Sorry if my post etiquette is wrong here, it's kind of late and I've been all over the Internet all weekend trying to find out about bikes, but the comparison for prices gets muddy for me because the Canadian prices are so different. I'd also like to buy local so I can try them. I only have until Monday, if that, to make my decision. So I'm hoping you'll forgive me this one time and help me out!
My decision is between which bike to buy for my 14km (9mi) commute to work. I currently have a Sirrus Elite on hold for $700, but I'm wary about the unisex frame and 28mm wheels. I haven't rode in several years, so I'd like something that feels stable. When I was on the Sirrus, the seat was too high, and I didn't get to test it with the seat lowered. The valley has some rougher terrain and I don't know if I'd be stable (though truth be told it should mostly be paved now).
Here's what I'm looking for so far:
- a budget range of $400 - 700. I'd be open to push higher for the right reasons. Would consider used, but prefer new (Alberta area).
- good for a relearner; used to bike a lot when I was younger on a cheap mountain bike, with most of my time spent out on the bike paths but haven't been on a bike in probably ten years. I know it's down to fit but I need to be confident on it right away.
- can commute on roads, some with gravel; mostly bike path and pavement with a few unfinished dirt trails. Route is both flat and hilly: "The route has a total ascent of 18.0 m and has a maximum elevation of 1,115.0 m." Would be downtown city, though avoiding most roads. Might be raining, should be sunny - doubt I would ride in the winter snow.
- prefer flat bar; don't have the experience to be comfortable with a drop bar, but I'd consider it.
- I'm 5'4"; not sure on my leg length but I'd lean towards shorter as safer. Sometimes the small frame unisex bikes can seem too large for me, but it varies.
- prefer 32 - 38mm wheels. I'm used to controlling a mountain bike, so I'm assuming that would feel the most familiar and stable. Yes/no?
Like I said, I'm having trouble with Canadian prices. For reference, these are the bikes I wrote down as possibles to research (but I'm running out of time!):
Specialized Ariel - 630 (Disc @ 690)
Specialized Crossroads / Expedition Sport - 580
Cannondale Quick 6 - 550
Cannondale Althea - 630
Kona Lanai 26 - 530
Kona Dew - 500
Norco Heart - 500
Norco Storm - 445
Trek 7.1 FX 2013 - 500
Trek 7.2 FX 2013 - 590
Trek 3500 - 450 (Disc @ 500)
Trek 3700 Disc 3013 - 570
Giant Revel 3 / Enchant - 400
Any experience with any of these? How do they compare to the Sirrus Elite I have on hold, or would I be better off saving the $200 and investing in better locks/helmet/etc?
I'm really sorry. I just don't know enough to make a great plan. I'm not even sure if I should consider the Disc's! The weather here is bad and all of the above are located at three different stores, all of which are in three different corners of the city. I could really use some advice to slim down my hunt, so I can focus more on what "fits" and saving money.