Long time lurker; first time poster. About 8 years ago I bought a Cannondale F600, and had a blast on it. About 75% of the use was commuting or paved road/trail riding and 25% was light trail riding. On rough roads and light trails the headshok worked great, but I kept it locked out when not riding those types of surfaces. I rode it regularly (2-3 days a week) for a couple years. One problem was the frame was one size too big, and I never was really comfortable with that. I sold it with the intention of buying another bike, but never did. At the time, I thought I needed something slightly more suited for on-road riding, something with the right size frame, and something with a little longer wheelbase (it always felt a little short for some reason). In 2008 I bought a slightly heavier bike (Yamaha FJR1300), and rode around the US for a few years...which was the most fun I've had with my clothes on.
Fast forward to now, and I'm terribly overweight, starting to eat more healthy, and ready to get another bike...a self-powered specimen. I'm 6' tall, and 355 pounds. My 7 year old son is riding his bike daily, and I want to ride with him. Additionally, I need exercise, so I plan to commute in downtown Austin everyday, cruise the neighborhoods with my son, and also take some longer rides. I also would like to be able to bike on light trails, but that will be a minority of my riding. The problem is I'm not sure which bike to buy, and I'd like hear what you guys/gals think.
I plan to buy a new bike. Here are the models I'm considering, and I'm open to suggestions in this general price range:
1. Cannondale Quick CX1: Seems like a good compromise given what I learned from riding the F600. Seems that it would be nimble in town, and fun on light trails, but not ideal for longer paved road rides.
2. Surly Long Haul Trucker or Disk Trucker: I don't think it will handle light trails, and I don't know how well I'd like this type of handlebar and bar-end shifters. Seems like it would be a Cadillac on paved roads.
3. Public D8: Something about this bike is quite charming. I doubt it would be ideal for anything, but the styling and 8-speed IGH just screams "fun"...I could be wrong.
What do you think?