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  1. #1
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    MTB - Hybrid Question

    Hey there guys!

    Got a quick question for you:

    Can you tell by looking at a lone frame, if it is mountain or hybrid?

    - Slim

    PS.

    If so, how?

  2. #2
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    The height of the top tube is a good indicator. Another is the length of the top tube. MTBs tend to have more angled and longer top tubes than hybrids. Hybrid top tubes are closer to horizontal.

    In any event, most hybrids are a front shock away from being MTBs. Remember, generalizations always fail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3v1lD4v3 View Post
    The height of the top tube is a good indicator. Another is the length of the top tube. MTBs tend to have more angled and longer top tubes than hybrids. Hybrid top tubes are closer to horizontal.

    In any event, most hybrids are a front shock away from being MTBs. Remember, generalizations always fail.
    Hey there 3v1lD4v3!

    Thanks loads!

    - Slim

  4. #4
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    Early hybrids tended to have 700C wheels.
    "Where you come from is gone;
    where you are headed weren't never there;
    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

  5. #5
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by balindamood View Post
    Early hybrids tended to have 700C wheels.
    as do 29'er MTBs as of late.
    Definition for a hybrid might be a cheap bike that is both too upright and slow to be considered a road bike while also unsuitable for offroad thrashing. Perfect bike for non-cyclist to ride on city bike paths at 8mph along with all the runners.

  6. #6
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    Definition for a hybrid might be a cheap bike that is both too upright and slow to be considered a road bike while also unsuitable for offroad thrashing. Perfect bike for non-cyclist to ride on city bike paths at 8mph along with all the runners.
    While I agree with this designation for anything that has been introduced in the last 10 years, most major builders (Trek, Bridgestone, Jamis, Cannondale, Giant, Novara to name a few that I have seen recently) all introduced 700C hybrids about 1990 and kept pushing them til about '94 or so. These were very good bikes for a market that did not exist, and are still odd ducks (the closest modern equivilent is the Surly Crosscheck). They were basically mountain bikes designed around 700C wheels. The clearences generally are not enough to put modern 29'er tires on them, and they are generally too heavy for cyclocross (MTB tubing). I look especially for the early ones when the builders thought that people would shell out $800-$1000 for a high-end hybrid...which they foundout people wouldn't. Most of the earlier ones ('90-92 or so) had higher end butted tubing and Deore DX or higher level components. Once they pricey ones didn't move, they dropped the higher end ones and focused on the lower end of the market (which also didn't really exist in the world of $1.30/gallon gasoline), ultimately fizzling out by the mod 1990's.
    "Where you come from is gone;
    where you are headed weren't never there;
    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

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    Another possible generalization is rear tire clearance. Generally, hybrids aren't built with much rear tire clearance.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Can you tell by looking at a lone frame,
    if you have a good solid historical knowledge of the bicycle trade over the last decades , perhaps..

    then you measure stuff..

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    Fietsbob says:

    if you have a good solid historical knowledge of the bicycle trade over the last
    decades , perhaps..
    This is certainly a very dubious area of bicycle nomenclature and assessment...

    then you measure stuff..
    So what would you be measuring specifically?...Apparently, there are no strict guidelines or rules. Just a lot of comparative generalities...

    - Slim

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    Got a specific frame in mind? that would make things a lot easier.

  11. #11
    Randomhead
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    I'm trying to figure out what the point of this thread is. Framebuilders generally don't build hybrids, that's primarily a mass-produced kind of bike. In general, hybrids have 700c tires and will not fit a full-blown off-road tire. But the first mountain bikes were re-purposed cruisers, so it's not like there are hard and fast rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I'm trying to figure out what the point of this thread is. Framebuilders generally don't build hybrids, that's primarily a mass-produced kind of bike. In general, hybrids have 700c tires and will not fit a full-blown off-road tire. But the first mountain bikes were re-purposed cruisers, so it's not like there are hard and fast rules.
    Mr. Unterhausen, I do believe you've just reiterated my exact same conclusion.

    So in general, my quest was all about being able to properly assess or categorize a bicycle, simply by observing some salient feature about it. I mean, when we see a road bike, it's usually pretty clear and quite obvious that it's a road bike. We can't help but to notice the skinny tires, the drop handlebar, and the almost perfectly aligned horizontal top tube.

    If you're able to install a rack and some fenders on that road bike, we could call it a utility bike, based upon its ability to carry portables. If we continue to dress that road bike with a North Road handlebar, a chainguard, a skirt guard, and reduce its speeds, we're constructing a european influenced, city bike, roadster, or "stadsfiet".

    Then there's the cruiser with the paralleled, angled, double top tubes, and the wider tires. Have you seen Trek's MTB, called the Sawyer? Next, enters the MTB into the arena. The top tube is typically sloped or angled. It usually comes with wide tires, or at least the capacity to install the widest of tires. Here lately, MTN bikes stereotypically have a suspended fork, if it's a hardtail. They are considered to be fully suspended, if they have both a suspended fork and a suspended rear.

    It would be nice, if we could stop right there, because then, we could nicely place the overwhelming majority of bicycles into neat little categories. However, that seems to be a virtual impossibility, because now, we have the hybrid. The hybrid messes the bicycle nomenclature up!

    So what's a MTB bike with a rigid fork?....What's the difference between a Surly Troll and the Surly Ogre, besides frame and tire size?..Are they MTN bikes?...Are they hybrids?...And please don't tell me that the Schwinn Sporterra Comp is a hybrid with a suspended fork!...And what are the defining lines between a comfort bike and a hybrid, or a city bike?

    It appears to me that many bike categories are morphing or blending. There's some type of design transition taking place where traditional categories are fading through assimilation. I fear that we're getting to the point where it will be too difficult to properly categorize many bicycles via nomenclature due to hyper-assimilation.

