I bought a Trek 7200 in May of 2002. It was bought purely as a commuting bike and I have use of a car and a motorbike. I like cycling and do it year-round though I tend not to cycle when it rains. My ride to work is just over 6 miles and the bike has covered around 1000 miles now so hopefully I can give an owners write-up on this bike. Why did I choose the Trek? Well, I really wanted a Dawes as I have a Dawes touring bike which I bought, years ago now, when I was a teenager. Also, I wanted to ‘buy British’ which Dawes is, if you exclude all the Shimano parts. Unfortunately Dawes were ‘in Administration’ or something at the time and weren’t selling bikes! Trek bikes seemed quite good quality and I could get a 10% discount on them so I looked at their range. I wanted a bike purely for cycling to work. I already had a cheap mountain bike with fat semi-off road tyres but wanted something faster, better built and a bit classier. The Trek cost £350 which seemed to be the list price as everyone was charging this but I secured a 10% discount through the work discount scheme. I did phone around and surf but couldn’t beat this. Most dealers wouldn’t even give a discount at all even when I made it clear I was ready to buy and knew what I wanted. Asking for extras, like a trip computer, rather than a discount didn’t help either. I’ve just noticed on the net that they cost $ 390 in the US. Even adding on VAT, that is much cheaper. Anyone know of any grey imports? The bike has 24 gears in a wide range, v-brakes and front suspension. Trek make some variants depending on what you want to pay. The 7100 doesn’t have suspension which ruled it out for me. The 7300 has adjustable suspension and a better Shimano deraillier. I didn’t think either feature was worth an extra 80 pounds. I also preferred the two tone paint on the 7200. As an observation, the current trend is for al
uminium frames rather than steel frames – Reynolds 531 being the classic steel frame. I have an ancient touring bike with a 531 frame and no suspension and it gives almost as good a ride as the Trek with an ali frame and front suspension. Steel frames flex a little bit over bumps meaning you don’t need the suspension as much. My guess is it will go full circle and steel frames will be in fashion again somewhen. In terms of reliability, it has been good mechanically. It is in need of a service now but after the setup by the supplying dealer I have just done the first maintenance which was to adjust the brakes to take up some cable stretch. I’ve had one puncture that, luckily, occurred about 300m from home. The frame is lightweight aluminium and the paint seems to be well applied and if I washed the mud off would still look good. Annoyingly, the fasteners, all of which are allen bolts, are looking a bit rusty but it’s not too bad yet. I will probably get some stainless ones at some point. The one thing I have spent much more than I had reckoned on is accessories. On a bike used for commuting all year round, it quickly became apparent that mudguards are a must. The clip on types are a waste of time but traditional full size mudguards have been excellent. The problem of how to carry stuff has also been expensive. I tried a handlebar bag but it’s too small for waterproofs, sandwiches, phone etc. Rucksacks are too hot for regular use. I didn’t really want to use them but I can’t fault the use of panniers. I got a pair from Halfords that are supposed to be completely waterproof but cost an arm and a leg. They are about 30 L each in capacity and, so far, I’ve only used one of them. It takes all my junk and my laptop (which belongs to the company; I wouldn’t subject my own expensive electrical equipment to this). The pannier requires a rack but takes about 5 seconds to fit and remove
and it wont fall off by accident. I suspect that the best way of carrying a moderate amount of stuff on a bike is with a wire basket but one has to have some self-respect. A saddle upgrade is also required as the standard one is uncomfortable to put it politely. I had an Argos £10 ‘fat arse’ sprung one laying around and that has proven to be much more comfortable than the standard one. Again it is fashion dictating that the manufacturer must supply a ‘sports’ model although quite what the sport is I’m not sure. The Dilbert creator, Scott Adams made 10 predictions of things that won’t get better in the future. Bicycle saddles and politicians are the one I remember. Lighting is something else which has proven expensive entirely because I didn’t buy something decent to start with. It’s not interesting so I’ll just say that I currently use two sets of lights. On the front I use a cheapo halogen and a Cateye TL 200 that uses white LEDs and is almost as bright as the halogen, lasts about 15 years on 4 AA batteries and flashes (that’s how I use it). Fitting it was a problem as the Trek is very short on handlebar space on which to mount two lights and a trip computer but it all just fits now. When I first fitted the flashing cateye I got sworn at once and flashed by two on-coming cars as it was pointing upwards and I’ve since refitted it but it is bright and thoroughly recommended. On the back I use a Cateye 600 that is also very good and a cheapo led unit as a backup. One thing that I have to completely recommend is the narrow section (700c) tyres and rims. I’ve found it makes about 3 miles per hour difference for the same effort when compared to my cheap mountain bike. I think my touring bike is faster but don’t have a computer on that. If you haven’t ridden a bike in 15 years (like I hadn’t till about 2 years ago) another reve
lation are the Vee brakes that seem to be standard fit on almost everything with 2 wheels now. They stop the bike very quickly with almost no effort on the lever. Superb. So would I recommend the Trek? Well, no. As a ride to work bike, I think I would buy a Raleigh Pioneer 160 which has only 21 gears, still has the narrow tyres and suspension but only costs 230 pounds. It comes with a rack, mudguards and a decent saddle– it’s just better value. The Trek is a better name than the Raleigh though but not necessarily a better bike. For the money, on this type of bike, Trek should fit a better saddle, mudguards and a rack like the Raleigh.