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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

I'm new and I need help...

Old 07-11-11, 01:26 PM
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Help me choose...

Ok, so the wife and I have picked up cycling. I really enjoy it as does she. We took our hooptie Walmart bikes back and are going to buy some decent bikes from a local bike shop. Im torn here... She wants a hybrid, I want a road bike. She wants the hybrid cause of the riding posture. So I said fine, I'll get a damn hybrid too. The primary goal is fitness/exercise.

I go to the bike shop today, and Im looking at the hybrids in Trek, Specialized, and Giant flavors... I tell the dude I want to stay under a $1,000, preferably under $750. He shows me a bunch of bikes, then asks why a hybrid. So I explain the deal... wife wants one because of posture, etc. So he starts pushing me towards Endurance Road Bikes.... which apparently is different than Performance road bikes. The posture on an endurance road bike is very similar to a hybrid. It still has the drop bars, but he said you can use the top portion (and showed me 2 different ways to grip) and not be any lower / more of an angle than a flat bar bike. But you also have the option of using the lower bar to be lower if you desire... I see, I like. Now I just gotta sell the wife on the idea. But I'm torn on 3 things here...

1. I'm 6'4" tall and weigh in at 270. Will I look like a dumb ass on a road bike? Would a hybrid be better? Don't plan on any trail riding...

2. Is a road bike practical for me? We usually ride around the neighborhood a few nights a week (around 7 miles so far, looking for more), then hit a paved bike trail on the weekends.

2. I'm torn between these:

Hybrid:

Trek 7.3FX ($640)
Trek 7.5FX ($919)

Specialized Sirrus Sport ($550)
Specialized Sirrus Elite ($700)

Giant Rapid 3 ($680)
Giant Rapid 2 ($950)


Endurance Road:

Trek 1.2 ($860)
Trek 1.5 ($950)

Specialized Secteur ($940)

Giant Defy 3 ($790)



As you can tell, there are 2 different price points between all of the bikes. Most differences seem to be in the drive train. But since I'm a noob, I wouldn't know the difference between either one.

Also, the local bike shop(s) (I called around) don't have many of these in stock. So I need to narrow down my choices before I have them order a bike for me to test ride... The only one they have in my size that is in stock is the Trek 1.5.

For those that have gone before me... any tips/hints/suggestions/thoughts/concerns?

Thanks guys.

Last edited by danielhv; 07-11-11 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 07-11-11, 01:41 PM
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Hey I was in the same position like you are a month ago haha I went to a LBS because my friend works there and got me 20% off. I ended up getting a giant defy 3 and I really like it I was looking at the trek 1.2 as well but the giant had a much better frame and I like how the giant looked more. The trek has a tiagara RD I think other than that they're pretty equal although the 1.2 at my lbs didnt have sora brakes, had some no name ones, so look into that. I don't think you'll look like a dumbass on a road bike, you shouldnt think like that who cares what people think. As for the posture I THINK he may be right because I can have a really laid back posture and then go low as well. I guess that part is up to your wife, I don't see many women riding road bikes, I have no idea why but hey. Try to convince her to try out the endurance ones the posture isn't that bad, you can adjust it, plus they look cooler lol.

You probably want to get full tiagra parts but I doubt us noobies will be able to tell the difference. Just buy the one that fits right for you and feels the best. If they have a specialized allez try that one too its in the same category as the trek 1.2 and the giant defy 3. Idk why the 1.2 is more expensive. Trek 1.5 seems like a good bike I saw a couple of people with them full tiagra nice sleek black frame and only 950$ it was like 1200$ at my lbs haha.

But this is just my 2 cents I'm not an expert or anything just went through this same thing hehe good luck i'm sure you'll make a good decision as any of them are great bikes and you'll have a lot of fun!
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Old 07-11-11, 01:49 PM
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Get the wife what she wants and you get what you want. My brother rides a Madone and his wife rides an FX (I think). They ride together on a frequent basis but 10 - 15 miles is about her max. She can really keep up on the FX but when my brother wants to do 50 miles, he's got the bike he needs for that.
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Old 07-11-11, 01:49 PM
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I'd say go road rather than hybrid. If you stick with it, you'll prefer it in the long run for sure. The different hand positions is really nice as well.
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Old 07-11-11, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by danielhv
She wants a hybrid, I want a road bike. She wants the hybrid cause of the riding posture. So I said fine, I'll get a damn hybrid too.
That is just classic.
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Old 07-11-11, 01:55 PM
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My wife and I went through almost the exact same thing early this spring. She ended up with a Hybrid, and I got the 1.5. I was 6'4 260 when I got it in March, and I have dropped down to about 230. I started off with the same distance rides around the neighborhood, I am doing 100 - 150 miles per week. Go with the road bike - and the 1.5 is nice.
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Old 07-11-11, 01:58 PM
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Get the wife a bike that SHE wants and not the bike you think or the LBS dude thinks she woul like. The point is, you don't want her resenting a decision that was made for her nor a decision, she would feel later on that was coerced. Do not even try to sway her on what to get. She is a grown woman and capable of making decisions. If she wants a relaxed fit, let her. You would have a more enjoyable experience together.

