Sorry for the super long message that WAS here. I shortened it.
I've got a VRX 300 full suspension mountain bike that I bought used about 3 years ago. <snip> I want a bike that I can use for exercise as well as some suburb commuting, and I don't know if this is the right bike. I'm a complete newbie <snip>. I recently bought thinner, non-knobby tires so that it'd be easier to ride on the roads. <snip> I am going to get my chain fixed - hopefully I can read up on it and do it myself.
<snip> What kind of bike would be better suited for commuting/exercising - I'm guessing something that doesn't have front shocks and preferably a bike made of steel so that the ride is a bit smoother. Are there any decent LSBs in the Chicago NW suburbs? <snip>
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
Did you think of fixing the chain, then seeing how it rides with the new tyres? You may not need to go out and buy a new bike just yet.
If you are insistent on buying a new bike, what's your budget?
"I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
"We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers. My blog. My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.
Check out the Kona Dew http://www.konaworld.com/kw_index.cfm
It is a decent quality ridgid MTB, that is suited to fast, all-weather urban riding in rough conditions.
Light-touring or cyclo cross bike are good alternatives for a more road-oriented bike, but they start at a higher price band.
Find a mid 90's or later chromo mtb frame. Hopefully you can find one with a matched non suspension fork.
Most were removed from good bikes (fools!) and you need a matched fork.
Not too hard to get around 24 lbs bikes, need upgrades though.
If you can find a mechanic oriented bike shop, they should have older frames, bikes and may swap.
Your bike may be easier to sell than a bike that's better, and better for you.