I'm new here. My name is Janis, I'm 27 years old, male and I live in Latvia.
I want to buy a bike for daily use, mostly commuting to work and back (5-10 miles).
I would look for a bike that is relative light - because I have a bad back (slipped/herniated disc) and I live on 4th floor in a multi flat building, without an elevator, so i have to carry it up stairs every day. Currently I'm carrying my ~15 kg Specialized MTB which feels a little bit too much.
In my country there is only one reasonable brand shop - TREK, but it's expensive. I got my eye on TREK 7100 2010 (with front suspension and suspension seatpost - which would be great for me), but it's 14 kg and I rather sacrifice comfort of front suspension in order to get bike lighter. I'm willing to buy a suspension seatpost as aftermarket upgrade if necessary.
I did some searching online and found some bikes that cached my eye, like Scott SUB 40 or Specialized Sirrus 2011 (both unfortunately are not liable for delivery to Latvia and/or out of stock). One thing I must add is that I'm not very experienced with bikes and am doing my choosing visually only - if I like a bike then I just read some user reviews and that's it; I don't know what's the difference between Shimano Acera and Shimano Altus for instance, I just know that Shimano is sign of quality. Also, I don't need disc brakes - V brakes will be more than sufficient.
Hybrid is the category that I'm aiming for. MTB is just unnecessary although it's some kind of fashion in my post-soviet country, probably because they just look cool and "wealthy".
I like dynamic riding, but without any jumping what so ever. Maneuvering and drifting in half standing position with one foot on pedal - that's some kind of habit or, fear developed, phobia caching some ugly pothole which my spine would have to absorb throughout seat pad.
Here are some shots from where I live:
In last picture you have a insight of how some micro district streets can look in my city.
Most of the time I try to avoid this kind of surface.
Sorry for making this post so long. I tried to make it as detailed as possible and sorry if my english happens to be weak (which I tried not to be - did open a dictionary quite often)
I would be very grateful for You to evaluate my choice or giving an opinion on another (perhaps better) one.
As well as any other comments would be much appreciated!
Just a couple of questions regarding your back: You say you'd give up suspension in order to have a lighter bike, but would a bike with no suspension hurt your back while riding it? Obviously a good fit will keep your back happy, but what about all those cobblestones and curbs?
Hopping curbs is no problem for me as most of the time they are 0 scale curbs like in 2nd picture (original post).
And those curbs that are bigger I treat with proper care and respect.
Currently my MTB has no suspension and it feels stiff and sometimes rough on "wrong" surface, but I can easily cope with that by standing on foot and letting my arms deal with it.
My friend has a cheap full-suspension bike - it feels good to ride, but weights a tonne!
Good/light FS bike costs also a tonne!
I weight 80 kg (176 lbs) and I'm keeping myself in a good shape by doing some bodyweight exercises every two days or so.
My back can absorb some uneven surfaces even on hardtail, it's just that my biggest concern is lifting - carrying on 4th floor. Front suspension bike would affect weight more than it would affect comfort. For me I think most comfort would give is rear suspension - exactly why I'm planing to upgrade my bike with suspension seatpost.
Speaking about crank forward and comfort bikes. Aren't they heavier than hybrid bikes in general? Also seating position is maybe too upright? Hybrid bike is already promising a more upright position compared to MTB.
I never driven Crank Forward, Comfort or Hybrid bike before.
Perhaps I'll visit some LBS, see if they have bikes like that.