Need help in deciding between Trek 1500 or 5000

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Anonymous's picture

"I have settled on either of 2 bikes to replace my Hybrid.
Trek 1500 alum frame cost about $950 or a Trek 5000 full carbon costs $2000.

I put on about 100 miles a week or more.
FYI, I am male 46yo 200lbs, good shape. Okay, I don't have a six pack, maybe more like a 7 1/4.
I want to accomplish a few things.

1) Take the hills more comfortabley
2) Ride a bike that will make me feel like I glide on
the road.
3) Perhaps use it to bike to work instead of my hybrid.
4) Stop pedaling a bike that must weigh 30 pounds plus.

I rather not spend the $2000, but am I missing something here by not getting it? Is a Carbon bike ""ALL THAT"". I test road both bikes and I felt a slight difference besides weight. I am not expecting either one to make me a better cyclist.

I hope to continue biking regualrly as I have for the past year, but I GOTTA GET A ROAD BIKE.

Tired of people in the park telling me I keep up real well on my Hybrid..




Anonymous's picture
jc (not verified)
Road Bike

Hey Rob,

If you haven't already, you might want to check out Felt's. Good bang for the buck.

Good luck

Anonymous's picture
Danilo De Luca (not verified)

If those are your only choices go 5000 and never look back

Anonymous's picture
andrew jackson (not verified)

as you suggest, it doesn't seem right that a slight reduction in weight would be worth an extra $1050. i agree. the frame is perhaps the least important part of the bike that will give you the glide.

you don't get into much detail about your typical rides, but i gather that you commute daily with the occasional recreational ride in the park or outside the city.

although you didn't mention it in your posting, i'm sure you're aware that a professional bike fit is the most important aspect of smooth and biomechanically efficient rides over the long term. make sure that the frame is the right size before you buy, and then get a proper fit.

that said, the bike components [gears, shifter, etc., but esp the tires-- slick w/ high pressure] are the next most important aspect. i'd go for the aluminum bike, with the expectation that as you ride more, you can put cash into better tires and component groups that will increase the glide factor.

finally, when you are convinced that the weight of your belly is less than the weight of the frame, you can splurge enjoy the weight difference between carbon and aluminum. racers and serious roadies might beg to differ, but i don't see how a casual recreational rider would need carbon.

also, be aware of the relative stiffness of carbon, steel, and aluminum frames; it's a subject of much debate and misinformation. see previous threads on these boards for more information. a good bike shop should understand your needs and steer you towards an appropriate product without upselling you.

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

I am not a racer, will be doing Montauck however.
I can put 40-60 easy on a Sunday going to Westchester and Biking is a part of my life not my ENTIRE life.

I struggle with the Fit issue also. I am sure at least on the Trek I am a good 56cm , could do a 58, put that would be wrong.

I have had the bike adjusted at the LBS during a test ride, but Fitting in the real sense is not something these guys get too into. It usually is the stand over and how does it feel.

Geez, I never was on a road bike. I mean it will all feel different. The position, the saddle no longer upright etc.


Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

> I struggle with the Fit issue also. I am sure at least
> on the Trek I am a good 56cm , could do a 58, put that
> would be wrong.

> I have had the bike adjusted at the LBS during a test
> ride, but Fitting in the real sense is not something
> these guys get too into. It usually is the stand over
> and how does it feel.

This concerns me a lot more than whether you should get a 1500 or 5000. I think you should go to a bike shop that will do an proper fitting before plunking down any money at all.

Also, both models you are looking at have quite short headtubes for their given size. Be sure that the shop doesn't cut too much off the fork steerer, so that you can still get the bars high enough.

Just out of curiousity, what's your pubic bone height and seat height?

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

"Okay.. I agree with you. I do have a taller torso at 5-11.5.
Inseam 31-32"". Not sure how I would figure
""what's your pubic bone height and seat height?""

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

"To calculate PBH:

You'll need a friend. Take two 12"" rulers, and place the end of a measuring tape between the rulers in the center.
Place the ruler in your crotch and grab both ends. Pull up HARD. It should hurt. Have your friend measure the distance to the ground. Repeat the measurement 3 times, and take the highest number.

