NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS!
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: From Sarasota, FL sitting in front of a computer spewing random thoughts!
Bikes: Intense Uzzi SL, Masi Speciale, Trek 3700 Nashbar Single Speed, Old Cilo Road frame
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For the price range your looking at, visit your LBSs (local bike shops) and test ride a couple of different bikes. Go to all your LBSs and ride as many different manufacturers as you can.
Chances are you and your wife will not like the same brand. And, that's o.k. Heck, the chances of both of you liking the same brand are ridiculously low.
When you are there ask the salesperson if you can swap out the elastomers or springs in the forks. Tell them you want a much stiffer one for you and a less firm one for your wife.
At 250lbs. you're a Clydesdale. Welcome to the club! I always have had to change out my fork springs/elastomers. It really makes a difference. It's like night and day. You'll want the x-tra stiff springs. Your wife will want the soft.
Most stock springs/elastomers are mediums. They're designed for a 160 to 185 lb rider.
I've become one of those riders that only has top of the line stuff. But, I'm not so conceited that I don't remember getting excited about upgrading to Deore level stuff.
I don't know about new lower end forks. They are all about the same in terms of quality. The biggest difference will be if the springs/elastomers are removable. With trickle down technology I would imagine that they are.
I would look into brands like Specialized, Trek, Giant, Gary Fisher, Haro, Iron Horse, Diamond Back...etc.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
"Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger