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New Here! Best Hybrid Commuter/Fitness?

Old 07-08-20, 05:19 PM
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gradrider
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New Here! Best Hybrid Commuter/Fitness?

Hi everyone!
I'm new here. I've tried reading through a few of these Hybrid threads and have spent a few months researching bikes as well. Honestly, all the jargon and technicalities end up with me with a headache, frustrated, and closing my laptop. After reading many "best hybrid" lists and reviews, I figured I'd ask for some advice here.

I'm a grad student in the Boston area (lots of potholes, some hills, mostly asphalt riding, rainy/snowy) and had my bike stolen at the start of last year. I'm in the market for a new one, and have decided a hybrid is my best bet. I'm planning on using it for biking to and from class, work, internships, and longer weekend rides along the Charles and perhaps some packed gravel trails. I'm planning on adding a luggage rack and splash guards as well since it's pretty wet here in Boston and my backpack is heavy. It has been hard to find any bikes in stock, so I haven't been able to check any out to try or look at. Could I ask for advice on the following models? I have seen a lot about them, but just trying to find the best bike under $800.

Marin San Anselmo
Marin Presidio
Marin Fairfax/Marin Terra Linda (drop bar version of Fairfax)
Cannondale Quick 4 or 5
Trek FX 3
Specialized Ariel
Co-Op City 1.1
Jamis Coda Sport (S1?)

If there are any that I'm missing from this list, please let me know what I should add/take off, or better yet, which is the best option here! Thank you all for your help in advance
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Old 07-08-20, 07:23 PM
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Welcome!

The good news is pretty much every bike brand has a bike in that market niche ("fitness hybrid"). Look also at the Specialized Sirrus, Raleigh Cadent/Alysa, and Giant Escape (and whatever the Liv brand version is). The "bad news" is there is no best. All are comparable and competitive options. Components are all basically the same (they're commodity items) and prices are all essentially equal when looking at the same "level" of bike. In other words, if one bike is significantly more or less expensive than another option, then it probably has significantly different component levels, and there's probably another "trim" of that bike model that would be more comparable to whatever your other option is. The best way to find the best bike for you is to ride them. That's tough to do right now, but it's really the only way you'll get up close and personal with a bike and how it fits you, how you like the color choices, etc. If you have to buy one sight unseen, then it's really a roll of the dice to be quite honest. Also add to your list various direct-to-consumer bike brands and retailers, such as Canyon and Raleigh (brands) and BikesDirect.com (retailer). There seriously are no good or bad bikes here...just bikes that may or may not fit you and your use well.

Based on your use case, don't overlook used bikes. Depending on if you will have to store it or lock it outside, let someone else take the hit on depreciation...and older bikes are less likely to be stolen. None of that may apply, but it's something to consider. Of course, with the "current situation", the bike market is really upset right now (in a good way for sellers), so used bikes aren't exactly screaming deals at the moment. At least one of the bikes on your list has a steel frame. Modern quality steel frames like the ones you're considering make for excellent riding bikes, and really aren't any heavier than aluminum bikes, but steel does rust (the tubes will rust from the inside, as water gets in). This isn't to scare you off of steel, but if you'll be storing it outside and/or using it in all weather, it is something to keep in mind. You can have a new steel frame treated on the inside to help prevent this corrosion (essentially, spraying some fancy WD-40 into the tubes to coat them on the inside).

Some of your options use carbon forks. These tend to have a better ride quality than aluminum forks. Steel forks also usually have a better ride quality than aluminum. I would avoid an aluminum fork. Unfortunately, aluminum is often seen as superior to steel by consumers, and it's sometimes the case that only the entry level models have steel forks. The mid-line trim often has "upgraded" aluminum. And then the top-line trim has a "true upgrade" in a carbon fork.

Let us know what you end up with!
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Old 07-09-20, 07:21 AM
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op....if my budget was $800usd the first bike I'd test ride is the Jamis Coda S1 or Comp. It the budget can be stretched.....the Elite is sweet!
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Old 07-09-20, 10:25 AM
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Nothing but good to say about my Quick 5. I rode it along with a TREK and Sirrus and liked it best, may not be the same for you. The bike has worked absolutely flawlessly. I'm wanting to upgrade to a lighter, 1x gearing hybrid, and I'm tired of the drab color, but that's a dumb reason to get rid of a bike that has worked so well for me. Plus, I don't know where to find any stock right now and I won't trade up without a test ride.
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Old 07-09-20, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
Welcome!

