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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The trainer at the physical therapy center where I have been going for going on four months suggested that I consider a bike. Not knowing anything about road bikes I have been reading everything I can including this excellent forum. After visits to several local shops I have concluded that I will need to spend $500 - $1000. The shop that I find the most helpful, interested and friendly sell Trek(7500), Cannondale(adventure 1000 or 800) and Gary Fisher bikes. Frankly all three look similar but my ignorance may not permit me to see the differences. They are recommending a hybrid bike. One other shop in town sells Specialized but they are indifferent. I have been there three times and couldn't even get anyone to talk to me.

I don't want to buy a bike and three months down the road realized that I made a bad decision. I am 64 years old, very good physical condition and feel like I will enjoy riding a bike 10-15 miles a day, perhaps more.

I realize this is vague but I would really appreciate any guidance that I get outside the shops.

I appreciate your input.
 

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I would recommend staying away from a road bike. The position is very agressive and you will most likely find it quite uncomfortable. It takes some time to get used to that position and is stressfull on the back, neck and shoulders in the process. The far more upright hybrid bikes tend to be what is sold often but they can feel slugish and are quite a drag uphill. I really recommend you try out a lot of diffrent bikes styles and manufacturers. For one, give this a shot. http://www.bianchiusa.com/06_milano.html
Its got fenders so you won't get all mucked up. The position is a bit more agressive then the hybrid style but not so much as the typical road bike. The tires are somewhat narrow but no so much that curbs should intimadate. Good luck!
 

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Some questions

You say you are in very good physical condition, but you have been getting physical therapy for four months. If you'll say a little bit about the condition that prompted the therapy, people here might be able to give you more specific advice about the type of bike that's suitable for you. The "aggressive position" (i.e., leaning forward, with some weight on the arms) described by dfleck is an issue or not, depending on your flexibility and specific conditions.

When did you last ride a bike? What other physical activities do you do? Do you have any spinal issues that reduce flexibility?

Depending on the answers, a road bike might be fine for you, or you might be better off with a hybrid (such as the ones you've mentioned). Chances are, if you're really talking about no more than 10-15 miles per day, a hybrid is the right choice. All the bikes you've looked at are good ones. It just comes down to what feels most comfortable. There are also road-style bikes with a more upright compromise position, like this one from Trek: http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike.php?bikeid=1402000&f=2

One more point: if you don't ride in the rain, you don't need fenders.
 

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Almost all bikes in the same price range and the same bike type are roughly equivalent. It is unlikely that you'll make a big mistake here, so don't sweat that.

So what's left is to decide whether you want a road bike, a hybrid, or a mountain bike. Let's discuss only the first two. What you want depends on what kind of surfaces you'll be riding on, and how far you want to go. If you want to go "10-15 miles a day", and if you will use both roads and fairly smooth trails, then the hybrid might be just the ticket. But if you want to go "perhaps more" and you think you'll be okay staying on paved roads, then you'll probably want a road bike.

Personally, i think there's less chance you'll be disappointed if you go with the road bike, especially if you find that you really like cycling. Some road bikes are less aggressive than others, so if you do not intend to race, make sure the bike shop knows that you're interested in comfort over aerodynamics.

Don't do business with the bike shop that is indifferent. Buy from the bike shop that is interested in what you want and wants your business.
 

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I really can't give you any opinion until I know what you'll be using the bike for, and what you're in P.T. for. FWIW, I'm your age & ride a road bike, but I've ridden & raced for 40+ years. Tell us what injury / handicap you're being treated for, and how / how much you'll be using the bike. How many miles, frequency, hours/day, and type of roads. We can give you a much better idea then. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you very much for your input.

I had micro surgery on a disc in February and have been on a strict and rigorous therapy 6-8 hours a week in pilates, weight and cardio. Off days I have been walking 1-2 hours a day in addition to the therapy. I feel great with no limitations at this point. I think "good" pretty much describes my condition. I am optimistic that the bike will improve my condition. I don't think I would be comfortable with an aggressive road bike at this time.

I understand the limitations of the hybrid and that bothers me a bit. I would rather have a bike that would be capable of advanced biking but with the comfort of a hybrid. I will check out the Trek that you provided a link.

Thank you very much for your input.

ers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you dfleck for your comments and recommendations.

As much as I would like to have a road bike I know I am not ready for one yet. The slugishness and the drag that you have mentioned is one of my major concerns with the hybrid. I felt it a bit yesterday when I rode a Raleigh hybrid.

