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Is the BS (bike shop) giving me BS (the other kind)?

Old 05-17-11, 08:04 PM
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goagain
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Is the BS (bike shop) giving me BS (the other kind)?

I have received many very helpful replies to my other thread, and need advice about my bike shop visit today.

I will try to be as brief as I can to explain to date.

As you may know, I am an older female newbie rider and trying to decide which entry level bike to buy for casual riding on pavement or mostly smooth surfaces with some hills. There is no bike shop in my town but the two closest ones sell Giant brand. Therefore, I am trying to decide between the Cypress W (700c, alum frame, suspension fork), the Sedona W (26", alum frame, suspen fork), the Cypress ST W (700, cromo frame, rigid cromo fork), and the Sedona ST W (26", cromo frame, rigid cromo fork). The bikes are very similar or maybe identical except for the info in ( ), all have 21 gears and are women's styles. They are $400/$330 bikes, the cromo models being the less expensive.

After reading the advice of many posts, I decided to try one of the cromo/rigid fork models, still debating whether to get 700c or 26" wheels. I'm a hair under 5'3" tall.

Today I visited the closest bike shop, hoping to see these four models and ride at least some of them. The BS had only the Cypress W (alum w/ suspen fork), size S. The only Sedona they had was a men's bike, alum w/ suspen fork, not sure which size on that. They did not offer me a test ride or set the bikes up so I could "try" them inside. I did straddle the Cypress W twice, and on the second time, the BS employee said he thought it was too tall for me, at which time he encouraged me to get the men's Sedona bike, which I don't want. (I know the frame is better, but I want the women's style.) He said he thought I'd need an XS in a Cypress (700c) or a S in a Sedona (26" wheels).

I asked about the steel models with the rigid forks, and he did not even want to discuss those. I asked if they could order them, and he said they *could*, BUT..., acting like he didn't want to order those. I asked about weights (as the Giant website says to do at a dealership), and he said he didn't know. He did finally weigh the Cypress W, and said it weighs 33 pounds. He said the steel models were "too heavy and no one would ride them", so they never have them in stock. I told him I had been told the suspension forks on these lower end bikes weren't good and were too heavy, but he said the steel models with the rigid forks would still be much heavier, probably at least 40 pounds, although he didn't know their weights. He also said these models were not lower end, but were actually "mid-level" bikes. From my perusing of the Giant website, they seem to be their low end bikes to me, when compared to their other bikes.

I left the BS somewhat disappointed that they did not seem to even want to discuss the cromo bikes, which most posts here and in another bike forum have recommended for me, and they did not let me try out the one they had in any way. Their prices are also about $45-$60 above those suggested on the Giant website.

I was already a little wary of them, because I had emailed a different employee of theirs who wasn't there today a few weeks ago, and was told several things which posts in another bike forum all agreed were bunk. I would like to hear from people here on that info as well.

In emails from the BS I was told that the cromo bikes are much heavier than the alum ones with the suspen forks, and that anyway, i wouldn't want cromo because the ride is not good, and that after a year of riding one, it would not ride nearly as well as a new cromo one, due to "metal fatigue of the steel." That if I rode a year-old bike around the block, and then an identical one that was new, I could tell a big difference because the steel would have deteriorated. The bike forum I was reading at that time said that this is insane info, and also that no bike shop charges more than the suggested MSRP. That forum was also in agreement with posts here, saying that the low end alum frames are just about as heavy as, or maybe heavier than, a cromo one (because the alum has to be thicker to have enough strength), and that the suspension forks at that price would be junk. Also that the alum models have the suspen forks because alum is such a stiff, hard ride they are necessary, and that cromo is much better and absorbs shock much better than alum. The BS totally disagreed with this. They really pushed the alum/susp fork model then and today.

I am also wondering if the cromo Cypress and Sedonas are really that heavy ("at least 40 lbs" in a S size), because LLBean has a 7-speed steel model (yes, I've been told these are BSO's, made by Schwinn) that is listed as weighing only 30 lbs. It's hard for me to believe the Schwinn/LLB steel bike would be at least 10 lbs lighter than the Giant cromo bike. Does anyone actually know the weights of these cromo bikes? This Giant bike shop claimed to not know, but then said they would be at least 40 lbs. Are they totally giving me bull?

I do plan to visit the other bike shop that is within reasonable driving distance when I have time. Should I expect them to be able to tell me what these models weigh? And should they be willing to discuss the cromo models? Is everyone on this forum and the other forum crazy, or is BS #1 crazy? Should I be able to try the bikes by some method? I am feeling a little frustrated in my "great bike search" at the moment. I've spent many hours trying to find out about these bikes, and the BS visit today was a bust imo.

