Hi, I've just joined the forum and hope you all will give me a little hand holding as I search for a new bike.
I did some touring ~25 years ago but rode less & less, then not at all as family responsibilities caught up with me. Really got into running in the past several years, and started riding again last year on a yard sale Magna "mountain" bike as cross training; but now really am enjoying long rides on the rail-trails so want to get a bike better suited to that, better fitting, and better able to take on more road riding, touring (and hills!). By long rides I mean minimum 25, up to 60 miles so far. Endurance-wise, these distances are fine but the bike is not. The reach (too far) and straight bars are tiresome. I've no interest in racing, off-road, or commuting. I do want to stay at the lower end of the price range. Oh, and due to a recent neck injury, I find the upward head tilt posture on my old touring bike very difficult, but it is not that I don't want drop bars--in fact I would prefer the variety of positions they offer.
When I first went into the local shops and explained all that, I was being shown the comfort hybrids. OK, I like the somewhat wider tires (than my touring bike), but they are really too upright. The women's models also seem too -- how to describe--compact? the bars are too close in. Some of the other hybrids were better, though. But if I am going on long rides on paved or packed surfaces, I don't think I want or need a suspension fork -- although one guy mentioned that some of those can be adjusted to stiff or loose. The adjustable stems seem like a nice feature. I confess that I can use my gears but I know nothing about them.
Now my head is spinning from seeing and reading about so many brands & styles. Also, on the one hand I don't want to spend much (what if I don't like it, or actually use it much after all?) but on the other, an extra two hundred or four seems to bring it much closer to my desired configuration. I've come close to buying the cheapest I can find just to get it over with! ahgg!
Having browsed this forum I am thinking that the hope exists for a good fitting bike that will meet my needs: slightly more upright, not so heavy, could still have drop bars, medium width tires, able to maybe take touring. I would love to hear your suggestions and experiences. Have you found this perfect bike?
From my shopping so far, I've ridden a Kona Dew, a Fuji Crosstown 3.0 & a Schwinn super sport that weren't too bad on a very short trial (but neither perfect). I am going back tomorrow for a longer test ride on the Kona, and to try a Giant (an older model that the LBS says is similar to the FCR1) which would be at the higher end of my price range ($650)--he is putting on a different stem to bring the bar angle a bit closer & higher for me. Still need to check out Trek and Specialized shops. I am watching craigslist also, although I don't quite know what to watch for...