(This group looks about as active as the other groups, but what the hey )
I have a "road" bike that I find unnerving on our local trails which have stretches of dirt/cinders/gravel and have been contemplating a change in hardware, likely a "hybrid" makes the most sense. I don't race, I don't tour, it's just for exercise and sight seeing. I really don't want to go much beyond $500 and reading specs, I'm vacillating between the two in the subject line. I don't think (even though I am old, fat and decrepit) that I want to go all the way to a "comfort" bike and I tend to think suspension is just another complexity to run amok.
Some toward the "mountain bike" end of the spectrum are not totally unappealing, but among other negatives seem to go for more $$$ than I deem necessary. (Bikes seem like d!git@l cameras -- for only another $125 you can get the 3.7 megapixel chain and for another $145, the hill recognition rear cogs, etc.)
So I'm wondering if anyone has any comments? Of particular interest would be experiences with the above. My wife bought a Trek FX 7.3 about 4? years ago, but that model number is now about $200 more than she paid for it, so I'm not sure it's identical to that designation today.
Dave, who can't fix the old, but might at least trim down the fat
I am a hard-core commuter and have a little experience to offer.
Both those bikes are so similar in features I think I'd shop for price and fit rather than sweating the details between them. Bikes are easy to modify a little to suit your preferences and it's easier, once you decide on a general style of bicycle, to figure out what's important to you after you get some miles on it.
I think you are smart in not getting a suspension fork for what you want to use the bike for. They are heavy, complex and not necessary unless you are actually mountain-biking. The tires on these two bikes are big enough so that they will smooth out things enough for general riding. Straight steel forks, although a little heavier, have a bit more spring to them than aluminum and ride a little nicer. Carbon forks are easier to damage but also ride pretty nice.
You'll probably want to add fenders and a rack at some point. Make sure the bike you choose has eyelets and braze-ons so you have the option, should you choose to do so. A dedicated kickstand plate is a thing of beauty and grace.
My progression in the bike thing was, first, a comfort bike, then one like you are looking at and finally a cyclocross bike, which I've been riding for a few years now. I think you are doing the right thing by avoiding a comfort bike. They are very heavy, have a ludicrous sprung fork and put you into a riding position which is too upright. At first, the upright thing seems cool - like an easy chair. But pretty soon, if you spend much time on it, you realize that all your weight rests on, well, a certain tender part of your anatomy.
What I've found works best for me (a geezer) is to have the tops of the handlebars at about the same height as the top of the seat - if the bike fits properly, that should put your back at about a 45 degree angle which lets you use your leg muscles efficiently and distributes your weight evenly on the bike.
Cycling, for me, was kind of transcendental, fitness-wise. I lost around 70 pounds once I got into it.
Oh, and just to keep the thread relevant to the forum, I have a handlebar bag which I have modified inside with cut foam, so I always carry my Canonet QL17 GIII, or maybe the Hi-Matic E or F, or perhaps the Konica C35, sometimes the Konica Auto S2...
Thanks Mike, I appreciate the input. Heh, it had occurred to me I might end up choosing based on liking one of the available frame colors better than the other. The Cannondale has nice smooth fillets at the welds where the Trek looks sort of raw, but that may all be more psychological than physical. It could also be that whatever they do to smooth the welds might actually degrade the joint, I've no idea how they get that look (although I sort of like it).
I have a handlebar bag that hangs on a bracket that slips over the bars. It was cool on my old Fuji road bike drop bars, time will tell if it will work with the straight bars. It seems there's been a lot of changes in headsets and stems and all that good stuff over the last decade or two -- leaves me feeling a little out of it.
I have my dad's old Canon AE-1, plus my Perkeo II 6x6 and Ercona II 6x9, any would work pretty well in a handlebar bag. On the old machine, I also have a Blackburn rack and a fairly large "trunk" bag that velcros on. I have a hunk of egg crate foam in there that I have used to cart my Canon A-1 and a zoom around, but I would probably pass on that unless it was a real trek into previously unseen territory. Both frames appear to have braze-ons for racks and two H20 bottles, so that's covered.
If the weather isn't too cold and disgusting, I may actually do a bit of road testing this coming week.
Well -- I suppose there could have been some subjective factors, but after test riding each this afternoon, I decided it was no contest, bought the Cannondale. Should be just the right time to start leaving a few surplus pounds along the highways and by-ways. Have to fit/swap a few trinkets like water bottle cages, etc. and I'm good to go.
It was a nice day up here in northern Michigan - by nice, I mean it was above freezing and not snowing - the sun was actually shining.
My main bike is in a zillion pieces, awaiting this year's new parts - brake pads, chain and a new big chainring. [sighs deeply] Probably another couple weeks before riding season begins for me.
Congrats on your decision! Now all you gotta do is ride it!
Dave - I have a Trek FX7.3 and at 64 years of age it is the nicest bike I have ever ridden. Quick handlin, yet steady on the road or mild trail. I have a pic. posted in the header of the forum. I really can't say enough about the FX bikes from Trek. So, good luck. Dale
Thanks oldguy387, yes my wife has an FX 7.3 from maybe 5 years ago that seemed much nicer than the 7.2 I rode the other day. But today, the 7.3 is about $150 more than the two bikes I was looking at and I couldn't convince myself that significant increase was justifiable for the amount of riding I do. I had the Quick 5 out for five miles on the nearby rail trail yesterday before a few days of cold soggy weather (with maybe even wet snow) appears to be moving in. This segment of the trail deviated from the old RR grade to cruise by a county recreational facility and features a stretch of 12% grade paved with gravelly cinders -- that's pretty exciting going downhill, and the new bike felt a lot better than the old. Alas, even with lower bottom gear, I didn't quite make it up on the return trip; hopefully that will improve. Part of the problem was the bottom gear is so slow I was getting wobbly on balance. Currently adding a few minor accessories, mostly cannibalized off the old road bike, which I'll probably try to sell for a few bucks.
Yesterday was the earliest in the year I've gotten a ride in in a decade, so I figure I'm off to a good start.
Dave - Glad you got what you were looking for in a bike. I see you are also on the Pennsy group. So am I an I was in the Navy with a Dave Thomas. Where do you live? You can e mail me at DWEISSMTNMAN@AOL.COM Dale
I'm in Lederach, a sneeze-and-you'll-miss-it sized village in about the center of Montgomery County. I'm less than 3 miles from the Cedar Road trailhead for the Perkiomen Trail outside of Schwenksville. And that point is about 12 miles north of the Schuylkill River Trail which is not complete, but major hunks are done. When that is fully connected it will run from South Philadelphia to Pottsville, over a hundred miles. Once I get back some of my old conditioning, bike handling as well as muscular, I'll probably do more roads. But the local roads, including the ones from here to the trail, are twisty, narrow, and have no shoulders (and currently many potholes) -- and are driven by bozos who think as long as they go slow enough to avoid rolling over in the turns, everything is OK!
I have a growing assortment of views along those two trails on my PBase galleries, although many use technology we don't talk about on APUG.
Schuylkill River Trail
The Schuylkill Trail shots have been done on foot, so they don't cover much mileage.