The Best Hybrid Bike

After 50 hours of research and testing conducted over the past 2 years, we’ve determined that if you want a versatile bike for riding around town, a performance hybrid like the $490 Trek 7.2 FX is likely the right bike for you. In a world congested with countless nearly-identical bikes, the 7.2 FX is our top choice for the second year in a row, and it can work for anything from short road rides to commuting moderate distances to work. It’s nimble, lightweight, and better-equipped for the price than any other brand-name bike in its price range.

Last Updated: April 22, 2015
Trek just announced a recall of all of its bicycles with front disc brakes. The quick release lever on the front wheel hub can interfere with the brake assembly, causing the wheel to come off or stop suddenly. Please note: This does NOT affect our main pick, which is a Trek bike without disc brakes. However, if you did buy a Trek with front disc brakes and a black or silver quick release lever between 1999 and today, you should stop using the bike and contact Trek. Authorized Trek dealers will replace the quick release lever on the bike for free. For more information contact Trek at (800) 373-4594 or and click on Safety & Recalls at the bottom of the page.
Expand Most Recent Updates
April 2, 2015: After testing hybrid bikes over the past two years, we found that the most versatile bike for riding around town is the $490 Trek 7.2 FX (for the second year in a row). It rides well on short road rides and moderate commuting distances. It’s also nimble, lightweight, and—most importantly—better-equipped than any other brand-name bike in its price range.
March 3, 2015: After an additional 20 hours of research and testing three finalists, the Trek 7.2 FX remains our pick for most people in 2015. It's a very similar bike with a cheaper MSRP of $490 vs $550 for 2014.  However, in order to get that cheaper price, they used a few cheaper components. But it's still in line with everything else in the field and we think most casual/commuter bikers will not notice any difference—other than the cheaper price. Basically, you're getting the same bike experience for $60 less. However, if you can still find a 2014 model on sale, you will get a slightly better bike for about the same amount of money. Look for our updated guide with the latest description of the 2015 model in about a month.
September 17, 2014: Setting this guide to wait status since the 2014 Trek is starting to be phased out in favor of the 2015. But we still really like this bike, and if you find it in a local bike shop, we recommend you get it. We're just beginning research on the best models for 2015.
April 23, 2014: We added a detailed explanation of why we prefer the 7.2 FX over the 7.1 model.
April 14, 2014: Added a link to Bike Radar's kid's bike buying guide, which will help you identify the right bike size, weight, and features for pre-schoolers through 12-year-olds.

It comes standard with some basic components, like metal pedals, that the competition will sometimes charge extra for. Its steel fork absorbs more road vibration than the aluminum forks that equip a lot of the closest competition. And it also has puncture-resistant tires, which saves you from spending (minimum!) another $60 to upgrade. Basically, the Trek FX 7.2 doesn’t nickel and dime you for important features that contribute to the comfort and quality of the ride.

Trek 7.2 FX
The Trek combines a higher-quality component package than other models with a better price point. Several months of test rides confirmed it can handle even the most hectic city traffic and is built to last.

Trek made some minor changes between last year’s model and the new 2015, but at its core the Trek FX 7.2 is the same great bike we liked last year—just at a lower price. This is great news because you’re paying less for a bike that rides just as well. Like last year, when compared to other brands, Trek just gets it right. Specifically, for the $490 MSRP (though it often retails for less) you can expect to get a steel fork, metal-wrapped pedals, Shimano shifters and derailleurs, and puncture-resistant tires, which are exactly the features you need. These are things that contribute to the comfort of the ride, and on other similarly-priced bikes these components are often made of materials that wear out faster or aren’t as suited for the job of everyday riding.

It also comes in a women’s-specific design configuration (which you may not want—more detail on this here) and a disc brake model if that’s something you decide you need (but for casual street riding, we don’t think you do).

Also Great
Specialized Sirrus
For about the same price, you can get an almost-identical bike. However, you’ll have to upgrade the pedals if you want them to last.

If you don’t have a Trek dealer near you, or the Trek is selling for substantially more than its $490 MSRP, the Specialized Sirrus a good alternative. The only major difference between the Sirrus and our top choice is the plastic pedals, which won’t grip as solidly or last as long as the alloy cage pedals on the Trek. There’s also the paint job, which comes down to personal preference. The Specialized is available in WSD as well.

Also Great
Jamis 2015 Coda Sport
This steel-framed bike provides a fun, smooth ride that has a different feel than either the Trek or the Sirrus, but at the expense of a little maneuverability.

The $520 Jamis Coda Sport has a steel frame, as opposed to aluminum like the Trek. The difference can be felt in the smoothness of the ride—steel absorbs more road chatter and can go a long way to mellowing out some of the more jarring bumps and inevitable holes in the road. It also fits a little differently, with a lean over the handlebars that’s just a teeny-tiny bit more aggressive than the FX’s.

However, the handling is a little more sluggish than on either the FX or the Sirrus. The Coda is also a little pricier. We feel strongly that the more agile handling of the FX is better suited to city commutes, but the Coda is a great bike for easy-going rides.

Table of contents

Why should you trust us?

This guide features reporting and testing by Thom Parsons and Eve O’Neill, both of whom have extensive experience riding and working with bikes.

Parsons spent more than 15 years working as a journeyman mechanic at some of Boston’s largest bike shops, about the same number of years racing bikes at the Expert or Elite level, and helps run a program that distributes more than 1,000 bikes per year to low-income Boston residents. His original reporting was grounded in his real world experience of seeing all kinds of bikes after they’ve been out in the real world for a few years. After a while it becomes obvious what works and what doesn’t as far as bike parts go.

O’Neill has been a regular commuter in the cities of San Francisco and Oakland for the past 8 years. An alum of several 100K rides and a frequent race day volunteer, she has been researching and reporting on commuter and cycling gear for The Sweethome for almost two years.

We also spoke to Sarai Snyder, founder of Girl Bike Love and CycloFemme; David Studner, project manager for Trek’s City Bike division; and the staff members at more than seven Bay Area bike shops, including Roaring Mouse Cycles, Missing Link, Bay Area Bikes, City Cycle of San Francisco, Mike’s Bikes, REI, and Performance Bicycle.

Who is this guide for?

While it’s not as light and fast as a road bike, you will be comfortable on most recreational trips of roughly 25 miles or less.

The fitness or performance hybrid is great for anyone buying their first bike—or first bike in a long time. If you want to get into cycling, start here. This is also the right bike for commuters, able to cover moderate distances over varied terrain with ease and relative comfort. And if you want to go on long, leisurely weekend rides with your friends or family this is the bike for you. While it’s not as light and fast as a road bike, you will be comfortable on most recreational trips of roughly 25 miles or less.

If you already own a mountain bike or road bike, but use it primarily for getting around town, you might consider adding this to your stable. A hybrid is often cheaper to fix (no specialty parts in weird sizes), can be tricked out with racks and fenders more easily, and it’s also an investment in health and security. The comfort of the ride reduces long-term wear and tear on your body, and if it gets stolen, it’s cheaper to replace than your prized mountain or road bike.

And it doesn’t look too dorky. The same can’t be said for clunky comfort hybrid bikes, which add ineffective and heavy suspension that even a 90-year-old grandmother wouldn’t benefit from. Similarly, “commuter” hybrids can come equipped with racks and fenders (mud/rain guards) that add a lot of unnecessary weight.

Weight is a moderately important consideration for commuter bikes. There’s no need to make investments in shedding ounces; we just mean there will probably come a time when you have to get this thing up a set of stairs. When you do, you’ll be happy you left all the extra clutter behind. And if you like those features, you can always add them later on.

Another good thing about fitness hybrid bikes is that they don’t become redundant if you decide to upgrade to a higher-end road or mountain bike. This bike will always serve a purpose, even if it’s just your commuter or grocery-getter, providing you with all the benefits we mentioned above.

How we picked

I started my research by searching the web for “best hybrid bike” and “hybrid bike guides.” What I found wasn’t all that helpful. There are lots of sites out there that will help you decide what type of bike you need, breaking down the differences between a “Fitness Bike,” “Comfort Bike,” “Mountain Bike,” “Cross Bike,” “Road Bike,” and “Unicycle.”1

Bicycle Habitat and Consumer Reports both have great guides for narrowing down what kind of bike you need. Of course there are also a whole lot of guides out there created by retailers who just happen to sell the bikes they coincidentally end up recommending. You should probably steer away from those.

The guides will tell you that a bike is better due to some vague reason—“it will dish out whatever you can take,” “it has a solid Shimano parts package”—but this stuff is meaningless. What they fail to mention is the truth about this category of commuter bikes: They are all basically the same.

Our experience in the bike industry has taught us that around $500 is a good amount to spend on a first-time or casual-use bike.

Our experience in the bike industry has taught us that around $500 is a good amount to spend on a first-time or casual-use bike. That’s the price point at which you can start expecting bikes to last a long time and perform consistently well between tune-ups, which are fewer and farther between. Spending less means you’ll end up making up the difference, and then some, in maintenance costs. Spending more means you’re mostly paying for lighter, more premium materials and components that a novice biker won’t really notice or benefit from—especially if you’re talking about a hybrid bike, which is designed for versatility and approachability over pure speed.

If you want a lighter bike, it’s worth looking into if you commute a very long distance, or if you plan on getting into road cycling and are going to log 20-100+ miles every weekend. But it’s not worth it for simply riding around town, because lighter-weight bikes aren’t very utilitarian and because they can be very, very expensive. They often can’t accommodate things like racks and fenders, and expensive bikes become targets for professional bike thieves like the ones we interviewed for our bike lock guide.

At this price point, a hybrid’s frame should be aluminum—and most of them are. Despite what the various manufacturers claim, the frames on these bikes are nearly identical. This doesn’t stop the major bike brands from trying to set their bikes apart with marketing spin: Trek uses “Alpha Silver Aluminum,” Cannondale uses “Quick, Butted 6061 Alloy,” Giant uses “ALUXX-Grade Aluminum,” and Specialized uses “A1 Premium Aluminum fully-manipulated butted tubing.” One very useful review touted a bike’s “welded aluminum” frame. Yes, that’s how aluminum tubes are put together, by welding them. That’s like saying a car has “turning wheels.”

There are a few options with steel frames, but with a few exceptions, cheap steel is heavy and not worth your consideration. Steel is like steak: You should pay a lot for the real deal or greatly lower your expectations. Buying a $500 steel hybrid is like getting a steak at a diner—it could be great, but the odds aren’t in your favor.

That said, many of these bikes, including the Trek 7.2 FX, have steel front forks (the thing that holds the front wheel). Steel is a great material for a fork. It’s much better at absorbing road chatter and vibration than an aluminum fork, and the weight penalty is more than made up for by the added comfort.

When it comes to gear-shifting and braking components on low- to mid-range hybrid bikes, you are effectively dealing with two major component manufacturers: Shimano and SRAM. At this price, you want Shimano. While SRAM has made a name for itself with its high-end components, it is still severely lacking at the more economical end of things. Shimano has been at it longer and produces the hell out of some cheap, indestructible drive train components (cogs and chainrings).

Through Thom’s line of work he gets to see bikes from every era. In last year’s guide, he wrote: “We’ll get bikes at the shop from the ‘90s, even the ‘80s with still-functioning Shimano shifters and derailleurs (the things that facilitate shifting between the different gears). On the other hand, we’ll install brand-new SRAM components on a bike and see them deteriorate and then detonate within weeks or months. Even Shimano’s low-end stuff is made mostly of metal. SRAM’s low-end components are primarily plastic, more Mattel than metal.”

All bikes in this price range have almost identical parts: rim brakes, 24 speeds (more than enough for covering most hills), and house-brand everything from wheels to grips. The only way to discern between them is by splitting hairs when it comes to their spec and price. So we took out my mini axe and set to splitting.

We pored over dozens of spec sheets looking for differences, and the bike companies didn’t make it easy—one company will use “Shimano Altus” to describe a front derailleur (the front shifty thingy) while another will call the same derailleur by its part number, “FD M191.” We came to the conclusion that unless you are buying a bike online from some cut-rate outfit, you are basically going to be getting the same bike across about fifteen brands. The only major differences were in the quality of the tires, pedals, and other minor components.

Many bikes were eliminated from the line-up because they had inferior parts packages, had heavy steel frames, came from not-so-legit manufacturers, or just looked dumb. If a bike didn’t at least look cool online, we didn’t bother meeting it in person.

In the end, we felt the only way to make a determination was to actually go and throw a leg over a few of these bikes. Bikes we test-rode in 2014 included the Cannondale Quick 6, Raleigh Cadent FTO, Giant Escape 2, Specialized Sirrus, Kona Dew, and the Trek 7.2 FX. It was difficult to discern any differences between these bikes since, again, they’re designed to be roughly similar in riding experience. But, under close scrutiny, Thom found that the Trek had a slight edge.

In late 2014 Eve O’Neill gathered all the specs for both the 2014 and 2015 models of the original recommendations and compared models. Attention was given to what types of materials and components had changed (if any), whether there was a resulting fluctuation in cost, and if so what value was lost or gained in the process. Several bikes had been phased out entirely or absorbed into other lines, and additional research was done into all the major dealers we mentioned to cross-check any sourcing issues or future plans to change, modify, or discontinue popular models (which happens a lot).

For the most part, the bikes remained similar, but manufacturers quietly implemented minor changes in component quality and pricing throughout this price point. As a rule of thumb, component quality was reduced in ways that casual riders wouldn’t notice and prices were lowered accordingly to make the bikes more affordable. It’s basically a wash in terms of value for most models. She then tried out the new Trek 7.2 FX, Specialized Sirrus, and a commenter favorite—the steel-framed Jamis Coda.

Our pick

Trek 7.2 FX
The Trek combines a higher-quality component package than other models with a better price point. Several months of test rides confirmed it can handle even the most hectic city traffic and is built to last.

For the second year in a row, the 7.2 FX feels premium without the price tag because it includes some crucial and basic features that make your ride more comfortable. Some of those basics, like pedals for example, don’t seem that exciting at first. But these smaller details have significant impact for a casual rider, and the FX is the only bike we found where no compromises were made.

Speaking of, the FX features steel-wrapped Wellgo platform pedals, and none of the equivalent models we looked at from Specialized, Cannondale, Motobecane, Giant, or Diamondback have them. The FX also has a steel fork. The fork is the part of the bike that holds your front wheel to the frame. Bikes of this type and price tend to have forks that are made of either steel or aluminum. In general, a steel fork is recognized as an advanced component because it gives you a smoother ride. Most bikes we looked at had a steel fork for this reason, and yet there are still one or two very popular models, such as the Giant Escape 2, that feature aluminum forks. Puncture-resistant tires also come standard on the FX. All of the models we recommend have them, and again, equivalent bikes from Cannondale, Giant and Kona don’t.

Our favorite hybrid bike, the Trek 7.2 FX.

Our favorite hybrid bike, the Trek 7.2 FX.

The 7.2 FX gives you all of these advantages and is still less expensive than every equivalent model we looked at.

The 7.2 FX gives you all of these advantages and is still less expensive than every equivalent model we looked at. Even better, the price has dropped significantly, from last year’s MSRP of $550 to $490, and you can often find them sold for less.

The price reduction is likely due to a decrease in the quality of two components. Specifically, the aluminum frame was downgraded from Alpha Gold to Alpha Silver1, and the rear derailleur has been slightly downgraded, from Alivio to Acera.2

Trek kept all the tiny details that make it superior to the competition—the alloy-wrapped pedals, the flat-resistant tires, and the covetable yet hard-to-find steel fork—and made the whole package $60 cheaper.

This is actually good news, because while you won’t notice the cheaper frame or derailleur, you will notice that Trek kept all the tiny details that make it superior to the competition—the alloy-wrapped pedals, the flat-resistant tires, and the covetable yet hard-to-find steel fork—and made the whole package $60 cheaper. There is no compromise in the quality or the comfort of the ride. Should you happen to find a 2014 on clearance, buy it. It’s still the same great bike as the 2015, with the tiny added benefit of having those two slightly upgraded components.

