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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am near to purchasing a bike and would like to have some more knowledge and suggestions about the ones that I am considering. Price range= $300-450. Names=Bianchi-raleigh-trek-giant-various others. 7005 aluminum vs. 6006? aluminum. Front suspenion versus no front suspencion. I would use the bike for alternate transportation and recreation as well as fitness. I am 62 and retiring. I would like to bike to the local tennis courts to get exercise=1-5 miles one way and occasionally would like to bike a total of around 20+ miles just for the fun of it. I definely want a comfort bike -- not a racing bike (comfortable jell seats and higher handle bars ect. 8 speed vs. 24 speed.
Any input would be appreciated.
 

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No front suspension

If you will be riding on decently paved roads or even gravel I strongly recommend that you don't get a front suspension. The front suspension absorbs and dissipates energy every time you pedal--some of your work goes into bouncing the shock absorbers up and down instead of propelling the bike forward.

My wife road a Trek Multitrack 720 hybrid with no front suspension for 6 years, then she "upgraded" to a Cannondale Comfort 400 with a front suspension. She constantly complained that it felt like she had flat tires. She's now on a touring bike without front shocks and is happy again. The bike is lighter and faster.

It may be a little difficult to find a comfort bike or hybrid without shocks. The marketers have created a perception that they are a desirable feature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the tip. I just got back from trying 4 bikes-- 2 giant(one with and one without a front suspension) and 2 bianchi ( same ). I liked the Bianchi with front suspension, although the giant which was about 1/2 the price of the Bianchi was close. I thought about this point, but I know there are others that I have not considered. I think I will just keep trying them and consider only the ones without the supension in front.
Thanks again, and good biking to you.
 

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Some front suspensions can be "locked out." Just a flip of a switch and you have a non-suspension bike. You can always turn it back on whenever you want to. Of course, the suspension fork will add weight and bulk but if your area is relatively flat, it might not bother you.
 

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Another suggestion or two...

I'm about your age, though I've been serious about cycling for several years, and I think your idea is sound--bikes, even beginner and "non-cool" bikes, are fun and very efficient transportation for the distance you mention. I wouldn't think suspension would be a significant advantage in the conditions you describe, but it wouldn't be much of a drawback, either, so I wouldn't make that a major criterion either way. The higher bars are a good idea, but personally, I don't like the high-risers I see on comfort bikes around town. About the same height as the saddle, maybe an inch or two higher, is plenty. Reaching above that makes my arms tired and disturbs my balance, though that may be because I'm used to lower ones. You might try a ride on a hybrid bike, though--with flat bars and fattish tires (which can be run at lower pressures and give you some of the function of suspension), you may find that suits you.
Finally, don't be lulled into buying a big, puffy seat. They feel great in the shop, but after a very few miles, they lose their allure. If you start having butt problems, think LESS padding, not more, and perhaps something a bit narrower than the loveseats on comfort bikes.
 
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