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Trek's hybrid bicycle range have been known to provide not just comfortable city rides but also long distance riding with ease. We got the oppurtunity to test ride the Trek 7.1 FX 2015 and here is what we thought.
The Trek 7.1 FX's aluminium frame uses hydroformed tubing for the top tube and down tube. That means they are shaped by high-pressure hydraulic fluid into flowing shapes with curves and concavities. Here they have an odd angular profile, which is largely aesthetic rather than structural, though the wider tube diameters at the head tube do increase stiffness. Hydroforming can thin the tube walls, which would reduce strength, but these tubes are butted so there's nothing to worry about. The high-tensile steel fork on the 7.1 FX does add some weight to the frame but the strength of the steel makes it usable for heavy loaded touring.
The Trek 7.1 FX (MY 2015) which I test rode came in a full bright red with a bold black graphics on the bottom tube. Trek's decision to go with a single colour code has made the 7.1 FX a classy looking bicycle. The neatly shaped fork, pointing saddle and alloy rims all add to the aesthetics of this bicycle. This bicycle also comes in a dark blue colour variant.
The 7.1 FX from Trek is equipped with Shimano Tourney at the front and Acera M360 at the back. Hybrid bicycles are always the favorite type for manufacturers to play around with the mix and match of gearing components. There is no real advantage or disadvantage to it on hybrid bicycles. The Trek 7.1 FX (MY 2015) comes with 21 gears, and a very low ratio for getting up steep hills. Some may find the top gears a little on the slow side. During the test ride I had to maintain a pretty high cadence to get over 25mph. It's a heavy chunk of hardware and has a very rear-biased weight distribution not the best for hopping curbs or potholes. I doubt most people buying this will should be worried at a lack of high end speed on this bicycle. If you are, you are probably buying the wrong bicycle, and should look at an entry level road bicycle. The Shimano Altus EF-51 thumb shifters on the 7.1 FX are at a comfortable hand position with both the thumb and trigger shift levers working smoothly without any discomfort.¾
The brakes on the Trek 7.1 FX (MY 2015) are Tektro lever pull quite a common option for this type of hybrid bicycle. They offer reasonable, if not an unspectacular performance. Again an upgrade to disc brakes would have been a significant improvement at this price point. Front braking is powerful, easily controllable, and consistent in both wet and dry conditions not to mention admirably quiet. The rear brake could use more power and both the levers are notably squishier but the modulation was excellent and performed well while zipping through traffic on city streets.
The Bontrager steel riser handlebar was pretty good. The setup has a closer resemblance to a road bicycle than a mountain bicycle. Though the position can be adjusted with the riser bar, it felt nimble enough riding around town. Again solid and reliable rather than cutting edge.
The Bontrager H2 700x35C tires are clearly the best hybrid tires you can get. They were slick, quick and cornered well too during the test ride. They are puncture resistant to a limit but not completely avoidable. Do not be surprised if these tires last for 10-15k Kms without losing the sheen and grip. The Bontrager SSR saddle was excellent, it has a lovely shape and perfect padding which makes it comfortable even on 50+Km rides. On the downside, the Trek 7.1 FX (MY 2015) is a little heavy and rigid. If you are riding over rough bumpy roads, your hands will certainly start to feel the vibrations on these minimal handlebar grips.
Trek bicycles come in a variety of sizing so will fit most riders. Trek know what a typical hybrid bicycle buyer is looking for. So, if you are the kind of rider looking for something special and a bit of zip, you will have to save more money for a higher end hybrid bicycle. But, if you want a solid and simple hybrid bicycle with minimal fuss, then you canÈt go too wrong with the Trek 7.1 FX (MY 2015).