Getting a hybrid bike soon

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by kh6idf, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. kh6idf

    kh6idf New Member

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    I'm getting back into cycling after about 30 years. In college I had a road bike with drop bars (lived in Hawaii then) but now I'm in the flatlands of Houston and thinking a hybrid bike would be good for short to medium length rides, maybe longer as I gain experience.

    I'm looking at the Motobecane Cafe Noir from bikes direct, and have also looked at a Trek 7.3FX, and today looked at a Marin Fairfax. I haven't ridden any of these bikes yet but may go ride the Marin tomorrow.

    The most difficult thing is trying to guess the proper size if I decide to go with the Cafe Noir since I can't try it before I order.

    Sitting on the Trek 7.3FX 20" in the shop, it felt too big - I could barely straddle the top tube. The next smallest size of Trek is 17.5, quite a bit smaller, so I think trek is out for me.

    Tried sitting on a Marin Fairfax 17" (kind of small) and a 19" (felt about right, and the sales people thought it looked good as far as how far I had to reach for the handlebars, seat position, etc.)

    The Cafe Noir is a different geometry with a shorter wheelbase and a longer seat tube, but going by the standover height, I feel the 54cm would come closest to what the 19" Marin felt like. Bikes Direct is recommending a 56cm for someone my height (5'10"). My inseam measurement with shoes on is about 31" and I wear 29 or 30" inseam pants. I think I have a little shorter legs and a little longer torso than average for my height.

    So if I go with the Cafe Noir I'm trying to decide between the 54 cm and 56cm sizes. Not a huge difference between the two, I feel from past bike experience I can always raise the seat and adjust the handlebar position (the Cafe Noir has a nice pivoting adjustment for the bar height) to make the smaller frame work but if the 56cm is too big I would have to send it back.

    Any advice on the size issue or opinions on the two bikes (Cafe Noir vs Marin Fairfax)? I know the components on the Cafe noir are superior to the Farifax and I think the steel frame might give a smoother ride but I have never ridden an AL frame before.
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. I would get the smaller of the two frames because I presume the top tube on the 54cm frame is slightly shorter (i.e., possibly 56cm on the 54cm frame vs. possibly 57cm on the 56cm frame -- yes, I don't feel like looking up the geometry -- 1cm doesn't sound like a lot, but sometimes it is) ...

    BECAUSE, if you ever decide that you want to refit the bike with drop bars, you'll be better off with the frame whose top tube is closest to 56cm long.
     
  3. kh6idf

    kh6idf New Member

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    Well, I ended up getting the Marin Fairfax today. There is something to be said about buying from a local shop where you can test ride and be sure it fits. I got the 19" size.

    Also got quite a few other items (tire pump, mini tool kit, tire irons, 2 spare tubes , under-seat bag, water bottle & holder, chain lube, and most importantly, a good helmet.) I will probably get some bike shoes & gloves plus a good lock for my next purchase. You can probably tell this is my first bike in a while - I didn't have any of that stuff.

    Rode it around the neighborhood a little this afternoon before it got dark and raised the seat just a bit more after noticing it felt like my legs weren't extending quite far enough. Tomorrow morning they are having an early morning short ride at the bike shop as a memorial for one of their mechanics who just passed away (they're riding to his house from the shop). They told me he put together my bike. I told them I'd be there for the ride at 7:30AM (only about 5-6 miles). This will be a good shakedown ride and I'll have the guys from the shop riding with me so they can see how I fit on the bike. I feel pretty good about buying this bike at a LBS now.
     
  4. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Smart choice. There's something to be said for working with a shop that knows its products and listens to its customers.
     
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