General Cycling Discussion - Having a really hard time choosing a bike type. Please help.
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03-25-07, 02:30 PM
Newbie here, please be gentle. Here's the deal. I'm looking to buy a new bike after owning a mountain bike for 18 years. I really haven't done any riding in about 5 years, but I just had major knee reconstructive surgery (hoops injury) and I'm looking to get back on the bike since I can't really run anymore. I'm now 34, with kids, and I'm having a heck of a time trying to decide if I should buy a hybrid or a mountain bike now. Now, I know that you're thinking, "what type of riding will you be doing?" Answer: I want to be able to hit the local bike paths(mostly flat stuff) while tugging the kids in the trailer, but also want to have the ability to hit some real trails when I'm feeling up to it. But, I also want something that will do decent on pavement. No, I don't want two bikes. :D
I've hit about three local bike shops and was far from impressed with any of the suggestions that I received. It seemed that at all three shops that they weren't listening to my needs and just trying to sell me what they had in stock......bullshyte! I got pissed off at all three shops and just left. So I now come to you all for some real answers. I'm looking to spend around $600, give or take a couple of hundred depending on the options. I'm assuming that I can get something very decent for that dollar amount. I would classify myself as an intermediate rider overall. Anything from casual to agressive riding. I'm not scared of the mud. I don't see myself ever riding over 15 miles in a single session of riding. I do not want any grip shifting at all. Definitely want a rapid fire shifter. I don't know much about disk brakes, so maybe you could give me some advice on that. Lastly, I want a hardtail for sure. No full suspension needed here.
So, Im trying to decide if I should go with a hybrid or a mountain bike. From all of the reading that I've done, it seems that the hybrids are pretty much just road bikes and that they can do about nothing off of a groomed trail. Is this correct? Even on a higher end hybrid? I've also read that many peeps nowadays are buying a mountain bike, but buying a set of slicks or semi-slicks and changing as needed. This seems like a decent option too. Based on what I've given you here, what do you suggest? Thanks in advance for your replies. Peace.
03-25-07, 02:57 PM
Hybrid is a term that encompasses a range of bikes out nowadays, so not very useful.
You sound like you know what you need (I'd agree a hardtail w/ lockable suspension and mid-size tires would be best). Lockable suspension recommended otherwise all the time you spend on hard pavement will be sucking energy out of you. I assume you prefer the straight handlebars rather than any swept back "comfort" bike.
Hopefully others will chime in with an appropriate model from other manufacturers.
Here's the Specialized Crosstrail if you want to stretch your budget to $750
Curious about the lbs experience. Thing is, any shop has whatever they have to sell, and it seems pretty obvious to me that they'll offer you what they have. If they don't have anything appropriate I hope they'd be honest with you about that, but if you're in a shop where they have something good what's wrong?
What makes have you looked at?
03-25-07, 03:51 PM
Nicodemus, thanks for the response. Well, after explaining my needs, one shop offered me a Raleigh comfort bike and told me that it was a "mountain comfort" bike. I don't think that a mountain comfort bike exists....or does it? It was about $350 and the handlebars swept back like a granny cruiser. I would call it a comfort bike, if anything. Another shop told me that I should just get a straight out hybrid.....it was a Trek 7500 if I recall correctly. Seemed like a decent bike, but I couldnt see it handling anything off of a groomed path.
Well, I kind of know what I need, but I really don't. This Crosstrail looks pretty sweet. Almost a true cross of mountain and street. What are your thoughts on the mountain bike and slicks? Thanks again.
If you're getting away from well groomed trails, a mountain bike sounds like the way to go.
The industry should have never accepted the term "comfort bike". Giant puts out what it calls a comfort mountain bike called the Sedona. I gave one a quick test ride and didn't like the grip shifters either, but comfort mountain bike was fairly descriptive. Don't be put off by the terminology. Comfort mountain bike should describe something designed for fairly rough trails, but not jumping off large rocks.
My point is, if it's called "girls' grocery getter" in the literature, and it's the right setup for you, the nomenclature just doesn't. Now, if it's pink and comes with a Barbi Basket. . . .
03-25-07, 04:30 PM
A bike that might be worth looking into for a couple of hundred more bucks would be the Kona Hoss. It is a h/t that would be burly enough for towing a trailer and hitting the rougher stuff, but also friendly on the regular trails. Just a thought. Here is the link to it if you want to check it out.
Sorry, the link is for their Europe site, but you will still be able to get the details. I think it is about $899 US. Also I was told by the Kona dealer that I deal with that there are some 2006 Kona Hoss left overs at Kona going for a great price.
Let us know what you get.
03-25-07, 04:34 PM
tires: The borough XC tire that comes with the example I gave is a decent bet. Smooth enough for road riding but with treads for trail riding as well.
Tires are pretty personal, and depend heavily on how much of what types of riding you'll do. There's a whole range, I wouldn't know where to begin. But again, you seem best with something in between. You may even evenutally want to have two wheelsets, one with slicks and one with all-out MTB knobblies.
I personally don't consider any bike with swept back bars good for off-roading. That just seems weird. You need to be able to stand up sometimes, and those don't handle that well.
The Trek 7500 looks a bit odd, I must admit. I won't pick over the details, but yeah that doesn't really seem like the ticket. It looks like one of those hybrid concoctions that just gets most things wrong enough for the whole thing to not work well.
Funny they didn't show you the next model up, the 7700, as that looks like a more suitable design. Maybe it's too pricey.
I'd recommend having a quick shooftie through the big websites (Giant, Trek, Stevens, Specialized, etc etc). Then you'll have a better idea of what you're looking for. I expect there's 1-2 bikes of the style you want, in your price range, from each manufacturer.
Then you can hunt them down at the shops and try them out (and hopefully find a seller who's not going to try and convince you that some swept-bar "comfort" bike will be good for trail riding).
Sorry I can't throw other links at you, the Trek site exhausted my patience (I just started a separate rant thread because of it). But I trust that others will chime in with more recommendations.
I ride exclusively on roads, and I'm happy with my Sirrus. If you can find a Specialized dealer in your area, you could at least give that Crossroads and some others a try.
03-25-07, 04:57 PM
I know little about these bikes, but am considering buying one to use as a commuter.............. It would seem to fit the bill. There are other Coda models besides the 'Comp'.
03-25-07, 05:00 PM
Thank you all very much for your input so far. Any specific models that you could throw my way would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
03-25-07, 05:44 PM
This is what I'm looking at...........
03-25-07, 06:01 PM
If I had only ONE bike (yikes...that's hard to think about) and $600 to spend, I'd get a mountain bike. A $600 mountain bike is tough enough for any normal use, whether it is commuting to work, or riding the typical bike trails found in and around most cities.
With light weight slick tires, a light mountain bike with only front suspension is almost as fast around the neighborhood as a road bike, and much more durable. For that reason, many Houston bike messengers, for whom "time is money" prefer riding mountain bikes to riding a road bike in their daily work.
03-25-07, 06:24 PM
I take my loaded touring bike off-road regularly, I just don't hit/jump large rocks or logs. You might want to look at a Bianchi Volpe or a Surly LHT. Ask yourself where you will be doing most of your riding. Unless you are heavily into gnarly off-roading a road type frame would be good for you.
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