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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
I have been recently looking into getting a new bike for myself and my wife. We have both rode department store bikes and are wanting to get into the sport for something that we can do together for fitness and fun. I have been a long time believer in the "you get what you pay for" analogy, and chose to get LBS bikes. The sales reps at the shop I went to were very helpful, answering many of our questions, and asking us some of his own. Together we came to the conclusion that a bike in the $400-$500 range would last us both for several years, and we would not need an upgrade to a new bike unless we got into some serious competition, which we will most likely never do. At least for starters, our riding will mostly consist of street riding with some mild trails, getting into more advanced trails after gaining more experience/confidence. Unfortunately, the day we chose to test ride the bikes, my wife was not feeling well (been going around), so she did not get a chance to test any. I was able to ride several different sizes and make/models. The ones that I rode were a large Cannondale F7 Disc, a medium Cannondale F5 (mainly for size comparison), an 18" and a 22" Haro Flightline Sport, and a 20" Haro Flightline 2 (also for size comparison). Let me say, I was thoroughly impressed with the performance of all of these bikes. I liked the way the F7 rode over all of them, including the F5. The F5 just felt to me like it took more effort to ride than any of the others. The Haro bikes rode nicely, but weren't as comfortable to me as the F7 was. This shop also sells GT and Raleigh bikes, unfortunately, they did not have any of those models in my price range for my size to test ride. BTW, my size is roughly 5'9", 200lbs, w/ 32"inseam (I know to get properly fitted, I would have to be at an LBS w/ a sales/service rep).
Now that I've gotten specifics on my experience thus far, on to the question. I have been trying to find reviews of the F7, but they are few and far between. Plus, when I do stumble on one, they are usually less than helpful. Does anyone here have any experience with the F7? If so, how does it compare with other bikes in this price range? If it does not compare well with them, would you have any recommendations for a different make/model in this price range that would be of comparable comfort (when properly fit) to someone who finds the F7 to ride very comfortably and very nice? There is supposedly another LBS in the area that stocks Gary Fisher, Felt, Trek, Giant, Specialized, and Klein that I will try to find and check out tomorrow. My appologies for the long post.Thanks in advance for any input.
 

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I can't give you any input on the F7 but Cannondale does make a pretty good bike. I would suggest that you go down to the Cannondale forum and ask this question, you will more than likely get more responses there. Congratulations on you and your wife taking to biking, it will be great quality time together.
 

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LOL, This could be my post 9 months ago!

I knew I needed a bike shop bike for my size and weight but my girl friend was happy with her Sears thing, once she rode the F7 is was a done deal, she now wanted a better bike, the difference was night and day she rides so much farther and seems to have a much better time

I looked and looked, read and read and ended up getting 2 F7's, we are very happy with them, she weighs 110 so I dont think she could break anything on it if she tried but I am 6'3 #220 and the only issue I have is that the fork is nearing its limit the ruff stuff and there is no rebound, but ALL the other $500-550 bikes where the same deal.

I do wish her F7 came with disks, we ride the rain/snow and the mechanical disk brakes are nice rim brakes seem to collect a lot of dirt/ice, we may have moved her to another bike, the sales person did mention it but we didn't think we would be riding in the rain/snow we probably will add disks but it would have been $75 or so cheaper buying a bike with them already installed.

Trek, Giant where also very similar it really just came down to staff at the Canondale shop where better at answering our "amateur" questions, I swear some of the kids at these stores act like they are famous pros and we where not worthy of there time :madman: .

Its tuff getting advice on $500-600 bikes here, I love my Toyota but if I asked Mercedes drivers there opinion they could not help but to see where its weak, they are used to a much higher standard (at 4x the cost it should be) same thing here, many of these folks seem fairly advanced and riding bikes 10x the cost of the F7, just try to compare apples to apples.

