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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been riding my Trek 7200 Hybrid for several years and am looking to get a road bike for longer rides. I'd start by visiting my local bike shops, but test rides can be a bit challenging in Minneapolis mid-winter, so I thought I'd start here.

I'll be riding the trails and roads around Minnesota most of the time, and am a bit overweight. Comfortable riding position and ability to climb hills will be important.

In the $1200-1500 range, what do you recommend?

(Thanks in advance for sharing your experience!)
 

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MplsKen said:
I've been riding my Trek 7200 Hybrid for several years and am looking to get a road bike for longer rides. I'd start by visiting my local bike shops, but test rides can be a bit challenging in Minneapolis mid-winter, so I thought I'd start here.

I'll be riding the trails and roads around Minnesota most of the time, and am a bit overweight. Comfortable riding position and ability to climb hills will be important.

In the $1200-1500 range, what do you recommend?

(Thanks in advance for sharing your experience!)
Ken,

There's lots of good bikes in that price range.
It would help to make some recomendations to have a little more information.

Do you think you would ever want to race?
Do you think you would ever want to carry camping gear on the bike?
How important is the sexy bike factor to you?
Can you express "longer rides" in miles or hours on the bike?

If your answers are No, No, somewhat, and a few centuries a year then I would take good long looks at the Specialized Roubaix and the Trek Pilot. The Giant OCR's are worth a look and will leave a little money in your budget, but give you less sexy points.

It looks like this weekend we'll have test riding weather, I'd go check these two bikes out. Also, even if it snows, ask them to hook the bike up to one of their trainers and pedal it in place. Erik's has the Specialized, Penn's got both Trek and Giant.

Hope that helps
Scot
 

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You mention 'trails and roads'. I assume you mean rail trails and fairly level forest-type roads? If so, you may want to look at cyclocross rigs. Slightly fatter tires with tread would take care of all but aggressive trails. The Surly crosscheck is on my short list for a commuter/town/trail bike. There are several of this type of machine in your price range and lower.

Jim
 

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Yeah.

MB1 said:
If you know what you want (size, setup, etc.) or can get reliable help, that 12-1500 dollar price range can buy something really awesome, especially if you have a bit of patience and are willing to do a bit of leg work. Or, you can save a bit of money and still get something good.

At the same time, if you don't know what you want, your best first stab at a road bike may involve finding a reliable shop to hep guide you in your selection and setup. You've budgeted enough to buy a nice new bike. The usual biggies have things that might be entirely suitable. Trek, Giant, Bianchi and Specialized all have road (racing) bikes and road sport (sport, club, audax, what have you) bikes that could work. Under Trek's corporate umbrella, it seems to me that LeMond has had some very nice things in your price range--last year's Sarthe, for instance, looked really good to me. But again, finding what fits your bod and your needs and goals, and what floats your boat, might involve both some hands-on consultation and some looking around on your part.
 

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anything and everything...

The market at that price point is so competitive that you can't go wrong. Any bike you pick will in many ways be an equivelant to any other bike you look at in that price range. You may as well make a decision based purely on colour, it may as well look good if you're going to have to ride it. Only thing to be wary of is the "good deal." If nine out of ten bikes in your price range are aluminum but one is carbon then it's likely that one bike has cut corners somewhere else to get you the nice frame. Same goes for wheels, if one has a spanky set of wheels and the rest are pretty standard fare then it's likely some other corner has been cut to afford you the wheels. There are no free lunches. Me? I like red bikes.
 

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MplsKen said:
I've been riding my Trek 7200 Hybrid for several years and am looking to get a road bike for longer rides. I'd start by visiting my local bike shops, but test rides can be a bit challenging in Minneapolis mid-winter, so I thought I'd start here.

I'll be riding the trails and roads around Minnesota most of the time, and am a bit overweight. Comfortable riding position and ability to climb hills will be important.

In the $1200-1500 range, what do you recommend?

(Thanks in advance for sharing your experience!)
Well, I'm confused . . .

"Trails" . . . Like paved cycling paths? Or are you talking about "trails" which in these parts means dirt, gravel, paths.

"Overweight, comfortable riding position, and ability to climb hills" -- triple ring for sure. But there's a certain trade off between a "distance/race" bike and something that is "comfortable." And so that's where I get into the confusion.