The good news is pretty much every bike brand has a bike in that market niche ("fitness hybrid"). Look also at the Specialized Sirrus, Raleigh Cadent/Alysa, and Giant Escape (and whatever the Liv brand version is). The "bad news" is there is no best. All are comparable and competitive options. Components are all basically the same (they're commodity items) and prices are all essentially equal when looking at the same "level" of bike. In other words, if one bike is significantly more or less expensive than another option, then it probably has significantly different component levels, and there's probably another "trim" of that bike model that would be more comparable to whatever your other option is. The best way to find the best bike for you is to ride them. That's tough to do right now, but it's really the only way you'll get up close and personal with a bike and how it fits you, how you like the color choices, etc. If you have to buy one sight unseen, then it's really a roll of the dice to be quite honest. Also add to your list various direct-to-consumer bike brands and retailers, such as Canyon and Raleigh (brands) and BikesDirect.com (retailer). There seriously are no good or bad bikes here...just bikes that may or may not fit you and your use well.

Based on your use case, don't overlook used bikes. Depending on if you will have to store it or lock it outside, let someone else take the hit on depreciation...and older bikes are less likely to be stolen. None of that may apply, but it's something to consider. Of course, with the "current situation", the bike market is really upset right now (in a good way for sellers), so used bikes aren't exactly screaming deals at the moment. At least one of the bikes on your list has a steel frame. Modern quality steel frames like the ones you're considering make for excellent riding bikes, and really aren't any heavier than aluminum bikes, but steel does rust (the tubes will rust from the inside, as water gets in). This isn't to scare you off of steel, but if you'll be storing it outside and/or using it in all weather, it is something to keep in mind. You can have a new steel frame treated on the inside to help prevent this corrosion (essentially, spraying some fancy WD-40 into the tubes to coat them on the inside).

Some of your options use carbon forks. These tend to have a better ride quality than aluminum forks. Steel forks also usually have a better ride quality than aluminum. I would avoid an aluminum fork. Unfortunately, aluminum is often seen as superior to steel by consumers, and it's sometimes the case that only the entry level models have steel forks. The mid-line trim often has "upgraded" aluminum. And then the top-line trim has a "true upgrade" in a carbon fork.

Let us know what you end up with!
Thank you for the suggestions! I have seen Specialized Sirrus popping up on various sites, and am having a hard time pinning down what model to look at specifically and true pros/cons. But you're right, it's definitely hard to buy sight unseen! I'd much rather be trying them out as I feel like that will make the difference. And thank you for the clarification around aluminum v. steel v. carbon forks.
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Old 07-09-20, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by HobieKen View Post
Nothing but good to say about my Quick 5. I rode it along with a TREK and Sirrus and liked it best, may not be the same for you. The bike has worked absolutely flawlessly. I'm wanting to upgrade to a lighter, 1x gearing hybrid, and I'm tired of the drab color, but that's a dumb reason to get rid of a bike that has worked so well for me. Plus, I don't know where to find any stock right now and I won't trade up without a test ride.
I have read that 1x gear hybrids are good as well. What bikes in that category are you looking at?
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Old 07-09-20, 01:08 PM
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The Sirrus X 5.0 and TREK FX Sport Carbon 4 have caught my eye.
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Old 07-09-20, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by HobieKen View Post
The Sirrus X 5.0 and TREK FX Sport Carbon 4 have caught my eye.
Iím loving my Sirrus X 5.0 so far. Itís fun to ride.
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Old 07-11-20, 08:14 AM
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Iíll chime in on the CTY 1.1 as I bought one last August after reading several good reviews. Itís my first bike in 30 years and I bought it primarily as part of my fitness regime to replace ďboring gym cardioĒ.

The reviews were very positive on the value for the price, $550. 24-speeds, mechanical disc brakes, 27- pound aluminum frame, solid all around bike for road and dirt trails.

I bought it in the nyc REI store and the team was great, helped me with suggestions on all the gear I needed, and set up everything so I could just get riding as soon as I left.

Since August, I have been riding regularly, pretty much exclusively on a paved bike loop. Iíve worked up to riding about 17-20 miles about 3-4 times a week. The loop is in good shape with just a few rough spots and the hills are moderate, one big one, but the bike traffic moves well and I donít need to use the brakes much, but when I do, they seem very responsive and well calibrated.

The bike is great to ride, shifts smoothly, and once I got it set up perfectly for me, I could just pound away, and Iíve made some great progress as far as strength/speed.

As far as ďissuesĒ, My brakes were fine but I recently saw a couple of reviews on the REI site that people who ordered the bike via mail, had warped brake discs, so check those out. I havenít had to use the warranty for anything but from what I understand, REI has a very good policy as far as honoring guarantees and being good to customers.