regards
Ray

mydartswinger said:
Hello all,
I have been recently looking into getting a new bike for myself and my wife. We have both rode department store bikes and are wanting to get into the sport for something that we can do together for fitness and fun. I have been a long time believer in the "you get what you pay for" analogy, and chose to get LBS bikes. The sales reps at the shop I went to were very helpful, answering many of our questions, and asking us some of his own. Together we came to the conclusion that a bike in the $400-$500 range would last us both for several years, and we would not need an upgrade to a new bike unless we got into some serious competition, which we will most likely never do. At least for starters, our riding will mostly consist of street riding with some mild trails, getting into more advanced trails after gaining more experience/confidence. Unfortunately, the day we chose to test ride the bikes, my wife was not feeling well (been going around), so she did not get a chance to test any. I was able to ride several different sizes and make/models. The ones that I rode were a large Cannondale F7 Disc, a medium Cannondale F5 (mainly for size comparison), an 18" and a 22" Haro Flightline Sport, and a 20" Haro Flightline 2 (also for size comparison). Let me say, I was thoroughly impressed with the performance of all of these bikes. I liked the way the F7 rode over all of them, including the F5. The F5 just felt to me like it took more effort to ride than any of the others. The Haro bikes rode nicely, but weren't as comfortable to me as the F7 was. This shop also sells GT and Raleigh bikes, unfortunately, they did not have any of those models in my price range for my size to test ride. BTW, my size is roughly 5'9", 200lbs, w/ 32"inseam (I know to get properly fitted, I would have to be at an LBS w/ a sales/service rep).
Now that I've gotten specifics on my experience thus far, on to the question. I have been trying to find reviews of the F7, but they are few and far between. Plus, when I do stumble on one, they are usually less than helpful. Does anyone here have any experience with the F7? If so, how does it compare with other bikes in this price range? If it does not compare well with them, would you have any recommendations for a different make/model in this price range that would be of comparable comfort (when properly fit) to someone who finds the F7 to ride very comfortably and very nice? There is supposedly another LBS in the area that stocks Gary Fisher, Felt, Trek, Giant, Specialized, and Klein that I will try to find and check out tomorrow. My appologies for the long post.Thanks in advance for any input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. The staff at the LBS that we went to were very helpful with all of our questions and didn't try to steer us to the more expensive bikes. I will try out the other LBS today if I can find it, just to see how they are and to try out the other brands that I listed that they carry. Maybe they are also a good shop that has an agreement with the one that I went to, where they don't deal with the brands that the other does (I've seen other types of businesses do that in the past, particularly in smaller towns/cities). I will check and find out. I'm sure I would be happy with the F7, I'm just trying to get opinions from people that have rode it, as well as similar price range bikes that I would be comfortable with. Once my wife gets better and gets a chance to test ride some bikes, I will post again for opinions on the bike(s) that she would like (we're not trying to do the matching couples thing, we just want to get bikes that fit us as individuals).
I can feel you about the Toyota/Mercedes thing. I've also been looking at another form of 2 wheeled transport, and have had the same experience with the Harley sales staff (when I can get one to come talk to us)
Thanks again for the replies.
 

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I bought an F5 a couple of weeks ago (same frame, I think) and I'm very happy with it. Reading this forum does make me wish I had a bigger budget but to be honest, for the type of riding I enjoy (trails, riverbank, fields and gravel), this bike fits my needs.

A 1996 bottom of the range (Hahanna) Kona has served me well over the last 12 years and will hopefully continue to do so as a road bike/ commuter.

I was worried about how the change from a 19 inch thin, steel frame to an XL (19.9 inch?) frame with oversized tubing would affect control and handling but this afternoon I took it out and it felt great.

I had to swerve around crowds of unpredictable pedestrians :madmax: before getting to the meadows and trails I enjoy, then negotiate some steep-ish hills thick with trees and it coped with all of it with no problems. In short, I recommend it.
 

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well let me just say i just got back from doing a 25 mile race (my first race ever) using my F7 w/discs and it was great. i got the F7 about 2 months ago and i am glad i went with that bike. it feels so comfortable on the trail and on the road. this is a great bike and if you decide to go with it i am sure you will not be dissapointed at all. since purchasing this bike i have been riding a whole hell of alot more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks again for the replies. Just got back from both LBSs. I have to say, I was unimpressed with the one that sells Gary Fisher, Trek, Giant, and Specialized (the store is called "The Bicycle Shop"). I know a lot of it had to do with trying to sell their products, but they got to rambling that Cannondale and the other brands that the other shop sells (it's called Hawley's Bicycle World) were recently bought by another company, going bankrupt, won't be around to provide service for their current products, etc... After going back to Hawley's, they had nothing but good to say about all bikes sold by both shops. My wife and I both got to test ride several models today from both shops.
At The Bicycle Shop, I rode the Trek 4300, the Specialized HardRock, and the Giant Rincon. Of those, I liked the Trek 4300. At Hawley's, I rode the F7 again. I still like the feel of the F7.
My wife rode the same bikes at The Bicycle Shop as I did, with the addition of the Trek 4300 Feminine. Of those, she liked the Giant Rincon. At Hawley's, she rode the Haro Flightline 2, Cannondale F6, Cannondale F6 Feminine, and the GT Avalanche 3.0. Of all these bikes she rode today, she liked the GT Avalanche 3.0.
So, esentially we like the Cannondale F7 for me, and the GT Avalanche 3.0 for her. Anyone had experience w/ the GT Avalanche 3.0?
Thanks again for all of your replies. Please keep them coming.
 

