I have finished college and have a decent job and have decided to buy a new bike with a budget around $1000.
I got back into cycling maybe 4 years ago and forgot how much I enjoyed it. I have a generic canadian tire $200 mountain bike. I find it rather difficult to ride it in the city. It's like I have to fight it to keep moving (the wheels are slightly out of alignment so they very lightly rub against the brakes). I've tried to tune it but every movement I make it gets worse so it is as good as it can be.
I do 80% concrete/city riding but I would also like the ability to ride on light trails off-road when the need arises. I'm a praire boy so no mountains around here. I should also say that this will be a part of a regular exercise routine for weight loss as well. I started at 223 lbs a month or two ago and am now nearing 215, but I don't think my weight on any of these bikes will be an issue. It was for big box store bikes however (when I was heavier ~250).
I have a couple friends who ride nice bikes and I have been talking with them to get suggestions. One of them owns a Kona and he has been very happy with it. Sorry, I don't know the model. Another option was the Specialized Hardrock.
Some things I've been told are:
Anything Dura or deore (don't know which one) or above for shifters
Hardtail is best for city so I don't lose efficiency
Lock-out suspension so I can get all the efficiency out of the bike
I tooks notes as he talked but I don't have my phone at work
Another suggested brand was giant.
It is quite a big market I've realized and I'm sure most people have their own suggestions that are all equally valid (different brands or models).
So, to summarize. I want the bike to be nice and smooth on the city streets but also be able to handle light trail riding at the cabin or in a national park. Perhaps it has more to do with the tires? What should I look for in a bike? What are some of the features that are 'must haves' at this price range ($1000)?