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  1. #1
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    Trail/Road vs. Urban style hybrids

    I'm trying to narrow down bike selection and have found myself looking at two categories. A very hybrid style road/trail bike vs. a straight urban style bike. My use of this bike will be recreational and for light exercise. I'll mostly be riding on surface roads and through parks, most of which have nicely groomed trails. I will also be pulling my daugther behind me at times (she's 2 1/2) and we may take trips out to the beach to ride around there.

    I realize that manufacturers and people have varying definitions of these styles, so here is what I am looking at in these categories. These brands have been chosen due to them being available across 2 different bike shops within < 3 miles from my home.

    Road/Trail: Specialized Crosstrail series, Gary Fisher Kaitai/Utopia/Montare
    Urban Style: Trek FX series, Specialized Sirrus series

    Price wise, I'm willing to go all the way up to $1000, but my target has been the $500 range. I've been told that doubling my original budget of $500 and going to $1000 gets me 3x the bike for 2x the money, which is why I would entertain spending this much.

    Many people have told me the road/trail hybrids don't do either thing well, and I should go with something oriented more for road use or more for trail use. Most of my use seems more road oriented, but the reason I have been looking at road/trail hybrids is because of the "what if". As in, what if I find a local park that has some kind of "offroad kiddy" type trail. Nothing heavily groomed, light rises/falls, no jumps, etc. Just something a little more fun than casual riding. But, on the flip side, I don't want to totally compromise quality just for the possible what if situation, because that situation may never come, it's an unknown.


    I'm looking for opinions on which style people think I should focus on and why they think so. It will help me learn more about these categories. Additionally, I'm looking for advice on specific bike selection and education on why one brand may be better than the other, particularly in regards to the $500 vs $1000 budget ranges.

  2. #2
    I Love My Dream
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    "Many people have told me the road/trail hybrids don't do either thing well, and I should go with something oriented more for road use or more for trail use"

    Ignore people that say stuff like that they obviously don't have any idea what riding a hybrid bicycle is about. What they are telling you is that if you want to do both trail riding and road riding you would need two bikes. Nonsense. You need to firstly decide where it is you want to ride. The beauty of bikes like the Crosstrail is that they know no boundaries. They will allow you to play in the dirt and on pavement. If you required excellence from either I'd assume you would be looking for a mountain bike or a road bike and not here inquiring about hybrids.
    It's none of my business what other people think of me.

  3. #3
    Rabbit Habbit! Jerry in So IL's Avatar
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    At the $500-$650, a range I believe is great, don't past up on Schwinn or Giant's Cypress. Also try not to get a front shock fork. They are worthless. I think its worth the money to have your LBS swap out a solid fork, but other may not.

    GT has their Transio (sp?) series as well. The 3.0 has disc brakes and a lock out front fork. I would place it in the mtn bike like catagory.

    Most folks who say that the hybrid doesn't do anything well, mean that it doesn't good anything THEY WANT IT TO DO WELL. They want to ride a century with a sponsered team, then hard pushing rock jumping, and maybe some downhill afterwards. Hey, more power to them! But they need three different bikes, or at least two. They can't imagine someone getting on a bike just to cruise around town in their regular clothes! I have three bikes, a recumbent and Rans CF, and a hybrid (A Kona Dew that I picked up at a pawn shop after school was out last year, and I bought a bike with 105 componets on it and then swapped then and sold the other bike to recover some cost!). One is for long rides, the recumbent. One is for riding the Young Prince around on his Tag A Long bike. And one for everyday use and rides under 25 miles, but I have rode a metric on it just because.

    Most of the bikes in a certain type is made on the same frame. Its just the componets that are upgraded. I started out my biking "life" three years ago with a GT Nomad. Base model cheapest parts they could find in China. It fitted me better, rode better, and improved my life more than I care to give a hunk of metal credit for! I did two centuries and several long charity rides on it. I sold it, but my daughter still has hers, because of that front fork. I actually got 75% of what I paid for it, so I was happy. But now I wish I just upgraded the front fork and went on....wait, no I don't because it was the ugliest peas soup and grey color you ever saw! I think that is why I sold it! But on my daughter's bike, after I got some wrenching skills, I swapped out her fork and seat post. I think it costed me $75, she loves it, and still rides it (but is getting a bigger sized bike for Christmas! so this one will be kept for her sister and for friends).

    But, I think you will like the urban styles.

    Jerry
    I'll be needing that for squirels and such....

  4. #4
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    My suggestion is that if you will not be on pavement then some of the "dual sport" type bikes from Fisher would be a good bet. I know the Utopia is popular. These are pretty flexible with respect to how you want to use them. I have an FX (7.5) and don't take it off of paved roads. I know a lot of people will take the FX onto non-paved surfaces...my view is that if non-paved is a high % of your riding you are probably better off with something else. Also consider the Trek 7000-series hybrids (although the riding position is more upright relative to the others it looks like you are considering) -- with your budget you'd be looking at the pretty high end of that line.

  5. #5
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    I love my Crosstrail, and with the full lock out front suspension, it offers me the best of both worlds.

    It's capable on trails, and good on the street - an excellent choice to pull a trailer.

    With your budget, I'd get the best Crosstrail I could afford. And, for a grand, you can buy a pretty nice Crosstrail.

