1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    New and have question about DS

    Hello I currently have a Trek 820 I know not the best bike but I bought it as a starter bike. I am looking to get a new or use bike and went to the bike shop today. The sales man has me really thinking about the Trek DS 8.3, now I know it's not a true mountain bike but I don't see a dual sport section on here. I do most of my riding on the road but want to be able to do some light off road. What is the opinion of dual sport compared to just getting another mountain bike and changing out the tires?

  2. #2
    I just let one RIP
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    If you are looking for bike just for fitness and not necessarily high performance, it should be a capable bike. It would make an excellent commuter bike. It will work fine on the streets and on gravel roads and very light off road. Having said that, the bike does make a lot of compromises to do many things ok, but no single thing great. For single track use, the narrow (for mtb) tires and limited suspension (only 60mm) and relaxed position would make for rough ride. For road use, the fat (for road) tires, addition of suspension, and relaxed position would make for a comfortable, but slow ride. If it is what you are looking for, it could be the perfect bike.

    If you want something more capable for off-road single track use but aren't too worried about performance on the road, get a 29er mountain bike and change tires to road slicks when you go out on the road (or even a second set of wheels to make a quick and easy changeover).

    If you want something more capable on the road than the DS, look at a cyclocross bike. A more performance-oriented geometry, no suspension, and you can run road slicks for very good performance on the road. With wider cross tires you'd still get good performance on dirt and gravel roads. Single track will take a little more finesse, but can still be done on a cross bike.
    A ride a day keeps the therapist away.

  3. #3
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    So is the x-caliber series a better bet, like I said the majority of my riding is on road but I don't want to waste money on a bike that is an under performer

  4. #4
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    I can't add much that Jwiffle didn't already say.

    The DS will do what you want it to do. a "true" mountain bike will be sluggish on the road. a true cyclocross bike will have race geometry, so that might not work well for you, but an "all road/ gravel grinder" type of bike might work well. the suspension on a DS-type bike is the weak spot. you might be better off with a bike with a decent steel rigid fork instead of a noodly, heavy, cheap, suspension fork.

  5. #5
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    You might want to check out bikes from Surly and Salsa .

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I can't add much that Jwiffle didn't already say.

    The DS will do what you want it to do. a "true" mountain bike will be sluggish on the road. a true cyclocross bike will have race geometry, so that might not work well for you, but an "all road/ gravel grinder" type of bike might work well. the suspension on a DS-type bike is the weak spot. you might be better off with a bike with a decent steel rigid fork instead of a noodly, heavy, cheap, suspension fork.
    Thanks for the reply, I will admit I'm not the most knowledgable guy when it comes to different bike makes and models. What are some examples of a good "all road,gravel grinder"

  7. #7
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    For mostly road and the occasional foray onto a trail, I don't think there's anything wrong with the 820 as long as it fits you and works.

    What kind of fork does yours have?

    Another choice would be to keep the 820 for off-road and buy a road bike. They're a much more fun way to ride roads, IMO.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
    I just let one RIP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandit5001 View Post
    So is the x-caliber series a better bet, like I said the majority of my riding is on road but I don't want to waste money on a bike that is an under performer
    The x-caliber would certainly be a much better performer off-road. Obviously, you'll give up some performance on road, but put some slick tires on and it will probably perform almost as well as the DS on road. Not nearly the same performance as a road bike or cyclocross on road, though.

    Sounds like you want one bike to do it all. Unfortunately, such a beast doesn't really exist. You just have to decide which compromises you are willing to make. I gave up the idea years ago and now own 6 bikes: 1 carbon road, 1 cyclocross bike as a commuter, 3 mountain bikes, and a frankenbike dedicated to the trainer.
    A ride a day keeps the therapist away.

  9. #9
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    Ok so I bought the DS 8.3 on Thursday and took it out with some friends today, first time at rosaryville state park on a bike the trail. This was the most fun I have ever had on a bike, I will be returning the DS tomorrow and trying to figure out what full mountain bike I should get. I was thinking about the Trek X-caliber 5 being that it's in the same price range but it looks like it doesn't have lock out shocks. Please help me figure out the best bike for under $700

  10. #10
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    Don't give the lockout so much importance. If your suspension fork is tuned right, it should be very quiet while you pedal in the saddle. Off-road, you won't want to turn it on and off while you ride trails, and you'll want the fork active on singletrack, including climbing.

    Now that I have lockouts, I find I do use them. But only on the road. And on unpaved roads, I don't use the lockout on the fork.

    Also, it's a free country... but it's confusing to refer to a suspension fork as a "shock." That usually refers to the spring/shock absorber component on the rear on a mountain bike.

    Depending on whether you can get your money back (or just store credit,) I think the best way to go is either your favorite $700 mountain bike from your shop or a secondhand bike. As long as road riding is part of your planned mix, stick with a XC bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandit5001 View Post
    Thanks for the reply, I will admit I'm not the most knowledgable guy when it comes to different bike makes and models. What are some examples of a good "all road,gravel grinder"
    it's a bike with wide tires for dirt and gravel riding and drop bars like a road bike, but with more comfortable geometry than a cyclocross bike for riding long distances on pavement, dirt, and gravel. it will go places that a road bike would not easily go, but would not handle well on gnarly mountain bike trails with drops and chunky rocks. The Trek Crossrip and Salsa Vaya come to mind. if you want to ride some dirt on hard-packed jeep roads and stuff, but also want to put some long miles on regular roads, a bike like this would be better.

    if you are a purely casual rider who is going to do a 4-mile lap around the neighborhood a few days a week with some gravel footpaths thrown in, something like a Trek DS would be just fine. it's a glorified hybrid. if you want to do more real miles, you would do better with more bike.

    I have worked at Trek bike shops and assembled and sold a few Trek 820s. I hated selling them because they were flimsy, HEAVY, cheap bikes with lousy components. most people bought them solely because they were the cheapest bike in the shop. I don't think they were a good value and I know other bike shops don't even stock them for this reason.

    I am on a Grant Petersen kick lately. go check out Lugged Steel Bicycles, Wool Clothing, Leather Saddles & Canvas Bike Bags from Rivendell Bicycle Works

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