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  1. #1
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    Hybrid vs. MTB w/road tires

    Hello all...

    I'm in the market for a bike - typical newbie just planning on riding for pleasure. My intended use is casual rides around town, parks, and paved paths. Eventually I will do some longer distance rides on a weekends.

    I've spent lots of time riding and researching about performance hybrid bikes (ie. Trek 7.3FX, Gary Fischer Monona, Marin Larkspur, etc.), as that appears to be a logical first choice for me. I'm interested in riding for fitness, so I'm attracted to the more athletic positioning. My BF keeps telling me how I should consider getting a hardtail MTB and just putting road tires on it (which happens to be a common suggestion on the forum). He argues that the gearing is different so that it makes going up hills easier, and that the MTB is all around more versatile. Also, he says that the componentry will be more durable and the ride will generally be a lot more comfortable. I believe the things he says, but I don't have any interest in hard-core mountain biking and I'm worried that a MTB will be more bike than I really need.

    My argument against getting the MTB is that the weight of the bike will fatigue me more quickly on longer rides. Also, I live in an apartment building with stairs accessing my apartment, and toting a heavier MTB doesn't sound appealing. I would also like to do some distance riding...not centuries or anything, but a nice 20-40 mile ride on weekends would be fun. I don't know that I'd want to do that on a MTB...

    I don't want to be closed minded about the option of the MTB w/road tires, but I'd like to know more of the advantages vs. disadvantages of both. Any thoughts or opinions? Why did you chose a hybrid vs. a MTB w/road tires? Are there any things I need to consider that I haven't mentioned here? Thanks so much for your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    If you're fairly sure your riding is going to be on pavement, get a road oriented hybrid. You might even be interested in a touring or cyclocross. If you go that route, kind of be aware that the drop handlebars are not for everyone. Bars can be changed; you can also spend a lot of money replacing new bars and components with other new bars and components. I incline to the hybrid choice, but that's just me.
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  3. #3
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    I own a bunch of bikes, including a MTB with slicks (aka "road tires"). Here's a few thoughts that come to mind:

    MTB w/slicks advantages:
    1. A flat bar is really good for maneuverability, especially if you ride places that have lots of obstacles.
    2. The more upright position allows you to keep your head up a little higher which may help you see further up the road
    3. Good MTBs are built tough

    MTB w/slicks disadvantages:
    1. Since you're sitting a little more upright , you aren't likely to be as aerodynamic.
    2. Some MTBs can be heavier than road bikes (though depending on your price range, you can find some pretty lightweight hardtail MTBs)
    3. There are less hand positions on an MTB which may make it less comfortable on longer rides (you can put bar ends on your MTB to get more hand positions)

  4. #4
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    I started with a Trek mtb. Then I got a Raleigh hybrid 4.5 passage. The Raleiegh is lighter, I sit higher, more comfy. I ride the Trek on gravel but I would take the Raleigh anyday for comfort and ease of riding. My Trek has knobbies so I don't know how it would be with slicks, but the light weight of the Raleigh is a big advantage.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    Either would work, but something like the Specialized Sirrus with 700c wheels and skinny tires would probably fit your needs much better than a mountain bike with slicks.

  6. #6
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    Okay, I'll take the hybrid side.

    If the logic that changing tires turns a mountain bike into a town bike was valid, then the reverse would also be true--putting knobbies on a road bike would make it a mountain bike. Everyone knows that's not true--gearing, geometry, rider position to start with just three, are all very different between the two types of bikes. So why do MTB fans try to perpetuate the reverse?

    If your intended use is "casual rides around town, parks, and paved paths" never going off-road, then you don't need off-road gearing, you don't need off-road geometry and you don't need off-road rider position. It's more than just tires, see?

    You also don't need the aggressive position of a road bike.

    Thus, the hybrid, lying somewhere between the two, makes most sense.

    Bike manufacturers realize this and have designed the hybrid specifically for the type of riding you state as your intended use.

