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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-21-07, 07:52 AM   #1
clearwaterms
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new clydsdale looking to get into cycling, have a few questions

I am looking to get into cycling this year. I am new to the sport having not been on a cycle since I was 16 (10 years) The last bike that I had was a mountain bike, and given that I am an active sportbiker. However, as I do research online and also reading and searching around here I am thinking that a hybrid would be more what I am interested in. So here are my questions...

#1, How good is a hybrid on dirt trails. There are some single track dirt trails a few miles from my house.
#2, if I get a mountain bike and put slick like tires, how good will it be for the majority of my riding (mostly paved roads) alot of urban riding
#3, The local Bike shop only carries Specialized and gary fisher, and the selection of bikes in my size is VERY limited for test rides. They also charge full list for bicycles. In the city we have a much larger bicycle shop, they have a much larger selection, carrying gary fisher, specialized, and trek. They also have last years models and give discounts from MSRP on some other models. The local bike shop throws in two free tuneups on your bike, one after 30 days of riding, and a second at the start of your second year of ownership. The problem is that I might not be able to test ride a large variety of bikes from them. They were pushing the hardrock sport or a gary fisher rockhopper and a hybrid gary fisher as well.
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Old 03-21-07, 08:03 AM   #2
bdinger
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Here ya go:

1 - Depends on the tires, and the hybrid. I know some of the trek 7000 line would be fine on dirt trails with knobbies, but my 7.3 FX with it's slick 700c skinnies would be death. Annnd it probably wouldn't ride very nice. Etc etc. Basically "depends"

2 - I've heard very good. Not as good as a road bike, but a long shot better than knobbies. Knobbies on streets are kind of a "if you have to, fine" kind of thing, but otherwise avoid it. I've heard good things about the Schwable Big Apple and Continental Town and Country tires for MTBs. In fact, I really need to get off my lazy butt and buy some for my MTB.

3 - I have a '07 Hardrock Sport that I purchased in August of '06 and have put about 750 hard miles on. I love it, and nothing has (amazingly) busted yet. My gripes are only the fork (it sucks, but what do you expect for the price - better than nothing! ), low-end shimano drivetrain (could be better, but still loads better than department store crap), and the pedals. And those are nit-picky crap. Were I to do it all over again, I'd get the same bike or I'd spring for a Stumpjumper. The Rockhopper line is nice, but IMO not a huge jump from the HR for a clyde.

Fisher makes some very nice hybrids, the Utopia is well-regarded in my kneck of the woods. Give 'em a shot. Their MTBs are also very nice, but a little on the higher price range.

Annnnd I'd suggest buying locally, even if it is a couple more bucks. Building a relationship with the shop in town, assuming they aren't jerks, is always a good thing.
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Old 03-21-07, 08:14 AM   #3
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I've just moved from a 7 year old mountainbike with slicks and shocks to a hybrid (ridgeback velocity, a UK bike).
I did my normal commute this morning and found the hybrid much easier to cycle over the hills. It gave me higher gearing for a faster cruising speed bit it also had the low down gears for the hills. I was only 30 seconds quicker over 5 miles but I did almost stop and lift it over all the speed bumps instead of just flying over them. (this is my first day on the bike, so I'll probably be less precious next time)

I haven't taken it down any dirt trails but suspect it'll be find on the compact stuff, but not too good in mud/grass. To be honest most of my off-road stuff is on established trails where I think this bike will be fine.

I think it was a good decision for me, I found the mountain bike just didn't feel right on the road. It was slow, sluggish and hard work. Whereas this seems more suited to commuting.

Some people say hybrids are the best of both worlds, others say they're the worst of both worlds. I think after riding mine I fall into the former group.
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Old 03-21-07, 09:08 AM   #4
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If most of your riding is on paved or maintained urban trails, check out a cyclocross bike. Wikipedia does a great job of explaining the differences between cyclocross, road, and MTB frames: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclo-cross_bicycle. Most bike manufacturers have cyclocross models available. Definitely test ride before purchasing. Have fun hunting!
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Old 03-21-07, 09:59 AM   #5
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I have a Trek 7100 that I bought last year, to ride on the dirt/grass/gravel trail near my house. It's faster than a mountain bike, but I just bought a new road bike the other day because, to be honest, I want to go faster.

The positions you'll be on on the hybrid are no good for long distances, and a hybrid is definitely not going to get you around on rougher stuff like a mountain bike will. That said, if you're not riding in any rough stuff and aren't out for more than a couple hours at a time, a hybrid is probably a great choice.
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Old 03-21-07, 09:59 AM   #6
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Oh yeah, a cyclocross bike! Check out the Trek X01, the Specialized Tri-cross, etc.
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Old 03-21-07, 11:24 AM   #7
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i have read a little bit about cyclocross bikes, however I am not 100% sure that they are in my budget. The cyclocross bikes in my area are all over $1000. I am not ready to invest $1000 in something until I am sure that I will get my use out of it.
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Old 03-21-07, 03:06 PM   #8
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As much as I recommend cyclocross bikes everywhere, I think you might do okay with a mountain bike equipped with slick tires, or a specific type of hybrid. I mean, it really depends on what % of your planned riding is going to be on the road and what % is going to be on the dirt trails. The reason I usually recommend a cyclocross bike is because 99% of MY riding is on the road, with an occasional foray into unpaved areas.

Hybrids are a very broad category. Some are "comfort" bikes, some are just road bikes with mountain bike handlebars (IBEX Corrida), and some are just mountain bikes with slick road tires (Cannondale Bad Boy).

The "general" hybrids do okay for dirt roads, I guess, but if you are looking at Gary Fisher and Specialized, then I would suggest:

Gary Fisher: Check out the Dual Sport bikes (Montare, Utopia, and Kaitai). The Kaitai is the cheapest, and the Montare is the most expensive. The descriptions read like hybrids, but the tires can roll both on and off-road pretty well. Plus the suspension forks ought to come in handy on rocky off-roads.
http://fisherbikes.com/bikes/series....ries=dualsport

Specialized: Crosstrail. It's in the All-Road/Free-Road category. The Tricross is also in this category, but it's more like a cyclocross bike. I was impressed with the look of the Crosstrail when I checked it out at my LBS.
http://specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=21925

I highly recommend the Gary Fishers
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Old 03-21-07, 05:44 PM   #9
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You'll get all kinds of opinions on this, and I agree with everybody...I've ridden 75 miles on pavement on my mountain bike, with road tires, and before I could afford a mountain bike (early '80s), I put cyclocross tires on a road bike and used it in the dirt. Nothing's perfect for everything, but bikes are versatile.
I really like cyclocross bikes for all-around use, and one that might be in your price range is the Surly Crosscheck. See it at http://www.surlybikes.com/
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Old 03-21-07, 09:56 PM   #10
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Whoops! I guess I didn't read the entire OP very well before! I apologize.

Anyway, if you're mostly urban riding, a hybrid's a good bike. I just recommend drops for long distance rides and for headwinds. But if you're mostly in the city streets in the urban core, and going no more than about 5 miles a ride, flatbars/risers are better for the amateur
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