Stating that the Trek 7.2 FX is the best hybrid bike isn’t exactly earth-shattering news. It’s like saying that McDonald’s is the most popular fast food restaurant. Both the brand and model are versatile and widely available, which is part of what makes them so popular.


Let’s start with its flat-resistant tires. Even as an experienced bike mechanic who can fix a flat in a matter of minutes, I prefer to avoid being put in that situation. I don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road in a sketchy neighborhood fixing a flat in the rain while stressing about being late to work. You might be thinking, “well, they’re just tires, I can just replace them,” and you definitely can, but that would run you an extra $60 to $100. Definitely better to just get a bike that comes with them, especially when you consider the fact that a set of these can easily go for thousands of miles before needing replacement. Among the bikes not sold exclusively online (again, here’s why you shouldn’t buy bikes online), this was one of only three models (one of which is an alternate pick) in this price point that have this feature.

Not just durable, metal ensures a steady grip in wet weather.

Not just durable, metal ensures a steady grip in wet weather.

The 7.2 FX comes with metal-wrapped pedals, which only a few other bikes have, and those would otherwise run you another $15 to $20. The alloy pedals are going to hold up better than plastic pedals and they provide more grip in wet conditions.

Aside from the nicer components, there’s also the issue of handling. We took all the top contenders—the Trek FX 7.2, the Specialized Sirrus, and the Jamis Coda Sport—out for a test ride, and I took both bikes through a series of small obstacles. I rode up on the grass, through hard right angles on sidewalks, between car barriers, dodged traffic, etc.

The Trek and the Specialized ride identically. If I had the ability to do this test blindfolded, it would be hard to figure out which was which. Around the tight turns they are very agile, when dodging things like cement barriers and potholes they are quick and responsive. The difference between the two bikes (aside from the plastic pedals) really does come down to which paint job you like better.

However, there is a major difference between the FX and Coda Sport. The Coda was more difficult to get around sharp turns and just a tiny bit more sluggish when responding to obstacles in the road. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a different thing. The beauty of steel bikes (like the Coda) is that once you get them moving, they stay moving, and the different way it handles in the front contributes to that smoother ride and forward momentum.

 What it comes down to is that the way the FX handles is slightly better suited to the stop-and-go demands of city riding. If someone asked me which bike to get for their urban ride, and they weren’t super interested in doing test rides or shopping around, I would wholeheartedly recommend the FX over the Coda.

And the FX isn’t very heavy. I thought, “This is a bike I could see myself carrying up the stairs to my apartment.” At 28 pounds, it wouldn’t give me a hernia doing so. (Sweethome editor in chief Jacqui Cheng actually does carry a very similar bike—the Trek 7.3 FX—up flights of stairs on a regular basis, so as long as you’re reasonably able-bodied, it’s doable.)

Ideally, you should buy your bike in person. A good bike store will help you find the right size to fit your needs and maybe even swap out some parts to really dial in a good fit. That’s in addition to perks like comped maintenance and professionally checked assembly that is guaranteed to be safe and of high quality. (More on why we recommend this here.)

If the fit of the bike is anywhere near good, the only place you’re going to notice a difference is at the saddle and the grips. I found the grips and saddle on the Trek comfortable, but saddles in particular are a very personal thing. What works for one person might not work for another. Again, these items can be swapped out for little to no charge by a good shop.

The Altus/Acera shifter/derailleur combo is adequate. Well-tuned Altus feels as good as anything. Yes, I have XT on my mountain bike, but I can live with Altus on my city bike.

The Altus/Acera shifter/derailleur combo is adequate. Well-tuned Altus feels as good as anything. Yes, I have XT on my mountain bike, but I can live with Altus on my city bike.

Similarly, the linear pull V-brakes are nothing special, but they’re strong and responsive.

Similarly, the linear pull V-brakes are nothing special, but they’re strong and responsive.

The little holes above the derailleur in this picture are for mounting a rack or fender.

The little holes above the derailleur in this picture are for mounting a rack or fender.

Also, as with most bikes of this type, both the frame and the fork are fender- and rack-ready (as indicated by the little holes on the back of the frame and bottom of the fork).

In the end, the Trek 7.2 FX doesn’t have a ton of advantages over the closest competition, but it definitely has something. That said, as aforementioned ad nauseum, there is very little difference between the bikes discussed here. If you find a better deal on a Specialized or if you prefer the style, I’d go for it.

Why is the 7.2 FX better than the 7.1 or 7.3?

The reason why we went with the 7.2 FX over the 7.1 is mainly that the 7.1 has a clunky freewheel system instead of a lighter, better-sealed, and more-efficient freehub system. In a freewheel system, the ratcheting part of the hub system and the sprockets/cogs are one unit that must be replaced together when worn. With a freehub system, the sprockets/cogs slide onto a freehub body and can easily be replaced separately when worn.

If you’re riding your bike in a semi-regular fashion, you will be replacing your chain and cassette (what all the sprockets/cogs are called together) once per year. The 7.2 FX also makes the jump to flat-resistant tires and metal-caged pedals. If you put those components on a 7.0/7.1 after the fact, that would offset the money saved up front anyway and you’d still be stuck with the inferior freewheel.

Other than a few component upgrades (slightly lighter wheels and tires, along with a slightly higher-end drivetrain), the big selling point for the 7.3 FX is the oversized stem and bar system. Traditionally, the diameter of a handlebar and the corresponding stem clamp is 25.4 millimeter (1 inch). “Oversized,” in this case, means 31.8 mm (about 1.25 in.). It’s visibly noticeable—it looks cool to some people and it definitely adds stiffness.

But here’s the thing: oversized systems were developed so Tour de France-type bike racers could have a stiffer platform for sprinting at 40+ mph while wrestling their bikes like angry gorillas. This stiffness also translates into less absorption of road shock and more abuse on your body. This is fine if you’re getting paid six figures to ride your bike and you’re getting massages every night, but for the average cyclist, an “under-sized” system is adequate.

A very close runner-up

Also Great
Specialized Sirrus
For about the same price, you can get an almost-identical bike. However, you’ll have to upgrade the pedals if you want them to last.

Speaking of the Specialized, the Specialized Sirrus stands toe-to-toe with the Trek 7.2 FX—it even has flat-resistant tires. The only place it comes up short is with its plastic pedals, which won’t be as durable. It’s another great-looking bike that feels good to ride. I also found that it was priced well below the MSRP at one shop I visited. Enough below that replacing the plastic pedals when they break still wouldn’t bring it up to the price of the 7.2 FX sitting next to it in the rack at the same shop. Another reason why it’s good to shop around.

Specialized Sirrus.

Specialized Sirrus.

A smoother, mellower ride

Also Great
Jamis 2015 Coda Sport
This steel-framed bike provides a fun, smooth ride that has a different feel than either the Trek or the Sirrus, but at the expense of a little maneuverability.

The $520 Jamis Coda Sport is for someone who wants a ride that’s smoother than our top two choices and feels a bit different as well, but at the expense of maneuverability.

Unlike the Trek FX and the Specialized Sirrus, which have aluminum frames, the Coda Sport has a steel frame. Practically speaking, steel has the ability to absorb more road noise than aluminum, giving you a smoother ride. But that doesn’t really cut to the heart of the matter. When people talk about the “feel” of riding a steel bike, they’re referring to something a little more esoteric than its practical advantages. What devotees of steel bikes really love is their vibe.

If you’ve ridden the FX and the Sirrus, and you have some nagging feeling that they’re just not quite right, but can’t explain why, try the Coda Sport. It fits all of our criteria for a great commuter bike: It has reliable Shimano shifters and derailleurs, metal wrapped pedals, puncture-resistant tires, and the right price.

It’s harder to get around small obstacles and put through quick turns, putting it at a disadvantage if you plan on riding in trafficky urban areas.

However it’s more expensive than our pick, and the 2015 model downgraded its chain and cassette from the 2014 version (they are no longer Shimano). The major area in which it differs from our top choice is in the handling, as discussed earlier. That steel frame has a nice feel on pavement, but the tradeoff is that it’s harder to get around small obstacles and put through quick turns, putting it at a disadvantage if you plan on riding in trafficky urban areas. It also has a slightly more aggressive stance, putting you slightly further over top of the handlebars, but the difference is so small it could just depend on how high your seat is. Yet another reason to try before you buy.

What if I want disc brakes, carbon fiber, or other upgrades?

When you start looking at more expensive models of hybrids like the ones you’ll find in the FX series, the parts begin to slowly get better. You’ll notice that the quality of the shifting and gearing components goes up, the fork will possibly be upgraded in material from steel to carbon, and you can also opt to get disc brakes.

All of these things are good. If you know you want to spend more money on some of these upgrades, don’t talk yourself out of getting what you really want—go for it. But if you’re a first-time buyer or find yourself on the fence because a salesman has done a great job of talking you into disc brakes (they always try), know this: As a commuter or casual cyclist, there’s a 99.9 percent chance you don’t need any of it.

It’s also useful to know that not all parts are created equal. The versions of these components that you get by tacking a few extra hundred onto the price tag are good, but at this price point, you probably aren’t getting what you’d expect for your money. Because disc brakes and carbon fiber are such visible upgrades, they’re an easy upsell on the showroom floor. What’s not as visible is the fact that the “upgraded” components aren’t always better than the parts they’re meant to improve upon.

First, let’s talk about disc brakes. Any hybrid bike in this range is going to have a big brother with disc brakes (what they use on cars and motorcycles). The Trek 7.2 FX has the 7.2 FX Disc at $600 and the Specialized Sirrus has the Sirrus Sport Disc at $700. The advantage of disc brakes is that they brake exactly the same way all the time, regardless of conditions (e.g. rain, snow, fog, etc.). If you are planning on riding in adverse conditions, they’re worth considering. The pads last longer with little to no adjustment and they are more reliable than rim brakes in the wet. However, it’s worth noting that if your fear is having to navigate the occasional puddle or slick wet road, know that it’s impossible to hydroplane on a bike. Unless you’re planning to ride in the rain, snow, and ice on a very regular basis, they are not worth the extra cost.

But even if you are going to ride in wet conditions on a regular basis, not all disc brakes are the same, and the cheap, cable-actuated mechanical disc brakes you’ll find at this price point will actually have less stopping power than standard v-brakes. There is such a thing as a “nice” mechanical disc brake (Avid’s BB7 is legendary for its reliability and ease of maintenance), but off-the-shelf bikes are more commonly equipped with inferior Tektro or other generic white-label components that are more for show than performance. On the other hand, hydraulic brakes are actuated by brake fluid (like what you’d find in a car) and actually are more powerful. However, they are also expensive and require advanced maintenance (like what you’d find in a car). Total overkill for a bike like this.

Another very common upgrade you can get is from a steel or aluminum fork to a carbon fiber fork. Carbon fiber is not made of metal at all. It’s almost like fabric that’s been woven with carbon fiber threads and made rigid by binding it with polymer. It is very strong and very light, which are good qualities for bike parts to have. It’s considered an upgrade because it’s lighter than steel and it’s also very good at absorbing vibration from the road.

Again, if you want a carbon fork or took a test ride and love the way it rides, by all means, go ahead and get it. But at this price point, the difference in road vibration will be undetectable. The weight saved is insignificant for the average commuter. And once more, you absolutely get what you pay for. If the spec sheet for the model you’re considering actually lists the fork as being made of “carbon composite fiber” or just “composite,” that means that it’s only partially made of carbon fiber and can contain a large proportion of cheaper, heavier fibers as filler. The real thing costs real money.

WSD or “Women’s Specific Design”

Something you’re bound to run into is the acronym “WSD.” WSD stands for “Women’s Specific Design.” WSD bikes have slight tweaks to the frame geometry and componentry that claim to be optimized to work with the female physique. Sarai Snyder, founder of Girl Bike Love and CycloFemme, elaborates:

“As a little person of just 5’ 2″ (on a good day), attention to women’s specific design has greatly increased the smaller bike options available for me. But I think the term ‘Women Specific Design’ can be a little misleading. Most of the time WSD means a shortening of the top tube length, smaller all around sizing, and the addition of a women’s specific saddle, narrower handlebars, shorter stem, and maybe even a shorter crank length. These things account for the notion that most women have shorter torsos, longer legs, and narrower shoulders on an all around smaller frame than men.

Realistically, we are all unique in our build. A woman of 5’ 10” might be hard pressed to find the benefits of WSD. It should also be noted that for some companies WSD is really just an excuse to change the paint scheme to market to a different audience. In the end, the most important thing is finding the bike that fits your body and your riding style as an individual.”

Thing is, WSD may not actually fit you better, even if you’re a woman. I (the woman updating this guide this year) ride more comfortably on the men’s version. A shop owner I spoke to for this guide mentioned several of the WSD bikes he sold last year were sold to men. The only way to tell what fits best is by trying them out yourself at a bike shop.

Why shouldn’t I buy a bike online?

It’s generally not a great idea to purchase a bike online. And we’re not talking about this from a poetic “buy local” perspective. Buying from a shop ensures you get a safer product thanks to professional assembly and will often end up being cheaper in the long run. Plus, if you have someone helping you set up a bike, you’re more likely to have a good experience with it.

There’s no denying that you get a better bike for your money when you buy online. A Diamondback Insight 2 on Amazon is going to run you less than a Specialized Sirrus, and the Insight has a superior parts package. Similarly, a Motobecane Cafe Latte on Bikes Direct is going to cost less than a Trek 7.2 FX and come with much better parts, but as a novice biker, you’re unlikely to notice the marginal benefits of $40 handlebars over $30 handlebars (if there are even any to be had).

On the other hand, the lack of care and attention put into your online-ordered bike will be blindingly obvious (possibly literally) when you hit a pothole and your wheel winds up turning 90 degrees while your handlebars stay straight ahead as you fly over them.

Online retailers and big box stores work on volume, and they tend to pay their mechanics (and I’m using this term loosely) a piece work rate as opposed to bike shops, which pay mechanics by the hour. A piece work bike assembler churns out bikes as fast as they can—they fly out the door and he or she never thinks about them again because they will be sold to someone far away.

A shop mechanic, on the other hand, has to be more accountable. If that person neglects to tighten a pedal and the customer eats it on their first ride, he or she will see the customer come into the shop the next day all battered and bruised. The shop will feel awful for causing a customer injury and the mechanic will definitely feel awful when he or she gets fired.

For safety’s sake, even a bike that is advertised as “90 percent assembled” is going to require a trip to a bike shop for final assembly and a safety check. This assembly and safety check is going to run you $60 to $150. “Whoa!” you’re saying, “But I only paid $300 from the whole bike.” Thing is, for liability (and ethical reasons) a shop mechanic must go over every bolt on that bike to make sure it was assembled correctly, which, more often than not, it wasn’t. Just go down to a Sears or even a Dick’s Sporting Goods, put the front of wheel of the bike between your knees, and try to twist the bars. You’ll see how much those guys care about your wellbeing as the bars easily turn sideways while the wheel stays in one place. That’s not what’s supposed to happen.

Seth Sampson, manager of Giant Bicycle Store in Boston, put it best: “It is amazing what can go wrong, even when you have only 10 percent of the bike to build. Our bikes have better quality and are correctly assembled. You can always save more [up front] buying online, but end up paying more to make it work right.”

You will also notice that, with your online order, nobody helped you find the ideal size for your body measurements, and unless you really know what you’re doing, you’re probably going to buy the wrong size bike. There’s a lot more to fit than just the number on the frame. Just the frame itself has no fewer than seven major variables that comprise its “geometry,” all of which affect how a bike ultimately feels. Bikes like these tend to have more or less identical geometry across brands, but there are other factors that contribute. A good shop will help fit you to a bike and make any alterations that might be necessary. Saddles, stems (the thing that holds the handlebars), and the handlebars themselves can often be swapped out for a better fit and improved comfort.

