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  1. #1
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    Help: Need a versitile bike

    I have one bike for road riding (LeMond) and one bike for trail riding / commuting (mtn. bike). Would like one do it all: trails, fast road riding, commuting, centuries...stuff like that. Thinking about the Soma Double Cross or something of that sort. Can anyone help?

  2. #2
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    I commute and try to race CX in the fall on my Biachi Axis. I also tool around on the dirt tracks in Philly on the same bike with friends on thier MTB's (it's also fun to blow by them on my "road bike"). I find that entry level cross bikes are the biggest bang for the buck in all around riding. I can do most terrains and get the most enjoyment out of a single bike for all around riding with just a change of wheels and tires. If you are looking for the versatility of one bike and don't mind riding w/ Drops I would say the way to go is w/ a cross bike.
    (on a side note: I would suggest riding fixxed for heavy traffic conditions. Not sure where you're located, but I pull out my Bianchi Pista for center city riding here in philly)

  3. #3
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Not to be a smart pants.......
    ANY bicycle can be a "do it all" bike if properly equipped,mate.

    After that it all depends on the engines (your) ability to power
    said bike. There are millions of people in the world who only
    have ONE bike to ride. They use the bike they have for all the
    functions (and few more we may not have thought about) you
    mentioned everyday.

    Most here are lucky enough to have "job specific" bikes. Which is
    more what I think you were driving at.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Surferbruce's Avatar
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    i have a bianchi axis too and man it is a swiss army knife of a bike.

  5. #5
    Airborne Titanium EricDJ's Avatar
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    Click my signature and look at the XLS-3

  6. #6
    Senior Member metal_cowboy's Avatar
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    Rivendell Atlantis: 'nuff said.


    Rivendell Alantis, Rivendell Rambouillet, Klein Adroit, Co Motion Big AL

  7. #7
    loves rail-trails bikingbets's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=metal_cowboy]
    Rivendell Atlantis: 'nuff said.


    Beautiful bike! What kind of riding do you do on it?
    Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.
    2009 Kona Sutra, 2010 Kona Dew Plus, 2008 Raleigh Companion Tandem

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=Tightwad]Not to be a smart pants.......
    ANY bicycle can be a "do it all" bike if properly equipped,mate. QUOTE]

    But it really helps if it is a sensible bike. Trying to doitall on a competition race bike or a full-sus downhiller is not easy.
    You need medium tyres (25-32), rack and fender eyelets, a sensible gear range and a position suitable for general purpose riding.
    A CX-tourer ticks all the boxes. My own choice is a light touring bike like the Soma ES. The only significant difference is the use of caliper brakes which I prefer.
    It is always useful to have a back-up bike. I like to have one general purpose practical bike and one specialist play bike which can be used in emergencies.

  9. #9
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    Those Rivendell's are certainly very nice, but only if you have the $ for them.

    To the OP, do you need a complete bike or will you settle for a frame?.

    Frame wise, I'd go for a Surly Cross-check as you can fit 2 inch tyres if you forfeit mudguards.

    Bike wise, I dunno. If you was in the UK i'd reccomend an On-One Il Pompino complete bike, at 399 it's a total bargain, hope to be getting me one of those sometime in the summer.

  10. #10
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Sounds like you need a hybrid.

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    I am new to this site and am looking to get a bike for the same purposes. I do mostly bike path riding...packed trails and some road...but I want the option to go on off road trails or dirt trails/grass with the bike as well if I felt so inclined one day . I have been looking at the trek 7500 and the trek 7.5FX. Both seem to be similiar with the suspension fork being the big difference. Any advice on which one would be a better all around bike for me?? Thanks!

  12. #12
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    I've thought about a bike like the soma es with long reach brakes, but wondered if the tires would be big enough to ride on the trails. Mostly I do road riding/commuting and a weekend thing on limestone trails. Thought about a hybrid, but it's hard enough to be 40 and balding without getting the same bike my mother has. I know it's a hang-up, but would like the bike to look fast even if I'm not.

    Really like the riv bike, but I'd be sleeping along side it in the garage if the wife found out about the price. Have to look at the axis if it's that versatile.

    Appreciate all the help!

  13. #13
    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    I'm sounding like a broken record: Specialized Tricross Comp

  14. #14
    Barbieri Telefonico huhenio's Avatar
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    Get a hybrid and put drop bars on it .... I have one. 38mm tires, rode that thing for two years almost exclusivelly. Fast enough, hard enough, versatile enough.
    Giving Haircuts Over The Phone

  15. #15
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    find a bike with cantilever posts if you're going to ride a fair amount of dirt - if you want to have fattish tires on there....

    I think any CX or a lot of the 'touring' bikes out there will get you everything you need in a bicycle. New or used.

    A lot of non or casual bikers take a look at my LHT with fattish Conti Travelcontacts on it, and call it a 'hybrid' - sometimes, I call it a bastard!
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  16. #16
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    Jamis Coda or a cross bike like a Surly Crosscheck. Bianchi makes a nice cross bike, too.

  17. #17
    LHT Commuter wsexson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingbets
    Beautiful bike! What kind of riding do you do on it?
    I recognize that Riv. It belongs to Hiawatha Cyclery.

