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Less popular hybrids - a beginner's dilemma

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Less popular hybrids - a beginner's dilemma

Old 06-21-17, 07:00 PM
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yoavba
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Less popular hybrids - a beginner's dilemma

Hello,

My wife and I want to engage in some light recreational biking. They say itís good for both body and soul Ė so weíre definitely in.

We both have an occasional need to commute to work (a few kilometers away) but at the same time, we want to be able to ride in some entry-level trails. Off-road oriented hybrids seem like the natural choice for us, and weíve seen many of these: Giantís Roam, Cannondale CX Quick, Trek DS and some Diamondbacks.
Recently we were offered the Fuji Traverse 1.1 for a very good price. I donít know much about bikes, but from the little I was able to pick up within the past couple of weeks, this bikeís components seem more than decent for our needs.

The main issue here is the fact that Fuji as a brand, and the Traverse series in particular, draw very little attention online. Almost no reviews and just a few discussions in online forums.

Are these bikes decent?
Is there a particular reason for the extent of unpopularity? Should this be a reason not to consider the Fuji bikes?
Can bikes be bad even when the components are adequate?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-21-17, 09:06 PM
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Over 2500 miles on my Fuji Absolute, and I still love it!
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Old 06-22-17, 02:10 AM
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There are lots of perfectly good entry level to one notch above entry level hybrids that aren't mentioned often or reviewed because they're so common and the model names change so often.

A typical hybrid of this type will have an aluminum frame, weigh just under 30 lbs with a rigid fork or just about 30 lbs or a bit more with a simple spring suspension fork (usually Suntour).

They'll usually have a Shimano Altus or equivalent rear derailer. Usually a 21 speed: 3 speed chain ring (usually 28/38/48 or similar); 7 speed Shimano Megarange freewheel, usually 14-34 or 14-28.

Usually Tektro or comparable linear pull V-brakes.

Single wall rims on entry level hybrids, with tires around 700x32 up to 700x38. Some will be 26" wheels and tires. Both types are commonly available. A notch up from entry level may have double wall rims. Those only matter if you ride really rough roads pretty often or carry heavy loads.

Anyway, if you compare components and features they're all pretty similar. Saddles, handlebars and stems may vary quite a bit, especially if it includes an easily adjustable stem. So go with the bike that feels right and from a dealer that offers the most generous support: adjustments to be sure it fits you; check up and tune up after 30 days or so to be sure it's shifting and braking properly. This can make a big difference in long term enjoyment. As you ride more and get into shape you'll probably notice little things that could be better -- small adjustments to the saddle, handlebar height and angle, etc. -- to ride more efficiently without sacrificing comfort.
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Old 06-22-17, 05:41 AM
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According to Fuji's website, the Traverse 1.1 Disc comes with Shimano Deore components and a 3x10 setup (3 rings on the crank and 10 cogs in the back). I'd say this is MORE than versatile enough to cover everything you could conceivably do. At $999 MSRP, I would consider this to be a notch or two above "entry level" hybrids -- this is definitely a mid-range bike that comes with some properly good components.

Bikes aren't like cars in terms of reviews and reliability, etc. All components are pretty much standardized and different bike assemblers are really competing on price and cosmetics (color schemes, etc). To be sure, each brand will fit and feel a little different to you, which is why it's important to test ride a bunch of different options. Anything you get from a reputable brand (including Fuji) will be a great bike.

Based on what you've said in your first post, this bike will be well more than sufficient for you. If you can get it at a good price, and if it fits well, then go for it!
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Old 06-22-17, 07:07 AM
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Thank you very much - AU Tiger, canklecat and hokieflyd. Your comment are helpful.
(AU Tiger - the Absolute is indeed an exception for Fuji - it gets mentioned quite often on '10 best hybrids' lists)

So, my take-away here is that given the on-paper specs of this particular model, which is above entry-level, it all reduces to ergonomics (dimensions, saddles, front bars etc.) and the extent of future support from my local dealer.
Do you agree with this statement?