    My first bike was a hybrid. It remains as my daily commuter and grocery getter. I've found mine to be perfectly suitable up to around 40 miles. I've done several metric centuries on my hybrid. It's not the best bike for that, so I now also own a road bike.

    As for apartment living, for me, every ride begins and ends on these fire escape stairs



    so I know what your concerns are. MTBs can be heavy, especially in the under $1,500 range. Hybrids are no lightweights either, but mine weighs considerably less than my neighbor's Rockhopper. (Although my road bike makes my hybrid feel like an anvil.)
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  7. #7
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    I might be mistaken but I don't think many hybrids come with drop handlebars. Most of them are riser bars of some sort. Anyway, usually the knock on hybrids is that they try and be both a road bike and a mountain bike and basically succeed at neither.

    I can't attest to that because i have never owned one, but i have test ridden a few. I am more inclined to agree with your boyfriend, not because i think his reasons are right, because i don't, but because i think the mountain bike is a very good first bike and probably the most versatile bike around.

    If you are planning to do ANY rough road riding, in the form of unpaved roads or trails, a mountain bike will be a MUCH nicer experience on said conditions. A wider tire is mainly the reason for this. You can only go so wide on a hybrid and in my opinion you can't go wide enough for rougher roads, especially if you log a lot of hours on said roads.

    Granted a hybrid is capable but not optimal comfort wise, again mainly because of the narrower tires. So this somewhat practically limits the hybrid to smoother paved roads. Thing, is if you are going to be limiting yourself to smooth paved roads, then I suggest a road bike because there is nothing better for that type of conditions.

    The mountain bike is also obviously very capable in rougher terrain, and also very capable and comfortable on smooth terrain, with narrow slick tires.

    I don't think you will go terribly wrong with a hybrid. You just sort of paint yourself into a corner with it. A mountain bike will allow you to do more and learn what it is that you truly love to do on a bike. Then from there you can always buy something else.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl
    Okay, I'll take the hybrid side.

    If the logic that changing tires turns a mountain bike into a town bike was valid, then the reverse would also be true--putting knobbies on a road bike would make it a mountain bike.
    Hardly. You can't put 2" plus size tires on a hybrid. And this is a HUGE issue. On a hardtail or any rigid bike, the tires are your only suspension. They make a HUGE difference. On the mountain bike you can put extremely wider tires as well as very narrow tires. If you have an extra wheelset it is just a matter of a couple minutes to convert it to road warrior.

    As to this weight issue, I am also not aware of any lightweight hybrids, at least not any that are entry level. You are goint to be looking at saving maybe a pound or two at best, and that might only be gained at the expense of a suspension fork. And of course you can ditch that too on a mtb, as i have done on one of mine.

    Just don't go thinking you are going to be hauling some sub 20 lb. bike up the stairs, because that is WAY wrong. The bike weights will be very comparable.

  9. #9
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    Note that the bikes you mention have mtb derailleur and gearing too. There is little difference. I'd second the explanation tsl gives. The geometry and riding style of those hybrids is better suited to road riding, it feels tighter and faster. And the riding position and gearing is pretty similar to MTB bike.

    If most riding will be on road/pavement, with some on mild trails and such, you do not need suspension. You would be best with something that accomodates 25-32mm tires. Suspension will be an added cost and weight that you will not be making much use of, unless you're riding rough off-road a lot. When you ride on pavement it sucks the energy out of you. I believe many are lockable. You may also want to check out hybrids that do have lockable suspension.

    Your BF likes his MTB fun, and you prefer more road-type cycling. Do what you wanna do.

    [Portis]I might be mistaken but I don't think many hybrids come with drop handlebars.[/quote]
    No, not many do

    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    Most of them are riser bars of some sort. Anyway, usually the knock on hybrids is that they try and be both a road bike and a mountain bike and basically succeed at neither.
    That chestnut has been around for ages, and cliche for almost as long. Sorry, but to say that the only effective bikes are the ones at each end of the spectrum is to live by an outdated and simplistic view of people's cycling needs.

