Ok, after reading a good amount of reviews and such, I am coming here, although, after reading some of these forums, I am a bit hesitant, but here goes.
I am a 47 yo male, 6'2" and 250 lbs. with diabetes, missing disc in lower back and arthritis (from a smashed heal many years ago) in my right ankle and the doc says I need to spend less time on my old Harley and put some time on a "real" bike (her words, not mine). The treadmill does a job on my ankle and she says that a bike will be much better. So, that, coupled with the fact I am heavily involved with Scouting (except when they are on bikes) I am looking to buy a bike to lose weight and use with Scouts. Now, I have NEVER bought a bicycle in my life (yes, had one as a kid, my parents bought it). So, I turn to you all for opinions and advice. Yes, I am a total newbie and this post show the extent of naivety.
I will be riding mostly on rough back roads and bike paths (packed dirt) and trails such as the C&O Canal in MD. Not back woods but rough enough that I don't think a road bike will do.
The last thing is that with the economy and all, I can't really afford a lot. I have to keep it around 450ish.
In my local town we have 3 local bike shops (not including the Harley dealer which after going in and talking have recommended the following;
1: Specialized Crosstrail - $439.99 - initial setup included
2: Trek 7100 - 399.99 - Initial Setup, Service for life, 10% discount part 1st 30 days
3: Jamis Explorer 2.0 - 439.99 - initial setup, 1st major tuneup in 30 days, "minor" service for life
All three of these seem to fit my request though the Jamis 'seems' to have better equipment (I know little about these things) the dealer selling the Trek seems to have the better lifetime deal.
Honestly, I'm not going to be out there 5 days a week, I'll prolly be out there 2 and try for 3. I'll never be a hardcore bicyclist, I love my Harley too much, BUT, I do want to live to ride that Harley and that means I need to lose the weight ...
I'll add in here that I have seen a few posts that say to stay away from the seat posts with the shocks in them which most the bikes I have seen have, are they really that bad?
So, opinions, advice, etc.?
Thanks in advance, I just don't want to waste $400+ (a lot to me) when asking a few newbie questions might save me later on.