A light road bike is only "comfortable" if you're in shape and accustomed to riding one. You can look at the threads in here about shoulder pain, neck stiffness, saddle sores, to realize that the "distance/speed" machine is for a rider who is trained and conditioned to exchange "comfort" for speed/distance."

There's an inherent trade off in the design equation. If the bike is comfy/cushy, it's going to have a less responsive, less rigid frame, more forgiving tires/wheels, a more relaxed riding position, wider/cushier saddle.

What you seem to be describing is a "hybrid" which is what you already have. You can go with a higher end hybrid, but you're going to trade speed/distance for a more comfortable ride.

So, it's a trade off and it sounds like you're not really clear what sort of bike you're seeking and what sort of riding you're going to be doing. If you get a serious road bike, you may find it uncomfortable to ride unless you seriously train to ride it.

I have a couple road bikes, light, fast, not comfortable in any conventional sense. And I'm in a conditioning slump where I don't feel like riding a "race" machine.

Then I have a really cushy Trek Cruiser Classic, balloon tires, single speed coaster break and a heavily padded saddle like you find on a vintage tractor. It's a fun ride, for all day around town, but it's not for speed and distance.

Hybrids are nice designs and you can get a great one in your price range. I think I'm in the market for a hybrid, or maybe even just lighter tires on my old, rigid frame MTB.

You know what you have in your budget. But it doesn't sound like you're clear about what sort of bike you're shopping for in terms of how you're going to ride.

First I'd think about exactly what you need in a ride, "comfortable, climbing gears, and trails" -- That sounds like a hybrid.
 

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Hardy Cyclamens said:
Well, I'm confused . . .

"Trails" . . . Like paved cycling paths? Or are you talking about "trails" which in these parts means dirt, gravel, paths.

A light road bike is only "comfortable" if you're in shape and accustomed to riding one. You can look at the threads in here about shoulder pain, neck stiffness, saddle sores, to realize that the "distance/speed" machine is for a rider who is trained and conditioned to exchange "comfort" for speed/distance."

What you seem to be describing is a "hybrid" which is what you already have. You can go with a higher end hybrid, but you're going to trade speed/distance for a more comfortable ride.

Hybrids are nice designs and you can get a great one in your price range. I think I'm in the market for a hybrid, or maybe even just lighter tires on my old, rigid frame MTB.

You know what you have in your budget. But it doesn't sound like you're clear about what sort of bike you're shopping for in terms of how you're going to ride.

First I'd think about exactly what you need in a ride, "comfortable, climbing gears, and trails" -- That sounds like a hybrid.
I agree and disagree.........first the disagree:

IMHO Hybrids suck. They are neither fast on the road or trail. The "comfortable" riding position is so ineficient that it makes riding more aerobically demanding and therefore LESS comfortable. I call these bikes for people who don't like to ride bikes.

Now the agree:

You have not really defined the type of riding you plan on doing very well. If by "trail" you mean dirt singletrack trail, then I would suggest buying a bike for that purpose. They are called mountain bikes and they truly excell at riding off road. The bonus is that they work very well on rail trails and paved MUTS also. A good mountain bike will out perform your hybrid off road, and with the right tires on road as well.

If by trail, you mean paved MUT, then a road bike would be your best bet as I assume you plan on doing the majority of your riding on the road. There are many very good bikes in the price range that you are looking at. The Specialized Roubaix has been mentioned here as has the Giant OCR. Both very capable machines. Cannondale, Trek, Fuji, Bianchi, etc all make excellent bikes with quality components that will last for years.

Carbon fiber is all you will hear about, but there is much to be said for a good quality steel frame and some manufacturers still make steel bikes at your price point. I beleive Bianchi is one of them.

The most important thing to getting a bike that you are comfortable on is FIT. The second most important thing is FIT. You can only decide which bike fits by riding many different bikes. Your LBS will be your best resource for this. Have fun shopping.
 

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Minneapolis

He's in the Twin Cities. The entire state is laced with paved bike trails. Many of which are not Multi Use but actually have dediecated bike and pedestrian lanes. Don't let the word trail throw you off these are roads for the purposes of bike riding.

Scot
 

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I'm enamored with the 2006 Fuji Cross Pro. Top routed cabling, Truvative Elita crank, Ultegra goodies. $1450 or under 7 bills for the frameset at my local guy. I like the bigger tires than road tires, 700 X 28-38 c's. At my age I'm trying to have a zero tolerance for hitting the ground.

