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  1. #1
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    How much off road can it handle

    Hello,
    I'm getting ready to get back into biking after about a 15 year break. My last bike was a mountain oriented hybrid I got back in '92 or '93, Specialized Cross something. It came with a mountain bikish frame and 700 x 45c tires. It was a true compromise not great in the dirt or the road, but good enough at both and I loved it so much! I'm kicking myself for getting rid of it years ago. It was a tank that I took to places I really shouldn't have. Chiva Falls if you are familiar with the area around Tucson, Az.
    So I've been to the LBS and trolled a few forums and I've noticed that most hybrids seem to lean more toward street riding (not judging just an observation). Also, when I ask about off road capabilities the sales guys try to steer me to mountain bikes. I don't really know why but that just doesn't seem to fit for me. Some of is I don't completely identify with that lifestyle either (again not judging).
    My question is: Really what can I expect from a modern hybrid? I'm looking at the Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc. I'm leaning that way because
    1. They are the only manufacturer who specifically mentions riding their bike on a single track
    2. I have had great experiences with them in the past. Yes, the far distant past.
    3. It reminds me of the bike I once loved.

    I'm not completely delusional , I don't expect to do major jumps or leap tall buildings in a single bound. I would like to look in every direction and not see any sign of civilization once in a while. I also want to be able to commute 2-3 times a week in civilization in the bike lane and a really nice paved bike the city of Tucson made, about 12 miles each way total. Also I'm 230 pounds, not including a bike. I'm 41 now, even though sometimes I forget and pay for it. I can only afford 1 bike at a time. I know I have to make compromises but I would like to be a little quick on the street too.
    What are your thoughts?
    Any other bikes I should look at?

  2. #2
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    Also, when I mention the Crosstrail and dirt the sales people say "Well you can't take it (insert an off-road trail hear), I won't be able to handle that". What does that mean? What happens if I try to take it there, what would happen to me that wouldn't happen on a MTB?

  3. #3
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    I actually have a lot of questions. What do you look for in a bike shop? How do you know if it's decent?

  4. #4
    ^ JBC. jbchybridrider's Avatar
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    Just a suggestion from what I know and what you've posted here. I suggest googling scott sportster I have a P1 and (sporster2009 on this site has a P3) or look at the giant roam they are fast hybrids leaning towards the mtb side.
    Bikes like the trek FX lean more to the road side but there both hybrids.
    Hybrid has a very broad meaning, i'm sure you'll get a lot of suggestions from people here but there my thoughts.

  5. #5
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Another thing you might consider is a cyclocross bike. They run a bit more than most hybrids (major generalization I know), but they look like full on road bikes but are made to do some offroading as well.

  6. #6
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    I like the Scott Sportster. Looks like a little more bike than I'm ready for right now. My wife would kill me if I tried to spend $1000.00+ on a bike. I think she would at least make sure I spent months in the hospital if I spent more than $700.00.... Still, it might be worth the risk.

  7. #7
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    I have considered cyclocrosses too. The price has been a big factor pushing me away.
    Any idea how dirty I could get with one?

  8. #8
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    I don't know. I just know that I looked at several and was about to pull the trigger on one form bikesdirect when my wife got a big case of sticker shock and I ended up with a old rigid mountain bike from craigslist. I've probably spent as much as it would have cost to just buy what I wanted in the first place to put slicks, drop bars, aero brake levers front and rear racks on it, but now it's customized to me and I did it in smaller drips and dribbles rather than all at once and it does the job quite nicely now for road commuting but is still sturdy enough that if I put some knobbies on it I could offroad without too much difficulty. Well I'd probably have to take off the fenders too.

  9. #9
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    I took the Giant roam 1 and 2 out for a test ride. The roam 1 was the wrong size, thats all they had in stock. It felt great on the street but I didn't feel confident about taking it out on the dusty trail. More than the Trek 7.3 that felt like a race bike with flat bars (not quite but by comparison). They were both cool but not what I want, right now.

  10. #10
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    It's a little frustrating because no one in town has a cross trail in stock. If I leave a deposit they'll order one, and they say they'll give me my money back if I don't like it. I don't know, but it just doesn't feel right. Maybe I just haven't found "my LBS" yet.

  11. #11
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    Himespau - I like the idea of getting a bike and modifying it to meet my style of riding. I'm probably going to eventually do that to what ever bike I get. I'm hoping to find a bike that will meet me half way.

  12. #12
    ^ JBC. jbchybridrider's Avatar
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    You could just get a secondhand mtb and focus on the best frame possible (light weight) and build it up over time more hybrid like.
    It'll definetly have the strength you want and the up front cost will be low.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfk22 View Post
    I have considered cyclocrosses too. The price has been a big factor pushing me away.
    Any idea how dirty I could get with one?
    If you have a Performance Bicycle shop by you, they have 2 cyclocross bikes on sale right now. You can also order over the internet if you're comfortable with that. I just purchased a Scattante X-330 and it is very comfortable and so far, pretty tough. It's not real fast with the stock tires but I plan getting another set of wheels for it so I can have some with slicks and some with cyclo/hybrid tires.

    Scattante is the Performance house brand. I talked to the mechanic and he said that Fuji makes Scattante frames exclusively for Performance. If you click on the link in my signature below it will take you to the spec page for my bike. It's stocked rather well for a $600 bike (carbon fork). They also carry a GT cyclocross bike that is better looking but not as available with a slightly better component group but no carbon fork (GT GTR Type CX ).
    2012 Pinarello FP Due,2010 Scattante X-330(Cyclocross),1988 Fuji Sagres SP (Road Bike)

  14. #14
    ^ JBC. jbchybridrider's Avatar
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    This is one heavily modded sportster, with a spare set of cyclocross tyres will do about anything.
    And only 9.1kg
    [IMG][/IMG]

  15. #15
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Here's my mountain bike in the midst of being modded to a drop bar do everything bike.
    At that point I probably had ~$200 into it ($100 to buy it from craigslist, another ~$100 for rack, lights, computer, trunk/pannier, mirror). I now have probably another $300 or so into it for new seatpost, saddle, stem, bars, brakes, levers, tires, front rack, more lights, etc...

