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New to Biking and Bike Shopping, need advice.

Old 04-25-20, 01:34 PM
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mugsymalone
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New to Biking and Bike Shopping, need advice.

Hi Iím new to biking, havenít biked in like 20 years was avid from age 5-15 but at havenít rode since then. Need to get into shape as well and my ass is overweight by like 60 pounds. I have a question, any advice would be appreciated (in regards to a bike, not my health). What bike should I get? I want to ride paved trails, road, gravel and trails in wooded areas so Iím assuming Iím on the right thread. I think I would ride paved trails/road/gravel like 70% of the time and the rest other types of trails and hills etc. I am willing to spend $500 -$1000 until further down the road when I would upgrade. Now I have several local bike shops in my city as well as like chain brand stores which I want to avoid. Iíve done a bit of research but reviews are all over the place so itís hard to make a decision. Some of the brands sold at the local shops are
  • Kona
  • Specialized
  • Cannondale
  • Trek
  • Giant
  • Norco
  • Haro
  • Electra

Now Iíve looked at several which are Norco Splice (2019), Trek Marlin 5, Trek DS 1, 2 and 3 which the bike shops suggested but are there better ones for the price Iím looking for? I wish I knew more about bikes so I could make a better decision but I guess thatís what the threads are for. Any advice for any of the brands I listed would be helpful and appreciated! Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-25-20, 01:42 PM
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Welcome to the forums. Search the forums as this question comes up literally every single week.
First, Congratulations on your resolve to lose weight. Now, let me tell you something. You cannot lose weight by cycling alone. Because it takes an hour to burn, say, 700 or 800 calories, and 10 or 15 minute to eat those calories back. So if you want to lose weight, change your diet. Ride for health, fitness and enjoyment.

Now, as to what bike, you listed many different types of riding. Single track and gravel might be one type of bike, road and paved trails, another type. If you want a bike to do a little of everything, keep in mind that it won't do any one thing really great. Have you considered just buying something used to get started and seeing what you actually like to do best? That would be my advice. Spend a few hundred on a used bike. Really anything, but maybe an old mountain bike or hybrid. Ride it for a few months and see what you like, and don't like about that bike. Then once you have a better idea of what you want, spend $1,000 on your forever (or at least 4 or 5 years) bike.
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Old 04-26-20, 07:12 PM
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It sounds like you're looking for a dual sport hybrid - a flat bar bike with fitness geometry and a front suspension. Trek DS, Specialized Crosstrail, Giant Roam, and Cannondale Quick CX are all good models of that type of bike. It's nice that you have a variety of shops nearby. Try them out and find one that feels comfortable to you. The Kona Dew would also be an alternative to those - it has a rigid fork but room for wider tires (650B). You might find the wider tires smooth out the bumps as well as a front suspension - that's definitely a personal preference that varies among riders. The catch would be that on roads, the wider tires would feel more sluggish. My opinion is that the Giant Roam would likely be the best bang for your buck, assuming it fits you well. It's just a really good bike. But again, ride them and see what you like.

I would recommend avoiding mountain bikes (such as the Marlin), as their geometry is not very conducive to riding roads. I have a Kona Fire Mountain as a second bike (for rough trails), but my back gets sore if I use it for longer road rides. It's a great bike, but that's not what it's intended for.

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Old 04-27-20, 06:04 PM
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Thanks AU Tiger that was really helpful and informative. Iíll look into the Giant Roam. Would you have a suggestion for which one of that specific model?
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Old 04-27-20, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mugsymalone View Post
Thanks AU Tiger that was really helpful and informative. I’ll look into the Giant Roam. Would you have a suggestion for which one of that specific model?
Definitely not the Roam 4. It has a 7-speed freewheel instead of the much better freehub which is on the rest of the lineup. If you're more interested in that difference, you'll find lots of posts about it here as well as elsewhere online. Simply put, though, you want to go with at least an 8-speed freehub.

