The first few bikes I tried to obtain turned out to be just too difficult for the bike shop to track down in a reasonable amount of time. Highly specialized bikes are just tougher to find. Plus, summertime is not the best time to go hunting for bikes in a picky way due to increased demand and the approach of the new model year for bikes, and more people seem to be buying bikes due to the rise in terror attacks and North American gas prices. (If only people around here realized how cheap our gas is, since our taxes subsidize the pump significantly.)
So anyway, I popped into The Bike Rack to check in with Tom, who's been helping me out with the bike hunt. I'd already stashed a healthy bit of cash in an account there for when we did settle on a good bike for Rob, and had some extra dough in the pocket. I turned Tom loose to fit me up with one that would suit my needs, because he knows the geometry of my body, what I want to do and under what conditions, etc.
Don't shop for a bike. Shop for a bike shop! If you're gonna be spending a lot of time & money on something like this, it's good to have some insanely knowledgeable pros understand you & your biking needs.
Turned out he had a couple of frames that fit my body well, and one was a Trek 7300 Multitrack. At first, I cocked an eyebrow at the front suspension and shock absorbing seat post, because I've been using stiff frames all my life. But he took the time to tutor me on tweaking the suspension, and I took it out on the road a few good times. I'm happy with it.
No disc brakes on this model, but the V brakes seem quite solid, and Tom assures me they should do what I need 'em to do. And now that I'm working two jobs, and therefore can't seriously commute by bike for a while, I don't see the disc brakes as quite a necessity for this one. (When riding recreationally, wet brakes are less of a big deal than when riding to work on a tight time frame and rain hits from out of nowhere.)
After riding it around a bit, I was sold on the ability to shift gears with a flick of the wrist instead of the more familiar (and frankly taxing) thumb shifters.
I really didn't have to change anything on it. I just had 'em tack on a basic speedometer and a couple of water bottle mounts, and was ready to roll on out the door.
And, since I'd already stowed away a tidy account, I only owed $13.83! Me gusta mucho.