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New Hybrid Recommendations

Old 08-04-19, 10:46 PM
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Ardrid
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New Hybrid Recommendations

Hi all,

I'm looking to purchase a new bike to replace my nearly 20 year old one from high school. I've settled on a hybrid given where I'll primarily be riding as well as how often I anticipate riding (mainly weekends and a few days during the week depending on how often my little guy wants to ride). Was hoping to get some recommendations from everyone as to the "best" bike for the money. I've settled on 4 top contenders at the moment:

1. Marin Fairfax 1 -$450
2. Marin Fairfax 2 -$580
3. Trek FX 2 Disc - $600
4. Jamis Coda Sport - $580

In terms of budget, I'm trying to stay within $600 or so. I've seen a lot of recommendations for the Fairfax 1 but I'm curious as to whether the Fairfax 2 is worth the extra $130 over the Fairfax 2. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.

Last edited by Ardrid; 08-05-19 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 08-05-19, 05:51 AM
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Hi. For your type of riding (light recreational), I think all of these bikes will fit your need well. The primary difference between the two Fairfax model is hydraulic disc brakes vs. mechanical and 3x8 drivetrain vs. 3x7. 3x7 drivetrains often incorporate a cheaper freewheel hub design, but that's not the case here -- Marin actually uses a 7-speed cassette on the back (that's nice). For basic riding, either bike will do well.

The Jamis is unlike any of your other choices in that is uses a chrome-moly steel frame and fork, whereas the others use aluminum alloy for both. It will probably feel the most compliant of all of them (since steel typically soaks up vibrations better than aluminum). There really isn't a weight penalty -- the Jamis is 27 pounds, which is commensurate with the others. The penalty is cost -- the Jamis is about the same cost as the others, but comes with rim brakes vs. discs. It would be nice to have rim brakes at this price point with the steel frame, but we can't have it all, right?

I suggesting riding all three brands to see what feels the best to you.
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Old 08-05-19, 06:54 AM
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OP....if you're stretching your budget to include the Fairfax2 you should take a look at Jamis Coda Comp.
I recently took one out for a test ride and found the Reynolds 520 dbl butted frame/carbon fork combo made the roads feel like riding on velvet (ok I exaggerated...a bit)
In the end it was a bit over my budget (for a 5th bike as per the wife) and found a lightly used Indie3 for cheap....

Good luck shopping....it's always exciting looking for the next bike!
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Old 08-05-19, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
Hi. For your type of riding (light recreational), I think all of these bikes will fit your need well. The primary difference between the two Fairfax model is hydraulic disc brakes vs. mechanical and 3x8 drivetrain vs. 3x7. 3x7 drivetrains often incorporate a cheaper freewheel hub design, but that's not the case here -- Marin actually uses a 7-speed cassette on the back (that's nice). For basic riding, either bike will do well.

The Jamis is unlike any of your other choices in that is uses a chrome-moly steel frame and fork, whereas the others use aluminum alloy for both. It will probably feel the most compliant of all of them (since steel typically soaks up vibrations better than aluminum). There really isn't a weight penalty -- the Jamis is 27 pounds, which is commensurate with the others. The penalty is cost -- the Jamis is about the same cost as the others, but comes with rim brakes vs. discs. It would be nice to have rim brakes at this price point with the steel frame, but we can't have it all, right?

I suggesting riding all three brands to see what feels the best to you.
I wish I could. My local shops only have the Trek in stock. The Fairfax 1 is on backorder everywhere out here (NJ), with the exception of a shop 35 miles from me that has 1 in store. Haven't found anyone close that's carrying Jamis.

Thanks for the info on the Marin. Do you think the improved components (minus the loss of the steel fork) warrant the extra $130? Or is it one of those things that I likely won't notice in practice?

