Back in 2011 I decided to invest in a decent bike, and got myself a Trek FX 7.2. This is a hybrid or fitness style bike that has flat handlebars, a 3x front chainring, and decent but basic components. In the past 8 years I’ve put almost 3,700 miles on that bike. I’ve been increasing the yearly total a lot over the past couple years, and it started to get me thinking about if it’s time to invest in something new.
I did purchase a used fat bike this winter, but that’s a very specific purpose, and I don’t use it as a daily rider most of the time. What I’m considering is if it’s time to move up to something more akin to a road or gravel bike. I know that a little bit of what holds back my power output is the general design of a hybrid bike. They’re meant to be all-purpose, which means that they don’t excel at any single use. For the most part that works when I’m doing general riding around to breweries, or running errands, but for any longer rides that get upwards of 30 miles, I feel like I could be doing better.
My friend Abe asked why I don’t just modify my hybrid into something else, but there are a few key things that I want to change that would just be too cost prohibitive on this bike. Also, at the end of the day, my Trek FX 7.2 is a $600 bicycle, and trying to ask it to be something more, just doesn’t seem fair given it’s price point. So what am I looking for? A few key things.
- I’d like to move over to a drop bar style bike, that puts my hands in a better position for longer rides. It’s more natural for your hands to sit in the relaxed position on a drop bar handle than typical flat bar style.
- Moving over to a 2x chainring and drive set seems like something that would fit my riding style better. I tend to hang out in one gear on the front all the time anyway. In fact, my fat bike has only 1 chainring, and I can still manage to climb most hills with it just fine. A 2x would give be some chainring sizes that might be better for power transfer, especially over longer distances.
- Curiosity about a different style of geometry, and it can affect my riding. I need to do more research into frame geometry, but I know that moving from a hybrid to a road or gravel is going to give me a different riding experience.
- A upgraded experience. Most gravel bikes start in the $1,200-1,500 price range, which is a big step up from where I’m at, and often includes nice disc brakes.
I did do some test riding a few weeks ago at one bike shop, and started getting a feel for what the different bikes ride like, but I wanted to put the question out to the internet at large.
What’s your go-to bike style? Why did you choose it? Did you move away from one style to another? What else should I be thinking about in all of this?