It should be around 85cm-86cm or so. If it's less than 84cm, you're probably not pulling hard enough. Subtract about 10cm from this, and you have a good idea of a seat height to start with.

And just based on the info you've already given, I think it's highly unlikely that you'll need a 56cm. In fact, given the short headtube on a 56, I think you'd be hard pressed to get a good position on one.

There's a certain 5'10 pro cyclist who rides a Trek 58cm, and I don't think you need more saddle to bar drop than he does...

Internet fitting advice, worth what you paid for it, but I can say with 95% certainty that a 56cm Trek is not right for you.

Measure your PBH and come test ride a few of my 58s for a few laps in the park, and you can make a better informed decision.

- Christian"

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

Thanks alot and I will work on the measurements.
Also Thanks for the offer.

The 56cm was based on the standover at 2 shops. The truth is I felt that a little stretched on the 56 when I grabbed thee brake/shifters. This was adjusted when then turned the handles up a bit.

Geez. What I want is the damm shop to fit me.
Take me, size me and lets roll.

I just get this feling that since there is a basic price in all the standard bikes, there is no incentive to work harder by them.

I really want to buy one from a NYC shop since I work here and that for service it makes sense to me.


Anonymous's picture
ted (not verified)
Why buy now and upgrade later?

Get the 5000.
Better wheels, better frame (if you like the feel), better shifters, better cranks, better tires...

Hey, you need carbon.

Anonymous's picture
Jersey guy (not verified)
5000 series frames rule!

Yes, there must be a million of the 5000s, 5200s, 5500s, etc. on the road by now. But the frame has been fine-tuned by Trek for 10 years, ridden by Lance and his friends and many wannabees, and it's a classic. Someday people will wake up and realize that these are probably the most celebrated American frames in road cycling. I have ridden the Trek aluminum 1000 frame and it doesn't compare. I'll bet it's worth the $1000 or so with the 1500. The 5000 series carbon is much more comfortable, shock absorbant and feels lighter on climbs. It gives you feedback on rough surfaces while smoothing out a lot of the shock. Of course, you have to test ride it. You should never buy a frame without riding it first. I have a 5200 (which is a 5000 with slightly better components, as I understand it) I test rode a Litespeed Tuscany (a ti bike about 500 dollars more) and to me the Trek 5200 was far superior. I've had the bike for two years and I love it. BTW, I'm 48 years old, 6-2 and 170. No matter how much weight I lose, the last place it leaves is my abs.

Anonymous's picture
Bob Shay (not verified)
Road Bicycle

"I am your same age, height, and weight. I ride about 200 miles per week. Short rides during the week and a long one on the weekends.

I have a trek 2300 - composite material and it works great for me. After logging many miles on it over the years I have learned a few things. If you are purchasing a used bicycle, check the bearings. Front wheel, rear wheel, and crank. I replace all of my wheels/bearings every 8 to 10,000 miles and chain every 2,000 miles. For me, that seems to be the useful life. The bearings tend to ""score"" the hubs and create drag. One way to test this is to spin each wheel and listen to the axle. If it sounds gritty, like sand is in it, you will probably need to replace the wheels soon. On the crank, turn it a few times and listen for the same sounds.

I tend to agree with the other post here. It is the components that will slow you down, not the frame.

Good luck."

Anonymous's picture
john segal (not verified)

components slow you down? oh please.
neither frames nor components are slow. only riders.

Anonymous's picture
Joe Soda (not verified)
aluminum = dinosaur

Mistake #1: buying the hybrid. Hello Craigslist. Now you must upgrade to a real bike.

Mistake #2: buying aluminum. You'll enjoy it for a while, but then you will be hit with upgrade fever and you will kick yourself for not having bought the carbon bike.

Get the carbon bike and when you feel you must upgrade you can do your components and not wonder if you should be doing the frame first.

Aluminum = Dinosaur

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

Thanks Joe,

Well I have the upgrade fever
The Hybrid was exactly what I needed. A start in biking
and if it crapped out, the yes Craigs List here it comes.
By the way that is how I got the bike. Someone else got bored after 2 months.

