I'm a new Clydesdale here looking for some advice. I've just started getting into biking and need a new bike. My current bike is a Walmart Road Master mountain bike with "full suspension" that's not worth spending any additional money on. It was no more than $100 when I bought it new several years ago. I'm currently riding a couple of times a week on a 4 mile loop but don't trust it for any further.
A little about my self. I'm currently 6'2"-6'3" barefoot and just under 330lbs. Over the past 8 years or so I started at about 380lbs dropped to 270lb on a "diet", then back up to 325lbs. I took up walking then progressed to a "run/walk" Over the course of a couple of years, I got down to the 290's and completed 5 half marathons. Near the end of training for my 6th one last September I developed knee issues and couldn't do the race. I spent most of the next 6 months doing nothing and ballooning back up to 343. With some help from my Dr. my knees are doing better and I'm down about 15 lbs and getting active again.
I've started diversifying my activity by walking and now real light run/walking 2 days a week alternating with riding my bike 2 days a week. But the more I ride the bike the more I realize it's going to need to be replaced sooner than I was expecting. Right now, I'm trying to stay in the $400 - $450 for the bike itself then a little extra on top of that for a helmet etc.
My current bike riding is a 1 1/4 miles to a local park then a loop around the park and back. The park is at the beginning of a well maintained paved 13 mile long rail/trail I currently use for my walking and will probably serve as a starting point for my bike riding. The route I take to the trail includes a section of brick streets and some gravel parking lot. My first thought was getting into a hybrid bike.
When I went to my LBS the 2 bikes he carries that seem to best fit the bill would be a Trek Verve 1 ($420) http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ybrid/verve_1# and a Trek 7.1 ($430) http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ess/fx/7_1_fx# . Unfortunately he didn't have those exact bikes in my size to do a test ride. He had a 7.3 in a 20" that I looked at for size. The Verve 1 he had was a 17.5. The 20" seemed to be the right size as far center bar goes. I'm fairly tall but most of my height is upper body.
For work on Wednesday, I'm going to be close to a Dick's Sporting Goods and I was going to look their to see what they have. Looking at their Website I was hoping to check out the Diamondback Insight 1 ($399) http://www.diamondback.com/insight-1...ormance-hybrid , or the Diamondback Trace ($450) http://www.diamondback.com/trace-pav...ormance-hybrid . In this weeks Dick's ad they were advertising $50 off $300-$399 bikes and $75 off $400+ bikes when you trade in your old bike. There is also a possibility of getting 10% off my purchase if I sign up for their credit card. With the Discounts they become significantly less expensive than the LBS bikes.
For any of the bikes my LBS said they could replace the back tire with a "beefier" tire for about $70.00 . He also does do repairs and maintenance on Diamondback bikes. Edit it add: Last night about midnight local time, I typed tire but meant wheel.
My question is 2 fold. First, what is everyone's opinions on the bikes I'm currently looking at? Do you think they look good for a person my size and riding style? Also, What other options do you think I should consider? BTW I've looked on Craigslist and there's nothing in the area that looks any good in the used market there.
Thanks, and sorry the post got a little bit long.