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I wanted to take some time off from my usual (or less than usual) technology blog to post a review of my road bike, the Trek 7.7 FX.

I wanted to wait and get some miles on the road before posting any type of review to ensure I’m not in some sort of honeymoon period with the bike.  My goal was to post the review after 100 miles, but I am happy to say that tonight, I crossed 200 miles!

Before getting into the specifics of the bike itself, let me tell you how I got here.  I knew I needed to do something to get in shape and I don’t like to run and am quite honestly not motivated enough to go to the gym.  I always had a bike in college and really enjoyed riding and have quite a few friends who now ride road bikes, so I thought this would be a good thing for me to do.

When I went shopping for a bike, I had 3 goals in mind.  First, I wanted something that was comfortable to ride.  I knew that my butt would be hurting after the first few rides, but other than that, ergonomics was a big factor in my decision.  I work behind a computer a lot of times 12+ hours per day and my wrists/back/neck/shoulders just aren’t up to what they used to be, so I wanted something that wouldn’t kill me on longer rides.

Second, I wanted something that was fast.  Nothing more to say here, other than a bike that would keep a good pace and is lightweight.  I evaluated both aluminum and carbon and settled on the aluminum option (more on that later).

Third, I wanted something that I could pedal around the neighborhood with the kids as well as comfortably ride something like the Jack and Back as well.  Most road bikes are great for long races, but miserable when pedaling around with the kids.  With most hybrids, you would be NUTS to try a long race (Jack and Back is 150 miles over 2 days) as it just doesn’t have the speed to get you there.  The Trek 7.7 FX is a great combination of both a very fast road bike that’s comfortable like a hybrid and can easily slow down to speeds made for spinning around the neighborhood with the kids.

Bike Geometry

Believe it or not, I did a lot of studying on road bike geometry before making my final decision.  My top two choices were the Trek 4.7 Madone and the 7.7 FX.  They actually have nearly the same geometry with the FX having only a flat bar and the 4.7 having the traditional curly road bike bar (whatever it’s called).  I find that being 6’5” tall, I do sit up in the wind quite a bit and on a windy day I can really feel it slowing me down.  There’s not really a comfortable way to get out of the wind, so I am going to very likely add a tri-bar or something similar to give me another option to lean out of the wind.  Note this hasn’t affected my riding and has only added about 30 seconds – 1 minute to my usual ride of 16 miles, so it’s really not that big of a deal…I’m not Lance.  :)

Let’s talk components: Shimano 105

When testing out road bikes, I noticed that many of the bikes in my price range started out with a minimum set of components: Shimano 105 or SRAM Rival.  I really liked the all around feel of the Shimano 105’s, so that helped me narrow my choices of bikes quite a bit.  These are the first level of the (what I call) “top-tier components” from Shimano.  If you move up the line, you just lose some weight, but the quality of the component is still the same.  Note that the main difference between the 7.6 FX and the 7.7 FX is the components.  The price of the 7.6 FX is $1240 vs. the 7.7 FX which comes in at $1920.  Yes, in this rare case the components really are that much better.

Shifting is very fast and very precise.  It seems the more that I ride, the better the shifting gets.  It really is like a fine Swiss watch and shifts are crisp and immediate.  My mountain bike (which is what i have the most miles on) will grind on the gears before falling into place, which causes you to lose a lot of power going through the bike to the road.  The only problem that I have is that it does rub a bit when I am on the large crank ring and the large rear cassette gear, but this is mostly because it is such a stretch for the chain.  Overall, I love the 105’s and would encourage anyone to start with these (or the SRAM equivalent) for any road bike.  These are really top quality components.

Brakes

What can I say…the breaks work.  :)  This past weekend, I was on a very steep downhill and got the bike up to 37.9 MPH.  I could have gone faster, but didn’t want to push it as having to bail off the bike at that speed wouldn’t make for a fun ride.  When I squeezed the brakes, they performed as expected and stopped me quick and easy.  I’ve heard miscellaneous reports of brakes burning out at high speeds, but I haven’t experienced that at all.  Note that on my regular rides, I’m now averaging in the high 15MPH’s with speeds topping out at 24MPH + and haven’t had any problems with the brakes.

