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New to Biking; Selection Help

Old 10-18-21, 11:47 AM
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biharris84
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New to Biking; Selection Help

Hey all,
I am new to biking and am starting to find myself overwhelmed by the number of options available in the hybrid category. I am nearly 6'4" and will be looking to ride on a combination of pavement, stone dust, and dirt pathways. My primary concern is finding a reliable bike that allows me the flexibility to grow and explore new options without needing to upgrade or purchase an additional bike in the near future.

I will also be towing my daughter behind in a Burley, so that is a consideration that I need to make as well. So far it looks like the options in my area is the Giant Escape 2 Disk, Trek FX 2, Jamis DXT or Allegro, Marin Lombard (although I don't think I'll like the drop bars) and the Felt Verza 50.

These all seem comparable and looking at reviews only gets me more sideways because they introduce new brands into the mix. Appreciate any guidance you all can provide.
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Old 10-18-21, 01:26 PM
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Hi, and welcome.

The hybrid category is (very loosely) divided into some sub-categories. The ones you appear to be considering, rightly so, are what I call "fitness" hybrids (ones like the Giant Escape and Trek FX) and "dual sport" hybrids (ones like the Jamis DXT, Trek DS, etc.). The basic dividing line is the fork and the resulting basic riding position. The fitness hybrids will have rigid forks and a slightly more aggressive riding position and the dual sport hybrids will have suspension forks (typically either 63mm or 75mm) and a slightly more upright riding position. There is value to both approaches, and there's also a lot of overlap between categories. A Trek Verve, for example, has a rigid fork but also gives you a pretty upright ride.

The best recommendation I can give you, current bike inventory situation notwithstanding, is to get out to your local bike shop(s) and check these bikes out in person. Ride as many as you can get under you and take note of which ones feel right to you. You may find one (or some) just "click" with you and one (or some) does or do not. In general, bike reviews aren't terribly valuable because all bikes are basically the same in terms of the parts list. They all have bolt on components like shifters and derailleurs and wheels and, yes, some lines of components are more durable or lighter or sexier than others, but components are commodity items not specific to bike brands. You'll see Shimano, Sunrace, Microshift, Promax, Tektro, and other brands...often mixed and matched on the same bike. In this market niche ($400-800 hybrids), the components are generally going to durable, serviceable, and a non-issue for most people. Once you start getting up to $1,000 and higher, you start to see more emphasis on lighter weight or better this or that. But for the most part, nearly any bike you're considering should be "fine" from a components perspective.

The differences between the bikes are more in the fit and finish of the frames and how your body fits and adapts to them. Which is why I say reviews really have limited value, at least to me personally. So what if person-A-on-the-internet likes bike Z...if bike Z just doesn't click with me, and it's not something that I get excited about, it really doesn't matter how good it is or is not -- I probably won't ride it much anyway. So get out there and ride some and see what you like. With your height, you'll be looking at the taller frames, and that may limit availability of bikes to test ride some.

(If you're truly stuck, I think something like the Giant Escape, Trek FX/Verve, Specialized Sirrus, Jamis Coda or Allegro, or something similar from what I call the "fitness" category is probably the best place to start. They'll have rigid forks but will still be plenty adjustable to suit your riding style preferences. Most of these also have clearances for large tires (like 700x45mm) for comfort on mixed or loose terrain.)
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Old 10-18-21, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
Hi, and welcome.

The hybrid category is (very loosely) divided into some sub-categories. The ones you appear to be considering, rightly so, are what I call "fitness" hybrids (ones like the Giant Escape and Trek FX) and "dual sport" hybrids (ones like the Jamis DXT, Trek DS, etc.). The basic dividing line is the fork and the resulting basic riding position. The fitness hybrids will have rigid forks and a slightly more aggressive riding position and the dual sport hybrids will have suspension forks (typically either 63mm or 75mm) and a slightly more upright riding position. There is value to both approaches, and there's also a lot of overlap between categories. A Trek Verve, for example, has a rigid fork but also gives you a pretty upright ride.

The best recommendation I can give you, current bike inventory situation notwithstanding, is to get out to your local bike shop(s) and check these bikes out in person. Ride as many as you can get under you and take note of which ones feel right to you. You may find one (or some) just "click" with you and one (or some) does or do not. In general, bike reviews aren't terribly valuable because all bikes are basically the same in terms of the parts list. They all have bolt on components like shifters and derailleurs and wheels and, yes, some lines of components are more durable or lighter or sexier than others, but components are commodity items not specific to bike brands. You'll see Shimano, Sunrace, Microshift, Promax, Tektro, and other brands...often mixed and matched on the same bike. In this market niche ($400-800 hybrids), the components are generally going to durable, serviceable, and a non-issue for most people. Once you start getting up to $1,000 and higher, you start to see more emphasis on lighter weight or better this or that. But for the most part, nearly any bike you're considering should be "fine" from a components perspective.