I ride not far from you in southeast Wi and currently on a Schwinn Sierra 700GS. I find myself moving the flatbar down and out more and more to try and get into a faster/more comfortable/aerodynamic position. In the over 7500 miles/3 years on it I put on it a flatbar w/barends to get some ability to move my hands around, chain new Sram 4.0 rear derailleur and a set of gripper shifters. A Brooks B17-the best thing I've ever done in 50 years of peddling. Also 100psi 38c Specialized Nimbus Armadillos, I love these tires, flats have essentially disappeared. Mostly I ride through crushed limestone paths and Kenosha/Racine streets. South into Chicago on the DPR, more limestone & city streets. Commute to work is 20 miles, all path-real nice.

Is the move up to a "serious bike" going to blow me away?

What no kickstand?

My ride gets trashed through rain/snow/salt etc is top routing of cables the way to go?

I need to get to a dealer and put my paws on the Campy hoods and let them decide. Should I get the frameset and build it up with Campy goodies?

Am I going to love the drop bar/STI setup over the flabar?

Thanks and I hope this sheds some light on the original post. Ken I think your at a crossroads of sort. You need to commit yourself to getting into tuning yourself up to be able to enjoy the lower riding position. Get out and ride and the pounds will take care of themselves.

Jeff


Jeff
 

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freezin_is_the_reason said:
I agree and disagree.........first the disagree:

IMHO Hybrids suck. They are neither fast on the road or trail. The "comfortable" riding position is so ineficient that it makes riding more aerobically demanding and therefore LESS comfortable. I call these bikes for people who don't like to ride bikes.

Now the agree:
I disagree with your disagree, without being disagreeable.

But I do agree on the part about hybrids being, "bikes for people who don't like to ride bikes." -- Sort of . . . They're more like bikes for people who don't races bikes.

Road bikes are only comfortable if you're in shape to ride one and have some idea what efficient riding is about. Posts in here ASSUME that you know how to spin a gear and are comfortable leaning over on drop bars.

That position is only efficient if you're really adept at riding. I pass riders on the beach cruiser (balloon tires, single speed coaster brake, cantilever frame) and they comment, "How do you make your feet go around so fast?"

Again . . . fast road bikes trade off "comfort" in the conventional sense for efficient riding position and light weight. But you need to be serious about riding to be at ease riding one.

If you're not adept at riding, a fast road bike config is going to feel stiff, rough/hard edged on the road, squirrely to steer, hard on the butt, uncomfortable in the neck/shoulders.

Hybrids only suck if you're adept at riding a road bike, efficient, fit, and expecting speed and distance rather than a riding position that is more relaxed.

Roadies in here need to remember that not the whole world is training for the Giro. Most of the world thinks the Giro is a Greek sandwich.



OK -- I've never heard the term. What's a "rail trail" ???
 

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I'm enamored with the 2006 Fuji Cross Pro. Top routed cabling, Truvative Elita crank, Ultegra goodies. $1450 or under 7 bills for the frameset at my local guy. I like the bigger tires than road tires, 700 X 28-38 c's. At my age I'm trying to have a zero tolerance for hitting the ground.
I am amazed that yours is the first post to mention a cyclocross bike. Larger volume tires and slightly slacker geometry could make for a very good commuter/transitional bike for someone coming off of a hybrid. They still have drop bars and a more efficient position than the hybrid but without going to the full blown stretched out position of a road racer. The top routed cables (ala mountain bikes) do help to keep things working more smoothly under nasty conditions.

Another good option now that I am thinking about it could be a touring bike. The Giant OCR Touring could be an excellent option for many of the same reasons as a cyclocross bike. The bonus with a touring bike over the cross bike is you have more eyelets for bottle cages and rack mounts. Both good things if you plan to commute.

Hybrids only suck if you're adept at riding a road bike, efficient, fit, and expecting speed and distance rather than a riding position that is more relaxed.
Well, I sorta agree. A hybrid could be my choice for a casual ride to the coffee shop or convenience store if I didn't already own a fleet of more efficient bikes. But the OP has expressed a desire to take on longer rides and ride faster. This moves towards a drop bar road bike. A touring or cyclocross bike may be a better choice for the OP than a racer boy bike though.

And a "rail trail" is a railroad bed that has been converted to recreational use.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A couple answers ...

Hardy Cyclamens said:
Well, I'm confused . . .

