Another Newbie Needing Help


New Member
Feb 20, 2011
I'm looking for advice on a new bike to purchase. I'm 50 years old and many moons ago I had a Specialized Hybrid just to get around. Now with all of today's technology, it is tough to find just that one bike. I have looked at the Trek (Gary Fisher line) and test drove the Montare. It was a pretty nice ride. I live in the country in South Central Kansas and I live on sand roads. These roads when dry turn into VERY hard pack with just a little loose sand and of course the normal wash boards here and there. I do have pavement within 1 mile of me and I see myself riding a lot on both the pavement and on the sand roads. Probably half and half I would guess but no trail riding or riding across the wheat fields.

My question is this: Is the Montare the right choice for me or would something like the Trek 7.5 FX work good for me. My fitness level is very good (my wife says I'm obsessed). I'm looking at doing a Sprint Triathlon this year that is why I'm posing the question about the 7.5. My budget at this time does not allow me a good road bike and an all around bike too and quite frankly my interest in a road bike is very low. If a 7.5 would navigate sufficiently on hard packed sand roads, I feel this is the way I should go (due to higher paved road speeds) but I want to leave it to the experts on this forum. Or is there a "magic" bike out there I am missing ???? : )

Thanks for the help and input everyone.


Active Member
Sep 7, 2010
Momokahn: For the mix of riding surfaces you describe, I would say that the single most important factor would be to get bike that will accept tires wider than the typical road bike (which normally run 23 or 25 mm, and may fit up to 28 if you're lucky). You will read varying recommendations on the proper tire width, but I'd say you should look at 32 to 38 range. I don't know what the 7.5 FX will accomodate, you can look that up or ask the shop. It sounds like you need a tire with at least a bit of tread depth. You can vary the inflation pressure for a little more comfort on the rough roads (less pressure) and more speed on the paved roads (more pressure). This can be accomplished with either a flat-bar or drop-bar bike, whichever you are comforable with. For drop bars, you can look at frames that are built for cyclocross or touring, or at least leaning in that direction (again, to take wider tires, and likely will have cantilever brakes). Hope this helps, Steve


Mar 10, 2010
As mentioned above by Steve A, a bike that will except tire widths in the 35 to 38 range sounds good. It you want a road bike, but will also be riding off the pavement, you can take a look at cyclocross bikes (where you switch between sets of tires of varying widths). Cyclocross bikes, by the way, were made to ride across wheat fields, just in case you do get the urge to do so. A performance hybrid with a flat bar may also work. As far as budget is concerned, there are quite a few good deals online...JensonUSA, Nashbar, Performance, Bikes Direct. They often have special deals that are sometimes hard to pass up. Worth taking a look at the websites. You do need to do a little assembly and make a few mechanical adjustments after the box arrives at your door. If riding is your specialty, but "trueing" wheels isn't, you may want to buy a bike from a reliable local bike shop. They will set it up, adjust it, tune it up after a few months, and make warranty issues easier to handle.

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