Thanks for the link on the bianchi. I will check it out.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you John for your input.

I hope I am conservative with the 10-15 miles a day. I do believe choosing the right bike is important. I don't see me riding on anything but paved roads. I seem to think a combination of a hybrid and a road bike would be right for me. I just haven't looked enough and don't know enough to look.

All the input is extremely helpful...thanks.

John Nelson said:
Almost all bikes in the same price range and the same bike type are roughly equivalent. It is unlikely that you'll make a big mistake here, so don't sweat that.

So what's left is to decide whether you want a road bike, a hybrid, or a mountain bike. Let's discuss only the first two. What you want depends on what kind of surfaces you'll be riding on, and how far you want to go. If you want to go "10-15 miles a day", and if you will use both roads and fairly smooth trails, then the hybrid might be just the ticket. But if you want to go "perhaps more" and you think you'll be okay staying on paved roads, then you'll probably want a road bike.

Personally, i think there's less chance you'll be disappointed if you go with the road bike, especially if you find that you really like cycling. Some road bikes are less aggressive than others, so if you do not intend to race, make sure the bike shop knows that you're interested in comfort over aerodynamics.

Don't do business with the bike shop that is indifferent. Buy from the bike shop that is interested in what you want and wants your business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
[Thanks for your input.

In a previous post I stated my physical condition at this time. It is improving as I add more activity. I retired 10 years ago and have not been overly active except during the past 4 months. I am addicted to the activity now.

All my riding will be on paved roads and if I get into biking as much as I think I will it will be more than the 10-15 miles that I stated in my original post.

Everyone has been very generous with their advice.

Thanks!

T\QUOTE=Mr. Versatile]I really can't give you any opinion until I know what you'll be using the bike for, and what you're in P.T. for. FWIW, I'm your age & ride a road bike, but I've ridden & raced for 40+ years. Tell us what injury / handicap you're being treated for, and how / how much you'll be using the bike. How many miles, frequency, hours/day, and type of roads. We can give you a much better idea then. :)[/QUOTE]
 

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contrary to some may say you might be better off on a road bike. Consider that if you sit bolt upright, the shock of bumps is directly jarring and compressing the spinal column. If you are bent forward, the impact may fell be absorbed by the core muscles. I am mid-50's and have had chronic back pain for a long time. I have NO trouble on my Bianchi. I would test ride everything I could...that is the real test. You can probably buy a nice last years model right now for well under a grand.
 

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Get a road bike. One with the bars pretty high, but get the drop bars. They're more comfortable on the road. The problem with flat bars is that you have one and only one hand position. That gets tiring after a while.

I rode my very first century on a mountain bike when I was 25. I can still remember the terrible ache in my shoulders when I was done, and I was already a pretty fit rider.
 

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Get a traditional road bike!

Go with a traditional road bike. Try several brands for the best fit. Don't be afraid to get a bike at the high end of your price range. What's the worst that could happen? If you don't like riding, you can sell the bike on ebay or this forum and get 50% or more of your money back. Alternatively, you may just love it. Because you got a decent bike initially, you may be able to delay the onset of that dreaded biker affliction...upgradeitis. I have a very tight lower back as well and find that being stretched out and bent over in the traditional road position, once I am warmed up, loosens my back up. The position is actually quite therapeutic. Don't get me wrong, my position is not extreme, but it is infinitely more comfortable than a more verticle position (i.e. Hybrid). Give your body some time to adjust to the position, be VERY safe, and have a blast. Welcome.:thumbsup:
 

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Canon, wow, lots to consider here. If your PT is a rider that would be a great source as to which frame style. Also, if your disk problem was cervical, you might want a more upright style of ride. If, as I suspect, your disk was L4-L5-S1 area, you will want to be able to find a ride that requires less effort to pedal. I think the approach here would be the same as if you were going to buy a new car. Go look at what you like, and test drive it. And look at all models. All reputable dealers encourage this. Unfortunately, my guess is that you won't know until you ride for a while. But that is part of the fun in biking too. Good luck, Stamp
 

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I agree with all of the above posts, but I would suggest that whatever you get, insist that your local bike shop install an adjustable stem. This will allow you to raise/lower the handlebars as needed. You can also get a suspension seat post that will help absorb shock. Both these items are readily available, fairly inexpensive, and easy to change.
 

