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  1. #1
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    Hardtail for road/x-country

    Hi All. Great site. I'm in the market for a new bike. Been riding my 92 Diamond Back Apex for 14 years now! Ugh. Here's the deal. Realistically, most of my riding is on the roads to get to the trails. Probably 60% on the road. I'm also interested in doing some of the local off road triathlons so I need something that will stand up to some racing. I think the courses are fairly tame x-country stuff. I'd like to stick with a hardtail due to my style of riding.

    My question is......sorry if this is a stupid question....Are most hardtails pretty much the same as far as geometry goes for speed and comfort. Is there a mountain bike out there that also does well as a road bike?

    I can get a great deal on Cannondale and Kona at my LBS. Around 10% over cost. (homeowner discount) I was initially interested in the Cannondale f600 because of the ability to lock out the headshock wich I thought might be nice on the road. Doesnt have much range of travel though. The f800 seems cool but the lefty fork seems a little weird. Then I started looking at the Kona Kula/Kula Deluxe. Unfortunately the Kula is sold out for the year. (at this bike shop) When riding on the road, can you lock out most forks. The Kula Deluxe has a Fox Vanilla R. Am I dreaming that I could get a bike that fits both worlds? My budget is around $1200-$1400 US.

    Okay, no Cannondale bashing unless you have a legitimate gripe! Are there other bikes you might recommend? I must admit, I am leaning toward the Cannondale f800 solely because of my discount (around 1250) unless someone can talk me out of it. Thanks for your responses.

  2. #2
    Neat - w/ ice on the side dalmore's Avatar
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    No opinions here on your specific bike choices but I'm wondering if you looked at cyclocross bikes? Road geometry with room for wider knobbies and massive brakes. I've not seen any but I'd be shocked if you could not get them with suspension forks that lock out ...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmore
    No opinions here on your specific bike choices but I'm wondering if you looked at cyclocross bikes? Road geometry with room for wider knobbies and massive brakes. I've not seen any but I'd be shocked if you could not get them with suspension forks that lock out ...
    Yeah, thought about it but do want the ability to hit some tough trails. Like I said, I want the best of both worlds. Maybe not possible.

  4. #4
    Neat - w/ ice on the side dalmore's Avatar
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    yea, that's a big compromise

    back to the point of your first post - the geometry on hardtails is all over the place. I just picked up a used GT XiZang because it was somewhat road like. I wanted to give mountain biking a whirl and thought it'd make a decent commuter during the week.

    I have since learned that there are 2 publicly maintained mountain bike parks between work and my house. I'm thinking semi-slick xc racing tires for the commute and then hit the trails on the way home!

  5. #5
    Senior Member taylor p's Avatar
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    most hard tail bikes will do ok on the road as long as you dont put big knoby tires on the bike and beeing able to lock out the headshock would defintly be nice but if you are doing more road a fixed bike might be the way to go like cannondales m400

  6. #6
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    about that cannondale, my dad the other day was pumping up his headshok and he broke it. he has to get a new cartridge, and the travel of the shock sucks anyway. if you have a choice....i'd suggest not getting a headshok. i believe that some of the kona shocks lock out, but i'm not sure.

  7. #7
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    Ok I will second the CX bike thought...with the right wheels and rider they can take some serious trails...my commuter runs Salsa DelgadoX rims on 105 hubs. These rims are designed for CX and MTB 29er use so they will take some abuse.

    Back to MTBs though don't go by the looks of the Lefty when you are in the shop...it just doesn't matter, the fact is that the Lefty is a seriously good suspension fork, check the reviews they are all positive. FWIW I ride a Rush 800 with the Lefty. The one drawback to the lefty would be the ability to swap wheels. With a standard setup you could get a second set of wheels and have one for road riding (thinner slick tires) and one for offroad riding (knobbies). But on the other hand because it is the Lefty you don't need to remove the wheel to change a tire so get some slicks and just throw one on there when you are riding on the road. The Lefty on my Rush also features lockout which I do believe you would like on a biek that you are going to be doing a lot of road time with.

    Another option would be a 29er.
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  8. #8
    Flatland hack Flak's Avatar
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    Get a mtn bike, some intermediate tyres, and a fork that locks out.

    Won't be as efficient as a roadie...but it will ride the pavement fine...and handle the trails well.