You’re also likely to get perks and freebies for purchasing from a shop, like a free 30- or 90-day break-in tune-up that would otherwise run you another $60 to $100 for your super-deal bike from Bikes Direct. And don’t think these are just “nice to have” but unnecessary; cables will stretch and need readjustment after the initial few weeks of riding. Many shops will also give you discounts on accessories like locks, lights, helmets, and fenders within a certain window after your purchase. Not to mention help with warranty issues. Your shop will deal with that annoying stuff for you. Even expensive bikes break, and it’s good to have someone in your corner when things go awry.

Hopefully we’ve convinced you by now that it’s worth going to a real bike shop to get your bike. Now for the bad news: Not all bike shops are created equal, and it’s up to you to find a good one you can trust. Yelp and advice from friends can help, but ultimately you’re going to want to shop around a bit to see for yourself. Especially if you find that you have an affinity for a bike, but its gears weren’t working well on a test ride from a particular shop.

You want a shop that will take care of your needs throughout the shopping process and offer you services even after you’ve made the purchase. Make sure the salesperson takes the time to quickly look at you on the bike to make sure your saddle height is roughly correct. And make sure the bike is properly set up when you’re test-riding it; if the shop is sending you out on a bike with rubbing brakes or loose bars, this reflects badly on how well they will service your bike in the future. It’s also worth asking them to adjust the bike before you make a final decision. If they fail on any of those accounts, it’s probably a good idea to look elsewhere.

Shopping for a kid’s bike? You’ll also want to do that in person, for the same reasons listed above. There are some useful tips for getting the size, weight, and features right for every age group from preschool through 12 years here.

The competition

What about the other bikes I tested? Well, as I stated earlier, none of them are really bad. In fact, if you can get them for significantly cheaper than the Trek or Specialized, they might even be the better buy. But I had my reasons for not choosing them.

The Cannondale Quick 6 is arguably the coolest-looking bike in the mix but it doesn’t have the alloy pedals or flat-resistant tires of the Trek 7.2 FX. In 2014, this was actually a less-expensive model than the FX, and if this bike happened to be on sale it might be the one model that could draw my interest away from the Trek. But now that Trek made its 2015 updates, at $520 the Cannondale is now $30 more expensive (at least MSRP-wise).

The Giant Escape 2 is a very popular bike, but I’m not sure why. Giant decided to go with an aluminum fork on this bike. It’s lighter but does much less than the steel forks found on the other bikes listed here to dampen road shock and vibration. It also doesn’t have the flat-resistant tires of the Trek.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Kona Dew has a kind of silly-looking narrow-legged steel fork that comes off as an unfortunate afterthought when juxtaposed with its wider-tubed aluminum frame. Which is weird because Kona generally gets it right aesthetically. Looks aside, at $525, the Trek remains a better value.

The Raleigh Cadent FTO was available when we wrote our original hybrid guide last year, but as of now it seems to have been discontinued or renamed according to one dealer, as they no longer have it in stock and it isn’t on order. I still can’t recommend it. The FTO has sub-par plastic pedals, an aluminum fork, and tires that aren’t extra resistant to punctures.

As for bikes I didn’t test, let’s just say there were a lot. But I had a good reason for skipping each one.

The Motobecane Cafe Latte is only available for purchase online, via Bikes Direct. Aside from the endless problems with this mentioned earlier, you get a lot of bike for your money. Of course you then have to have it assembled at a bike shop, tuned at a bike shop after it breaks in, and Bikes Direct won’t be easy to deal with when it comes to warranty issues. It’s not like sending back your iPhone.

Schwinn has a similar brand image issue as Raleigh and the Sporterra 3 is their version of this bike. They have effectively become synonymous with crap. This an ugly bike with a horrible name from a less-than-reputable manufacturer. They are now owned by the company that produces Pacific Bicycles—the only brand that gives Huffy a run for its money in the race to the bottom of the bicycle food chain. The Sporterra also seems to have vanished from the internet, which could mean it’s being discontinued.

The Diamondback Insight 2 is one of the only bikes in this list available on Amazon. As previously mentioned, buying bikes online is not a great idea for so many reasons. It is cheap and you will get slightly nicer components at the same price point as the Trek or Specialized, but you’ll pay for it later. This bike is also becoming consistently unavailable.

What about boutique brands?

Boutique brands make good bikes, and if you’ve fallen in love with a bike from one of these companies, by all means buy it. But like we said, at this price point, in this category of bike, pretty much everything is the same. If the hybrid you buy costs a little more, you’re paying strictly for aesthetics. You’re not getting a better bike.

Care and maintenance

Hybrid bicycles require the same maintenance as any other bicycles—lube the chain (but not excessively) and fill up the tires to the recommended pressure weekly (check out our guide on bike pumps). Nearly all bike shops have free air either in the form of a compressor or a floor pump with a gauge. Gas station compressors are set very high (and they charge you money), which can result in blowing the tire right off the rim with a terrifying gunshot-like sound. And remember, bikes like to be stored in dry places whenever possible. I’d advise getting your bike tuned annually. If you do find that you’re riding regularly, it is a good idea to grab a small bottle of lube and a floor pump.

Pro tip: If you live in a part of the country where there is a winter, take your bike to the shop in the middle of winter. You’ll beat the spring rush when everyone decides on the first gorgeous day that they all need their bikes NOW! A bored winter mechanic will spend much more time on your bike than a stressed-out summer one. Especially one who is rewarded with craft beer or homemade cookies. Oh, and make sure you get a good lock and learn how to use it.

What to look forward to

The biggest forward trend in the hybrid category revolves around making disc brakes available on lower-end models of bikes, which you may or may not need. Bike sensors, an accessory you can buy and basically “plug into” your bike (both Trek and Giant have this capability) are also getting slight upgrades—several of them are now compatible with a broader range of devices (like your smartphone) instead of only with a dedicated bike computer.

But the real upheaval is happening in the world of urban utility bikes. From the Bike Design Project emerged a bike called the Denny, which has automatic shifting, a built-in front rack, handlebars that transform into a bike lock, a completely redesigned fender, turn signals and other integrated lighting, and a belt drive instead of the traditional chain. And it’s no longer simply a concept bike, as Fuji will be manufacturing them sometime in the near future.

There are designs on Kickstarter with integrated GPS systems. Priority Bikes, a company operating out of New York, has focused on stripping down the urban commuter to basics without making it so minimal it can’t be used by the average rider.  Even Trek knows which way the wind is blowing, and manufactures the Lync, a utility bike that moves in a similar direction with battery-powered features, such as lights, built right into the bike.

This is a category of bicycle that’s just beginning to define itself, and as such a lot of these new ideas have yet to be tried and tested. Carbon belt drives are the exception, and every bike we just mentioned, with the exception of the Lync, features one of these.

They have some advantages for commuters. They’re durable and clean, and you don’t have to lube or otherwise maintain them like a chain. The disadvantage is that they can only be used with single-speed bikes or internal hubs, so they can’t be used with a wide range of gears. That can make getting up and down hills significantly more difficult. But overall, the general consensus is that belt drives have been around long enough and are really effective at what they do, and so it’s technology that’s here to stay.

Wrapping it up

For the second year in a row, we like the Trek 7.2 FX most because it looks and feels good and it has a couple features that the competition doesn’t have. And now that the cost has dropped on the 2015 model, it’s an even more viable option than the closest competition. Talk to your local bike retailer, shop around, and don’t hesitate to have them tweak a bike you like.


1. If you’re curious about what the actual difference between Trek’s Alpha Gold and Alpha Silver aluminum is, it has to do with the amount of mechanical manipulation the material is put through. Gold has been manipulated more, meaning it’s been pulled thinner and been bent into more sophisticated and diverse shapes. Silver is just as strong but they mess with it less. “This results in a more subdued look at a slightly higher weight, with the most immediate benefit being a lower final product cost,” says David Studner, project manager for Trek. Jump back.

2. Alivio and Acera are just different names Shimano has given two derailleurs of varying quality. Alivio is the higher-quality component of the two, but the great advantage of more expensive derailleurs isn’t really felt until you start going on long road rides. You’re shifting and using these mechanical parts much more often to get up and down hills, and you’re spending more time overall in the saddle, and in that instance a smoother, higher-functioning, and dialed experience begins to make a difference. But it doesn’t matter so much from the commuter side. You won’t log so many hundreds of miles that the wear and tear to your bike is significant, and Acera levers are smooth, high-functioning, and long-lasting. For riding around town, Acera is great. Jump back.

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  1. Bike buying guide, Consumer Reports (Subscription Required), March 2013

Originally published: April 3, 2015

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  • Jonathan Peterson

    Nice review and as an ex-bike mechanic with 6 rides in the family I agree 100% with your overall strategy for components, etc. Also, I am SO not fond of the adjustable stems on many bikes these days – even my wife’s otherwise excellent Bianchi Milano sported one. Such huge, heavy hunks of crap.

  • thewegger

    This is a great article, that is spot on in just about every aspect (big amen on the value proposition of disc brakes), but I do have one quibble and one issue. First the quibble. I haven’t seen a dampening spring on a linear-pull cantilever (aka V-brake) on a new bike in years. Are they really still out there?

    Secondly, I would argue that in its current incarnation, Raleigh is more than just a name slapped on a bicycle. I’ll agree that they put some junk out on the market, but they also have some bikes that are a great value.

  • José Manuel Sánchez

    Nice! Are you going to do folding bikes, too?

  • David Rogers

    A note on the Torker, from someone who rides an internal hub bike:
    The 8 speed and 7 speed hubs are great for a lot of things, but they still have significant limits on hillclimbing. The 8 speed is better than the 7 speed for this, but you sacrifice gear spacing-the spacing is very even on the 7 and rather odd on the 8, especially on the gears you use the most. You want to be careful playing around with your chainrings and sprockets too, as there are limits to what the hubs can take.
    I still love mine-it’s quiet, clean, I can change gears at a stoplight, and I’m not a serious biker, so between the fenders, basket, bent bars, and what seems to be a single speed bike, no one expects too much of me :-)

  • Graham Rose

    Great article – My wife and i just picked up two new bikes from our LBS – She ended up with the 2013 version of the Giant Escape 0, for about the price of the 2014 Escape 2 you tested. We looked at the trek 7.2, and between the two the 10 speed and carbon fork seemed to make more sense (plus she liked the murdered out matte black on the giant more than the girly colors on the trek :)

  • Casimir Crunch

    Would be great if you could indicate the country of manufacture of each bike in the review. There is a vast quality difference in materials, even the metal used in parts, depending on the country of manufacture. I always get a visible “Made In …” before I make a bicycle purchase.

    • Michael Zhao

      All bikes in this price range will be made in Taiwan.

      • Dr LHA

        Actually many of the bikes in this price range will be made in China.

  • Royce Ruiz

    I’m currious about when you talk about the disk brake upgrade why you reference the 7.4 FX Disk at $879.99 and don’t mention the 7.2 FX Disk at $599.99. I’m currently looking for a hybrid/fitness bike and based on what I have read here I am leaning toward the 7.2 FX Disk, however since you didn’t talk about it I’m wondering if there is a reason that you avoided it. Any thoughts would be helpful.

    • Michael Zhao

      Cheap disks will have less stopping power than cheap linear pull brakes. The only reason to get them is if you’re going to be biking in the rain all the time.

      • Royce Ruiz

        Thanks for the reply, so to confirm, the disks on the 7.2 are “cheap” and the disks of the 7.4 are better? If I plan on riding in the rain but only on occasion is it worth the 7.4? I live in San Francisco. I plan on riding a few days a week all year long. It doesn’t really rain alot here but there is fog and dew frequently. 7,4 is more than I wanted to spend but if its really worth it I would consider it.

        I checked the Trek website with the comparison tool, the 7.2 has mechanical disks and the 7.4 has hydraulic disks. So which would be better for me?

        • Michael Zhao

          I would strongly urge you to reconsider getting discs. I live in Portland, it rains all the time. I’ve never had an issue with rim brakes on any of my bikes. All my friends run rim brakes as well.

          If you’re dead set on disc brakes, my experience has been that cheap hydraulics are never worth it. Look at these reviews:

          Definitely go with the mechanicals. It’s a much simpler, easier to fix/maintain system. Just don’t expect it to provide stronger brakes. If you really want a good setup, I’d go to a bike shop, and buy the 7.2 Disc, then ask about upgrading to Avid BB7 brakes. It would still cost you less than the 7.4 Disc.

          • Royce Ruiz

            I am by no means “set on getting disks”. I know very little and that is why I’m asking. Thank you for the comments. I’m now leaning toward the recommended 7.2 with the rim brakes but will do more research before I try to find a good LBS.

          • Raivyn

            Weight aside, I think hydraulic disc brakes are a huge improvement. Unless you are racing and need to keep weight down, or are going to be in the middle of nowhere with no bike shops around, there is no reason not to get hydraulic disc brakes. While they may have the same stopping power, it is easier to apply the brakes because the hydraulic fluid does all the work. You don’t have to squeeze the levers as hard to stop, and if you have a long hill or are carrying weight (I pull my kid in a trailer), the ease of operation is definitely noticeable.

            One thing to also keep in mind is that should you decide to get a bike w/rim brakes and decide you want to get disc brakes later, it will be a much more expensive upgrade than getting a bike with disc brakes from the start because you will likely have to not only get the disc brakes, but also have to upgrade to a whole new wheel set to accommodate the rotor. And that’s if your bike has the brake bosses for disc brakes. If it doesn’t, then you are better off just getting a new bike.

          • Steve Elliott

            Agree 100% about the Avid BB7’s — they are an awesome mechanical brake. For ease of maintenance, I would much rather have mechanical discs. Even hanging or storing your bike with hydraulics becomes a problem due to leakage. I don’t have any hydraulic brakes on my bikes any more. Trying to fix a hydraulic brake system in the dark and in the cold sucks. I’ve heard various opinions about hydraulic brakes being terrible in cold weather, but I never had a problem with fluid freezing. It might depend on what kind of fluid you use (I generally just used mineral oil….) and no problems at all during hour long commutes down to -30C. Other things froze, but that’s a different issue…. :)

    • thewegger

      I’m not familiar with Tektro brakes on the 7.2 FX Disc, but my experience with lower-end mechanical disc brakes is that you will get a good bit of brake noise/rub unless you’re assembler/mechanic is patient and thorough. The cheap discs are often harder to tune. Cheap linear pull brakes are easy to set up and work great.

      • The_Mick

        I have cheap mechanical Tektro Novela Disc Brakes on a decent but low-end Diamondback Response XE Mountain Bike. They WERE a pain until I spent some time YouTube-ing how how to adjust them and then spent some time learning to get it right. Once you’ve got them right, they’re no problem. I’ve never had rubbing (3 years) with the rear wheel brake but the front one I have to adjust about once a month – probably because I quick-release the front wheel before putting it in the car and bump the pads around.

  • Brian Van Nieuwenhoven

    Excellent article.

    My only issue is that the word “triathlon” alarmed me in reference to the level of bikes that are talked about here. (if you are seriously competing in multiple triathlons and don’t want to come in dead-last, upgrade to a strictly road-style bicycle. But if you were that type of person, you’d likely know that already.) That’s a minor quibble in an otherwise well-written guide.

    • The_Mick

      Note he said “dabbling,” not “seriously competing” in triathlons.

      Note that many consider “hybrids” as different than “comfort” bikes in that their geometry is half-way between the relaxed-style comfort bikes and road bikes. The Trex 7.2 FX series are hybrids, not “comfort” bikes.

      I may end up doing one for fun with a mountain or hydrid bike. If I can ride in the snow (see below) I can do a triathlon – even if I finish last. I’ve never done one, though I used to be a long distance runner, high school track & cross country coach, and have run marathons. I can swim well and now that I’ve discovered cycling to help lose weight after Achilles tendon surgeries and years of sedentary recovery (294 to 231 lbs in 17 months, 6’3″ – mostly by Calorie Counting), I’m considering moving from the mountain bike I’ve been using to maintain muscle mass to a hybrid or road bike. But my neck (also operated on) doesn’t like the mountain bike torso geometry so I’m going to rent a road bike to see if drop bars kill me, then probably get a hybrid. I may get a hybrid one frame-size smaller than what “fits” me so that my seat height will be a couple inches higher than normal, compared to the handlebar and put my torso in a little more in a road-bike-like position. That will all be determined in the future.