You get the bike you want. And no, you would not look like a dumbass on a road bike. Would you prefer to be on a Hoveround? Cycling is good for you, get on that bike and ride . Weight loss is a side effect. Enjoy the ride and make it a goal to ride. Weight loss will come. Ride...did I say ride?!?
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Old 07-11-11, 01:59 PM
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If any consolation, on the MUP I frequent, I often see the reverse: females with the roadie and males with a hybrid. Also, I often see couples on tandems as well (if that's an option).
Best of luck with your decision. You came to the right place.
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Old 07-11-11, 02:07 PM
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Don't get a hybrid. I had one awhile back when I first started getting into cycling and they really are all the worst parts of a road bike, with the worst aspects of a mountain bike, rolled into one crappy bike.

You don't need an aggressive posture on a road bike, go with a relaxed geometry road bike, I think you'll be happy. Also, like someone above mentioned, the hand positions alone on the road bike make it worth it.

I honestly can't think of any reason to get a hybrid. I don't know why they've gotten so popular.
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Old 07-11-11, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ErichM
Don't get a hybrid. I had one awhile back when I first started getting into cycling and they really are all the worst parts of a road bike, with the worst aspects of a mountain bike, rolled into one crappy bike.

You don't need an aggressive posture on a road bike, go with a relaxed geometry road bike, I think you'll be happy. Also, like someone above mentioned, the hand positions alone on the road bike make it worth it.

I honestly can't think of any reason to get a hybrid. [B]I don't know why they've gotten so popular.[B]
I think it is because of a false sense of comfort and an even worse perceived ability to go off-road when needed.
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Old 07-11-11, 02:29 PM
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First, get your wife what she wants. This advice isn't limited to bikes. Next, if you want a road bike, get one. When you ride with your wife, you can go at her pace. Being able to go fast doesn't mean you have to.

Originally Posted by danielhv
Will I look like a dumb ass on a road bike?
Yes. You're going to shave your legs, and wear a professional wrestler's costume ( called spandex "bibs" ). You're going to look like a dumb ass. It would be much worse if you got a TT bike, because then you'd be wearing a skin suit.

A road bike is ideal for the type of riding you described. You can even take it on grass or in light gravel, as long as you go slowly. ( I do this, for about 200 yards on a 40 mile ride. It's nice to go through a scenic park. )

Now, as far as the comfort or endurance road bikes go, they probably won't feel exactly like a hybrid, and unless you put cross brakes on them, you can't just ride around in the tops, because if somebody cuts you off, you'll need to stop quickly, and that means your fingers should be near the brake levers. But these types of bikes put the handlebars up higher than racing road bikes do. And, with drop handlebars, you can move around to stretch your back while you ride.
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Old 07-11-11, 02:55 PM
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Sound advice. I atleast talked the wife into test riding both kinds before she decides. So atleast she is being open minded. At any rate, she will get what she wants, and I'll just be happy that she is riding with me. So I've narrowed my choices down a bit... The Trek 1.5 or the Defy 3 (or 2 if I can get the price down a little!). Thoughts?
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Old 07-11-11, 03:09 PM
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You could also check out the Cannondale Synapse Alloy 7 Sora in that range.
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Old 07-11-11, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dstrong
Get the wife what she wants and you get what you want.
This.
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Old 07-11-11, 03:18 PM
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I haven't heard the term, "hoopty" since the 90s. And never referring to a bicycle..
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Old 07-11-11, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by AltheCyclist
I haven't heard the term, "hoopty" since the 90s. And never referring to a bicycle..
Well, I guess you're about ready then.
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Old 07-11-11, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by danielhv
1. I'm 6'4" tall and weigh in at 270. Will I look like a dumb ass on a road bike? Would a hybrid be better? Don't plan on any trail riding...
2. Is a road bike practical for me? We usually ride around the neighborhood a few nights a week (around 7 miles so far, looking for more), then hit a paved bike trail on the weekends.
Get something with 32mm or wider tires if you go with a road option... it will be comfortable and also allow you to do some packed dirt or light gravel riding (like on a rails-to-trails path). The problem that most overweight people have on road bikes is flexibility & having their knees smacking into their gut. The bike shop owner steered you in the right direction: those endurance bikes have a more relaxed riding posture. Any bike that you're looking at can have the handlebar height & placement adjusted via spacers or a different stem (but at an added cost). Note that any name brand bike with Shimano or SRAM components (of any quality level) is going to be more than adequate.

