Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sorry I can't offer you any firm advice here, but you're more than welcome for the input I have to offer.
Don't ever feel obligated. If you like the shop, that's great, but it's your money, so spend it to suit your own needs, not theirs. And like any big-ticket item, I suggest you do as much research as you can stand to do before you invest your hard-earned cash.
I thought the gearing problem was confined to your wife's bike. Sorry. Just searching for ways to minimize your outlay, if you're not sure that she's really going to use a new bike. There's nothing that sucks more than spending a few hundred dollars on a new dust collection. Maybe you should take her along to the bike store and have her test-ride a few things and see if she would really be interested in a new one, or not. Have you tried looking for used equipment in your area?
I don't really find mountain bikes to be an improvement over road bikes, for versatility, but I guess that's sort of a matter of preference and where/how you ride your bike. If you ride on lots of dirt trails, a mountain bike is obviously more suited for that.
I'm really a fan of hybrids, for versatility. I ride a Trek 7200 FX. It's not a road bike, but its a lot better for roads and paved paths than the average mountain bike. I plan on graduating to a road bike in a year, or so, as my fitness increases enough to extend my riding. But even then, I'll keep the 7200 FX around as my "daily driver."
Your LBS might be onto something with the 2006 Raleigh Sport. At $450 (compared with the $600 for the OCR 3), it might leave enough stretchiness in your budget to get something for your wife, too. An entry level comfort, hybrid or mountain bike can be found for $250-350ish, especially if you're willing to negotiate on a previous year closeout, or something.