Need help narrowing choices for new hybrid bike...
I've got four bikes in mind, and need to choose one. I've got a 20+ year old all steel Raleigh 3-speed, which is a great bike in super shape and damn reliable, but now I've got a riding partner and she's got a modern Specialized road bike, so I have a hard time keeping up, just because of the bike.
I average about 14 mph on my bike, and she does an average 17-18 mph. We're biking on a good path and city streets, about 20-30 miles on an outing. I'll probably ride about 1000 miles this year.
I want to spend $500 or less, and would be much happier with about $400. My main goal here is to get more speed, and I may get enough from just switching to the aluminum frame and more gears, but any other input is appreciated.
I really like the feel of my Raleigh, the more upright stance, that's why I'm looking at these hybrids.
Here's what I've narrowed it down to:
1. Giant Cypress DX 19" ($359) I like this bike, nice saddle, grip shift, blue/white color is nasty, straight handlebars ok, but the Specialized Crossroads handlebars were much nicer.
2. Specialized Crossroads Elite (M) ($439) This bike was similar to the Giant, but the saddle is fatter (amazingly, I don't like it, even though it's more like the Raleigh saddle, size wise) and it has click shifters (can't think of right term) that I don't really like. This bike also has some front shocks in the fork and was less jarring than the Giant on bumps, but the difference is minimal. I think this one has angled handlebar ends that were great for comfort, I often get numb palms. Liked the colors, black and khaki. Also has kevlar tires.
3. Fuji America Sagres - (MSRP $479) have not tried - maybe too much of a road bike for me.
4. Specialized Sirrus - (MSRP $500) have not tried - also maybe too much of a road bike.
I really want the Specialized Crossroads with the Giant saddle and Giant grip shifts, and that is what I am leaning towards buying and paying to have them switch the shifts and seat. I am going to try to look at and ride the Fuji this evening as long as it doesn't rain.
Another important thing for me is that the bike is quiet. I can't stand rattling, squawking, humming, clicking, etc... when riding, so if any bike here is better than the other, that would influence my decision a great deal.
I also want a reliable bike that's not going to have a lot of problems and breakdowns. I am all thumbs when it comes to maintenance, so I'll be taking it to the shop for service.