Last edited by Ardrid; 08-05-19 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:17 PM
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You probably won't notice the difference in gearing (3x7 vs. 3x8). Both the 7-speed cassette on the '1' and the 8-speed cassette on the '2' have a range of 11 to 34 teeth (at least according to the Marin website), so the range will be the same. The 7-speed will have fewer steps, meaning the jumps will be larger, but I don't think this will be much of a concern. You probably will notice a difference between the mechanical disc brakes on the '1' vs. the hydraulic disc brakes on the '2'. Hydraulic brakes are, in my opinion, so much nicer to use. The lever action is super smooth (fluid vs. cable) and you get a lot more mechanical advantage from them. That said, the mechanical disc brakes will be 100% effective for what you (and most riders) will do on the bike. This is more of a subjective advantage than an objective one in my opinion -- hydraulic just feels really nice to use.

In my own personal opinion, I'd choose between the Fairfax '1' and '2' based more on color than the components. You owned your high school bike for 20 years, and you'll probably own this one for as long. Components will come and go, and you can replace them with better over time. But you can't change the bike's color -- not easily or cheaply, anyway. If the blue and silver on the '1' strikes you, then buy that one. If you prefer the black of the '2', then that's probably the best choice. You can replace parts all day long, but you'll be looking at that color until you sell it or pass it down to your kids.

I would absolutely drive the 35 miles to test-ride that Fairfax -- just to get a feel for it. And try the Trek that's local to you. You might walk away saying, "man, that Trek definitely fits me the best". You'll never know until you try them.

Good luck!
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Old 08-05-19, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
You probably won't notice the difference in gearing (3x7 vs. 3x8). Both the 7-speed cassette on the '1' and the 8-speed cassette on the '2' have a range of 11 to 34 teeth (at least according to the Marin website), so the range will be the same. The 7-speed will have fewer steps, meaning the jumps will be larger, but I don't think this will be much of a concern. You probably will notice a difference between the mechanical disc brakes on the '1' vs. the hydraulic disc brakes on the '2'. Hydraulic brakes are, in my opinion, so much nicer to use. The lever action is super smooth (fluid vs. cable) and you get a lot more mechanical advantage from them. That said, the mechanical disc brakes will be 100% effective for what you (and most riders) will do on the bike. This is more of a subjective advantage than an objective one in my opinion -- hydraulic just feels really nice to use.

In my own personal opinion, I'd choose between the Fairfax '1' and '2' based more on color than the components. You owned your high school bike for 20 years, and you'll probably own this one for as long. Components will come and go, and you can replace them with better over time. But you can't change the bike's color -- not easily or cheaply, anyway. If the blue and silver on the '1' strikes you, then buy that one. If you prefer the black of the '2', then that's probably the best choice. You can replace parts all day long, but you'll be looking at that color until you sell it or pass it down to your kids.

I would absolutely drive the 35 miles to test-ride that Fairfax -- just to get a feel for it. And try the Trek that's local to you. You might walk away saying, "man, that Trek definitely fits me the best". You'll never know until you try them.

Good luck!
It's funny you mention the color because I'm not a big fan of the blue/silver, and the black version (which I'd buy in a heartbeat) is impossible to find around me (backordered at least 2 months). I actually found a shop about 30 min away that has the FX 2 Disc and Fairfax 2 in stock so I'll be taking a trip tomorrow to check both out in person. I'll definitely be leaving with one of them lol. Thanks again for all your help.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:38 PM
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If you're leaning towards the black color anyway, then I think going with the '2' is a no-brainer. You'll enjoy the bike more because you like the color and you'll really like the hydraulic brakes. Both the Trek and the Fairfax 2 have them, so you won't go wrong either way.
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Old 08-09-19, 06:04 PM
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Black is black, I want my baby back
It's grey, it's grey, since she went away, oh oh
What can I do, 'cause I, I'm feelin' blue

is my reinforcement...
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Old 08-10-19, 07:30 PM
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The Windsor Dover 2.0 is a great bike from Bikes Direct and it only cost $300.00 Got mine last week, was easy to assemble and is very high quality. The only thing I could complain about would be the cheap tires, but they are easily replaceable.
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Old 09-14-19, 10:01 PM
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Ended up getting the Fairfax 2 and I absolutely love it. Thanks to everyone for all the help.
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