  • brucerb

    I would replace the tires regardless. The 7.2FX and probably most bikes in this class come with 700×35 tires which in my opinion are too wide for a bike that’s going to spend >90% of the time on paved surfaces and the rest of the time on “improved” urban/suburban trails. Unless you are going to be going on rougher trails or unless greater rolling resistance is the way you want to increase the fitness benefits, something in the 26-30 width makes a noticeable difference. I’ve done this with every bike in our family. Bikes that come with that width tire are uncommon in this price range, last I checked.

    • Michael Zhao

      That’s a good point. Though I would posit that someone unaccustomed to riding on road tires might appreciate the added shock dampening of wider tires.

  • James

    I have a Kona dew, it’s a great bike (equal to or better than the Trek), and cheaper than the Trek too. How can you categorically dismiss a hybrid commuter bike, which is by definition utilitarian, because the front fork is “silly-looking” and “narrow-legged”? Since when did the Wirecutter value writers that are posh, prima donna bike snobs? Did you even ride the dew, or the dew plus for your disc break section? What specific features does the Trek have that a Kona doesn’t? Come on, man, the dew comes with metal pedals, flat resistant city tires, and is compatible for fenders and rear/front racks too. I don’t like you’re sentence structure, but that doesn’t keep me from reading the Wirecutter. And the dew comes with a fatter front fork on larger sizes around 59cm. Maybe if you’re worried about the size of your fork, you should be worried about the size of other things instead.

    • Michael Zhao

      I’m glad you found a bike that works for you. If you were able to find it for cheaper, all the better. But the MSRPs are similar and other things equal (which they are, more or less), we think most people would prefer the aesthetics of the Trek over the Kona.

      Moreover, the Dew is by design and geometry, more of a mountain bike masquerading as a road bike than a road bike with a more relaxed riding position. This is reflected in the fact that it’s a bit heavier as well. This is neither good nor bad, but again, we think most people would prefer the more efficient riding position and lighter weight of the Trek.

      • James

        That would have been a nice criticism to include it the article. It sounds like you, Michael, would have been better off writing that article.

  • karan bedi

    Great article.

    I am a newbie rider looking at similar bikes. I came across the Cannondale quick 4 which I think will fit my riding needs.

    I see that you have mentioned the quick 6 as a substitute if you could get it for a discount. I can get the quick 6 for around 550 and I know its a step up from quick 4.

    How does the quick compare to Trek 7.2 FX?


  • GuybrushThreepwood

    Thank you for the article, it’s very timely for me as I’m looking to buy a good commuter bike in this price range right now.

    My question is about the Jamis Coda Sport. I have to say I’m intrigued by the benefits of a steel frame bike and have been running into the weight issue that you mentioned with many bikes. According to the manufacturer’s website, that model weighs about a pound more than the Trek, which I wouldn’t consider a deal breaker. Then again, they could be fudging the numbers.

    I haven’t had a chance to test either yet; in your testing did you find that the Jamis weighed significantly more?

    • New Bike Needed

      Amen. I’ve been researching this closely, and the best info I can find suggests that you are exactly right — the Coda weighs about a pound more than the FX 7.2. And having ridden both, I can tell you that the pound’s not noticeable. So not reviewing the Coda seems to me to a be a big hole in this otherwise very strong article. Thom and Michael — Any thoughts on this

      • Michael Zhao

        If you’ve tested and ridden it and enjoyed it, you should get it. Reynolds 520 tubing is pretty high quality stuff for a bike that’s so cheap. We’ll definitely look into it next time we update this piece.

        • yl3v

          I too just went through test-riding most of the bikes in this article, including the Jamis Coda series. My top two were the Trek 7.2 and Coda Sport – but I simply found the Jamis to have a smoother ride, and really didn’t notice much of a weight difference (if any). Went to buy the Coda Sport, test rode the Coda Comp – and took the Comp home.

          All that being said, it’s personal preference, and I don’t think you can go wrong with either the Trek or the Jamis… But I love my Jamis :)

  • David Hughes

    I have a 2004 Trek 7500 FX (equivalent to the 7.5 FX) and have been really happy with the build quality. I bought it used from a couple who did lots of bike touring and the husband was a professional fitter and mechanic.

    I know you guys push new stuff, but I got a near-mint $1,000 bike for $250 and plan to get many many years out of it. Buying a used bike reduces the consumption pressure and is overall both a better value and better for the environment.

    There are also a TON of great resources out there on how to maintain a bike. I wouldn’t recommend a total newbie buy a “90% assembled” bike, but it’s really easy to learn how to do basic bike repair and maintenance.

  • zellyn

    Great article. It describes almost the perfect bike I’ve been looking for. Just one question: “Hey bike dork, what’s the best road-style bike for commuting/casual riding?”

    :-) I occasionally ride to work (10 miles), but mostly just around my neighborhood. My Gary Fisher hybrid is a bit heavy, although I enjoy not having to worry about hurting the tires jumping onto or off of a sidewalk.

    My question is: is there a similar class bike, but with racing-style handles? It makes it much easier to hang on the wall, because they are narrower. Also, I’m going to use clipless pedals anyway, so that’s not such an issue.

  • Steve Elliott

    One of my “perfect commuter bike” requirements was the year-round, through rain, sleet, hail and snow capabilities. This is going to (likely) increase the price of the bike but it’s almost a necessity if you’re going to be riding through crappy weather for six months of the year. This means disc brakes and an internal hub.

    The one I ended up with was the MEC Hold Steady and it’s been a fantastic choice.

    • cjohnson03

      That’s a great looking bike. Wish I had the budget for one, I grabbed the much less expensive Norco Indie 3 on sale for $550 instead.
      Doesn’t the Hold Steady have carbon fiber forks? That must be so nice for bumpy roads

      • Steve Elliott

        It does have the carbon forks, which is another “almost must have” requirement for where I live. Our pathways are covered with those little weed volcanos and rippled from frost heaves and covered in gravel. Occasionally they’ll repave a section of the pathway or the road and its like riding on a little slice of heaven. :)

  • MisterWhiskey

    Question: Trek also sells 7.0, 7.1, and 7.3 options. So, why 7.2 and not any of the others? Or bluntly, how far is the span of quality between the 7.0 and 7.2, and is the price difference justified?

    • Joby Elliott

      I just ran through all this myself, and wound up reaching the same conclusion as the writers here. The 7.2 is a hell of a bike. Having owned it for about a month now, I don’t have a single regret. I did step up to the 7.2 Disc, which has mechanical disc brakes (it was on sale for just $50 more instead of the usual $100, which made it a no-brainer).

      The 7.2 has significantly nicer tires on it. The tires alone are worth $75 or so more than what’s on a 7.0 or 7.1. It also has 8 speeds in the back instead of 7, with a nicer derailleur. The type of mechanism in the back is also much better and cheaper to maintain over the long term. The 7.2’s pedals are also much grippier, with their metal cages instead of cheap solid plastic platforms. Another big advantage over the 7.0 is that it has sealed cartridge bearings in the headset, which also makes for less and easier maintenance down the road.

      The 7.3 is almost indistinguishable from the 7.2 in most ways. It and above have 9 speeds in the back, and slightly different gearing in the front. The 7.4 has carbon forks…which is actually a dealbreaker for me. I don’t want to trust my fork to a material as prissy and delicate as carbon.

      Other than that the higher ones mostly just have shmancier components, like seatposts that weigh 8 grams less and say “Nebula” on them. Whatever. I commute on this bike, I don’t race it. I want dependability, low maintenance, and durability — not stupid Fredly crabon bits that crumple if you scratch them.

      • MisterWhiskey

        Thank you for filling in the gaps of the review. Great job.

    • The_Mick

      Read the section of the article “Why is the 7.2FX better than the 7.1 or 7.3?”

  • Derek Walsh

    “Women Specific Design” can be a little misleading. Most of the time WSD means a shortening of the top tube length, smaller all around sizing, and the addition of a women’s specific saddle, narrower handlebars, shorter stem, and maybe even a shorter crank length. These things account for the notion that most women have shorter torsos, longer legs, and narrower shoulders on an all around smaller frame than men. Realistically, we are all unique in our build. A woman of 5’10″ might be hard pressed to find the benefits of WSD. ”

    I’m not sure why that’s misleading. That’s exactly the benefit of a women’s specific bike. I would also argue that the benefit is much greater for a taller woman than it is for a smaller woman. Small women tend to have more proportional dimensions. A 5’10” woman is almost always all leg, and has an inseam close to a 6’0″ tall man. That’s when the short top tube becomes rather important.

    Also, the Cannondale Quick 6 is comparable to the 7.1 FX, not the 7.2. That being said, the 7.2 is still better than the Quick 5 (which is the next step up).

    • Eve O’Neill

      Hey Derek! I write other Sweethome commuter gear guides and can weigh in
      on the WSD issue. I think Thom just meant it’s misleading because WSD translates to “smaller” but not all women are “smaller”. It’s just sort of a sloppy band-aid on the much more annoying and complicated issue of proportion.

      WSD has always and forever been a problem for me. You don’t even have to be that tall for it to be a problem — I’m only 5’8″. But I have a very long torso. Like, I can wear those really obnoxious high-waisted 70s looking pants and look like a completely normal person. If you shorten the top tube length, I’m screwed. I also have really broad shoulders, so if the handlebars are narrower, similar problem.

      More importantly, I not an outlier. The shape or proportion of my body isn’t particularly rare or unusual. In fact, it’s such a common body type, it’s even been categorized and named — the Inverted Triangle:

      Even still, I certainly can’t ride anything “designed for women.” That’s why it’s a bit misleading.

  • Hoang Thi

    This is simply an awesome article.The Trek 7.2 FX is cool,but what do you think about dynamic and schwinn ?

    • Hoang Thi

      I would love to include this article in my hybrid bike review blog of course by asking for permission. :) Thanks

  • Joby Elliott

    There’s also a Trek 7.2 FX Disc model for $600. You don’t have to step all the way up to the 7.3. I got a 7.2 FX Disc model on sale for $550 about a month ago, and have been extremely happy with it so far. There was also a sale at the time that netted me a free rear rack.

    The thing is now about a set of fenders away from being my absolute ideal commuter.

    My main motivation for disc brakes (even mechanical ones) is the lack of maintenance. I hate futzing around with rim brakes all the time as the pads wear down and the angle the contact the rims at changes. I also like the sleeker look of disc brakes, and having the mount points on the frame so that I can upgrade all the way to hydraulic someday if I ever want to.

  • preston

    I tested most of the bikes on this list and ended up with the Coda Sport. It had the best ride by far and is a good price. Defiantly worth checking out before you buy. Steel rides so much smoother than aluminiumaluminium.

  • Rackone

    I own a Trek 7.2 for 2 weeks now and I am very satisfied with my new bike. Realy they did a great job with puting it togheter, they used good quality materials and I am realy impressed by the breakes on this thing.

  • Kevin

    Up here in Canada, and this bike is $589 (CDN Tax) but to add disc brakes is another $30. I see the note re: not needing them if you’re a casual summer biker, but at $30, is it worth it?

    • tony kaye

      This is what our experts had to say-

      “No. Disc brakes have less stopping power, especially cheap ones. They perform consistently in the rain/wet conditions though, which is the only reason to get them at this price point.”

      Hope this helps!

  • Matthew Tse

    Great, extremely informative article! I had a few questions about other models out there. What do you think about the Gates Carbon Belt Drive? It’s relatively new, and would it be worth it for the ease of maintenance? REI has a Novara Arkham that goes for $850 with the Carbon Belt Drive. I’m wondering if that model is worth it.

  • J F

    About the Jamis Coda – you stated that it’s the only steel bike in your rundown, and thus “bound to be significantly heavier.” It’s not. The Coda’s frame is of good quality chromoly steel, not standard cheap and heavy high-tensile. It also weighs only about 1-2 lbs more than the Trek 7.2 you talk about throughout the article.

    I guess I’ll be the devil’s advocate here amongst the glowing comments. Are you connected to Trek somehow? For starters, the right bike for someone is the one that both feels the best and has adequate components.

  • Suzie Que

    I personally have a Motobecane Cafe Latte that I purchased over 5 years ago from and I absolutely loooooove my bike. I ride it to the store, I’ve ridden it in charity rides and my shop is happy to do tune ups on it each spring. I am so happy I purchased from Bikes Direct b/c I truly did save several hundred dollars, my shop even told me so.

  • Camille Leverett

    I have a question for the group. What are your thoughts/recommendations for purchasing a used (1-2 years) Specialized, Giant, Trek or Diamondback hybrid bike from a reputable seller? Are there any specific bikes that you recommend from the last couple of years? I heard that I can get a higher quality bike if I buy a used one. Thanks!

    • tony kaye

      Would the bike come with any type of warranty?

      • Camille Leverett

        I’ve learned online that some of the bikes may not come with the original warranty. The warranty’s don’t transfer from one owner to the next.

        • tony kaye

          Well you could always purchase bike insurance if you buy the used bike. I guess it all depends on how much you trust the person/place you’re buying it from!

    • Raivyn

      Bike depreciate rather quickly, which is why you can get more bike for the money. The main issue with buying used is that you are not likely to get the manufacturer’s warranty. That being said, older models may be an even better buy because not only are they less expensive, but they may have better components. If you find an older one you like, you can always search the internet and there will be reviews if it is a good bike.

      • Camille Leverett

        @Raivyn thank you for your reply. I found a 2010 Trek 7.6 FX on craigslist in mint condition. I had it checked out by a mechanic and it’s great condition and it didn’t need any repairs or a tune up.

  • eaadams
    • tony kaye

      Thank you! Fixing!

  • Bill Stigler

    The 2015 model of the Trek 7.2 FX is either out now or will be soon enough. According to these specs from the Village Cycle Center in Chicago, here are the differences between them:

    2014 2015


    rear derailleur SHIMANO ALIVIO and SHIMANO ACERA


    current price* 439.99 and 499.99

    Could you explain these differences and are the differences worth the price ?

    * These are sale prices good until July 14th. See for the 2014 model and for the 2015 model.

    • Bill Stigler

      Sorry about the messed up formatting. But when I hit the button for post, the extra blanks were edited out so it may not be obvious that I tried to set up a three-column table with the data for the 2014 model in column two and the 2015 in column three.

    • tony kaye

      Being that this is pricing from a local bike shop in Chicago, we can’t really determine the differences, but I’ll forward this along to our expert and see what he has to say!

      • Bill Stigler

        Okay, thanks.

        Also, let me rephrase the question: All I would like to see is a comment on each of the three categories as to whether he considers each to be an upgrade or a downgrade from the 2014 model (which is the one he reviewed, I assume). Also, an overall assessment as to whether or not these three changes (assuming all else equipment-wise remains constant) in aggregate represent a net upgrade or downgrade from the 2014 model.

        Based on some web research I’ve already done, the frame type and pedals for the 2015 model to nongearhead me appear to be downgrades, while the derailleur appears to be an upgrade. (Which I find puzzling to say the least.)

        Also as far as the price goes, what I meant was: assuming he regards the three differences as a net upgrade, are they upgrade enough to be worth the price difference of about sixty bucks? Or would he take a pass on the deal and stick with the 2014 model?

        Thanks again.

        • Raivyn

          FYI the derailler change from alivio to acera is a downgrade, not an upgrade. The 2015 is a net downgrade unless you like the colors more.

          • tony kaye

            Thanks for the input!

          • Dnett

            Just found this and wondered if there is any additional comment on the downgrades from 2014 to 2015. Anyone road test the 2015? Wondering if they are significant enough to drop the rating on this bike, or cause some of the others in the category to surpass it? Just checked my local shop and they are still selling both. The 2014 is going for $549 and the 2015 for $489. You would expect the newer model to sell for more, so this has me somewhat worried about the 2015.