BTW - I'm still puzzled as to why these bikes are so unpopular in comparison to similar bikes in that category.
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Old 06-22-17, 07:49 AM
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2000+ miles on my Fuji Absolute. Fuji is a great brand across the spectrum of road, mountain, and hybrid bikes.
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Old 06-22-17, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by yoavba View Post
Thank you very much - AU Tiger, canklecat and hokieflyd. Your comment are helpful.
(AU Tiger - the Absolute is indeed an exception for Fuji - it gets mentioned quite often on '10 best hybrids' lists)

So, my take-away here is that given the on-paper specs of this particular model, which is above entry-level, it all reduces to ergonomics (dimensions, saddles, front bars etc.) and the extent of future support from my local dealer.
Do you agree with this statement?

BTW - I'm still puzzled as to why these bikes are so unpopular in comparison to similar bikes in that category.
Marketing? It isn't so much that some bikes are more unpopular, but that certain brand and particularly models get mentioned over and over in certain popular price points. When people ask me for recommendations, I try to preface my answer by pointing out that the list is not all inclusive and that locally, there may be equally good bikes at the same price point that are worthy of consideration.

Last edited by MRT2; 06-22-17 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 06-22-17, 08:04 AM
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don't beat yourself up about your decision. love to quote Christopher Walken, in the Wedding Crashers "we have no way of knowing what lays ahead for us in the future, all we can do is use the information at hand to make the best decision possible. it's gonna be fine"

The Flower Shop from Wedding Crashers | Anyclip
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Old 06-22-17, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by yoavba View Post
Thank you very much - AU Tiger, canklecat and hokieflyd. Your comment are helpful.
(AU Tiger - the Absolute is indeed an exception for Fuji - it gets mentioned quite often on '10 best hybrids' lists)

So, my take-away here is that given the on-paper specs of this particular model, which is above entry-level, it all reduces to ergonomics (dimensions, saddles, front bars etc.) and the extent of future support from my local dealer.
Do you agree with this statement?

BTW - I'm still puzzled as to why these bikes are so unpopular in comparison to similar bikes in that category.
I suspect Fuji bike models are very popular among the many people who have bought them over the years. That they don't make the top 10 lists is no big deal because there are plenty of other bikes that didn't make the lists either. They are perfectly good well equipped bikes that for some reason did not catch the testers eye. Find a couple of local bike shops with different bikes that are priced for your budget and give them a thorough test ride. Then pick based on the one that rides and looks the best.
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Old 06-22-17, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
don't beat yourself up about your decision. love to quote Christopher Walken, in the Wedding Crashers "we have no way of knowing what lays ahead for us in the future, all we can do is use the information at hand to make the best decision possible. it's gonna be fine"

The Flower Shop from Wedding Crashers | Anyclip
...and more cowbells.
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Old 06-22-17, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
...and more cowbells.
natch
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Old 06-22-17, 02:46 PM
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Thank you all for your comments.

We decided to take your advice and go with Fuji. Now we need to decide between the Traverse 1.5 (around $500) and Traverse 1.1 (around $800).
I realize that components on the 1.1 are better (mainly drive-train, right?) , just wondering if its worth the $300 difference.

Traverse 1.1
fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/city/cross-terrain/traverse/traverse-1-1-disc

Traverse 1.5
fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/city/cross-terrain/traverse/traverse-1-5-disc

What do you think?
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Old 06-22-17, 02:49 PM
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I'm really not sure why Fuji doesn't get the love that Specialized, Giant, and Trek get, Fuji makes bikes across the whole line that can compete head to head with the "big 3". Like someone mentioned, its probably marketing and color schemes ?

I bought a 2016 Fuji Crosstown 1.1 disc, and I've put almost 8,000 miles on it, well built and decently equipped for a $600 bike, only thing I don't like about it is it weighs a lot ! Still it has been taking a good daily beating with no issues, so I'm sure the Traverse would be a great bike.
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Old 06-22-17, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by yoavba View Post
Thank you all for your comments.

We decided to take your advice and go with Fuji. Now we need to decide between the Traverse 1.5 (around $500) and Traverse 1.1 (around $800).

What do you think?
I think they both have a SR NEX fork which is a cheap Coil spring fork? If the more expensive one has an "air" fork then that would be good in my opinion but those coil springs are basically just a gimmick, something to fool people into thinking it's a great bike because it has shocks. They are heavy and you'll be bobbing up and down as you ride, even with the lockout they bob a bit. I owned one back in the day and found for road use it was maddening.

