Christmas eve, I mean Channukah eve, I mean Kwanzaa eve, I mean the end of Ramdan Eve, or whatever you want to call the night before you get a gift, is occurring right here in my Montgomery County cove. After much too much research and expert testimony/cross-examination, I am finally purchasing a new mountain bike. As with any expensive purchase of mine, I researched, or what the kidz call googled, my way to a boatload of bike websites, message boards, and propaganda, only this time I got more confused as I went along.
Instead of closing in on a model, I only found more options and things to consider. While it's good to broaden the prospects at the start, at some point you want to close-in on a final decision. Doing lots of research must be proportional to the amount of money being spent. For example, before I settled on my new car, I researched lots of models and as I got closer to deciding on the winner, I simply increased my research (reading about 15 reviews along the way). Low and behold, my car has been a great purchase that hasn't caused me any grief outside of the dealership's communication incompetence (something I should have researched of course).
Anyway, considering I will ride on roads about 85% of the time, I don't need a full suspension bike, nor do I need to worry too much about a weak front fork or a derailleur that can take a beating or the feedback I get when making a 5-foot jump. At first I was going for an entry level bike around $300, but after talking to the master bike technician at a local outdoors store, it was clear that despite my limited experience, even I would benefit from the next step up in quality. So I've decided to go with a model in the $350 to (gulp) $500 range. The good news it's down to either the REI house model Novara in this range or a Trek 4500 or even 4300 if necessary. I wish I had one model in mind, but at this point, it all comes down to which gives me the most comfortable ride for my body's ever-changing shape. Mountain bike review sites like www.mtbr.com are helpful, but they're usually hardcore riders who quickly beat the snot out of these low-level bikes for their high-level needs.
So that's the long version of why I'm excited tonight. Just like my new car, I will baby this bike to make sure it lasts a long time. Now all I have to do after the minor detail of purchasing it is think of its nickname like I did for my car...time for some more research.