Sorry for the wordy post.

Please advise if you have time. Also advise if one of these models/wheel size is likely more sure-footed or stable than the other, for safety. Thanks so much!
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Old 05-17-11, 08:18 PM
  #2  
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Links, for the heck of it, to compare:
Sedona ST W cromo: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/....w/7340/44138/
Sedona W alum/suspen fork: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...er/7340/44547/
The BSO that's supposedly 10 pounds lighter (LLBean steel): https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/68611?feat=500240-GN3
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Old 05-17-11, 08:27 PM
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Wow - it looks like you're having a time with it!

I can't speak towards the relative weights of a rigid-fork steel frame v. suspension fork aluminum frame. But the link can give you some insight on steel v. aluminum:

https://www.rivbike.com/article/bicyc...rame_materials

[Proviso: The author - Grant Peterson, Founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works - can come off as a bit eccentric, and it shows in his writing. Ignore that, and focus on the facts that he offers.]

In short, steel is springier and aluminum is stiffer, thus they provide different rides. The whole yarn about steel deterioration is nothing short of bollocks - Bike Forums has a group (classic and vintage) that is dedicated to those of us that have old steel framed bikes (To wit, in reverse order, my steel bikes are: 40 years, 38 years, 17 years and <1 year). If steel deteriorated the way the LBS (Local Bike Shop) said, I'd only have one bike - the <1 year old.

His point about folks not wanting to ride steel is somewhat valid - that's more a function of marketing, though. Folks that don't know any better (through no fault of their own) have been told that steel bikes are old and heavy and slow and that the best bike to have is the newest, lightest material (Aluminum, Titanium and Carbon Fiber). That's true if you're racing and/or doing a lot of uphill riding. For the other 98% of us, we do not ride well enough or fast enough to enjoy the benefit of lighter materials. Mind you, that doesn't mean that we all want to be riding 75 lb bikes, but the weight difference between steel and aluminum (or Ti or CF) is not going to matter that much. As the article says, the rider is the heaviest part of the bike.

You might want to find another bike shop. Sorry that your foray into bicycles is starting out so negatively.
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Old 05-17-11, 08:37 PM
  #4  
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I do see some concerns with the information they gave to you. I will agree that a cro-mo bike can be heavier than an aluminum one, but that isn't always the case. My steel road bike is considerably lighter than my aluminum hybrid. Even if the cro-mo Cypress or Sedona is heavier, it won't be such a major difference unless you are climbing some major hills.

A second concern I have is about the supposed degree of metal fatigue that would occur in one year. A bicycle, when used for normal street and fitness cycling, is not subjected to the level of stress that would cause metal fatigue in a year. In fact, you can find many vintage cro-mo bicycles that still have terrific rides.

I am also concerned that they automatically said you would need an XS Cypress, but an S Sedona. The geometry of the two bikes, from the rider's perspective, are very similar. They both have the rider sitting in an upright position, with relaxed angles for the head tubes and seat tubes. While the tire sizes do control how high you are off the ground to a very small degree, it isn't that simple. You would really need to sit on the bikes to check the total fit, including handlebar reach. If you want a women's step-through frame, you don't want to do sizing on a men's bike, as the geometry is quite different.

I like the Sedona and the Cypress, and think either one would serve you well. My preference for tires on a hybrid is either 26" or wide 700c. The tires that come on the Sedona are 26x1.95 Kenda tires, and they are good rolling tires with a great ride. The Cypress comes with similar tires, though slightly narrower (they are plenty wide enough). While 26" tires are probably more stable for a shorter person (only by a tiny degree), both will be very sure-footed. If you are doing neighborhood riding, you will notice little or no difference in the riding style of the two bikes. I don't think there is a difference in the safety factors between the two bikes.

They also probably guessed about the weight of the bikes, as Giant makes a point to not tell how much their bikes weigh. A shop can weigh a bicycle in the store, but they don't have the cro-mo one at the store to weigh!

Do you know if there are any other Giant dealers in your area? If not, you could always consider looking at similar styles in the Trek or Cannondale brand at other stores.
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Old 05-17-11, 08:45 PM
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Can I say that my experience is verrry similar. None of my LBS want to speak of steel frame bikes, mostly because they don't stock them. In my case, they say that the salt in the air in Miami beach isn't good for the steel bikes. Another store said over the phone that aluminum frames were more a comfortable ride than steel, I asked him this twice just to make sure I got the same answer. I'm narrowing it down though...I think...

