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  1. #1
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    A do-it-all bike?

    I haven't ridden a bike since I was a kid, but am interested in getting back into riding for another diversion besides hiking. I am looking for a bike that I can use for bike paths, dirt trail/road riding, and some lightweight (10-12lb base weight) touring. I was thinking maybe a cyclocross bike might do the trick, but am basically clueless. Any ideas on something that would work with a budget of around $1000 for the bike. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I've been in your boat for a month. I bought a Hybrid and enjoy it a lot but am now wanting to do a triathlon (which can be done on a hybrid) but I also want to try cyclocross so it seems a cyclocross bike might be the do everything bike. Long story short this is my way of subscribing to this thread

  3. #3
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    Cyclocross. I have 2 of them. Most can carry racks and fenders and with a change of tires can be decent road bikes and with cross tires can handle most trails and paths. Great bikes, but don't expect them to be great for anything other than cross racing. Jack of all trades, master of only one....

    Also, take a look at the "sport touring" models. Not much difference than a cross bike, but another options.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  4. #4
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    Soma Double Cross.

    Surly Crosscheck.

    Bianchi Volpe.

    Your bike handling skills will likely need some spit and polish before trails are within reach with them though.
    Last edited by cachehiker; 05-10-10 at 02:57 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
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    i am a noob, haven't ridden since i was in high school and bought a bike last month, but i cant imagine enjoying any kind of trail on cyclocross handlebars.

    i have similar riding needs as you minus the touring, for now, and went hybrid. i went with one that had a more aggressive stance than many commuters as i do like to be over the handlebars rather than upright, but i need and like the control of MTB style bars not drop bars.

    i do urban biking like NYC and i think for city biking besides dedicated park trails, a hybrid stance is better than a road type stance. we also ride light trails around here in NJ, but this bike can handle more than just packed dirt and i am glad, cause we are getting the urge to do a little off-roading. its nice to have front suspension with lockout as well for any trail riding or potholed streets even. but its a personal preference.

    i liked the gary fisher bikes, but could only afford the kaitai. at your price range you could get his top of the line hybrid the montare, or for 850 the utopia and spend a lil bit on accessories.

    but you cant beat going and taking test rides. only then will you know the stance you prefer.

    cyclocross seems to be more popular amongst hardcore bikers whereas hybrids are kind of looked at in a dismissive way.
    Last edited by idiotekniQues; 05-07-10 at 01:20 PM.

  6. #6
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    Cyclocross would be a nearly "do it all bike". (A mountain bike might be more preferable for really rough trails.)

  7. #7
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Surly Cross Check
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Degenerate Grouch xray1978's Avatar
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    +1 on the cross bike recommendation

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    Surly Cross Check
    Echo the Surly Cross Check, but not stock model. Suggest working with LBS to make a few modifications to evolve it to a more all around set up. For all around use, suggest the handle bar be level or slightly above seat and getting the right fit - usually this involves changing the stem length or angle. Often the steerer tube is really a cut a little short, so working the build up from a frameset could be a more effective approach. Also set the bike up as a 1x9; remove stock 48 t chain ring and use just the inner 36, swap the 12-25 cassette with a 11-34; this results in a broader gear range than stock set up with lower gearing for trails etc - down side is you do loose a couple top end gears. A weakness in stock crosscheck are the hard brake pads, have LBS install salmon kool stops - you will get a huge increase in braking effectiveness. stock tires are ok for trails, not as effective for commuting. if you are going to do more commuting or urban riding suggest swapping the tires for more of a touring or commuting style - regular schwalbe marathon or conti contact with reflective side walls will help increase you visibility at dusk or after dark. stock cross check seat is ok but not a prize - try a Terry fly.
    Have ridden my cross check thousands of km on city & urban streets [eg manhattan and boston] country roads in new york, dirty/gravel roads in vt- a few cow paths and logging trails, Its ability to accept a wide range of tire sizes is a big advantage. Did some light tours with the cross check, below pic in winter dress with studded tires.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    ride long & prosper

  10. #10
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    The Cross Check is my current favorite bicycle. I got the prebuilt and they are shipped with the fork steering tube uncut. This allowed me to leave mine quite long so I can raise or lower the bars considerably. However, the Cross Check, while it may not be a competitive cyclecross beyond intermediate or casual cyclecrossing, it is nonetheless a much more aggressive bike than the Surly Long Haul Trucker. If getting the bars up high is a concern for a vertical riding position (which I hate, is uncomfortable, inefficient and and a bit hobo dorky) then the Trucker would be a better choice, outfit it with cyclecross tires (smoother center type) and otherwise like the Cross Check.

