I have been reading online, in forums like this & visiting local bike shops. Have not been talking with people in person about the bikes mainly because I ride mostly alone.
The three finalists are:
1. Novara Safari
2. Novara Randonee
3. Trek 520
I have almost decided on the safari but I have kept looking at the others thinking they may be the better option. I almost ready to make the purchase
The Novara Safari is the most affordable and seems to be the most durable. I do not plan on ridding off-road although I am rough on things in general.
The Randonee seem to have a pretty dedicated following so it must be good, right? Plus I like the thinner wheels/tire on this one compared to the Safari.
The Trek 520 seems to cost the most but hey it does Look nice
I do plan on taking them all for a test ride but truth be told a new biking will seem great compared to what I have now. My current bike is a 1992 Diamondback Override. My ridding experience is very little; almost none. Just starting ridding last Oct and that 1st month I was lucking to ride 75 mile. Last month I rode just under 200 miles, I know that not much but its a good start. Half of my rides are in the Cascade foothill. I ride anywhere from 10-45 miles a ride and hope to increase that 2-3x here this spring and 3-4x this summer. But hey its cold & wet in the Seattle/Tacoma area this time of year but I am looking fwd to nicer weather.
So with this being said I really do not or will not have the experience to make a true inform decision. Just going to have to trust my gut and make the best choice I can.
Any input would be great? The only other thing I can add at this time is I am 5'10 and about 260 lbs at this time. So that will not doubt put a lot of stress on the bike when I start adding touring supplies someday