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Relative newbie looking for a bike for a trip

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Relative newbie looking for a bike for a trip

Old 05-29-14, 11:22 AM
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EstrogenHostage
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Relative newbie looking for a bike for a trip

I have never been a serious biker, but I've spent a fair amount of time on a bike in the past. I rode my bike about 10 miles a day in college and was into trail riding for a few years during high school and college. That said, my bike needs a lot of work. I want to start biking again and get ready for a biking trip to southern california with my wife. We want to bike from LA to San diego.

The plan is to do about 30 miles a day and it's in a month and a half. We are going to start riding now. I know this isn't a ton of riding but we aren't in great shape either.

So....I'm looking for bikes. I really don't want a road bike and I live on a gravel road. I don't plan to do any mountian biking either, so I am looking at the trek FX and DS series bikes in a 19" frame. I test rode a few of the DS bikes (8.4) and liked them. After those rides I started thinking about the necessity of disc brakes and the suspension, and the seem like something that isn't important. What is your opinion on this? My friend is recommending the 8.4 also but I just don't see the need for the suspension. I've never had one before though, but I've never ridden this much in a day either.

Thanks in advance for the input!

Last edited by EstrogenHostage; 05-29-14 at 12:09 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-29-14, 11:52 AM
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Will you be spending a significant amount of time offroad? If the answer is no, I would recommend against anything with a suspension. Seems like your instinct was correct. Suspensions do more harm than good if you're going to do anything approaching serious road riding (which it sounds like you will).

As far as disc brakes go, they're by no means necessary. Rim brakes work pretty well. Don't listen to anybody saying disc brakes have better "stopping power" than rim brakes - stopping power comes from where the rubber hits the road, not if you can lock the wheel up with your pinky. They do have their advantages - in poor (muddy/wet) conditions, they're more consistent, and on long descents (which you may run into, in California), there's no chance of the brakes overheating the rim and causing a blowout. They can be a bit fiddly to set up, though.

It sounds like a touring bike might be what you want. Trek has the 520, and there are some other models (Jamis Aurora, Surly Long Haul Trucker) that might be worth checking out. Although if you're doing 30 miles a day, an FX or other hybrid would probably be sufficient.
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Old 05-29-14, 12:06 PM
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I looked at the 520. I should probably test ride it, but I was concerned with the width of the tire on gravel roads and it was also a fair amount more expensive than I was looking to spend. I hate to spend a lot of money on a hobby that I haven't been doing. Does gravel count as off road? If so, then the answer is yes. Otherwise, no.

I was considering the dual sport bikes in case I decided to do any off roading, but if I get that bug again I'll just spend some coin on my old bike (Trek antelope 820). It was good enough for me to go mountian biking on.
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Old 05-29-14, 01:05 PM
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You're in California! That's just great! They have REI's!

Checkout the Marin Muirwoods 29er. They should also have the 26er, which costs about $100 less.

The Muirwoods has a wide tire width. It can be quite versatile. IMHO, it's an urban commuter, a mtb, and a credit card touring bike, all rolled into one. It's perfect for gravel!

Good Luck!
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Old 05-29-14, 01:13 PM
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30 miles even at 5 mph is just 6 hours .. at 7 mph you can do most of it before Lunch.

the FX as a bike designed around a non suspension fork is fine DS is rather heavy anbd not that important a feature



.. Trek does a WSD frame in many models for the female, short upper body long leg proportions.

for that wife, who you feel hostage to, that then wants one too ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-29-14 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 05-29-14, 01:22 PM
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EstrogenHostage
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The bride has a trek 7.2 that she is happy with. I've ridden hers and like it but the frame size is too small.

BTW: the screen name came from another forum because my wife cloned herself four times. The fifth time I got a little boy, but there is five of her running around. Sometimes that can be a little bit overwhelming, but me and the boy have our own thing going now and that's cool.

No, I'm not from California. I live in Kansas. The bride and I are planning a trip for our tenth anniversary and we wanted something memorable. We had considered driving highway 1 from San Fran to San Diego, but we thought a bike would allow us to experience the trip more fully. The plan is to split the ride up into segments, and stop when we see something interesting. Chances are we will end up doing a segment in the morning and another in the afternoon, maybe 15 miles each. I would hope that is 2 hours or less to do that, but we may want to stop even more often than that.

