I have been enjoying my comfort bike this summer, but it has become apparent that I may outgrow it before long. Have been doing some research online and trying to choose different road bikes and fitness bikes that might work for me. I have no interest in racing, but can see myself riding further and wanting to pick up some speed. I'm still on the fence about a traditional dropped handlebar road bike vs. a flat bar road bike, but trying to keep an open mind while looking around.
First, I went to a small bike shop that only deals with Giant. The more familiar shops near me have mainly Trek and Specialized. They had one OCR 3W in my size...nothing else. I liked it and was pleasantly surprised how well it handled in the short time I rode it, but had planned to get the (higher end) OCR 1W if that model appealed to me. I also wanted to try the FCR line, but they don't have any in stock right now. I'll check again in a few weeks. They seemed nice there and I wouldn't mind dealing with them.
The next stop was a waste of time; they had a strange assortment of one of this, one of that...and the sales person did not even show any interest in the customers in the store. On to the third shop, where I took out three bikes: a Specialized Dolce Elite, a Specialized Sequoia and a Trek FX 7.3 (women's). Of the three, I really liked the Dolce Elite and would like to ride one again. The Sequoia was not as nice, but it was the base model. Maybe not a fair comparison.
I'm 5'6" but seem to need a fairly small frame-probably due to my short legs. The Dolce was a 48 and I don't think I could have taken anything larger. The Sequoia was an XS men's frame, and the Trek 7.3 FX was a 15" women's frame. I felt squished on the latter, but didn't like the bike anyway. I would still like to try a 7.5 FX, but so far the Dolce was the today's winner. Others on my list are the Trek 2.1, the Specialized Allez, Giant OCR 1W and Giant FCR 2 or 1. Would also like to see what Fuji has to offer; that requires visiting yet another dealer.
My original plan was to wait until Spring '09 after I'd lost more weight but now I'm wondering if I should just go for it if I find the bike I want. Either I'm doing this at the wrong time of year, or I'm going to be hard to fit. Then again, they can't carry every bike in all sizes, but I do need to ride it first. Anyway, the process is fun...if not a bit confusing at times.