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Seeking assistance objectively choosing a new bicycle

Old 02-16-14, 07:03 PM
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Seeking assistance objectively choosing a new bicycle

Hello bikeforum,

First, let me say that I'm looking forward to gaining some insight from you bike experts.

I am 26 years old and "new" to biking. I used to ride BMX as a teenager but it's been years since I've been on a bike. I am looking for a hybrid-style bike as I plan on commuting (5-10 miles depending on route), riding paved trails and the occasional crushed gravel trail.

I have listed several bikes below that are in my price range and, from my perspective, seem to be very similar.

I understand the importance of riding a bike before purchase, so the reason I am posting here is to help me understand objectively why one of these bikes might stand out from the rest, or why I should cross any of these off my list immediately and not waste my time test riding.

At this time I'm leaning more towards either the Novara Buzz, the Raleigh Misceo, or the Giant Roam 3.

I sincerely appreciate any feedback and input!



I have edited my potential bike list as of 2/19 - Thanks for your input!

Novara Buzz - $600

Raleigh Misceo 2013 - $530 My LBS has some 2013's in stock so the price is quite appealing

Trek FX 7.2 Disc - $599

Giant Roam 2 - $650 I'm strongly questioning whether or not I should consider this one since it has a front suspension fork which is probably cheap. I might still ride it just so I know for sure.

Last edited by AceFahrenheit; 02-19-14 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 02-16-14, 07:10 PM
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I don't think you need a bike with a front shock, so the first one I'd take off from the list would be the Giant.
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Old 02-16-14, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime
I don't think you need a bike with a front shock, so the first one I'd take off from the list would be the Giant.
This was my initial thought too, but then I saw it had a lockout. Do you think a front shock with a lockout would be a good or bad thing? I thought it might be kind of nice to have a front shock for the unpaved trails.

Thanks!
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Old 02-16-14, 08:06 PM
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The shock probably won't do much.

If it were my list, I'd swap the Giant Roam out for a Giant Escape. The Escape 2, 3, and City are all within your price range. I don't own an Escape, but my wife has a 2012 Escape 1W and loves it; she rides it around town and on both paved and unpaved trails without issue.
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Old 02-17-14, 11:50 AM
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choose the favorite bike shop you want to do business with First.

you got REI and a dealer for all of those brands where you live?
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Old 02-17-14, 12:35 PM
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Although I like the aluminum forks on the Felt, and the disc brakes on the Raleigh, if I were planning on doing any commuting (especially at night) along with any off-road, I'd think seriously about the Giant with the suspension forks.
Commuting while dark, whether early morning or evening presents the possiblility of potholes, some of which can rip the bars right out of your hands if you don't have suspension in front. Also, those Suntour forks look rather light, so should not weigh you down.
The Giant has nicer colors, too.
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Old 02-17-14, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
choose the favorite bike shop you want to do business with First.

you got REI and a dealer for all of those brands where you live?
I do have REI and I am a member there. They have very helpful people and I spoke with a gentleman there about bikes last week. The Novara Buzz is a high contender.

There are LBS's that carry all the other options I listed except for the Felt. There actually might be a local dealer too who carries the Felt and I just haven't found them yet.
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Old 02-17-14, 01:10 PM
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I have an opposite opinion. Get the Roam. Yes, those front suspension forks do work when you want them, and the lock outs do work when you don't.

Plus, the Roam will let you fit bigger tires, should you desire them. And more room for fenders, if you want them.

You almost always get more bang for your buck with Giant.

The Roam is a really nice utility bike, much like my Crosstrail, which I dearly love.

MHO
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Old 02-17-14, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
Although I like the aluminum forks on the Felt,
Um,why? Alloy forks are horrible. They may be light,but they ride harsh,esp straight blade models like that one.

Originally Posted by AceFahrenheit
There are LBS's that carry all the other options I listed except for the Felt. There actually might be a local dealer too who carries the Felt and I just haven't found them yet.
If you don't know exactly how bikes fit you,and can't tell how a bike rides and handles,then I would stick to bikes you can actually test ride. I bike may look good on paper,but if it doesn't fit you right,or you don't like the ride or handling,then it's not the right one.
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Old 02-17-14, 05:57 PM
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When I swapped my chrome-moly forks for aluminum ones, I noticed more flex, especially when I was going fast. They are not straight-blades, though.
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Old 02-17-14, 10:09 PM
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You are from St. Paul, you should have a Surly. Check Craigslist.

I am only sort of joking.

Otherwise, there are many, many bike shops in the cities. Try out a wide variety of bikes and see what you like. It is a great city to bike shop. (I would stay away from the one's with suspension forks).
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Old 02-18-14, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by goldfinch
You are from St. Paul, you should have a Surly. Check Craigslist.

I am only sort of joking.

Otherwise, there are many, many bike shops in the cities. Try out a wide variety of bikes and see what you like. It is a great city to bike shop. (I would stay away from the one's with suspension forks).
I have been keeping my eyes open for a Surly but not much has come up!

You are right, this is a great place to shop for a bike and I will ride as many as I can before making a decision.

