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I just spent all day visiting bicycle shops and I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough on the different brands to know what brands are better than the other.

My main use for it would be to drive to/from work, but I also want to have the ability to hit up some dirt trails. Another must is the ability to attach a kid's carseat to the back for my daughter.

I checked out Trek, Cannondale, and Specialized. I understand that they are very well known brands, but is there anything that distinguishes them from each other (beside the name)? Quality-wise?

I almost purchased a Specialized 29"er but when I found out that you can't hook up a carseat to it, the deal fell through. It sucked, b/c I really liked that you could throw a skinny tire on there for the road and a nice beefy tire for the trails.

Any thoughts on the Trek Utopia? Other suggestions?

TIA

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I commuted from work (10 miles round trip) for a couple of years and just started doing it again last week.

The brand I own is a Giant. I recommend you find a local bike shop because a good one will give you a couple of free tuneups a year and they will steer you in the right direction most of the time.

I think if you're starting out and don't do any work on your bike yourself other than cleaning the chain a local shop is a good way to go.

I paid about $350 for the bike and I think if you're going to do frequent riding you'll probably want to spend at least $300-$350 minimum at a store. For minimum $$$ they should be able to install a bike gear rack that can either hold a seat or bags.

I'm not expert biker or enthusiast, but this bike continues to serve me very well riding in town and the occasional off road trails I've taken from time to time.

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I just spent all day visiting bicycle shops and I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough on the different brands to know what brands are better than the other.My main use for it would be to drive to/from work, but I also want to have the ability to hit up some dirt trails. Another must is the ability to attach a kid's carseat to the back for my daughter.I checked out Trek, Cannondale, and Specialized. I understand that they are very well known brands, but is there anything that distinguishes them from each other (beside the name)? Quality-wise?I almost purchased a Specialized 29"er but when I found out that you can't hook up a carseat to it, the deal fell through. It sucked, b/c I really liked that you could throw a skinny tire on there for the road and a nice beefy tire for the trails.Any thoughts on the Trek Utopia? Other suggestions?TIA

Until you get into four figures they are pretty much all the same. They are going to have very similar components. Frames will probably be made at the same factory (Giant, more than likely). And you want a bike trailer for your child. Buy from a place that has the best service. That is where your bang/buck is on these.If you really want to hit trails I'd consider a MTB instead of a hybrid (the 29er sounds like a good way to go, IMO). And (FYI) throwing on new tires isn't a two minute deal. If you only do trails occasionally it will be fine. If you hit them a lot changing tires all the time is a PITA.
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I commuted from work (10 miles round trip) for a couple of years and just started doing it again last week. The brand I own is a Giant. I recommend you find a local bike shop because a good one will give you a couple of free tuneups a year and they will steer you in the right direction most of the time. I think if you're starting out and don't do any work on your bike yourself other than cleaning the chain a local shop is a good way to go. I paid about $350 for the bike and I think if you're going to do frequent riding you'll probably want to spend at least $300-$350 minimum at a store. For minimum $$$ they should be able to install a bike gear rack that can either hold a seat or bags. I'm not expert biker or enthusiast, but this bike continues to serve me very well riding in town and the occasional off road trails I've taken from time to time.

Was that $350 for a brand new bike? The price range of the bikes I tried out ranged from $700 up to about $950. I'm not looking for a super high performance caliber bike, but I would like something that is fast enough not to take forever on a 10-15 mile ride to work, but also capable of handling light non-flat trails every so often.
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I just spent all day visiting bicycle shops and I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough on the different brands to know what brands are better than the other.My main use for it would be to drive to/from work, but I also want to have the ability to hit up some dirt trails. Another must is the ability to attach a kid's carseat to the back for my daughter.I checked out Trek, Cannondale, and Specialized. I understand that they are very well known brands, but is there anything that distinguishes them from each other (beside the name)? Quality-wise?I almost purchased a Specialized 29"er but when I found out that you can't hook up a carseat to it, the deal fell through. It sucked, b/c I really liked that you could throw a skinny tire on there for the road and a nice beefy tire for the trails.Any thoughts on the Trek Utopia? Other suggestions?TIA

Until you get into four figures they are pretty much all the same. They are going to have very similar components. Frames will probably be made at the same factory (Giant, more than likely). And you want a bike trailer for your child. Buy from a place that has the best service. That is where your bang/buck is on these.If you really want to hit trails I'd consider a MTB instead of a hybrid (the 29er sounds like a good way to go, IMO). And (FYI) throwing on new tires isn't a two minute deal. If you only do trails occasionally it will be fine. If you hit them a lot changing tires all the time is a PITA.
Thanks to you and Wilked for the trailer suggestion! This would actually bring the Specialized 29er that I really liked back into the picture... and also give me more peace of mind when riding around with my daughter(s).I am planning to purchase the bike from a local shop well known for their service... in fact, that is the shop that I spent the most time at today.And in my situation, it will be mostly road surfaces right now (I may even skip on the trail tires for now and just go with the road ones)... but it's just nice to know that I could hang at the trails if I wanted to.:thumbup:
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Get sized properly. Fit is critical. The brands that you mentioned will more than meet your needs. Stay away from walmart/target bikes. Get advice from your local bike shop. They will steer you in the right direction.