WestPablo: I will check the Marin bike out too. I don't remember seeing that model at my local bike shop but I'll ask.

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Old 05-29-14, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by EstrogenHostage View Post
The bride has a trek 7.2 that she is happy with. I've ridden hers and like it but the frame size is too small.
So your SO has a bike already! When you stated that you were looking for "bikes", I assumed that you were looking for bikes for the both of you. Well, since she has the 7.2FX, that's just fine for your credit card touring venture. Just tune it up, get new tires (if needed), and equip it for the tour (rack, fenders, etc...).

WestPablo: I will check the Marin bike out too. I don't remember seeing that model at my local bike shopbut I'll ask.
Granted, the Muirwoods is a great bike for your intended touring purpose. However, there are many bikes that would also serve as excellent touring candidates, as well.

Do you know the name brand of bikes that your LBS generally carries?
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Old 05-29-14, 03:06 PM
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i agree suspension is probably a liability
in terms of weight cost and maintenance

i like disk brakes
but modern rim brakes
like v brakes or mini v brakes
or properly set up cantilevers
also work great

as for bikes like the 520
you say the tires look like they may not handle gravel well
and that may be true
but tires are easy to change
and almost all touring and hybrid and road bikes
have interchangeable tires
so if the fx bike has tires you like
you can get a similar set for just about any other touring or hybrid bike

road racing bikes often have very limited room in the frame and fork for wider tires
but hybrids and touring bikes and flat bar road bikes
usually have room for tires wide enough for all but the roughest terrain
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Old 05-30-14, 09:16 AM
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EstrogenHostage
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I'll test ride the 520 when I go back. Is the biggest difference in the position that you sit in?


BTW - I got a message from someone here asking about where I live. I can't reply to you until I post 46 more times. Sorry....
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Old 05-30-14, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by EstrogenHostage View Post
I'll test ride the 520 when I go back. Is the biggest difference in the position that you sit in?


BTW - I got a message from someone here asking about where I live. I can't reply to you until I post 46 more times. Sorry....
unless you are one of only nine people that live in your area of the world
like you are from chernobyl ukraine or something
then it is generally considered safe to publically admit what region of the world you live in

for example
are you from a small town in the midwestern united states
or a large northern european city
etc


as for the biggest differences

the biggest difference is the shape of the handlebars
which on the 520 allow you multiple hand positions
to make long rides more comfortable

however
everyone is different
so you need to find the most comfortable bike for you
regardless of what type or brand of bike
or what bike others think is better
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Old 05-30-14, 01:11 PM
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EstrogenHostage
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I went through a short stint in local politics and that cured me of my willingness to be identified in any way. I live in NE Kansas in a small town.

I will test ride the FX series and the 520 also. Thanks for the tips!
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Old 05-30-14, 01:19 PM
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In so far as Gravel roads , the bike will be OK you need to pay more attention to the line you take thru the road .

The 'gravel grinder' thing is about gravel farm roads 622-35 sort of wheel is often chosen , same as Hybrids/cross/or tourers like the 520.
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Old 05-31-14, 10:26 AM
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Well, I went to the bike shop last night. I was there a month ago and this time I got some kind of punk who seemed to have better things to do than deal with an overweight balding guy who wants to buy a bike. He kept trying to push me into a 7.2 and get me out the door. I did talk him into getting me a Cyclocross bike (cyclofit) and I was pretty impressed with it. I wasn't ready to commit to it, as I had never used drop handles before and the test ride wasn't that long.

He didn't have any of the 7.4 or 8.4 bikes in stock to ride. So, I left without buying anything.

I think I am going to take my Trek 820 in to see what repairs will be. I hate to buy something that isn't as much of a leisure bike without being in the habit of biking. If it's cheap I'll just fix my 820 and then look again later before my trip.
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Old 05-31-14, 10:52 AM
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I would say go wth the fx if you go with the 7.5 or higher the isozone will smooth out the gravel roads and it also comes with a carbon fork. The components are pretty good for a bike under 1k
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