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First hybrid bike

Old 04-23-20, 09:30 AM
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mfsb904
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First hybrid bike

Hi everyone. I am looking to invest in a hybrid bike to commute to work (7KM) and exercise. I am based in Calgary, so I would ideally like a bike that can handle some gravel and wet conditions, so I can use it in fall and spring. My ideal budget would be CA$600, but I'm finding that this may be difficult. I don't understand most of the bike lingo, but I am willing to pay more if the long-term benefits are going to be worth it.

I went to a shop yesterday and tested the Trek FX1 ($510+tax) and Specialized Sirrus 2.0 ($800+tax). I found the Specialized handled gravel better and I felt a bit more secure on cracked pavements with the "chunkier" tires. That said, it is a lot more than I planning to spend, so I'm wondering if there is a middle model that will fit my needs - or do I need to just suck it up and pay more? A Specialized Sirrus 1.0 is a bit more reasonable at $680+tax and the Trek FX2 disc is $720+tax. Otherwise, there are del Sol, Norco, Cannondale and Electra retailers in the city, but I don't know anything about these bikes.

Any help is appreciated.. particularly in layman's terms
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Old 04-24-20, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mfsb904 View Post
Hi everyone. I am looking to invest in a hybrid bike
Any help is appreciated.. particularly in layman's terms
Hi.
Don't do it. Bicycles are terrible investments.
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Old 04-24-20, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
Hi.
Don't do it. Bicycles are terrible investments.
Objection
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Old 04-24-20, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mfsb904 View Post
Hi everyone. I am looking to invest in a hybrid bike to commute to work (7KM) and exercise. I am based in Calgary, so I would ideally like a bike that can handle some gravel and wet conditions, so I can use it in fall and spring. My ideal budget would be CA$600, but I'm finding that this may be difficult. I don't understand most of the bike lingo, but I am willing to pay more if the long-term benefits are going to be worth it.

I went to a shop yesterday and tested the Trek FX1 ($510+tax) and Specialized Sirrus 2.0 ($800+tax). I found the Specialized handled gravel better and I felt a bit more secure on cracked pavements with the "chunkier" tires. That said, it is a lot more than I planning to spend, so I'm wondering if there is a middle model that will fit my needs - or do I need to just suck it up and pay more? A Specialized Sirrus 1.0 is a bit more reasonable at $680+tax and the Trek FX2 disc is $720+tax. Otherwise, there are del Sol, Norco, Cannondale and Electra retailers in the city, but I don't know anything about these bikes.

Any help is appreciated.. particularly in layman's terms
Vote to Sirrus 2.0, spend more get more...
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Old 04-24-20, 05:23 AM
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Out of those options, I'd go with Trek FX2. It's generally not the best idea to get the lowest spec of a bike model. But you can look into the other brands too - there's very little differnce in component quality between brands at a given price point, but you might find one that looks and rides/feels better to you.

Regarding tires, you can swap them out for as big as the frame permits anytime if you want to; that's an easy and not expensive upgrade that may change the way a bike rides more than anything else.
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Old 04-24-20, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mfsb904 View Post
Hi everyone. I am looking to invest in a hybrid bike to commute to work (7KM) and exercise.
Any help is appreciated.. particularly in layman's terms
To some of us, bikes are becoming less of an investment and more of an addiction. Be careful when the N+1 disease hits!

If you had the funds for it, I would suggest the FX3, that is great bike that you would not really be wanting to upgrade much anytime soon.

IF you get a chance, look at the Giant Escapes, Cannondale Quick, Scott Sub Speed, etc, etc, etc......then make sure your aspirin or Tylenol is ready, cause you may end up getting a headache looking at it all.

BUT, if you are comfortable with the LBS, they are treating you well, and offer you some services, then that is as good as getting a bike that fits and you would enjoy.

BUT, YOU need to choose which bike fits and feels better to you. All of us are just going to give our personal opinions about things we like and can afford.
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Old 04-24-20, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
Out of those options, I'd go with Trek FX2. It's generally not the best idea to get the lowest spec of a bike model. But you can look into the other brands too - there's very little differnce in component quality between brands at a given price point, but you might find one that looks and rides/feels better to you.