Thanks, PB... The shop I worked with made the adjustments for my size for each bike I took for a spin. :thumbup:Would your comment about staying away from walmart/target bikes apply to my wife, who is just getting one for the times we go out as a family (light flat trails and residential street cruising and such)? She would never use it on a daily basis (to/from work).
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Get sized properly. Fit is critical. The brands that you mentioned will more than meet your needs. Stay away from walmart/target bikes. Get advice from your local bike shop. They will steer you in the right direction.

Thanks, PB... The shop I worked with made the adjustments for my size for each bike I took for a spin. :thumbup:Would your comment about staying away from walmart/target bikes apply to my wife, who is just getting one for the times we go out as a family (light flat trails and residential street cruising and such)? She would never use it on a daily basis (to/from work).
Your wife would probably be ok for light use, but as a general rule big box bikes are junk. You get what you pay for. Listen to your LBS they speak the truth!
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Go with bikesdirect.com for your wife's bike and maybe your bike, too.

Their women's bikes...

Buying the cheapest available option off the internet is good advice for a very small subset of the population.
This subset was his wife buying a bike at walmart. I feel rather safe thinking that it was very good advice for him to consider anything on bikes direct over that or overpaying for something at a shop. I'd be happy to steer him to the bike that fits his needs also. Cheapest and internet have nothing to do with it, but quality for money at this range does.
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I just spent all day visiting bicycle shops and I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough on the different brands to know what brands are better than the other.My main use for it would be to drive to/from work, but I also want to have the ability to hit up some dirt trails. Another must is the ability to attach a kid's carseat to the back for my daughter.I checked out Trek, Cannondale, and Specialized. I understand that they are very well known brands, but is there anything that distinguishes them from each other (beside the name)? Quality-wise?I almost purchased a Specialized 29"er but when I found out that you can't hook up a carseat to it, the deal fell through. It sucked, b/c I really liked that you could throw a skinny tire on there for the road and a nice beefy tire for the trails.Any thoughts on the Trek Utopia? Other suggestions?TIA

Most bikes are purpose driven. They're going to be good doing what they're designed to do. What they're not designed to do, they're going to pretty much suck at. A 29'er will be awesome for trails. It will kind of suck for commuting. Definitely better than a 26'' MTB, and putting skinnier tires on it will make a small difference in efficiency, but you're still going to be riding an off road bike on the road. What do you mean when you say "hit up dirt trails?" Going mountain biking with your buddies? If so, what kind of riding do they do? Do you just want to be able to point it down a packed dirt road to get from one road to the other on your commute? I have had two people come in and ask me to install child seats on the back of their bike. My response is "You do realize your child will have a three feet fall to the ground if you have a dog run out in front of you or hit a pothole, right?" Both people have promptly changed their mind. I'm honestly not sure if I'd even put one on, to tell the truth. They scare me. A lot. Trust me, I'm the guy people bring their bikes to after they fall. Seriously, I will judge you if you put your kid in a carseat. I know I'm not alone. That should, however, be the least of your concerns in this situation.$300-$350 is not a realistic price range for a quality bike. $400 gets you a bike that won't explode in your trunk on the way home like a target/walmart/sports authority bike. It still pretty much sucks. Most anything under a grand isn't going to satisfy someone who rides regularly, with the exception of a commuter. If you're commuting, you're going to destroy your bike, much like a sales rep destroys his car, and there's no point doing that to something nice. Which Specialized 29'er were you on? Rockhopper comp? Also, ready yourself for rampant bike shop snobbery, and what we really think since I'm not paid to be here. :)
Thanks for this feedback!So, what would you recommend based on this criteria:-Mostly road conditions (to/from work, paved park trails, flat dirt)-Capability to handle bumpy detours on the way to work, as well as the occasional novice/intermediate park trails (non-flat). I don't have many buddies that are experienced mountain bikers, but I just figured that if I am going to throw down some coin on a bike I would prefer it be able to handle more than just a commute to/from work.-Be able to pull a kid's trailer.Can you elaborate on your comment about the 29er sucking at communting? Is it b/c the frame is too heavy? Not fast enough?