Several people have said to stay away from the suspension forks... Can you explain why you would avoid them? Would you say to avoid them even if they have a lockout?

Thanks
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Old 02-18-14, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by AceFahrenheit
I have been keeping my eyes open for a Surly but not much has come up!

You are right, this is a great place to shop for a bike and I will ride as many as I can before making a decision.

Several people have said to stay away from the suspension forks... Can you explain why you would avoid them? Would you say to avoid them even if they have a lockout?

Thanks
in my opinion, suspension forks are not bad. However, in this price range you dont get a decent fork at all. At this price point you get very few benefits of suspension with most of its drawbacks - a heavy, flexy, hard to dial fork with a coil spring inside with no damping. Once you get fast on rough terrain, you may find your fork is not extending fast enough between hits. Or any number issues that can be solved with a higher end unit with compression and rebound damping and infinite spring rate. Rigid is a better use of your money and would be lighter
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Old 02-18-14, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk
in my opinion, suspension forks are not bad. However, in this price range you dont get a decent fork at all. At this price point you get very few benefits of suspension with most of its drawbacks - a heavy, flexy, hard to dial fork with a coil spring inside with no damping. Once you get fast on rough terrain, you may find your fork is not extending fast enough between hits. Or any number issues that can be solved with a higher end unit with compression and rebound damping and infinite spring rate. Rigid is a better use of your money and would be lighter
Thanks for the helpful response. So at my price point, the suspension fork will be low quality... This will help me cross some potential bikes off my list.
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Old 02-18-14, 10:31 AM
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Instead of the DS series, you may want to include the Trek FX series.

If I planned to ride in the rain or snow, I would look seriously at models with disc brakes, otherwise, I would get a rim brake model, as I would get better components or save money.
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Old 02-19-14, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Darwin
Instead of the DS series, you may want to include the Trek FX series.

If I planned to ride in the rain or snow, I would look seriously at models with disc brakes, otherwise, I would get a rim brake model, as I would get better components or save money.
Thanks for the input!

I have updated my potential bike list as follows:

Trek FX 7.2 Disc - $599

Novara Buzz - $599

2013 Raleigh Misceo 2.0 - $529 My LBS has quite a few 2013's available so the price is certainly appealing

Giant Roam 2 - $650 I'm strongly questioning whether or not I should consider this one since it has a front suspension fork which is probably cheap. I might still ride it just so I know for sure.


Of course, my lovely state is due for several more inches of snow tomorrow so who knows when I'll get to test ride anything!!

As always, any input on the bikes I've listed or other suggestions are sincerely appreciated!
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Old 02-19-14, 10:07 AM
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At this point, I think you have your top 4 for test rides. I think any of them would be a good choice.

Although I am a big fan of test rides as the final factor, it is with some hesitancy. When I test ride, it is hard for me to tell, but the thing to be cautious about is that something you notice that doesn't feel quite right may be fixed by something as minor as moving the saddle position slightly... or changing to a different stem... or swapping saddles... These could probably be accomplished pretty easily at little or no cost at the time of purchase, but you probably won't be able to get the shop to swap components for a test ride.

But, if you notice something, let the shop know... It could be part of your analysis of the shop's ability to keep you happy. Again, this may be difficult to gauge, but there would be some difference to me between if the shop tried to tweak the bike for you to try again versus saying, "You'll get used to it." This is especially difficult, because at times the right answer is that you will get used to it.

So, what would I do? I would probably buy the bike that I liked best based on the specs and my feelings and get used to it. But, what if I were to take an extra step???

I would rank the bikes based on highest to lowest from those 4. Whether you choose based on color, components, shop location or type of shoes worn by the shop owner doesn't matter. I would then determine that I would buy the first bike that felt right (i.e. I liked the bike and the shop)... and I would be honest with the person at each shop. "I am looking to buy a bike, and this is my first choice." (which it will be at that point in the hunt even if you passed on the previous bike(s) ). "However, I need a successful test ride, and that means that I may need a tweak or two. If we can get it to where this bike feels right, I will buy it right now." Then see where it leads you.

Really, the bottom line is that for a non-racer, if any of them feel close to right, you probably will get used to it and love the ride.
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Old 02-19-14, 10:38 AM
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Personally I would still go with the Roam, if you like it, and it fits.

The 40mm tires will definitely ride better. I can feel much more harshness with even 35s.

The front suspension really does ride smoother when the going is rough, and the lockouts really work when you don't need the suspension. I really like the front suspension, as it helps with my nerve and joint problems. These suspensions work fine if you are not climbing mountains. Mine is several years old, and many thousands of miles, without issue.(similar quality)

The 9spd is an added bonus - can never have too many gears. As are the hydraulic disc brakes.

When you ride them - which one feels more right than the others?
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Old 02-19-14, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer
Personally I would still go with the Roam, if you like it, and it fits.

The 40mm tires will definitely ride better. I can feel much more harshness with even 35s.