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touring bike

as someone closer to your age
I can tell you a touring bike will be better for you

touring bikes are longer, high grade steel, have wider tires, and ride smoother

there are several for sale in on line stores
or on ebay [probably your best bet]

and severel brand have great ones
Trek, Windsor, Fuji, Bianchi

you can get a well equipped one for $600 to $900
 

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Tire swap will "roadify" a hybrid pretty well...

I'm almost your age, without the major back issues, and my main road bike is an Atlantis, an "all around" design by Rivendell that in many ways is similar to a hybrid. I bought it for its versatility and comfortable riding position (the handlebars can easily be set level with the saddle, which I like). No bike is perfect for every purpose, but I've used it for everything from centuries to fire trails just by swapping tires, and it's competent at all of it. If you decide that your back dictates a hybrid, try switching the tires to narrower, higher pressure ones for long road rides, or even having two sets of wheels, which is what I do. You'll be surpised at the difference..
 

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I too am in Cannon's position, but without the surgery. I am 50 and want to get back into cycling. Otherwise I have been riding just a few times a month on an old Winsor road bike or a Cannondale Mnt bike. The Mnt bike is too much work and my knees are getting old. Probably injured a ligament on a bike trip some years ago, so I limit to 20 miles or less. I have looked at Hybrids ( Trek 7500 was very smooth, nice ride, but slightly heavy and slow to accelerate) and the Trek 7.5 FX (very light, fast, but a little harder on the lower back and a stiffer ride, feel the bumps more too, but a pretty bike). Hence my dilemma. Componants are very similar between the 7.5 and the 7500. Either way I want a wider saddle (the 7500 hybrid already has). I liked some the idea of putting on an adjustable stem (for the handlebars?) and a seat suspension post. If I could put these on the 7.5 FX that may give me the best of both worlds. I am 170 lbs and 5-11.
Thanks for any thoughts
Pete
 

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Lavajava said:
I too am in Cannon's position, but without the surgery. I am 50 and want to get back into cycling. Otherwise I have been riding just a few times a month on an old Winsor road bike or a Cannondale Mnt bike. The Mnt bike is too much work and my knees are getting old. Probably injured a ligament on a bike trip some years ago, so I limit to 20 miles or less. I have looked at Hybrids ( Trek 7500 was very smooth, nice ride, but slightly heavy and slow to accelerate) and the Trek 7.5 FX (very light, fast, but a little harder on the lower back and a stiffer ride, feel the bumps more too, but a pretty bike). Hence my dilemma. Componants are very similar between the 7.5 and the 7500. Either way I want a wider saddle (the 7500 hybrid already has). I liked some the idea of putting on an adjustable stem (for the handlebars?) and a seat suspension post. If I could put these on the 7.5 FX that may give me the best of both worlds. I am 170 lbs and 5-11.
Thanks for any thoughts
Pete
It's very possible that you can work something out with your LBS on swapping out the saddle, seat post and stem on the 7.5, but there are other differences that dictate the more upright rider position on the 7500 that can't be rectified.

When comparing the pics, you can see the difference in saddle to bar relationship of the two bikes and I suspect that's what's causing the lower back pain. Also, I can't recall what Trek calls it, but if you notice there's a type of suspension system between the fork crown and lower head tube on the 7500. This may also contribute to a softer ride. OTOH something as simple as tire pressure can influence the ride, so consider asking the LBS to drop the pressure some and retest the 7.5.

If that test fails and you clearly prefer the 7.5, ask the LBS to set it up as closely as possible to the 7500 and take it for a test ride of some duration. If your back is still an issue, I'd pay heed to that and either look at other brands/ models or go with the 7500 (assuming it fits) because you won't continue to ride a bike that causes you pain.

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/bike_path/fx/75fx/

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/bike_path/hybrid/7500/
 

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FX 7.5 vs 7500

Thanks
Hey, back pain not a major issue, maybe it is fatigue that occurs if I am just out of shape and gettin' old. My knees are the bigger issue and I think I just have to be smart with how much I ride and keep the reps down a little.

Seems like I just have to ride them a few times more. I have the frame size down to a 20"
Could get away with teh 17.5 on the 7500, but definately not on the 7.5. I am 5' 11" and I believe my Cannondale is a 19"

Thanks for the ideas
Pete G
 

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Canon said:
The trainer at the physical therapy center where I have been going for going on four months suggested that I consider a bike.
I'd ask them what type of bike. I wouldn't want to venture a guess as to if their recommendation is motivated by wanting you to put more stress on your back or just for general fitness.
 
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