cyclocross bike and use tires that are decent for gravel and smooth dirt (assuming that that's what you'll do offroad and not crazy technical singletrack). You'll have basically the same kind of bike that many tourers use when they ride for weeks at a time, and you can be sure that they've figured out what works for hours of riding.

Get a road bike and save the 7000 for offroad rides.
--------------------------------------
Basically, you've got a Jeep now, and you've given us the option of two other Jeeps when you want to do things that are more suited to a Camaro or Malibu. With the 29er or the 8.5, you get fundamentally the same bike that you've got now, and you aren't satisfied with it -- so you won't be satisfied with one of those two bikes, either.

I'd really suggest getting a CX or road bike. Don't get the same kind of bike that you have and ride the same way you do while expecting better results; you'll have wasted your money. A lot of people get into riding with one bike that they think can do it all, but most of them reach a point where they split the duties among two or more bikes because they want to spend lots of time going fast on pavement or riding harder trails offroad. I don't even say that they're mistaken -- it's just that you can't know what kind of riding you really like best until you've gone out and done it yourself.

Make sense?

PS -- to help avoid numb hands on your 7000 (or any other flat-bar bike), try using more comfortable grips like Ergons or even the Satellite grips on that 8.5.
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Old 01-04-12, 12:46 AM
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I would go with the Trek 8.5 DS if you are set on the idea of a bike that came closest to bridging that gap. The 8.5 is basically a 29er with slightly more road worthy gearing. You could always put on some beefier treads for some offroading or put on some slicks for the road whichever suits your needs. The grips are wide for comfort spreading your weight across your palm. Now don't expect to get extreme with this bike on the trail. Non technical hard pack dirt trails like canal banks, river trails, etc are about all it can handle but its a very good bike regardless.
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Old 01-04-12, 01:35 PM
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I would say go with the Trek. I have the Utopia which is pretty much the 8.4 and I love it. The great thing about the DS Treks is that they are good all around bikes so if you want you can buy another set of wheels and keeps some 29er tires and some road slicks and swap them based on where you are going to be riding on that day.
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Old 01-05-12, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jsm0372 View Post
Thanks for the recommendations so far!! Just a little more information, while I like road bikes, I'd really prefer something that wasn't so specific in its function. I guess my question really should have been phrased to ask if the 29er would make a decent enough bike for pavement while being perfect for a little off road or if the Trek DS 8.5 would be better suited to the task given that it's being offered as a 'dual sport' bike.
Quiz time: what distinction do these two bikes hold:





Answer: they hold the last three consecutive course records on our local road-&-gravel nighttime century ride. Yeah, 26" XC bikes with big fat tires and a long, XC-oriented cockpit. I wouldn't go any faster on a cyclocross bike, and certainly not on either of your two candidates with their upright, air-draggy riding positions.

Seriously, consider keeping your 7000 ZX for off-roading. If it needs a boost in gearing, that's easy enough with a Deore trekking crank/bb setup. If it's got average tires and you want something faster on the road, let me personally recommend the Continental RaceKing Supersonics shown above, with 125-gram lightweight tubes.

Regarding gearing, before going to a trekking setup you might just slap on a 44 and see if that does the trick. In a fast road descent, I wrap out a 44 x 11 at about 35mph. In a steady-state cruise, 87rpm on the 44 x 12 is enough for around 24mph, which is more than most people will have the legs for, and there's still the 11 for descents.

Last edited by mechBgon; 01-05-12 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 01-07-12, 09:21 PM
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Awesome guys!! Thanks for all the great feedback. I will definitely keep the 7000 and maybe slowly upgrade components here and there to make it a real weapon to ride :-) I may still got with the 8.5 or the 29er for more of the everyday stuff....leaning on the 8.5 based on some of the great feedback. A buddy of mine who works at LBS is checking out if regearing the 29er would be an option as well. I guess I need to have him look into upgrading a few things on the 7000 as well!!

Thanks again and if anyone out there as any more input then I welcome it!!
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Old 01-07-12, 09:23 PM
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@mech - Those are some sweet rides!! How many mm is that neck? I know my 7000 pushes 111mm already. Just curious...
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