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New to forum, curious about my bike purchase (Trek 8.4 DS)

Old 08-26-12, 10:49 PM
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blue_cheese
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New to forum, curious about my bike purchase (Trek 8.4 DS)

Hi everyone,

I Just signed up as this place looks like a great source of information, I have been lurking on this forum since prior to making my recent bike purchase 3 weeks ago. My purchase was a bit rushed as I wanted to take my new bike to a cottage vacation we were taking and now that I have some time to brood over it I have some questions.

I used to bike everywhere as a student since elementary school through to university, never had a decent bike and was always used heavy cheap canadian tire/walmart type of bikes. After school things went downhill fast (pun intended), between the job, wife, and 2 kids, I havent been on a bike for 7 years. I talked my wife into getting a decent pair of bikes so we can enjoy an activity together, all the while getting back into an exercise I really enjoyed. I ended up with a Trek DS 8.4 and my wife got a Verve 2.

I live in a fairly bike friendly suburb that has lots of low traffic paved bike routes, as well as nice walking/hiking trails in 3 different nearby conservation areas. I had 3 days to pick out a bike, and although I did my research I am a bit obessive compulsive and still soaking all sorts of bike related information. I wanted to share my experience so far and see if anyone else has had similar (or differrent) experience with their bike. While generally happy, I have some concerns with my bike.

Whle looking, I tried several different bikes but found that I gravitate towards the familiar mountain bike geometry/positioning. The idea that I will be taking the bike off paved paths and that I like to ride fairly fast/rough sort of pointed me in the dual sport direction. After trying (breifly in store) a Scott sportster 55 (felt basic), Norco XFR 2 (something felt funny with this one), Giant Roam, and a Trek DS 8.4 (and 8.3), I loved the 8.4 based on my parking lot test drive experience

I like the 8.4 as I love the hydraulic disk brakes and the geometry gives me some decent power, it is a fast bike too, at least the fastest I have owned. I like the seating postion on the Verve a bit more, however the DS lets me have a trailer with 2 kids hitched to the back, the bike lets me power through some pretty steep unpaved hills. the rear wheel momentarily looses traction here and there and I am in gear ratios that I dont normally use (such as 1st and 2nd) but for lugging about 100lbs (trailer + 4 year old + 2 year old + kid luggage) up a hill, I say it gets a solid pass.

At first the saddle scared me, It looked like some probing device from a horror movie, but I angled it downward a bit and found it to be surpsingly comfy. I was planning to get one of those granny seats like on the verve, but after swapping seat from for a couple of rides, I dont see an advantage to change seats.

The hydraulic disc brakes are awsome, I love the hard stops and good braking in wet weather.

I was wondering, how much abuse can the frame/fork take? While on vacation I took the DS 8.4 on a rather rough mountain bike trail in a nearby provincial park. The bike held up, but things felt a bit finicky. Things get really rattly on bumpy paths and on a really steep hill the chain suked in at the back once (stripped some paint off the frame), never happened again but I was mildly displeased.

In general, I find the rear end of the bike really rigid, when you pick up some decent speed even hitting a mild bump really rattles the whole bike very hard. Also I find the rear derailleur/cassete too nosiy, some ratios had a bit of chain rubbing and there is this incessant clicking noise, especially on hard pedaling or fast speed (things I didnt notice during the rather casual stroll at the shop parking lot). Really hard pedals would even cause the rear cassete to swithc cogs. The whole situation was not helped that one day my daughter hopped in the trailer while the bike was just up on its kickstand and knocked which hit the rear derailleur out of alignment (it stopped shifiting to the largest cog). I went all crazy with a screwdriver and re adjusted all the gearing (front and back) now there is no more rubbing of any sort, but the clicking is still somewhat there (although no worse than my wife's barely ridden verve). For the life of me, I can't figure out any difference caused by the B tension screw so I just kept it where it was at when i got the bike. Has anyone else experienced such a sensitive rear gearing? it almost feels like if I look at it the wrong way it will do someting new.