Most anything under a grand isn't going to satisfy someone who rides regularly, with the exception of a commuter. If you're commuting, you're going to destroy your bike, much like a sales rep destroys his car, and there's no point doing that to something nice.

Right now, I live about 4 miles from work... but we might be moving to an area that would take that to 10-15 miles. Can you elaborate on "you're going to destroy your bike"? Are you simply referring to the wear and tear from just peddling? How long would you say these sub-$1000 range bikes last?And I will definitely stay away from the carseat :thumbup:Oh, and it was the Specialized 29er that I tried out.
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Go with bikesdirect.com for your wife's bike and maybe your bike, too.

Their women's bikes...

Buying the cheapest available option off the internet is good advice for a very small subset of the population.
This subset was his wife buying a bike at walmart. I feel rather safe thinking that it was very good advice for him to consider anything on bikes direct over that or overpaying for something at a shop. I'd be happy to steer him to the bike that fits his needs also. Cheapest and internet have nothing to do with it, but quality for money at this range does.
At this price range, by the time he pays someone to put it together for him, he's going to spend roughly the same amount. Most shops throw in free service (that he'll need anyway unless he decides to spend an inordinate amount of time learning how to work on his bike), and he's not going to save a ton buying online. If you think going to a shop is "overpaying" you pretty much think bikes cost too much. :shrug:
I have to disagree with all of that last post. In my opinion...

There is nothing hard about putting a bike together. Easily doable by 80% of guys in 1-2 hours. We're talking about a pimple faced 16 year old assembling his wife's walmart bike. He can handle that with a bikesdirect bike.

There is nothing hard about maintaining a bike yourself. There is no such thing as free at a bike shop. You pay for it up front. Fine is you want the convenience.

There is nothing hard or time consuming about learning to maintain a bike. If he can read fbg he'll have no problem reading stuff online. It's easy and people should learn all of these things so they can make fixes while riding.

We're not talking about Porsche 911's. It's a bicycle.

The last line is a total shop line and makes no sense. I know what bikes cost. I have a custom steel Kish mountain bike. It was too much, but not nearly as much as it would have at a shop. I truly have never needed a brick and mortar bicycle shop for anything besides some tubes, etc when I didn't want to wait.

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:blackdot:

I've been looking on Craigslist for a newer hybrid. I'm just looking for a good bike for 10-15 mile paved trail riding with the kids - the old bike my wife got me for $20 was clunky and uncomfortable. I've been looking for Trek/Cannondale/Specialized but the best one I saw (Trek 700 multitrack) seemed overpriced @ $250 and saw some online reviews it's bottom of the barrel for Trek 700's. Maybe bottom of the barrel is right for my needs though. I'm a little worried Craigslist might be a hotbed for stolen bikes though. Anyone had luck buying slightly used for significant savings?

BTW - got my wife a brand new Walmart Schwinn last year and now she wants a new one... wish I'd seen this last year. :lmao:

Edited by BigJim®
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:blackdot: I've been looking on Craigslist for a newer hybrid. I'm just looking for a good bike for 10-15 mile paved trail riding with the kids - the old bike my wife got me for $20 was clunky and uncomfortable. I've been looking for Trek/Cannondale/Specialized but the best one I saw (Trek 700 multitrack) seemed overpriced @ $250 and saw some online reviews it's bottom of the barrel for Trek 700's. Maybe bottom of the barrel is right for my needs though. I'm a little worried Craigslist might be a hotbed for stolen bikes though. Anyone had luck buying slightly used for significant savings?BTW - got my wife a brand new Walmart Schwinn last year and now she wants a new one... wish I'd seen this last year. :lmao:

Craigslist can be hit or miss. There are some good deals if you know what to look for as far as parts that wear out. There are definitely some bikes on there that have sat in the garage since they were purchased, but there are others that have been left outside and not maintained. A trek 700 is old school. Decent frame, but the parts are most likely obsolete unless it's been updated. It will be a tank as far a weight. Also, stolen bikes do end up on Craigslist, but most of them are parted out like cars.
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Something like the Specialized Crosstrail would be perfect for you.http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCMain.jsp?scid=1002&gold_ses=&menuItemId=15155

Very :goodposting: Interesting bike, but looks pretty good for what the OP wants.
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Something like the Specialized Crosstrail would be perfect for you.http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCMain.jsp?scid=1002&gold_ses=&menuItemId=15155

Very :goodposting: Interesting bike, but looks pretty good for what the OP wants.
:goodposting: I was thinking the exact same thing. I think this bike fits the OP very well.
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Thanks for the input guys!