The differences between the bikes are more in the fit and finish of the frames and how your body fits and adapts to them. Which is why I say reviews really have limited value, at least to me personally. So what if person-A-on-the-internet likes bike Z...if bike Z just doesn't click with me, and it's not something that I get excited about, it really doesn't matter how good it is or is not -- I probably won't ride it much anyway. So get out there and ride some and see what you like. With your height, you'll be looking at the taller frames, and that may limit availability of bikes to test ride some.

(If you're truly stuck, I think something like the Giant Escape, Trek FX/Verve, Specialized Sirrus, Jamis Coda or Allegro, or something similar from what I call the "fitness" category is probably the best place to start. They'll have rigid forks but will still be plenty adjustable to suit your riding style preferences. Most of these also have clearances for large tires (like 700x45mm) for comfort on mixed or loose terrain.)
Thank you for taking time to provide such a thorough response. It's somewhat what I figured that the only way to really know is to get out and ride them. I'm hardly concerned with lighter weight components as I am over 300#. I think there's some low hanging fruit before I worry about an ounce here or there.

I think I'm going to target 3 brands and go ride them to see if one clicks to me.
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Old 10-20-21, 09:25 AM
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After a lot of consideration I think I am going to go with Trek. The decision essentially came down to the reputation of one of my local bike shops and a little less to do with Trek themselves.

I am now finding myself torn between the FX and the Marlin. I'm entertaining the Marlin because it provides some offroad capabilities without needing to have two different bikes. I am going to lose some efficiency on hard surfaces. My question for the group here is whether or not that difference is really noticeable. Thoughts?
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Old 10-20-21, 10:38 AM
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Considering the reputation and relationship you may have with your local shop is smart, yes. And considering the Marlin may also be a good move. The bike I ride the most often on varied terrain is a hardtail mountain bike very much like the Marlin. In fact, I swapped out the inexpensive suspension fork for a rigid fork and the bike is super fun to ride and very quick to respond. The Marlin will have just enough accessory mounts like rack mounts and bottle cage mounts to make it useable on a daily basis. I think some Marlins come with 27.5" tires and some come with 29" tires...in either case, you can certainly swap out the cheap knobbies it comes with for some higher quality tires more suited to your type of riding (gravel, hardpack dirt or pavement, etc.).

Here's a link to my hardtail that I use as a hybrid: Redline Zander MTB Hybrid Conversion - Bike Forums. Those pictures were taken before the fork swap, but the bike is mostly setup like that still today. I should take some pictures and update that thread.
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Old 10-20-21, 11:00 AM
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Just starting out and needing to pull a trailer. I personally would get an old ChroMo Touring bike and work from there...
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Old 10-20-21, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Just starting out and needing to pull a trailer. I personally would get an old ChroMo Touring bike and work from there...
I like that idea. I could see an old CroMoly hybrid doing that job, too.
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Old 10-21-21, 07:44 AM
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I named a bunch of bikes here..So I compared 700c and 27.5" hybrid wheelbases
I can't recall why I omitted a KHS model but in any case, there is an advantage for going 27.5".
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Old 10-25-21, 04:36 PM
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Don't discount vintage steel mountain bikes as a base for a killer build. The 26" wheels are sturdier to handle your weight and the trailer, they can take big tires for a cushy ride, and you can build it up any way you like; grocery getter, commuter, bike packer, street tourer, gravel rider, or some combination of any or all of them. They're very versatile, and not that expensive.
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Old 10-26-21, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Don't discount vintage steel mountain bikes as a base for a killer build. The 26" wheels are sturdier to handle your weight and the trailer, they can take big tires for a cushy ride, and you can build it up any way you like; grocery getter, commuter, bike packer, street tourer, gravel rider, or some combination of any or all of them. They're very versatile, and not that expensive.
+10 or 20.

At the OPs stage of riding and needs..look for a good condition 21 to 23 inch older rigid(no suspension fork) mountain bike. You'll be in for around $350 or less. Put some nice street tires on it(Schwalbe Big Apples, Big Bens, or Marathon Supremes(not the plus version)) and go have fun. If you're not sure what bike to look at/buy..post here(or in the General Discussion or Mountain bike forums) and folks will give you a hand in finding the right bike. Where to you live? A city is sufficient..

A two-minute search example:
https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/r...399371539.html
https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/r...395408194.html
https://brainerd.craigslist.org/bik/...399207859.html
https://stcloud.craigslist.org/bik/d...390812615.html
https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik...393250373.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/b...391473454.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/b...398451232.html
https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/...392552745.html
Next one very nice, higher end, but overpriced by $200+
https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/b...399223861.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/b...395372221.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/b...398244123.html
https://carbondale.craigslist.org/bi...396956374.html

...

Last edited by fishboat; 10-26-21 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 10-26-21, 11:31 AM
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Uh, if you meant 300 lbs when you wrote # maybe you want a bike with 2 inch tires like the Haro Beasley, Norco Indie or even 2.2" tires on the Brodie Tesla.
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