I'd like to buy a bike for my father. He's a novice cyclist, almost 60, 5'9" and about 230 lbs.
I mostly cycle on road bikes and fitness hybrids, which I think would be unsuitable for him - I don't think he'd use it, so I'm looking at either a comfort hybrid or a mountain bike. I don't really know how to buy either:
- is there a big difference between a comfort hybrid and a mountain bike? For the same money, I can get a much better spec'd hardtail, but would it be much more uncomfortable?
You would probably get better answers if you where to refer to the 50+ section of the forums. I'm sure a mod will probably come along eventually and move this thread there. But until then check out the link. http://www.bikeforums.net/fifty-plus-50/
Why not ask or take your dad to a local LBS and see what he likes. Then you will have a better idea what to look for or buy.
People have different fitness levels and reflexes/reaction times regardless of age. There are some that prefer a step-through frame because they just can't swing their legs over a traditional bike frame anymore. Then there are those that keep in shape regardless of age and want something along the lines of a hybrid/cross/road bike. While others want a more upright riding position because it's more comfortable for them.
The only difference between a "comfort" and "hybrid", imho, is the tire size (26" vs 700C)...although some come with shocks for the occasional trail use. Mountain bikes gearing is more for climbing. It all depends on the terrain your dad regularly rides on and how far he wants to ride. The main thing to to buy your dad a bike he wants to ride.