          • tony kaye

            This says it all-

            “FYI the derailler change from alivio to acera is a downgrade, not an upgrade. The 2015 is a net downgrade unless you like the colors more.”

          • Dnett

            I understand that it is a downgrade, evidenced primarily by the significant price reduction. My question is, Is the downgrade significant enough to drop the 2015 bike below the others that were tested and compared to the 2014 model. I actually like the new color, but I don’t see how that factors into comparing the value of any two bikes. I guess I could research the two deraillers to see if that makes up most of the price difference. But I’m a novice, so I asked here to get the opinion of those more knowledgeable than me. As I stated, I am concerned that there may be additional downgrades that I am not qualified to discern. That’s why I’m hoping to reopen the discussion.

          • Bill Stigler

            Thanks for clearing up my confusion on this.

        • tony kaye

          I think @disqus_1KOOSTgW0P:disqus might have answered this? If you want additional feedback, please let me know!

          • Bill Stigler

            Yes, Raivyn helped in un-confusing me about the gear quality. And the article refresh answered everything else I wondered about. Thanks much.

    • Jim Williams

      Thanks Bill. Purchased a 2014 from Village Cycle Center (highly recommended for those of you in Chicago) for $419.99 plus tax. Found a deal on Yelp – $25 for $50. List price for a 2015 is $499.99, compared to $549.99 for a 2014, so might be a downgrade, but who knows, as many factors contribute to price. I went with the 2014 because it has a proven track record and I prefer matte black to glossy black. Also, the sale price made it a no brainer.

  • Jacob Long

    So, a couple months ago I bought a Trek Verve 2 to be my entry-level hybrid bike. Did I screw up? Too late to rectify, but i want to be able to smarten up for any future purchases.

    At first blush, I see that you’re not as much of a fan of the suspension stuff that would make this bike more on the “comfort” end of the hybrids than the 7.2. I don’t mind it thus far, though you can definitely get to bouncing when it’s time to sprint. The lockable fork on my friend’s Giant Cypress would be useful there. Compared to the old road bike I rode for a few days beforehand, I’m not nearly as scared of taking a curb!

  • lottamoxie

    Hi there. I’m female & am ready to purchase a hybrid. What do you think of the Trek FX 7.6? What I’m specifically attracted to is the carbon fork and the upgraded components, which is why I’m looking at the 7.6 versus the lower number FX options like the 7.5 or lower. Hope you’ll see this post quickly as I want to make a decision within the week. 😉

    • tony kaye

      Really sorry about the delay, but we didn’t look at the 7.6, so we wouldn’t be able to compare. However, I will forward this along to our researcher to see he says!

    • tony kaye

      Ok this is via our expert Thom-

      I’d say if you’re willing to spend the money on the 7.6, do it. It’s a much better bike. The carbon fork is probably going to lighten up the bike by a couple pounds and carbon does a great job of damping road vibration. The other big difference is the drivetrain (gear system). The 7.2 has a 3 X 8 system— 3 rings in the front, 8 in the back, while the 7.6 has a 2 X 10 system. You won’t have as low a low (easy) gear as you will with the 7.2 but a 34 X 36 gear combination (the easiest/lowest gear on the 7.6) should be more than adequate for even the hilliest road rides. You’ll also be carrying less bike weight-wise so it will be easier to get up climbs. The drivetrain on the 7.6 is much higher quality and will be noticeably smoother and more accurate.

      Definitely check out the bike comparison feature on Trek’s website:

      Hope this helps!

  • Richard Viders

    Thank you SO MUCH for the great and super helpful article, you are so right! I had a Trek 3700 mountain bike that I bought last summer and rode three times on the road, it was too heavy, had not needed shocks, slow tires and I thought I would be off trail! I went back to a wonderful shop in NYC and they took it back as a partial trade which they never do and I got the 7.2 FX and it is amazing, fast, light, great shifting, and the 700cc tires just fly and are so comfortable for my body( just hit 70) that is age not speed. I asked about disc brakes and they told me unless I like to ride in the rain forget it.
    I got the 2015 Model bike for $400 or maybe $450

    • Kong137

      What store did you end up getting it from?

      • Richard Viders

        Bicycle Habitat in Soho, great store and people

  • Joel J.

    How does this compare to a Trek 8.2? If they were the same price (with an 8.2 2013 on closeout), which would you buy?

    • tony kaye

      We didn’t review/test the 8.2.

  • Guest

    I have the Trek 7.2 WSD 2013 that I have ridden for over a year! This has been a great bike. I do it all mule! Love it! I have know purchased a road bike which is more like a fast stallion, I refuse to depart from my Trek 7.2. Just like you said, it is a great second bike to all those other things a road bike cannot.

  • Linda Williams

    I have a 2013 Trek WSD 7.2 that I have ridden for over a year. This is a great all around bike for riding 20 miles or less over various surfaces. I have now purchased a Road Bike and love that as well. The Trek 7.2 is the great bike that does it all and is like a mule. My road bike is wonderful for speed and distance but I will not give up my Trek 7.2 because it is so versatile!

  • Linda Williams

    I ride a Trek 2013 WSD 7.2! It is a great all around bike for riding under 20 miles! I cannot recommend it enough. I have now purchased a road bike. My road bike is faster and is better for distances, but I will not get rid of my Trek 7.2 because it is so versatile!!!

  • kwf

    This is the best review on the subject I have read.
    Prior to reading it bought a Trek 7.6 fx. Very happy with the bike,
    like the carbon fork and shifters, but not cheap.

  • Samcopy

    How does it stacked against the Giant Escape?

  • clevermoniker

    you links are all broken

  • Deepak Bhawnani

    When the “Wait!” flag will go down :-) I mean when the coveted review for 2015 Trek 7.2 FX will be shared by Thom? i am all ears & eyes! Thanks in advance.

  • Emery

    Hi all–I’m trying to compare the Bianchi Torino and either the 2014 or 2015 7.2 FX. I can’t seem to find much info on the BIanchi hybrid as it’s mostly eclipsed by their road bikes. Does anyone have any info at all? I’m a total beginner, and I can use all the help I can get! :)

    • Eve O’Neill

      Hey Emery… after a very cursory glance at the Tornio specs – — the two most obvious ways I noticed it didn’t stack up against the Trek are:

      – aluminum fork (instead of steel)
      – nylon pedals (instead of metal)

      …and it’s only $10 cheaper. Nice lookin’ bike though.

      • Emery

        Thank you! I went with the Trek, but the yellow was tempting :)

  • Kevin Pratts

    Question: Is the 7.2 fx good for 30+ mile rides? Also, besides tires and fork on the Giant Escape 2 is there anything else that seamed to separate it form the 7.2 fx?

    • Eve O’Neill

      The 7.2 FX is great for 30+ mile rides. But my immediate next question is… how often are you going to do this ride? Maybe once a week? Maybe less? Twice a week in nice weather? Or are you planning on commuting 30+ miles, every day, rain or shine?

      If the answer is scenario 1, the Trek is fine. It’ll get you there, you’ll be comfortable, nothing is going to happen to the bike or the components. It’s rock solid.

      If the answer is scenario 2, I would onsider investing in a road bike. Something more in the $1,000 range. You can get a lighter bike, that will puts you in a position to use more power with your legs (and get you there faster), and things like shifters and derailleurs will operate more smoothly, all things that make the ride more efficient when you’re logging serious miles.

  • Kevin Pratts

    Question: Is the 7.2 fx good for rides that are 30+ miles? Also, you mentioned that the forks on the Giant Escape 2 were an issue because you felt road vibration. Do you know if they are better on the Escape 1 or 3?

    • Eve O’Neill

      Hey Kevin… I spent some time talking with my local Giant dealer yesterday. The fork on the Escape 1 is made of composite fiber (so a lower end version of carbon fiber) and the fork on the Escape 3 is made of steel. I took each one out for a test ride… and didn’t notice a difference in road handling.

      The carbon fork may seem like an upgrade at first, but carbon is just like disc brakes — not all carbon is created equal, and there are lower end versions and higher end versions. The carbon you’re getting on the 1 is actually composite, a thicker version of the carbon fiber on higher end models. That doesn’t mean it’s bad — it just means that the upgrade you’re getting form that extra $150 might not have as significant an impact as the stuff that costs lots of money.

      I took these three bikes out for a quick test ride, and found the difference in road vibration to be negligible. We (me and the dude whose job it is to try and sell me a Giant) came to the exact conclusion that Thom came to in his initial research… that most of the bikes in this category are pretty much the same thing.

      If you like it, it’ll serve you just fine, but the downside here is that every model in the Escape series requires some sort of compromise — you either pay $150 more for the 1 and get nicer (low-end) parts and a similar ride, get an aluminum fork on the 2 (why Thom ruled it out), or get the steel fork but an overall downgrade on parts on the 3 — whereas you don’t have to make that compromise with the Trek. Fwiw the 0 is being discontinued in 2015.

      I am currently working on your question about how far you can comfortably ride the FX 2…

  • David Alexander

    I recently bought a hybrid. Before, I read this article and quite a lot from various forums. Then I went to two REIs and tried a dozen bikes at varying styles and price points, while quizzing their (extremely knowledgeable) staff. This comment is to contribute back what I learned.

    To preface: there’s a lot to know to buy a first bike. You may not want what you think you want. I did MTB seriously a decade ago, but road-oriented riding was foreign to me. The knowledge I gained through firsthand experience was invaluable. I wouldn’t have done nearly as well buying used. Given the variety of models and high year-end discounts, the 1-year return policy, and the quality of the advice and the experience in general, I’d recommend buying your first bike at REI over any location or method.

    A few comments on components:


    Skip suspension of any kind. If you want to ride serious trails, buy a mountain bike. Anything affixed to a hybrid is likely to be heavy and poor quality, and will compromise it for the road and most bike paths.

    If you can swing for a model with a carbon fork, do it. They’re common in road bikes from $750-$2000. After $2000, the entire frame tends to be carbon. Carbon forks ride better than steel, much better than aluminum (“alloy”), and weigh less than both. Aluminum is fine for a bike with large, low-PSI tires (e.g., 35mm and 50 PSI), but will shake you to pieces with road-biased running gear.

    MTB-geometry will give you an upright sitting posture. More weight on your butt, less on your hands. Comfortable. It’s easier to see things. But the more upright you are, the harder it is to accelerate unless you’re out of the saddle, and the more wind resistance you can expect. That becomes a factor at speeds (or with a headwind) above 15 MPH.

    Fit matters. A lot. This is the most important reason to buy from a venue that’ll give you an extended test ride. A fast bike you hate will sit in the garage.

    If you expect to be predominately on the road for 20 mile+ trips, spend an hour test-riding a road (or cyclocross) bike with relaxed (for a road bike) geometry. The standard hand position above the drops will be more comfortable over time and faster than a flat-bar hybrid with equivalent geometry. Flatter grips and bar-ends will improve the hybrid. Don’t expect to be able to convert one to the other. A properly-sized hybrid frame has a longer wheelbase and top tube, and it’s not cheap to adapt the various control components.


    The three most important factors for brakes are power, modulation, and consistency. Of secondary importance, we’ve got weight, noise, and maintenance. Good power combines high ultimate stopping power with low hand effort. Good modulation results from long lever travel and linear action. Consistency implies the brake works equally well regardless of weather conditions or use.

    There are four major types: calipers, V-brakes, hydraulic discs, and mechanical discs. I favored them in that order.

    Calipers are the road-bike standard. They’re light, compact, simple, quiet, and mount at a single point directly above the wheel. They act on the rim, so they’ll never overheat (rare conditions with tandems aside). Power is very good in the dry. Modulation is excellent. Consistency is poor in bad weather: power is reduced in the rain. This type also tends to be limited to narrow wheels and tires.

    V-brakes were the mountain-bike standard until about five years ago. Same pros and cons as a caliper, but more powerful, able to accommodate wider tires, slightly heavier, and with merely average modulation.

    Hydraulic discs are the new standard for all bikes capable of going off-road, hybrid or otherwise. Excellent power, modulation, and consistency. The system is self-contained, very resistant to dirt, and indifferent to warped rims. It also tends to be noisier and need periodic adjustments that you won’t be able to do easily on a trail. Discs in general require more spokes and frame reinforcements that, in addition to the hardware itself, add weight. Overheating (and warped rotors or brake failure) will be risk for heavy riders on long descents.

    Mechanical disks are the same, but with less power and simpler maintenance.

    These judgments are subject to the quality of the item. An expensive model may mitigate much of the downside of that brake type. Expensive implies the sort of gear you’d see on a $1500+ bike. Almost every hybrid will have cheaper, more compromised components. This in mind, it costs less to make a decent V-brake than a set of hydraulics; if the bike comes with discs at the same price, they’ll either be poor or there will compromises elsewhere.

    At this price range, I was most impressed with calipers and least with the various discs. Calipers would make the bike endo if I wanted, though the superior modulation ensured I wouldn’t. Same with V-brakes. The mechanical discs I tried couldn’t do it. Hydraulics were fine (and required less squeezing force), but both sets I tried (from different manufacturers) made a lot of noise.

    Unless you have poor hand strength or plan to tour frequently in rain and mud, I see little reason for the weight and expense of any disc brake in a hybrid.

    Drivetrain —

    In Shimano-land, almost any derailleur will do. All models will shift with precision. Better models will stay in adjustment longer, require less finger force, shift more smoothly under power, and weigh less. MTB models (e.g., Deore) allow the use of larger cogs in the rear cassette (and easier gearing in turn). Road models (e.g., Tiagra) tend to be lighter and slightly more precise.

    Among the other components (e.g., hubs, cranks), the more costly levels tend to weigh less and have greater stiffness. Gearing is mostly irrelevant. Road-gearing typically pairs two cogs up front with 8 or more in the back. The third granny-gear small front cog is missing. You’ll only miss it if you’re going up extended grades with a heavily-loaded (e.g., commuting) bike.

    Wheels —

    The most important part than everyone ignores. Light wheels make a bike feel fast and responsive. Acceleration is superior. Heavy wheels feel slow and plodding. If you wonder why one hybrid rides better than another, that’s probably why. Weight matters in general for acceleration, but matters most when it’s part of the wheels. Tires (and tubes, if they exist) contribute. It’s difficult to evaluate wheel weight online.

    Skinny tires won’t necessarily make you faster (rolling resistance depends more on tread pattern than tried width), but they will accelerate faster because they’re usually lighter.

    All this is mind, I ended up buying from what was available at REI, which narrowed to Cannondale, Scott, Diamondback, and Novara. Novara is REI’s house brand. They and Diamondback tend to have superior components for a given price, but often heavier frames with more awkward geometry.

    I found the various Cannondale models (Quick 5, Quick Speed 1, Bad Boy 4 and 1, Synapse and Synapse Disc, among others) to be serviceable, but not special for the price. The Bad Boy series was the most fun to ride, albeit heavy and overbuilt for my purposes. I ultimately ordered a Scott Metrix 20 for a little over $600 that combines the Bad Boy geometry with a carbon fork and a ready-to-ride weight under 22 lbs. It’s a lot of fun and wildly quick on the road. The closeout model is still listed for $700 on their site; if you can spring the extra $200 and want a hybrid with a road-bias, I think you’ll appreciate the difference.

  • James Limborg

    -Now your guitar can sound like Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani and other guitarists studio album guitar sound with BOSS GT-10 Patches by James Limborg… Listen here:

  • wlkngmachine

    This is one of the best reviews I’ve ever read on anything, thanks so much! I am also considering the KHS Vitamin series, any comments one those?

    • tony kaye

      I don’t believe we looked at them, and if we do it likely won’t be until spring :(

  • Nicki

    This is an amazing review!!! I don’t know why it took me so long to find…I’ve been researching hybrid bikes for weeks and just can’t find any consistency on any bike or brand, probably because they’re all trying to sell me bikes! I appreciate your no-bull review. After a couple test rides, I’m going with the Specialized Sirrus or the Trek 7.2.