Regarding tires, you can swap them out for as big as the frame permits anytime if you want to; that's an easy and not expensive upgrade that may change the way a bike rides more than anything else.
Originally Posted by travbikeman View Post
To some of us, bikes are becoming less of an investment and more of an addiction. Be careful when the N+1 disease hits!

If you had the funds for it, I would suggest the FX3, that is great bike that you would not really be wanting to upgrade much anytime soon.

IF you get a chance, look at the Giant Escapes, Cannondale Quick, Scott Sub Speed, etc, etc, etc......then make sure your aspirin or Tylenol is ready, cause you may end up getting a headache looking at it all.

BUT, if you are comfortable with the LBS, they are treating you well, and offer you some services, then that is as good as getting a bike that fits and you would enjoy.

BUT, YOU need to choose which bike fits and feels better to you. All of us are just going to give our personal opinions about things we like and can afford.
Thanks for your replies. I don't know much about bikes so I'm not sure what components I should be looking at to make the decision of whether to increase my budget. I preferred shifting gears in the sirrus 2.0 vs. the FX1 but maybe this feature changes within the FX line. I also preferred the chunkier tires, but I would have to look at the cost benefit of changing tires vs buying a bike that already has them. Any beginner tips on how to select would be great. With covid, it's a bit hard to try many bikes so I'm trying to narrow my selection down.
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Old 04-24-20, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by mfsb904 View Post
Any beginner tips on how to select would be great. With covid, it's a bit hard to try many bikes so I'm trying to narrow my selection down.
Not being able to get on a bike and take it for a test ride seriously interferes with your ability to pick something you feel comfortable with. Most entry level Hybrids maintain the same level of quality across various manufacturers. An $500 bike is going to be a $500 bike. There will be differences, but nothing that usually jumps out and says this bike is definitely better than that bike. Take a look online at.... Giant, Trek, Cannondale, Specialized. Pick your price-point and compare those models. Don't try and compare everything with everything. Do you want one with a front shock? Check out the tire width on each model. Disc brakes... hydraulic or mechanical? Make sure you get something that is your size. If you're not sure what that might be each manufacturer usually has a "sizing" page where you can get a general idea of your size. Don't let someone sell you a bike that might be too big or too small and then tell you that they can make it fit by making a bunch of adjustments. Before you put down your money, make sure they do a rough adjustment and you can take it for a test ride.
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Old 04-24-20, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mfsb904 View Post
Hi everyone. I am looking to invest in a hybrid bike to commute to work (7KM) and exercise. I am based in Calgary, so I would ideally like a bike that can handle some gravel and wet conditions, so I can use it in fall and spring. My ideal budget would be CA$600, but I'm finding that this may be difficult. I don't understand most of the bike lingo, but I am willing to pay more if the long-term benefits are going to be worth it.

I went to a shop yesterday and tested the Trek FX1 ($510+tax) and Specialized Sirrus 2.0 ($800+tax). I found the Specialized handled gravel better and I felt a bit more secure on cracked pavements with the "chunkier" tires. That said, it is a lot more than I planning to spend, so I'm wondering if there is a middle model that will fit my needs - or do I need to just suck it up and pay more? A Specialized Sirrus 1.0 is a bit more reasonable at $680+tax and the Trek FX2 disc is $720+tax. Otherwise, there are del Sol, Norco, Cannondale and Electra retailers in the city, but I don't know anything about these bikes.

