WhoKnowsWho wrote:I've never ridden a bike and was thinking of staying away from the department store stuff. Would this be an okay starter bike?
DB's aren't a bad bike. I haven't ridden one in years, so I can't comment on their recent quality.
I used to ride GT's Timberline and a Tequesta (best paint job EVER from a stock bike). They were great until Schwinn ruined them.
My daughter digs on Specialized.
I have three Treks. Trek is made in Wisconsin, and, as a Packer's fan and former WI resident, I'm legally obligated to recommend them. ;-)
Regardless of what you ride, I'd offer this advice:
Avoid Schwinn, or any of the brands they've ruined and turned into K-mart Krap.
Visit a couple bike shops and take some test rides. These guys do this stuff for a living and can help you find the right size and style for you. Personally, I avoid the chains and hit the mom-and-pops. They are friendlier and much more in tune with their riders.
Ignore terms like "groupo" and what the frame is made of. Yes, you can get lighter frames. But, honestly, they will cost you. And for the money, sometimes, it's just cheaper to lose the five pounds yourself. ;-)
Think about what kind of riding will you be doing? Will you want baskets on the back or front for groceries or riding to work? If so, will this bike take them easily? Are you just going to bop down the street for some exercise and relaxation? Then maybe a 29" is better for you. Especially in a city. Are you going to DRIVE the bike somewhere to ride it (maybe to a state park or somewhere)? Will it fit in your car? Do you need a bike rack? How much more does that expense add? And yes, a good rack is absolutely worth every penny!
Yes, this caliber of bike is a little more expensive. But with SIMPLE maintenance every year, they will last for a decade at least. And, again, having that relationship with a good shop will pay off here twenty fold.
At the end of the day, if you aren't familiar with bikes and the rough geometry and frame styles involved, I wouldn't buy one of these. Visit a shop first, find some bikes you like, and either buy there or look for those online. You'll be happy you did, and you'll learn a ton along the way!