I'm considering the purchase of either the Giant Suede 8-speed, the Trek Sole Ride 7-speed, or the Electra Townie 3-speed. The local dealer carries all three (but not in stock). Of the three, I like the price of the Giant best (<$300). The Trek is next at $350, and the Townie the most expensive at $420. My questions are as follows:
Is the front suspension on the Trek an asset or a liability? I'll be riding on pavement, not off-road. Of the three bikes, the Trek is the only one not to have a braced seat tube extending above the top tube. How far can I extend the stock Trek seat tube before it wants to bend with my 260# weight on it?
Is the internal Shimano 3-speed hub on the Townie durable enough to stand up to long use? If the outboard gears on the Giant or Trek give up the ghost, a new changer or gear wheel is easy to do. A new internal hub with a wheel is expensive..
Are the aluminum frames on these three going to be durable enough for me? I'm currently riding a steel Dyno-Glide cruiser and a steel frame Bianchi road bike. The Bianchi is FAR less prone to flex than the Dyno, but I can flex them both when pumping uphill.
Finally, is there any other bike available in the style of the above that I should consider? Opinions appreciated.