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TonyTT 02-25-13 11:24 AM

Help choosing bike with specific requirements
Hey folks, I am new here and looking for some advice. I am in the market for my first bike in 15 years and I figure you folks would have some pretty good suggestions to help me find the right bike. My budget is $1000.00 or less. I'll describe my typical ride and you can make suggestions based on that:

Distance: 40km
Surfaces: 70% road and pavement, 20% smooth forest trails and worn fields, 10% rough stuff like mud, tree roots, gravel, train tracks.
Grade: 75% moderate grade, 20% between 5% & 10% grade, 5% is pretty steep over 15% grade.
Performance: looking for good performance on pavement, inclines, and descents. Looking for good handling on off-road conditions and ability to climb a dirt trail of 8% grade at a good clip.

So, I guess the bike Im looking for has a road bias and should be pretty durable.
Id appreciate any suggestions you folks may have.

TheOtherBob 02-25-13 11:28 AM

Sounds like you want a hybrid -- something like a Trek 7.2 or Specialized Sirrus or Cannondale Quick.

no1mad 02-25-13 11:33 AM

A cyclocross bike would work- the trick would be to find one that fit your budget, as most are above the $1k budget...

BlazingPedals 02-25-13 11:34 AM

You want a road bike, but 10% of your riding requires a mountain bike. You'll be unhappy at both ends with a hybrid, but if you specialize you will have to give up one extreme or the other.

brianogilvie 02-25-13 01:12 PM

I'd suggest a cyclocross bike - maybe the Surly Cross Check, which is a little over your price range, but not much. You might get a deal on a 2012 model if you can find a dealer that still has one. I might replace the tires with wider ones; the CC can take tires up to 45 mm wide without fenders. It won't be ideal for really rough stuff, for which you'd probably want suspension.

ThermionicScott 02-25-13 01:17 PM

+1 for a "cross" bike, and get a spare set of wheels so that you can switch from road tires to knobby off-road tires easily. :thumb:

treadtread 02-25-13 02:10 PM

Figure out what type of handle bars you like more - flat or drop bar. That is the first, really important decision. I have a flat bar Specialized Sirrus, and really wanted a drop bar bike after seeing the beautiful bikes posted here on BF. So I went to the LBS, and test rode a Cannondale Synapse (carbon bike). $2000 retail, and felt meh. Then I got back on my $450 Sirrus and felt much more comfortable. Went to a different LBS and test rode a mountain bike this time, and still felt really comfortable.

Am sure I could get used to drop bars, but the flat bars feel much more comfortable to me at the moment, so am sticking with those :)

In case you don't know - hybrids have flat bars and cross bikes have drop bars. I'm not sure how much difference there is between the frame sturdiness of a hybrid and the frame of a cross bike. I have put cross tires on my Sirrus and taken it mild off-roading (just once) but I don't know how well the bike will hold up to that. It rode fine that day though :)

TonyTT 02-25-13 03:36 PM

Thanks for the responses guys. You guys are too quick. I thought I’d be waiting for days. Anyway, these days, I am definitely preferring flat bar handlebars more as I tend to be on the bike more for commuting, general getting around town, and exploring as I am new to town. I seem to be doing less straight-up leisure riding these days so I was looking for more of an all-a-rounder kind of bike that I can use on roads and trails. I already have a road bike that I find myself using less of. I also have an old hybrid that has ended up being my go to bike these days but it needs replacing. So, as previously mentioned (minus the 10% mountain bike stuff), I guess I’m looking for a flat bar all-a-rounder that has a road bike bias so that I don’t have to bust a gut to take it up to 35-45 km/h when I’m in a hurry. I did come across the popular mentions like the Specialized Sirrus and Cannondale Bad Boy 9, and a few others but am not sure if they are the right fit. I will be visiting some LBS soon for some test rides.

Do you guys have any suggestions based on this added info?

treadtread 02-25-13 03:57 PM

I love my Sirrus. One bike that I really wish I had test ridden is the Jamis Coda - but it was $100 out of my budget and well, it's easier to avoid buying something if you've never ridden it :D

digger531 02-26-13 09:18 AM

I really like the Jamis Coda. Might be just the bike you are looking for. Nice low gears (23 gear inch on stock build) steel frame, comes stock with 32mm tires..meh..

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