I have been undertaking some pretty intense bike research for the past week (Iíve become bike obsessed much to the chagrin of my family!) and Iíve learned a good deal and have really narrowed down my list of options (to 4) but Iím really struggling on a final decision. Any and all help/suggestions/comments would be very much appreciated.
Hereís my story. My wife and I are mid 30s, semi-active parents of two young children. We used to bike a lot more before the kids came along on our now-rusted department store mountain bikes which, though in need further tune-ups and repairs, are still functional. Regardless, I think weíll keep them for booting around potential offroad/outback stuff. Because we are going to be towing our kids around (also looking at bike trailers, carriers and trail-a-bikes and trail gators as options), we know we need better quality bikes that offer us more in the way of a safe, reliable, comfortable and nimble ride. What is important to us in all of our shopping endeavours is VALUE and value preferably on the lower end of the price scale ($300 - $600) . So, looking for something safe, reliable, comfortable, nimble that offers quality at good value for our urban rides.
My wife has already decided on the 2008 Cypress (w) which we are getting a great deal on - $285 vs suggested retail of $375+. She likes it and it seems to have good value. So thatís what sheís getting.
For me Iím a lot more stuck. Please keep in mind that Iím looking to be talked out of just as much as into any particular bike. Iím down to 4 bikes and here they are:
2009 Rocky Mountain RC 10 (with V-brakes) - $549. First off it seems to be a great buy as no other Rocky Mountain dealer gets cheaper than $679 so the value argument is in play and one even has it going as high as $899 (though these other stores may be selling it w/disc brakes). Anyhow, Iíve heard great things about Rocky Mountain frames Ė this one is aluminium and the bike likely weighs less than 25lbs as a result Ė but Iíve also read some criticisms that the components are of weaker quality (founded, unfounded?) I love that itís light and quick but that also means Iím sacrificing a bit of comfort as it makes for a joltier ride. Iím also not thrilled about the way it looks (I have a preference for darker, more subtle frames). Anyhow, the value seems excellent on this one and all in all this might be the one I should go for. (?)
2010 Kona Dew Ė $479 - Love the look of this bike (the matte black) and found it to be very comparable to the Rocky Mountain ride-wise. This one, however, is in line with the suggested retail value. Itís also made of steel, not aluminum, making the ride a bit smoother but also a bit heavier (likely about 25 lbs). Thereís a big price gap between this bike and the Rocky Mountain even after the supposed $200+ discount. Iíd like to know if the Kona is actually an inferior bike. I liked it and could just as easily see myself going for this one but question it as a value play despite the fact that the Sales Reps in the store (who I found helpful and genuine) all vouch for and own Konaís Ė preferring them over Treks at similar price points.
Now, to switch it up a bit Ė both of the aforementioned bikes are stiff, quick rides which Iím not sure is all that necessary. Maybe I should opt for comfort Ė afterall, Iíll be primarily using the bike for leisurely family rides. Bikes Iím considering in this category are:
2010 Giant Cypress DX - $450 Ė Not a prohibitive price tag and based on reviews, this bike seems extraordinarily popular with those who ride them (many of whom also appear to be avid cyclists). Itís got a big cushy seat with suspension and front suspension as well. Youíre very upright but comfortable and itís also a good looking bike though based o n my description it might sound like Grandmaís cruiser, it still is a hybrid with a semblance of sporty appeal. Itís a heavier bike though (32lbs approx) I like its simplicity and price tag Ė but is it a quality ride at good value?
Lastly and certainly not least (with apologies for the rhetorical clichť) Ė
2010 Specialized Crosstrail - $550 Ė This bike is an extremely popular model and probably has such broad appeal for the same reason I stumbled into it. Itís a performance hybrid suited for off-road use. It, for me, fits the bill of what a hybrid really should be. It has suspension offering more comfort but seems to be a solid all round bike. Those who own it seem also to love it. It sounds like an awesome point at a price point that you canít get most hybrids at until you get into the $700+ range. Something tells me to lean towards this bike for suitability reasons but is it worth $100 more than the Giant? At 30+lbs (this is all info Iíve gathered off the net), it is also a bit heavier but Iím not sure, that for my purposes, this would be an issue.
So there you have it. Iíve gotten a ton of opinions from bike store sales reps and thought this would be an excellent forum to cut through some of the sales partiality (now Iíll deal with owner partiality!). I though this would be a great place to get some good feedback from some real (and less so) bike enthusiasts who might be kind enough to enlighten me.