The best "all around" bikes are the mountain bikes in the $400 to $500 range. With the correct tire, they work well in soft dirt or gravel. With another tire, they work well on slick rocky trails. With a light weight slick tire, they are tough, reliable inner city bombers.
Houston bike messengers only get paid when they deliver. They need bikes that are fast, tough, and reliable. And, dozens of those messengers are zipping around downtown on mountain bikes with slick tires.
A $400 mountain bike is built as well, or better, than an $800 road bike. One can go off curbs without a problem. The other can go off curbs and then...
Trek, Specialized and Giant all have good selections of mountain bikes in that price range. Visit the shops in your neighborhood. No web site can give you the experience of test riding a variety of bikes.
Last edited by alanbikehouston; 07-03-07 at 06:42 AM.