Will you be a casual, recreational rider, or a more performance oriented rider? Do you want to ride in an upright position, or bent forward?
It may be helpful to check out the Trek and Giant websites, or others, to see what's available in different types of bikes. You should be able to get something nice with your budget.
I have a Trek 7100 WSD for riding around the neighborhood and I'm pleased with it. I stressed too much about which bike to get. Find one you like, and that fits, and go! Good luck with your purchase.
2013 Scott CR1 Pro carbon, 2013 Brompton S6L-X titanium, 2013 Citizen Tokyo steel
Originally Posted by BrilliantRedRos
I am currently a female college student and am looking into hybrid bikes. I'm not really sure what bicycles I should be looking at or what features I will need apart from a rack for putting my bag on.
I've been to a local bicycle store but the employees were a bit too technical for me. So I want to learn some more before I start riding around.
I forgot to mention, I have a budget of $700.
Since you're not sure what you need, maybe stop by your local bike coop
if there's one in your area. They only sell used bikes so you should be able
to buy one from them cheap. If there's no bike coop around you, go to
your local bike shops. Either way explain your needs to the staff and maybe
test ride a few bikes. Let us know how what you end up getting
Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
Hey there Red!
First of all, I'd just like to state that the most important thing to remember here is your personal comfort. I therefore, suggest that you go to various bicycle shops near you and just start riding different bikes. From doing that, you should be able to better gauge the difference in various riding postures. You should also be better at determining whether you prefer the "feel" of an aluminum bike over that of a steel bike, or vice versa.
IMHO there's no better feel than having a chromoly steel-framed bicycle. A chromoly steel framed bicycle will last for many decades to come, if kept dry. Nobody can really say that about any other type of bicycle frame material, other than titanium ($$$).
For local traveling on and around campus, a good hybrid bicycle to suggest, would be either the Jamis Coda Sport femme model or the Coda Comp femme model. Both are very fast bikes and are extremely comfortable. Both models have the capacity to sport racks and fenders. You might want to tie your books or perhaps a few grocery items to your rack. Your fenders will ensure you that your clothes remain unsoiled when taking that slow roll through shallow mud puddles when caught in the rain. Of course, neither of the Codas come complete with these accessories. However, you'll always have the option of adding them later. The Codas also come with the ability to change tire widths. You can go from 25mm up to 38mm in tire width, if you wish. That's a really good tire width range!
If there is no Jamis dealership near you, allow me to suggest your nearest Raleigh dealer. They have what's known as the Ladies Classic Roadster model, that's entirely within your budget and does come complete with fenders. It also has a chromoly steel frame!
Things to Remember:
1) Get a bike with a chromoly steel frame (if you wish).
2) Get a bike with shifters.
3) Thinner tires with no tread, means faster.
4) Wider tires and deeper tread, means slower.
* But more comfortable and more adaptable to diverse road surfaces*
5) The Codas can be fitted with a wide range of tire widths.
6) The Codas can be fitted with a rack and fenders, after market.
7) Aluminum has a much shorter fatigue life than steel and is more subject to permanent damage due to road hazards. ie..Potholes, road debris, cracks in the road, and accidents. Steel tends to better survive accidents!