In my last post I discussed my quest to find the best beginner bike for me, after going about 20 years without riding a bike. For my needs at the time (riding with my kids, and an alternative to the gym) I ended up buying a Giant Cypress. The following is my Giant Cypress bike review:
For someone like myself, who has not been on a bike in 20 years (and who has, ahem, put on a few pounds in that time, the Giant Cypress was a natural choice. Though I had not heard of Giant bikes before, the first time I got on it I could tell it was a better quality bike that those in the big-box retail stores that I had been looking at. Hard to point to any one thing, but there was definitely an attention to detail and quality that was better than those cheaper bikes.
Before we go any further, let me clarify that the model I bought is simply the “Giant Cypress” and is made with aluminum. There is a cheaper, heavier version called the Giant Cypress ST with a steel frame, and a more expensive model called the Giant Cypress DX that has a few more speeds (24 speeds) and trigger shifters.
The Giant Cypress I bought has 21 speeds (3 rings on the crank, 7 gears on the “cassette” on the rear wheel) and has twist shifting on both grips. I admit that it took a little while for me to get used to this, and I might have even been a little wobbly during shifting at first, while I was still getting used to balancing on a bike again. But I quickly got used to it and found the shifting to be pretty good, though I would sometimes need to twist a little more after shifting between the 3 crank rings to stop the chain from grinding.
The aluminum frame makes the Cypress a nice weight — not too light for a novice, not too heavy either. It has hand brakes for the front and rear, front fork suspension and seat post suspension, and a large padded seat. All of these combine to make the Cypress really nice to ride — though it takes a while to get used to the seat moving down slightly when you initially sit on the bike (that’s normal with seat post suspension).
The Cypress has 700c tires that take about 80 psi of pressure — they roll very nicely and quickly, and are virtually silent on pavement also. A note to beginner cyclists — these tires are thinner than tires on cruiser bikes, so a little harder to adjust to balancing on if you are uncoordinated like me, but not too hard. Also, if you don’t keep these pumped up for every ride, you may be more likely to get a flat than you would on fatter tires.
I quickly got accustomed to my Giant Cypress and rode it for 2 hours the first day – I felt like a kid again! The gearing was helpful in conquering some sizable hills, and it proved to be a nice, fast, quiet and comfortable bike. In fact, I found myself riding it more and more. However, as I started to get really serious about riding it farther and faster (doing about 12 semi-hilly miles in an hour was pretty fast for me) I did start to realize the limitations of this type of bike. Although the big seat was comfortable riding with the kids, in my more aggressive riding the big seat was more of a liability. You can always switch a seat out, but as I started to get more serious I realized that I probably really needed a road bike for longer and faster rides. So, two months after buying my Giant Cypress I decided to get a road bike. I’ll tell you more about that purchase in my next post . . .
However, for those just starting out with no thoughts of going on long (20 miles or more) and fast group rides, the Giant Cypress is the perfect beginner bike for riding with the kids and other, more leisurely riding. That concludes my review of Giant Cypress — I hope you find it helpful.
P.S.: I paid a little over $400 for my Giant Cypress. If you are looking for something cheaper, you might consider the Schwinn Midmoor Hybrid Bike, or for ladies this Schwinn Trail Way Bike (both with fast, but pump-daily, 700c tires), or the Diamondback Wildwood, or for ladies this Schwinn Coronado (both with 26 inch tires that are a little slower but go longer between pumps and cushion the ride a little more).