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    Do you mind giving out bicycle advice?
    Anyone else out there got any experience?

    I currently have a Trek 7.2FX hybrid. I get the impression it’s not really a very good road bike. I’ve asked a few people “Why?” and the answer seems to fall into a few general areas:

    1) weight
    2) riding position
    3) tire size
    4) riding surface isolation (vibration)

    The physics of weight seem to discredit the idea that saving 50 grams (or even a couple of pounds) is going to help a novice rider like me.

    My question is this:
    Do you know of any resources (books, equations, data) or experience that can help me decide whether the significant dollars of a modern road bike are worth it?


    I’m totally not worthy. I did ride a bike once, for several years, a 12-speed. 10 miles to and from work 5 days a week. Hurts a lot when a car hits you. Or when thugs knock you over and mug you. But other than that, lesbians and straight men commented on my fine legs.

    Yep, those days are over…the dah-ah-og days are oh-oh-ver! The…

    //I digress.

    Meanwhile, my thoughts are: If you’re Lance, and every friggin’ testosterone-injected second counts–go for the gold. Elsewise, settle for ergonomics (the riding position, especially, you don’t want to be really top heavy (more than you can compensate for, with posture), cost, and enjoyment of the lines.


    Sorry I am no good for advice either. I ride a Trek 800 I think it is. A mountain bike and I ride it regularly on the road during nicer weather. Not at all a good road bike I am thinking but it serves the purpose of getting me from one place to another.


    Alright, I’ll take a stab at this, and try to keep it short if possible.

    Your Trek 7.2FX is a good bike if you do not plan on any of the following: riding farther than about 20mi at a time, faster than 15mph avg, over significant hills.

    Your Trek 7.2FX is a great bike for: general recreation riding up to around 20-25mi (I know those who have ridden far worse far further), want to be able to take the occasional non-paved trail, great for multi-use paths, riding around the nieghborhood in the evenings, etc.

    Skinny tires, lighter weight wheels (and over all bike), geometry of the bike, multiple hand positions offered by drop-bar handlebars, all make true road bikes easier and better when riding faster and further. You are lower on the bike so the wind resistance is lower, skinny tires offer less rolling resistance, the lower position also allows you to put more power into the pedals that the more up-right position of the hybrid.

    To get speed and better “comfort” for long rides you trade off some things on a road bike. They are not as stable at low speeds, not as good on non-paved surfaces, the skinny tires pumped to high pressure transmit more of the roads bumps to your body, the more bent over position makes it harder to see around you when on city streets, etc.

    Frame materials, tires, fine tuning of position and fit can minimalize some of the road bike trade offs while giving most of the benefits. I am about to take delivery of a (rather expensive) custom steel bike that is, in theory, one of the best combinations of ride comfort, speed, ride quality, etc – for the type of riding that I do most. If you tell me what type of riding you do now, or more importantly, what sort of riding you want to be able to do I can better suggest what sort of bike would be best – which very well could be your current one.


    Thanks for the responses.

    I understood when I bought the Trek that it was suited to those purposes so I’m not criticizing it, I just like to understand things as thoroughly as possible, especially potentially expensive things.

    There’s a group of people who have asked if I would like to ride with them. They ride rural roads, moderately hilly (I expect you understand all this given our close proximity) for distances of 20-40 miles, typical being 25. They are tolerant of and encouraging to noobs but I don’t want to hold them up all the time.

    Another thought I have had; is it worth considering adding to or modifying the Trek vs dropping 1K on a separate bike?


    The limiting factor on the Trek is going to be that frame geometry is not going to allow you to position the handlebars with much drop to the saddle height. Starting out, this may not be too much of a bad thing for you, but the expense of extensively modifying the setup on your 7.2 is only going to make it worse for what it was intended for, but not quite as good as an entry level road bike. I recently did a drop-bar conversion on an old schwinn hybrid, but that frame started out closer to a road bike than the FX7.2 and I still ran into unforeseen complications.

    Here’s my recommendation, in the short term I would get some bar-ends for your handlebars to give you a slightly more extended and second hand position, and some skinnier tires.