Last edited by blue_cheese; 08-26-12 at 10:54 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 08-27-12, 03:15 AM
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choclabman
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Keep an eye out on the lockout lever for the front suspension. Several of us have had it come off while riding on bumpy terrain. Other than that the bike is a good sturdy bike. I switched out the saddle, went with wider tires, now I have it exactly the way I like it. I routinely do 30 mile rides on it and it is very comfortable.
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Old 08-27-12, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by blue_cheese View Post
... cheap canadian tire/walmart type of bikes... I tried several different bikes but found that I gravitate towards the familiar mountain bike geometry/positioning. The idea that I will be taking the bike off paved paths and that I like to ride fairly fast/rough sort of pointed me in the dual sport direction. After trying (breifly in store) a Scott sportster 55 (felt basic), Norco XFR 2 (something felt funny with this one), Giant Roam, and a Trek DS 8.4 (and 8.3), I loved the 8.4 based on my parking lot test drive experience.... At first the saddle scared me, It looked like some probing device from a horror movie, but I angled it downward a bit and found it to be surprisingly comfy.

I was wondering, how much abuse can the frame/fork take? While on vacation I took the DS 8.4 on a rather rough mountain bike trail in a nearby provincial park. The bike held up, but things felt a bit finicky. Things get really rattly on bumpy paths and on a really steep hill the chain sucked in at the back once (stripped some paint off the frame), never happened again but I was mildly displeased.

In general, I find the rear end of the bike really rigid, when you pick up some decent speed even hitting a mild bump really rattles the whole bike very hard. Also I find the rear derailleur/cassette too noisy, some ratios had a bit of chain rubbing and there is this incessant clicking noise, especially on hard pedaling or fast speed (things I didn't notice during the rather casual stroll at the shop parking lot). Really hard pedals would even cause the rear cassette to switch cogs. The whole situation was not helped that one day my daughter hopped in the trailer while the bike was just up on its kickstand and knocked which hit the rear derailleur out of alignment (it stopped shifting to the largest cog). I went all crazy with a screwdriver and re adjusted all the gearing (front and back) now there is no more rubbing of any sort, but the clicking is still somewhat there (although no worse than my wife's barely ridden verve). For the life of me, I can't figure out any difference caused by the B tension screw so I just kept it where it was at when i got the bike. Has anyone else experienced such a sensitive rear gearing? it almost feels like if I look at it the wrong way it will do something new.
When you mentioned "Canadian Tire", it brought back memories. I hadn't rode a bike regularly in years, but I remember the $99 special road bike my Dad back way back, assembled, and then I spent every spring adjusting, readjusting, etc. just to get the bike riding nicely. The brakes were the worst...

My wife and I bought some GT hybrids 10 years ago, put some use on, and then after we moved, we promptly forgot about them. This past spring, we got them tuned up (her chain was still considered "new"!), I had some upgrades put on mine, and I've used mine a lot more since then. Along the way, I tried some new hybrids, including the Giant Roam and Trek DS like you did. Eventually, we ended up trading my wife's GT for a more urban/comfort oriented bike. I ended up buying a Rivendell Sam Hillborne - while not exactly a conventional hybrid, it does in many ways function like one. (If you want a very different bicycling philosophy, check out Grant Petersen and Rivendell Bicycle Works.)

I still have my GT hybrid though and still ride it regularly. Even with the upgrades (better shifters/grips, etc.), I had similar experiences to yours. Hard pedaling sometimes causes gear slippage, noisy rattles over bumps (can't tell if it's the drivetrain, the rack, fender, something else?), and I find the gears to be just - I don't know - "fussy" - particularly the crank. Maybe I'm more old school (I prefer the smooth friction shifters of the Sam like it was on my bikes when I was a teenager), but I suspect your bike is what it is. Things are more precise now, but by the same measure, are less tolerant of small deviations.

