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Old 06-18-05, 12:39 PM   #1
dmiller91
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bike for Rails to Trails gravel/dirt

What are people buying for trail bikes these days? I'm not a big fan of the mountain bike. Are people buying hybrids for this sort of riding? Can you get a decent light hybrid for less than $1000?
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Old 06-18-05, 06:03 PM   #2
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Depends on your definition of "gravel/dirt".

Around here, trails have a smooth hard-packed surface, so there is absolutely no need for a suspension. On the other hand, except under the best circumstances, the surface is softer than asphalt, so a purebreed road bike would sink in easily. I would therefore suggest either a hybrid or a cycle-touring bicycle: IOW a non-suspended bike with 700x35.
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Old 06-18-05, 07:01 PM   #3
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Depends on your definition of "gravel/dirt".

Around here, trails have a smooth hard-packed surface, so there is absolutely no need for a suspension. On the other hand, except under the best circumstances, the surface is softer than asphalt, so a purebreed road bike would sink in easily. I would therefore suggest either a hybrid or a cycle-touring bicycle: IOW a non-suspended bike with 700x35.

we mostly have hard pack, but occasional areas of gravel, which can be loose, and sand too sometimes. Wider tires are definitely going to grip better.
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Old 06-18-05, 07:04 PM   #4
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A non-suspension mountain bike will likely work very well if they are still available. The geometry of the frame is important for stability on loose surfaces as well as the tires.
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Old 06-20-05, 05:00 AM   #5
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Check out my cycling page, and then look at to review of my Gary Fisher. I like it, and for hard packed it is great.

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Old 06-20-05, 06:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmiller91
What are people buying for trail bikes these days? I'm not a big fan of the mountain bike. Are people buying hybrids for this sort of riding? Can you get a decent light hybrid for less than $1000?
Hi,
I have ridden rail trails in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on both a mountain bike (low end but sturdy, Schwinn Frontier) and a hybrid (Specialized Crossroad Sport), and my experience is that the hybrid is the beter bike for the job. Of course, I do not jump rocks and roots (not big ones, anyway), but the hybrid, in addition to it's rail trail duties, has performed well up to its hubs in mud and water, and daily rides beautifully on PA backroads. I suggest finding a bike shop that accepts trade-ins, and get a good hybrid. Mine was around $300. Who knows, your goals in riding may change, and you may decide to switch to a different type of bike, but a hybrid is a good bike to get you rolling.
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Old 06-20-05, 08:21 AM   #7
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I ride a gravel rail to trail path on a 700C Fuji Supreme hybrid and it works very well. The hybrid is great on the paved or hard packed parts of the trail, but also handles loose gravel and water gullies that show up on the trail with ease. The suspension fork on mine I find very useful although it is probably not essential. Mine was about $350 and there are plenty of others in that price range. Definitely try a few test rides of different brands to see what fits you best.
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Old 06-20-05, 11:41 AM   #8
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Do you like the hybrid riding position? It seems to be oriented towards people who aren't really trying to go fast. It feels pretty good if you're tooling along gently, but if you really try to hammer on it, you find the riding position feels unbalanced and the aerodynamics stink.

If you want to ride hard, you might try a cyclocross bike. For taking it easy, the hybrid may suit you well.

I wouldn't worry too much about weight, because by definition there are no steep climbs on a rails-to-trails trail.
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Old 06-20-05, 12:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Phantoj
Do you like the hybrid riding position? It seems to be oriented towards people who aren't really trying to go fast. It feels pretty good if you're tooling along gently, but if you really try to hammer on it, you find the riding position feels unbalanced and the aerodynamics stink.

If you want to ride hard, you might try a cyclocross bike. For taking it easy, the hybrid may suit you well.

I wouldn't worry too much about weight, because by definition there are no steep climbs on a rails-to-trails trail.
I have a road bike for when I want to ride fast and light. I have to admit though, I do like a more upright position. For trail riding, I don't think I want to do much more than meander... and enjoy the sights.

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Old 06-20-05, 04:44 PM   #10
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Trek 750 hybrid. Very tough frame. Comfortable on the longer rides on the gravel trails (C&O Canal and North Central) and pretty fast on the paved ones (WO&D and Capital Crecent.) When I'm on these trails, the purpose usually isn't speed.
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Old 06-21-05, 05:11 AM   #11
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Saturday I road my Gary Fisher Tiburon 27 miles with 7 miles on some rough hills. I averaged 13.75 mph. I didn't think that was to bad for a hybrid bike. Yes the upright sitting position does increase drag, but I am doing well. I am not trying to go far, but I do get a good workout. I am down to 306Lbs now, and I notice I have a lot more wind than I did 2 months ago.
Mark

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Old 06-21-05, 07:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmark
Saturday I road my Gary Fisher Tiburon 27 miles with 7 miles on some rough hills. I averaged 13.75 mph. I didn't think that was to bad for a hybrid bike. Yes the upright sitting position does increase drag, but I am doing well. I am not trying to go far, but I do get a good workout. I am down to 306Lbs now, and I notice I have a lot more wind than I did 2 months ago.
Mark

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do you know how much your Gary Fisher weighs? What about the Trek 7500, does anyone know what that weighs? I couldnt' find weight on Trek's website.
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Old 06-21-05, 07:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmark
Saturday I road my Gary Fisher Tiburon 27 miles with 7 miles on some rough hills. I averaged 13.75 mph. I didn't think that was to bad for a hybrid bike. Yes the upright sitting position does increase drag, but I am doing well. I am not trying to go far, but I do get a good workout. I am down to 306Lbs now, and I notice I have a lot more wind than I did 2 months ago.
Mark

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Hey Big Mark, you need to change your name to Shrinking Mark!
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Old 06-21-05, 10:18 AM   #14
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I looked at the CD that came with the bike, and couldn’t find anything about weight. I throw mine on the car all the time, but I couldn’t give you an exact weight. See if your LBS one, and check it out for yourself. The Trek 7300 weighs almost the same, as I have put my friends on the top of my car along with mine. Ride both bikes. I personally didn’t like the twist shifter the 7300 had. I will tell you this, the bikes are built well.

Good luck.
E-mail me, and let me know what you end up with.

Mark

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