Hoping to get some advice on a new bike purchase. I currently have an old mongoose that i've kept for near 15 years when I had it as a teenager. Decided to get back into bike riding and integrate it with my life. So far, its been fun and I see it continuing, especially for local trips that I would have either walked or taken the car. But the beast is showing its age, and while the whole thing is pretty solid save for a really messed up back wheel, I'd rather get a new bike that is more upright.
I currently weigh 360 lbs and need the bike to handle brick paved local streets (that haven't been touched by maintenance since they were laid it seems, as well as paved roads and trails. I would use it for trips to the supermarket and would like to work up to doing my 15 mile commute each way.
I've actually looked at 2 bikes I really like, that fit in my (unfortunately necessarily low budget of under $200). First one is from wally world, but actually seems decent, the mongoose paver (http://www.walmart.com/ip/700c-Men-s...r-Bike/8399245). I found the following threads about it: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ose-Paver-700c and http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...a-Walmart-bike
Includes a rack
upright with swept back handlebars "Metro bars"
36 spoke rims
slightly larger then the other one-size-fits-none frame at wally world. It fit well.
aluminum - I'm thinking steel would be stronger and better for me?
Only 7 gears - would like a 21. I'm not that in shape, and even the small bunny hops of hills down here had me putting the old bike in the front first.
walmart is an evil company
small width commuter/city tires
no chain guard
700cc size. Not sure if that's good or bad or non-applicable.
The second contender is the Diamondback Wildwood Citi Men's Comfort Bike (http://www.amazon.com/Diamondback-Wi.../dp/B002FKS1QI). I found a lot less online in terms of reviews.
steel frame, but still relatively light. listed as hi-ten steal.
upright geometry and swept up handlebars.
sized frames. The large fit nicely at sports authority
Free 2 day shipping and free return for defective at amazon.
front suspension. Could be good, but I'm gathering that isn't best for big guys.
higher price (180+$14 for an el cheapo rack)
must supply rack and cannibalize kickstand from other bike.
seatpost suspension kind of weird.
only 32 spoke rims
no chain guard
front gears 28/38/48, rear 14-28, according to amazon. Is that good?
26" rims. like the 700cc, is that good bad or what?
I'm not adverse to ordering one if it looks promising and I can return it easy enough if it doesn't work. I've been watching craigslist like a hawk but not seeing anything. Also watching a LBS that carries used bikes, but all the hybrids he has are over $300, and even with service thrown in, its too tough a nut to crack.
I plan on getting the bike boxed up and doing my own assembly. I'm pretty technically minded, and I'd trust it a lot more, since all the big box stores i've seen a lot of crazy stuff and know they won't do it right. I looked at some of the cruisers, but none of them seemed to fit right. Which one is better? Am I missing some pitfalls? Any other bikes I should look at?