I am about to get back into cycling after a VERY long time. After a long search, I was ready to get a hybrid bike this weekend with decent components at a price I can afford, with 26'' tires (NOT a mountain bike), till someone suggested that I might be happier with one that has 700C tires - as it will go faster with less pedaling/effort. I did not really try the skinnier tire bikes.
Now I am confused ... wondering if I should forget about the 26" wheel bike and start looking all over again for a 700c????
I would gain slightly better (quality) components buying my friend's 26 incher than I can otherwise afford, but I am wondering if that means huffing and puffing to keep up with others with 700c tires if we are riding together?
I expect most of the riding to be casual riding on paved trails, roads or sidewalks, with occasional non-paved/gravel use mixed in (e.g, when there is a break in the paved areas, *maybe* occasional soft trails etc).
Will the tires really make a big difference in terms on speed and efficiency, say using about 30 - 45 minutes worth of riding as a benchmark (that's what I expect to start with)?
Any advice will be very helpful and appreciated!