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  1. #1
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    Mountain Bike or Hyrbrid? 1st Post!

    Hi All...my first post here.

    I'm almost 27 and I haven't ridden in forever, but it's time to get my fat ass in shape! No, I'm not really that fat, so don't picture a 300 lb dude breaking his computer chair, I just have grown a belly and really want to get addicted to biking (6'1", 210 lbs). Anyway, around my home, I'll be riding on some trails (some paved, some not) and there probably won't be a lot of hills, and I'll also be riding my bike to run errands that are within five to seven miles one way (on the road, obviously) WHENEVER POSSIBLE. BUT, my wife and I like to camp and go hiking on trails, so I definitely want to be able take this thing on mountain trails. Now I certainly don't think I'll be doing CRAZY jumps or even get to the point where I'll be taking it to go up really steep trails, but I want the bike to be able to handle some rough stuff from time to time if necessary.

    SO, should I get a mountain bike or a hybrid? I was looking at the Trek 7100 hybrid ($309 at local bike shop (price includes 5-year warranty on frame and free adjustments for life), which looked pretty cool, but then I was at Dick's and saw a pretty cool K2 mountain bike (forget the model) with disc brakes for around $250. Will a mountain bike be that much slower on the road or uncomfortable? I don't expect to be making any 20 mile road trips, but you never know what could happen. Oh yeah, I'm not looking to spend a lot of money right now...the highest I would go is $350 but I'd like to stay below or right at $300.

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member alcahueteria's Avatar
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    A hybrid is going to have narrower tires than a mtb. Also the posture on a hybrid will probably make anything technical a bit harder. I would definitely ride both and see which you feel more comfortable on. You may want to consider a comfort bike because they are very close to a hybrid but have a fatter tire. Also, you can always put a slick or semi-slick on a mtb and get it to roll a lot faster and smoother. From what it sounds like a giant rincon, or hardrock(I think, I get those specialized names mixed up) would probably be the way to go. But definitely test ride, test ride, test ride.

  3. #3
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    A hybrid is good if you ride on the road most of the time. Let's assume 90%. It's a good "fast neighborhood" bike. The thinner higher pressure tires lend it to be faster and more agile on the road.

    A "comfort" bike is similar to a hybrid in regards to a very upright body position, but has the 26" tires that most mountain bikes have. Again a good neighborhood and cruising style bike.

    Since you're only 27, I would recommend sticking with a true mountain bike. You can make a mountain bike more road worthy by simply swapping out the knobby tires for a semi-slick or slick tire that has a higher pressure rating. Then when you go camping and plan on hitting some trails, you can put the knobbies back on and have fun.

    IOW, it's easy to make a mountain bike road worhty, but next to impossible to make a hybrid off-road worthy.

    It really depends on your "primary" intended use of the bike.

    Hope that helps.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
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  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
    A hybrid is good if you ride on the road most of the time. Let's assume 90%. It's a good "fast neighborhood" bike. The thinner higher pressure tires lend it to be faster and more agile on the road.

    Since you're only 27, I would recommend sticking with a true mountain bike. You can make a mountain bike more road worthy by simply swapping out the knobby tires for a semi-slick or slick tire that has a higher pressure rating. Then when you go camping and plan on hitting some trails, you can put the knobbies back on and have fun.

    IOW, it's easy to make a mountain bike road worhty, but next to impossible to make a hybrid off-road worthy.

    It really depends on your "primary" intended use of the bike.

    Hope that helps.
    Or you could just pump up the tires on the mountain bike to about 60 psi and ride it - knobbies and all. I always keep the knobbies on my mountain bikes because I never know when the urge to explore a trail will hit. I'm willing to pay a slight speed penalty for an increase in the fun quotient.

    As for bikes, go with a "real" mountain bike. Hybrids are combine the worst of both road and mountain bikes without any benefits - kinda like a Rav 4!

