>I am looking to buy a bicycle and as part of my research would appreciate
>any advice that folks from this newsgroup could give me.
>The type of riding I will be doing:
> I will be using the bike for daily commuting 10 mi. each way.
> Also I am hoping to get back into doing a little touring.
>Price Range: $300 - $400 is all that I can afford to spend.
>my SO really likes the hybrids and I rode one the other day....
My feeling is that for the riding you intend to do, a road bike is the clear
choice. Mtb and hybrids do well in the 5 min test ride around the block, but
after 10 miles on the road, they begin to drag. High pressure skinny tires are
available for all bikes, but this is only part of the problem. The geometry of
mtb and hybrids is not intended for endurance. The straight bars give a comfy
confident upright riding position, but my shoulders and arms ache after a few
miles using them. Sure there are "bar ends", but this appears to this dedicated
roadie as a weak attempt to reinvent bit-by-bit the drop handle bars of road
bikes. Also, the bottom bracket on mtb and some hybrid frames is raised to give
better off road ground clearance. Thus, in order to get proper seat to pedal
height for road riding, you need to be quite high. Many folks on hybrids have
their seat way too low for this reason, and end up sore and unhappy, or even
worse, staying near home. At $300-400 there is less available in real road
bikes than there used to be, the 5min test ride effect luring all the new
cyclists onto the hybrids. There should still be something by Schwinn or Fuji
at this price tho, and of comparable quality to similarly priced hybrids. A
road bike need not and should not, despite market hype, be racing oriented. It
should have 28mm wide tires, wide low gearing (eg 39 or smaller front, 28 or
larger back), and toe clips (forgo clipless pedals until you're ready to render
your bike useless unless you are wearing your special shoes). Most expensive
gadgets are not of much use to non-racing touring/commuting/recreational
cyclists, but this is where the money and hype is; try to keep it simple!
Seattle, Washington http://atmos.washington.edu/~salathe