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Please Help a Noob make a purchase Decision

Old 05-03-12, 11:50 AM
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pchung3009
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Please Help a Noob make a purchase Decision

New to biking. My kid just started riding a bike, training wheels, and it has been a pain running behind him and chasing him around. My brother in law rode around with him on his bike and my kid had a blast. So, I thought I would buy a bike so I can start to exercise, ride with my kid now and as he gets older, as well as tow him around on a trailer.

I am 5'10" with a 31 inseam, 190lbs and from testing sitting on bikes, I like the 19" frame size, but the 20" and 17.5" on the Treks seem to work as well. However, I just took them for a quick spin. For longer rides, would you err on the longer or shorter side? From my little experience, I felt like while the 19" on the GF felt great, the 20" on the Treks were 2nd and the 17.5" 3rd, but again, this is based on just sitting on them and taking them for quick rides. Any suggestions on this?

Purpose: Exercise - after some training, hopefully will be doing 10-15 mile rides. As of now, will not plan on doing centuries or anything close to it. Maybe I will get hooked and buy a Roadie, but the not the intent with this purchase. I also want to attach a trailer to tow around my son and eventually my daughter who is due in a month. Does this effect my decision because of gearing? Will 8 speed gearing be sufficient for lower gears for towing 30-80 pounds? What does 24-27 speed drivetrain

Terrain: I live in the Chicago burbs and there are a ton of trails where I live, all paved and not hilly. Plan on using this bike around my neighborhood, on paved bike trails, and streets. Do not plan on going off road too much, but I know there are some places I want to go where there are gravel paths and such, however 90% of the time, on paved roads. May do LIGHT off road trails later on.

Budget: I really want to stay around $400-$500, but am open to going a bit higher and lower, depending on value. I don't mind buying used as long as I am getting good value and quality.

Type: After much research and testing, I decided on a hybrid, comfortable and kinda fits my needs the best.

What I am looking at: So after scouring websites, Craigslist, and LBS, I am trying to decide between Gary Fisher's Wingra or Monona or Trek's FX or DS. I know, extremely similar bikes and I know there are many other great brands out there, but for my purposes, these just seem the best. Also, the LBS's I visited, mostly carried Trek's, Schwinn's, and Raleigh's that fit my needs and budgets. Also, I am looking for best bang for buck and trying to determine which bike would be best for the price.

So here goes:

A Chicago LBS has some pretty nice deals going on, but do I get 2012 brand new vs. older model brand new vs. used cheaper. When I do do side by side, just don't know how to compare components because of my lack of knowledge and experience.

Current New Bikes:

12' Trek 7.1 FX - $470 https://villagecycle.com/product/12tr...x-131009-1.htm

12' Trek DS 8.2 - $539 (like the look and it comes in 19" frame, over budget though) https://villagecycle.com/product/12tr...on-94391-1.htm

12' Trek 7.2 FX - $550 https://villagecycle.com/product/12tr...x-123180-1.htm

New, but older models

10' Gary Fisher Wingra - $430 https://villagecycle.com/product/11tr...on-72264-1.htm

10' Gary Fisher Monona - $448 (only has 21" frame available, I can't touch the ground sitting on the seat with the bike straight up) https://villagecycle.com/product/10ga...na-48283-1.htm


Used on Craig's List

09' Gary Fisher Wingra(USED) - $325-$350 negotiating now from Craigslist https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/2989580438.html

Can't find any 7.2, 7.3, 7.5 FX's on Craigslist or anywhere else locally with the right size frame. I did find a 2010 7.5FX for $375, but it's a 22.5" frame.

I am leaning towards the new 2010 Wingra. I feel like I am getting the best value. Not really worth the extra $100+ to get a comparable 7.2 FX. I would get the Monona, but at 21", I think it may not fit right for me in the long run.

The old use Wingra on Craigslist sound good at $100 less than the new one, but I think it would be worth it to get a new one for $100 more.

Anyone suggestions or help on this one? Any insights would be great.

Thanks,

Future Rider
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Old 05-03-12, 01:04 PM
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Welcome To Bike Forums, Pchung!

I think that the Trek 7.1FX is a decent bargain for your uses. You don't need suspension forks in Chicago, riding almost exclusively on paved roads. The Trek 7.2FX is not a bargain when compared to the following:

The Schwinn Sporterra Sport ~ $495
www.schwinnbikes.com/bikes/hybrid/2012-sporterra-sport-mens-14586

Also, both 2010 Gary Fisher models are great buys, provided that they are sold as new and under warranty.

If buying used, only buy old chromoly steel framed ten speeds from the 80's era. Don't buy used carbon or aluminum, unless you know something about their histories. Also, have an "expert" accompany you, whenever buying a used bicycle.

Never buy a bicycle without test-riding it for at least twenty minutes, before making the purchase. If you're not sure that it's quite comfortable enough, that's a sure sign that it's not comfortable enough!

You might also want to consider the following:

The Jamis Coda Sport ~ $560
www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/street/coda/12_codasport_rd.html

PS.

All of the bikes above will be sufficient for towing only the most precious of cargoes.

Last edited by SlimRider; 05-03-12 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 05-03-12, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pchung3009 View Post
I am leaning towards the new 2010 Wingra.
Looks like a pretty good deal. You definitely don't need the latest model year. Have the LBS help you find the right size. If you haven't bought a bike for yourself in some time it's a pretty different experience now in terms of sizing and fit.

