Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Örebro, Sweden
Bikes: Monark sportser 1970, Monark sportser 1970ish, Monark folder, Mustand 1985, Monark Tempo 1999, Monark 318 1975, Crescent 319 1979, Crescent 325 c:a 1965, Crescent Starren 2002 (hybrid/sport), Nordstjernan 1960`s cruiser.
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Yes, you adress all kinds of elemantary questions, and nothing wrong in that. You should a) decide what kind of biking you will be doing b) talk to your LBS or others for that matter to determine what kind of bikes might be suitable c) you want to test ride different bikes in the shop or borrowing from people you know d) you should discuss bike fit at the LBS or with others with bike knowledge.
Since you posted in hybrid forum, hybrids are versitale bikes, and several brands have the same kind of geometry. They differ the most when it comes to components (derailleurs, wheels etc). Depending on standars of components, price can vary. But, a more expensive bike doesnt mean you get the best deal. My 2002 hybrid is functioning immaculate with so called low-end derailleurs, in fact, they are the most impressive pieces of bike related gadgets I have ever owned. A correctly built bike have the right kind of components, not the most bling-bling.
In the hybrid forum many members are keen to discuss the nature of different bikes in the US market. I´m sure you´ll get a tip or two on what is good and priceworthy! Good luck!