I am in the market looking for a reliable bike, which I plan to use to commute to college each day which is about a 3-4 mile commute. I have a budget of about 200-250$ for the bike, I realize accessories (locks and helmet) will cost a bit more. I will post a few of the bikes I am looking at, but my main goal of posting this was to get advice and recommendations from experiences bikers. What is the best budget bike I can buy that will fit my needs?
Overall, my main concerns are these: How important are the handle bars? I like the appearance of the curved handlebars that are found on high end road bikes, however do I really need them for a 3-4 mile commute? Are they more comfortable? What are the pro's and cons?
Also im looking at hybrids. Again what would you guys recommend for my needs? Im a little worried about the wear and tear on the wheels of a road bike. Ive seen all too many bent wheels on abandoned bikes around campus.
Ive notive that fixed gear bikes are much cheaper (cheaper is good im a budget remember!), and im told more reliable...however There is a somewhat steep hill maybe 20 degrees or something. Im worried if I would be able to handle that one a fixed gear back, along with my 20-40 lb bookbag (depending on what books im hauling).