    One more thing: look for a bike without disc brakes. At this price level, discs add expense without much benefit. The bicycle companies add the discs but they make up the price by using lower quality components elsewhere. Plus the discs they use will be of very low quality.
    Stuart Black
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    Cool, thanks for the tips. After reading just a few of these posts, I think I'll go for a mountain bike. As for having a spare set of tires (i.e. a slick pair and a knobby pair), how much speed am I gaining (or energy am I saving) by swapping out the knobbies for slicks? And also, for bumping up the knobbies to 60 psi for road use, how many psi do you keep knobbies at for trail riding?

    Thanks,
    Ignorant

  6. #6
    Senior Member Conundrum's Avatar
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    My wife and I did this not to long ago. Bought bikes to go weekend riding with the baby. I bought a MTB and my wife bought a "comfort bike" or what I call a mountain based hybrid. Anyway we were trail riding the other weekend (which she said she'd never do and has now decided she loves) and we traded bikes for a couple of miles. After 10 minutes I told her she was nuts to ride trails on her bike and if she liked we needed to get her a real MTB - she said amen and we are currently shopping.

    Long story short - if you think you want to do some offroad by a MTB. A mtb can always ride on ashpalt, but a hybrid can't always go offroad and it will definatley not perform as well in the dirt.

    BTW - I bought a Giant Boulder SE and it has done really well. Most people here will tell you to spend a little more and get better components, but that bike has done everything I've ever asked of it.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbucker
    Cool, thanks for the tips. After reading just a few of these posts, I think I'll go for a mountain bike. As for having a spare set of tires (i.e. a slick pair and a knobby pair), how much speed am I gaining (or energy am I saving) by swapping out the knobbies for slicks? And also, for bumping up the knobbies to 60 psi for road use, how many psi do you keep knobbies at for trail riding?

    Thanks,
    Ignorant
    When I ride a touring bike to work, I average around 14 -16 mph (it's uphill, the wind is blowing, whine, whine whine ). When I ride my mountain bike to work, I average closer to 10 mph, but that includes about 5 of the 11 miles on flat dirt trails in a wooded area. That slows me down a lot more than knobbies. On a paved surface using my mountain bike, I can usually average 12-14 mph. But the fun factor riding through the trees more than makes up for being a little slower.

    As for riding off-road, I'm a large guy (200+ lbs) so I ride 45 to 50 in the back and 50 to 60 on the front wheel. That keeps me from damaging wheels too much when I hit something.

    Also, try to find a bike shop or 2 in your area. Sporting goods shops don't know diddly about bikes nor do they know how to service them or even prepare them properly. A bike shop will do a whole lot more to get a bike ready then a sporting goods shop will.
    Stuart Black
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  8. #8
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Or you could just pump up the tires on the mountain bike to about 60 psi and ride it - knobbies and all. I always keep the knobbies on my mountain bikes because I never know when the urge to explore a trail will hit. I'm willing to pay a slight speed penalty for an increase in the fun quotient.
    I do the same. When I'm planning on just riding around the streets, I just pump up my knobbies. However, I was using my mountain bike to commute to work for a while. My 16 mile trip took about and hour and 15 mins. with knobbies. I switched to some slicks that were only 1.5" wide and had a 90 psi max rating and it was like night and day. My commute was just under an hour just by switching to slicks.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    As for bikes, go with a "real" mountain bike. Hybrids are combine the worst of both road and mountain bikes without any benefits - kinda like a Rav 4!
    Hybrids and Comfort bikes serve a purpose. Granted it's a very limited purpose, but still a purpose. For those riders that for whatever reason will NOT ride off-road, yet don't want a true road bike due to the bent over riding position, a hybrid is a good choice. It's simply a good "ride around the neighborhood for fun" type bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    One more thing: look for a bike without disc brakes. At this price level, discs add expense without much benefit. The bicycle companies add the discs but they make up the price by using lower quality components elsewhere. Plus the discs they use will be of very low quality.
    AMEN!!! You'll buy more bike if you avoid discs at the lower price points. Same with full suspension. If you don't want to spend at least $1,000 on a bike avoid these two features.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

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    Thanks again everyone. I just picked up a Trek 4300 (no disc brakes) for $350 at my LBS. I'm sick now, so I should really conserve my energy as much as possible so I can get to REALLY riding it a.s.a.p. Can't wait to get better though!! I'll come back and give an update once I've got a good feel for the bike.

