I'm planning to buy a bike during the cold New England months, mainly because that's when I'll be able to save enough to make it worth looking, but also in hopes of getting a deal on older stock before the new season. My brain is mud at this point with options and models and too many choices. SO...I was thinking maybe if I laid out what I'm looking for, some of you kindly folk could point me toward possibilities?
What I want:
1. Steel. I'm 250 now, and will remain somewhere between 190 and 220 for the next few years. Steel is smoother. And stronger. I have no idea what abuse I may give a bike as I get stronger and faster, but I know I'm never going to care about a pound or three of frame weight. I'd prefer the strength. But if someone has a good argument why I'm crazy and aluminum would be just fine, I'm all ears.
2. Some speed. I don't need a race-ready speed demon, but it would be nice if I could coax a little speed out of the bike without pushing myself to my absolute limits just to see 25MPH.
3. Quality components. I'd say somewhere in the Deore-level would be about where I want to start. Not partial to Shimano over SRAM though. And as many gears as I can get, because I have no idea where or how I will be riding in say, 18 months.
4. Places for all sorts of Fred gear. Racks, fenders, lights, what have you. Attachment points for all this stuff would be important.
5. I tend to favor distance over speed, and my goal is to ride centuries (more than likely slow ones...at least in the next couple of years). So comfort would be a consideration, although I know that is mostly a matter of fit and adjustments.
I don't know if I want a hybrid with road bars or 26" fat tires or maybe 700c wheels with flat bars...it's so freaking confounding now and I have talked myself into loving so many different bikes that if I were a rich man, I would have at least five brand new bikes right now.
Models I have liked but are all aluminum:
Trek FX 7.3
Kona Dew Drop
Jamis Ventura Comp
Oh in case it's not obvious I am partial to red. That would be a huge bonus, if the perfect bike came in red.
So...if you owned a shop and I came to you, to what would you steer me?