I've been lurking here, trying to get as much info as possible! This is a great forum. I'm 37, have a 8 year old son and haven't ridden a bicycle in 20 years! I can't keep up with my son on foot anymore, so it's time to get a ride.
I have read the $500 thread a couple of times plus read through the archieves but could use a little help.
Being 37, 6'3 and 240, I want to make sure that I get a bike that will hold up. (No X-marts) but I need to stay around $500. I want to ride 50/50 backroads and trails. I'm close to the New River Trail, VA Creeper Trail and Mt. Rogers. I'm not going to be doing any downhill racing or 3' jumps. My bones won't take it
So, I've visited several lbs and have ridden a '04 model K2 Zed 1.0 & 3.0, '05 model Iron Horse Warrior Comp, Trek 3500 & 4500, '05 models Specialized Expedition Sport, Specialized Hardrock Sport & Hardrock Disc Comp. All on sidewalks or parking lots and none on trails.
My observations were:
1. Trek 3500 & 4500 - I didn't like the feel. Tried the 19" frame and 21". The bikes just didn't feel right. The front forks dove hard just getting going on the bike, regardless of what was done by the tech.
2. K2 Zed 1.0 - I felt a little soft on the front fork. Gear changing was a little clunky.
3. K2 Zed 3.0 - Felt nice. Easy gear changing. Stopped nicely. Forks seemed to hold my weight better. Nice range of gears.
4. Iron Horse Warrior Comp - The steering was very responsive. It seemed that it would be a little more difficulty to control when going real slow. My riding position felt nice. Very smooth gear shifting. Seemed to stop well. Killer orange metallic flake paint job! Forks seemed to hold my weight well.
5. Specialized Expedition Sport - Comfy seat. Easy to steer but I felt the gear changing wasn't the smoothest. Worried that it would be too soft for trails.
6. Specialized Hardrock Sport - Felt pretty good but not as good as the Zed 3.0 or Warrior Comp. I didn't feel like the gear shifting was as nice as the Warrior Comp.
7. Specialized Hardrock Disc Comp - Same as the sport but the shifters seemed a little better. The brakes felt ok.
There's another LBS nearby that sells Jamis and Fuji. Geez, do I need to keep riding. It gets to a point where you don't know what to look at!
The LBS that had the Iron Horse and K2's pointed out that the K2's were '04 models and the prices were "...a little negotiable." The sticker price for the Zed 1.0 was $299, Zed 3.0 - $499 and Iron Horse Warrior Comp ('05 model) $599. I can't find any literature on what the retail is supposed to be for the '04 Zed 3.0 or '05 Warrior Comp. What would be a competitive price for the Zed 3.0 or Warrior Comp? I feel like I'm leaning towards those two unless I need to go try out a Fuji and/or Jamis.
Gimme some words of wisdom here!