    OTOH..It might just be me!

    Most Respectfully,

    - Slim
    Last edited by SlimRider; 11-08-11 at 11:47 AM.

  13. #13
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I'm trying to figure out what the point of this thread is. Framebuilders generally don't build hybrids, that's primarily a mass-produced kind of bike. In general, hybrids have 700c tires and will not fit a full-blown off-road tire. But the first mountain bikes were re-purposed cruisers, so it's not like there are hard and fast rules.

    Welcome to General Cycling from framebuilders.
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  14. #14
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    I think it would be called a hybrid - the bastard love child of two different bikes types, suiting neither original purpose particularly well.
    "Where you come from is gone;
    where you are headed weren't never there;
    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3v1lD4v3 View Post
    The height of the top tube is a good indicator. Another is the length of the top tube. MTBs tend to have more angled and longer top tubes than hybrids. Hybrid top tubes are closer to horizontal.

    In any event, most hybrids are a front shock away from being MTBs. Remember, generalizations always fail.
    What type of hybrid did I end up with then? My frame is 19", but effective top tube is some 600mm. Bike is rigid but the fork is absurdly long due to it being corrected for suspension. Some people have 2" (street) tires on this model.

  16. #16
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by balindamood View Post
    Early hybrids tended to have 700C wheels.
    Sorry but early hybrids came in more flavors. 26" wheels were not as common as 700C but were common enough. Current hybrids are almost all 700C

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    as do 29'er MTBs as of late.
    Definition for a hybrid might be a cheap bike that is both too upright and slow to be considered a road bike while also unsuitable for offroad thrashing. Perfect bike for non-cyclist to ride on city bike paths at 8mph along with all the runners.
    Hybrids tend to have tires that are 32mm to 35 mm (1 1/4" to 1 3/8") wide. 29er tires tend towards around 2" to nearly 3" as do 26" wheel mountain bikes.
    Stuart Black
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  17. #17
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by balindamood View Post
    While I agree with this designation for anything that has been introduced in the last 10 years, most major builders (Trek, Bridgestone, Jamis, Cannondale, Giant, Novara to name a few that I have seen recently) all introduced 700C hybrids about 1990 and kept pushing them til about '94 or so. These were very good bikes for a market that did not exist, and are still odd ducks (the closest modern equivilent is the Surly Crosscheck). They were basically mountain bikes designed around 700C wheels. The clearences generally are not enough to put modern 29'er tires on them, and they are generally too heavy for cyclocross (MTB tubing). I look especially for the early ones when the builders thought that people would shell out $800-$1000 for a high-end hybrid...which they foundout people wouldn't. Most of the earlier ones ('90-92 or so) had higher end butted tubing and Deore DX or higher level components. Once they pricey ones didn't move, they dropped the higher end ones and focused on the lower end of the market (which also didn't really exist in the world of $1.30/gallon gasoline), ultimately fizzling out by the mod 1990's.
    Your nostalgia is showing. The early hybrids weren't all that different from today's hybrids and they suffered from the same problems. While they might be good bikes for smooth trails, they suffered when the trails turned ugly. Their larger wheels made climbing more difficult. There weren't a lot of tires wide enough to work with rough terrain so blipping rims was a constant problem. You had to run higher pressures which made riding rough terrain much more difficult especially in the era of no suspension. The tires that were available didn't have aggressive enough tread to grab the trail surface and help propel you uphill and the skinny tires didn't hold a line all that well when they encountered rocks and obstacles.

    The frames were also more 'road' geometry oriented. They had steeper head angles which made them great climbers (slack angle bikes tend to have wheel flop on climbs) but when gravity took over, the rider was hanging way over the front of the bike. It made the bike much too twitchy for downhill rides. Damned things were scary! I had a 26" wheel hybrid (Specialized Rock Combo) and it was a very wild ride even with wider mountain bike tires.

    The problem with them was that they were odd ducks. They were sold to people as a "do anything" bike which they might have been in the hands of someone who knew how to ride off-road. But the people who knew how to ride off-road already had mountain bikes that were up to the challenges of off-road riding. The bikes got sold to people who were newbies and a skinny tired bike in the hands of a newbie off-road is a recipe for disaster. Those who survived their first serious off-road experience with a hybrid usually didn't come back for a second ride. Or they bought real mountain bikes and discovered the joys of off-road riding. Only a few did the latter.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 11-08-11 at 08:57 AM.
    Stuart Black
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    Hey Cyccommute!

    Though I enjoyed reading both comments...

    I'm Slim NOT Balindamood!

    Slim

  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Hey Cyccommute!

    Though I enjoyed reading both comments...

    I'm Slim NOT Balindamood!

    Slim
    Damn! Your avatars are just too close.
    Stuart Black
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  20. #20
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    Hybrids are mutts. There aren't any hard-and-fast rules or definitions, except that they lie somewhere in between "mountain" and "road."

    - Scott
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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    Senior Member georgiaman's Avatar
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    +1

    Also, I think I would call the Surly Ogre a Mtn bike mainly because Surly says that it has the exact same geometry as the Karate Monkey just with fender and rack mounts. I would call the Troll a smaller Ogre utility mountain bike

  22. #22
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Just looking at the frame is easier if the said Hybrid or MTB is newer. I find the top tubes on MTBs tend to be shorter than most of the hybrids I have been on. But that being said there are hybrids that are closer to a MTB and there are ones closer to a road bike. Some would have considered my Masi Café Solo a hybrid and others called it a flat bar road bike. But in “general” I have found hybrid frames to be a bit less bulky than MTBs. If they lean towards road bike they tend to have longer chain stays more like a touring bike. What really puts a spoon in the pot is the class of comfort bikes tossed in the mix.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

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