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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland
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    55

    Opinions and input on new bike choice please

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    I just found this forum today and have been reading through as much as possible, trying to prevent the tendency of the same questions getting posted over and over again as happens on most forums. However, I am still feeling uncertain and would like some input.

    I have a 2007 7.2fx that I bought in 2008 when I was looking for a "real" bike (that is, something nicer than the Huffy-level bikes I had been riding since childhood). That bike was amazing to me, very light and comfortable, and I got it for a great deal since it was the previous year's model. It is still a great bike and I ride apx 10-15 miles 3 days a week, but I am looking for something a little better now, since I would like to be able to do more with my bike, including commuting to work (approximately 25 miles round trip).

    I do have some issues with my current bike. Brake rub. Bottom bracket needs to be replaced soon. I changed out the seat and grips within the past year for reasons of comfort. Constant flats! The last thing is my biggest problem. I have inspected the wheels and tires, and yet had to replace the tubes, fill up with goop, air up, etc constantly. I live out in the country. The roads are asphalt mixed with some gravel and some dirt roads. I avoid the dirt roads because it does not perform well, especially when the tires are actually aired up the way I like them.

    I really wanted my husband to get a bike so we could ride together as a quality time enjoyment. Finally he went out to get a bike and came home with a mountain bike. I personally am not all that into mountain biking, and even more so after trying my 7.2fx on one of the lighter trails not too far from us. I don't get a good workout, and the trek had me wanting to take a sledgehammer to it. I was hoping we could go do some day rides in western PA and that sort of thing. I guess not.

    So anyway, those are my gripes and wants. I am thinking I want a "cyclocross"-ish bike. I have been looking at the Trek Cross Rip Sport or Elite, Liv/Giant Invite 2, and Specialized Tricross/Diverge. Again, I live somewhat rural and bike shops are not that numerous. I have not even been able to see or ride any of these bikes, which makes me hesitant to pull the trigger. I may have to take a trip to a bigger city (~3 hours away to Philly or Baltimore) so I can test ride and such. I also like the look of the Specialized Dolce Elite Disc, but I don't think I can mount anything to it and it wouldn't handle offroad very well I don't think

    I guess I am looking for further suggestions on bikes to consider. My main wants are drop bar, disc brakes, carbon fork, sora or better, and $1500 really is my max. I would prefer closer to the $1000-$1250 range. I also like the option to mount racks and fenders in the future, and be able to go on some light trails with my husband so his bike doesn't rot away in the garage.

    The three closest shops carry Specialized, Felt, Cannondale, Trek, Giant, and Bianchi.

    I appreciate any help from you gals.

    Also, I am 5'4", 30" inseam. My 7.2FX is a 17.5

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    55
    Just found the Fuji Finest 1.1 Disc that looks good as well (not sure about any offroad capabilities though).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    As far as I know, the Finest is still a true road bike, even if it does have disc brakes now. (Discs are becoming more and more common on road bikes.) I really like the look of the Giant Invite 2 (if Giant's geometry actually agreed with me, I'd get one). I also like the Tricross (it's Specialized's version of my Charge.) No experience with the Trek, so I can't say anything about that. Each company does things a bit differently, so if you can possibly try it out, do so! Most bikes made from metal (so, steel or aluminum) have the ability to take a rear rack, although fenders might be somewhat more difficult. I'd take the trip, but call around to see if they have them in your size, since finding bikes, especially cross bikes, in those smaller sizes can be difficult. In a road bike, you'd probably ride a 48 or 50cm, but cross bikes run larger because the bottom bracket is higher so you don't clip things. Again, call around.

    Some advice for your current bike: If you ride a lot, you will chew up your bottom bracket, especially if you get water into it. They're not terribly expensive, so even if you plan to sell that bike at some point, replace it. Replacing parts for comfort and performance is pretty much part and parcel of bike ownership. I've replaced the saddle on all three bikes, the roadie multiple times. Unless some miracle occurs, you'll have to do that with your new bike too. For the flat issue, make sure there's nothing stuck through your tire like glass or a sharp piece of gravel (the bits that come off painted lines are actually really sharp!), and then double check that there isn't a sharp spoke end that could puncture a tube.