If it were me, I'd spend the extra $120 and get the Roam 2 Disc over the Roam 3 Disc. It has a wider range 9-speed 11x36 cassette vs. the 8-speed 8x34 cassette on the Roam 3. That would give a you a slightly narrower gap between gears, but also a little more help climbing if you have hills to ride. The Roam 2 also has an Acera front derailleur, which is two steps up from the entry-level Tourney front derailleur on the Roam 3. In my experience, the front derailleur is one of the most problematic components in the drive train, so it's probably better not to get the very bottom. Given the combination of 9-speed, wider range, and better front derailleur, I'd say the Roam 2 is the better choice. Having said that, I doubt you'd be unhappy with the Roam 3, either. That's still a lot of bike for the money.

If your local dealer still has 2019 models in stock, I would say the Roam 2 Disc is the better choice in that model year also. In fact, I like it better than the 2020 Roam 2 Disc. For one thing, it has a triple crank, which would give you a 38T front chainring, which is great most-of-the-time chainring. (Less changing gears compared to the 28/44 double. Neither is bad, but given the choice, you might find the triple more suited to average rides.) Plus, I like the color of the 2019 Roam 2 Disc better than the 2020 version. A neighbor just got one, and that blue with orange lettering looks MUCH better in person than it does online - very sharp! But of course, that's a personal preference.

But again, ride them to see if it fits you. The Roam is an outstanding value on paper, but not if its geometry doesn't suit you. When I was shopping for a gravel bike last year, I test rode a Giant which I fully expected to like, but it just didn't feel right to me. The Fuji, on the other hand, felt fantastic. So test ride as many as you can, within reason, and go with something that feels comfortable.
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Old 04-28-20, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by AU Tiger View Post
Definitely not the Roam 4. It has a 7-speed freewheel instead of the much better freehub which is on the rest of the lineup. If you're more interested in that difference, you'll find lots of posts about it here as well as elsewhere online. Simply put, though, you want to go with at least an 8-speed freehub.

If it were me, I'd spend the extra $120 and get the Roam 2 Disc over the Roam 3 Disc. It has a wider range 9-speed 11x36 cassette vs. the 8-speed 8x34 cassette on the Roam 3. That would give a you a slightly narrower gap between gears, but also a little more help climbing if you have hills to ride. The Roam 2 also has an Acera front derailleur, which is two steps up from the entry-level Tourney front derailleur on the Roam 3. In my experience, the front derailleur is one of the most problematic components in the drive train, so it's probably better not to get the very bottom. Given the combination of 9-speed, wider range, and better front derailleur, I'd say the Roam 2 is the better choice. Having said that, I doubt you'd be unhappy with the Roam 3, either. That's still a lot of bike for the money.

If your local dealer still has 2019 models in stock, I would say the Roam 2 Disc is the better choice in that model year also. In fact, I like it better than the 2020 Roam 2 Disc. For one thing, it has a triple crank, which would give you a 38T front chainring, which is great most-of-the-time chainring. (Less changing gears compared to the 28/44 double. Neither is bad, but given the choice, you might find the triple more suited to average rides.) Plus, I like the color of the 2019 Roam 2 Disc better than the 2020 version. A neighbor just got one, and that blue with orange lettering looks MUCH better in person than it does online - very sharp! But of course, that's a personal preference.

But again, ride them to see if it fits you. The Roam is an outstanding value on paper, but not if its geometry doesn't suit you. When I was shopping for a gravel bike last year, I test rode a Giant which I fully expected to like, but it just didn't feel right to me. The Fuji, on the other hand, felt fantastic. So test ride as many as you can, within reason, and go with something that feels comfortable.