    Portis your logic is sound, but you are also coming from the same direction as StL's BF. You're an MTB guy right? You don't seem to appreciate the advantages of the hybrid that suit StL_rider's situation better. I ride like StL_rider and I'd bet on a hybrid without doubt.


    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    If you are planning to do ANY rough road riding, in the form of unpaved roads or trails, a mountain bike will be a MUCH nicer experience on said conditions.
    I'd agree with that. The question is how much off-road riding will you do? Are you riding for yourself or your BF? I suppose it might be worth considering whether you want the option of joining him in his escapades. But that's up to you to decide. All I'd say is that if you're mostly on the road, I still say go for a hybrid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    I don't think you will go terribly wrong with a hybrid. You just sort of paint yourself into a corner with it. A mountain bike will allow you to do more and learn what it is that you truly love to do on a bike. Then from there you can always buy something else.
    In a sense I can see that, as with a hybrid you certainly will not enjoy rough MTBing.
    However, do you not appreciate that the MTB is also not as nice for enjoying road riding?
    I agree an MTB is overall more versatile, but it's a question of what will suit the rider's needs most.

    StL, it's a question of how much you will be off-roading. If there will be any reasonable amount, go with an MTB. If you're more in tune with the road and path life, then go with a hybrid.
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  10. #10
    jcm
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    These two pics show an old school steel MTB, converted to road use. It is equally at home in the city or on a very long ride into the country, and on centuries. The difference in weight between the two setups is that the first pic shows a weight of 29lbs. The second, 34lbs. In my opinion, insignifigant difference.

    A steel hybrid is going to weight around 27lbs, or, the weight of a typical tour bike. Now, if you add fenders and a rack, which you should, you'll top 30lbs easy. So, weight really is an over blown issue, but we get caught up in it. For a casual rider, it is even less of an issue.

    Fitness riding? You can do that on any bike, period. Stairs? I think you'll find that the bulk is more a problem than weight. No diff there.

    More durable components on a MTB? Perhaps. Perhaps not. That depends on the package. The stuff on these bikes is 19 years old and works like new. It's ordinary Shimano Deore. I don't know if today's Deore is better. It was pretty good back then.

    Old school MTB's can be had all day for a song, saving hundreds for customizing and tayloring to your needs. Buy a new bike and you'll likely be back at the bike shop for changes, especially the saddle, possibly the bars. They may do it for free, though.

    Gearing? I find that there are plenty of hills wherever I go. I have never regretted having lower gearing and have passed plenty of riders that do regret not having it. On the other hand, for similar gearing, the hybrid will be a bit faster for the taller wheels.

    http://i11.tinypic.com/2wd9gmt.jpg
    http://i3.tinypic.com/3ygwap3.jpg

  11. #11
    Señor Miembro JustBrowsing's Avatar
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    It sounds like a flat-bar road bike with slightly beefier tires (depending on how much trail/dirt riding you do) should do pretty well. I was impressed with the Jamis Coda line of bikes, although just about every company makes something that'll fit the bill. Honestly, your best bet is to go to a shop and tell the salespeople exactly what you've said here. Take a few different bikes out for a test ride to get a feel for positioning and comfort, and get the one that suits you best.

  12. #12
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    I will have to take the hybrid side of this debate, too. StL_rider, it sounds like you prefer riding on the pavement most of the time. If that is the case, don't buy a mountain bike. The suspension and geometry will go to waste if you never ever take it off-road, not to mention the knobby tires that the bike will come with. A hybrid's much better for your purposes, and while it does sound like your BF wants you to ride off-road with him, that'll have to be something for you to decide on

    Portis: I can definitely see your points. Of course, the first bike I ever rode as an adult was a mountain bike, too. What did it show me? That I really, REALLY HATE mountain bikes

  13. #13
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    I am a mountain biker that takes to the road with slicks. Thats why last year I got a road bike. MTB's with slicks do not work that well on the road. They are built heavier in the first place and if you have Front suspension- then it takes a lot out of the road ride. A road bike is not always suitable either as the riding position does not suit everyone. So What is a hybrid? Initially it was a road bike with straight handlebars and that is what I think it should be. Unfortunately most bikes marketed as Hybrids are basically a heavy frame and bits bolted onto it to look comfortable.