  16. #16
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    I just came home from the LBS. They say they will order 1 if I put 20% down. If I don't like it I they will either order a different bike or give me my money back. Anybody bought a bike like that?

  17. #17
    ^ JBC. jbchybridrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfk22 View Post
    I just came home from the LBS. They say they will order 1 if I put 20% down. If I don't like it I they will either order a different bike or give me my money back. Anybody bought a bike like that?

    Just to be clear which bike are you refering to, i'm asuming the cross trail ?

  18. #18
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    I have a Rocky Mountain Metro Hybrid that I take off roding on hilly trails. It is a little prone to getting flats and the brakes don't work great in the mud but other than that no problems. I paid a little under $600 for it. The sales guys advice was take it on trails but don't hit big rocks, drive it off curbs but don't try to hop up curbs. I have followed that advice and the bike has held up just fine. I would recommend it if you want a city bike that can handle some trails.

  19. #19
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    Before I converted my Hybrid it did just fine on most trails. It's slower in turns so you'll be on the brakes more but with a good set of tires/tubes you'll be fine. The 29er tires are much more comfortable on single track stuff and slower on flat, gravel free, rocky off road stuff without many tight turns.

    Edit: Also wanted to add that 45mm tires are only a touch smaller than 1.9" 29er tires. Granted the aspect of the tire is a little different, but if you didn't like the 700c hybrid, maybe you'd be happier with a 26"? Just depends on your riding style but I like staying stuck to the ground and rolling over stuff so the 29er/700c feel fits me.
    Last edited by Max C.; 03-30-11 at 03:09 PM.
    My Bikes:
    2012 GT Tachyon 3.0 w/ Carbon Fork
    --------------
    Custom Mongoose Teocali Comp - Runs like a dream -
    SR Suntour Epicon Fork Set to 140mm - Monarch 2.1 Rear Shock
    WTB Speed V on Thompson Seatpost, Crane Creek ZS3, Giant peddles, Stem, & Handle Bar
    Alivo Crank, SLX FD, PG870 Cassette, X4 Shifters/RD, Shimano M485 Hydraulic Breaks, Sun Rim Rhyno Lite Rims w/ Deore Hubs

    The best part: The frame was $55 from Nashbar - the seat post was $70 from my LBS :-D.

  20. #20
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    I think you need to look at the chainrings and cassette to determine what the bike can do. The hybrids usually have 48/38/28 chaninrings and 12-32 cassettes. A mountain bike will usually have 42/32/22 chainrings and 12-34 cassette. That is a big difference for climbing on a trail surface and going slow over real rough trail. That 22/34 combination will keep you on the bike through some rough trail that would have you walking the hybrid.

    If you are interested in more "off road" than pavement in your hybrid mix then I would suggest a hardtail mountain bike with lockout fork and slick center tires like the KendaKross or 24seven.

    I really like the Kenda Kross tire. It is not on their website, but I find it at many bike shops. It has a smooth center area with knobs on the sides. Fully inflated to 65 lbs they ride only on the smooth part. I over-inflated mine to 75 regularly and they roll very nicely. For trail and back roads I'd deflate them to 40 or even 35( this is going to depend on your weight). Then the knobs on each side of the center make contact and they do very well even in soft surfaces.

  21. #21
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    As a bigger guy wheel quality and strength is going to be very important and if you have not ridden for 15 years your skills might be a little rusty and you won't be floating over those bumps as easily and might find yourself running in the lower gears as you build those legs into shape.

    Technology has moved ahead pretty quickly and for someone who is looking at doing a lot of back country and trail riding a 29'r or hardtail mtb will be optimal while a road oriented hybrid will handle some pretty rough terrain but will really be better suited for the road.

    The Crosstrail really leans toward the dirtier grittier side of riding and is more 29'r like and with some decent rubber underneath you you should be able to go just about anywhere.

    If you can get a 100% return guarantee on the bike you cannot do much better than that.

  22. #22
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    O.K. So the bike came in yesterday. I got to test ride it and bought it at about 1:30. At 2:30 I had to go to work for a double shift. So I will get a chance to play with it in about 4 hours. I think it will fit into my lifestyle because most of my riding will be on the road but I can play in the dirt too. Even though I'm older and out of shape right now, I imagine this will be what I can use to get me back into the sub clydesdale weight zone. I will keep you posted as I go.

  23. #23
    Junior Member jfk22's Avatar
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    Sixty Fiver is that Michael Palin on your Avatar? If so that is really cool. If not that guy really looks like him, which is cool too.

  24. #24
    Senior Member robbyrocks12345's Avatar
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    I took my trek fx 7.3 on a 30 mile mountain bike race. At the end I hit a smaller jump and bent the rims but it held up pretty well and got me 5th place.
    2012 Trek 1.1
    2011 Trek 7.1 Fx

  25. #25
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfk22 View Post
    Sixty Fiver is that Michael Palin on your Avatar? If so that is really cool. If not that guy really looks like him, which is cool too.
    Yes... it is from the MPFC "Bicycle Repairman" sketch.

    It is what people often call me in real life and around here as it is what I do and I often do it to old classic bikes.

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