New Bike: 2008 Trek 6500

23:59 Thu 17 Jan 2008
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After using a Trek 4300 since mid-2000, I decided it was time for a new bike. The old one was in need of some serious work, and had been unreliable for quite some time—only a couple of the gears were effectively usable, for example. I use my bike a lot and hope to use it more, so reliability is rather important, and I decided that I would both repair the old one and get a new one.

I had been very tempted by the 2007 Trek 8500, despite its high cost, but I wasn’t able to find one anywhere. The 2008 version of that bike is even more expensive, and I really couldn’t justify that kind of cost given that I don’t use my bike for much other than commuting. So I got this bike instead:

It’s all stock except for the handlebars, which I replaced with flat bars because I can’t stand the ones that have a rise in them. I also added handlebar extensions, there primarily because of the potential protection they afford my hands in case of a collision with something.

So far, I’ve been pretty happy with it, although there are some things that need tweaking or are a little off. It doesn’t feel quite as nimble as my old bike: when I swerve or take tight turns, I feel like the back wheel is close to sliding out from underneath me (this may be due to there being less weight on it compared to the old one).

I’m not that happy with the seat so far, and might change that out. That’s pretty easy to replace, of course.

I’ve never really used a bike with shock absorbers so far, and I’m not sure how I like it so far. The give while standing and pedaling seems excessive to me, and it seems like a significant amount of energy must be lost through that movement (I could be wrong about this). The lockout on the shocks seems ineffective, which is annoying. It could be that I just need stiffer shocks (or to adjust these).

I need to move the gearshifters and the brake levers slightly closer to the middle of the handlebars. Right now my hands feel a little squeezed between the extensions and the spot they need to be in to firmly pull on the brakes.

I wasn’t too impressed by the brakes at first. They’re my first hydraulic disc brakes, and I expected a dramatic increase in stopping power over my old bike. After a few rides, though, I’m happier. The power is there, it’s just applied a lot more smoothly, and they seem more predictable (and hence reliable).

Overall I’m quite happy. It’s great just to have a full selection of gears again, but the bike is more of an upgrade than that. I will have to make an effort to try mountain biking again.

As for the old bike, it’s getting a bunch of parts replaced and should come back in good shape. So I’ll have a completely reliable main bike, and a completely reliable backup, which is how it should be. Now to similarly solve my computer situation…

2 Responses to “New Bike: 2008 Trek 6500”

  1. JC Says:

    There will be some lost efficiency when pedaling a bike with suspension. This can be mitigated by learning to pedal more smoothly when not accelerating or hill climbing. At least you don’t have rear suspension. Adrienne is having a hell of a time getting used to that on her Christmas present.

  2. Unkie Dave Says:

    What happened to SFMagic? Was it completed? Was the data entered correctly? The public demands an answer. It’s all very well to go out and buy a bike (congratulations btw) but what about the millions/thousands/hundred and/or tens that have been religiously following your coding exploits since (wow, can it really have been so long) December 14th? This post is more unfulfilling than the ending of a Cohen Brothers movie.

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