    There are a few manufacturers that make a road bike with straight bars and the main one I can think of is Specialised. In the road bikes they make the Sequoia and this same bike with straight bars is called a Sirrus. The sequoia is not a bad road bike so you can guess how good the Sirrus is going to be. Over here in Europe Giant make the SCR and the FCR and they work on the same theory- but it is not the same models as you have in the US. There it is the OCR and FCR.
    As to the hybrid bikes -If it is a true hybrid such as the Sirrus or FCR no problems. They work very well on the road and can work on hardpack trails, but in no way think of them as suitable for offroading or even rough trail work. Then both the FCR and Sirrus weigh in at around 10kgs-22lbs- so an apreciable difference to a Mountain bike at around 30lbs.

    Giant web page to see what is available in the US

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bikes/road/4/

    And also the woman specific models they make

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bikes/women/
    Last edited by stapfam; 04-04-07 at 07:13 AM.
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  14. #14
    underfoot low8all's Avatar
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    Lots of good information has been posted on this already but I would like to share mine.

    I would vote for a straight up mountain bike for both your hard surface riding as well as off-road needs.

    I've used hybrids and 12 speed racers to commute for a while and while there weren't any issues at the time, (they all have their pros) when I finally got a mountain bike there was a major change in my cycling style. (the only way to really see the cons)

    The riding position makes a big difference. On a hybrid, your back is more upright. Both because of the bar style (although it can be replaced, it should be replaced along with a new stem) and the distance between the steering tube and seat post as well as the angles of those.

    Suspension is a must for me. Sidewalk hoping/stairs, pot holes and sewer drains are evil on the shoulders, back and elbows. If you're on the road with traffic, you will not always have the luxury of swerving to avoid those types of obstacles. On a hybrid, this riding style and those particulars can put added pressure on your lower back, on a front suspended mountain bike, you're given to allot more fluidity. Also if you happen to ride with the addition of a set of aero bars, you'll be allot more comfortable on a mountain bike.

    Don't be fooled by the whole 'with road tires' concept either. You should consider using semi-slick or knobby tires. Yes they may have to add a little more force to you pedaling but this quickly becomes a non-issue once you realize the importance of not skidding out and the grip one gets on the side of the road in a pile of gravel or sand. If you're going to play in traffic, it's best to be prepared for quick avoidance turns and braking, the tires you choose will make all the difference in the world. Plus if you do end up on grass with slicks you could have the bike swoop out from under you in a turn. You may as well be cycling on snow.

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    Seems to me it all comes down to three considerations:
    1. What will be your primary use for the bike?
    2. What, if any, are your longer-term aspirations?
    3. Under what conditions (i.e. surface, traffic, etc.) will most of your riding (as a percentage) be carried
    out?

    Given very little or no actual off-road riding, you'll want road tires, but that doesn't in/of itself rule out a 'slicked mtb.' Nor does positioning; in fact, a decent hardtail mtb with typical cross-country geometry will put you in a more, not less, aerodynamic position than most hybrids and/or flat-bar road bikes (yes, there is a difference) on the market. Cross-country mtb's, properly set up and fitted, are intended to have either the grip position or bar-ends (if used) position you as if riding the hoods of a drop-bar road bike. Most hybrids (e.g. the Trek fx bikes, Specialized Sirrus) will sit you far more upright than this, as will flat-bar versions of true road bikes (e.g. the Giant FCRs). This can be compensated for with stem length, but only to a certain point w/o compromising handling.

    Having said that, if your primary intention is relatively fast fitness riding, with aspirations to do longer road rides, you might be best looking at a drop-bar bike straight off -- especially if you are blessed with relatively decent road surfaces.