    Me, I like to have a competitive position on the bike, it is the standard position for a drop bar bike and in the drops on a Cross Check you will be leaned over, even on the tops you will be leaned over and of course this is actually desirable once you begin to get serious. By leaving the fork tube long you have the ability to position the bars from nearly level to the seat to well below the seat in a full racing position, four inch drop to saddle etc.

    Love my Cross Check, said it before, it is a dirt, trail pavement eating animal with all the fender and bottle and rack braze on most would ever need.

    The standard build is quite nice, a little heavy but sturdy. If I had wanted another project bike I could have used lighter and more expensive wheels and tires and a Shimano crankset and maybe knocked another two pounds off here and there.

    I love the bar ends, I love bar ends to begin with.
    Last edited by Loose Chain; 05-08-10 at 09:09 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
    T If getting the bars up high is a concern for a vertical riding position (which I hate, is uncomfortable, inefficient and and a bit hobo dorky)
    yes all MTB'ers are uncomfortable, inefficient and a bit hobo dorky.
    Last edited by idiotekniQues; 05-08-10 at 11:20 AM.

  12. #12
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    What you consider "dirt trail" riding is important. Do you mean, like, a bike path or MUP? Because I ride on those with my road bike all the time, so a cyclocross bike would be more than enough.

    Or are there rolling trails through the woods by where you live? Because a cyclocross bike would pretty much do it, though a "hybrid" bike may or may not be better (a mountain bike style bike with no suspension).

    Or are there mountain bike trails with logs across them and such? In which case only a full mountain bike would do it - but a full on mountain bike with knobby tires would be much slower to ride around town.

    However - if I was touring I would lean back towards the cyclocross or touring bike. So...I think your first thought was probably right on. :-)

  13. #13
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiotekniQues View Post
    yes all MTB'ers are uncomfortable, inefficient and a bit hobo dorky.
    Sounds like you're inefficient.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
    Sounds like you're inefficient.
    if by inefficient i have the bike that best suits my riding habits, then sure.

    i have a hybrid with 700 x 38 tires, a flipped stem for a similar aggressive flat bar stance of an MTB'er, gear ratios and geometry suited to a variety of riding situations, and i ride on suburban NJ roads, some off-road where drop bars would fail miserably like over rooty and narrow singletrack, and lots of urban (NYC) riding where this is perfectly suited with the control one gets from this stance, from the greenways to the streets.

    i realized quite quickly on these forums there are a bunch of drop stance half/roadie elitists. sounds like you are one of them? it's great for some folks, but not for everyone or every style of riding.
    Last edited by idiotekniQues; 05-08-10 at 01:24 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiotekniQues View Post
    ...some off-road where drop bars would fail miserably like over rooty and narrow singletrack... i realized quite quickly on these forums there are a bunch of drop stance half/roadie elitists. sounds like you are one of them? it's great for some folks, but not for everyone or every style of riding.
    Me and my trusty 29er w/ drops can handle that terrain. Look at my avatar. Do I appear to be a 'roadie elitist'? Don't turn this into a debate or you'll being playing with yourself (so to speak).

  16. #16
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martianone View Post
    Echo the Surly Cross Check, but not stock model. Suggest working with LBS to make a few modifications to evolve it to a more all around set up....
    If you're going to make all the modifications that martianone suggests, I think you'd be better off with a Surly Long Haul Trucker. While it's slightly heavier than the Cross Check, and has somewhat more relaxed geometry (i.e., a more stable ride but less responsive to sudden changes in direction), it's a great all around bike. I use mine for short rides and for riding 200K (125-mile) brevets.

    And if you're thinking of touring, or even just rides that might involve steep hills or mountains, the Long Haul Trucker's standard triple chainrings and 11-34 rear cassette gives you a good range of gears--much more useful than the stock Cross Check complete bike for the general rider, in my opinion.

  17. #17
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiotekniQues View Post
    ...i ride on suburban NJ roads, some off-road where drop bars would fail miserably like over rooty and narrow singletrack....
    You know, Jacquie Phelan, a pioneering MTB racer and one of the founders of WOMBATS, has long ridden a mountain bike with drop bars, including down Repack Downhill. I don't think that she has "fail[ed] miserably" because of those bars....

