I know you guys hate these "I'm a beginner. Which bike should I buy?" posts, but I would really like some help. I don't want to buy something that I'll regret in a couple of months.
My family (myself, my husband & my 70 yr old mother) rides for fun, mostly around the neighborhood, park, or on a nice concrete path beside the river, usually 5-15 miles in the evenings. Mom and I both ride Schwinn Voyagers and my husband rides a Fuji Absolute... so you see we prefer to spend a few hundred rather than a few thousand.
My son usually rides 10 to 15 miles to/from college and around town most weekdays. He's currently riding a cheepo depot bike he's had for years and now wants to upgrade to a "real bike", but needs to stay under $500 if possible. Leaning toward a cyclocross as he'll be mostly on streets, paths, across grassy fields, etc. Also, he's 6'4" with about a 33-34" inseam. I don't really understand bike geometry and have just relied on the bike shop to fit.
Performance has the Scatt x-330 for about $500 with 15% off this weekend. It's only available at the local store in a 57, but is online in a 60. The online price seems to be about $100 higher than the store price. He rode the 57 and liked it, but admitted it felt a little small.
I just found this Motobecane Fantom CX on CraigsList http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bik/2536927254.html. I'm a little reluctant to buy used, but will if its a good deal. I recently bought the sons girlfriend a trek off craigslist and the performance mechanic was really great about checking it out for free and showing me how to make the needed adjustments, replace brake pads, etc.
I've seen that the scattante and motobecane brands tend to have a lot of critics here, but don't really know enough to know why. I'm really looking for value. Please don't yell at me that 'you only get what you pay for'. I would love to be able to spend thousands of $$ on something that will be super light, super fast and last forever, but I can't. Whats the very best bike I can get him for under $500 that will be fun and reliable?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer. I do really appreciate the help.