first bike...what to look for?
So I haven't had a bike in the last decade and a half, and this will be my first since my GT Mach 1 bmx bike...so I'm not hip to all the new thing in the world of adult bikes. From everything I've judged about by reading a few threads, it would be completely useless for me to ask you guys what exact bike to buy....so I'll ask this: what characteristics should i look for in purchasing a new bike? To help you guys out I'll give you a bit about me and the goals i have in biking...
6'1'', 245-255 lbs (kind of varies with the temperature and the activity level of the week). I consider myself fairly athletic. I play a lot of tennis and have pretty strong legs. I'd say my ideal weight would be 215-220...and that is my 2009 goal for which i still have 6 months to make good on. even with the extra weight, though, I sit comfortably on most standard bike seats i've sat on.
I want to start slow....build up endurance and strength on the paved stuff before hitting the hills obviously. I also want something thats multipurpose that I can ride out a couple of miles to run some errands around town on. My work is only 4-5 miles away, so even commuting a couple time out of the week is something I may take up . Ultimately, I would like to go riding on some of the local mountain and canyon trails in Orange County, CA. I don't really plan on doing anything gravity defying, jumping from rock to rock, going out in the rain and kicking up mud just for fun or anything else hardcore. I envy those who can do that, but it's not for me.
That said, when I'm out at the bike shops this weekend, what kinds of things should I be looking for? any advice on types of frames, frame material, size or type of wheels, types of brakes, . any brands or models that others of my shape and size have found comfortable to use that I should test ride? basically anything helpful you could tell me would be much appreciated...i hate going to stores with no idea what i'm looking for...i always feel like i'm getting swindled
oh yeah, i'd like to keep it as close to 500 dollars as possible, and of course under 500 is even better