  10. #10
    Senior Goat Hearder crashnburn's Avatar
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    Kinda sad story but went riding with a friend this weekend and noticed he had a new set of wheeles, noticed that it was a Fisher Utopia - at the time I asked if you bought a hybrid, response: no they said this was one of thier mountain line. I asked him why he had such small tires and he replied I have another set on order. I could tell that this wasn't the same frame that Fisher put on thier mountain Genisis hardtails and when I looked it was true, the cool thing about this bike is that it's a 29er (29 inch wheels) but I wonder how well it will put up with offroad abuse. The rider is about 250 6 ft tall - should I break the news?


    Utopia link
    http://www.fisherbikes.com/bikes/bik...rt&bike=Utopia

  11. #11
    Senior Member valbowski1980's Avatar
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    MTB with road tires = Hybrid. That and you can always put your MTB tires on in case you need them.

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
    I do the same. When I'm planning on just riding around the streets, I just pump up my knobbies. However, I was using my mountain bike to commute to work for a while. My 16 mile trip took about and hour and 15 mins. with knobbies. I switched to some slicks that were only 1.5" wide and had a 90 psi max rating and it was like night and day. My commute was just under an hour just by switching to slicks.
    I usually get smacked pretty hard when I tell other cyclist that I ride a mountain bike to work with knobbies on it but I'd rather have the freedom to explore that the mountain bike gives me rather than going faster. If I want to go faster I have a whole bunch of other choices in my garage. I'm also not a big fan of changing tires and wheels all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
    Hybrids and Comfort bikes serve a purpose. Granted it's a very limited purpose, but still a purpose. For those riders that for whatever reason will NOT ride off-road, yet don't want a true road bike due to the bent over riding position, a hybrid is a good choice. It's simply a good "ride around the neighborhood for fun" type bike.
    I feel that the purpose of hybrids and comfort bikes is too limited to be a good choice. I try to steer people towards mountain bikes, even low end ones, over hybrids. With minor adjustments, such as changing tires, a mountain bike will do everything a hybrid will do but no hybrid can do the reverse.

    I guess I just see hybrids as a silly marketing ploy. Why not just call them flat bar road bikes.
    Stuart Black
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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbucker
    Thanks again everyone. I just picked up a Trek 4300 (no disc brakes) for $350 at my LBS. I'm sick now, so I should really conserve my energy as much as possible so I can get to REALLY riding it a.s.a.p. Can't wait to get better though!! I'll come back and give an update once I've got a good feel for the bike.
    Get well and start working on your scars . Remember, a scar is just like a tattoo only with a better story.
    Stuart Black
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    I read a stat a few years ago that said that if all riders were honest about where they ride and how they use their bikes, 80% would be on hybrids.

    A hybrid is a great way to start riding. If you decide you like the roads, then your next bike can be a road bike. If you decide you like the trails, then your next bike can be a mountain bike. Decide you like neither and you haven't wasted much money. Decide you like both and you'll wear the numbers off your credit card

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    mtb gets my vote. Just finished a 25mile charity ride on mine (Hardrock Sport) with street tires, and loved it. I have 2 older, as in 20 and 30 year old, road bikes in the garage, and my mtb has got me back bicycling....and I am happy. That said, I'm looking at various (Jamis Coda Sport, Specialized Sirrus, Bianchi Strada) "flat bar" road bikes for street. Really like the more upright position and comfort a mtb and the flat bar bikes offer. IMHO, start with the mtb and later decide if another is needed. Ride safe and often....life goes way too fast.

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    for you guys that ride knobbies on road, dont yo just cringe though hearing your $40 knobbies get worn down on the road? I rode to the trail yesterday, it was like an hour on the road to get to the trail, an hour and a half on the trail, then another hour back...I put noticable wear on my almost new rear hutchinson.

