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After 15 years of being off a bike--and my waist line showing it--I'm about to buy a new bike and get back in shape.

Looking around, Trek and Specialized appear to have good hybrids, which is my desired bike. I have zeroed in on Trek DS 8.x series--leaning to DS 8.4--and on the Specialized side a Crosstrail Elite.

These bikes cost several hundred dollars more than competitor offerings. Are they worth it? Sure they have fancier components and I do like hydraulic brakes.

I can think of two substantive ways they could be worth the extra money:

  • They are more reliable and will have less long term maintenance costs
  • They will have a higher resale value

Does anyone have a good opinion on whether either of these things is true?

Thanks.

closed as off-topic by Gary.Ray May 4 '16 at 12:45

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." – Gary.Ray
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    If you're just getting back into riding, buy a used bike. Then, replace it when you know more what you want. Also, if you're just riding on the road, you don't need suspension. – Batman May 4 '16 at 8:39
  • Noone here will tell you to buy brand X over brand W - the whole point of SE Bicycles is practical answers to real problems. Specific product recommendations are off topic. – Criggie May 4 '16 at 9:57
  • Welcome to Bicycles! Product recommendation questions are generally a poor fit for a Q&A site; the answers quickly become out of date. There are many previous posts that will help you know what to look for when buying a new/first road bike, commuter bike and mountain bike. – Gary.Ray May 4 '16 at 12:44
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The quality of the bike is in the sum of the parts. The heart of the bike is the frame and what carries the brand is more often than not - the frame. The manufacturer then hangs various components off the frame to complete the build.

(Big brands) It could be argued - the quality of the frame (design and build) & warranty back-up is better. Other factors could be frame material and design. At the lower end of the market where you are looking for a hardtail frame - it is a fair bit harder for manufacturers to make their product standout from their competitors (such are the complexities of welding 9 pipes as opposed to designing suspension). And its probably where the brand name will have greater weighting in the buying decision. Markups are also lower at this end of the market and manufacturers will use plenty of own-brand / OEM components to keep their margins higher.

Have a look closely at the component spec. as well as the brand. Manufacturers are great at hiding the down spec of a component ie. cassettes or brake calipers being common examples.

Google for reviews. If you intend to keep the bike for years and not intend to go on the upgrade path - than perhaps you should be looking at the overall package (component level) as well. If you'll upgrade eventually - than the typically better resale value of a bigger brand like Specialized will be a bigger consideration.

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    Bigger brand names tend to service any warranty problems better than cheap bikes. – Criggie May 4 '16 at 9:56
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If you can afford a nicer bike in your budget, by all means buy one. Hydraulic brakes are quite nice as well.

However Batman's suggestion is excellent. You might find that a hybrid is just a compromise of road and offroad, and that you'd like to go one or the other ways but you won't know till you try. Consider riding a couple borrowed bikes to get an idea whether you even want to go this route.

Then narrow down on purpose - will you be doing mostly road (speed / distance and climbing/descents) or offroad (slower, more bumpy)

You might also find a more solid bike with heavier construction may suit your initial riding weight more-so than a lighter bike.

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    Hydros also are more work to service when you need it, whereas a 5 year old can adjust a V-brake. Plus, disc brakes eat away money that could be used for other things, like a nicer fork if they aren't helpful for your riding (e.g. on a nice day on a road). – Batman May 4 '16 at 10:26

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