My sister is encouraging me to go biking with her, and as it happens, there are some sales at the sears I work for that bring some of the entry-level bikes even closer in reach, so I'm thinking of springing for a bike and trying it out!
I'm a noob with bikes but know a lot about cars, so I should understand what you can tell me about bike selection.
First concern is that I'm not ENTIRELY sure of my aims. Have fun, save some gas, spend some calories: that's in my mind's eye, anyway. I live in Iowa City, which is relatively bike-able, not so urban as Baltimore (where I moved from), lots of students bike around. So, I'm thinking... road bike or hybrid?
But I suppose there is a chance that I'll really enjoy it, and want to try some trails! I do not know.
I'm 25, 5'7", and 240#. Trying to decrease that latter specification. I've been told that 26" ought to be an appropriate size.
I've ruled it down to a couple bikes... we're looking favorably at the schwinn discover, which we have on sale for $180. It's a "hybrid" (road bike with wider tires...?), has a rack already (if I aim to go biking to pick up groceries or go to the library, it'll be pragmatic), and has fenders (if water splashing is a genuine problem for those biking in pants they might wear to work). According to a friend, the adjustable angle on the handlebars is a useful feature as well. I would intend to take it to a shop to tune it up.
However, what really is the difference? Is a trail bike just a road bike with a heavier frame, shocks, and fatter tires with a coarser tread pattern?
We also have ironhorse brand trail bikes: a maverick 2.2 for $190, and a larger osprey 9.1. Both are also aluminum, but also have front and rear brake rotors, and the maverick 2.2 may or may not have a better shifter mechanism "shimano ezfire" (simply according to one individual).
I suspect that this will be a road bike for me, but if the disk brakes are better, and the "ezfire" shifter on the maverick is better/ easier than the "sram" grip shifter on the schwinn, and I can make it a road bike anyway just by putting road bike tires on it... is the maverick better over all and potentially more versatile?
Or if there are subtler details to quality that will become apparent, and the schwinn is better built, not to mention it looks better and has fenders and a rack already-- and possibly the seat is more comfortable for cruising, not racing, which is what I'll be doing-- then go with the discover?
(although I just learned that scwhinn, iron horse, and even mongoose are all under the same umbrella company!)
A fundamental question of course is that I have not been a bike rider, and do not know with certainty what my needs will end up being, I only think it'll be mostly an urban commuter but maybe I'll like trails. I also do not know yet what is comfortable for me, if, like shoes, bikes are somewhat a question of fit: I don't know what size I am.
It makes answering this question more ambiguous.
But if you can give me an opinion between the bikes for what to start with. And if I like it and am riding regularly, in a few years, I can always of course upgrade to something else!
thanks for the advice!