After a 2nd straight day dealing with the same local bike shop, I've boiled it down to the Specialized Rockhopper Expert and the Specialized Crosstrail Pro.

They didn't have the Crosstrail in the right size frame, so that is on order and I should be able to test it out this weekend.

Is there any reason not to choose the Rockhopper over the Crosstrail?

My understanding is that the Rockhopper will be able to handle more of the off-road (or work commute detours on off beaten paths) better than the Crosstrail. The trade-offs I would be making is the ride position for the Rockhopper is not as upright as the Crosstrail (which just means more of a workout, right? ;)), and the Crosstrail would be faster on the road. Is there anything else I'm missing?

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I have almost the exact same situation (minus the need for the extra seat).

I commute to work and enjoy the occasional trek off road.

Bought a Crosstrail last summer - it's awesome.

I went for the Crosstrail Sport Disc that includes lockout shocks and hydraulic disc brakes, so it runs a tad higher (~$700), but well worth the extra cabbage.

I :wub: my bike.

eta -> just realized that you're looking at the Pro, which is even pricier.

Edited by Uncle Humuna
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Thanks for the input guys!After a 2nd straight day dealing with the same local bike shop, I've boiled it down to the Specialized Rockhopper Expert and the Specialized Crosstrail Pro.They didn't have the Crosstrail in the right size frame, so that is on order and I should be able to test it out this weekend.Is there any reason not to choose the Rockhopper over the Crosstrail?My understanding is that the Rockhopper will be able to handle more of the off-road (or work commute detours on off beaten paths) better than the Crosstrail. The trade-offs I would be making is the ride position for the Rockhopper is not as upright as the Crosstrail (which just means more of a workout, right? ;)), and the Crosstrail would be faster on the road. Is there anything else I'm missing?

The Rockhopper would probably be easier to upgrade over time if you wanted to. I'm not sure that there is or will be much availability for 700cc suspension forks. Also, if needed down the road, you could slightly change the gearing on the Rockhopper if you ended up using it mostly on the road. If you end up really liking mountain biking you'd kick yourself for buying a crosstrail, but if you don't like it you'll kick yourself for buying a rockhopper.
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The Rockhopper would probably be easier to upgrade over time if you wanted to. I'm not sure that there is or will be much availability for 700cc suspension forks. Also, if needed down the road, you could slightly change the gearing on the Rockhopper if you ended up using it mostly on the road. If you end up really liking mountain biking you'd kick yourself for buying a crosstrail, but if you don't like it you'll kick yourself for buying a rockhopper.

700c and 29er wheels have the same bead seat diameter of 622, the largest allowed by the UCI. There won't be a shortage of 29er forks moving forward. The crosstrail pro is, in my opinion, a very nicely appointed bike for what it is. It's probably the bike that best fits what you're looking for now. If you ever want to get into real deal mountain biking, though, you'd much rather have the rockhopper - it's a higher end grade of alloy, has geometry that's better for the trail, and allows clearance for wider tires.
This seems to be the general consensus... I can't wait to give the Crosstrail a spin next week.I'm not sure that I would ever get into hardcore mountain biking at this point, but what's important to me is that I would like to be able to hop on/off curbs or take a nice bumpy dirt path detour to work if I felt like it... Can you tell me if I can do that with the Crosstrail?
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If you want to drag your kids around I suggest something like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-13-SC675TR-Express-Bike-Trailer/dp/B002WGX048

The local bike shop is offering 15% off of the kids trailers, but I'll save that for another thread ;)
I have one of these for my 5 year old. Works good when you have a kid too big to just be towed along.
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I have to disagree with all of that last post. In my opinion... There is nothing hard about putting a bike together. Easily doable by 80% of guys in 1-2 hours. We're talking about a pimple faced 16 year old assembling his wife's walmart bike. He can handle that with a bikesdirect bike.There is nothing hard about maintaining a bike yourself. There is no such thing as free at a bike shop. You pay for it up front. Fine is you want the convenience.There is nothing hard or time consuming about learning to maintain a bike. If he can read fbg he'll have no problem reading stuff online. It's easy and people should learn all of these things so they can make fixes while riding.We're not talking about Porsche 911's. It's a bicycle.The last line is a total shop line and makes no sense. I know what bikes cost. I have a custom steel Kish mountain bike. It was too much, but not nearly as much as it would have at a shop. I truly have never needed a brick and mortar bicycle shop for anything besides some tubes, etc when I didn't want to wait.