    • tony kaye

      Glad you liked it!

  • Luke Bornheimer

    When this review is refreshed, it would be awesome if you tested (and reviewed) the Vanhawks Valour (

    • tony kaye


      • Luke Bornheimer

        Thanks Tony!

  • Stacie Lindquist

    Could I use this bike to ride the MS 150 bike ride (70+ miles each day for two days)?

    • tony kaye

      Via our expert-

      Yes, you definitely could. A long ride like that is more about comfort than speed and you’ll definitely be comfortable.

  • Joonie Joon

    I ride roughly less than 50 miles per month, but I wanted to start riding more often with my son since I live near a recreational dam area. I had never bought a bike over 300 $ before. So for me, expensive road bike was not an option. I went to a local bike shop and they had 3 of the 5(or 6) models mentioned in this article. I tested out all of them and I find this article extremely helpful and it was dead on accurate on the assessment of the bikes mentioned here. I ended up with the trek 7.2FX for the same reasons mentioned here. (by no means, I live near the author or related to him at all, i’m in Los Angeles area) If you are in the similar situation as me, I’d highly suggest going for the trek 7.2FX. It was nothing like the bikes i’ve ridden before. Simply heavenly!

    • tony kaye

      Glad we were able to help!!!

    • Rebecca Pederson

      The author is a woman.

      • Michael Zhao

        *New author

        Thom was not a woman 😛

        • Rebecca Pederson

          Fair point!

  • eidyx11

    This is an awesome guide. Obviously a lot of hard work was put into this, so kudos to the writer of the guide.

    I do have the burning question, though: Is the 2015 version of the FX 7.2 as good as the 2014? I’ve read that they’ve changed a number of components. As far as I can tell they’ve changed the frame and the rear derailleur. And also dropped the MSRP some, which I assume reflects a downgrade. I just wonder whether it was a meaningful downgrade that makes others options on this list more appealing, or not.

    • tony kaye

      Somewhere in this thread it’s noted that the differences made the 2015 a worse bike overall and the 2014 model is the one to get (if you still can). I’ll try to find the thread!

      • eidyx11

        Yeah, I found it, thanks.


    Do you have any thoughts on bicycles for permanently mobile people, such as myself? As a truck driver, a quality bicycle would be a boon (my doctor would be ecstatic). Unfortunately I have not found much information on the quality of folding bicycles.. Help!

  • Cattus ex Machina

    Do you have any thoughts on bicycles for permanently mobile people, such as myself? As a truck driver, a quality bicycle would be a boon (my doctor would be ecstatic). Unfortunately I have not found much information on the quality of folding bicycles..

    • Andy Didorosi

      Are you able to store a full-sized bike behind the cab ahead of the fifth wheel?

      • Cattus ex Machina

        Contamination from road grime and water pretty much ruined the spool before it was stolen off the back of my truck. I was thinking of trying a folding bike

        • Andy Didorosi

          Bummer. I’d go to the nearest full-size, full-service bike shop and see what they say. The one I was just at in Ann Arbor had 3+ models of folding bike. They’re pretty popular.

  • Brent Harvey

    I just wanted to say thank you for this guide. I just bought the last 2014 Trek 7.2 FX Disc in San Diego county. I LOVE IT.

    • tony kaye

      You’re most welcome!!!

  • jay

    the jamis coda is a bike you should really should have ridden though….the ride on a steel frame is different and it’s a very popular bike

  • R P

    Bought a 2014 7.3 from a Trek store. More problems than I care to list (or anyone wants to read) all of which might be vaguely forgivable were it not for the atrocious service I received in the 30 or so trips back to the store to get the bike right as it should have from the start.

    This bike replaced a stolen 10 yr old Trek. What was is on longer and never another Trek. Never ever.

    • tony kaye

      Our EIC likes her 7.3 just fine, but the 7.2 is what we recommend.

  • Bram

    I was wondering if you guys could weigh in on the Priority bicycle. It’s got a lot of interesting features for a pretty low price.

  • Allen Millington

    I was interested in the Torker T800, but the nearest authorized retailer is over an hour away and I my only means of transportation would be Metra to Chicago. I’d prefer to buy online (unassembled) and ship-to-home. I also want the internal shifting hub. I was using my Dad’s old bike from the 80s until it’s shifting hub wore out. Had over 2K miles on it. I have a couple spare hubs, but I know they will wear out (pedal-back braking starts to slip and eventually completely fails). I sort of just want a new bike at this point.

    I decided to look at the The Globe Work 2, but it is no longer on specialized and the link in this article doesn’t work. I definitely need fenders. I occasionally ride when it’s raining and end up with a streak up my back on my current (temporary) bike.

    Is the wheel base long enough on these bikes to turn the wheel without hitting my foot? My temporary bike is a Schwin with such a short wheel base, the tire hits my foot if I turn with the wrong foot forward.

    What is the preferred tire radius? I would think the larger radius tires would handle bumps / curbs better.

    Also, it seems like TheSweetHome is having problems loading today (tried two different browsers and this article doesn’t fully load in either).

    • Allen Millington

      It looks like the last revision of the article took out mention of the Torker T800 (internal hub) and Global Work 2 (possibly discontinued?) without any documentation for their removal or suitable alternatives.

      • Eve O’Neill

        Hey Allen… yes, I was told by a dealer the Work 2 is discontinued. After taking a second look at the Torker we felt it was a better fit into a different category — urban bikes — because its components and upgrades (like chain guards and racks) are specifically useful for city errands. No plans as of yet to dive into the details on this type of bike. As far as availability, I’m not sure where it stands. The T800 is still listed on their site, but the product page is currently empty:

  • Lukasz Ignasiak

    Hi Tony. How do You see Giant Escape 1 2015 compare to The Trek 7.2 FX?

    • tony kaye

      Our update is coming this week!

      • Sacha Sayan

        Any update on this?

  • JacobN

    This is an excellent guide! I think it would be great if The Sweethome made a roundup guide for the newbie bike commuter. Cover things like gloves, lights, pumps, storage racks and bags, fenders, apparel, gear for rain commuting, when to consider those fancy snap-in shoes, etc. I’m particularly confused about how I should dress the lower half of my body while biking…

    • tony kaye
      • deluxetothecrux

        what about a bike multi-tool review/recommendation?

      • JacobN

        I know, you’ve got a lot of the bases covered! I’m just greedy and want more! Getting into bike commuting unfolds into an intimidating amount of equipment to optimize the experience.

    • Eve O’Neill

      Jacob… agree, lower-half bike clothes are a mega mystery. I have some ideas. Could you tell me how far you’re going, if you’re willing to (or would rather not) change clothes, and what kind of temperatures you ride in? (Also, I’m assuming you’re a guy.)

      • JacobN

        Currently I ride 5 miles to and from work (10 total), and I change into scrubs when I get to work. I would also like to work up to longer rides, though, and go to the bar and such. As for temp, it’s Oregon, spring mornings as low as the high 30s, and afternoon ride home in the mid 60s, with summer rides home peaking in the low 90s, mostly. And yes, you inferred the right plumbing of concern. Thanks for the suggestions!

        • Eve O’Neill

          I spent the last few weeks scoping out what people wear on their lower halves. Considering the vast array of conditions and distances you have ahead of you, I’d build your wardrobe around three things:

          1. A stretchy pair of jeans (or chinos, or khakis, or anything) for riding around town. It’s also nice if the legs have a slim cut (to avoid getting caught or greased up by the gears), or if that’s not your thing a pant leg that can be rolled up.

          Wirecutter editor Michael Zhao also lives in Portland and he likes Levi’s 511 commuters, “They’re a bit water resistant and are not low-rise in the back, which is nice.”

          They go on sale often:

          If you want to shop around, brands that offer similar in the $100 range are Betabrand, Swrve, Club Ride, Ligne 8, and Cadence.

          My favorite bike pants are a $20 pair of stretchy chinos from Target, so anything that stretches will work. I wear them with an elastic belt from Arcade (which I think was also featured in our gift guide this year). I love it. An essential investment in crack prevention.

          2. A pair of 3/4 pants or knee-length shorts. For longer rides where you need to be more comfortable, or hotter days.

          Chrome makes a functional, good-looking pair if you like urban styling:

          And Giro has been killing it recently with functional gear in classic cuts and colors that pretty much go with everything:

          3. A pair of unpadded, long spandex. When it gets cold and wet, layer these under your jeans or shorts to stay warm. If that’s too hot, wear them alone with your favorite bike sweater or zip-up… the sweater usually balances out the weirdness of… well, of wearing spandex.

          If you feel motivated to go all-in and get a pair of bib shorts, they’re awesome. No chafing. No squeezing at the waist. No belt necessary. Since you’re changing into scrubs anyway, an A+ investment if you want to go there.

          Rapha makes the most luxurious spandex money can buy, so drool over merino here:

          But no need to fork out so much $. Anything synthetic (or wool) will work. My favorite cycling base layer is a pair of $40 UnderArmor compression tights:

          A short pair of spandex is probably unnecessary unless: You plan on doing very long distances in warm weather, in which case spandex is the whole outfit. Or: you want padding underneath your shorts. I know a lot of guys who wear short, padded spandex underneath their cool-guy bike outfits (ahem, bike messengers) because the extra cushioning makes a huge difference in all-day comfort.

  • JoshuaT

    I found a bike shop that still has a 2011 7.2fx on clearance for half off. Is the 2011 version of the 7.2 as good as the 2015? The components seem to be close to the 2014’s version but I was unsure if the frame design and/or type of aluminum was changed in between theses years.

    • Raivyn

      If you look at Trek’s archive you should be able to find the components of the 2011 version.

      That being said, even if the 2011 version has downgraded components (which is doubtful), you will likely get close to equal performance at half price. To put it another way, the 2015 will not be twice the bike of the 2011 model.

    • Michael Zhao

      It’s similar enough that it’s worth getting at half the price for sure

  • eidyx11

    REI is having a 20% sale right now. Wondering if I should grab one of their diamondbacks, reg $500-600. Like this one:

    • tony kaye

      No longer available :(

    • Michael Zhao

      Looks decent. Worth throwing your leg over one to see if you like it. Those disc brakes are kinda crappy though. I’d look into replacing them with these:

  • Raivyn

    Thanks for updating the guide!

    • tony kaye

      You’re most welcome!

  • Ken Esq

    People also might want to consider the Trek DS 8.x series if they’re going to do some light trail riding. It still does well on the road, but gives you the ability with its wider tires and front suspension to go on trail.
    Also, as for buying online…I agree with one exception. When I buy a bike for my children there is none better than Islabikes (

  • Alexdi

    > Acera is the higher-quality component of the two

    May want to flip this.

    • Eve O’Neill

      Higher quality than Alivio? Or Altus? My expert laid it out for me like this:

      Alivio > Acera > Altus

      Can you point me to where you’re seeing the discrepancy? (We talk about Acera a lot).

      • Dave Harris

        Noticed the same error. In footnote #2.

        • Eve O’Neill

          Thanks team, updated.

  • cjohnson03

    There’s so little difference between all these $450-550 hybrids that I just went with the one that felt the best. I tried the Trek FX, Giant Escape, and Kona Dew, but the one that fit my body best was the Norco Indie 2 (a Canadian company). Also it was $150 off on sale… so that helped.

  • huja

    I just bought a 2014 Diamondback Insight Disc for a $522 all-in. On paper, should be a great deal . . .

    • YOjimbo

      Got the 2014 Insight STI8 about a month ago. Love it – perfect commuter bike. The STI8 keeps things a little cleaner and simpler. Any of the Insight bikes for around 500 bucks is a steal. FYI – I did upgrade the pedals. Otherwise, perfect ride.

      • huja

        Appreciate the post. I the bike works out as well for me as it has for you.

  • Dawid Suski

    anything for ladies, girls?

    • tony kaye

      We cover the part about women specific here-

      • Dawid Suski

        Thank you

        • eaadams

          Me and my partner are considering buying two 7.2’s for the summer. We live in Davis CA the largest bike city in the usa so we have many options. Right now we know we just want the same brand for ease of maintenance. She is 5’1″ & light, I am 6’4″ & 260#. It might be a month or two but I’ll post if she has an odd experience with the wsd. We are certainly on the outer edges of sizes.

  • PrivatesPlay

    as a trek 7.2 fx disc owner, i really can easly recommend this bike to any friend who wants to go for commuting or fitness or maybe touring, i road about 4000km since last year and it was great, one day i road about 170km in one go, and haven’t felt tired after waking up tomorrow.

    • tony kaye

      Thanks for the feedback!

  • eaadams

    Rear Racks, and fender reccos?

    • Jordan Smellie

      I’d be particularly interested in fender recommendations.

      Rear racks are a bit of a personal choice, aside from the broad strokes. Clip-on beam or bolt-on full? Pannier bars or extra side rails or both or neither? Spring clip or not? Proprietary attachment system or regular fender or neither? I just settled on the Topeak Super Tourist after doing a TON of research over the last month. At $38, it gave me the widest variety of options for how to use my rack and bike, and I didn’t mind the extra few ounces of weight over other racks that have fewer options.

      Fenders, though. Man, those are impossible to effectively research without actually seeing/using them.

      • eaadams

        I live in Davis, CA and we have a lot of bikes around town. I’m always jellous of people who have milk crates on bikes. Seems affordable easy for books or grocieres… etc… but options are bewildering.

      • Eve O’Neill

        I’m currently wrapping up our rear rack guide, and without having yet chosen a top contender I can say that for urban use, Topeak is one of the best options I’ve come across. Looking forward to hearing how it works for you.

        As far as fenders go, we’re still working on it. One thing I can toss out there, after having consulted numerous shops, is avoid plastic fenders. They break. For commuting and riding around town, metal is 100% worth it.

        • Jordan Smellie

          Awesome, thanks for the great reply! That’s roughly in line with what I’d pieced together on bike forums, so I’m glad to have it corroborated. I did see a number of people state “don’t use plastic fenders except for SKS, theirs are great”. If you’re still working on the guide and not already evaluating some of SKS’ options, it’d be really cool to hear what you have to say about those.

          Any guesstimates on when that fender guide might be done? I have no idea what kind of timelines you folks work on. Fenders aren’t a critical purchase for me, so if it’s going to be sometime in the near future, I can wait. If it’s not going to be until September, I’ll probably try to find some on my own. I’d much rather have your guidance, though!

          • Eve O’Neill

            We research until we get to the end, wherever that may be, which is what makes timelines for guides so tough. I’d say go forth and get yourself some fenders, and let us know what you decide on!

          • Jordan Smellie

            I’m actually completely satisfied with that answer, because that’s clearly what makes Wirecutter/Sweethome guides so good. Thanks for the reply! I will indeed report back if I get any fenders before your guide gets posted.

          • Tom Sangster

            +1 for SKS fenders. Light, great coverage, great fitting hardware, and definitely durable.

        • eaadams

          I’m interested to know if, once adding such accessories, some of these commuter bikes that have all this includ d become a better value choice as sort of a combo deal.

  • Nitin Muppalaneni

    Thank for such a detailed review and comparison. It made my decision lot easier. Much appreciated.

    • tony kaye

      You’re most welcome!

  • Wimonrat Sangthong

    Hi, what about the best option to upgrade from 7.2 ? I bought trek 7.2 WSD 13″ on Feb,2015. My bike was just stolen and I’m looking for the new one. I think somehow it’s weird if I buy the same one. It’s just feel it’s the same but not the same.

    PS. I’m 5″0′ tall.

    • Eve O’Neill

      I guess the question is, why upgrade? Are you going to be doing something different (going on longer rides, going mountain biking) than you were doing on the old bike? If not, no reason to spend more $$ (sorry about your stolen bike!) and maybe give the Coda Sport a try. It’ll do the same job but since it’s made of a different material it’ll have that new/upgraded bike feel you’re looking for.