Any help is appreciated.. particularly in layman's terms
First, an answer to your question. Yes, the long term benefits to paying a little more is worth it, if you plan on keeping the bike for more than a year or two. Better components, lighter weight, more fun to ride. All real benefits. I hate to say this because you are looking at the Specialized as your top end, but honestly, if I were buying a new bike that was going to be my forever bike, I would be looking at least at 9 speed, with carbon fork. And that means going up in price to something like the Trek FX3, Specialized Sirrus 3.0, Giant Escape Disc, or a similar product from one of a dozen other quality brands (Cannondale, Jamis, Kona, Bianchi, Surly, etc)

That said, 8 speed is fine. Just pretty entry level these days. I would avoid the 7 speed FX1, and at least go up to the 8 speed FX2. Not that 7 speed is terrible. If you had an old 7 speed, I would say just ride it. But if I were going with something new, I would go at least with 8 speed and if I wanted to keep it for more than a couple of years, I would go with at least 9 speed.

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Old 04-24-20, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
First, an answer to your question. Yes, the long term benefits to paying a little more is worth it, if you plan on keeping the bike for more than a year or two. Better components, lighter weight, more fun to ride. All real benefits. I hate to say this because you are looking at the Specialized as your top end, but honestly, if I were buying a new bike that was going to be my forever bike, I would be looking at least at 9 speed, with carbon fork. And that means going up in price to something like the Trek FX3, Specialized Sirrus 3.0, Giant Escape Disc, or a similar product from one of a dozen other quality brands (Cannondale, Jamis, Kona, Bianchi, Surly, etc)

That said, 8 speed is fine. Just pretty entry level these days. I would avoid the 7 speed FX1, and at least go up to the 8 speed FX2. Not that 7 speed is terrible. If you had an old 7 speed, I would say just ride it. But if I were going with something new, I would go at least with 8 speed and if I wanted to keep it for more than a couple of years, I would go with at least 9 speed.
Is it realistic for a bike to last "forever"? I'd be happy if this bike lasted 5-7ish years, but is it true that bikes like the sirrus 2 or fx2 would only last a year or two? The issue I have with my current, very cheap bike is that it is heavy and slow, and I am moving further from work and thus need something that will handle the roads well and be less of a struggle to get there. In terms of speed, the sirrus 2 that I tried seemed to fit the bill, but if is the general consensus that this bike won't last then I would be willing to go up. Hope that makes senses...
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Old 04-24-20, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
Not being able to get on a bike and take it for a test ride seriously interferes with your ability to pick something you feel comfortable with. Most entry level Hybrids maintain the same level of quality across various manufacturers. An $500 bike is going to be a $500 bike. There will be differences, but nothing that usually jumps out and says this bike is definitely better than that bike. Take a look online at.... Giant, Trek, Cannondale, Specialized. Pick your price-point and compare those models. Don't try and compare everything with everything. Do you want one with a front shock? Check out the tire width on each model. Disc brakes... hydraulic or mechanical? Make sure you get something that is your size. If you're not sure what that might be each manufacturer usually has a "sizing" page where you can get a general idea of your size. Don't let someone sell you a bike that might be too big or too small and then tell you that they can make it fit by making a bunch of adjustments. Before you put down your money, make sure they do a rough adjustment and you can take it for a test ride.
Thanks for your reply! Could you tell me the key details I should look at for bikes? I know I want disc brakes.. I will need to look into the type as I don't know the difference . Tire width is a good idea since I know I want wider tires if they do not come with it, and I know my size so I will be sure to get that. Any other tips are appreciated
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Old 04-24-20, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mfsb904 View Post
Is it realistic for a bike to last "forever"? I'd be happy if this bike lasted 5-7ish years, but is it true that bikes like the sirrus 2 or fx2 would only last a year or two? The issue I have with my current, very cheap bike is that it is heavy and slow, and I am moving further from work and thus need something that will handle the roads well and be less of a struggle to get there. In terms of speed, the sirrus 2 that I tried seemed to fit the bill, but if is the general consensus that this bike won't last then I would be willing to go up. Hope that makes senses...
OK, this is what I mean. Maybe not forever, but more than a few years. I bought my current bike, a 2011/2012 Salsa Casserol. I paid $1,200 for the bike, plus a Brooks saddle and bartape. Then over the years, I replaced the wheels, and other consumables such as brake pads, tires, chain, cassette. It has several features that cannot be upgraded such as a steel fork, and cantilever brakes. At the time, 9 speed was mid range. So now, 8 years out, 9 speed is further down the food chain, as you can get 9 speed bikes with carbon fiber forks for under $1,000 now.
It isn't that the sirrus 2 will explode in 2 years. Far from it. But if you plan on keeping a bike 5 to 7 years, a little more money is money well spent, IMO. Not because the lower priced bike won't last, but because you will likely enjoy the better bike more.
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Old 04-24-20, 01:40 PM
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Basically, you get what you pay for. Any Trek FX (or other manufacturer) model will last a long time if properly maintained. The lower priced entry level models won't have quite as good of components and you may find yourself upgrading or replacing parts sooner than say with at $1500 bike. Personally, my Trek 7.4 is a great bike, but the pedals were crap and they needed replacing within a year. The bottom bracket was replaced after about 5 years. I think what you're reading into this is that the frame is going to fall apart after 2 years and you'll be SOL. That's not the case.