Wheels/Tires

The Wheels and Tires didn’t really play a role in my decision, but I know that the 4.7 and the 7.7FX share the same wheelset, which is the Bontregar Race.  I don’t know that much about the wheels, other than they’re light and they look cool (just being honest), but haven’t had any problem with it coming out of alignment.  So far, so good.

The tires are something that I’ll eventually change before I go on a long ride (50+ miles per day).  The 7.7 FX ships with a 28mm tire, which is more of a touring tire vs. the traditional 23mm tire that are on most road bikes.  I’ll probably try a 23mm tire when it’s time to change, but so far, I haven’t had any problems with the 28mm tire.  Right now, I don’t know if it will even affect my ride times, but for me, it’s worth a try.  Note that I wouldn’t do this if I were using the bike for touring as the bigger 28mm tire will be more stable with a load on the bike (via racks and such).

Accessories

I purchased several accessories with the bike: shoes, helmet, bike computer, riding clothes (shorts and shirt), and gloves.  While I use all of them, other than the helmet, the most important things of the bunch are the shoes and the riding clothes.  At a minimum, get you some shoes and a decent pair of riding shorts.  Riding shoes (the ones that clip into the pedals) allow you to transfer power to the upstroke of your pedaling.  This lets you use the back side of your leg and your glutes which are invaluable when climbing hills.  No matter what, put shoes into your budget.

Riding shorts look dumb, I hate them but they really make riding a lot more comfortable.  They are designed for riding and I hurt A LOT after riding around the neighborhood in regular shorts.  With riding shorts, I have zero discomfort during or after the rides.  They rock and I almost won’t get on the bike without them.

I also downloaded a cool iPhone GPS bike computer (ScreenMedia SprintGPS) for like $3 and it totally rocks.  I was looking at spending > $400 on a Garmin that does basically the same thing, but the iPhone application does everything that I need it to do.  Again, I’m not Lance.  :)

Summary

As you can tell, I really do love this bike.  It’s fast, comfortable, fun to ride, and does everything that I ask it to.  If you are looking for a good bike that’s fun to ride, then this is your bike but as with everything (specifically high priced items), always try before you buy.  A big thanks goes out to Murfreesboro Outdoor and Bikes for helping me find the right bike and when it came in, fitting it to me. 

Posted on Monday, October 11, 2010 9:56 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: Review: Trek 7.7 FX

# re: Review: Trek 7.7 FX
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"The only problem that I have is that it does rub a bit when I am on the large crank ring and the large rear cassette gear, but this is mostly because it is such a stretch for the chain."

I have that same problem with my road bike, but like you say, I think its normal due to the number of gears and the length of the chain. But it shouldn't affect the ride. Be careful if you try adjusting the derailleurs, though. Before I realized that the slight chain rub was normal, I had a field day trying to get it set perfectly (which was practically impossible). ;)

I am glad to hear you are happy with your bike selection! Nice choice!
Left by Sara Windhorst on Oct 11, 2010 10:53 PM

# re: Review: Trek 7.7 FX
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pretty much can ditto the above article' i'm very pleased with my purchase. after a year off from rotator cuff surgery i'm back on the bike and have built up to about 60-65 miles /week. here in vermont we've got some fairly steep hills and while my granny gear is just adequate enough i was wondering if there were any cassette options/replacement that would make climbing a bit easier ( i'm 69 yrs young)? actually i'd like another gear on each end (high and low) as i get frustrated when the younger set on their road/racing bikes pass me when i think i'm trucking along at a good clip. broke down and bought a hydration pack which i really like. maybe the extra 8 or so pounds of water and crap will get me in shape quicker. one can only hope.
Left by david a may on Aug 03, 2011 1:47 AM

# re: Review: Trek 7.7 FX
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just bought trek 7.7 less then 6 miles, top speed 23 mph middle chain ring tenth gear. all black, love the bike
Left by glen on Sep 23, 2011 7:06 AM

# re: Review: Trek 7.7 FX
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Left by ruby nguyen on Jul 06, 2012 4:59 AM

# re: Review: Trek 7.7 FX
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"The only problem that I have is that it does rub a bit when I am on the large crank ring and the large rear cassette gear, but this is mostly because it is such a stretch for the chain."

This is not correct gear selection and 100% user error. Learn to select proper gear pairing.
Left by Dos on Nov 06, 2013 5:36 AM

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