      • Wimonrat Sangthong

        The question is I want to upgrade from the one I had. Now I’m looking on Specialied Vita Sport

  • Bharath Yelavatti

    I really enjoyed reading review. I am also torn between Specialized sirrus and Trek 7.2. Here in India Specialized is $50 more than Trek. I somehow feel Paint job of specialized is high quality and frame also looks very attractive than Trek.
    Please help me choose between these two. Do you recommend me Trek or Specialized.
    I like to invest on something quality product. For me paint job, look, ride quality and brand image is more important .

    • tony kaye

      Forwarded along!

    • Eve O’Neill

      I think that you will be much, much happier if you buy the bike you really want, so get the Specialized. $50 seems like a reasonable amount of money to spend in order to get the paint job that you like. It’s a great bike that’s practically identical in quality to our top pick.

  • Bharath Yelavatti

    thanks eve.. I am really happy about quick response..
    so even you guys believe paint job of sirrus is better than Trek.. ?
    As well I see Sirrus do not come with puncture resistant tyres, Duo sensor compatible frame.. and rear derailleur is altus .. which is again a downshift from acera of trek right…?

    Which frame and components are higher quality among thee two bikes..?

    Thanks.. in advace..

    • Eve O’Neill

      We don’t have a preference on paint job. But I do think you’ll be happier if you spend money on the bike that looks the way you want. The quality of these two bikes, in this price range, is almost identical.

      The Sirrus does come with puncture resistant tires, Specialized Nimbus w/ Flak Jacket Protection. Here is a list of bikes that are compatible with the DuoTrap sensor made by Bontrager (which is owned by Trek):

      We chose the Trek as our top pick because it retails for less, plus you’re saved the aftermarket purchase of metal pedals and yes, that Acera rear derailleur on the Trek is technically a higher-quality Shimano component than the one found on the Sirrus.

  • Bharath Yelavatti

    Hi… I also went through cannonade quick 4.. I am getting good discount on Quick 4 2014 model.
    I am getting quick 4 for same price as Trek 7.2fx..
    Quick 4 has carbon fork .
    Not able to get more information about this bike online. Does it have good components and how is the ride and comfort..?? is it a better buy than trek 7.2 fx ?

    Hope to hear something from you…

    Thanks in advance

  • Andy Moore

    Just wanted to say that I found this article to be a huge help. I decided to buy a Trek 7.2 FX based on a test ride and the information in this article. I especially liked the sections on 7.1 vs. 7.2 vs. 7.3 and the parts covering close competitors and components. Even the discussions in the comment section are great. Damn good job, people! Damn good job!

    • tony kaye

      Seriously wonderful to hear! Glad we could help!

  • bchandar

    Thanks for this article. This is the only genuine review article I have seen on this topic with details that matters. Truly appreciate this.
    I am contemplating between Trek 7.2 FX vs 8.3 DS.
    Any suggestions? I am also not sure if 8.3 DS comes with puncture-resistant tires, which is definitely a value add for me. The front disc brakes in 8.3 DS are nice to have only for me.


    • bchandar

      I went with 7.2 FX yesterday and already put more than 15 miles. I really liked the feel and the comfort that I experienced. I just had a kick stand installed additionally and looking to get a kryptonite U lock shortly. It was a long route for me in deciding on this bike and thanks to this article that gave me the required nudge. I did try out the 8.3 DS and also few other cross-sport bikes (Marin, Giant, specialized). I could not try the specialized sirus and eventually decided to go with this simple no complex v-brake and bike. My final hesitation was on the front shock and lockout features on some of the dual sport vehicles. But test-riding cleared my hesitation to go with this bike. I went with 20′ for size and black/green for color.
      I am looking for some cool front and back fenders and may go for one.

      Thanks again for this review

      • Eve O’Neill

        Really happy to hear you found your bike. Let us know how it works out for you!

  • pafountain

    Thanks for this article!
    There is a used Sirrus Sport for sale here on craigslist.
    I want to pick it up because it’s a good deal, but I’m just concerned about the fit.
    The bike is a Large, but I am 6’3.
    I’m wondering, as I haven’t had a hybrid bike before if the L frame can be adjusted to fit my height comfortably?
    Or would it be better to hold out for an XL bike?
    I’m sure it would be best to just go try it out and see how it feels to me.
    But I’m just wondering if anyone might have any input, or experience themselves.

    • bchandar

      Hi, if anything don’t compromise on the size. A wrong size may deter the joy of riding. my 1 cent! :)

      • pafountain

        Thanks for the reply bc… Turns out I’m not as tall as I thought I was.
        Pulled out the tape and measured in at 6’1 and 1/2 Lol. Went ahead and bought the bike.
        Feels great.

        Much more comfortable than any road bikes I’ve had.

        But I won’t blame that on the bikes.

  • John Luckiesh

    Awesome article, such a great read, and extremely informative! I just moved into a new area and am looking into getting a new hybrid bike. (My last one was stolen) After reading this article I was looking around at the Trek 7.2 FX 2015 as well as other options from local bike shops. The other one I am looking at is the Giant Escape 3 2015. The Escape 3 is about $100 cheaper, but still has the steel front fork like the Trek 7.2 FX, but no steel wrapped peddles. I am just not sure about the other component differences or if it just comes down to how they ride. . . Any help about which bike components might be better would greatly be appreciated!


    Trek 7.2 FX link:

    Giant Escape 3 link:

    • John Luckiesh

      I found this site to compare the two with their listed specifications and components side-by-side. (See link below) But I am not 100% sure on which has the better listed components/specs or even if there truly is a difference at all. Again, any help about which bike components might be better would greatly be appreciated.

      • Eve O’Neill

        Hi John. The way Giant names its Escape models is a little tricky. It goes from lowest to highest… meaning that the Giant 3 is the least expensive, most entry level bike in that series. The quality goes up from there, to the Giant 2, 1, and Escape 0 being the most fully tricked out.

        And as far as the 3 is concerned, I think you answered your own question: It’s only $100 less, but doesn’t have the tires or pedals that make the Trek a better deal right off the showroom floor. The Giant 2 is the model that is most comparable to our top pick, and as you can see we’ve dismissed it above for similar reasons. Giant Escape series is extremely popular where I live, and I test rode every model in the series. They’re perfectly fine bikes, just one component or one tweak sideways of being the absolute best deal in this price range. If you like that bike, there’s nothing wrong with it. But I’d go with the Trek.

        • John Luckiesh

          Thanks Eve! After looking at both bikes in their relative stores near me, I decided to go with the Giant Escape 3 because it was actually over $150 cheaper and the parts all seemed to be the same other than the pedals and tires, and the Giant had its wires encased through the frame (a feature the Trek didn’t have until the 7.3 or higher). The Giant bike shop near me said they would give me a deal and switch out my tires for cheap and give the Giants version of Treks tires adding those and the pedals all added $50 and so I still ended up saving $100.00. But to be honest the main reason I strayed away from the Trek was because Trek bike shop near me was rude. . . I did learn one interesting “fact” about Giant (though I have not researched this myself) they are the only company that manufactures their our frames, so even Trek outsources and it is to Giant, so that is why Giant is a little cheaper in price. Anywho. . . I wouldn’t have been as prepared as I was without this article and website, so thank you very much!

          • Eve O’Neill

            John… that’s awesome. So happy you could use the info here to leverage a deal! And I’m with you… if a shop is rude, they lose my business. I don’t care what they sell.

            PS. I would kill to see what the factory supply chain for these bikes looks like. I’m sure they’re all coming from the same place.

          • John Luckiesh

            Me too! Looks like that would take a trip to Taiwan. In the meantime here is a link to an article (with pictures) on a tour they gave there.


            One of the pictures you can see the Trek “K” slipping out from under a cover on the factory-line.

  • Adam Goldstein

    This article is one of the best things I have read. My fiancee are just getting into biking and really appreciate all of these insights (and it’s very well written). We both just bought the FX 7.2 (after testing a few other bikes) and love it. This article was so great that we now use this website as the go-to for analysis/advice — we have purchased bike locks, wifi extender and bike pump based on this site. Thanks!!!

    • tony kaye

      You are very welcome and thank YOU for the kind words!

  • bchandar

    Now that I have bought my 7.2 FX, could you recommend a bike carrier (hitch mount) please?

    • Eve O’Neill

      Hey there, same answer as above: We’re working on this, but it could be another month or two. We’re trying to figure out the best way to test this product since there are so many compatibility issues between car models and carrier styles.

  • Marilyn

    Hi. Great article! My old trek 820 hybrid, which I loved was stolen. I am now deliberating between a new trek WSD FX and a trek allant. I test drove both today. I like all the components that come with the allant (rack, kickstand, fenders, etc.) but it rode a little heavier and slower than the FX. What do you think of the allant?

  • mjk2167

    Any chance there will be a helmet review to accompany this? Seems like all the other aspects of cycling are covered besides helmets.

    • Eve O’Neill

      yes! and it’s coming out in about 2 weeks. stay tuned.

  • bchandar

    How about car bike carrier review will come as well?

    • Eve O’Neill

      We’re working on this, but it could be another month or two. We’re trying to figure out the best way to test this product since there are so many compatibility issues between car models and carrier styles.

      • bchandar

        Thanks for the response. Eagerly await for this information.

  • Daekwan

    Interesting you guys didnt add the Fuji Absolute hybrid to you list of comparison bikes. I’ve been searching for the Absolute 1.1D in size 23 forever and cannot locate a single one in the US. Maybe its a sign that I should be looking at the Trek 7.x models.

    • Daekwan

      Just ordered a 7.4 FX in size 22.5. Really hate that Trek only offers white, gray or orange as color options (I didnt want a color that would stand out).. but thats about my only gripe about the bike!

      • Gorf959

        I doubt gray would stand out that much.

  • siriuset

    Went to the LBS to try out the 2015 7.2 and they showed me a 2014 7.2 at a great price. More than the 7.2 but still good. So now I’m between these two and the Giant Escape 1. Thoughts?

    • Eve O’Neill

      Dija test ride ’em? Specs and price being nearly equal, get the one that you love riding, or the one that fits you the best.

      As of this year, we prefer the Trek bikes to the Escape series. Even though the 2014 7.2 has (slightly) better specs, unless the extra cost is an extremely minimal amount of money ($20?) probably not worth spending the extra cash. Go for the 7.2 2015.

      • siriuset

        I rode all and have to say that I really loved the ride on the 7.4. It’s more than $20 extra but I think I’m going to go for it. All the research I’ve done says to go with what feels the best subjectively, and your excellent article has shown me that Trek bikes are really well made.

        • Eve O’Neill

          Ah, so it’s not a model year difference, it’s a difference in model number. I think it’s a good idea going with your gut, enjoy that carbon fork!

          • siriuset

            It’s both! The 7.4 is a 2014, and the 7.2 is a 2015. The gut is going to to win and I’ll enjoy the carbon fork and the ergonomic grips. (it’s the little things that get you sometimes!)

  • keltor

    The formatting of the website looks a LOT odd with Chrome (on a 27″ 1440p screen for what it’s worth.)

  • Sara Waller

    Just curious on your opinion of the 7.2FX versus the Niko S? I’ve tested both and the only thing I’m going back and forth with is suspension or no suspension? The 7.2 is cheaper but I’m not opposed to spending more for the suspension. I’ll mostly be doing small trips on pavement, some commuting to work and also some light trails as well. I just can’t deicide which to get, if I’m already spending about $500 for the 7.2FX, the upgrade to the Niko S isn’t that big of a jump to me. Any info or ideas would really be appreciated!

    • Sara Waller

      Sorry, meant to say Neko S!

      • Eve O’Neill

        Hey Sara… I think if you already know you want to branch out and take on some trails, going for a Dual Sport (the Neko S) instead of a fitness bike is a good idea.

        As far as city riding is concerned, suspension has some pros and cons. It’s great for jumping curbs and handling bumpy, unmaintained roads. The downside is that every single time you stop at a traffic light your suspension will kick in, and you end up bobbing back and forth on your bike, all the way down the road. That gets tiring if you have a lot of lights to navigate.

        With that in mind, if you already know you want to use your bike for a broad range of activities, suspension is probably a bigger plus than minus.

  • CSM

    Thanks for the review! I saw yesterday in a LBS a 2016 model of 7.2fx in blue color. Any idea how it is different from the 2015 model?

    • Eve O’Neill

      I just reached out to Trek for information on their 2016 model, and they told me for 2016 the only change on the Trek 7.2 FX is that one of the colors is changing, from red to blue. Everything else stays the same.

  • Ted Thuening

    Great review! Currently shopping for a hybrid and awesome to see that spending the extra money on the 7.3 may not be worth it. Just need to get out and test drive now!

  • Carol

    Thanks for this article. I have one question…. some bikes come with shocks in the front. Why would I buy a bike with shocks?

    • Bob Sanders

      Why wouldn’t you?

    • mogwaiinjustice

      Shocks will absorb rough spots on the road or smooth out doing things like hitting roots or rocks. However at this price range you can’t get good shocks. The cheap shocks will slow down the bike, make it heavier, and probably still won’t do as good a job as a steel or carbon fork for roads and paths.

      Shocks are much better for mountain bikes anyways as mountain biking will actually put you on terrain where it’s worth having the heavier and more costly shocks.

  • WhatChrisLikes

    Hi guys. Thanks for the article. My Trek Soho commuter bike (bought used for $500) with a belt drive was stolen this weekend and I’m afraid it has made me a belt drive convert. Do you have any recos for a belt drive bike?

    • Eve O’Neill

      I have obsessed about this comment for months. I have fallen in love with belt drives as well, so at the Interbike show last week I spoke with some manufacturers to learn more. We haven’t tested any models, so I can’t give you a top pick. But I have general info that might help:

      They’re all going to run $1,100 – $1,400 new, so if you find something on sale or used like your Trek, grab it. Unless you’re buying brand-new, the value is in getting the drive at a lower price, not all the other components, so whatever you end up, no matter how it’s outfitted, will be a deal.

      However, to fine tune your search for used, look for a bike with Shimano components; our mechanic experts say they spend much less time fixing Shimano parts than SRAM. And look for a bike with a Gates carbon drive instead of a competitor (such as CDRIVE).

      The Gates drives have a carbon fiber wire running through them, as well as much larger teeth, both of which prevent slipping and stretching. Competing designs may also have a metal wire (or none), but they’re better for industrial applications (chainsaws, lawnmowers) and are not as durable under low RPM, high torque situations (what happens when you start pedaling from a dead stop at a light).

      Not sure what you’re style is, but if my goal was to commute then the bike I would buy for myself is Marin’s Fairfax SC 4 Belt ($1,044). It’s the least expensive option I found, but has big performance upgrades in addition to the belt including hydraulic disc brakes and Schwalbe puncture resistant tires (the really good ones.) You can mount fenders and racks on it as well.

      Other ideas:

      BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 IGH:

      Scott Sub Speed 10:

      Miir Burke:

      • WhatChrisLikes

        Thanks for the comment Eve. Crazy enough, I found another Trek Soho almost exactly like my stolen one (but different enough that I knew it wasn’t MY bike) for sale for the same price as I bought the first one. So I bought that. It’s still a great bike. But next time I’m in the market I’ll be taking a look at some of your recommendations.

        Thanks for replying to my comment!

  • john david

    This article is fantastic. Great detail and clear explanations for the novice rider.
    Definitely helped me to make a final decision. Thanks very much!

    • tony kaye

      You are very, very welcome. Thank you for reading!

  • Tjones

    I love your article – love the detail and all the extra comparisons! I was hoping to find “the best” mountain bike at a similar price point – any advice?

  • priya

    Great review, but as another commenter mentioned I’m also surprised the Fuji Absolute wasn’t tested. Or any Fuji Model. Or Scott.

    • tony kaye

      We might in the future. Nothing is impossible! But we stand by our picks.

    • Eve O’Neill

      Working right now on research and comparisons for Fuji and Scott for our 2016 update. Thanks for mentioning!

  • Ken Esq

    The link to the Jamis is 404.

    • tony kaye

      Thank you!

