I'm looking to get a bicycle for pretty much general purpose/fitness/transportation (in that order) use. Right now I forsee mostly paved surface riding, although situations can change. I'll be moving in a year to another (as yet unidentified) part of the country, which may have more unpaved riding.
I'm also not looking to spend a lot of money. so I have the following questions:
1)I'm thinking of a hybrid sort of bike. Does this make sense? Or would a basic mountain bike also serve well? (I don't want a basic road bike, I'm not comfortable in that stance, etc...)
2)Am I better off with 26inch or "700" wheels?
3)I was looking today and I saw some different choices.... (with approximate prices)
Giant Sedona ($260)
Giant Cypress (don't remember, at least $260)
Mongoose Switchback ($180)
Fuji crosstown ($200)
GT timberline (I think) $260
target random bike (huffy?) $60
any suggestions? I think I'm leaning to the Fuji Crosstown, but I'm not really sure if that is the best fit for my needs. Or am I better off with a huffy until I see if I actually use it?
4) if I were to get 26inch, I understand that I would probably want a slick tire, but most at the base model come with fairly mobby tires. Is this a big deal? Should I wait for these to wear out and then get slick ones, or pay extra to get them upfront?
5)It seems that for each bicycle with models (e.g. Giant Sedona, DX, LX, etc...) that for an occasional biker, there is little benefit to the "upgrades" over the base. The sales people don't seem to convince me that they are worth the extra cost for "better" components. How are they better? Am I right that I probably don't need them?
Any other advice is also appreciated.