I was quite satisfied with my hybrid when I first bought it, thinking I had a bike that could "do it all", and now I find it doesn't quite live up to any one particular biking style. Mind you, it is an older bike, but it was not inexpensive, and probably still holds up to a mid-level hybrid these days. My wife, who also like the hybrid originally, is much happier with your new Opus urban bike, and I rediscovered the slightly more road oriented ride with my Sam. If I had to buy another hybrid, it would probably be a Trek. But don't be surprised if you find the Trek is not exactly the bike you want it to be a year from now. But hey, that's always a good reason to upgrade!
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Old 08-28-12, 05:53 AM
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You didn't mention whether you got a 2012 or a 2013. The frame was changed in 2013 from a 29're frame with 70CC tires to a smaller proprietary frame. But, other than the tires and the forks, I believe either year could be used for light off-road use.

The tires are built for trails and light use. Bascially, they are cheap. I ended up putting in tire liners. But either model year could handle large knobby tires if you want them.

I think the forks are meant more as a comfort measure than to facilitate hard core mountain riding.

One thing I found helpful on my 2012: I added a rear rack which offers some protection to the rear disk (and a ittle bit to the derailer). The brake on the 2013 is positioned differently and may not benefit from a rack.
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Old 08-28-12, 08:18 AM
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blue_cheese
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Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
You didn't mention whether you got a 2012 or a 2013. The frame was changed in 2013 from a 29're frame with 70CC tires to a smaller proprietary frame. But, other than the tires and the forks, I believe either year could be used for light off-road use.

The tires are built for trails and light use. Bascially, they are cheap. I ended up putting in tire liners. But either model year could handle large knobby tires if you want them.

I think the forks are meant more as a comfort measure than to facilitate hard core mountain riding.

One thing I found helpful on my 2012: I added a rear rack which offers some protection to the rear disk (and a ittle bit to the derailer). The brake on the 2013 is positioned differently and may not benefit from a rack.
A good tip and I will look into it. In the next couple of days, I will take the bike back in for them to take a look at the mess i did no the gearing and wanted to pick up a headlight/tailight as I tend to do some night time riding once the kids are asleep.

I did get the 2012 model, They had it fully assembled and ready to go and as I said with 3 days to pick up a bike that kinda settled it for me on the model years. I liked the white/black color scheme on the 2012 better as well. At first I thought the whole front suspension thing is pretty cool, but it really messes with the feel of the bike. The way it soaks in hard pedaling is new to me in terms of bike feel. I have the preload maxed out (im heavy at 220lbs) and suspension locked out for most of my riding, I let it loose only when coasting downhill.
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Old 08-30-12, 11:30 AM
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Hmm yesterday, the chain fell of the cassette into the wheel and scuffed the spokes. I stopped immediately, is this something to be worried about?
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Old 08-30-12, 05:06 PM
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Good luck with your bikes! I believe I have last year's version of the WSD Verve 2, which was the 7100. I love it for the casual riding that I do. Your wife's bike isn't as suitable for rougher terrain as your bike is, but I'm sure you know that. I hope she enjoys her new bike.
Others can speak as to just how rough your bike can safely go.
As long as your bike is suitable for the kind of riding you want to do, don't agonize too much over your choice. I over-analyzed things and drove everyone crazy before I bought a bike. Just enjoy it!
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Old 08-30-12, 08:16 PM
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she loves her bike, she definately does not bike the way I do and for her it is a liesurley stroll through town. The Verve is fine on unpaved paths and she loves her bike. Her liking the bike sort of made up my choice as well as two bikes from the same store got us a discount.

I must admit, at moments I have been tempted by the upright curising experience on the Verve. I can't imagine doing it for long but when just strolling along slowly it sure feels enjoyable.
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Old 07-04-19, 12:11 PM
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Hi I'm new to the forum also.

I will say this. I had the Trek 8.4 DS, and then I downgraded to a Trek Fx 2 Disc. The 8.4 DS was an absolute pleasure to ride, the handling was pretty amazing when navigating through city streets and traffic on the way to work. I was easily able to keep up and beat some road bikers.

Potholes were not a significant problem.

Now the Trek Fx 2 Disc, you'll feel every single bump. My 8.4 was stolen, and I needed a bike the next day for commuting. I miss my hydraulic disc brakes.
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