Purchase of Hybrid


New Member
Aug 7, 2003
I am about to replace a 23 yo Ricardo road bike. I had a back injury a few years ago and had the handlebars changed to upright, but it's not that great as it wasn't really designed for that configuration.

I will be using the new bike almost entirely on sealed and gravelled bike paths and commuting to work (road and sealed path).

It seems that a hybrid would be best for this purpose, although one MTB dealer said that a modified MTB is a better "all-rounder".

From what I've seen, the hybrid riding position is probably better for a dodgy back (more upright).

I'm looking inthe AU$600 - 800 range.

I have seen two hybrids that I'm quite interested in. The Trek 7200 ($749) and the Shogun Metro GS ($649), both from different dealers. Each recommends the brand they sell (obviously) and has criticisms of the other. So it's hard to get an unbiased opinion (if that's possible with dealers or riders).

The Trek has front suspension, the Shogun has fixed forks. The Shimano components on the Shogun are better quality (Deore and Deore LX compared with Alivio on the Trek). Both have suspension seat posts. Brakes seem to be better on the Shogun as well.

I believe Shogun is an Australian brand, but their website gives very little information and doesn't even have the current models.

From what I understand, most, if not all bikes in this price range are made in China or Taiwan anyway.

So, a few questions:

Are Shogun a good brand?

What is the quality of the frame, wheels and build compared to Trek?

Am I paying for brandname and sponsorship with Trek (as suggested by Shogun dealer)?

What are the arguments for and against front suspension/ fixed forks?

Apparently the 2004 Shogun will have front suspension and will be a little more expensive, so I need to decide how important this is. The 2004 Trek will apparently be an upgrade over the 2003 model and will be a little cheaper (according to Trek dealer).

Am I better to get the Shogun and spend the difference on accessories, or is the Trek so much better frame, wheel and build quality (and with suspension) that it's worth the extra?

I'm hoping to purchase in the next couple of weeks.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
My wife and I bought a pair of hybrids about 5 years ago when we were still living in Australia. For the riding we were doing around Brisbane and later Sydney, they were a great choice. Very comfortable and great for commuting on bike paths etc. IMHO, a hybrid is a better choice for you if you know you'll never do any technical mountain biking. You'll get a higher gearset on the hybrid, and less rolling resistance. When it's all said and done, you're buying it for commuting and bike paths, not to be an all-rounder!

Neither of our hybrids have suspension forks. When I saw the latest models, I thought that might be a good idea. Since buying mountain bikes with decent suspension forks, I really don't think it matters for a hybrid, unless you have wrist problems. With a good set of cycling gloves, and you'll probably find you prefer the feedback of the rigid fork over the suspension.

Components - it's nice to have the higher level of components. You'll probably get a longer life out of them (providing you clean and maintain well), with slicker shifting and less adjustments. However there's nothing wrong with any of the Shimano groups for city riding... Wheels are just another component....

As to brands... my hybrid is a Giant (Farrago), my wife's a Shogun (Metro AT). The Shogun frame isn't in the same quality and construction class as the Giant, but it's certainly not bad for a commuter. The weld quality and material quality of the Shogun isn't as good, but it has still lasted well for us - 5 years, 2 interstate moves and 1 international relocation while spending the majority of it's life being stored on a balcony! The Giant is in much better shape now, though - much more solid and long lasting.

Trek frames are generally a bit more expensive again than Giants, though not necessarily any higher in quality - do you have a dealer who sells Giant? IMO, Giant offers great value - definitely worth a look!

When it all comes down to it, buy the one that is most comfortable for you to ride. Have you test ridden any of the bikes yet? There is a significant difference in the frame geometry between the brands. If the bike isn't comfortable for you to ride, you just won't want to get on it! - especially important considering you already have a back problem.
Yes, all these bike frames - shogun, trek, giant etc. come out of the same factory in China (Merida).

Front suspension adds a lot of weight. If you'er not curb jumping and rock hopping don't bother with it. Steel frames are more comfortable to ride than alloy but cheap steel frames will probably be too heavy.

BTW do you know anything about ricardo bikes/frames? a friend has a ricardo track bike and I was wondering where it might be from etc?

Look after your back - get into some stretching & light-weight yoga if you can. Tai Chi is very good for your back as well. Once you learn the form your can do it any time and your whole body will get stronger.

Regards Jay.

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