    On the other hand, if much of your riding is going to be on bad road surfaces and/or in traffic, you might want to consider either a 'roadified mtb' or a hybrid/flat-bar bike. Bike weights (especially if you substitute a rigid for a suspension fork) are not going to be that much different within a given price range, nor will average speeds, between the two. Mtb advantages: wider, lower pressure tires on 26" wheels will be more comfortable, flat-resistant, and (the wheel) stronger; handling optimized for quick acceleration, and stability at lowish to moderate speeds. Hybrid/flat bar advantages: handling typically more stable at higher speeds (i.e. out on the open road).

    Finally, there's only, really, one way to tell: test ride, test ride, test ride!

    Addendum: low8all -- sorry if this overlapped a little; typing at the same time/thinking along the same lines!

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    underfoot low8all's Avatar
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    No sweat brother, I'm sure she appreciates all the experience and information equally.

    +1 on the test riding as well. Nothing beats hiting the pavement and the wallet with a little experience on the ride your going to be relying on.

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    Wow! What a plethora of information here! Thank you all so much! I'm just trying to take it all in!

    Seems to me it all comes down to three considerations:
    1. What will be your primary use for the bike?
    2. What, if any, are your longer-term aspirations?
    3. Under what conditions (i.e. surface, traffic, etc.) will most of your riding (as a percentage) be carried
    out?
    My primary use will be recreational...I live 4 blocks from work and it wouldn't pay to cycle in. My longer-term aspirations would likely be more in the way of distance riding and not off-road mountain biking. The road conditions are certainly a factor. Here in St. Louis, most of the roads plain and simply suck. However, I may not be living in the area for very long, so I'm not going to make that a major factor in my purchase. There are some pretty good bike paths in a park across the street from my apartment and there's a really big, flat, groomed trail nearby that I'm sure I'll frequent.

    One question I have is how do 26" semi-slick MTB tires compare with the standard 700cc sized tires on hybrids & road bikes? The smaller tires is more to accomodate the gearing, right? Any difference in the ride between the two?

    I have done a lot of riding recently, and nothing has really given me the ephiphany of "this is THE one!" or anything. I suspect I'm just too inexperienced and can't detect the subtleties between each bike. Mostly what I notice is how well the bike shifts and the brakes. Its even hard to compare the comfort between bikes - most of the LBS test ride in a parking lot, which doesn't allow for much experience in real riding situations. The Trek LBS I visited had me riding in a neighborhood, which was much better because I could see how it handled hills & bumpy terrain (again...terrible streets!).

    I am still leaning toward getting a hybrid. But are there any decent hardtail MTBs that can be recommended for me to look at? I have only ridden fitness/performance hybrids (not the "comfort" hybrids...yech! I don't want to ride like the Wicked Witch of the West!), and I would like to get a feel for the riding position of a couple of MTBs just in case.

    Thanks again everyone!

  18. #18
    underfoot low8all's Avatar
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    I can't comment on the comparison of 26" semi-slicks vs 700cc personally. I haven't made any kind of direct comparison, but I found this thread here that might help.

    If the roads are as bad as you suggest, without getting into any details as to what makes them bad, you might find being lower on the bike (afforded by a mountain bike more so) will be more comfortable. I like your wicked-witch of the west analogy because it's so true.

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    Well, I should think you're approaching things the right way -- trying out different bikes, etc. Sooner or later, one is just going to 'click'!
    Given that you've a Trek lbs available, and that you're interested in the fx (7.3fx) bikes, you might try this: see if you can arrange decent (over the road) test rides of the 7.3, and of the SU200 and, say, a 6000 or 6500 mtb. The SU200 is an mtb hardtail frame with rigid fork, and decent 1.5" road tires stock. The 6000/6500 are decent, mid-range hardtails, this time with suspension. That 3-way comparison (admittedly within one brand) will give you a good idea of the differences in 'feel' and riding positions; you'll have to discount the stock knobbie tires on the mtb's, but you'll get the idea.