Ok, fine, don't listen to the guy who does this for a living, doesn't make a dime of commission, and has absolutely nothing to gain by misleading strangers on the internet. I'm sure you know more about it than i do. You probably stayed at a Holiday Inn last night. :shrug:
:goodposting: I find local bike shops to be invaluable. I certainly go there for more than just tubes.They can seem like intimidating places, but find a good one and most of the dudes there are more than willing to help you out.Putting a bike together isn't all that difficult. Putting it together correctly so it performs its best most certainly is. Especially when you are trying to fiddle around on it with improper tools while it is resting against your kitchen table.
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The Rockhopper would probably be easier to upgrade over time if you wanted to. I'm not sure that there is or will be much availability for 700cc suspension forks. Also, if needed down the road, you could slightly change the gearing on the Rockhopper if you ended up using it mostly on the road. If you end up really liking mountain biking you'd kick yourself for buying a crosstrail, but if you don't like it you'll kick yourself for buying a rockhopper.

700c and 29er wheels have the same bead seat diameter of 622, the largest allowed by the UCI. There won't be a shortage of 29er forks moving forward. The crosstrail pro is, in my opinion, a very nicely appointed bike for what it is. It's probably the bike that best fits what you're looking for now. If you ever want to get into real deal mountain biking, though, you'd much rather have the rockhopper - it's a higher end grade of alloy, has geometry that's better for the trail, and allows clearance for wider tires.
This seems to be the general consensus... I can't wait to give the Crosstrail a spin next week.I'm not sure that I would ever get into hardcore mountain biking at this point, but what's important to me is that I would like to be able to hop on/off curbs or take a nice bumpy dirt path detour to work if I felt like it... Can you tell me if I can do that with the Crosstrail?
I'm not a bike shop owner, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but I do what you describe on a daily basis on a lower model Crosstrail than the one you're looking at. And I still :wub: my bike.
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The Rockhopper would probably be easier to upgrade over time if you wanted to. I'm not sure that there is or will be much availability for 700cc suspension forks. Also, if needed down the road, you could slightly change the gearing on the Rockhopper if you ended up using it mostly on the road. If you end up really liking mountain biking you'd kick yourself for buying a crosstrail, but if you don't like it you'll kick yourself for buying a rockhopper.

700c and 29er wheels have the same bead seat diameter of 622, the largest allowed by the UCI. There won't be a shortage of 29er forks moving forward. The crosstrail pro is, in my opinion, a very nicely appointed bike for what it is. It's probably the bike that best fits what you're looking for now. If you ever want to get into real deal mountain biking, though, you'd much rather have the rockhopper - it's a higher end grade of alloy, has geometry that's better for the trail, and allows clearance for wider tires.
This seems to be the general consensus... I can't wait to give the Crosstrail a spin next week.I'm not sure that I would ever get into hardcore mountain biking at this point, but what's important to me is that I would like to be able to hop on/off curbs or take a nice bumpy dirt path detour to work if I felt like it... Can you tell me if I can do that with the Crosstrail?
I'm not a bike shop owner, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but I do what you describe on a daily basis on a lower model Crosstrail than the one you're looking at. And I still :wub: my bike.
Thanks for this assurance... My issue is that when I would ask the guy at the bike shop about taking the Crosstrail on bumpy trails/detours, he said trails would be fine as long as it's flat. He even went on to show me pictures from the Specialized site and the Crosstrail is only shown on flat trails. I just don't wan to ruin/abuse the bike if it's not made to handle that type of wear. But you're the 2nd (or 3rd) person that has chimed in and given your stamps of approval, so I'll take that into consideration when I make the final decision.
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Thanks for this assurance... My issue is that when I would ask the guy at the bike shop about taking the Crosstrail on bumpy trails/detours, he said trails would be fine as long as it's flat. He even went on to show me pictures from the Specialized site and the Crosstrail is only shown on flat trails. I just don't wan to ruin/abuse the bike if it's not made to handle that type of wear. But you're the 2nd (or 3rd) person that has chimed in and given your stamps of approval, so I'll take that into consideration when I make the final decision.

How old was the guy you were talking to? Was he working in the shop or only on the sales floor?
I'd say he was in his early 30s... I think he is some kind of manager. Definitely knowledgeable and he was the one that did all of the adjustments for my size to each of the floor models that I tried out.
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Thanks for this assurance... My issue is that when I would ask the guy at the bike shop about taking the Crosstrail on bumpy trails/detours, he said trails would be fine as long as it's flat. He even went on to show me pictures from the Specialized site and the Crosstrail is only shown on flat trails. I just don't wan to ruin/abuse the bike if it's not made to handle that type of wear. But you're the 2nd (or 3rd) person that has chimed in and given your stamps of approval, so I'll take that into consideration when I make the final decision.

