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Old 10-22-07, 05:23 AM   #1
kdetolly
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what to buy: hybrid or mountain bike?

Hi,
I'm going to be buying my first bike in prep for a 105km race here in Cape Town, South Africa. I have to decide between a mountain and a hybrid bike. I was thinking hybrid as I'll mostly be doing road, though would like to be able to go on gravel roads (am not going to be riding on mountain paths!). But I've been told (at a local bike shop) that they don't recommend hybrids as the full road-bike sized wheel is dangerous off-road as one has a lot less control...

So if my use is going to be 20% off road and 80% on, and I'm not a dare-devil, how worried to I need to be about that big wheel? thanks!
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Old 10-22-07, 06:12 AM   #2
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might want to look at cyclocross bikes... they have the same size wheel as most road bikes and are designed for off-road use...

i think your shop telling you that the "full road-bike sized wheel" is dangerous is full of ****, too. there are lots of people who ride some nasty terrain on 'cross bikes (which have what are functionally road wheels, in many/most cases) or the new breed of 29ers (which are mountain bikes built around the "road" 700c wheel size)...
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Old 10-23-07, 02:31 PM   #3
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Definatley a hybrid or possibly a cyclocross.
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Old 10-23-07, 02:34 PM   #4
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I'd recommend the cross bike, and a different bike shop.
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Old 10-23-07, 04:51 PM   #5
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Process of elimination:

1. Should one race on a hybrid? - No, these bikes are generally designed for recreational use.

2. Should one race on a mountain bike? - No, you'll be slowed by the big fat tire.

3. Should one race on a road bike? - No, 20 km of your race is off road and you don't want to risk an equipment failure or crash.

What's left? A cyclocross bike. With the proper tires, this sort of bike would suit your need perfectly. Think of it as a road bike that has been redesigned such that it is more than capable of going off road.

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Old 10-23-07, 06:40 PM   #6
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I have both. I often ride my hybrid on gravel paths. If I could only have one it would definitely be the hybrid.
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Old 10-24-07, 12:52 AM   #7
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It's not the big wheel; it's the tires that will make a difference off road.

I often ride gravel roads on my hybrid with 700x26c road tires. It's not great, but definitely manageable. And I'm no bike handling goddess. Hybrid or cross tires would be nice in those situations, but I ride roads so much more that it's not worth sacrificing the road ride for the little bit of rough riding I do.

A bike that can do both is always going to be a compromise. Just decide if you want better road or better off-road performance, because there's no best of both worlds.
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