But is the 5000 a bike I could take to work 3x a week in th city. It's 10 mile biking from Midtown to Riverdale.

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)
commute bike

> is the 5000 a bike I could take to work 3x a week in th city<

I don't see why you COULD not take the 5000 to work 3 times a week. But whether you SHOULD take a $2000 bike to work 3 times a week is a different issue. Can you take the bike inside with you when you get to your work place?

Personally, I would instead just commute on the hybrid. To make the 10 miles goes faster, I'd put skinny 25mm tires on it. Maybe add racks and fenders for the less than perfect days. Speaking of rack and fenders, the 5000 doesn't have enough room for fenders and no bosses for those old-fashion heavy duty racks.

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

No racks on the 5000.
Yes I have a very safe place in my office for it.
I have just gotten 28cm tires for my Hybrid. I tried to put 25 on but I was told that it was ill advised. It presently has 35's .I am sure it will help.

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
Riverdale to Midtown

I also ride 10 miles from Riverdale to midtwon for work.

My fancy Carbon bike with all the bells and whistles sits at home during the week and I only ride it on the weekends or on nice weather sick days.

My $150 1982 steel frame 10 speed, as in 2 x 5, is what I ride to work every day. For 20 - 30 mile rides it is fine. Yes, it is more difficult not having all the gear options, but it works well. I have used this bike for morning training rides on river road on the way to work. Ok, I haven't done the Alpine climb on it yet. For the short distances, I have no problems keeping up with riders of similiar ability.

What would I do? I would buy the 5000, because I like carbon frames, better than aluminum. Just my preference. But I would get another bike on craigslist ($200) as my daily commuter. The more bicycles the merrier!

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
aluminum = dinosaur

So you prefer to drink your soda out of a plastic bottle? I've never ridden an aluminum Dinosaur, have you? I bet it's as much fun as riding a steel bull. Of course I could be wrong...

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Choices, choices

"If your Hybrid truly weighs >30 pounds, any road bike in the 20-25 pound range with high pressure tires and drop bars will feel easier to pedal. But don't let a couple of pounds sway you towards or against any particular bike. If you buy a 24lb bike, you and the bike will weigh 224. Going from a 24 to a 22 pound bike will make less than 1% difference in the total package weight.

Make your choice based on comfort, reliability, gearing, and practicality. Both of the bikes you mention have 25mm tires which is a good thing. I'm not crazy about the paired spoke wheels. See if you can swap them for conventional handbuilt wheels with at least 32 spokes.

Fit is definitely important, but it's often something that will evolve over time. Just make sure you're not sold a bike that's way too large or small for you because that's what the shop has in stock. Concentrate more on reach and drop to the bars than seat tube length. Don't get talked into a racing position if it doesn't feel right for you.

You're doing a fair amount of mileage so don't feel guilty about spending some bucks on a good bike. But don't assume that each incremental increase in price will make a noticeable difference.

Treks are good bikes, and have a good warranty policy. But the shop you buy from can be as important as the bike you buy. Since this is your first road bike, I'd expect more than a ""see if you can straddle it"" fit routine.

Use your own judgement / common sense, and take the plunge!


Anonymous's picture
steveb (not verified)
paired spokes / carbon / aluminium

Been watching this post develop. Have a few comments from personal experience.

1. I had a Cannondale aluminium road bike, one pre the wishbone stays, etc. With the rough road surfaces around here you certainly felt everything bump. Certainly suits some, but I switched to a Lemond carbon/steel frame which feels just as quick to ride but certainly seems to be smoother to ride (maybe psychological, but if it works don't knock it). That said I know nothing about the Trek aluminium frames - they might be smooth as butter, but I'd go carbon.

2. My Lemond has the Bontrager paired spoke wheels. I'm 195lbs and have hammered around on the bike since I bought it last October. I obviously try to avoid pot-holes, but inevitably riding in a group you end up hitting a fair few. I've not had any issues at all with the wheels - they haven't needed truing, fixing or anything.

3. I've got a Trek Fuel back in the UK with paired spoke wheels. I road a lot of single-track and the worst thing I ever did with them is get a large rock caught between the spokes (large gap between each pair - now that's more of a concern) and flew head over heels. I smashed my helmet but the wheels and bike were fine.