  17. #17
    Senior Member alcahueteria's Avatar
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    that's why I'm buying another bike, woohoo. But seriously, there aren't any trails in riding distance either.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatman
    for you guys that ride knobbies on road, dont yo just cringe though hearing your $40 knobbies get worn down on the road? I rode to the trail yesterday, it was like an hour on the road to get to the trail, an hour and a half on the trail, then another hour back...I put noticable wear on my almost new rear hutchinson.
    I've started to run a cheaper Sefras Vermin semi-slick rear, lower psi for offroad.
    Also the rolling resistance\wear is mostly rear...I just stay out of the mud.
    Tale of 2 tires, mtb that run road\dirt.
    Fast tire.

  19. #19
    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatman
    for you guys that ride knobbies on road, dont yo just cringe though hearing your $40 knobbies get worn down on the road? I rode to the trail yesterday, it was like an hour on the road to get to the trail, an hour and a half on the trail, then another hour back...I put noticable wear on my almost new rear hutchinson.
    Some tires do use compounds so soft that I swear I can see it wearing down as I ride, But a set a tires isn't really a huge investment, for the freedom of going where you want, paved or not.

  20. #20
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatman
    for you guys that ride knobbies on road, dont yo just cringe though hearing your $40 knobbies get worn down on the road? I rode to the trail yesterday, it was like an hour on the road to get to the trail, an hour and a half on the trail, then another hour back...I put noticable wear on my almost new rear hutchinson.
    I usually run Panaracer Smoke/Dart. They wear like iron! Not real sticky but they last a very long time - 3000+ miles and they work well on Colorado trails.
    Stuart Black
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  21. #21
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    I am glad I found this forum! There's so much info, thanks to you guys.

    I am in the same situation as the original poster here. i.e. Hybrid or MTB for 75% Road (with kid hauler) and 25% rough trail (roots and rocks and light jumping). I was probably going to buy a Specialized Crossroad elite coz it's supposed to be trail oriented and it just looks so awsome but I don't think it could handle a crash in the woods!

    I will probably go for a GIANT IGUANA or YUKON coz they make XLarge frames (23") and I am 6'7" (2,03m). There's also the Specialized RockHopper or HardRock.... I am not decided yet! I want something below $900CAD.

    Now as far as kids hauler are concerned! Any suggestions (I will probably search the forums anyway)

    Thanks, I'll get off the computer and get out the house now!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jipp
    I am glad I found this forum! There's so much info, thanks to you guys.

    I am in the same situation as the original poster here. i.e. Hybrid or MTB for 75% Road (with kid hauler) and 25% rough trail (roots and rocks and light jumping). I was probably going to buy a Specialized Crossroad elite coz it's supposed to be trail oriented and it just looks so awsome but I don't think it could handle a crash in the woods!

    I will probably go for a GIANT IGUANA or YUKON coz they make XLarge frames (23") and I am 6'7" (2,03m). There's also the Specialized RockHopper or HardRock.... I am not decided yet! I want something below $900CAD.

    Now as far as kids hauler are concerned! Any suggestions (I will probably search the forums anyway)

    Thanks, I'll get off the computer and get out the house now!
    Hey Jipp. After reading everything posted here, I'm glad I got a mountain bike. I'm going to use it a lot for road use, so I'll probably pick up a pair of semi-slicks, but I'm headed for my first trip to the mountains in two weekends and I can't wait! When I was testing out bikes, it was between the Trek 4300 and the Specialized Hardrock Sport. IMO, the Trek slayed the Hardrock Sport where comfort was concerned. Obviously I don't know how they would fair in the mountains, but for riding around town, I can't imagine riding the Specialized for more than 10 minutes without my entire body screaming in pain!

  23. #23
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valbowski1980
    MTB with road tires = Hybrid. That and you can always put your MTB tires on in case you need them.
    Actually no, that's incorrect. A MTB with road tires is closer to a comfort bike than a hybrid. Hybrids use 700c wheels. (You 29'er people are an anomaly)
    Quote Originally Posted by Humbucker
    the Trek slayed the Hardrock Sport where comfort was concerned.
    Different strokes for different folks. I've found the opposite to be true

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