  18. #18
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    John Tomac:






  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianogilvie View Post
    You know, Jacquie Phelan, a pioneering MTB racer and one of the founders of WOMBATS, has long ridden a mountain bike with drop bars, including down Repack Downhill. I don't think that she has "fail[ed] miserably" because of those bars....
    unfortunately for most of us mortals, most of us aren't jacquie phelan. there are exceptions to the rule but for 99.9% of folks, that wouldn't work. god bless the exceptions. it's pretty well known that for control on off road, most folks succeed with other options. or perhaps just every mtb'er is just a misguided soul that you and mijome can re-edumacate. go to the next high-end mtb race and tell all dem fools they have no idea what they are riding or why.

    on top of that, the bike in the pic is not exactly what this fella needs. you want someone that wants a do it all bike to ride those fat knobbies on the road? or should every first biker automatically have a fresh set of wheels to swap out? if that's what you like to do, i guess it's probably cool.

    regardless, the drop stance elitism is very prevalent. this is very evident by saying any kind of upright position is 'hobo-like' fyi. is it the most efficient way to go very fast while fantasizing about being in the peloton? yes. and for many riders it also works out to be a fantastic position and bike style for their riding needs. however, there are a lot of other options for folks that have other needs, especially folks that want a do it all kind of ride who haven't been riding for long or in a long time. c
    Last edited by idiotekniQues; 05-08-10 at 10:19 PM.

  20. #20
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiotekniQues View Post
    unfortunately for most of us mortals, most of us aren't jacquie phelan. there are exceptions to the rule but for 99.9% of folks, that wouldn't work. god bless the exceptions. it's pretty well known that for control on off road, most folks succeed with other options. or perhaps just every mtb'er is just a misguided soul that you and mijome can re-edumacate. go to the next high-end mtb race and tell all dem fools they have no idea what they are riding or why.
    I really don't have a horse in this race. I have four bikes right now: a hybrid with straight MTB bars, a commuter with swept bars (very upright, comfy position), a folding bike with H-bars, and a touring bike with drops. On my touring bike, the bars are slightly higher than the saddle; I'm not "fantasizing about being in the peloton." My position in the drops is more upright than many racers when they're on the tops. I'm just enjoying riding my bike. But if I had to choose just one of them, as a do-it-all bike, it would be the tourer with drop bars.

    And I have no interest in telling MTB-ers what to ride or how. Like mijome07, I was simply pointing out that there are significant counterexamples to your claim that riding offroad with drop bars was a surefire recipe for disaster. A better point to make would have been to point to all the cyclocross riders who do very well with drop bars. The OP was asking about a bike that could be used on bike paths, asphalt, and dirt trails, not technical singletrack.
    Last edited by brianogilvie; 05-09-10 at 09:01 AM. Reason: Hit the post button too soon...

  21. #21
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    Back in the day, a good all purpose bike would have been something like the Bridgestone XO-2. Steel mountain bike tubes, road bike geometry, fat slicks, moustache bar and braze-on mounts everywhere. In hindsight, I wish I had got that instead of the MB-2.

    :)ensen.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by idiotekniQues View Post
    yes all MTB'ers are uncomfortable, inefficient and a bit hobo dorky.
    The OP asked for a "do it all" bike, he said nothing about jumping off cliffs and flying through the air on a dual suspension mtb. Yes, a dual suspension mtb bikes would be inefficient for a "do it all bike", to upright and then put a dozen riser shims on it like I see all the time and maybe a padded gell seat from Wally World, yeah, hobo dorky fits.

    The idea that bolt upright is the most "comfy" or comfortable is worn out and a cliche that is not universal and leads so many would be or new cyclist down a painful road of failure and even abandoning the cycling world. A drop bar gives more hand positions, allows greater efficiency and if outfitted to a well fitted bike allows several reasonable positions from a tuck to a "comfy" bar top position that is still distributing the weight between legs, butt, arms and hands. Bolt upright may be OK on your mtb (not on mine) but that position puts most of the weight on you butt.

    All the weight on your butt from a too upright position transfers all the shock to your spine causing lower back problems, neck problems, prostrate and other soft tissue problems and on and on, it is the WRONG direction to go for comfy despite the general urban legend.

    Proud to be a drop bar elitist, there is a reason they put drop bars on fast bikes including most all cross bikes, touring bikes and road machines. Get over it and get with the program.
    Last edited by Loose Chain; 05-09-10 at 12:53 PM.

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