Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Southwestern Ontario
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If you can cut through all the bike co. and magazine marketing hype, and the nonsense you will often read on forums like this, it's really pretty simple.
Decision 1: drop bars or flat/riser etc. Simple. Which do you prefer? Have you ridden examples of both? Do that first.
Decision 2: if drop bars, then pure (endurance or race) road? Cyclocross? So-called "gravel grinder" (see reference to marketing hype above)? Purely decent pavement: road. A mix of paved/unpaved surfaces: a cyclocross or so-called "gravel grinder" will do the trick. Can't cite specific examples; not interested.
Decision 3: if you decide you'd prefer flat bars (see reference to forums nonsense above telling you that you must have drop bars etc blah blah), then you've Decision 4 to make -- to choose among various types of "hybrid" (stupid, useless term).
A. Purely decent pavement? Flat bar road bike, ideally with carbon fork (and possibly frame). Example: the full carbon Sirrus bikes; Trek 7.7FX, etc.
B. A mix of paved/unpaved surfaces: as above, but possibly with capacity for slightly wider tires (e.g. non-carbon Sirrus or Trek Fx models; Giant Escape or similar)
OR (C) a bike with front suspension (usually, but not always, accompanied by greater tire clearance and disc brakes). Examples: Spec. Crosstrail; Giant Roam/Roam XR; Trek DS; etc. etc.).
That's about it. All the rest (rim or disc brake, oh oh which entry level groupset is better etc etc etc etc) is noise. Decide on a budget; test ride examples as above in your price range to figure what 'type' of bike you want. One of 'em will float your boat; buy it and ride it. Make d_mn sure it fits. A year or two on you might want something different, or you might not. That's what your first bike is for.
Last edited by badger1; 07-10-14 at 04:58 PM.