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Bicycle Repair/New Bike Options Dilemma

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Question
Hi James:


I've been riding a mid 80's Trek 830 Chrome-Moly "Hybrid" frame for years. It was always a bit undersized and things are old/worn. I'd have to put in half the money as a new one in a similar category to keep it running.

I use my bike for exercise/daily enjoyment. Usually under 10 miles with some hills. Other times on flat dusty, gravel and dirt----or just plain crappy paved roads. Don't commute. I wouldn't be using it for narrow, steep, log hopping trails. Budget: $500-800

What I've seen

Checked the Trek FX 2,3 (7.2, 7.3) line and while nice, they seem jarring and sensitive to the lousy roads around here.

Checked the Specialized Sirrus Sport, but the feel wasn't quite there either. I felt too erect or something weird.

Impressed and spoiled by the feel of the Giant Tough Road SRL-2. The SRL-2 was silky smooth, but I was a bit nervous about trashing the carbon fiber fork. No offense to the ladies, but I don't want to put a pretty pink dress on it. About $150-200 over my budget.

Also looked at a Jamis Coda Sport and Comp. Both had a nice feel and ride, but I'm wondering about those times I want some dirt and gravel.

Frame seems to be the most important, since I'd probably be able to upgrade entry level components (exception: disc brakes)

A couple of questions/ideas.....

How well do these bikes hold up ? My current Trek chrome-moly bike with all metal components has literally lasted 30 years in crazy conditions. And, I've done the minimum maintenance.

Seems disc brakes are great for reducing rim wear. Is rim wear more of an issue on newer modern bikes ?

Just how "tender" do you need to treat bikes with carbon fiber forks? Half the time, I just lay my existing bike on it's side in the car.

Maybe since some of these bikes feel a bit nimble and "squirrely", would putting on some fatter tires help ?  Could the rims handle the roughness of dirt/gravel/bad pavement ?


Hoping for some opinions and directions here. Thanks

Answer
 While I can't speak to the specific models of bikes you cited, I can make some suggestions regarding your questions.
 I would be confidant that most contemporary frame designs/materials should provide worthy rivals for your old Trek's durability.
 Disc brakes do remove braking chores from the rim surface, thereby promoting the lightening/optimization of that critical wheel component. Disc brakes do far more to make braking consistent under sub-optimal conditions (rain, dirt, etc.)
 Carbon fiber frames/forks can be amazingly durable. Enjoy the superior ride-quality enhancements that carbon fiber offers, in terms of vibration damping, etc.
 Installing the widest/fattest tires that will fit your frame/fork is one of the best things you can do to quickly and easily boost your ride comfort; wider rubber at lower pressures will deliver the most "bang for buck". Doing so can actually lessen the load/shock on your rims/wheels.
  I hope this helps.  

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James Novak

Expertise

I can answer most inquiries with respect to bicycle assembly, repair, tuning and maintenance. I am less than inclined to speak on such questions as "What kind of bike should I buy?", &/or "What is this bike worth?", etc. Any answers to these types of questions may correlate poorly to an acceptable "fact/sarcasm" ratio.

Experience

7 seasons of "Professional" bicycle service/repair, etc. 4 seasons as Instructor, Professional Bicycle Mechanic training college. n-1 seasons of riding, cracking, crushing, mutilating and breaking bikes of any & all varieties, and thus requiring intense and at-hand skills development, etc.

Education/Credentials
Certified Professional Bicycle Mechanic; Winterborne Bicycle Institute/Conestoga College

Past/Present Clients
The Hub Bicycle Shop, Hespeler Winterborne Bicycle Institute

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