    You should be able to mount something like this:
    on your bars, which may help on the climbs and other situations where the flat bar isn’t all that great.

    Trek’s specs state that the 7.2 comes with 35mm width tires, fantastic for a lot of situations except going fast on tarmac. I’d say find some decent quality tires in the 28mm width range. Not as modern narrow as a road bike’s tires, but should cut the rolling resistance down considerably while still maintaining some multi-surface ability. The Continental Ultra Sport comes in both a 25mm and 28mm and would be a good option and a reasonable price. I think with those two modifications, you’ll have a bike that should be able to keep up with a moderate riding group riding back roads, at least till you decide if a full road bike is worth the cost.

    If you do decide on a road bike, try to look for something with at least Tiagra level shifters, 105/Ultraga being a better option. Don’t hesitate to look into used bikes in your area but ONLY if you first understand what size road bike you need. I made the mistake of jumping straight into the old used market and ended up with a bike far too big for me. A lightly used road bike with 9 or 10sp Shimano 105 or even Ultegra can be found easily and be a better value for your money than a brand new entry-level with Sora/Tiagra at best. Not sure if you have a Performance Bike in your area, but they also often have insane deals on new bikes.


    Thanks Cuda, that seems like some useful advice. There are a couple of local bike shops that have good reps and deal in used bikes so I can start comparing numbers. Much appreciated.


    And just because I like to show it off, even in it’s naked state, here’s my new custom Kirk Frameworks.

    Paint should be going on next week or so, ETA to my door step should be about the end of the month. I put down the deposit on it the first week of April last year, 11.5mo wait time give or take a few weeks. The best blend of modern steels and traditional looks that I could find. It may not be as light or as fast as a Cannondale Evo, but I don’t race and don’t care. This is the ultimate bike in my opinion for the the riding I do.


    Love the lines, Barracuda (because, you know, that’s what photogs look for…)


    the skinny tires pumped to high pressure transmit more of the roads bumps to your body

    I learned this last week. I have a 1/2-mile gravel driveway. My tailbone still hurts.


    Somehow I’ve gotten myself talked into going to Montana this September to do a 2-day, 110mi ride on dirt roads, on a road bike. Hoping going with a 32mm width tire will be enough to even out the right a little.

    On another note, told my wife I had to buy the XSi so I would have a good camera to take photos of the new bike when I got it. Somehow that seemed to be a reasonable explanation for the purchase. That and getting it for 40% off original retail price didn’t hurt either.


    So what is the impetus for riding trails with road bikes? Is this a new “thing” or just an outlier?


    Men were riding “road bikes” on non-paved roads over mountains back when cycling was a rougher, meaner sport than football. A few crazy old timers apparently are fed up with how easy cycling has become and starting up rides that hearken back to a different time. That and cyclocross racing has starting to become a bigger part of cycling in a lot of the country too.

    So, you get a bike yet? Last I heard from you, you were looking at that Trek Pilot.

    I led my club’s “Distance Builder – Lite” group that I have been riding with for a while now. Previous ride leader stepped down to spend more time at his girl’s volleyball games on the weekend, so I’ve been leading it the last few weeks. A windy 46 miles, legs felt like a combination of rubber and lead most of the day.


    Ahh yes, the good ol’ days. When men were made of steel and bikes were made of wood. So does this make you a “crazy old timer”?

    Don’t have it yet. The guy is up by you and I am down by me (60 miles SW of Fort Worth) and I’m working nights. Upside is he still has not sold it and is willing to meet me halfway if he still has it on Monday. The more I look at it the more I think it is as you suggested, the way to go.

    What kind of “fit test” issues would you look for (having only been fit for one bike in my life leaves me with little to go on)?


    Obviously stand-over is important, but with the compact geometry of newer bikes that’s almost a given these days. Generally you want the saddle hight set to where when you have your heal on the pedal your leg is fully extended, that way when the ball of your foot is on the pedal your leg has the right amount of bend in it (not over extended, not loosing power). When your hands are on the hoods, your upper arms should be more or less parallel with the fork blades. An easier test, when your hands are on the hoods, the front hub should be hidden by the handlebars. Reach fit can be adjusted some with a stem change which is fairly cheap to swap out.

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