Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Around four months ago my parents bought me a Trek FX 7.1 for my birthday while I was at work. At first I was fairly excited and happy with it over my old Supercycle which served me well for the past ten years. However, once I started riding it I came face to face with a few issues.

  1. The breaking is weak and needs a stopping distance of around 7-8 feet.
  2. The vibration is violent once you hit gravel road surfaces.
  3. The tires cannot handle small curbs at relatively high speeds without going flat.
  4. The tires lose traction on wet surfaces causing me to lose control and damage the bike.

I tried having my brakes adjusted but the stopping distance is still rather long (5'5" - 6'5") considering when you need to stop in an emergency situation. Now since there is no front fork suspension it has quite a violent vibration especially when the tires are fully inflated within the optimum PSI pressure range. In regards to the miniature curb, both my tires burst while I was going at a relatively fast speed before impacting that few inch high curb. It's rather annoying to have to slow down just to ride over it safely.

So as of now, I am looking for some professional or just good fellow cyclist advice on what I can do to improve the brakes, tires, and vibration issues. I'm sure replacing the front fork would be idiotic so I would not even go there, and I clearly have no space on my bike for any form of disk brakes.

Thanks in advance.

share|improve this question
    
That looks like a decent bike, but it's not a mountain bike. You should be able to hop standard curbs at moderate speeds, but you shouldn't do it stiff-armed and stiff-legged, but rather need to "float" the bike over the curb. (And if you are going to jump curbs you need to carry at least 60, maybe 80 psi in the tires.) And a 5-6 foot stopping distance sounds excellent to me -- that's basically the length of the bike. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 14 '13 at 20:50
    
@DanielRHicks I know its not a mountain or a hybrid but rather fitness/urban bike. In regards to curbs they are small as mentioned, but in fear that I will end up blowing out my inner tube since I already went truth 3 of them in past two months, I slow down and slowly enter onto the curb. But I try to stay as much on road or flat surface as possible. In regards to PSI I believe last time I tested my tires they where around 40-45 psi. Now the distance is ok at times, but I nearly got hit by drivers who did not yield, ran red light/stop sign. In both cases I was few ft away from the car. –  MemeCat Sep 15 '13 at 5:18

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The trek FX 7.1 is more of a hybrid/road bike than your supercycle. When you use it on roads your ride should be a lot faster and easier than on your old bike. However, your new bike will have the issues you describe:

  • It is less comfortable on bumpy roads.
  • You can't just race it onto a curb or over similar steep ridges without a good chance of bursting a tire.
  • The brakes are less heavy duty, and (on roads anyway) your speed will be higher, this will lead to a longer stopping distance.
  • It doesn't deal very well with gravel/loose sand.

Some things you can do:

  • I think your bike has caliper brakes they are light, and usually enough for road bikes. If you need more stopping power you could see if you can fit v-brakes or another cantilever-type brake
  • Perhaps counterintuitively, if you want to prevent your tires from bursting or springing a leak when you hit a ridge at speed, your best bet is to keep them inflated at the optimal pressure or a bit higher.
  • You could fit your bikes with stiffer leak-proof tires. Those are mainly meant to reduce the risk of puncture leaks, but will help a bit with the impact-leaks you describe.
  • Try to lower the impact of ridges on your tires when you hit them at speed. Stand up on your pedals when you are about to hit them, bend your knees so that the flexing of your knees absorbs some of the impact. The weight of your body represents most of the impact force that your tire has to absorb when you hit that ridge. If you bend your knees they function like the springs did on your supercycle.
  • Your new bike has road tires, they have less profile (to reduce rolling resistance) and hence less grip on wet roads or roads with some gravel or dust on them. You can get tires with a flat rolling surface in the middle, and deeper profile or even knobs to the sides. That way you have low rolling resistance when going straight but better grip when cornering.

One thing to keep in mind is that your new bike is more a road bike than your old one. You will go faster overall because it is a lot lighter than your supercycle, it has narrower and larger tires which have lower rolling resistance, and less profile on the tires which also greatly reduces rolling resistance. It is not a drop-in replacement for your supercycle. It is not really meant to go over ridges at speed, and it is not meant to deal with gravel roads (though with good tires a road with some gravel on it should present no issue) let alone go off-road. If you still have your supercycle you should consider keeping that for when you want to go off-road and enjoy your new bike for when you want to go on the road.

share|improve this answer
2  
From the looks of the specs it seems that the 7.1 has linear-pull brakes (aka v-brakes). The only model of the FX that has caliper brakes is the 7.7. –  Kibbee Sep 14 '13 at 15:19
    
And actually, with 35mm tires, the bike should be fairly good on gravel. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 14 '13 at 20:52
    
@DanielRHicks But not as good as a mountain bike. It certainly would take some getting used to if you were accustomed to a mountain bike. Of course, to really experience Gravel, you need a gravel bike. Which really isn't all that much different from a cyclocross bike. Which is pretty much a hybrid with drop bars. –  Kibbee Sep 14 '13 at 23:27
    
@Kibbee Yes it indeed is V-Brakes, but for some odd reason are not operating as they should. Do to this I am looking for replacing the pads with new ones in hopes that might solve the issue. As mentioned by Danile the bike can handle un-paved road, like send and partial gravel, but its not recommended since at times when riding I do pass construction zones with this stuff on the road and I go into a drifting frenzy. –  MemeCat Sep 15 '13 at 5:11
    
@JillesDeWit Thanks for the advice, I sadly grown out of my Supercycle its a 20" frame vs current 25" frame. I did try riding on it, but because I have to keep its seat so high in order to peddle it puts massive strain on my back to hold onto the handle bars. I did manage to take this bike into a wooded + hill ridden area and biking was fun and quite ease, especially going up hills. Going down wasn't as fun as I drifted insanely and almost slid into a deep ridge. In regards to tires thread's I will be replacing my stock ones with similar kind but with more profile on the side for the turns. –  MemeCat Sep 15 '13 at 5:29

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.