bike in the $300-$600 range - NEED HELP to choose
Hi All. Great Forum. I'm in the market for a new MTB. I am getting back into biking and plan on using this bike to ride the local path/trails with my kids, commuting at times, no extreme riding, but most of the paths near me are either paved, light gravel or wood chips. Back in the mid 90's I used to ride a Trek 820 rigid fork which I liked and also had a GT MTB (can't remember the model) but it was an equivalant to the trek in price and also had a rigid fork. The variety out there is mind boggling! I plan on buying from a LBS to ensure the bike is set up correctly and I find the right size. Bikes manufacturers I like and seem to be pretty available in my area are: Trek, Gary Fisher, Specialized, Giant and Cannondale. I read alot on this forum about MTB tires vs 700c tires(I think). I'm a novice to all that, both my last two bikes had MTB tires. I'm 5'6' and 250lbs so I need a sturdy bike that can handle my weight so I don't know if that will make a difference in my choices. I know this price range is probably low-mid end of bikes, but I think it will be a good start. Are there any advantages to have a (rock shox) type fork compared to a rigid fork? I have looked on line and like some of the following:
Trek 820 and others above this model within the $600 range
Gary Fisher Wahoo (Colors schemes suck for this bike)
I know there is a lot in this email. Any info. would be appreciated. I live in the western suburba of Chicago so if anyone out there from my area has a suggestion of a really good LBS let me know, I'll throw my business there way!
Thanks - JP