  6. #6
    Rabbit Habbit! Jerry in So IL's Avatar
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    I like the Crosstrail! But the GT Transeno 2.0 Disc give you disc brakes, a lockout front fork on the handlebar no less, and great stock tires. All for $750.

    Jerry
    I'll be needing that for squirels and such....

  7. #7
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    I looked into the GT Transeno and then looked for local dealers. There are only 3 and 2 of them are very small mom-n-pop type places.. places I would worry about still being in business in a few years. The other place is the largest bike shop in town, but it's not very convenient. They are also always super busy and packed with people, which turns me off, so I think this crosses GT off my list.

    Between the two local dealers, which are chains in the area, I have access to Trek & Gary Fischer from one place, and Specialized, Giant & Raleigh at the other.

    The overall theme I tend to come across is that in these price ranges, the frames are largely the same, so it comes down to components and geometry. If I look at Gary Fisher Kaitai/Utopia/Montare vs. Specialized Crosstrail, and Trek FX vs. Specialized Sirrus, does anyone have any information in regards to components and price levels between these two lines as to why one may be a better deal over the other?

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't worry about the local Transeno dealer going out of bussiness in a few years. Any bike shop would be happy to take your cash to perform any future work you may need. They are all wonderful bikes. Its great to have options. It boils down to what rides well for you. Get on em and see. I'd be curious to hear which you end up with

  9. #9
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    When I first climbed on my then-new Trek 7.5 FX, I was very impressed with it's speed and dexterity. I swapped out the 32C tires for some 700 X 28C Panaracer Pasela TG's and took it out on a near-10 mile run on dirt and gravel on an old railroad-bed. Having installed a computer, I noted my speed was averaging 14.5mph on this surface. But it demanded I increase the speed. Soon I was doing 18 - 20mph down this narrow trail with Lake Champlain on either side. It still wanted more - but that's was as fast as I dared. For then.

    It loves to off-road on this sort of trail. Give it a try sometime. These are tough buggers!
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  10. #10
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    The one thing I really like about my Crosstrail (AMONG MANY) is it's ability to go fast, in comfort. I'm 63 years old, 190#, and ride about 1,000 miles a month, and varying surfaces..

    Granted, it may not be as peppy as a road bike; but, considering what it is, it does a very good job. More than adequate, in my view.

    I have changed a couple things to make it more mine; but, not with the basic bike. A Brooks B-17 seat, because I really like them, clipless Shimano PDM324 dual sided pedals, Schwalbe Marathon Supremes (because I was tired of flats) and Ergon Grips.

    This is really a great bike, and I consider it a true "do it all" bicycle. One which does exactly what I want it to.

    I would strongly advise that you get one with a full lock out suspension (available on some Crosstrail Models) so you can lock out the suspension when you don't want it, and there really are times that you do want it, and will be thankfull for it. Do you NEED it? No! But, it's nice to have.

    The wider tires (45s, OEM) really do ride and roll nice, but also flat frequently, (they really should come with much more flat resistant tires, and they even have their own line. But in switching tires, I also changed that to what I consider a better mix. My setup was by sheer chance.

    I bought a set of 40 Schwalbe Marathon Supremes at a very good price, during a sale at Niagara, and swapped them out. I noticed no difference in comfort, but found them more responsive in handling, and they resolved my flatting problem. They rode every bit as good as the 45s. Next, I saw a set of 35s for an even better price ($26) and figured what the heck.

    When they arrived, I decided to try them out, so mounted them. I found them even more responsive than the 40s, but noticed that the ride was much more harsh than the 40s. So I decided to swap them back and maybe sell the 35s.

    I swapped the rear back to the 40, and decided to try the combo....

    WOW, a transformation!!!!!!!!!!! The improved sharper and quicker handling was still there, as was the return of the nice ride.

    That's what I ride now, and, thru dumb luck, I have another set just like this, for when I need them.

    I have a rack, panniers, and trunk, mounted now, because it is also my errand runner, which really comes in handy.

    This bike has gearing low enough to climb walls, if you can keep traction, and high enough to do 30-35 when I want to. It's a great bike for pavement, gravel, smooth dirt, grass, etc. It easily handles my 30-50 mileage daily, goes for rides with friends, and grandchildren, and hauls almost all of our groceries, while running other errands as well. Great brakes (made even better with Kool Stop Salmon pads), good handling, go almost anywhere, and is a pretty smooth ride for aluminum (not as harsh as most lesad you to believe), and still offers good handling.

    This bike was a great choice for me, and I'd buy it again, in a heartbeat..... you won't be sorry, considering your short list. It is a very comfortable, durable, handy, easy to ride, good looking bike. I love it! A picture of my bike is in the picture thread in this SIG. I have about 8,000 miles on the bike, in about a year.

    Do I think the Treks, Giants, Cannondales, etc, are good bikes? You bet!! But, after riding the Specialized, the others werent even in the running. The Specialized bikes just felt more comfortable to me.

    That's why you have to ride many - to find out which manufacturer makes the most comfortable bikes for you - they all are similar, but they all feel a little different...... ride 'em, you'll know.
    Last edited by Wanderer; 09-27-09 at 08:33 AM.

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