    Just a note: I know people who have taken cyclocross bikes on non-technical (or even technical) mountain bike trails. They are both crazy. I've done it too, once (my post is on here somewhere), and came home with a load of bruises. A CX bike is well-suited to dirt and gravel roads. Not so much mountain bike trails--the lack of suspension and the geometry of the bike make a big difference. It's doable, but won't be less-frustrating than with your FX.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Welcome to TE. Okay, those who know me may say "here she goes again" but please, please, please go ride a Surly before you purchase this new bike. There are dealers in Pa and Md. Here is the link to the Surly Website If you can, call some of the Intergalatic Dealers - often they have inventory on the floor and they have the most knowledge about the types of bikes. A Surly Cross Check, Surly Straggler, Surly Disc Trucker all would be perfect for what you have described in your post. Price point is right on, tires options galore PLUS you can have Fenders and Racks and still have a nice fun bike to ride. A skinny tire is not always the best choice and not always the fastest either - that is another topic so for now I am sticking to go ride some Surly's. We sell them in Idaho and have many happy customers who do very similar riding. Good Luck and happy to answer questions.
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    55
    I looked at Surly. There is a dealer about 3 hours away that has my size of Straggler in stock, but it runs about $1800 which is way more than I want to spend. It does look like a good bike, though, so thank you for the suggestion. So far no one has a Disc Trucker in stock near my size but I will keep searching around. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Great, Don't rule out the Cross Check - they are $1250 and most excellent. My DH uses one as his commuter and goes everywhere on it. I rode a Disc Trucker last year on all of our dirt/gravel trips - they are $1550 and I put 2 inch tires on it and had a ball - unless there was deep sand that is

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones8 View Post
    I looked at Surly. There is a dealer about 3 hours away that has my size of Straggler in stock, but it runs about $1800 which is way more than I want to spend. It does look like a good bike, though, so thank you for the suggestion. So far no one has a Disc Trucker in stock near my size but I will keep searching around. Thanks!
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,479
    #1 on the Cross Check. I tested one several times. Didn't end up getting one, but loved it. It has cantilever brakes, as opposed to the disc brakes on the Straggler. Also, I think the Cross check has a curved fork, so should be more stable (I think) than the Straggler. Straight forks tend to turn faster.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,479
    Re-Tire punctures.

    I bought these puncture-resistant tubes by Presta when I got a nail in my cyclocross bike tire a few weeks ago. Bought them because they were cheap, but was shocked at how thick they are. Huge! Almost looked thicker then the cross tires. And today they are buy 3, get one free. Great deal. When I bought them, I bought 3 just so I could change out both and have a spare.

    http://www.performancebike.com/webap..._1167972_-1___

    And here they are for 23-26 mm tires. The above one was for my 35's.

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...11_-1___000000

    Edit: Heh. Just 0rdered the 23's for my road bike. You have to put 4 in the cart, and it automatically charges you for 3. (It's not very intuitive. When I put 3 in, it charged me for 3, and I would have missed out).

    Cool. Needed better tubes for my roadie. Thanks!

    Oh, and if you decide to spend $1500.00 on a cross, the Salsa Vaya meets all your requirements. Hard to get everything you want for less. It's a great, responsive, steel frameset, too. Also good for very petite women, if you happen to be in that category, though they have sizes for taller people too. Just a thought. It's available at 3 pricepoints, 1500.00 being the least expensive.

    2013 http://salsacycles.com/bikes/archive/2013_vaya_3

    2015 model http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya/2015_vaya_3

    Only one more edit. I promise: The Salsa has a steel fork, not carbon, but as it's a steel bike, so smooth to begin with, the carbon is not really needed. A very wise carbon upgrade is a carbon stem, that is where a lot of vibration comes from.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 10-10-2014 at 05:52 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    55
    Thanks for the heads up on the tubes! I think I will put some on my Christmas list

    What do you think about these pedals?

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400937__400937

    I like the option of being able to clip in (which I have never done before) or "go commando" as they say. Here is another that looks like it might be a little grippy on the clipless side. Hard to tell though...

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400937__400937

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,479
    I don't know about those pedals, but the reviews are better on the Forte's.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    My only caution with the Crosscheck: They are really nice bikes, and quite versatile, but they're heavy (something to keep in mind if you have to, say, carry it up a flight of stairs or something), and they seem to run really long in the top tube.

    As for the pedals, I'd go with the Fortes. They are a little grippier on the platform side, and IIRC they should take Shimano cleats.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  12. #12
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    1,677
    Quote Originally Posted by Owlie View Post
    My only caution with the Crosscheck: They are really nice bikes, and quite versatile, but they're heavy (something to keep in mind if you have to, say, carry it up a flight of stairs or something), and they seem to run really long in the top tube.

    As for the pedals, I'd go with the Fortes. They are a little grippier on the platform side, and IIRC they should take Shimano cleats.
    Don't worry too much about the weight for carrying up stairs etc...I am quite sure that my LHT is heavier than a Cross Check and carrying it up a flight of stairs is really not that big a deal (I routinely carry it up to my second floor apartment and down to the bike co-op in the basement of the community center, and I am a small person). Plus, you can probably carry the Cross Check on your shoulder which should make it a little less awkward (don't try this with the Trucker, the cable stop will dig into your shoulder...ouch!).
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    I ride the Shimano A530's and have been for years (same pedals too) Never had any issues with them, plenty of platform and grip when I am riding in a street shoe.
    Don't know much about the Forte as it is a performance specific brand but wonder about dirt and mud gunking them up if you found yourself needed to walk but I could be over analyzing
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

 

 

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