Good Luck
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Old 05-17-11, 08:48 PM
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Pirate: Very interesting article on bike materials, thanks!
I still want to see one of the cromo bikes. The more they discourage them, the more curious i am.
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Old 05-17-11, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by goagain View Post
I will try to be as brief as I can
What happens when you don't try?
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Old 05-17-11, 08:57 PM
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+1 on Pirate's post.

The BS is giving you a whole lot of BS. Obviously they want to separate your money from you, without doing anything for you. I also had a bad experience with a LBS, fortunately there are a lot of bike shops close, and I found one that I really like - Wheel Away on Hamilton. The employees evening like my 1985 Schwinn World Tourist.

If you were anywhere near San Jose, CA; I'd be happy to adjust a bike I have to you size and let you try it - it is Cro-Mo, no suspension.
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Old 05-17-11, 09:00 PM
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Scooby and Alex: Hadn't seen your posts til just now, thanks! I appreciate the info on the relative stability of these choices.
I don't live anywhere near the sea, so I don't know why the cromo models are blacklisted in my area. Now I'm determined to see one! The price isn't enough lower to affect their profit, I'd guess, so I don't know why they are so against them.
There are few bike shops within easy driving distance. The next closest after the two that sell Giant is a Trek shop. I haven't even been able to locate a Cannondale shop at all. The comparable Trek model (700 women's) didn't seem as good as the Giants, and the color wasn't as pretty. (I know, I know!)

Hopefully BS#2 will be more helpful. What should I do if they don't have a cromo model? And is there a way to sit on the bikes inside the shop if they don't want me to actually ride them? I was just expecting a little more help at the shop, I guess.

Thanks for your encouragement and support!
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Old 05-17-11, 09:01 PM
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goagain
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Dan the Man: Oh I can write a book! I type faster than I talk! LOL (sorry)
And thanks for plodding through it!

Last edited by goagain; 05-17-11 at 09:08 PM. Reason: added Thanks
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Old 05-17-11, 09:04 PM
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Nfmisso: Thanks for your offer! As I'm in GA, I guess your bike is a little far away for that.
I saw one OP that had "y'all's" in it--I felt right at home!
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Old 05-17-11, 11:35 PM
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I frequent two shops which sell hybrids, and the bulk of the bikes sold in both, are steel. One shop now only stocks steel frames and the other sells both. (Japan)
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Old 05-18-11, 12:20 AM
  #13  
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This all-too-common shortsighted marketing strategy employed by your LBS makes never fails to amaze me. While it may indeed be more profitable to peddle what's on the showroom floor, to me it makes more sense to satisfy your customer. A happy customer is a repeat customer. If you're happy with the service you'll likely be back for the inevitable upgrades and accessories. You'll probably tell your friends about the great service you got there when they express an interest in cycling, too. This concludes my rant.

The indignant remarks about steel bikes have been well debated above. The most comfortable bike in my fleet is a 20-year-old rigid steel Raleigh MTB. I love using it when I'm riding with my son, since I have to go pretty slow to match the pace he sets on his run bike (although he's getting faster every day). The Raleigh's short wheelbase, 26*1.5" slicks, and steel frameset make for a cushy ride and the bike is easy to handle at slow speeds. My other bikes feel unwieldy at those speeds. I have one aluminum-framed hybrid with 700c wheels and a suspension fork. It's comfortable enough, but I prefer my steel bikes.

In my experience 26" wheel bikes feel more sure-footed and stable, especially at slower speeds, but YMMV. I would therefore lean toward the Sedona from the choices you listed, but only a real test ride outside of the bike shop on the types of surfaces you intend to ride on will let you know the truth. I say walk away from that bike shop and never go back, except to show off the bike you bought at the other LBS that offered you excellent service.
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Old 05-18-11, 03:56 AM
  #14  
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Didn't find the courage to read the whole manuscript but I must say I like the title of it
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Old 05-18-11, 05:33 AM
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I live in Canada and apparently the ST designation is an American version that isn`t offered here. In Canada the only fully rigid model available is the Giant Cypress R W which looks like an equivalent to the Cypress ST W.

and the only reason I`m mentioning that is because although Giant doesn`t list weights on either their website or in their literature, there are over 1,000 bikes on the floor of a dealer I`ll be working at tomorrow and I`l see if I can get a comparable cromoly and aluminum model weighed in the same size.

The issue you`re probably running into is the attitude of some bike shops to order what they know they can sell easily and then concentrate on selling whats in the store rather than what the customer really wants. They exist in Canada too and I refuse to work for them.
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Old 05-18-11, 08:51 AM
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I've been to probably 25 bike shops in the last 4 years...and I had similar experiences in about 20 of them. Last time I needed service, I drove for an hour because the 'right' bike shop is the only one worth going to. They want to sell whats on the show room floor, but they don't want to stock anything unique, and they'll always try to upsell you between the 6 or so models they actually DO carry. What makes it even worse is how hard it is to find certain popular models - everyone loves the Coda, for instance, and its been around forever, but even Jamis dealers don't usually stock it.