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I plan on picking up an F7 for my girl by spring. She needs a smaller bike but doesn't ride nearly as hard as I do. It is a great looking product and she likes how it rides. I wouldn't be worried about Cannondale staying around. The company that owns them now also owns Pacific and GT and GT's products have gotten better since their purchase. Going more towards LBS sales versus sporting goods style stores. Cannondale will be the flagship product for the parent company.

I rode an "entry level" bike for 4 years. Rode it hard and broke a couple things. I just replaced them when I needed to and kept enjoying it! I sure wouldn't be afraid of the Cannondale in your shoes. An F4 was a backup bike for me if I didn't like the ride of the Scott that I ended up buying!

Have fun and tear it up out there!

By the way. What year is your Dart Swinger? I have a 76 Volare Roadrunner that I have to restore. It was my first car it's why I am asking.
 

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Very nice! I have always liked those! My RR was my first car and my Dad's last car so it has a lot of sentimental value. I just wish Dad would have gotten more of it restored before he got sick! All he got done was tearing part of it down.:madman:
 

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I bought an F5 just about 5 weeks ago and have 150 miles on it in 8 days (just weekends until the time changes) mostly trail riding (yeah, trails burn the legs, road is easy). I absolutely loved the feel of the Cannondale "L" size frame for me. Most of the bikes I test drove gave a decent feel but this felt best to me. I was in my LBS today and looked at the F7's and they are nice bikes. I'm not sure entirely on the features vs the F5 (I think SRAM vs Shimano - no biggie) and Rock Shox (F5) vs another front suspension. The trick is does the F7 have a lockout feature on its shocks? I realize the Dart 3's aren't 100% fully locked but enough to ensure you aren't wasting energy climbing hills and riding on roads, etc. once you get on a hill and start climbing with suspension, it is like a pogo stick - need to lockout fo sho!

Basically my budget at first was $500 but for the extra $130, I got what I really felt like was my needs and a little some more. I'm not saying you should but make sure you have everything you think you'll want. I saw a Rush 4 for $1500 today and I salivated. Then again, that is over twice what my top budget was. Anyway, I'm sure you'll be happy with the F7 so long as the fit feels right.

Let us know what you think and how you enjoy it. Oh and the F5 is my first bike in about 10 years so I'm a newbie as well. The trail riding makes a MTB worth it. Check up on your local area for trails and ride the hell out of them. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I also rode the F5. It was a nice bike, but felt more resistant when riding in the parking lot than the F7. Unfortunately, there was no way to test it there on anything other than pavement. At least for the first few weeks, most of my riding will probably be on pavement (with my wife), maybe on mild trails.

I too like the Cannondale L frame. The first time I rode it, it felt like a slight stretch to the bars, but the second ride (after riding the Trek 4300 Disc 19.5" version) felt much more like what I like. May have been more straight up in my position the first time than on the second.

As far as the trails, there are easy, lakeside trails about 2 miles from my house (Smith Lake, for those that have been in the area). Those, I would be able to have a warm up ride there, about an 8 mile trail ride, and a cool down ride back. I've also been told by the folks at "Hawley's" :thumbsup: that they are good skill building trails. When I went to "The Bicycle Shop", :madmax: (see :rant: in above posts) the salesperson said that even the "expert" trails there, on a scale of 1-10, would be about a 2. And there are some true mountain trails less than a 5 hour drive (currently at Ft. Bragg, NC) from here, and some other middle trails in between.

Again, thank you for all of the feedback.
 

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That F7 disc is a great bike at a great price. The parts kit is good enough that it will be compatible in future upgrades. The new F-series bikes are nimble and handle like more expensive XC hardtails typically do than other bikes in the same price range.
Cannondale is on the edge of becoming a much bigger piece of the market. The bikes are the reason why, not the marketing behind them. You won't go wrong with the F7, but a stretch to the F5 gets the better shifters, derailleurs, fork, and the nicer CO2 SL frame.
 

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cannondale f7 shox?

so i too am looking at getting the cannondale f7 and i really have to have locking suspension and i am wondering if this bike has that or stiffining ones atleast. I need to find a bike before july for our vecation! thanks for any help on other bikes in this price range too.
 

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The fork on the F7 has no lockout feature it can be set stiffer and I "think" you can buy stiffer stiffer springs if you need them from the manufacture.

It really is a great bike but if you will be replacing the fork as soon as you buy it, you would be better off moving up the line and get at least to a DART 3 with both the rebound and lockout the Gilla lack

regards
Ray

sirhc10 said:
so i too am looking at getting the cannondale f7 and i really have to have locking suspension and i am wondering if this bike has that or stiffining ones atleast. I need to find a bike before july for our vecation! thanks for any help on other bikes in this price range too.
 
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