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  1. #1
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    Can I put "off road" tires on my hybrid?

    I have two TREK hybrids, one is a 7700 and one is a 7500. The 7700 is a 22.5 inch frame, and the 7500 is a 25 inch frame. The 7700 has shift levers, the 7500 has twist-grip shifting. The 7700 is a 29speed, and the 7500 is a 24speed. It seems to me, when I ride them on pavement back roads, the 7700 pedals easier under any conditions.

    Both bikes have Bontrager Select Invert Hardcase 700x35C tires.

    I am a Clydesdale at 74" and 265lbs, and a novice bicyclist.

    I live where I cannot ride my bike to a safe area to ride for exercise. I have to load it up and drive to an area where there is asphalt roads but very little traffic. This is a PIA. I'd like to ride in the ditch, so to speak, a mile or so and then take a dirt road and just keep going and later turn back. But the path to the dirt road is pretty rough, and stickers (Ground bur-nut, caltrop, goat head, bull's head, Texas Sandbur, Mexican Sandbur) and such.

    Question One: Can I (should I) put on different tires, on my existing rims, that would prevent punctures? That would work better on off-road and trail type rides in gravel or over crushed rock?

    Question Two: Of the two bikes listed above, which would be better suited to off road and trail use?
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  2. #2
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    Are you going to make one of the bikes relegated to offroad duty and the other onroad, or are you just sticking to one? Does one bike fit you better than the other?
    Do either of the bikes have front shocks or are they rigid forks?

    As for tires, will you be riding some onroad with them too or will it be purely offroad/trail/gravel?

    Whether you get new tires or not, I would recommend getting some Rhinodillos tire liners for extra flat protection. They come in a bunch of different sizes depending on tire size Amazon.com : Clean Motion Rhinodillos Bicycle Tire Liners : Sports & Outdoors

  3. #3
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    what happens if you try one of the those bikes as-is?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  4. #4
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Those tires should do well on gravel.

    You can get beefier tires, or tires with more aggressive tread you just need to make sure that they clear the fork and frame.

    You could look at cyclocross tires, and/or something with puncture protection.

    In looking at the pictures online, it is not clear to me,. but it looks like some 7700s have those funky paired spoke wheels (i.e. lower spoke count). If that is the case, I would use that one for the road riding, and the one with more spokes for your proposed ditch riding.

    If wheels are similar, does either frame/fork combo seem to have more clearance for wider/higher tires?
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the responses....

    I definitely like the 7700 better, it has much better operating equipment. But it is the 22.5 inch. It shifts more positively and has a lower low gear for hauling my fat butt up hill. I put on taller handlebars and raised the seat as far as it will go. I think the fit is ok. The wheels do have those paired spokes.

    I think I will get the tire liners and just ride. The other bike will stay at a relatives house so I have it to ride when I go visit him.

    Thanks again all.

  6. #6
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Those are HardCase tires with puncture protection so -- within reason -- I'd not worry too much about flats.

    You can fit more off-road worthy tires on either bike, but as hybrids, there will be a limit as to how big a tire you can stuff in there. Probably 700x42, but I would check into that with a shop first.

    The Bontrager Connection Hybrid is knobbier, but no wider and doesn't have the flat protection of your current tires. Otherwise, I'd suggest the Bontrager LT2 or LT3 -- LT2 comes in flat-protection HardCase Plus/Ultimate models; LT3 does not, but has a knobbier tread. I believe either of them would fit your bike in the 700 x 38 size. ...and there are other manufacturers that make these kinds of tires, Bontrager is the brand I am familiar with, working in a Trek shop.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  7. #7
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    Michelin Protek Cross Max
    Got em on my DS. Just took them on a neighborhood trail 10 minutes ago. Perfect all around tire with puncture protection.

  8. #8
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    Why not?

    The bike doesn't care what the tread is, nor how the tires were marketed.

    What does matter is that they are the right size for your rims, with the width in reasonable proportion (plenty of latitude here).

    The other consideration is clearance in the frame, mainly at the chainstays, the fork and under the brake calipers (if any). This may limit the maximum width to less that you might prefer, but there's still plenty of options for you to choose from.
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  9. #9
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    UPDATE: Went on a trail ride yesterday with the 7700, the 700x35c Bontrager HardCase tires did fine. Trail was in Pedernales Falls State Park, and in my inexperienced opinion, rocky. Sharp rocks sometimes firmly implanted into the road surface and about the size of golf balls. Not many but enough that one must watch the road very closely to not run over them. I hit a few, and the tires held up fine, about 70psi pressure.

    Like I said, I'm a novice. Rode bikes as a kid, but not much since 16 years old. Motorcycles, big ones for 45+ years. Sooo.....the thing that gets me is how high up off the ground you are. My seat is 32 inches from the crank center. Going down a steep hill is unnerving! Dragging both brakes but very aware of flipping over forward.

    ONWARD...
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  10. #10
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    First off, there is nothing wrong with an 8 spd rear. I'd use the one that fit the best, where you do most of your riding - and relegate the other to part time use wherever.

    Those tires will be fine, unless you start climbing mountains, and will help you on the hard roads.

    Enjoy, and ride......................

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Delmarva's Avatar
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    Question One: Can I (should I) put on different tires, on my existing rims, that would prevent punctures? That would work better on off-road and trail type rides in gravel or over crushed rock?
    None that will prevent punctures, but the tires you are using are more puncture resistant than standards. I've had very good luck with Continental Country Plus tires. You may want to consider a bigger tire like 700x42 for more shock absorption. If you decide to go bigger be sure to check clearances and rim size. Your lbs (local bike shop) can help you do this. And be sure to inflate the tires based on the total weight of rider and bike on each wheel.
    See this article for details. http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/TireDrop.pdf
    Finally, when riding over rough stuff learn to lift yourself slightly off the seat to reduce jarring you and the bike.

    Question Two: Of the two bikes listed above, which would be better suited to off road and trail use?
    Probably both either as they both have front suspension. Although I'm tempted to say the 7500 because it has 32 spoke wheels while the 7700 appears to have far fewer.

    Welcome back to bike riding!

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