My 13 year old needs a new bike to ride to school, which is about 4KM away. We want something decent, but not over the top. Must have hydraulic disc brakes, smooth changing of gears. It's mostly for onroad or very very light off-road (though parks etc). I know we aren't going to get super light for ~$500, but weight is a bit of an issue.
We went into Evo and they took us right to:
Looks nice, apparently very good value, good quality components. Our concern with the cost is not the actual cost, but what happens if it gets stolen etc. We want something that potentially lasts him 5 years. After much cajoling they finally headed toward our actual stated price range and came up with this.
He seems pretty comfortable on the large frame despite being tiny.
We have only been to one shop thus far, but thought I'd get thoughts on GZ for guidance.
Have a 13 year old and have a slightly older version of the Trek bike. It doesn't get beaten up, but gets used, some mild offroad.
Though we brought ours on clearance - they seem to drop a solid $300 or so when they are a year or two old stock, but I can barely tell the difference.
I have also generally had positive experiences with a couple of minor warranty issues with Evo Cycles - though YMMMV. We do use a local shop for servicing though as we found EVO expensive and had to book a long time out.