I'm getting back into bike riding after a long absence from the sport. I really need some help from you experienced riders in selecting a good bike for my needs.
I'm 42 years old. I'm 6'3" tall, and weigh 220 lbs. I have long arms and legs. I don't plan to race or be really rough on the bike. I'll mostly ride to cruise around, sight-see, and have a good time.
However, I want a high quality bike that is comfortable for my size, that can take my weight, and that could be ridden rough if I chose to. I can afford a nice bike, so I'd like to get one. Preferably in the $1500-2000 range, but up to $3000 is not out of the question if that's what it takes to get the right bike.
I'll probably opt for a dual suspension, but I haven't ruled out a hardtail. I've been looking at the 2004 Trek Fuel 90, 95, and 98, and the Liquid series. Which of these bikes, if any, would you suggest? The 2005 Trek lineup really confuses me.
I'm not completely sold on Trek. I realize there are MANY bike manufacturers out there, so feel free to suggest anything you think I should consider. I have time and want to do my homework and get this right the first time.
At my weight, should I get a carbon frame? Do you think I can get by with a 19.5" frame, or should I consider a 21.5" frame?