So, my hunt for a bike to get me back into riding continues. I rode 7 more bikes today. Just when I think I've found something I like, I ride something else and think I like it better. Here's what I tried:
Kona Dew Deluxe
Giant Cypress SL
I asked the guy at this shop about steel frames. He weighs about 250 like I do and said steel flexes too much for our weight (true?). Probably didn't have one in my size. I wasn't very impressed by these three bikes. They were ok but just didn't connect for me. This shop was run by kids. They were helpful and informative but I definitely felt out of place.
At the next shop I rode:
I liked both of these bikes. The 7.3FX was extremely comfortable and pretty inexpensive. The Sirrurs comp was great too. I was very tempted to buy but I wanted to compare it was the Trek Pilot and he didn't have any. I like this shop a lot. I'd ridden a Trek 7200 here a few days back. It's small but very close by and the owner, Doug, is probably a bit older than me. He even sent me to another bigger shop where he used to work to try what he didn't have in stock. Told me he cut me a better deal if I found something I liked. He sells both Trek & Specialized which are on my short list and can get anything I want in a few days. I think I've at least found my LBS.
So, onto the big shop Doug recommended for a demo where they unfortunately didn't have the two bikes (Trek 7.6 & Pilot 1.2) I was interested in. The rep told me that the pilot is very similar in geometry to the Specialized Roubaix. He had me try a full composite $2k Roubaix that was my size. Naturally, I liked it though things would have probably been easier if I didn't. The 10-spd back cassette was a pleasure to shift through. With my hands on the brake levers it was just as comfortable as a flat handle bike. Of course, $2k is more tha twice my proposed budget but the base model for $1.3k Roubaix rode just as nicely. Oh, the rep said I should think about NOT getting the pilot because it's only a 9-spd cassette and is "old technology" (yeah, he was probably in is early 20's). Should 9 vs 10 spd really be a concern for me? At least this LBS was on a hill and I got to see how the Roubaix felt for climbing (I live on a hillside and any riding from home base will require a climb to start out or a climb back home).
I had previously ridden:
Specialized Expedition Elete
The Sirrus was the top contender. Until today. Stilll want to ride a Trek Pilot 1.2. That may be the ticket.
Man, this ain't easy!