Hello, I know there are tons of these threads here, and I would like to first post and say that I'm sorry for creating another one, however, this thread will be tailored specifically to me, and I will use it to ask all the questions I need answers to throughout my buying process.
A bit about me as far as a bike would be concerned: I am 26 years old and about 6' tall (5'11'' to be exact). I plan on riding mostly on the roads around my neighborhood for recreation, exercise, fun, and also for some short commutes (<10 miles). Due to where I live, there will be times (not too often) that I need to be able to ride on dirt and maybe sometimes gravel driveways. I do enjoy athletics and competition so at times I may ride my bike pretty hard and fast.
My current experience with bikes: Well I haven't really ridden a bike since I was like 10, and then it was only cheap wally world bikes. I have no clue about brands and components which puts me at a disadvantage when looking at bikes and trying to decide what fits my style.
Budget: Right now i'm trying to figure out my exact budget, but I am planning on spending $600 or less. I know that may sound low to you, but for a first bike and the fact that I don't know if I will stick with it or not, I don't see why it wouldn't work. Also, I would have a hard time convincing my wife that bike is worth that much money. (she was shocked when she found out that bikes were $400 and $500, just to go with me to the LBS and see the $4,000 bikes lol). We also don't have a huge income, and it will prolly be some time before I have the money saved up.
Now its time for my first round of questions, I'm sure by now you have a good idea about what i'm looking at:
1. At the local bike shop, the guy pointed me toward a Specialized Crosstrail (the cheapest model) and the Giant Roam 1. Of course being about $100 cheaper, the Crosstrail is my current target if I want to go with a brand new bike at that store (they sell Giant and Specialized brands, while another local store that I havn't been too yet sells Trek and cannondale). If I saved the $100 on the crosstrail, what would I be missing? or would it be better to wait and save up another 100 for the roam?
2. If I decided to go with either of those bikes, I would like to know, are they durable and would they last me a good while, or with them being on the "cheap" side of REAL bikes, would they just feel like a wally world bike with a brand name?
3. I have been searching Craigslist looking for any awesome deals. Thinking of maybe going used and me not knowing much about bikes, I would first like to know if there are any brands I should watch out for or to avoid altogether?
Well that is all I have for now, I'm sorry it went so long, but I'll keep to this thread for any more questions I have later. I want to thank you in advance for any advice you give me. And maybe I can learn something about purchasing