I was in a similar situation to you several years ago. I'd been off the bike for over 15 years and wanted something to keep up with the kids, get fit, etc. etc. I bought a 2005 GF Nirvana and it fit the bill. The bike is a tank and it's still going strong 7 years and several thousand miles later.

I think any of the Trek/GF bikes you listed will give you a lot of year/miles of use as well.

On the exercise front I started out doing 5-10 mile rides on local MUPs. I got to enjoy it so much that I went up to 25-30 mile road rides and even did my first century on the GF. I've since bought a road bike but I still use the GF when I want to ride a rail-trail or in the winter when I put my Schwalbe studded tires on it.

So head to the LBS and get a Wingra that fits you well.
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Old 05-03-12, 03:02 PM
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For your selections and size. I say go for a Trek 7.2 FX in the 20 inch frame. I'm also 5ft10 and I ride a 19 inch frame. I think for our height a 19-20 inch frame is a perfect fit. 8 speed is pretty good. Just enough gears to stay in the middle chain ring on normal rides.
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Old 05-03-12, 06:50 PM
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For your first bike buy new, if your LBS is a good one they will probably throw in a few free adjustments so that $100 saved buying used will be gone quick after a few adjustments.

Plus you'll likely get a discount on any accessories, and we all like accessories
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Old 05-03-12, 11:10 PM
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I just went through this. I narrowed it down to a Trek FX 7.4 and a Cannondale Quick 3 or 4. I wanted a carbon fork. I thought both bikes were great. You answered your own question on the merits of the Trek FX. Good resale value and you can sell it in a heartbeat. Having said that, I bought a year-old Quick 4 (new) for $538. It was a better deal and better looking than the Trek, but mostly I bought it because the dealer had it in stock in the color and size I wanted. All the bikes you are looking at are good, no one bike is that much of a better deal than another - or everyone would buy them. Buy the bike that looks the best to you.

P.S. I love the Quick 4, but my wife's Trek 7000 (a couple steps lower than the Quick 4 in components) is not a noticably inferior bike either.
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Old 05-04-12, 08:57 AM
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Thanks for all the help and suggestions. I am scrapping the Craigslist idea since I know nothing about bikes and won't be able to tell the condition of the bikes I would be looking at. Either way, I think I am leaning towards the two Gary Fishers available at the LBS. I am calling today to ask about the warranty coverage on it so thanks for the that tip. If the warranty is still good, I will be going up there to give them a good test ride and get fitted properly. The Jamis Coda Sport does look nice and I found another LBS that carries that line. Although out of my budget, I am going to see if they have any closeouts going on for their older models. If not, I think I am pretty much set on choosing between the two Gary Fishers. I know, only about a $100 more, but if I keep thinking like that, I'll be looking at $1,300 bikes!

Thanks again for the help here and I have found a lot of good stuff on older threads that helped. Great forum guys and maybe this will turn into a sickness for me.
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Old 05-04-12, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by pchung3009 View Post
Thanks for all the help and suggestions. I am scrapping the Craigslist idea since I know nothing about bikes and won't be able to tell the condition of the bikes I would be looking at. Either way, I think I am leaning towards the two Gary Fishers available at the LBS. I am calling today to ask about the warranty coverage on it so thanks for the that tip. If the warranty is still good, I will be going up there to give them a good test ride and get fitted properly. The Jamis Coda Sport does look nice and I found another LBS that carries that line. Although out of my budget, I am going to see if they have any closeouts going on for their older models. If not, I think I am pretty much set on choosing between the two Gary Fishers. I know, only about a $100 more, but if I keep thinking like that, I'll be looking at $1,300 bikes!

Thanks again for the help here and I have found a lot of good stuff on older threads that helped. Great forum guys and maybe this will turn into a sickness for me.
Good thing about skipping the buying used. Never know what you may get. If you must go with the Gary Fisher. Go with the 19.5 inch Wingra. The Monona is a bit larger for your size.
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Old 05-04-12, 12:00 PM
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pchung3009
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Yeah, that is what I think as well. I wish they had a 19.5", but that is literally the last one they have. I plan on going in on Monday to test ride and get fitted so hopefully, will be leaving the store with a new bike so I can start my riding adventures. Called the LBS and confirmed that warranty starts on purchase date

As far as used, I have had good luck in the past buying fishing gear from CL, but I know what conditions to look for in the reels and rods I buy. I just don't know enough about bikes to be able to spot trouble. Besides, on the models I was looking for, couldn't find much available in my size and $430 on a new Wingra or $450 on the Monona seems like a pretty sweet deal.

I wish I had time today or tomorrow to look, but it will have to wait until Monday. Hopefully I will be posting some pics of my new ride next week!
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Old 05-04-12, 08:52 PM
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Here I go again.
Giant Escape 1
: )
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Old 05-05-12, 12:01 AM
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If the shop carries Raleigh you might also check out the rigid fork Misceo ($499) (https://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/hybrid/misceo-12/). Just got one two weeks ago for pulling the kid trailer and commuting, and love it so far. May get around to posting a pic this weekend. Matte black + disc brakes = sweet looking.
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Old 05-05-12, 06:41 AM
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To the OP, it sounds like you might be shopping in the NW burbs of Chicago. If you, and you are willing to travel a little bit, you might want to check out Two Seasons in Hanover Park. I've bought bikes at the shop you've linked to, and while I've had excellent experiences there, I also had a very poor experience with my daughter's bike. Two Seasons carries Trek (Fisher), Cannondale, Schwinn and a few others. They will take the time to earn your business.
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