Well, it would be hard for a stranger to recommend one or another to you. If you're a grown up of average height, then I'd scratch that 24" off the list. I'd also avoid the beach cruiser unless your 3 hour ride is quite flat.
I'd also avoid department store, full suspension bikes. They're really heavy. So, as a matter of fact, I wouldn't recommend any of those bikes. But the Beast of Bentonville also sells a Roadmaster with front shocks and a rigid rear frame. I'm riding one right now and I'm quite happy with it. (I've also owned fairly high end bikes before, so I've experienced both.) The wheels are pretty poor, when it comes right down to it. But with reasonable riding they can be kept straight long enough to justify their cost. If you have a bike that works well for you, then spending about $100 bucks a couple years later for better wheels is not a terrible price to pay.
There are folks who have nothing but contempt for big box store bikes. But IMHO, they're all wet. They can, pretty easily, be perfectly good bikes for a very good price. They do have a moderately high rate of defects in one form or another. Your only choice is to inspect that bike rather well, find any defects and fix if possible or return and exchange if necessary. One good way of doing this is to hang the bike up and do some dis-assembly and re-adjustment. Brakes, derrailleurs, etc. You might as well grease the wheel and crank bearings, too.
You didn't mention whether or not you know how to dis-assemble bearings, etc. But you might as well learn it. You're going to need to do this whether you buy the cheapest or the most expensive bike, or anything in between. (well....the bearings on a high end bike are likely to be sealed. But these bikes have plenty of other adjustments and repairs that you'll need to be able to do) The good news is that it's not very hard at all and it's quite satisfying. And this is what will give you the reliability that you need.
Good luck, have fun and ride, ride, ride. You won't regret it.
I've had several since 1999 but have settled on my beloved 2001 Litespeed Tuscany and my latest, a 2015 Cannondale SuperSix EVO carbon
Originally Posted by imcrazy
I ride every day for about 3 hours and need a bike that can go fast and is realiable.
Fast?? Full suspension mtn bikes and cruiser bikes are NOT fast!!
Reliable?? Walmart bikes?? Definitely not!!
You don't want to buy a piece of crap and have it break down weekly or possibly more often than that. Go to a real bike shop or two and look at their offerings. Any new bike sold by a bike shop is going to be reliable. And that's definitely what you want if you're riding every day for 3 hours a day.
If you're budget is limited then look through craigslist for a "real" bike that will be around for the long haul.
Last edited by RonH; 07-27-09 at 05:44 PM.
My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale SuperSix EVO carbon
Custom commuter made from Civia Prospect frame, Raleigh Sports (1971), custom road bike from a steel 2003 Fuji Marseille frame, 29er SS MTB built up from a Vassago Jabberwocky frame, Surly Long Haul Trucker (customzed for fully loaded touring)
You already ride 3 hours a day? How old are you? (I see you are consdering a bike with 24 inch wheels). How long have you been riding 3 hours a day? What bike are you using now to do it? How much do you ride off-road?
Marin Pt. Reyes, Gary Fisher HiFi Pro, Easy Racers Gold Rush recumbent, Cannondale F600
To the OP (opening poster) if you're still reading this thread--
We'd like to help you, can you help us with a bit more info about yourself? You might have been intimidated by some of the posts in your other thread that got moved to General Cycling. This thread has some pretty good info for you. C'mon back!