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.)
omg, this is freaky, i thought you're my wife posting under another alias. Because my wife is looking at exactly SAME THING, in suburb of BUFFALO(Orchard Park)!
Well, we went to bike shop just last weekend, and checked out Giant's Sedona/Cypress(the only difference is tire width, Cypress has skinny tire, Sedona has fatter tire, more comfort).
If you choose to go with Giant bike, DO NOT choose Disc brake version of the bike(DX), because the braking ability is horrible, compared to the cheaper V-brake model(around $360)
Bert's also have quite a bit of selection of comfort/hybrid bike.
Trek, Fuji all have comfort bike in your price range.
In the end, she chose an Electra Townie bike, from Bert's.
it's very stylish, retro look, she loves it. those bike will also fit all your criteria, however, the price is between $350 to $450, depending on the number of gears you want for your bike.
i should also inform you that my wife is quite petite at 5'3, Electra Townie bike almost let both her feet touch the ground without leaving the saddle when she comes to a stop.
Test ride many models and go by what feels best to you. Try riding a Giant Suede, Trek Pure, Electra Townie, etc., then ride the Cypress or Sedona. I ended up with a Giant Suede because I liked the longer wheel base and lower to the ground feeling. The Giant Simple (cruiser) is also a nice bike. These bikes are made more for leisurely type rides, not racing. I take 9-12 mile rides on my Suede (7speed) and enjoy the scenery and feel great. It's been over a year and I still love my bike.
Thanks for the recommendation. I was just at a LBS today to try out a few more bikes, although this particular shop didn't have much of a selection of hybrid or comfort bikes. Interestingly, they had a few cruisers there. I had never heard of that type of bike before, and then when I got home I saw your message mentioning cruisers. Can you tell me, how does a cruiser compare to a comfort or hybrid? Based on appearance, and the little bit I've read about them, it just seems like a comfort bike with retro styling, but I'm sure there's more to it than that.
I didn't try any cruisers out today, but maybe I'll go back to that shop. I am a sucker for anything retro (I'm a big fan of 50s and 60s music, fashion and tv) so based on appearance alone, I really like the idea of a cruiser. But I don't want to base my decision on appearance alone, and now that I'm trying to decide between comfort, hybrid, and cruisers, I feel more confused than ever.
In your price range, a mountain bike is a good alternative. A $400 mountain bike will have beefier components than a $400 hybrid, and the fatter tires and longer travel suspension do a great job of soaking up road shock.
If you will ride ONLY on pavement, you can put light weight "slick" tires on a mountain bike that give it the same rolling resistance as a typical hybrid, without giving up the toughness and reliability of the mountain bike.
But, do NOT buy a mountain bike with rear suspension. The added weight and complexity are of no value to someone who will be riding on streets and urban trails.