  9. #9
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    I have a Kula

    I am riding a Kula Primo, a 15 mile trail ride always starts with a 5 mile road ride to the trail head. It is a great bike, very comfortable. I would spend the money on the Kona.

  10. #10
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    I don't think that a cross bike would work for you. I mean it would be great on road and a good overall compromise but I would not want to ride it on single track. Your best bet is probably a hardtail with semi slick tires.

  11. #11
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    Interesting...why would you guys not want to ride single track on a CX bike? It wont be as easy as a MTB I will give you that but a rider with good bike handling skills will have no porblem with it. Sure big roots and rocks will be an issue but with the description given by the OP I think a CX bike could do what he wants.
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  12. #12
    Mountain Bikes are Art
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    The 06 Kula deluxe does not have a lock out if I remember correctly. The Primo does. The 05 Deluxe is specced like an 06 Primo.
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    I'm a big fan of CX bikes but would stop short of recommending them for purely off-road racing, even on fairly tame courses.

    Under normal riding circumstances a CX bike might be fine for navigating singletrack, but racing is rarely normal circumstances. In races I find I am always going a bit faster than I would like to be to take the next corner, and generally have my bike handling skillz (such as they are) further dulled by that anaerobic haze that sets in. That's when I appreciate the (somewhat) forgiving nature of an mountain bike.

    I've seen numerous good riders in races crash on stuff I KNOW they could clean easily on an ordinary ride... because they were just riding too hard to use their skill set. I think on singletrack a CX bike would exacerbate this problem for no useable speed gain.

    However if the racecourse were partly on roads, then the CX bike would probably be a better choice.

  14. #14
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    Hmmm. Good ideas about the CX bikes guys but I really think I would prefer a straight MTB. Want to have the option to do more off road racing in the future. The Xterra adventure races sound fun. Sounds like a hardtail with intermediate tires is going to work for me.

  15. #15
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    Yea I am rethinking my position...now I would have to say it depends on the types of trails. I used to race citizen's class MTBs when I was in HS (15+ years ago). My bike was steel and full rigid and the trails really were fine for that bike and a CX bike IMO would have eben fine too. Now fast forward to today...I am a roadie who wants to roud out my biking lifestyle so I got a C'Dale Rush 800 and tonight was her maiden voyage...well I got myself into some advanced trails by lake of remembering the Mtn I was on and MAN the linesotne rock gardens were intense...I NEVER would have taken a full rigid in there unless I was carrying it. If that is the sort of trail then hell no to the CX bike but then the lower part of the trail was fairly decent single track and I think a CX bike would have been fine there. What I am saying is it all depends on the trail.
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  16. #16
    leftyman
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    I have a cannonldale f500 with a lefty with lock out and love it!
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  17. #17
    Neat - w/ ice on the side dalmore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasschopper
    ... Now fast forward to today...I am a roadie who wants to roud out my biking lifestyle so I got a C'Dale Rush 800 and tonight was her maiden voyage...well I got myself into some advanced trails by lake of remembering the Mtn I was on and MAN the linesotne rock gardens were intense...I NEVER would have taken a full rigid in there unless I was carrying it. If that is the sort of trail then hell no to the CX bike but then the lower part of the trail was fairly decent single track and I think a CX bike would have been fine there.

    LOL - I can identify! Being in somewhat the same situation except I'm not sure I really qualify as a experienced roadie either ...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasschopper
    Yea I am rethinking my position...now I would have to say it depends on the types of trails. I used to race citizen's class MTBs when I was in HS (15+ years ago). My bike was steel and full rigid and the trails really were fine for that bike and a CX bike IMO would have eben fine too. Now fast forward to today...I am a roadie who wants to roud out my biking lifestyle so I got a C'Dale Rush 800 and tonight was her maiden voyage...well I got myself into some advanced trails by lake of remembering the Mtn I was on and MAN the linesotne rock gardens were intense...I NEVER would have taken a full rigid in there unless I was carrying it. If that is the sort of trail then hell no to the CX bike but then the lower part of the trail was fairly decent single track and I think a CX bike would have been fine there. What I am saying is it all depends on the trail.
    Well, the difference is really in the tires. In the cx bike you would be riding on thin cross tires that hardly give you any suspension while on even a full rigid mountain bike the wider tires would give you a basic suspension. I rode both a cx and a full rigid hardtail on single track and really didn't like either. However, I think that I could have lived with the rigid with a wider front tire while I would never get used to riding my cx bike on true single track.

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