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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking at roadies for the past couple years, and i think i've found one i like, the Giant FCR-3

yes, it's an entry-level bike with nothing-special componentry, but that doesn't bother me, i *LIKE* simple, basic bikes, my favorite bike is my old steel rigid-frame Fila Taos MTB that i retrofitted with 1.5 Slickasaurus tires and a Surly Singleator to turn it into a singlespeed

ideally, i'd like my first roadie to be a simple, basic *STEEL* framed bike, like the older Raleigh Sport (looks like the new ones are aluminum, i hate aluminum, too buzzy....), as long as the shifters shift reliably, i couldn't care less how sophisticated they are, after all, at some point i'll probably tear them off and slap on a Singleator (i love singlespeeding)

i'm planning on working my way up to biking to and from work (9 miles each way, but there are some *brutal* hills in both directions.....), i'm currently out of shape (round is a shape, right? ; ) ) and don't want to overexert myself starting out.....

my current road rig is a '02 Trek 4500 MTB with 1.5 Slickasaurus tires, but i'm rapidly finding out pushing a MTB on pavement (even with slicks on) is less efficent and fun than i thought

i test-rode the Giant last night at my local shop and *loved* it, it accelerated quickly, and handled incredibly well, very quick and responsive steering, nice wide gearset perfect for climbing, it was *clearly* faster than my Trek for the same amount of effort....

the reason i'm looking more at a flat-bar fitness bike is that the roads between home and work are not in the best of shape, there's a decent amount of broken pavement and such, if i was on a skinny-tire roadie, i'd be doing more swerving and avoiding than i'd like, the Giant's wider tires and thicker rims seem to be able to shrug off broken pavement better than a skinny-tire road bike

the other idea i've been kicking around is to simply work with what i have and upgrade the Trek.....

from what i understand, the main difference between the Trek and the Giant is that the Giant has larger 700c wheels (roll further for the same amount of pedal effort), and a taller big-ring (higher top-speed), the rear cluster on both bikes are both mountain gearing, so my other alternative would be to;

ditch the crappy Judy TT boinger fork for a suspension-corrected rigid steel fork
put on a 50-something tooth big-ring as opposed to the 40-something tooth ring that's on there now

the only thing i couldn't change is putting bigger wheels on the Trek, it can't handle 700c's....

and since i only ride road anyway, i'm wondering if i'd simply be better off selling the Trek and purchasing the Giant to replace it, the most "off roading" i do is down dirt roads, which i'm sure the Giant FCR-3 could handle

so, is the FCR-3 any good?, should i sell the Trek, or just hold onto it just to have, i have a feeling if i get the Giant, the Trek won't see much, if any, use......
 

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Hey MacTech, welcome to RBR (I assume your'e the same MacTech from MTBR).

From what you've described, if you're really looking for something faster and more efficient than your slicks-shod MTB, I would suggest a cyclocross rig. They are marginally heavier than a roadbike, with wider tires and overall more durable components (perfect for the occasional dirt road or bad pavement). If I had a commute that was regularly rideable, I would probably have a Surly Crosscheck or Lemond Poprad. There are lots of options for affordable cross bikes, and many are available as frame only so you can build any configuration you want.

HTH,
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, i've made my decision, i thought about it for a couple weeks, test rode a few other bikes (entry-level Felt roadie, a last-years-model high-end Ironhorse, a last-year model Fuji steel framed entry-levell roadie....) and priced out simply swapping the mountain front gearing for road fronts

i'm still learning wrenching myself, so if i was going to swap the front rings to road, i'd let my LBS do it, turns out it'd cost about half what the Trek 4500 was worth to do it, so i decided to keep the Trek as a MTB (still trying to decide if i should sell it or keep it, i'm now up to 3 bikes, which to me is a little excessive....)

i've also test-rode the Giant FCR-3 a few more times, and it just felt *right*, i know it's a bare-bones entry level bike, but i like it, and that's what's important, it rides a lot easier on pavement than my slicks-shod Trek

i just got off my first "real" mini-ride with it i did a 3 mile loop on the roads around the house, and i didn't have to stop for rest once, i *was* on the verge of bonking out climbing the final hill back to the house, but i didn't bonk, it turns out i'm in a *little* better shape than i thought i was, i did let my self go over the winter, and was expecting similar (lack of) performance on my first ride today, i pleasantly surprised myself....

last year, my first ride of the season i could barely make 1.5 miles, i had to rest twice, and i bonked at the base of the final hillclimb to the house (that was on the 4500 with stock Bonty Jones AC knobbies), but over time, i worked my way up to 5+ miles with no resting (4500 with WTB Slickasaurus slicks)

today, on my first "official" ride of the season, i made 3 miles, and didn't need to rest, i was able to climb the brutally nasty hill to the house without resting, but i was on the verge of bonking, mainly because i was cycling on an empty stomach

i may be able to achieve my goal of biking into work this summer after all... (9 miles each way over *extremely* hilly terrain)

what really surprised me about the Giant FCR-3;

there's no road buzz, this is an *aluminum* bike that has no road buzz at all, i don't know how they did it, this is a basic, primitive bike, no suspension seatpost, no carbon-fiber anything, just an aluminum frame and chromoly steel fork (i know steel does a great job of absorbing road buzz....)

the tires can handle rough pavement and dirt roads without a problem, they're a little wider than true roadie tires, and are able to handle cracked and broken pavement with aplomb

i was expecting the narrow WTB saddle to be horribly uncomfortable, after all, i'm used to padded gel seats, but this narrow, low profile seat was actually rather comfortable, and i'm a "Clyde" to boot...

It's funny... i've been riding bikes all my life (i'm 36), and in all that time i've *never* felt the need for a helmet, until now, screaming along on the FCR-3 at 25-30 MPH downhill kinda got me thinking "maybe i *should* be wearing a helmet after all....", luckilly, i had sensibly decided to put one on on my first real ride, just in case, thankfully, i did not need it....

it's fast, stable, and fun, climbs like a demon and screams along quite well in top gear, i think i'm going to like this bike a lot :)


 
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