Keep in mind if you're going to be riding where it's wet you're going to need some fenders, a helmet, possibly a front and rear light for riding in the dark. Oh yeah, you're going to want a pump and spare tubes for when you flat. All these things are going to increase your initial cost by at least $100 - $150. You'll need a pump to take with you, You'll need some sort of saddle bag to carry everything in.

Go to the Cannondale store and tell them what you're looking for and the price you want to spend. Bike shops don't usually jack up prices on bikes. They make their money on all the other stuff and services. You don't have to think that just because you don't know anything, that the shop is going to tag on and additional $200 just because they saw you coming.
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Old 04-25-20, 08:05 AM
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I contacted my local shop and they recommended the Specialized Ariel mechanical disc or Cannondale Althea 3. Thoughts on these? Not really sure what the difference is between Sirrus and Ariel.
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Old 04-25-20, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mfsb904 View Post
Not really sure what the difference is between Sirrus and Ariel.
The Ariel comes with a front shock.

You are aware of the gender differences within these model ranges? Although I didn't drill down in each and every bike you're interested I tried to take a little closer look and this is what I've found... If you're looking at bikes at a particular price point, most manufacturers are going to be offering some variation of the same component level no matter who you pick. The basic differences in the bikes you're looking at are...

1. Suspension or solid fork.
2. Disc Brake (hydraulic or mechanical)
3. Drivetrain speed (as MRT2 stated stay away from the 7 speed models)

Again, if you're looking at a $600 bike, you're going to get a $600 bike from any of these manufacturers. I can't definitively say one of these is superior to the other..
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Old 04-25-20, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
The Ariel comes with a front shock.

You are aware of the gender differences within these model ranges? Although I didn't drill down in each and every bike you're interested I tried to take a little closer look and this is what I've found... If you're looking at bikes at a particular price point, most manufacturers are going to be offering some variation of the same component level no matter who you pick. The basic differences in the bikes you're looking at are...

1. Suspension or solid fork.
2. Disc Brake (hydraulic or mechanical)
3. Drivetrain speed (as MRT2 stated stay away from the 7 speed models)

Again, if you're looking at a $600 bike, you're going to get a $600 bike from any of these manufacturers. I can't definitively say one of these is superior to the other..
Thanks for looking at this for me! IĎm a woman so the Ariel or unisex Sirrus should be fine . I find a shop that sells 3/4 so Iím going to go test them out and hopefully I can then make a decision. Thank you for helping me narrow down my choice!
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Old 04-25-20, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mfsb904 View Post
I contacted my local shop and they recommended the Specialized Ariel mechanical disc or Cannondale Althea 3. Thoughts on these? Not really sure what the difference is between Sirrus and Ariel.
The difference is the suspension fork on the Ariel and the Althea. It depends on how much gravel you actually plan to ride. Personally I hate suspension forks. You are playing for them in money, mechanical complexity (something that needs to be maintained), and weight. They do work better than the older ones, but even on dirt and gravel, you don't absolutely need a suspension fork. And for roads and paved trails, suspension fork is no benefit at all.
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Old 04-25-20, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mfsb904 View Post
Hi everyone. I am looking to invest in a hybrid bike to commute to work (7KM) and exercise. I am based in Calgary, so I would ideally like a bike that can handle some gravel and wet conditions, so I can use it in fall and spring. My ideal budget would be CA$600, but I'm finding that this may be difficult. I don't understand most of the bike lingo, but I am willing to pay more if the long-term benefits are going to be worth it.

