I'm looking for recommendations on whether to get a hybrid or a comfort bike. I've been riding the same bike for 20 years and am ready for something new. It was a hand-me-down from my sister, which means it is probably from the 70s. It looks to be a racing-style bike, with those curved handlebars that force you to hunch over, and a small hard seat. (My butt tends to fall asleep on longer rides when I use this.) A few weeks ago, my husband and I took a trip to California, and while we were on Catalina Island we rented bikes and had an enjoyable time peddling around. This was the first "modern" bike I had ever ridden and enjoyed the comfort of non-racing style handlebars, so I decided that when we got home I would look into getting a new bike for myself.
This is what I'm looking for in a new bike:
-handlebars that let me sit more upright
-generally a comfortable ride. I mainly ride for pleasure. Sometimes I put on my mp3 player and ride around the neighborhood for 45-60 minutes, or I might go with my husband to one of the local bike paths - the one nearest us is 10 miles to the end and back. (We don't have any kids, so it's just me and DH.)
-something that will work for sidewalks, bike paths, paved roads, and dirt roads. The main road near me is pretty narrow (and busy) so when I ride around there, I stick to the sidewalk.
-something that will work with hills. Around my neighborhood, it's a bit "hilly" so some of the roads/sidewalks can be a bit on the steep side
-speed is not a big concern. I ride at a fairly leisurely pace. Sometimes I do pedal a bit faster for exercising purposes (to get my heart rate up) but I don't do any racing.
-I'm looking to spend about $400, give or take a bit
-There is a possibility that I might use it for commuting during summer, since I live only 2.7 miles from my job.
If it makes a difference, I am 29 years old, 5'6, and weigh 120 pounds. I live in a suburb of Buffalo, New York. I don't plan on using it during bad weather.
I had read good things in Consumer Reports about the Jamis 2.0, which is a comfort bike. I asked about it in a local bike shop, but the clerk told me that this was an older model which they no longer carried. (Which is funny because I later went to the Jamis website and found the Explorer 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 in the 2008 catalog.)
Anyway, this clerk told me about the difference between hybrid and comfort bikes, so then I was unsure about which one I wanted. I tested out a Giant Sedona (comfort) and Jamis Citizen 1.0 (hybrid), which both seemed fairly comfortable, and had good performance, although since I was only riding them in circles around the parking lot, it's hard to say. He mentioned that a hybrid bike would be more efficient when riding on smooth roads, so for example if I were riding a comfort bike, and my friends were riding hybrids, I might have more difficulty keeping up. (I usually ride by myself or with my husband, who has a comfort bike, so I guess that's not an issue.)
Any suggestions? I looked at this chart: http://www.bikeforums.net/faq.php?s=...l&titlesonly=0
...but since the hybrid and comfort bikes seemed to be rated almost identically, it didn't help much.
I'm probably over-analyzing this. My husband teases me about how I can never make a decision and just buy something, I have to "research it to death" first. He's probably right.