Are you near a major metro area at all? the only solution I can think of is to call ahead to find available test ride's of the bikes you would like and make appointments.

If your LBS wont let you test drive before you buy, they're obsolete and the internet can offer you the same products cheaper.
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Old 05-18-11, 12:09 PM
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BS #1 are idiots and I wouldn't go back to them under any circumstance. There's a ton of red flags in your post but the gold medal goes to "metal fatigue of the steel". I'd say this one edges out the silver medalist "I wouldn't want cromo because the ride is not good". Coming in third for the bronze would be the bikes $45 to $60 over MSRP. The gold and silver medalist above are actually 180 degree antithesis of the two primary selling points of steel: 1) Strength/durability and 2) Ride quality.

You may not want a sporty hybrid but take a look at the Jamis Coda to serve proof that chromoly is not in itself heavy. I can pretty much guarantee you the steel bikes you asked about are not 40 lbs. The guy wants to move his aluminum suspension fork stock. Also, since you're not looking for a $5000 cutting edge carbon road bike he won't make much off the sale so his effort with you is proportional. I'm not sure how long that BS has been there but I see the symptoms of a dying business.

Go elsewhere for your business and stick to your guns.

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Old 05-18-11, 05:22 PM
  #18  
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Thanks, everyone! I am now even more determined to find one of the cromo models, probably the Sedona ST W with the 26" wheels, and maybe someday when they need replacing get slightly narrower tires. (The alum Cypress W in size S seemed very TALL yesterday, although I didn't get to even sit on it.)

I looked at the Jamis--Wow, a bike site that lists the weight! Wonders never cease.

Other than the one Trek shop that's farther away, there are no other BS's within reasonable driving distance.

Burton, if you could check the weights of the bikes, I'd sure appreciate it. Although my knowledge base is small, I too am doubting the Giant cromo models would weigh 40 pounds in size S. If the tags are correct, many of the bikes at Target don't weigh more than that! Also, LLBean has a 7-speed steel bike that is described as weighing about 28 pounds. I think their bikes are made by Schwinn, so why would a Giant bike weigh 40 lbs.?

I'm going to visit the next closest bike shop when I have time, and hope they will be a little more enthusiastic about helping me. I would like to get to actually sit on a bike and get the fit checked! BS#2's online catalog actually lists the Sedona ST W, so I'm hoping they'll have one in stock. The only women's Cypress they list is the alum one with the clunky fork.

My husband knows nothing about bikes but is a retired civil/structural engineer. He said the remark about the "metal fatigue" in the steel bikes didn't make any sense to him, either. I think BS#1 is nuts. Wish me luck in finding one of the cromo models!

Also, thanks for the advice on the relative stability of these. Sounds like 26" has a tiny advantage over 700c and would be slightly shorter too.
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Old 05-18-11, 05:48 PM
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Steel is a great material for bike frames. Unfortunatley, it takes more work, technique, and thus cost to make a great steel frame. And you will not get a great steel frame in a bike that costs $400. What you will get is a steel frame made from straight gauge steel. It may not even be chromoly (CM). If it is CM, it is the absolute bottom of the line chromoly. Back in the early '90's almost all mid level bikes and up were CM steel. Aluminum was almost considered exotic. Now, triple butted CM steel is exotic and aluminum is common place, mostly because it is now cheaper to produce aluminum frames. There is nothing wrong with today's aluminum frames. In fact, there is a lot right with them. New hydroforming and welding techniques are filtering down to even entry level bikes. Aluminum rides as good as steel or anything else with the new production techniques, ie., hydroforming et al. Suspension systems really opened up the widespread use of aluminum for frames, and now with the new hydroforming it is a no brainer. Steel is still great but you will pay a premium for good steel tubing. Ordinary high tensile steel and low level CM are not superior in my opinion. Really expensive triple butted stuff like the Tange, Reynolds, and Columbus are good but you will not find this tubing anymore on bikes that are under $1,000. Most real good steel bikes are $3,000 and up.

