Strengths: > Good gearing - no problem shifting when I get tired going uphill, and I can pedal for an hour at a time without getting exhausted (and I'm really out of shape!)
> Step-through frame is easy to get on and off
> Light, easy to carry
> Goes fast if you let it!
> Wide tires handle bumps, curbs, and the occasional packed dirt trail well
> Linear-pull brakes work very well
> Durable components - no flats or adjustments needed so far
> Quick-release seat and wheels mean you can make adjustments quickly
Weaknesses: > The seat has a suspension seatpost with limited adjustments (can't tilt nose of saddle higher or lower, as far as I can tell) and a super-padded saddle with ridges that cause aches and pains after a few miles
> The handlebars are your traditional semi-flattened hybrid handlebars that contribute to a slightly leaned-over position, which after about 10 miles begins to cause pain and numbness in my hands as my palms and wrists press painfully against the grips
> Sometimes feels shaky/squirrelly/unstable when going downhill, over uneven surfaces, or when stopped. I sometimes have difficulty getting going again after I stop at lights, although that may be an issue with my riding technique.
> Not the prettiest-looking bike (sorry, I had to mention it!). Plain gold/cream paint, big Raleigh decals, bubbly-toothpaste-looking welds, although I'm sure the frame is sound.
> Not good for carrying stuff - has a few eyelets for installing racks and such, but I've been limited to using a backpack to carry my wallet, keys, etc. when out on rides.
Basically, if you know the limitations of a hybrid bike and are willing to live with them in exchange for a well-built, durable bicycle that you only plan on using casually, this would be a good buy for you.
This is my mom's bike that she rides occasionally but has been mostly parked in the garage since we got in 2003ish. I've started riding it when I'm home on school breaks for fun and as an alternative to driving to locations within 6 miles or so of my house. Overall it is a standard hybrid bicycle, with solid components but lacking many features (racks, fenders, chainguard, lights, etc.) that would make it a more feasible as a commuter bike. As is, without any modifications, I would recommend it to the casual rider who only wants to buy one bike that they can take on some light trail rides or around the neighborhood (but not for errand-running). Because it is not quite a city/utility bike and not quite a road/mountain bike, it doesn't do anything perfectly well. If I could combine the gearing, speed, and durable components from this bike with the nice aesthetics, upright geometry and comfier saddle from my cheapo Target cruiser, it would be close to perfect!
Strengths: Easy efficient shifting and braking; gearing is perfect for pavement or dirt/gravel; bike is light, so that a female (me) can lift it overhead to place in rack, carry over logs, etc.; super easy to manuever on any terrain; turns sharp and precise.
Weaknesses: Brakes and gears need more than average adjustment, but they are easy to work on.
I bought my Raleigh C 30 in 1998.
It fits me perfectly; easy to adjust handlebars, seat; quick release wheels; adjustments on brakes and derailer are super easy; suspension is superb on my bad back and knees; comfortable riding for hours at a time. Handling beats the crap out of my co-riders bikes that cost $2k plus!
Strengths: reliable but cheap componetry...i rarely had to make adjustments the whole time i owned it. it provides a smooth comfortable ride and shifts and brakes reasonably well.
Weaknesses: aluminum frame...i love steel. i a tad bit on the "gramma-ish" side as far a looks go. very heavy.
This was my fist bike as an adult, getting back into cycling. i wasn'y sure if i was going to be more into road or mountain, so i went for a hybrid. it served me well and in general the bike was reliable.