  18. #18
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=MichaelW]
    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad
    Not to be a smart pants.......
    ANY bicycle can be a "do it all" bike if properly equipped,mate. QUOTE]

    But it really helps if it is a sensible bike. Trying to doitall on a competition race bike or a full-sus downhiller is not easy.
    But riding single track on a road racing bike with 700x23c tires will definitely improve your bike handling skills.

  19. #19
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metal_cowboy
    Rivendell Atlantis: 'nuff said.


    Slobber!! What a beautiful bike!!

  20. #20
    loves rail-trails bikingbets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsexson
    I recognize that Riv. It belongs to Hiawatha Cyclery.
    I saw the site...it costs $3000, but "it's the last bike you will ever need!"
    Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.
    2009 Kona Sutra, 2010 Kona Dew Plus, 2008 Raleigh Companion Tandem

  21. #21
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemrac98
    I am new to this site and am looking to get a bike for the same purposes. I do mostly bike path riding...packed trails and some road...but I want the option to go on off road trails or dirt trails/grass with the bike as well if I felt so inclined one day . I have been looking at the trek 7500 and the trek 7.5FX. Both seem to be similiar with the suspension fork being the big difference. Any advice on which one would be a better all around bike for me?? Thanks!
    I ride a mountain bike and it is mainly used for XC offroading. It is a hardtail with stiff 80mm suspension. Just a change of tyres and I do century road rides on it. Suspension is not needed on the road and will cause a bit of drag if used. Then again- offroad on aggessive trails, suspension will save the body. I am of the old school and a fully rigid mountain bike is the ideal. If the body can take the bumps and jolts offroad then well and good. If it can't, then do as I have done and stiff low travel- but good quality is the way to give you a do-it-all bike.

    Then again we have the beastie- 150mm triple crown forks- Full downhill top quality spec wheels- Hope Mono m4 brakes with 200mm discs. This is the bike of choice for full aggressive offroading- goes downhill a treat but should do with an all up weight of 400lbs. Only change the tyres on this again for Century road rides- so a top grade high spec- long travel mountain bike will do it aswell. All up weight of 400lbs should give you the clue- its a tandem.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  22. #22
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    I ride a mountain bike and it is mainly used for XC offroading. It is a hardtail with stiff 80mm suspension. Just a change of tyres and I do century road rides on it. Suspension is not needed on the road and will cause a bit of drag if used. Then again- offroad on aggessive trails, suspension will save the body. I am of the old school and a fully rigid mountain bike is the ideal. If the body can take the bumps and jolts offroad then well and good. If it can't, then do as I have done and stiff low travel- but good quality is the way to give you a do-it-all bike.
    I agree up to a point. I cut my teeth on rigid mountain bikes (broke a few too ) and I'd have to say that I would never go back. I'm not a full suspension fan...I have one and we are having issues... but front suspension makes a bike handle ruts and wheel traps much better. You spend more time riding and less time inspecting the flora.

    For Hamr22, everyone is always looking for that 'perfect' bike to do it all. There is no such beast. You might as well spend your time looking for UFOs, ghosts or Big Foot. You aren't going to find it. Sure they might all be able to do some of the same stuff. But each one is going to fall short in its own way. And each is going to shine in its own way. A road bike will go very fast and be thrilling to ride but take it into the backcountry and you'll find out its limitations in the first 100 feet. A mountain bike is great fun, I love mine even if we have 'issues'. They will take you anywhere you want to go where there are rocks and roots and mud but try to hang with the big dogs on a club ride and all you are going to see is lycra clad butts dissappearing over the hill. A touring bike will carry all of the stuff you need to explore the whole world for weeks or months or years. They can carry your life or just your lunch so they make great commuting bikes. But take it into the same backcountry as before and you'll find out about its limitations in the first few miles. Take it on a club ride and you might get a few more glimpses of those lycra clad butts before they dissappear entirely.

    That brings us to the 'do everything bikes' - hybrids and CX bikes. These bikes tend to combine all the worst of the different bikes without any of the best. To me, they are the Abby Normal brains of bicycling! A hybrid doesn't mountain bike well enough to shine off-road and they are too slow for riding on the road. They generally aren't designed to carry stuff to Outer Mongolia but they might carry your stuff to work but then some can't be outfitted with fenders or racks so what use are those. And they are heavier then road bikes and even some mountain bikes. They don't do that well in the big dog hangin' either.

    CX bikes are more road oriented then most hybrids but they are heavier to withstand off-road use. You might just have a chance of hangin' with the big dogs... at least until you hack out some major organs and are left at the side of the road for the wolves. Off-road? Have you ever ridden a drop bar bike off-road? Don't get me wrong, I admire CX racers. Those guys are brave and skilled and about 3 eggs shy of a dozen! For us mere mortals, a mountain bike handles much better and you have fewer visions of bicycle tires stuck between your teeth.

    In the end, the best advice I can give is keep your two bikes. Pick the bike for the ride you want to go on. If you have a ride that is on pavement, go with the Lemond. If you have a ride off-road, go with the mountain bike. If you have a mix, I'd stick with the mountain bike. Speed doesn't matter, the ride does.
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  23. #23
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    You may not be able to find the perfect bike, but that doesn't mean you can't find the perfect bike for you.

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