Thank you so much! Itís really going to help when I go bike shopping now. You sound like you really know your stuff so Iím going to take your advice and try out a few of the bikes you suggested as well as the model of Giant you selected! Hopefully one of them will be a good fit for me! Thanks 😊
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Old 04-28-20, 12:40 PM
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Just a slight clarification here that the Giant Roam 4 does have a cassette freehub drivetrain. It is indeed a 7-speed, but it's not a freewheel. You can see this on Gian't specs page: HG200 indicates a cassette: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/roam-4-disc

A freewheel will be listed as an MF- something (Shimano's nomenclature for freewheels), as in this Giant Escape 3: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/escape-3

(Freewheels also commonly come with a 14-tooth small sprocket, and this is usually a dead giveaway. Something with a 12-tooth small sprocket, like the Roam 4 has, will usually be a cassette...though not always.)
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Old 04-28-20, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
Just a slight clarification here that the Giant Roam 4 does have a cassette freehub drivetrain. It is indeed a 7-speed, but it's not a freewheel. You can see this on Gian't specs page: HG200 indicates a cassette: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/roam-4-disc

A freewheel will be listed as an MF- something (Shimano's nomenclature for freewheels), as in this Giant Escape 3: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/escape-3

(Freewheels also commonly come with a 14-tooth small sprocket, and this is usually a dead giveaway. Something with a 12-tooth small sprocket, like the Roam 4 has, will usually be a cassette...though not always.)
Cool, I didn't realize freehubs came in 7-speed varieties. That's helpful information, especially since Giant's website often doesn't even list the number of speeds on the specs, and leaves the prospective customer to Google the name of the cassette just to find out. Usually by that time, I'm not even thinking to look for freewheel vs freehub, since I've just assumed 7-speeds were always freewheels. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 04-29-20, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by AU Tiger View Post
Cool, I didn't realize freehubs came in 7-speed varieties. That's helpful information, especially since Giant's website often doesn't even list the number of speeds on the specs, and leaves the prospective customer to Google the name of the cassette just to find out. Usually by that time, I'm not even thinking to look for freewheel vs freehub, since I've just assumed 7-speeds were always freewheels. Thanks for the clarification.


The original freehub was spec'd for 7 speeds, and this was the standard for many years. Shimano Deore, STX, etc., all came with 7-speed HG (or IG) cassettes. The freehub body was later lengthened to accept 8 sprockets. Then 9- and 10-speed came along, but they use tighter sprocket spacing and thinner sprockets, rather than a longer freehub body. So 7- and 8-speed chains are interchangeable and the spacing is essentially the same. But they use different freehub bodies. 8/9/10 speed all use the same freehub body, but they use narrower chains to keep to a similar overall cassette stack length.

Sheldon Brown's website has a great crib sheet on this: https://sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-spacing.html

Shimano 7-speed: 31.9mm
Shimano 8-speed: 35.4mm
Shimano 9-speed: 36.5mm
Shimano 10-speed: 37.2mm

The 8/9/10 are close enough that they can use the same freehub body, but you can see the pretty large jump in width between 7 and 8.

The advantage to 7-speed cassette over freewheel are as noted below (stronger design). However, one is still limited to a 7-speed drivetrain without replacing parts. One could swap the freehub body for an 8/9/10 speed, and probably re-dish the wheel a little bit to recenter it. Freehub bodies are pretty cheap, but it's a somewhat involved DIY job.
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Old 04-29-20, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post


The original freehub was spec'd for 7 speeds, and this was the standard for many years. Shimano Deore, STX, etc., all came with 7-speed HG (or IG) cassettes. The freehub body was later lengthened to accept 8 sprockets. Then 9- and 10-speed came along, but they use tighter sprocket spacing and thinner sprockets, rather than a longer freehub body. So 7- and 8-speed chains are interchangeable and the spacing is essentially the same. But they use different freehub bodies. 8/9/10 speed all use the same freehub body, but they use narrower chains to keep to a similar overall cassette stack length.

Sheldon Brown's website has a great crib sheet on this: https://sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-spacing.html

Shimano 7-speed: 31.9mm
Shimano 8-speed: 35.4mm
Shimano 9-speed: 36.5mm
Shimano 10-speed: 37.2mm

The 8/9/10 are close enough that they can use the same freehub body, but you can see the pretty large jump in width between 7 and 8.

The advantage to 7-speed cassette over freewheel are as noted below (stronger design). However, one is still limited to a 7-speed drivetrain without replacing parts. One could swap the freehub body for an 8/9/10 speed, and probably re-dish the wheel a little bit to recenter it. Freehub bodies are pretty cheap, but it's a somewhat involved DIY job.