How old was the guy you were talking to? Was he working in the shop or only on the sales floor?
I'd say he was in his early 30s... I think he is some kind of manager. Definitely knowledgeable and he was the one that did all of the adjustments for my size to each of the floor models that I tried out.
Huh. He probably just means it would suck to descend any type of technical terrain on, which it would. For what you describe, you'd be fine with the crosstrail. The rockhopper would be cooler though. :)
Can you tell me if the rockhopper would be significantly much slower on the road, compared with the Crosstrail? I suppose I will find out hopefully this weekend...

I was able to find THIS old thread of someone that is in the same exact situation (in fact, his use is pretty much spot on with mine). He ended up with the Crosstrail and loved it (until it got stolen from him). That was an old posting, so I'm not sure how much of the information in that thread still applies.

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Thanks for this assurance... My issue is that when I would ask the guy at the bike shop about taking the Crosstrail on bumpy trails/detours, he said trails would be fine as long as it's flat. He even went on to show me pictures from the Specialized site and the Crosstrail is only shown on flat trails. I just don't wan to ruin/abuse the bike if it's not made to handle that type of wear. But you're the 2nd (or 3rd) person that has chimed in and given your stamps of approval, so I'll take that into consideration when I make the final decision.

How old was the guy you were talking to? Was he working in the shop or only on the sales floor?
I'd say he was in his early 30s... I think he is some kind of manager. Definitely knowledgeable and he was the one that did all of the adjustments for my size to each of the floor models that I tried out.
Huh. He probably just means it would suck to descend any type of technical terrain on, which it would. For what you describe, you'd be fine with the crosstrail. The rockhopper would be cooler though. :)
Can you tell me if the rockhopper would be significantly much slower on the road, compared with the Crosstrail? I suppose I will find out hopefully this weekend...

I was able to find THIS old thread of someone that is in the same exact situation (in fact, his use is pretty much spot on with mine). He ended up with the Crosstrail and loved it (until it got stolen from him). That was an old posting, so I'm not sure how much of the information in that thread still applies.

Another anecdotal story - this last summer we were up in the Sierras with another family. The dad is way into mountain biking and has a way tricked out pony. We decided to take a long morning ride on a paved road over a pass. The down hill was pretty killer and lasted a good 10-15 minutes. I coasted WAY ahead of him, due to the Crossroad's hybrid tires (slicks in the center). He even pedaled and couldn't come close to keeping up. The lockout forks payed huge dividends on the long ride back up the hill (although my buddy ended up ahead of me on this leg due to, um, uh, er, youth).
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I have to disagree with all of that last post. In my opinion... There is nothing hard about putting a bike together. Easily doable by 80% of guys in 1-2 hours. We're talking about a pimple faced 16 year old assembling his wife's walmart bike. He can handle that with a bikesdirect bike.There is nothing hard about maintaining a bike yourself. There is no such thing as free at a bike shop. You pay for it up front. Fine is you want the convenience.There is nothing hard or time consuming about learning to maintain a bike. If he can read fbg he'll have no problem reading stuff online. It's easy and people should learn all of these things so they can make fixes while riding.We're not talking about Porsche 911's. It's a bicycle.The last line is a total shop line and makes no sense. I know what bikes cost. I have a custom steel Kish mountain bike. It was too much, but not nearly as much as it would have at a shop. I truly have never needed a brick and mortar bicycle shop for anything besides some tubes, etc when I didn't want to wait.