Now having said that, if all you want to do is putter along at 10 mph and have no interest in performance then the bikes, either one will be great. Even a low-end brand name bike of this design is well ahead of old bikes made in the 90's say. If on the other hand you want a little performance, then look at some bikes with a rigid fork.
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Old 06-22-17, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by yoavba View Post
Thank you all for your comments.

We decided to take your advice and go with Fuji. Now we need to decide between the Traverse 1.5 (around $500) and Traverse 1.1 (around $800).
I realize that components on the 1.1 are better (mainly drive-train, right?) , just wondering if its worth the $300 difference.

Traverse 1.1
fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/city/cross-terrain/traverse/traverse-1-1-disc

Traverse 1.5
fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/city/cross-terrain/traverse/traverse-1-5-disc

What do you think?
The components on the 1.1 are definitely a step up from the 1.5, but I don't think they are $300 worth of a step up. I doubt that you'll wear out even the Tourney front derailleur any time soon with "light recreational biking." And if you eventually do, you could jump up to a Deore if you wanted to for much less than that $300 premium. There are a few other differences, but I don't think they warrant the huge price jump for the type of riding you'll be doing. Save that and put it toward other accessories, or even upgraded grips, etc.
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Old 06-23-17, 02:30 AM
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Fuji bikes are fine. I see 'em around Fort Worth, ranging from hybrids to gravel bikes to high end road bikes. I've seen some outstanding deals on unsold old stock Fuji gravel bikes from Performance. If I was in the market for an entry level gravel bike I'd consider the Fuji.

Why don't we see many reviews or comments about hybrids in general? It's pretty much a settled style of bike now, not much variation between competing models at any given price point. Unless a manufacturer comes up with a new gimmick, such as Trek's in-frame shock absorber doodads, or Globe's push for hipster appeal back around 2008, you won't see reviews of most new models since they don't change that much from year to year.

Based on what I see locally the mid to high tier market for road bikes is where most attention goes. I mostly see older adults -- 40s on up -- riding those because they can afford them. And it's not just vanity. Most of 'em are faster than I am. I'm 59 and have trouble keeping up with a couple of local riders in their 70s. One of 'em rides pretty ordinary hybrids like I do but he's darned strong and fast. Some of the 50something men and women I see locally on carbon road bikes are much faster than I am on my old school steel road bike. I struggle to average 15 mph. They're all doing 16-20 mph over 30-100 mile rides.

That's what gets most of the market attention. Nothing wrong with hybrids though. I usually enjoy riding my hybrids more and don't have neck strain at the end of a long ride.
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Old 06-23-17, 05:26 AM
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The 1.1 has a remote lockout on the fork whereas the 1.5 has a standard lockout. This means you can lock the 1.1's fork from up on the handlebar probably, rather than reaching down to the fork stanchion to do it. Eh...I have a Suntour NEX fork that doesn't even have a lockout, and I'd probably never use one if I had one, so this doesn't add value in my opinion.

The 1.1 has an external sealed bearing bottom bracket. Objectively, this is a better design than what the 1.5 likely has, a standard square taper bottom bracket. As a home mechanic, I like simple stuff, and I'd prefer the square taper just because I already have tools for that, it's interchangeable with everything else I own, and the lower weight of the external design isn't a factor for me.

The 1.1 has a 10-speed drivetrain, whereas the 1.5 has an 8-speed drivetrain. 10-speed chains and cassettes are more expensive to replace than 8-speed chains and cassettes. Keep this in mind if you ride a lot and will be replacing those items somewhat regularly. Both cassettes are 11-32, which means you have the same gear range back there...the 1.1 spreads it over 10 cogs whereas the 1.5 spreads it over 8 cogs. The 1.1 does have a crankset with slightly smaller small and middle chain rings, but there's not a significant difference in gearing there.