I went to a shop yesterday and tested the Trek FX1 ($510+tax) and Specialized Sirrus 2.0 ($800+tax). I found the Specialized handled gravel better and I felt a bit more secure on cracked pavements with the "chunkier" tires. That said, it is a lot more than I planning to spend, so I'm wondering if there is a middle model that will fit my needs - or do I need to just suck it up and pay more? A Specialized Sirrus 1.0 is a bit more reasonable at $680+tax and the Trek FX2 disc is $720+tax. Otherwise, there are del Sol, Norco, Cannondale and Electra retailers in the city, but I don't know anything about these bikes.

Any help is appreciated.. particularly in layman's terms
Thanks for starting this thread. I am a fellow Calgarian and what sounds like a near identical potential customer. Starting my learning process today and hoping to make a purchase fairly soon to not miss out on any of the good weather.
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Old 04-27-20, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
They do work better than the older ones, but even on dirt and gravel, you don't absolutely need a suspension fork. And for roads and paved trails, suspension fork is no benefit at all.
Although I agree that there is no need for suspension fork on smooth roads and trails, it's not entirely true that there is no benefit from suspension fork at all. The situation for it to come into play may never arise, but if it does, it is a pretty significant benefit: suspension fork does a great job of preventing going over the bars if you happen to grab a handful of front brake in an emergency situation.

Of course, that's hardly a reason to choose a suspension fork, as all the mentioned drawbacks are valid points.
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Old 05-02-20, 09:48 PM
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Hi everyone! Picked up my bike today and so far love it. Went for Ariel hydraulic disc in the end. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 05-09-20, 09:12 PM
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My sister just picked up the Ariel as well. It's a great choice! Curious what color you got? She couldn't find the light lavender and got the blue.
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Old 05-10-20, 01:27 AM
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Some good advice here already. My personal input would be:

1) Don't choose a bike based on tires. If you think the FX tires are too narrow, buy bigger tires, or wait for them to wear out first (as they will in a couple of years anyway).

2) I would highly discourage you from going for a front suspension. It will add a ton of weight and, at this price range, will not be particularly good.

3) As others have written, with the popularity of hybrid bikes in the last 10 years or so, there's plenty of choice among the big manufacturers. I'm no Trek fanboy, but have always the FX line to be a good, no-nonsense lineup. I also have a soft spot for Fuji Absolutes, if you can find a local dealer.
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Old 05-10-20, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by RobertJason75 View Post
My sister just picked up the Ariel as well. It's a great choice! Curious what color you got? She couldn't find the light lavender and got the blue.
I got the lilac - my store didn't have the blue
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Old 05-11-20, 05:03 PM
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With the Trek, you either go FX1 or FX3. Iíve always been puzzled why bike company use stiff aluminium for forks. Steel and carbon are much more friendly on bad city pavement.

My previous Trek was a aluminum fork Soho 2.0. Itís wasnít fun to drive over rough city pavement.

The $200 difference for a carbon fork is too small not to save the extra coin to buy the FX3.

Aluminum forks only make sense for light duty casual riders. If youíre a riding everyday and putting on 10- 20 KMís a day, the carbon fork will pay for itself when youíre hands donít feel numb after riding.
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Old 05-12-20, 08:13 AM
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hokiefyd 
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Originally Posted by sdowen View Post
With the Trek, you either go FX1 or FX3. Iíve always been puzzled why bike company use stiff aluminium for forks.
I agree with this, and I suspect the reason is mostly marketing. Most consumers probably think aluminum is an "upgrade" over steel (after all, the rest of the frame is made from it, right?). They see the progression as you go more expensive up the line: steel is on the 1, aluminum is on the 2, carbon is on the 3.
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