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I'm not sure if this is necessarily the correct place to post this, but it seemed like a decent place to start. I haven't ridden in years and I never really rode all that much, but I'd like to start for fun and to try to get in shape a bit. I've been looking around at a couple shops in my area and I'm looking for some advice on what would be best. I'm not looking to ride a lot to start out with, but after a few months I'd like to ride 15+ miles / day. I'll be riding pretty much exclusively on city sidewalks and bike trails at a park near my house. I've narrowed it down to a few. Here's what I'm considering at the moment:

-Trek 7100 (2008, $359)
-Trek 7200 (closeout, 2006 model, $359)
-Trek 7300 (closeout, 2007 model, $399)
-Trek 7.3 FX (2008, I don't remember the exact price, but I remember it was quite a bit more than the 7000 series)

I'm leaning toward the Trek 7300 closeout model. It seems like a lot of the components are quite a bit nicer and it's only $40 more than the 7100 or 7200. The 7.3 FX was around $570 at one shop, but I remember it being somewhere around $460 at the other one I visited, but that seems off because that seems way too cheap, so I probably just forgot that actual price or something.

I've ridden the 7100 and the 7.3 FX and liked them both. Since the other two were closeout they were in boxes and hadn't been built, but the salesman had them both built so I can ride them and try them out first so I'm going back within the next couple days to make sure I like how each of them ride. Price is a fairly big factor (currently unemployed college student) which is kind of why I'm thinking about the 7300, but I thought I should try to get some advice first since I'm completely inexperienced with this.

Any advice anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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scruffy nerf herder
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4,484 Posts
There is the beginners advice sticky you could look into.

Here is my advice to you.

Go with the bike that has the best options and will just stretch your budget. Why you may ask. Number one... cycling is addictive, and oft leaves one immediately searching for ways to be faster or more comfortable. Assuming you have all the other necessities... helmet, pump, shorts, etc... then you will get a FAR better deal, and oftentimes avoid the immediate need to upgrade by splurging a little and investing in better components up front.

Yes, it often creates pain at the frontend, but it is my belief that buying up in a bike does several things. Number one... it guilts you to ride more. Or, conversely... the significant other will often comment on it and require you to ride more since you "paid" good money for the bike. It may not be those exact words, but you know what I mean. Seeing the credit card bill, etc every month is a neat form of reverse psychology.

Number two, if you have a cheap bike and you know it... you will feel more insecure at the group rides. If not now... you will later. I promise. As you learn more, you will begin to look and long for the chi chi items that others don on their rigs. There is nothing wrong with that. If you are proud of the bike and want to show of the components... and are proud of the bike...you will attend more and often take better care of your bike.

If its "just a cheap bike" you will not take care of it... guaranteed.

I suggest bumping up in price point. The LBS and Internetz love me for saying that... but get something that YOU ARE PROUD OF and will incent you to ride. I have no experience with those bikes above... but it is a big ocean... go find your fish.
 

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I like the "guilt" reason for buying up. It worked for me.

On the other hand, don't buy a really good bike if you don't have a safe place to store it, or if you will need to be locking it up in questionable places (like a college campus).
 
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