Now, I have had one issue and Iíll try to be fair in describing. Just last week, I cane back from a ride on Friday, had no issues at all. But, the following morning, I saw that the rear tire was totally flat. Fortunately, I had purchase a couple of tubes and a bike stand. I inspected the tire and saw nothing out of sorts. I removed the tire using only the plastic levers I had purchased and it came of easily. I took out the tube and pumped it up...and I heard a hiss. It was loud enough that I could find the leak, a pinhole size leak on the side of the tube. I scratched my head as far as how it got there. I ran my hand along the inside of the rim and, low and behold, I felt a very small, but sharp bit/rough spot on the inside of the rim. Now, I really was puzzled.

How did it get there? I can only say that until that point, I had never touched the tires or rims other than to inflate them and without incident. Was it there already? Someone on the forum said that a small/sharp bit like that could actually take a while to eventually puncture the tube. I canít say for sure how it got there.

But, I went ahead and pushed the sharp piece down with a smooth screw driver and covered it with a couple of pieces of tape. I pumped it up, went for a ride the next day and all seems great for now.

Other than that, I absolutely love the bike!

Here is a thread I made to ask about the issue. Thereís a pic of the rim, itís hard to make out but thatís what it looked like,

https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-m...ide-wheel.html
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Old 07-17-20, 09:11 PM
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Beautiful!
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Old 07-18-20, 01:13 AM
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Every option you list there is a good choice, so if I were you it would come down to local availability / customer service. Where I live the Trek happens to be the best 'bang for the buck', but that may vary depending on where you live.
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Old 07-20-20, 10:28 AM
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I used to do similar riding and still do fitness rides of 30-60kms on most days. I loved my Cannondale Quick 4 until it was stolen recently. With the amount of riding you do, I would focus on weight. The quick 4 with the carbon fork was a perfect match for the price for me. You might even want to stretch your budget to the Quick carbon if you can secure it properly. The way I think about it is the bike pays for itself in about a year by not paying for transit/car expenses.

I agree there are good deals to be head on lightly used bikes, i.e. you could get a full carbon bike used for the price of a new one with only a carbon fork. I tried several bikes when I bought mine 9 years ago and the Quick 4 was the best choice for me. It was a revelation how awesome the lighter bike handled. Things may have changed since though.

Locally I'm looking at a Devinci Copenhagen hybrid which looks very similar to the Qucik 4. Availability is a big issue here as well Toronto, Canada and I would like to get a replacement asap therefore I will probably have to resort to used. Good luck
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Old 07-25-20, 12:38 PM
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Thank you all for your insight! I've seen a bunch about the Sirrus X 2.0 (which is the one in my price range) and like that it is 1x8 gears. However, I've read that the 2020 model has cheaper parts compared to its older models and that the Marin Fairfax or Cannondale Quicks will have better components. Has anyone heard similarly? What are some thoughts?
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Old 07-25-20, 01:16 PM
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Exclamation not normal times...

Having the internet,

Did you look them all up and see if they're at your target price?

At the $800 price point, In a bike shop, they will all be more similar than different..

Assuming you have a dealer for every brand you listed, where you live.

Currently, You may have to Pay in advance for a bike still in transit across the sea.
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Old 07-25-20, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Having the internet,

Did you look them all up and see if they're at your target price?

At the $800 price point, In a bike shop, they will all be more similar than different..

Assuming you have a dealer for every brand you listed, where you live.

Currently, You may have to Pay in advance for a bike still in transit across the sea.
Hi, yes I did. The Cannondale is the most expensive I am considering (and would pay the $700 if it's as good as people say). I have checked and have dealers for all the bikes I'm considering: Marin, Specialized, and Cannondale. From what I'm hearing, it comes down to feel! Just unfortunate that can't happen here in Boston much.
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Old 07-25-20, 07:17 PM
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Are you buying your bike from an LBS? Many, many advantages to buying from a shop but you will pay more, plus most are short on bikes. It is a sellers market.

Can you do an internet fitment? Do you have some basic wrenching skills? If so, you can get a bike, well I did, for $600 that would be $8-900 in an LBS.

You can get an GRX 400 kitted Moto Pecan alu gravel bike for $800. Swap in some street slicks and you have a great urban bike. However, bike is not ready until November.

I got an Apex 1X kitted hybrid for my son for $599, but those are sold out. That bike would be perfect for you.
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Old 07-26-20, 05:06 PM
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This is my Jamis Coda
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