I am an enthusiastic but not very knowledgable road cyclist, currently riding a Scott USA Hybrid (Atacama Trail). I generally do routes of about 30 miles (fairly hilly). I want to start taking advantage of the off-road routes that are available near me (forest and heath). Whilst my Scott is great for the road I don't find it very good on the forest trails. What sort of bike should I be looking for that gives a good compromise between on road and off road cycling (the routes I'm looking at are likely to be 50% road/50% track)?
Budget is not that much of an issue - it's more about getting a bike that I can enjoy. Any suggestions/advice much appreciated...
My advise is to look for the bike that is going to perform well on the trails. With a swap of tires, it will perform as well as on the road as your hybrid. If you plan on using it 50% on the trail, 50% on the road in the same ride, then you may want to opt for semi-slick MTB tires depending on the terrain of the trail. That will provide for smooth riding on the road.
There are several threads here where people have given some good advice about how to choose an MTB and what to look for, so I won't repeat all of it here. Take a browse around and if you have some questions that aren't answered in the previous threads, we will be sure to answer them. Welcome to the forums