When going to 8sp, the freehub body was not lengthened, metal was removed to make more splined space for the 8th cog. 7 speed cassette compatibility now is via a spacer, which compensates for the metal removed back then.

Since the freehub is the same width and in the same position, no redishing is required on a straight freehub swap. Redishing is required when changing axle width

Its fairly easy to swap out a freehub, takes about 10 minutes. I usually just get an entire rear hub and transplant the entire axle and drive side cones also.

I haven't seen a new bike with a 7sp only freehub since the mid 90s, every modern 7 sp cassette bike can be upgraded to 8sp without a freehub swap, just remove the spacer
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Old 04-29-20, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
When going to 8sp, the freehub body was not lengthened, metal was removed to make more splined space for the 8th cog. 7 speed cassette compatibility now is via a spacer, which compensates for the metal removed back then.
I have two freehub bodies -- one which I know is a 7-speed on an old Shimano hub, and one I believe is an 8/9/10-speed on a Novatec hub. Measuring both freehubs, the Novatec body is about 3.5mm longer than the Shimano one. I've used 8/9 speed cassettes on this without spacers. I do see where the "stop flange" is thicker on the 7-speed hub (the flange against which the largest sprocket sits), but the overall dimensions do seem to be different. The 3.5mm difference in overall length seems to correlate to the 3.5mm difference between the 7- and 8-speed cassettes. Am I not measuring these correctly?


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Old 04-29-20, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
I have two freehub bodies -- one which I know is a 7-speed on an old Shimano hub, and one I believe is an 8/9/10-speed on a Novatec hub. Measuring both freehubs, the Novatec body is about 3.5mm longer than the Shimano one. I've used 8/9 speed cassettes on this without spacers. I do see where the "stop flange" is thicker on the 7-speed hub (the flange against which the largest sprocket sits), but the overall dimensions do seem to be different. The 3.5mm difference in overall length seems to correlate to the 3.5mm difference between the 7- and 8-speed cassettes. Am I not measuring these correctly?


Different brands and HG bodies, try a Shimano hub

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Old 04-29-20, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
The difference is 4.5mm, the width of the spacer we use today for 7sp cassettes on 8sp freehubs.
Oh, you're saying that modern 7-speed hubs are the same length as 8-speed hubs, with the difference being the spacer? I read your original reply as saying 7-speed was never shorter. To be clear, I'm not measuring from the "stop flange" on the freehub body -- I'm measuring the length of the body from its interface with the hub and the end of the body. The freehub body itself is physically shorter on the 7-speed example I have vs. the 8/9/10 speed example.
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Old 04-29-20, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
Oh, you're saying that modern 7-speed hubs are the same length as 8-speed hubs, with the difference being the spacer? I read your original reply as saying 7-speed was never shorter. To be clear, I'm not measuring from the "stop flange" on the freehub body -- I'm measuring the length of the body from its interface with the hub and the end of the body. The freehub body itself is physically shorter on the 7-speed example I have vs. the 8/9/10 speed example.
There are no modern "7 sp" HG hubs, just HG hubs with a 7sp cassette and a spacer.
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Old 04-29-20, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
There are no modern "7 sp" HG hubs, just HG hubs with a 7sp cassette and a spacer.
So why would a manufacturer even put a 7-speed cassette on a new bike? The retail price difference between a 7 and an 8 speed cassette is less than $10, so it's much less than that for a manufacturer. And I guess throw in a little for the shifters and chain (are they different?). All told, it can't be much of a cost difference to them. So why not just go ahead an put an 8-speed cassette on it since it's the same hub?
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Old 04-29-20, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by AU Tiger View Post
So why would a manufacturer even put a 7-speed cassette on a new bike? The retail price difference between a 7 and an 8 speed cassette is less than $10, so it's much less than that for a manufacturer. And I guess throw in a little for the shifters and chain (are they different?). All told, it can't be much of a cost difference to them. So why not just go ahead an put an 8-speed cassette on it since it's the same hub?
Market segmentation
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Old 04-29-20, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
Market segmentation
No doubt you are correct, but it seems a strange choice for that. The Roam 4 Disc comes with hydraulic brakes and an Altus rear derailleur. Seems like they would have opted for mechanical disc brakes and a Tourney derailleur rather than the 7 speed cassette. I reckon the way they did it is better for the consumer, though, so I shouldn't complain.
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Old 04-29-20, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
There are no modern "7 sp" HG hubs, just HG hubs with a 7sp cassette and a spacer.
You're right -- that's what I meant to say.