I agree with AU Tiger: save some cash with the 1.5, and buy racks and bags and grips and other stuff with it.
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Old 06-23-17, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by AU Tiger View Post
Over 2500 miles on my Fuji Absolute, and I still love it!
This is the bike you should get.
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Old 06-23-17, 08:46 AM
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Old 06-23-17, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by coominya View Post
I think they both have a SR NEX fork which is a cheap Coil spring fork? If the more expensive one has an "air" fork then that would be good in my opinion but those coil springs are basically just a gimmick, something to fool people into thinking it's a great bike because it has shocks. They are heavy and you'll be bobbing up and down as you ride, even with the lockout they bob a bit. I owned one back in the day and found for road use it was maddening.
Given that I do want a front suspension, what would make a decent step-up for the fork with similar geometry and travel?


Originally Posted by AU Tiger View Post
Save that and put it toward other accessories, or even upgraded grips, etc.
Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
I agree with AU Tiger: save some cash with the 1.5, and buy racks and bags and grips and other stuff with it.
Does it make sense to get the cheaper Traverse 1.5 and make local upgrades for component that are too basic? If so, what would you upgrade?

Thanks
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Old 06-23-17, 02:57 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by coominya View Post
I think they both have a SR NEX fork which is a cheap Coil spring fork? If the more expensive one has an "air" fork then that would be good in my opinion but those coil springs are basically just a gimmick, something to fool people into thinking it's a great bike because it has shocks. They are heavy and you'll be bobbing up and down as you ride, even with the lockout they bob a bit. I owned one back in the day and found for road use it was maddening.

Now having said that, if all you want to do is putter along at 10 mph and have no interest in performance then the bikes, either one will be great. Even a low-end brand name bike of this design is well ahead of old bikes made in the 90's say. If on the other hand you want a little performance, then look at some bikes with a rigid fork.
I have a Roam with the SR Suntour NEX fork, and I think the forks are not a cheap gimmick are well worth the small added weight. That's opinion. I think it has a lot to do with where, how, and how varied are your ride surfaces. And if you care about speed, only speed and nothing but speed. If so, you don't want a bike with shocks.

Factually, I can tell you that when my Roam's forks are locked out, there is no bob, not one bit.
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Old 06-23-17, 05:37 PM
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I've just realized that for some reason none of my recent replies ever got posted. Weird.
Anyway - thanks all for your comments.
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Old 06-23-17, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tony_G View Post
I think it has a lot to do with where, how, and how varied are your ride surfaces. And if you care about speed,
Yes, like I said.
If all you want to do is putter along at 10 mph and have no interest in performance then the bikes, either one will be great.
I owned a Scott with these forks, and yes I like to ride relatively fast and found them a drag. As long as OP gets the message, as you and I have both said (Not performance/speed) that's all that matters.
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Old 06-24-17, 12:12 AM
  #24  
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Nothing wrong with a good suspension fork for all around riding as long as the bike's overall weight is reasonable. They're not only comfortable but often more stable on rough pavement and gravel. Look at some older downhill mountain bike races on rigid fork bikes -- they were bouncing around erratically and falling everywhere over washboard ruts and stuff that even a basic Suntour spring fork with 75mm travel would cruise over without a bobble.

A friend who's in his 70s rides mostly older mountain bikes like Specialized Rockhoppers and Stumpjumpers for the local gravel trails and casual street group rides. He recently upgraded the fork on one of his older mountain bikes, from spring to oil if I'm recalling correctly. He's still faster than I am (I'm 59 and in decent shape, but he's in exceptionally good condition). I'd guesstimate he cruises comfortably at 14 mph on gravel. I was riding with a casual group on gravel this past week and we were averaging a comfortable 12 mph to accommodate some less experienced cyclists. We came across my older friend along the route. He joined us for maybe a mile, long enough to show me his new suspension fork. But we were going too slow for him so he gradually pulled away at a healthy clip.

I resumed cycling in 2015 after more than 30 years away. I started on a heavy comfort hybrid with simple Suntour spring fork. It was great on bombed out pavement, gravel and rutted roads patched with soft sand. Nowadays I mostly ride a lighter, more nimble 1992 Univega rigid fork mountain bike. But the spring fork bike is still more stable and confidence inspiring on bad roads. On a few bad patches of soft sandy fill the other night my Univega kept plowing and demanded careful attention, even with 700x42 tires at 50 psi. The comfy hybrid with spring fork and 700x40 tires zips through that stuff like it's nothing.

If it made sense for my bikes I'd seriously consider a Lauf Grit fork, but it wouldn't make sense to put an $800 fork on a $200 bike.
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