    On 26" vs. 700c wheels/tires -- you'll hear all kinds of opinions on this -- but essentially it all comes down to the two (currently) standard wheel sizes: mtb or road. The important thing to remember is that, in and of itself, at anything other than road racing/time trial speeds, wheel size does not determine speed over the road; tire rolling resistance (slick or knobby, tread pattern, materials) and gearing does that. There are very, VERY fast 'road bikes' (Moultons) using 17" or 20" wheels, for example. Similiarly, there are very slow, sluggish bikes (most comfort hybrids) using 700c wheels. What you CAN feel here is this: a 26" road tire at, say, 1.5" will run correctly at a lower pressure than an equivalent 700c tire (28c width), and will provide more air volume for comfort/puncture resistance. If the two wheels/tires are of equivalent quality, the smaller will be tougher, and slightly lighter; the larger/thinner will have slightly less air drag at higher (racing) speeds. The larger wheel/tire will be slightly smoother over square-edged bumps, the smaller (lower pressure) will slightly more effectively absorb minor road surface irregularities. That's about it, except: don't discount the 'go kart' effect! A larger but narrower tire at higher (required) pressure will 'feel' faster than its 26" equivalent, even if it isn't, because you will feel surface irregularities more; 60 mph in a Mazda Miata 'feels' way faster than 60 mph in a BMW 5 series.
    Again, it all comes down to (overall) what YOU like best!

  20. #20
    Senior Moment Member Gee3's Avatar
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    Hhmmm.... maybe your bf is leaning you towards a mountain bike because "he" wants one. And he figures that after a few months you'll put it aside and go onto something else. Then he'll have a "new" mtb to play with!! hehe! j/k!

    I agree with badger1. You should continue to ride a lot of different bikes and get the one that "you" like best, not what your bf says is best.

    I just rode my friends Trek hybrid last week and that thing was super comfy! Suspension fork with suspension seat, very upright and easy on the back. It is a really nice bike for casual and around town rides. But if you want to get aggressive the front shocks are not stiff enough... but it doesn't sound like that's what you plan to do.

    IMO, for the style of riding you are looking at I'd go with the hybrid. Test them all out and get properly fitted on the one you choose and have fun!

    Good luck in your search!
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    All I can tell you is that I stomp on hybrids with my mountain bike and downhilling tires. But I'm 20 and in the very best of shape, so the crazy crap I do might not apply here.

    A good MTB won't be much heavier than a decent hybrid, no more than 5 or 6 pounds. Not too much to carry up steps, thats for sure.
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  22. #22
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigander
    All I can tell you is that I stomp on hybrids with my mountain bike and downhilling tires. But I'm 20 and in the very best of shape, so the crazy crap I do might not apply here.

    A good MTB won't be much heavier than a decent hybrid, no more than 5 or 6 pounds. Not too much to carry up steps, thats for sure.
    Hybrids and Hybrids. Out today and I had a 14 year old on a cheap MTB over take me.--For 5 yards.

    I have ridden an MTB with slicks on the road I now use a 700 23 tyred road bike. An MTB is heavier and has relatively low gearing that if on the road up our local 15% hills I use 22/28, which is my long steep hill gear. On the road bike it is 30/28. Both low gears but at the top of the hill- the road bike leaves me with better legs and lungs and is faster up the hill. Similarly on the flat. The road bike just rolls easier. 20mph on the flat for 20 miles is the norm and on Metric centuries (62 miles) I average 18mph and finish comfortable. The MTB is 16 at best and I have to push all the way to keep that average.

    I have to say that if you want to ride the road- then a road bike with drop bars is better. If you want a more recreational bike for road then a Better quality hybrid like the Sirrus or FCR is good. Now if you do plan to take in some rough ground riding or actually want a bike that is very robust- then go for an MTB. Better still is if you can get a sensible test ride on all 3 types of bike. Then make your choice.
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  23. #23
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Hybrid means alot of things. Most of the bikes in my fleet would be considered hybrids. But there's a world of difference between,say,my Coda and my Point Reyes. You can get a hybrid that is very road-oriented or very trail-oriented. I would go with a hybrid over a MTB + slicks just because you'll have so much more variety to choose from.