"Trails" . . . Like paved cycling paths? Or are you talking about "trails" which in these parts means dirt, gravel, paths.
With several requests for comments on this point ... in the Mpls/St. Paul area, we have a little over 70 miles of street-quality, paved bike trails. More, if you include several commuter routes that have been added in the recent past.

My longer rides tend to be roughly 70-100 miles, and when I say overweight, we're talking 230 lbs on a 5'8'' frame. One brand I've not seen any comments about is Cannondale. Any reason for this?

Thanks, everyone, for the great advice! I'm certain that I'm not the only one that will benefit from this post.
 

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hackmechanic said:
The market at that price point is so competitive that you can't go wrong. Any bike you pick will in many ways be an equivelant to any other bike you look at in that price range. You may as well make a decision based purely on colour.
With all due respect, some of the worst bike advice I've ever seen. Whether you're paying $600 or $6000, it's all about fit, fit, fit. Go to a handful of the better bike shops in your area, find sales people who actually listen to your needs and make a good attempt at fitting you correctly to some recommended bikes. Take your time, and take some long test rides. Buy the bike that you most enjoy riding on the test ride.
 

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MplsKen said:
One brand I've not seen any comments about is Cannondale. Any reason for this?QUOTE]

They are not exactly known for their comfortable ride quality. Cannondales are known more for their stiff frames, and lazer like handling. If you are into riding crits, a Cannondale frame is the way to go. But if you want a comfortable ride, steer clear.

Or so I hear at least. I have never thrown a leg over a Cdale road bike. Although I must admit that my early nineties vintage Cdale mountainbike doesn't ride as harshly as the haters would have one beleive.
 

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MplsKen said:
With several requests for comments on this point ... in the Mpls/St. Paul area, we have a little over 70 miles of street-quality, paved bike trails. More, if you include several commuter routes that have been added in the recent past.

My longer rides tend to be roughly 70-100 miles, and when I say overweight, we're talking 230 lbs on a 5'8'' frame. One brand I've not seen any comments about is Cannondale. Any reason for this?

Thanks, everyone, for the great advice! I'm certain that I'm not the only one that will benefit from this post.
Cannondale makes fine bikes. Much of their line focuses on race or crit bike criteria. If you plan to race they've got many good choices at various price points. The Synapse is the Cannondale aimed at the Spec. Roubaix/Trek Pilot segment of the market. If you want to carry gear their Sport Road line comes rack ready.

So,
Do you think you'll race?
Do you want to carry gear?
How important is the latest frame materials, with the latest drvietrain, with the fashionable flat handlebar, etc....this is what I meant by "sexy"? Not at all, somewhat, very important.
Do you think you'll spend many miles off pavement on crushed limestone or other non paved surfaces?

Oh..and sorry for the weather forcast. I woke up Saturday AM looked at the temp and it's sub 10 degrees F. Well, hopefully you were able to get hooked to the trainer.

Scot
 

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fuji team sl '05

Can be had for less than $1100. Full ultegra, FSA carbon crank, Ritchey WCS all around. Super stiff and light, yet surprisingly compliant (I run 25mm tires as well). Awesome climber and sweet in sprints. Bonus is the stock 1450 gram American Classic 350 wheelset - sell it for a fair amount of cash if you need something durable for training.

A shot just after delivery:

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Scot_Gore said:
So,
Do you think you'll race?
Do you want to carry gear?
How important is the latest frame materials, with the latest drvietrain, with the fashionable flat handlebar, etc....this is what I meant by "sexy"? Not at all, somewhat, very important.
Do you think you'll spend many miles off pavement on crushed limestone or other non paved surfaces?
Race, probably not, although I always find myself at the front of the pack during group rides (probably some Freudian competitive thing), but the closest I'll get to an organized race will be the MS150 and AIDS Trek (175 miles).

I typically carry minimal gear (seat pack, spare tube, air cartridges, minimal toolkit), but do have paniers that I've used a couple times for weekend camp/ride trips. Although it would be nice for my bike to be able to handle the gear, I could easily use my Trek hybrid for these rides, since they tend not to be especially long and are as much focused on the camping as they are on the riding. (Sparta-Elroy trail in WI is a favorite).

Sexy is only somewhat important, fit and function will be higher on the list. This is a chunk of change to spend on a pasttime ... I'd like it to look good.

Off-pavement miles would typically be something like the Luce line, and if I knew I were riding on that type of surface, I'd probably opt to use my Trek hybrid.

Thanks again, Scot, for the thoughtful advice.
 
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