Ok, fine, don't listen to the guy who does this for a living, doesn't make a dime of commission, and has absolutely nothing to gain by misleading strangers on the internet. I'm sure you know more about it than i do. You probably stayed at a Holiday Inn last night. :shrug:
:goodposting: I find local bike shops to be invaluable. I certainly go there for more than just tubes.They can seem like intimidating places, but find a good one and most of the dudes there are more than willing to help you out.Putting a bike together isn't all that difficult. Putting it together correctly so it performs its best most certainly is. Especially when you are trying to fiddle around on it with improper tools while it is resting against your kitchen table.
Thanks. We are well aware that stuff is cheaper online. Acutely aware. We do our damndest to bridge the value gap, and imo do a very good job of it. We appreciate the people who buy from us rather than going online and bringing them in and asking us to set it up. While I applaud those people for recognizing their inability to do the job correctly, it's terribly annoying.
This didn't start about shops on my end, but thanks for summing up why I avoid most of them. Most bike shops and their employees think they are holier than thou. I was simply giving him an option that was for some reason completely invalid even though many people are very capable of successfully buying bicycles off the internet and building them themselves. It's his option to decide if it fits his needs. There was no reason to bash or belittle the idea.Staying at a Holiday Inn? Inability to do a job correctly? Those were all really rich and clever. Is there a quantum physics quiz prior to adjusting a derailleur that I don't know about? There is a large population of people who can do your job and do it well. The point is, you're telling someone who has done it that they can't/had to have done it wrong and discouraging others from learning about the very thing you desired to learn about. Did you have to get a Master's in bike wrenching? Or did you learn most of it from friends, online forums, or trial and error? Encourage people to learn and help them be self efficient. It may go against the money making way, but we all know it's better to teach a man to fish than to give him fish.Shops can provide a lot and have a place, but get over yourself as the end all be all of cycling. Just be glad people are buying bikes and riding them. And next time an "idiot" buys a bike off the internet and can't put it together, be thankful that he's riding and don't roll your eyes/be annoyed as if he's another guy that ripped the system by trying to save a few dollars. We'll all be better off for it. Edited by Battles
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I have to disagree with all of that last post. In my opinion... There is nothing hard about putting a bike together. Easily doable by 80% of guys in 1-2 hours. We're talking about a pimple faced 16 year old assembling his wife's walmart bike. He can handle that with a bikesdirect bike.There is nothing hard about maintaining a bike yourself. There is no such thing as free at a bike shop. You pay for it up front. Fine is you want the convenience.There is nothing hard or time consuming about learning to maintain a bike. If he can read fbg he'll have no problem reading stuff online. It's easy and people should learn all of these things so they can make fixes while riding.We're not talking about Porsche 911's. It's a bicycle.The last line is a total shop line and makes no sense. I know what bikes cost. I have a custom steel Kish mountain bike. It was too much, but not nearly as much as it would have at a shop. I truly have never needed a brick and mortar bicycle shop for anything besides some tubes, etc when I didn't want to wait.

Ok, fine, don't listen to the guy who does this for a living, doesn't make a dime of commission, and has absolutely nothing to gain by misleading strangers on the internet. I'm sure you know more about it than i do. You probably stayed at a Holiday Inn last night. :shrug:
:goodposting: I find local bike shops to be invaluable. I certainly go there for more than just tubes.They can seem like intimidating places, but find a good one and most of the dudes there are more than willing to help you out.Putting a bike together isn't all that difficult. Putting it together correctly so it performs its best most certainly is. Especially when you are trying to fiddle around on it with improper tools while it is resting against your kitchen table.
Thanks. We are well aware that stuff is cheaper online. Acutely aware. We do our damndest to bridge the value gap, and imo do a very good job of it. We appreciate the people who buy from us rather than going online and bringing them in and asking us to set it up. While I applaud those people for recognizing their inability to do the job correctly, it's terribly annoying.
This didn't start about shops on my end, but thanks for summing up why I avoid most of them. Most bike shops and their employees think they are holier than thou. I was simply giving him an option that was for some reason completely invalid even though many people are very capable of successfully buying bicycles off the internet and building them themselves. It's his option to decide if it fits his needs. There was no reason to bash or belittle the idea.Staying at a Holiday Inn? Inability to do a job correctly? Those were all really rich and clever. Is there a quantum physics quiz prior to adjusting a derailleur that I don't know about? There is a large population of people who can do your job and do it well. The point is, you're telling someone who has done it that they can't/had to have done it wrong and discouraging others from learning about the very thing you desired to learn about. Did you have to get a Master's in bike wrenching? Or did you learn most of it from friends, online forums, or trial and error? Encourage people to learn and help them be self efficient. It may go against the money making way, but we all know it's better to teach a man to fish than to give him fish.Shops can provide a lot and have a place, but get over yourself as the end all be all of cycling. Just be glad people are buying bikes and riding them. And next time an "idiot" buys a bike off the internet and can't put it together, be thankful that he's riding and don't roll your eyes/be annoyed as if he's another guy that ripped the system by trying to save a few dollars. We'll all be better off for it.
A bike shop guy bagged your girlfriend huh?
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Ok, fine, don't listen to the guy who does this for a living, doesn't make a dime of commission, and has absolutely nothing to gain by misleading strangers on the internet. I'm sure you know more about it than i do. You probably stayed at a Holiday Inn last night. :shrug:

This didn't start about shops on my end, but thanks for summing up why I avoid most of them. Most bike shops and their employees think they are holier than thou. I was simply giving him an option that was for some reason completely invalid even though many people are very capable of successfully buying bicycles off the internet and building them themselves. It's his option to decide if it fits his needs. There was no reason to bash or belittle the idea.Staying at a Holiday Inn? Inability to do a job correctly? Those were all really rich and clever. Is there a quantum physics quiz prior to adjusting a derailleur that I don't know about? There is a large population of people who can do your job and do it well. The point is, you're telling someone who has done it that they can't/had to have done it wrong and discouraging others from learning about the very thing you desired to learn about. Did you have to get a Master's in bike wrenching? Or did you learn most of it from friends, online forums, or trial and error? Encourage people to learn and help them be self efficient. It may go against the money making way, but we all know it's better to teach a man to fish than to give him fish.Shops can provide a lot and have a place, but get over yourself as the end all be all of cycling. Just be glad people are buying bikes and riding them. And next time an "idiot" buys a bike off the internet and can't put it together, be thankful that he's riding and don't roll your eyes/be annoyed as if he's another guy that ripped the system by trying to save a few dollars. We'll all be better off for it.