The front suspension really does ride smoother when the going is rough, and the lockouts really work when you don't need the suspension. I really like the front suspension, as it helps with my nerve and joint problems. These suspensions work fine if you are not climbing mountains. Mine is several years old, and many thousands of miles, without issue.(similar quality)

The 9spd is an added bonus - can never have too many gears. As are the hydraulic disc brakes.

When you ride them - which one feels more right than the others?
Keep in mind that the OP is 26 years old. What might feel a bit harsh to us old folks may be meaningless to him.
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Old 02-19-14, 07:33 PM
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40mm can carry a small motorcycle. OP stick with 28-32mm , unless you ride like the Dukes of Hazzard they should be fine
I would go for the Trek or Novara. The Roam is a heavy bike.
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Old 02-19-14, 09:01 PM
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Yea, I'm old and sure glad I can fit them 40s on my Kona!
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Old 02-20-14, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer
Personally I would still go with the Roam, if you like it, and it fits.

The 40mm tires will definitely ride better. I can feel much more harshness with even 35s.

The front suspension really does ride smoother when the going is rough, and the lockouts really work when you don't need the suspension. I really like the front suspension, as it helps with my nerve and joint problems. These suspensions work fine if you are not climbing mountains. Mine is several years old, and many thousands of miles, without issue.(similar quality)

The 9spd is an added bonus - can never have too many gears. As are the hydraulic disc brakes.

When you ride them - which one feels more right than the others?

I kind of like you're thinking. I live in MN and our roads are absolute garbage in the spring and into summer so, for my purpose, I can see a suspension fork being a nice component. I'm also learning of more gravel trails in my area that I'd like to ride and I'm sure the wider tires and suspension would be nice here too!

Thank you for your input.


Originally Posted by cbr9927
40mm can carry a small motorcycle. OP stick with 28-32mm , unless you ride like the Dukes of Hazzard they should be fine
I would go for the Trek or Novara. The Roam is a heavy bike.
The Novara is pretty heavy from what I've read too, but I will certainly test it out. I'm starting to think the slightly wider tires and suspension fork w/ lockout might come in handy...



An update:

Raleigh Misceo - I rode the Raleigh Misceo yesterday - Very nice bike! It felt light and nimble. The brakes felt a bit unresponsive (disc), does this maybe get better as they "break in"? I know with automobiles the pads and rotors need to be broken in a bit before they respond. Overall I liked the bike, it was very quick and I felt comfortable riding it. I do not have anything to compare it with so we will see how it goes with the others. So far it is still a contender (and dat price!! )

Trek FX - I went to another LBS that carries Trek. My first impression was not good. They have a dog they keep in the store and it freaks out on every customer who walks in the door and barks at them incessantly. I am a dog lover but do not care to be greeted by a barking Fido in any store I go to. I watched several other customers come in and, like clockwork, Fido is there barking and it echoes throughout the store. Everyone was caught off guard by the dog and I got the feeling it would be their last visit to this store also... anyways, the Trek that I rode felt ok, they only let me ride it in the store because it was "too wet and salty" outside, although there was actually a lot of dry pavement in the parking lot I could've worked with... The brake and shifters felt cheap compared to the Raleigh (I think they were plastic). It was tough to tell if it felt comfortable because I was going about 2mph weaving in and out of racks. I'm going to try and find another LBS that carries Trek and I will not be back to this one. My first impression of the bike was "meh", so I'll keep it on the list but definitely towards the bottom.

Novara Buzz - REI did not have this Novara in stock! They will hopefully be switching the ski setup over to bikes within the next couple of weeks and said to check back then.

Giant Roam 2 - I didn't make it to the LBS that carries Giant, but they do have a Roam 2 in stock according to the guy I called. I grew up about a mile from this store and my family has bought 15+ bikes from them over the past decade or so. I remember when they opened and the owner and the employees have always been awesome people to work with. I would prefer to give them my business over anywhere else so I'm hoping the Roam 2 feels great! Unfortunately, my lovely state is due for another snowstorm today, so who knows when I'll get the chance to test ride. On paper, the Roam 2 is looking good (i like the locking suspension fork, hydraulic disc brakes, and 40 mm tires) and I can't wait to ride it.


Thanks to everyone who has given their two cents and provided their helpful feedback!
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Old 02-20-14, 09:17 AM
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Make sure you keep us informed
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Old 02-20-14, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by TomCat_Ford
The shock probably won't do much.

If it were my list, I'd swap the Giant Roam out for a Giant Escape. The Escape 2, 3, and City are all within your price range. I don't own an Escape, but my wife has a 2012 Escape 1W and loves it; she rides it around town and on both paved and unpaved trails without issue.
For what it is worth, I have hundreds of miles on my Giant Escape and love it. No problems at all, the only thing I have done is to install some 700X28c tires. Great bike for the money.
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Old 02-20-14, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 2nd Mule
For what it is worth, I have hundreds of miles on my Giant Escape and love it. No problems at all, the only thing I have done is to install some 700X28c tires. Great bike for the money.
I value all feedback!

What kind of riding do you do with your Escape? The Roam seems to be a better fit based on my needs so I'm curious what you do with the Escape.

Thanks
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