POLL/OPINIONS PLEASE: Which of these 2 bikes would be your suggestion for an easy bike tour?

[COLOR= #0000ff]Froze,[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]I would love to get a bike cheaper online at BIkes Direct. The problem is that I can't test-drive them first, and am really paranoid about getting one that fits good, since Frugal Hubby won't let me buy another one for at least 10 years, lol. I don't know if you can send them back, but even if you can, shipping can't be cheap, and it would add up quickly if it took more than one bike to get the right one. The bikes that I've seen at Bikes Direct that I like are mostly Motobecanes, and I've never seen one in a store to test-ride it. Couple that with the problem that NOBODY in Sacramento, after looking in 3 stores, seems to carry women's bikes big enough for my long legs, and I end up trying men's bikes, which of course don't fit the same so it's not a true test ride -- and y'alls saddles HURT! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif Which makes it difficult to even test one for very long, lol. I can't see making them switch out saddles just to test-ride a man's bike that I don't really want. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]This whole drama started when Hubby wanted me to order the Motobecane Cafe Express 8 and I asked online here if it was a good bike. Most people said the components weren't that good, I got freaked out about buying an inferior bike, and off to the races we went. I should have just ordered the darned bike, lol, and hoped it fit. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Hubby will pay up to $700 for my bike; anything over that has to come out of my private stash of cash that I've hoarded over the years. So I'm willing to take it up to $1,000 if I have to, or maybe a LITTLE more, but really would rather stay in the lower end of that range. Anybody who wants to suggest what I should buy in that price range is welcome to make a suggestion, keeping in mind my weight and my preference for non-drop-bars and IGHs. But it would seem that I am never going to get a consensus of opinion on which bikes are best (I should have known), and it has gotten so confusing on here that I'm more than ready for the buying process to be over and to just get a bike and start riding it, lol. I will probably just end up buying a bike with the handlebars and IGH that I like the looks of, and just do my best to check out the number of spokes, tire width, Shimano level, etc. I guess I can always upgrade the components later as needed, if they're really inferior and it affects my riding enjoyment, which is the most important think at this point. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]I truly don't mean to sound ungrateful after all the help people have given me on here. I love what y'all are teaching me, and look forward to learning more about HOW to bike well. I guess I'm just getting a little overwhelmed about what to bike ON. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]It's 1 a.m., I'm tired, and off to bed. I will feel all better in the morning, and will probably think of a jillion more questions to bug you with -- and then whine about how confused I'm getting, lol. If only my brain could keep up with my desire to learn.[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]G'night, Froze. Thanks for putting up with me. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Sierra[/COLOR]
Hi Sierra, I hope you're rested by the time you read this. Anyway, I was curious about something, so I did a quick estimate this morning. Here's how some folks get exactly the bike that they want: They buy a frame and specify exactly the equipment that they want. I'm not suggesting that you do this, but it will give you some perspective on costs, etc. Take a look at this frame: http://store.velo-orange.com/index.php/frames/build-kits/vo-mixte-build-kit.html. As shown, it comes with some of the parts, which is a good deal. Given what you've said here, I put together a build list of parts, including a Shimano Nexus 8 speed internal hub, and a triple crankset, for a total of 24 gears; mustache bar from Nashbar, etc. Assuming some pretty good deals on parts, I come up with about $1400 plus building and shipping. Like I said, I know that's a lot, but that's one way to get exactly what you want. Of course it's considerably cheaper to buy a store bike, but as you've discovered, if you need/want some different equipment on it, the costs can add up quickly. Just something to think about. Velo Orange is a nice company (up the road from me in Annapolis, MD). You might do some reading their site also. Cheers, Steve
[COLOR= #0000ff]Hi, Steve![/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Okay, I slept a few hours and feel much better now, all ready to face the harrowing minefield that is bike-buying again. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif Sorry about last night's grumpiness. I needed another bike ride, lol.[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]I had no IDEA you could make a custom bike for that little! I mean, it's probably out of our price range, but it's not anywhere near as much as I had thought it might be; I was figuring thosands and THOUSANDS of dollars, so $1400-1500 isn't that bad! (And I'm really touched that you figured that out for me after I was whiney last night; thanks.)[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]I think it's indicative of how much I appreciate y'alls help that I stumble in here first thing in the morning before I even get anything to drink, and sit here bleary-eyed, excited to see what my buddies here have for me to learn. I really do have to get a grip, though -- and on more than handlebars. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif I sat here twice this week the entire day, reading forums and links provided, in my jammies!! That's two days I didn't get ON a bike, which kind of defeats the entire process of buying one, don't you think, lol?[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Thanks again for the link. And for not telling me to shove off. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif[/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Happy Pedaling. [/COLOR]

[COLOR= #0000ff]Sierra[/COLOR]
Hey Slim I don't think its a good idea to buy a bike online. Go to a bike shop and give them your business. I would stay away from REI since they don't always have the best prices or service. Cannondale Makes great bikes they hold there value very well. So if you decide biking is not for you, you can sell it and get most of your money back. Work with your budget its more important for you to buy a bike and gear and not be in debt. These are the bikes you should be looking at.

Specialized Crossroad
Trek 7100 WSD
Cannondale Adventure Woman's 3 if you buy the cannondale make sure they sell you the one with 700c wheels and not 26inch
[COLOR= rgb(0, 255, 255)]Giant Cypress DX Woman [/COLOR]

From this list i would buy the Giant it has the best components at the best price point.
2nd choice would be The Trek 7100 or Specialized Crossroad.
Go and test ride these bikes before you buy anything.
Good morning, Sierra. I can identify with reading about bikes more than riding. I've been doing a lot of the former lately, trying to figure out what I want to do with my bike by way of modifications, etc. I (and I'm sure the others here, too) enjoy helping you because you are so appreciative, and clearly are very motivated, especially with nice long trip planned next year.

Yes, this type of "custom" bike is more affordable than many may think. Of course it isn't custom in the sense that the frame is made for you and only you, and subject to your every measurement and whim. That would cost about $3000 and up for frame and fork alone. Rivendell's frames start at $1000 (and many of them are twice that much), but all are lugged steel construction and very nice. V.O.'s frames are nice, too, at a lower price point. I don't care for some of V.O.'s choices in colors (although I think the Mixte I showed you is very pretty). Rivendell's are more attractive in general, I think. One of the points I was trying to make with that post was that you can buy a wheel made with the Shimano Nexus hub, and put it on any suitable bike. You would have to remove the rear derailleur and shifter, so those parts could be sold to recoup some of your money.

Another thing about buying frames is that if you have a decent bike of the same type (more or less), you can transfer the parts over, greatly reducing your cost. I did that when I bought my titanium frame at a great price from Performance (years ago). I already had a steel road bike and I didn't have to buy many parts at all. I'll quit rambling, I hope you have nice weather and get out to ride today. Steve
Slim, most of the best bikes in the world are purchased on line, don't let someone scare you out of that if your considering that. All you need to know is the size of bike you ride and order that size. Even custom built bikes like the Rivendell as one poster mentioned are ordered on line everyday, and those take a lot of measurements into consideration that buying a factory built job doesn't but those cost way more then your wanting to spend. If like any of the bikes at Bikes Direct don't worry about it and buy it, I've had dealers try to sell me bikes that didn't fit! So just because your there or not there is not an issue especially once you know your size of bike. And those on line places have helps to guide you to a "perfect" fit, so there is no fear, and Bikes Direct has a solid reputation, and the owner goes out of his way to settle any problems. But if you decide to buy from a local bike dealer thats ok to, they won't give you as good of a deal but you do get the luxury of riding it first before buying.