Recommendation: Buy a used bike, ideally from a local bike co-op. Get a road bike with relaxed geometry (like the endurance style frames) or a mountain bike with slicks (no knobs on the tires) & a lock-out on the shocks (big guys compress the shocks and they are worthless unless sized for you). As you get into cycling, you'll figure out what kind of bike you're looking for based on your ride preferences.

Finally, go check out the Clydesdale area of this forum which covers larger riders.
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Old 07-11-11, 03:47 PM
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Daniel, if you only see yourself doing 7 mile rides and nothing more, the hybrid might be your best choice. What is your goal with cycling? Will all of your rides be with your wife? If you envision yourself one day doing long type rides, I would skip the hybrid and get an entry level road bike. Add the Specialized Allez and Secteur to your list.
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Old 07-11-11, 04:34 PM
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I was exactly in the position you were 2 weeks ago. We walked in and my wife was drawn to the comfort bike. I wanted a road bike, but I didn't think we'd be able to ride together as much if I got one(in retrospect, Idk what my logic there was). I had ridden the Defy 3 and if felt nice. I ordered it on the weekend before July 4th. Over the weekend, I realized I wanted a road bike and would be fine riding with my wife and her comfort bike. I called the bike shop 1st thing Tuesday morning, asked if the order was through yet, and when they said no, I had them order my Felt Z85. I just got it today and it's hard to believe I almost didn't get it.
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Old 07-11-11, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_5700
Daniel, if you only see yourself doing 7 mile rides and nothing more, the hybrid might be your best choice.
Years ago, I thought 20 miles was an unfathomably long distance, unbridgeable without a car. But I really liked cycling, and these days that's a pretty short ride.
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Old 07-11-11, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Years ago, I thought 20 miles was an unfathomably long distance, unbridgeable without a car. But I really liked cycling, and these days that's a pretty short ride.
I agree with Seattle here. Once the OP starts riding I doubt he'll stick to 7 miles. Besides, I'm sure he'd probably rather have the option of going longer and not being stuck to a hybrid that will be uncomfortable for longer distances.

Also I think the road bike opens the OP and his wife up to enjoying cycling more. As someone that owned a hybrid for a couple of years I can tell you I have way more fun on my road bike than the hybrid. It is an addiction now. I have to force myself to take one day off a week (happens to be today) to let my legs rest. Especially hard on a perfect sunny day like today.
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Old 07-11-11, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Years ago, I thought 20 miles was an unfathomably long distance, unbridgeable without a car. But I really liked cycling, and these days that's a pretty short ride.
Same here now its kinda like eh...When you really like it you just keep going and going and going
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Old 07-11-11, 05:15 PM
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My wife thought she wanted a hybrid as well, until we bought it, she rode it once, and realized it was a lot slower, and actually more uncomfortable than a road bike. She took it back and got a Dolce sport, and now, a year later, she's on my case about a Pinarello.
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Old 07-11-11, 05:56 PM
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I got my wife the 7.5FX and she loves it. But when we ride, it's at a leisurely pace and I'm on my fixed gear. The FX is very versatile and with the wider tires would be good for the bigger rider. But for distances over 30 miles, I'd go with something like the Defy. Go with the widest tires it'll take.

The FX will go light trails, though and can take racks and fenders. I put barends on my wife's bike to give her another hand position.

She had a Trek hybrid before with a suspension fork but it was too sluggish so we upgraded to the FX.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:58 PM
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Well, we went ahead and got bikes tonight! She rode 3 different bikes, and decided she liked the Specialized Dolce Sport and I went with the Trek 1.5.

Now we're going to go ride! Will report back!
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