Historically, it seemed there were shorter HG hubs (for 7 speed), but that spec was upgraded to a longer length to accommodate 8 speed, and just separately spaced for 7 speed if that's what comes on the bike.
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Old 04-29-20, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
You're right -- that's what I meant to say.

Historically, it seemed there were shorter HG hubs (for 7 speed), but that spec was upgraded to a longer length to accommodate 8 speed, and just separately spaced for 7 speed if that's what comes on the bike.
This is a an old freehub from an XT hub when 7 sp was king, a common victim of my transplants.



This is a modern HG freehub. The difference is the 4.5mm of material removed. The freehub body is the same width.

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Old 04-29-20, 04:54 PM
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I must have an oddball, because I definitely get different lengths on my two.

Sheldon's page here: https://sheldonbrown.com/k7.html

Also references the longer freehub body for 8/9/10, and the potential for redishing:

"A frequent reason for body transplantation is to convert a 6- or 7-speed Freehub to use an 8-/9-/10-speed cassette. This generally will increase the over-locknut dimension. As a result you will usually need to re-dish the wheel after doing this upgrade."

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Old 04-29-20, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
I must have an oddball, because I definitely get different lengths on my two.

Sheldon's page here: https://sheldonbrown.com/k7.html

Also references the longer freehub body for 8/9/10, and the potential for redishing:

"A frequent reason for body transplantation is to convert a 6- or 7-speed Freehub to use an 8-/9-/10-speed cassette. This generally will increase the over-locknut dimension. As a result you will usually need to re-dish the wheel after doing this upgrade."
As mentioned earlier, you are comparing two different hubs. I would not expect that freehub to even attach to the other hub, much less have random measurements coincide.

As stated earlier, on a straight freehub swap no redish is required. What Sheldon is referring to is when upgrading a vintage setup thats what you had to do. Since OP, who long stopped reading this thread, is considering a new bike with 135mm spacing, it does not apply.
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Old 04-29-20, 06:01 PM
  #22  
Stash95
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Trek, Giant, Specialized, Norco, Kona are all great choices.
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Old 05-07-20, 02:05 PM
  #23  
mugsymalone
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Sold out of the Giant Roams 2,3,4 and 1 in my area for my size. What other suggestions would anyone have?
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Old 05-08-20, 03:28 PM
  #24  
daps
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Originally Posted by mugsymalone View Post
Sold out of the Giant Roams 2,3,4 and 1 in my area for my size. What other suggestions would anyone have?
Not sure if it would be what you are looking for but I live in an area with a lot of trails and paths and hilly roads etc and bought a Jamis Sequel S3. It is all steel frame. Not sure if you have looked at any of the Jamis bikes for your needs or not.

I have lost 30 pounds and probably still need to go 55 or so. I have been walking everyday for about 4-6 miles which takes an hour to hour and a half at my current pace. I haven't changed my diet that much honestly. I have tried to push up when I eat lunch a bit and try to never ever eat after 6 PM. The main difference I made was I stopped buying and drinking soda and high sugar content energy drinks. I usually knocked those down with a candy bar or something because I spend a lot of time driving. Stopped doing that. When I want something to drink I buy the Strawberry Propel water that is sweetened with stevia and has a surprising amount of flavor with only 2g of sugar. Anyways... Good luck on your search for your bike and on losing weight. It doesn't always come off super fast but just stick with it.
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Old 05-09-20, 07:48 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Stash95 View Post
Trek, Giant, Specialized, Norco, Kona are all great choices.
Second that..
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