Well, I ended up following only a little bit of the advice you all gave (the bit that said a cyclocross bike would be a good fit). I checked out the few LBSs around, and after doing some talking, I ended up going with the Cannondale CAADX 105. The LBS was kind enough to knock $350 off the MSRP, so I got a pretty good deal, imo.
By the time I got home, it was getting dark, and since I didn't purchase a light at the LBS (they had a really poor selection), I was only able to get a 5-mile ride in. Overall, I really liked it, but I noticed occasionally a sort of wobble in the front, which honestly scared me a bit. I think this was just poor balance on my part (since I haven't ridden a bike in over 2 years, and never a bike with drop bars), but I'm curious if you all think it could be indicative of a problem. The LBS did what seemed to be a thorough job of sizing me up for the bike, so given that and the fact that the bike feels comfortable, I don't think it is a sizing issue. Edit: turns out I put the front tire on unevenly. Oops
Thanks a bunch for all the advice so far!
I "had" to get rid of my last bike about two years ago when I moved out of state. The (seemingly) homeless man at the Greyhound station was pretty skeptical when I offered it to him, so I basically had to just turn my back on him and the bike and walk away. Ahahaha.
It wasn't anything special: just a stock Trek 3500.
Anyway, I'm now looking to buy another bike, and I'm trying to put a bit more thought into my purchase because looking back, the 3500 really wasn't the right bike for me.
So based on the information I post and any thoughts that might be had by more experienced cyclists, I'd like to read any thoughts you lot have. Right now, I'm only looking to buy one bike without any plans to buy another within the next year or two.
Here is how I plan to use the bike:
- Long-distance rides (70-150 miles in a day).
- Regular trips into town (10-20 miles).
- Light trail riding if the bike permits.
- Riding during rainy (NOT snowy/icy) conditions.
- Riding on rural roads (dirt, loose gravel, etc.).
The most I would ever need to haul is a change of clothing (possibly including shoes, if convenient), food for during the longer rides, water, and the tools and parts required for common roadside repairs.
At first, my strongest consideration was the Trek Dual Sport (DS) 8.5 or 8.6, but now I think maybe a hybrid is not the best choice. I think it would be greatly beneficial to have drop bars given my expected distances, but my one big concern with buying a road bike is that it would be unable to stand up to the several miles of rural roads upon which I'd have to ride each trip. I'd mainly be riding on paved roads, but between 5% and 20% of each trip would be dirt and gravel roads.
With minimal research put in so far, my new main choice is the Trek Domane 2.0.
I've looked almost exclusively at Trek bikes so far simply because that's what I had previously. I'd prefer Trek for that reason, but I'm certainly not locked in.
Thanks for any help!
EDIT: I guess it might be important to note that my budget is around $1500, with a small amount of wiggle room.