  • Ken Esq

    After purchasing a Trek DS 8.6 this past year I will never get a bike without disc brakes again. It is well worth the upgrade to get this feature.

  • gene

    I read your article, and was torn between the fx.2 and the Diamondback Insight ll (via Amazon.) I finally visited a bike shop and got an education about fit, maintenance and more. I went ahead and got the fx 2. paid a bit more, but peace of mind and no hassles is worth $70.00.

    • tony kaye

      Glad to hear our guide could help out a bit!

  • Rod Anderson

    Tony and review crew…THANK YOU! Wife has been looking for a new bike for 2 weeks now. Before finding this review she had already test rode the Specialized Sirrus Sport Disc ($650), Jamis Coda Elite ($765 on sale last years model normally $900), Kona Dew Deluxe, Giant Escape 2 (yuck) and a couple others we don’t remember. Out of those she was leaning towards the Sirrus. But none of them gave her the “Yes this is the one!” feeling after riding. She didn’t feel she needed disc brakes as she’s not going to ride in the rain (yes we know there are additional benefits to disc then just wet braking). She would rather go for a bike that had regular cantilever brakes and the savings be put into better derailleurs.

    Then I found this review and showed it to the wife. So we went to our local Trek dealer this morning, rode your top pick, the 7.2, and she really liked it but then she saw the 7.4 FX WSD (women’s) in Platinum color. She said, “Oh…what is that over there?”. She test rode it and when she came back she said with a huge smile on her face, “THIS IS IT!”. She was ecstatic and so was I because she finally had that same feeling I did when I test rode my Redline Monocog single speed several years ago. She found exactly what she was looking for….a brake that instead of having disc brakes had very good cantilever brakes, better shifting components then the others she test rode and a geometry & ride that fit her like a glove.

    So to wrap up, no we didn’t buy your top pick, the 7.2, but your review led us to the bike that was perfect for her. Yes it was more $ but it was exactly what she had been searching for. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

    Rod & Keli
    Portland, OR

  • Rod Anderson

    Tony and review crew…THANK YOU! Wife has been looking for a new bike for 2 weeks now. Before finding this review she had already test rode the Specialized Sirrus Sport Disc ($650), Jamis Coda Elite ($765 on sale last years model normally $900), Kona Dew Deluxe, Giant Escape 2 (yuck) and a couple others we don’t remember. Out of those she was leaning towards the Sirrus. But none of them gave her the “Yes this is the one!” feeling after riding. She didn’t feel she needed disc brakes as she’s not going to ride in the rain (yes we know there are additional benefits to disc then just wet braking). She would rather go for a bike that had regular caliper brakes and the savings be put into better derailleurs.

    Then I found this review and showed it to the wife. So we went to our local Trek dealer this morning, rode your top pick, the 7.2, and she really liked it but then she saw the 7.4 FX WSD (women’s) in Platinum color. She said, “Oh…what is that over there?”. She test rode it and when she came back she said with a huge smile on her face, “THIS IS IT!”. She was ecstatic and so was I because she finally had that same feeling I did when I test rode my Redline Monocog single speed several years ago. She found exactly what she was looking for….a bike that instead of having disc brakes had very good caliper brakes, better shifting components then the others she test rode and a geometry & ride that fit her like a glove.

    So to wrap up, no we didn’t buy your top pick, the 7.2, but your review led us to the bike that was perfect for her. Yes it was more $ but it was exactly what she had been searching for. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

    Rod & Keli
    Portland, OR

    2016 Trek 7.4 FX WSD (Women’s Specific Design)
    -click on bike to enlarge-

    • tony kaye

      Really happy to hear our guide was instrumental in helping you find the right bike for you/your loved one!

    • Fred

      I don’t ride in the city, but need something for 2 types of trails. One type is hard pack dirt and stones, the second type is loose gravel. Is the 7.2 FX suitable for that? Most people do not ride MTBs on these trails, so I want a hybrid of some sort. Any advice would be appreciated.

      • Rod Anderson

        Hi Fred. If you don’t mind not having front suspension for those trails then these hybrid bikes are perfectly fine for such riding. But I would suggest thinking about changing the tires as most of these bikes listed have more of a narrow and slicker road-like tire. For instance here is the tire that is on the 7.2:

        My wife picked the 7.4 and it has even thinner tires than the 7.2. Now if she had plans riding on the type of trails you described, then she would have put on a better tire for those conditions. You won’t need an aggressive, big knobby tire but something with a bit more grip than the stock/default tire. Here are some good choices:

        *my fav…love Schwalbe tires

        • Fred

          Thanks Rod. That’s quite helpful, as I didn’t know about biketiresdirect or schwalbe, being I’m just getting into it. Since I don’t have time to shop right now, I bought a Gravity Swift 21 from, which is being delivered today. It has a 700x38C BLACK A/V Kenda K-184, I’ll have to try it out and see. Longer term, in the spring likely I plan to cross shop Trek and Cannondale: I like the specs of the 7.3 FX and the Quick 4 and will probably check out bikesdirect offerings also as I like to turn wrenches. Lastly, do you and your wife like disc brakes? Many seem to come with the Tektro and people claim that the stock pads are very squeaky and not good. I’m leaning towards disc brakes, but not sure if the lower end stuff is worth it. Thanks again, pardon the wordy post…

          • Rod Anderson

            I have a 2013 Redline Metro Classic that has Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes which are just OK…everything else about the bike I love. If you plan on riding in the wet often then even a basic disc brake will help out but will probably result in squeaking after a period of time. I will probably end up replacing my BB5 mechanicals with a very good hydraulic disc brake system this next spring. To sum it up if you decide to replace the brakes on your Gravity or get a new bike w/ disc brakes next spring then go for a good quality hydraulic disc system instead of the lower end stuff. I test rode a bike that had a very nice Shimano hydraulic disc setup and the difference was amazing. Worth the $ in my opinion.

            Enjoy your Gravity…it looks like a very comfy, upright ride!

          • Fred

            Yes, that makes sense on getting better disc brakes, although I wonder if the Avid BB7s are much better. It seems to me that that is the one upgrade I would want in the future, whether new bike or not: better disc brakes, probably hydraulic as you mention.

            My Gravity arrived today, although I didn’t unpack it yet. And regarding our tire discussion, I ordered something like what you mentioned, which is inexpensive but got good reviews: Biketiresdirect has great sales this week: I also ordered a computer, tubes, and tires for my old mountain bike, all was a good deal.
            Thanks again for the insights and I enjoyed chatting. I hope that your wife enjoys her new sweet FX 7.4, that’s a beauty!

          • Rod Anderson

            I’ve read (amazon reviews & forums) that the BB7’s are actually a huge jump in quality & performance over the BB5’s. So if you were to go mechanical disc then I wouldn’t settle for anything less than the 7’s.

            That tire/tread looks perfect for the type of trails you mentioned…nice choice.

            Are you planning on putting the Gravity together yourself? I highly recommend taking it to your LBS. Here is an excerpt from a bike blog I came across sometime ago about this subject….

            “If you pull it out of the box, throw on the pedals, tighten the handlebars and inflate the tires, yes, it might be just 25 minutes, and you’ll end up with a K-Mart quality bike with a few nicer parts.

            But if you build it the way we (and most other competent bike shops) do, it will involve removing the tires & tubes to make sure the rimstrips in the right place and the tire & tube were correctly installed, lubricating all threaded surfaces (why they don’t come this way from the factory is something I don’t understand), truing the wheels laterally and inspecting them for deformities caused in shipping (happens more often than you think), making sure all bearings are properly adjusted, replace “factory” chain lube (which is often the consistency of light tar) with something that will allow it to shift better, ensure there are no kinks in brake or gear cables & housing and replace as required, and finally, the simple stuff like installing seat, pedals & handlebars. And then it needs to be test-ridden to settle things in, and checked again. And double-checked by another mechanic. That 25 minutes quotes just became two hours. And the bike still isn’t fit properly to the rider.”

            I think it’s worth the $50-$75 to have a LBS do the build.

          • Fred

            Hi Rod. Say, this thread is fun chatting with like minded riders :). My feeling is that I would go either BB7 or go to hydraulic, although hydraulic I think is better. Some people knock it because it is more complex and requires bleeding the brake lines, unlike mechanical, but a shop owner I spoke to this evening told me that that is actually a simple thing to do. I suspect the hydraulics are more consistent, and need less frequent tuning, and have better feel.

            I agree that a LBS is the best solution for many people, but I definitely don’t think it is the best route for me. My father was very mechanically inclined, and I have a lot of his background. This may be boring, but in case you’re interested, I’ll even reply to your points as to why it’s not good for me in this case:

            That tire/tread looks perfect for the type of trails you mentioned…nice choice.

            “If you pull it out of the box, throw on the pedals, tighten the handlebars and inflate the tires, yes, it might be just 25 minutes, and you’ll end up with a K-Mart quality bike with a few nicer parts.”. No, I have the background from my past to do it like the LBS mechanics do it. I use top of the line grease for the axles (Finish Line w/Teflon), I would lube all the little things like the pedals and seat post, etc. I am capable of checking the wheels for trueness: in this day and age they do a great job with trueness of the wheels, unless they get damaged in shipping. If they are not perfectly true I will call BD and request another one. I also know the better chain lubes. I will double check it after riding it, I can do that. I also get a sense of accomplishment from doing it myself. I have heard stories where people got a bad tune from the LBS, so each shop is only as good as their worst mechanic. I think they (the LBSs) overstate the case that only they can do proper assemblies and tuneups: these bikes are not that complex after you work with them a while and it is fun to become your own mechanic.

            Here’s a youtube video of a bike mechanic with 40 years experience showing how he assembles one from the box. He gets paid by the hour, thus has to keep up a certain speed. I can tell you that I would spend more time getting the derailleur tune “fine tuned”, and I also would have spent a little more time on the brake tuning. I can do that since it is my bike, and I don’t have to meet any “production” quotas or expected time limits. To your point though, I agree that the LBS is good for many people. But from my experience, if you have mechanical experience from your past and know about greasing bearings and proper bearing tension, it is more gratifying and infinitely more interesting to do oneself. OK, off my soapbox now :) Here’s the video if you are interested.

        • Fred

          Hi Rod. Check out my post today on a bike with nice mechanical discs for slightly over 300 bucks including shipping, just this weekend, from Nashbar. I put down my beliefs on discs too which you might find interesting just to get a possibly different view than your own. Good luck!

    • Eve O’Neill

      Really happy to hear it 😀

  • testfixtest

    Great review, thanks! Have read it multiple times in last 2 week:) Question – is it worth comparing prices between your 3 picks? I’m getting Jamis at 10 pct less than the 7.2 fx (both 2015). I have not been on a bike in years, commute is 1.25 miles, unclear yet if I’ll do more with the bike. Silicon Valley is not exactly a city but traffic lights are there and some traffic during commute hours. Like you said, Trek felt bit more responsive to turning and Jamis felt speedier – may be it’s the 35cc vs 32cc tire. All that said, it’s not clear if either matters for my use case and Trek is worth paying 10 pct more. Advice?

    • Rod Anderson

      If it was me I would get the Jamis…I love the feel/ride of a steel frame. That Jamis is a great ride.

    • Eve O’Neill

      Agree with Rod… I love riding the Jamis and if it’s cheaper than the Trek, go for it. It’s absolutely perfect for the flat wide roads where you are.

  • Dan Borello

    Any comments on the 2016 models?

    • tony kaye

      Nothing yet, I would check back next spring for the newer models.

    • Eve O’Neill

      Hey Dan, across the board looks like very few changes between 2015–> 2016 models for the hybrids. Last year there were component changes and price fluctuations, this year just the color schemes are different.

  • Fred

    don’t ride in the city, but need something for 2 types of trails. One type is hard pack dirt and stones, the second type is loose gravel. Is the 7.2 FX suitable for that? Most people do not ride MTBs on these trails, so I want a hybrid of some sort. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • tony kaye

      Forwarded to our experts!

      • Fred


    • Eve O’Neill

      From what you’re describing, it sounds like the Trek FX could handle it pretty well, provided that there aren’t any major steep hills or tree roots sticking out of the ground.

      But I can think of two types of bikes (that aren’t mountain bikes) that could possibly be a better fit for your scenario:

      1. A hybrid. Technically, the Trek FX is a “fitness” bike. While very similar to fitness bikes, a hybrid bike can have tires that are a bit wider and nubbier, which might be better suited to the terrain you’ll be on.

      “Verve” is Trek’s series of hybrid bikes:

      “Crossroads” is a hybrid style from Specialized:

      2. A dual sport. The major differences between our top pick and a dual sport is that it will have front suspension and again slightly wider tires than a fitness bike. Both of those things are great for taking on gravel. However, on a dual sport, the handlebars may sit a bit lower than the seat, which means you’ll be leaning over a bit more than you would on a hybrid or fitness bike.

      Dual Sports will be a little bit more ($550 instead of $450) because of the additional front suspension.

      “DS” is what Trek calls their dual sport bikes:

      “Crosstrail” is a Specialized dual sport style bike:

      • Fred

        Thanks Eve for the explanation. After reading your post, I actually went to a TREK/Cannondale shop tonight and checked them all out. The trails I ride, such as the Delaware & Lehigh trail system in Eastern PA, which goes along the Delaware and Lehigh rivers, does not have much in the way of tree roots or big rocks. And I personally favor efficiency and light weight, so I much prefer a solid fork: it is more efficient when accelerating and lighter. So thanks again, I learned from your post and my investigation, but I can say the the FX 7.3 looks very good to me, better than the Verve or a dual sport. I also think the “gold” frame may very well be worth the extra money for some of us, over the “silver” in the 7.2.

        • Eve O’Neill

          I’m from PA too! Best of luck on your search 😀

  • Fred

    Hey everybody, on the topic of hybrid bikes, there is a screaming “buy” this weekend at . It is the Schwinn Super Sport 2 Disc. It has a triple butted frame, very respectable components all around, and Tektro Novello mechanical disc brakes. Normally 550, which is a good buy, with all the discounts it comes to 280 plus 15 for shipping and 18 or so for tax. Colors are even beautifully done; I picked one up! BTW, I’ve been researching disc brakes. Here’s what I believe I’ve learned. Avoid Avid BB5s at all cost: the Avid BB7s are much less temperamental. The Tektro mechanicals are good, although the stock brake pads squeal a good bit. If you upgrade the pads the squeal goes away. Personally the squeal is not a big deal to me. I’m staying away from hydraulic discs because if a brake ever fails and you are tens of miles from base, you can repair a mechanical brake pretty easily, a hydraulic requires special equipment for bleeding the lines, something you can’t do unless in a shop. So any mechanical disc is pretty good except the Avid BB 5s. Good luck!

  • Ish

    I used trek fix 7.2 for 8 months, which got stollen and now I just got specialized sirrus. Although I liked 7.2 but sirrus just feels great. May be the seat and pedals are better in 7.2 but like the gear transition and feel of sirrus more so far.

  • Nicholas Hookway

    Thanks for the fantastic article. This article mentioned the Giant Escape 2. Is this different from the Giant Roam (Roam 2 Disc)? I’m based in Australia so it could be a naming difference. I was considering purchasing the Roam 2 Disc after visiting my local Giant dealer but will definitely check out the Trek 7.2 FX.

    • Eve O’Neill

      The difference between the Roam and the Escape is that the roam has front suspension and higher wheel clearance, so you can take it off roading if you want. It’s more of a dual sport than a hybrid (which won’t have front suspension). If you plan on hopping lots of big curbs or riding gravel or rocky paths, it could be an asset, but if you’re just riding around city streets and not getting too crazy you probably don’t need the front suspension on the Roam.

  • Susan Lowe

    Thanks for your well-researched article! Living in Vancouver, BC where it rains a fair amount in the winter, disc brakes are among my criteria. After an accident, I’ve been looking for a couple of months now at Specialized, Marin, Trek, Cannondale, Devinci and Rocky Mountain hybrids…and can not decide! Do you have a ‘best hybrid’ if disc brakes ARE in the plan?