I'm looking at getting a second bike when the tax refund comes in and any help would be appreciated. I'm sure these questions come up 1,000 times a week, so sorry if this is repetitive.
First of all, I have a great road bike: Specialized Allez. I do 40-50 miles a week on the thing and could not be happier. It's not flashy, but does what it was intended to do quite well.
I would like to begin commuting to work and school by bike and have something I could take on a rail trail (Katy or Prairie Spirit) on occasion.
I've narrowed down the bikes I would like to ride to the following, all of which are around $600, which is my budget for this. (I'm anticipating at least $300 additional for fenders, racks, panniers, etc).
The bikes are Trek Allant, Atwood (steel), PDX and FX 7.1 or 7.2. Specialized Sirrus.
I have a few questions (and feel free to chime in on other issues).
First, what about tire size? My 23's are heavenly on the road, but seems to me 32's might be a nice compromise between speed and comfort. I'm a big guy and will be carrying some heavyish textbooks - should I go with 36-spoke wheels or 32?
The Allant is great and I've actually ridden one briefly. Sure looks nice, but, is it a commuter?
Other info you might want to consider. I'm 44 and in reasonably good shape. My commute will be 6 miles each way three times a week (work) and 12 miles each way twice a week (school). My ride is mostly flat, but there are enough hills that a single would cause me to sweat more than I'd want to once I got to my destination. I wear medical scrubs to work, have access to a locker room and of course can wear comfortable clothes to class (when not wearing scrubs).
Thanks everyone! I'm looking forward to garaging the car and motorcycle for human power!