I have not been on a bike in about 15 years. I quit after getting hit by an old lady, and well, I got my drivers license a few days later. Never bothered to replace the bike. However, I live by a lot of good road trails and can get to work via all paved trails, which is nice. So I am in the market for a bike, not to mention I could use the physical activity.
I am not small, 6ft, 275lbs so I need something that can support my frame. I suspect most of my riding will be on pavement, but there are chances that I will find myself on dirt roads or crushed stone trails. My friends do mixed road/mountain biking, but for the time being, I doubt that I will really be riding offroad a lot. I do live in Michigan though and our roads suck, so the random pothole/crack is not out of the question.
The local bike shops around here have the following bikes which I plan to test out soon. But I am looking for any general advice to steer me in the right direction. My pricerange is in the $500 - 600 area with accessories.
Raleigh Misceo - Really nice looking bike and solid suspension (no shocks). Definitely looks like it is built for the roads. I like the disc brakes, but I understand that at this price point they may be more for looks than quality.
Trek 7.1 or 7.2 - Good looking bikes, but the 7.1 looks a bit weak to me. The 7.2 defintiely looks like it has a better build, but it is at the upper limit of my pricing.
Trek 8.2 - The dealer pointed my to this dual sport bike. I really like the concept and the fact that I could do some limited off-road riding with it if needed. I also think that it would handle the poor roads around here better. But I am wondering if it will not be as good on pavement or hills versus a true hybrid. I think it has a lockout suspension, but I have not been able to verify this yet with the dealer, and online info is a bit weak.
2011 Giant Roam - Looks like a solid bike. Seems a bit heavy to me.
Specialized Crosstrail - Seems a lot like the Trek 7. 1 and 7.2, maybe a middle ground between them.
Specialized Hardrock 29er - I could get this with two sets of wheels. This would definitely be more expensive than my budget. The 29'er concept is the route my brother went recently, but he is more into biking than I am. Dealer seemed to think that if at any point I was going to be offroad this would be the way to go. I am wondering if it is really worth it versus the less expensive Trek 8.2 Dual Sport.
That is the list of my available local options. Please feel free to give some input.