I am looking at the Del Sol LXI 3.0---bike shop price $399 (includes lifetime repairs) and A Raleigh Sc30 (I think) Price $270 (no repairs). I really like the Del Sol but is it worth the price jump? How often do you need repairs? I have also looked at the Giant Cypress (women's bike has wierd low bar) and the Giant Sedona both priced at $300. What should i do? I really want to get into biking for aerobic purposes, is the Del Sol a good option?
If you can afford it, buy the bike you really like... you'll be a lot more likely to keep riding it! As for repairs and maintenance: you can expect to need a tune-up after a month or so of riding as cables stretch and things get broken in... after that, assuming you're reasonably good about routine lubrication and things like that which are really easy to do yourself, you probably won't need a WHOLE lot of work - certainly not enough to be the deciding factor.
Fit, comfort, and simple bike lust are the most important things. If the Del Sol is comfortable and is the one you simply *like*, go for it! At your price point, quality of the bikes is going to be pretty much equivalent no matter which you choose - assuming decent fit, you really can't go wrong.
Spot Ajax for commuting, Jamis Dakota Sport for dirt.
I don't mean to be picky, but I doubt lifetime "repairs" is quite accurate; more likely, it's lifetime maintenance, meaning regular tune-ups. Repairs, as in you break something or need to replace a chain, are still going to cost you (outside of warranty). Still, the lifetime tune-ups can be a pretty good deal, depending on how much you ride. I got the same deal with my bike and find that a tune-up every 1000 miles pretty much keeps me rolling smoothly. Of course, I do regular cleaning/lubing in between. And, the fact that the tune-ups are already paid for means you'll be more likely to have them done.