Disclaimer is that the above is just my personal experience as someone in a similar weight range. I'd go carbon and stick with the bontrager wheels, but I'm sure wiser people would do different.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)

"""My Lemond has the Bontrager paired spoke wheels.""
""I've not had any issues at all with the wheels - they haven't needed truing, fixing or anything.""

That's great. But spoke breakage on ANY type of wheel is always a possibility during a ride. With a 32 or 36 spoke conventional wheel, you can usually just keep riding, or at worst tweak the spokes adjacent to the broken one with a spoke wrench to get the wheel true enough to make it home.

Low spoke count wheels use very high spoke tension. One broken spoke will usually throw the wheel so far out of true that the tire will rub on the chainstay. On the road spoke replacement or adjustment is not an option because a special fixture is required to unload the spokes so they can be adjusted.

Paired spoke wheels look ""kewl"" but what problem do they solve? They require a heavier rim because of the long unsupported sections, and heavier spokes at higher tension due to the low spoke count.


Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)

Get back to us on their durability after 5 years, not 6 months.

Anonymous's picture
steveb (not verified)
Pay attention

I said I'd had a pair on my mountain bike in the UK. Actually had that bike since 2001 and rode it a lot, and had less problems than I'd had with conventionally spoken wheels (like none actually).

As I said, this was personal experience. As it was I disclosed real information and left it for the reader to judge. Rather than just state my personal opinion. It doesn't mean others haven't had different experience - I for one would be interested to see what good/bad experience people have had with different wheel technology.

BTW I remember as a kid reading Cycling Weekly talking about how Aluminium frames only lasted a few years and you had to watch out for metal fatigue in the forks. Clearly technology develops because I've not heard of any such concerns these days (I'm talking 20 years ago).

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)

>My Lemond has the Bontrager paired spoke wheels. I'm 195lbs and have hammered around on the bike since I bought it last October.<

Yes, you're right - it's 7 months, not 6.

Anonymous's picture
Lee Ann (not verified)

Splurge and get the carbon, you won't be sorry now or in the future.

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)
LOTS o' OPINIONS,, all for me

"Well gang, I really have learned alot about how much NYCC members (hope u all are) care and take the time to improve and help their fellow cyclists with their suggestions, even if not requested.

I have not finalized my decision yet, but may look at this entire picture with an eye towards better components,and of course a LBS that will take the time to fit me.

In fact I raised my seat by 1/2"" inch on Sunday and that made a world of differece.

I would only say that I want a bike I can ride to work enjoy in CPW and not leave it home for only special days...Sundays in my case. My work is only a few blocks from Central Park, so if I do laps and ride home it should be on a better bike than I have now.

Oh wife says I deserve the 5000 and should get it.. lol. HMMMMM

To be continued.


PS I will be in touch with those who wanted to help me with my fittings and I have more questions."

Anonymous's picture
MC (not verified)

Not to throw a monkey wrench into the works or anything, but you might want to consider some of the Ti choices out there at the same pricepoint. I recently picked up a Litespeed Firenze (2004) Full Titanium, Full Ultegra & Mavic Cosmos wheelset. A very nice package all around & Best bang for the $$ in my opinion. I love it! List: $1,995 I paid a couple hundred less. Again, fit & feel is primary... but if I were you I'd give Ti a test ride as well. Whatever you chose, Enjoy!!

Anonymous's picture
Rob (not verified)

No problem. I am actually gonna think and chew all this over the weekend and take a day to shop and test ride different bikes.

Where did u get this?


Anonymous's picture
Jimmy (not verified)

A few years ago I traded in a 5000 for a hybrid. I don't race. The 5000 was never that comfortable for me, geometry-wise. And for my primary use at the time, a 12 mi (each way) commute though NYC, the hybrid was just the better bike. I never regretted the decision. (I still kept my steel road bike from the 80s.)

However, now that I've relocated to the burbs and mostly ride for fitness and longer charity-type rides, I'm ready to go back to a lighter and better-component bike, maybe even another Trek 5xxx.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
speaking of bike upgrades...
cycling trips