Bike for commute/urban mountain biking?
Hoping to get some advice from some bike experts about the type of bike I should be looking for and the price range.
(Important factors = Weight, Ruggedness/Durability, and cost “aka” best bike for the money).
My background: I am currently in medical school and mainly use my bike to commute but also like to abuse it on ruff urban terrain.
Basically, I currently have an old trek 820 antelope that I use to commute to school three miles away. The commute is full of steep up and down hill paths, so weight is an important issue for me. My city is not super bike friendly, so along the way, I have to jump a lot of curbs and serious pot holes and cracks.
My other use (for fun), is that I like to do what I call urban mountain biking. My school is full of high stairs that you can jump or ride down with your bike and lots of ledges you can jump off of. I do this for enjoyment and derive a lot of pleasure from it. So what I would like is a bike with some kind of suspension as opposed to my hardtail double butted bike, which inadvertently hurts my knees and package if I am sitting. To visualize the stairs I go down, think of the stairs from the Philadelphia library from the movie rocky. Also, the ledges I jump off of are about three to four feet high. My rims always get warped or go out of true, so I stopped doing this, but would like to get back into it (got nothing else to do while around the school).
The biggest problem I have had is that the rims easily go out of true and get bent. So a bike with rims that can stand a lot of abuse are very important to me. I know that going down stairs and doing these jumps on concrete will hurt anything but if you know of something that can handle the type of abuse I am putting on it, I would very much appreciate it.
My last factor is price. I only make 50 dollars a week tutoring physics/chemistry to undergrads at the university so I will have to save for a while. Please take that into consideration with your recommendations. (I can't work more than four hours a week, its just too much with the studying).
To conclude, the question is: what do you recommend for the type of riding I am doing? My friends all tell me just not to ride it the way I am, but if this is what I want for fun, then I hope I can be able to do it.
Also, let me know if you need more details, I can edit my question and you can edit your answer. Thanks in advance for the advice.