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  1. #1
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    March Madness - 9 Bikes Narrowed Down to Three

    Hi everyone, I hate to be "that guy" and for my first post to be something like this, but here I am. Admittedly, it's one of the primary reasons I joined. I've been looking up a lot of information on bikes and learned a lot over the weekend. Your forum comes up in a lot search results and the members appear knowledgeable. So, please, let me draw on that knowledge and help me help myself make a good choice.

    First, I now there's mixed feelings bout Bikesdirect, but I'm more or less bound and determined to try them, because even after what I learned about components, I think they still have deals. I'm mechanically-inclined, having done basic work on my bikes before and I've done a lot of wrenching on cars FWIW (transmission work, engine repairs, head gaskets, fuel and brake systems, etc). So that isn't a big hurdle for me. My problem is a little different.

    Long story short, I have a Trek 830. A great bike I picked up over 10 years ago while I was still in college. Pretty basic but an overall good platform. I've taken it MTB'ing and it was a little harrowing with the CroMoly frame and being hard tail. I've since decided that I'm more into semi-groomed trails and pastures as far as that goes. But now I'm looking for a primary exercise and road bike. The tires on my 830 over the pavement sound like I have cards in the spokes.

    So I'm looking for something more along the lines of a hybrid or adventure bike for mostly paved trails and some gravel use. I don't think I'd take it on anything more than that. My goal would be to keep the 830 and perhaps upgrade some components on it and use it for any truly dedicated trail use. It's just too fatiguing with any sort of distance on paved roads. I've done 13 miles on it and feels like I did twice that many going on paved trails.

    Without too much further ado, here's my selections I narrowed it down. I was looking for something that'd fill my needs for a while, had decent to good components, and was a good value. The other thing is, I'm a nut about full ChroMoly frames, I'm iffy about aluminum unless it has a ChroMoly fork and I've heard enough negatives about carbon forks and the inability to inspect them (or instantaneous failure mode) to be comfortable with that. I'm still sort of new to evaluating what components are better than others, but I have a general idea of what's good. Any input would be appreciated, especially in regards to my needs. I'd like something versatile, but not something that's so similar to my 830 that I could just modify it or put on different tires and be satisfied (geometry notwithstanding).

    Holy novel, Batman.

    Motobecane Cafe Noir
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/disc-brake-roadbikes/cafe-noir-discbrake-steel-flatbar.htm


    Fuji Sunfire 2.0
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/fuji/fuji-sunfire-2.htm

    Motobecane Elite Adventure X5 LTD
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/elite_adventure_x5-ltd.htm

    Bonus points: my wife gave me a budget of up to $1,000 (which I'm reluctant to tap into), so if anyone has any better suggestions for the money, I'm all ears!

  2. #2
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    There are lots of really good options like that out there at that price point, in my opinion. The choice is obviously completely yours, but I wouldn't marry myself to bikes direct until you have tried their bikes and your alternatives (or talked to a number of people that have). Here's a couple I would take a look at if the kind of bike you described was on my wish list:

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/toughroad-slr-2

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...fitness/sirrus

    http://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Pro...1-002355495ab6

    My recommendation is to get out to some shops to test ride a few bikes before making up your mind. Most manufacturers have a bike like the one you are looking for in their lineup within your budget. Try a few, what you like (and more importantly, fit) might surprise you.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  3. #3
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    Put some slick tires on the Trek. I commute on a rigid steel 29er, about 15 miles round trip. The difference between Vittoria Randonneurs and the Kenda Small Block 8s it came with is profound.
    It ain't bragging if you can do it.

  4. #4
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    If you like steel and want a mixed surface bike take a look at something like this.

    VAYA CLARIS | Bikes | Salsa Cycles

    Sticker price of $1099 and not a Bikes Direct bike. ;)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mphilleo View Post
    I'm mechanically-inclined... if anyone has any better suggestions for the money, I'm all ears!
    '70s or '80s vintage lightweight from ebay or craigs.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  6. #6
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    Are you absolutely sure about what your size should be? As has been repeated many times my others as well as myself here, there isn't one more important item about choosing a bike than getting a good fit. A good bike shop (with an emphasis on good) will not only determine which size is best for you, but once you choose your bike, they will put you and your new bike on their trainer, watch you pedal and make adjustments to dial in your fit just right.

    The other item I would like to touch on is bike frame materials. You will hear people say this material is great, that material is terrible. The fact is that there are great bikes made of steel, aluminum, carbon and Ti and there are crappy bikes made of steel, aluminum, carbon and Ti. The late Sheldon Brown makes a great point here:

    Frame Materials for the Touring Cyclist

    Did you know that:

    • Aluminum frames have a harsh ride?
    • Titanium frames are soft and whippy?
    • Steel frames go soft with age, but they have a nicer ride quality?
    • England's Queen Elizabeth is a kingpin of the international drug trade?

    All of the above statements are equally false. There is an amazing amount of folkloric "conventional wisdom" about bicycle frames and materials that is widely disseminated, but has no basis in fact.

    The reality is that you can make a good bike frame out of any of these metals, with any desired riding qualities, by selecting appropriate tubing diameters, wall thicknesses and frame geometry.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrac View Post
    Put some slick tires on the Trek. I commute on a rigid steel 29er, about 15 miles round trip. The difference between Vittoria Randonneurs and the Kenda Small Block 8s it came with is profound.
    I had given some thought to this suggestion yesterday. A Vaya Claris would run me $1099 at my LBS, but I would imagine I could probably do a full road conversion of my Trek 830 for half of that, depending on the groupset I used. I'm debating posting a thread on that to see if I can get some suggestions on which way to go on that. I'd like to put on drop bars, but I'd have to ditch the stop grip shifters and it becomes a domino effect of "why not?"


    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. View Post
    If you like steel and want a mixed surface bike take a look at something like this.

    VAYA CLARIS | Bikes | Salsa Cycles

    Sticker price of $1099 and not a Bikes Direct bike. ;)
    It's funny you mention that. I spoke to my LBS (good guy, I've had the Trek serviced there) and he suggested for my wants and price range, the Vaya Claris too. He also suggested a Fargo, but I think that's a little beefier than I need. Do I need to be concerned about the Sunrace cassette on those, though? I also noticed the Specialized Sequoia, but I think it's possible that the Vaya is the better bike for my needs...the Sequoia just looks so good.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    '70s or '80s vintage lightweight from ebay or craigs.
    Second that

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