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Thread: Clueless

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    Clueless

    I have no idea which board to post this on, so i figured i'd post it here where it gets the most hits...here goes my question


    Im not sure on what bike to get, I'm about 5'4" 115lbs and ride around the city about 80% of the time and some trails/rocky cliffs 20%. Should I get a mountain bike or a hybrid for this? Also, which brand should I stick to and which should I stay way from? I looked at some Trek's and they looked good.

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    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    20% on some trails/rocky cliffs is enought to justify a mountain bike. A touring/cyclocross bike might be an option also but I would think you'ld be more confortable with a mountain bike. They are less efficient on roads but can be more comfortable too.

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    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    I would also vote for the mountain bike. There are many makes of "sport" versions out there. If you are looking for a lower end bike, I would go to your local bike shop and look at $300 range bikes. This weekend I went to help my GF pick out a new bike. She needed one primarily for biking downtown to class. We got her a $220 Raliegh mountain bike. It has the adjustable riser handlebar stem, which is nice for the casual rider. This bike also had semi-slicks for the mostly city riding it will see.

    Look around at the bike shop and ask a lot of questions.

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    i'll try to get out to the shop, but i'll see what info i can get here...

    i looked at the Trek 4x00 series, it's their "rec" mountain bikes. Is it better than the Cannondale m400?

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    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dnnythms

    i looked at the Trek 4x00 series, it's their "rec" mountain bikes. Is it better than the Cannondale m400?
    I am not familiar with either bike. I am sure you will have a favorite after you test ride both.

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    grouchy bookseller HillaryRose's Avatar
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    Just remember, nobody ever said you have to settle for just one bike. Though depending on your city streets, I can definitely see the utility of a mountain bike for that 80%. We rode into the Loop today and it was bounce, bounce, bounce all over the place, potholes galore. A full suspension mountain bike would have made for a much more comfortable ride.
    Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.

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    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    Yes, suspension mountain bikes are quite comfortable. I used to scorn at them somewhat because I thought they are slow and inefficient (they are indeed slower) but I tried a friends and I could not believe how comfortable his bike was (but that one was very heavy) it was a new experience. My commute is already borderline for road/touring bike (poor roads) but if you are going on gravel, stone, mud, etc. it is worth considering. It will save the vibration you get on your commute from making you look like you have parkison desease when you get at destination.

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    Your size is borderline for larger 700c wheels, and if you want to ride anything technical, you will find smaller wheels easier to handle. Go with 26" MTB wheels, but fit a mixed use tyre with a continuous tread. Knobbly tryres suck on the road.

    I would suggest an MTB with a quality fixed fork . These are much more comfortable than cheapo steel forks on low-end bikes. You can use a suspension front fork if you want, but it will add weight and maintainance.

    Pick the right sized bike, one with plenty of standover height, and not too long from saddle to bars. Make sure the cranks (bits of metal with pedals at the end) are on the short side. Try and get 165mm length, not 170mm, and definately avoid 175, which seems to be standard on many MTBS.

    Pick a frame of butted steel or aluminium, with threaded eyelets for fitting a luggage rack and fenders. Even if you dont use them right now, one day you will.

    Jamis makes some well designed bikes at good prices.
    See
    http://www.jamisbikes.com/hardtails_intro01.html

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    I'd go for the hybrid. If 80% of your riding is going to be on pavement, why would you want to haul around all the extra weight of a suspension bike? Knobby tyres cause a lot of drag on pavement, too. And also, the gearing on a hybrid will be more appropriate for pavement riding.
    Buy the MTB if you want to be a dirt bike poseur (there certainly are enough of them around), but buy the hybrid if you need to use it seriously.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

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    Chicago Cyclist ViciousCycle's Avatar
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    On a short test ride (15 minutes or so) through city streets, the difference between a hybrid and a mountain bike will be minimal. But as the time increases, you will notice the difference. 3 hours on my hybrid on the streets of Chicago at a decent speed feels like no effort at all. However, 3 hours on my Shogun mountain bike on the streets of Chicago at a decent speed is tiring.

    Once winter comes, I'm hoping that my Shogun will earn its keep as a bike that will be useful for riding through snow. If it ends up being a winter that is dry or icy rather than snowy, I'll probably use my hybrid most of the time.
    The Easter Island people were clever, but their civilization collapsed after they chopped down the last tree on their island. You can't be 'resourceful' if you've used up all of your resources.

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    if i put tires with less treads on a mountain bike, it should make street riding faster wouldn't it?

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    Theoretically, yes. However, a tyre with lots of knobby tread would probably be slower than a 43mm slick. Also, a 23mm tyre running at 25 psig pressure would create more drag than that same 43mm slick inflated to 90 psig.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

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    Originally posted by D*Alex
    I'd go for the hybrid. If 80% of your riding is going to be on pavement, why would you want to haul around all the extra weight of a suspension bike? Knobby tyres cause a lot of drag on pavement, too. And also, the gearing on a hybrid will be more appropriate for pavement riding.
    Buy the MTB if you want to be a dirt bike poseur (there certainly are enough of them around), but buy the hybrid if you need to use it seriously.
    I'm with D on this one. For most people a hybrid is the perfect compromise. Suspension adds weight and saps energy. When you pedal, some of your effort goes in to moving the front of the bike up.
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

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    and finally, the insync forks were bad ive heard, so how is the "RST Capa TL fork (63mm travel, adjustable preload) smoothes out trails and paths."

    thanks

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    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    In recent months, I have help several people pick out a new city commuter bike. From what I can see, there is very little difference between a hybrid and a rigid fork "sport" MTB. If you put 1.5" slicks on a MTB with a high rise stem, you essenstially have a hybrid. Granted the 700cc wheels do ride a bit different that the 26", but I personally feel more secure with the 26" wheel.

    I think MTB's have become so popular with the city crowd because city riding is much more demanding than one would think. And there is a big difference in comfort between a "pro" MTB and a "sport" MTB. They are two entirely different bikes.

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    If you compare a 26" MTB with low pressure knobblies against a 700c racing wheel, of cource 700c will be faster, but put a mid-sized touring style tyre on both , and inflate both to the same pressure, and the difference is marginal.

    More important is the fact thet 700 c is the largest wheel size which will easily fit into an average size frame. For someone who is 5'4, they will be using a smaller frame. 700c will be too large, and the frame will have to be compromised to fit the extra-large wheels.

    I saw a couple on 2 custom touring bikes from the same builder. One was a standard 700c fast touring bike with 700c x 28mm. The woman's bike was a small fast touring bike with 26" x 1.25" tyres. Both were well proportioned, well designed bikes, one for a big person, the other for a small person.

    Does any manufacturer make a small, well proportioned "hybrid" bike using 26" wheels. In the UK, we have a company called Orbit who do just that.

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    I suggest you check out www.HaroBikes.com, I work at a shop that is a dealer for Haro. They have a "comfort" bike that sounds like it would suit your needs very well. It's called a "Del Sol". The 2.0 model is steel frame, alum wheels, grip shift, adjustable stem and suspension seatpost. This retails for $259.00. If you want an aluminum frame and a front suspension fork go for the 3.0 model for $319.00. Their entry level mountain bike is under $300 and is well made and decent components.

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