This is the essence of proninja when it comes to anything he is involved with. It's his world, we simply exist in it.
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You can do a whole lot worse than bikesdirect. The bikes come basically lacking the wheels being put on and the headset put in. The main reason to go to a shop for your first bike isn't the assembly but the fit. On a MTB/Hybrid fit isn't quite so important as it is in a road/tri bike.

There was a period of time where bike stores would turn their noses up at internet bikes. Now they have no choice or else they go out of buisness. In this area service only shops are popping up now. Full service sales/service/gear shops are dying a slow death. Service shops will make more in profit servicing an internet bike the very first time over selling the same bike off the shop. Some stores are slow to realize that, and those will perish.

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I finally got to give the Crosstrail a whirl yesterday (and also hopped on the Rockhopper again for good measure). I thought it was a nice bike, but I didn't see much difference in the comfort when compared with the Rockhopper (which, IMO, looks cooler). The Rockhopper is obviously slower than the Crosstrail, but I was told that I can get tires for the Rockhopper that would be very close to the Crosstrail (which would help some).

I just found out that my BIL can get pretty good deals on Norco brand bikes. Anyone here have any expereince with them? He also has contacts at LBSs that deal Treks and Giants, so those are options too. The Giant Off-road/X-road bikes look pretty cool.

I think the Rockhopper and Crosstrail are still in the running, but I'm taking my time with this decision since this is a considerable amount of money to me so I figure I should get something that I will be 100% happy with.

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I finally got to give the Crosstrail a whirl yesterday (and also hopped on the Rockhopper again for good measure). I thought it was a nice bike, but I didn't see much difference in the comfort when compared with the Rockhopper (which, IMO, looks cooler). The Rockhopper is obviously slower than the Crosstrail, but I was told that I can get tires for the Rockhopper that would be very close to the Crosstrail (which would help some).I just found out that my BIL can get pretty good deals on Norco brand bikes. Anyone here have any expereince with them? He also has contacts at LBSs that deal Treks and Giants, so those are options too. The Giant Off-road/X-road bikes look pretty cool.I think the Rockhopper and Crosstrail are still in the running, but I'm taking my time with this decision since this is a considerable amount of money to me so I figure I should get something that I will be 100% happy with.

Trek, Giant, and Norco all make great bikes. Can't really go wrong with any of them - I'm not intimately familiar with their product lines like I am with Specialized, but none of them suck.
Okay, so last night I hopped on a Specialized Camber Elite 29er and I think I fell in love. :wub:... well maybe not that extreme, but I really like it. The price tag on it was $2150, but they are running a special on some of their bikes through May 8 and the price for this one was dropped to $1699. I should fine out in the next couple days, but my BIL might be able to get me a slight discount on top of the $1699 price tag too! It might be in the 10-15% range but I'll take that... Is this a no brainer?
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Can anyone give me an assessment of this bike? I've been looking at hybrids as I plan to bike mostly on paved trails. How big of a difference would a bike like this be for trail riding... is this bike purely for off roading?

It looks to be a pretty old model - 7 speed. I think 7 speed parts are pretty scarce these days. And, thus, expensive for what you would get. I paid less than that for a used Rockhopper (5 years old).
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Can anyone give me an assessment of this bike? I've been looking at hybrids as I plan to bike mostly on paved trails. How big of a difference would a bike like this be for trail riding... is this bike purely for off roading?

That bike will be good for paved trails and light trail riding. I wouldn't take it on anything more advanced than dirt roads and 2 track.

A hybrid bike is made for paved roads and is good for those who want to ride in a upright position (something a road bike won't give you). It's not made to take off roading even though it can handle dirt and 2 track ok.

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Update: I ended up getting the 2011 Rockhopper Expert 29er :)

Sticker on it was $1250 and I was able to get it for a hair over $1k from my LBS. :thumbup: I'm planning to throw some slicks on it for my road needs and hang onto the nobbies for when I hit the technical trails.

The Specialized Camber that I mentioned earlier was a killer deal, but I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much more $, plus I think the full suspension would have been super overkill for my needs.

Thanks again to everyone for their inputs/feedback! I can't wait until my bike comes in :banned:

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