Bottom line, don't sweat it that the bike you are looking at is aluminum. It is most likely better than the equivalent cost steel bike.
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Old 05-18-11, 06:08 PM
  #20  
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I've never weighed it, but I would be very surprised if my hydroformed Marin Bobcat Trail weighs less than 36lbs. I've read that the same bike one size smaller weighs 35, so mine is likely 37+. So "hydroform", whatever the hell that means, doesn't mean light bike.
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Old 05-18-11, 06:24 PM
  #21  
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I'm going to give you a different perspective on this. The frame material really doesn't matter, regardless of what you read on these forums, as long as the designers made good choices when they designed the frame/fork and chose the components for the bike. A lot of what you read about the different frame materials and the effect on the ride quality is based on myths, not facts. The Giant bikes that you are interested in are great and will serve you and your purposes well.

This is all you really need to do: You should buy the pretty, women's specific bike that you want from the bike shop that treats you well and makes sure you get a proper fit. And you shoudn't feel bad at all about wanting a pretty bike, it's better than having a non-pretty bike. You want to smile when you see your bike, not feel like it's ho hum.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:01 PM
  #22  
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One important fact on the Cypress: it is a pedals forward design. This may be good for a shorter rider just getting back into the game. These have the crank set slightly more forward than the traditional geometry giving you the ability to have the saddle adjusted for optimal pedal stroke AND be able to place your feet on the ground from the seated position.
Before you over-research this by seeking what others like, go test ride these bikes.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:04 PM
  #23  
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Avoid the LLBean bike if you will be riding on hills. It has no front derailleur. Which = less gears for climbing even small hills.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:15 PM
  #24  
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Thanks for the new posts--I'm loving them all!

I don't feel bad about wanting a pretty color. Pretty is good! Fortunately, all four of these look OK. I think the components, other than those being discussed, are the same on all four models. But how will I know if the designers "made good choices"? I'm not trying to be a smart-a, I'm sincerely asking.

According to the specs on the Giant website, these models are cromo. I'm sure neither the cromo nor the aluminum ones are high quality because these are all very inexpensive bikes as far as bike shop brands go. The majority consensus so far seems to be that cheap cromo frames are as good as or better than cheap aluminum ones (and probably even weigh close to the same) and don't have the added weight of the not-good-at-all suspension fork. I'm just recapping the majority of the posts I've read. I don't claim to have any direct knowledge on these matters. And, I've also read that it is more difficult to make a quality aluminum frame than it is to make a quality steel one--?? Anyone want to elaborate on Tall's post? It may sway my decision! I'm here to learn and would love to hear more of the pro-alum viewpoint.

It's the clunkier fork that bothers me more than the material per se, although it's my understanding the low-end aluminum models need them because of aluminum's properties. All the low-end alum bikes I've looked at have those forks. I think it will make it harder to pedal and probably not be that durable. I don't have any real aches and pains and am not as concerned with a perfectly smooth ride as I am with the strength required for climbing those hills in my neighborhood. I could be totally off base here, though. I may breeze up the hills (NOT!) and then be covered with bruises. LOL

OK, everyone--please weigh (no pun intended) in on this. Every time I think I've finally made up my mind, I read more and start doubting again.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:25 PM
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ciao_bella
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The bike shop is giving you a bunch of nonsense. I’d be hesitant to buy from them, which is too bad since Giant makes some nice bikes.

I’m 58 years old. I LOVE my steel bikes. For years I rode a 1997 Trek 730, which I still own, and it has a wonderful ride. It’s still a great, comfortable bike, no “metal fatigue” that I can tell. Last year I had “newbikeitis” and bought a 2010 Specialized Vita Comp with an aluminum frame. I sold it already because, although I loved the componentry on the bike, I couldn’t stand the harsh stiff ride of the aluminum frame which rattled my bones. Every time I rode that bike I would ache from head to toe.

As for an aluminum frame with shock absorbers, that’s a matter of personal preference. My husband has that set up, but I find it annoying when the bicycle bobs up and down over bumps, and that causes the bike to slow down a bit as it loses some forward momentum. With a steel frame, you don’t need shock absorbers because it gives a comfortable ride as is.

My steel Jamis Coda weighs 25 pounds. My steel Trek 730 weighs 27 pounds. Both are sized medium (I’m 5’5” tall). I can’t imagine that a steel Giant Sedona or Cypress in size small would weigh 40 pounds, that just doesn’t make sense. You could try calling the Giant customer service number and ask if they can give you an approximate weight of the bike you are considering.
That number is: 1-800-US-GIANT

As for the 26” wheel vs the 700c wheel, the 700c has a faster roll to it. My husband had a 26” wheel on his Cannondale comfort bike, and he had to pedal it harder to keep up with my faster rolling 700c wheels. He recently sold that bike and bought a new Specialized Crosstrail bike, which is comparable to the Giant Cypress, with 700c wheels, and he’s much happier with it.
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