    Also,the 26" vs 700cc debate is mostly moot due to the huge selection of tires.* How a bike handles isn't just determined by the wheel size,but also by the width,tread pattern,and air capacity of the tire. No matter which size wheel you get,you'll be able to find a tire that's right for your riding style. Note however that the most common 700 tires are thinner,slick-to-semi-slick,and high psi,while 26's tend to be wider,treaded,and low psi. 40mm treaded 700 tires and 1" 26 slicks can be found,but usually require special orders at the LBS or some internet Googling.

    For the type of riding you've mentioned;short to medium distance,bad roads,having to carry it up steps,I'd recommend the following from my own personal experience.

    Kona Dew series: MTB-inspired frame and wide tires do good on bad roads. You can always swap to skinnier tires for more speed. Wide range of gearing for both speed and hill climbing.

    Jamis Coda series: Steel frame with either steel or carbon fork makes for a sweet ride. Wide gear range and will take wider tires if you want more supple ride. Most have adjustable stems for changing riding position.

    Trek FX series: Good ride quality,just make sure you don't one with an aluminum fork. Good gear range,will take wider/narrower tires,many models/component levels to choose from.

    Marin Urban series: basically road going MTB's. Street gearing and clearance for knobs if you decided you wanted to take it off-road.

    All of these are comfortable,versatile,and reasonably light. They also come in different levels depending on your budget and taste.




    *for the 26 vs 700 debate,it just so happens that both my Dew Deluxe and Point Reyes run the same tires with different size wheels. The Dew's 37mm Slickasauruses are exactly the same width as the PR's 1.5"s. Gearing is pretty close between the two;the Dew has a road front with MTB rear,while the PR has a hybrid front with road rear. The difference I notice between the two is the Dew has more top end while the PR turns quicker. Ride quality is pretty much equal between the two.

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  24. #24
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    Don't know if you still need input given how much good advice you've already gotten. Here's my 2 cents.

    The mtb/slicks route is fine. My wife did that and it works for her b/c she doesn't have to lift it (her mtb is steel, so it's...ahem...robust) and she doesn't ride long distances. If you get a newer mtb, probably aluminum, it should be suitably light and easy to handle. So, I think your bf has a decent idea. Just make sure you get what you want.

    FWIW, I've ridden a bunch of different bikes, including mtb w/slicks, road bikes, and hybrids. If I were in your position, the question would be easy to answer: road. I'd suggest that if you're not comfortable with drop bars, at least check out some flat-bar road bikes (like the Bianchi Strada, for example). They'll be lighter, have wide gear ratios, and accommodate your desire to go on longer rides.

    The best advice you'll get (which you've already gotten above) is to just ride a bunch of bikes! Oh, and have fun, too!

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    i have a Trek 6500 MTB with Schwalbe Big Apples, standard gearing and a B-68 saddle; it is my mud/sand/soggy dirt road bike. Also a Surly Cross Check with Schwalbe Marathon tires (or W106 studded snows in winter) with 1x9 gearing, albatross handlebars and a B-17 saddle; call this my winter bike.
    Both are satisfactory rides, the Surly is lighter and more responsive. The huge tires on the Trek
    and front suspension provide a pretty cushy ride on rough road surfaces. That is probably one
    big advantage of the MTB, fatter tires and the suspension tame the ride down; especially as you
    said your local roads/streets are in poor condition- give the Big Apples a try.
    Please don't ask me to choose between them, each has a slightly different focus. However, i probably ride the Surly more then the MTB- it fits me better. When i got it, i tweaked the stem, handlebars,
    seat position, etc to get a more perfect fit. Which is probably a key element in any bike
    purchase, get one that fits you well.

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