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Hybrid vs Mountain Bike w/ Kid

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Hybrid vs Mountain Bike w/ Kid

Old 12-10-18, 09:30 PM
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blakesimus
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Hybrid vs Mountain Bike w/ Kid

Hey everyone,

My wife and I have been wanting to take our 19 month old out on rides (and get some exercise). We had been looking at Cannondale Quick 3s to mount a child seat to but talked to someone the other day who tried to talk us into a comparably priced mountain bike with a lockout fork, saying we could get a lot more versatility out of a mountain bike with lockouts. We'll be doing mostly smooth trail and road riding but the option to do something off road might come up. I've read that the lockout shocks on mountain bikes in that price range ($800-1000) can be suspect...anyone know anything about that? Another option is to get the hybrids and maybe pick up an mtb in the future. Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 12-10-18, 10:04 PM
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If you are mountain biking semi regularly then spending at least 1k on a mountain bike makes a lot of sense. If you are really serious probably spending 2k plus makes more sense but if you are doing mostly paved stuff than a hybrid makes way more sense. Locking out suspension means you will still be carrying that extra weight of the fork (and the cheap stuff tends to be a bit heaver 4-6 pounds or more sometimes) and of course it is another thing to wear out. If you keep it unlocked you are both carrying the weight and wasting energy going up and down. Also knobby tires only work on surfaces that the knobs can dig into. Hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt don't have any give so you end up riding on just the knobs so that seemingly wide tire you have for good grip is a very skinny low grip tire.

I would ride a bunch of bikes and see which one is most comfortable and shifts best. The one you are looking at isn't anything that spectacular and uses some lower mid range parts but has the all important carbon fork which on a aluminum bike is quite handy because it is lightweight and more importantly dampens road vibrations to give you a little more comfortable ride. I would also in that price point try to find a two piece crank which uses an external bottom bracket those are what are most commonly used on more quality bikes these days vs. older square taper stuff which you don't find in much quality on most big brand bikes. I know Specialized on the 2018 and beyond Sirrus Sport uses one as do the higher end versions. However most importantly get a good feel for the frame and position on the bike and how it shifts (don't worry about saddles on a test ride at all) if you think you want to ride the bike for a long time then get it if not get one you want and don't be afraid to put some money into it. Don't just buy a bike to buy a bike because if you weren't so happy on the test ride you won't ride it much. Typically you at least want to go one or two bikes up from the base model to ensure something that will be a bit more comfortable and last a decent amount of time.

The more stuff you add onto a bike like suspension for instance the more the price should go up because if it goes down or stays the same you are getting cheaper and cheaper components which lead to more costs in the longer term and more headaches having to bring it in more often for service.
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Old 12-10-18, 10:14 PM
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The Quick is a fine bike for mostly on-road. For more of a mix, there is the Quick CX series which is what I have for a hybrid. It boils down to where you will do 90% of your biking., and how much compromise you can live with. The +quick is rather a flat bar road bike. Quick CX is more of a light trail oriented bike with lockout suspension. Put slicks on it and it swings a little closer to road. Mountain bikes are off-road bikes, but can be configured to be less bad at on road riding with the right tires. But any bike covers a range of use cases better at some, worse at others.

You will be fine with a Quick or a Quick CX. But for carrying the little one, use a trailer. They are safer, easy to use, and not explicitly discouraged by your bike and your rack manufacturers.
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Old 12-10-18, 10:25 PM
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I'd suggest looking at rigid mountain or adventure bikes. They can usually fit wider tires than hybrids which help smooth out the bumps better than cheap suspension forks in my opinion. Tires with minimal tread will be sufficient for gravel and fire roads. If you really get into mountain biking, you'll want a dedicated bike for that anyway.
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Old 12-11-18, 12:16 AM
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I'd grab a hardtail MTB and build it as I wished. A 26" bike will be relatively cheap. Will accept standard rear racks, so you can fit any carrier you want. They can be had with aluminum frames cheap enough ( <$100~250 ) on Craigslist. Another say $300 in a good used air fork with lock-outs (or just add air pressure for street rides) and good fatter road tires will do fine.

I like Schwalbe Marathons for front and Fat Franks for rear. I have ridden these on pretty serious trails. More rugged than you will want to take carrying baby, and they work fine

No, they are not competitive in downhill, but you ain't doing that with baby on board. You want easy pedaling, air up the tires. You want a bit of cush for the wee one, drop the rear to 40 psi and all will be well. Parts, wheels, tires, gear sets all available on eBay all day, every day. Yes, loose that ridiculous heavy front fork that comes on most inexpensive MTB chassis. But, once upgraded a bit, they make great family bikes

Here's a link to my all purpose urbanized MTB. Been riding it for years. Have another few in the works ... Trek

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Old 12-11-18, 08:58 AM
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Thanks for the detailed responses! I really appreciate it.
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Old 12-11-18, 09:21 AM
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@BrocLuno I don't think OP is looking for a CL build-it-yourself kind of deal. While I agree that 26" MTBs are super versatile, some people just want NEW bikes.

At the price range @blakesimus is looking at ($800-1000) there's not a huge difference between an MTB and hybrid like the Quick CX besides the stem length and tire width. I'd also be inclined to agree with @veganbikes that suspension at that price range is more of a comfort item than a performance piece, and leads to cost-cutting in other areas of the bike's spec. Whether this makes a difference to you depends on what you want out of the bike.

I would also second the idea to look in to a trailer as opposed to a carrier seat. 2-year-olds need a lot of stuff; who's going to carry that? They also keep getting bigger, heavier, and wigglier. The trailer also gives you the ability to haul stuff like picnic baskets and diaper bags for extended trips. It's also good for preschoolers who are to big for a baby carrier, but not riding on their own yet.
Good trailers can be expensive though, and it's one place where used can be a good value. The Thule/Chariot are top-of-the-line, and cost as much as a decent bike. They are incredibly durable, and used ones in good condition are in high demand.
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Old 12-11-18, 09:38 AM
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On the bike seat vs. trailer thing--I found that just under 3 y.o. is about the cut-off for seat use, so it probably is better to just go right to the trailer with a 19 month old. It's been decades since my kids were toddlers, but with a trailer, make sure you have a really good rear view mirror set up.

I used the trailer for cargo after the kids outgrew it, so I really got my money's worth. Can't do that with a seat.
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Old 12-11-18, 12:32 PM
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@Ironfish653 - you're correct, we're pretty much looking for something fairly out of the box. I'm thinking I'm down to the CX (suspension but potential cost cuts elsewhere) or the regular Quick. I'll do a side by side and research the components. @BrocLuno I do appreciate that advice. I think that's something I'll look into in the next few years. I'll definitely start researching the trailers - for safety and convenience. At 19 months old she's already started accessorizing...
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Old 12-11-18, 12:33 PM
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@livedarklions good point on the trailer. When she starts riding her own bike it would be nice to have to haul stuff around.
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Old 12-11-18, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by blakesimus View Post
@Ironfish653 - you're correct, we're pretty much looking for something fairly out of the box. I'm thinking I'm down to the CX (suspension but potential cost cuts elsewhere) or the regular Quick. I'll do a side by side and research the components.
I'll definitely start researching the trailers - for safety and convenience. At 19 months old she's already started accessorizing...
As far as I can tell, Quick-3 and the CX-3 share the same frame. Besides the fork, the CX-3 has slightly wider tires, and an MTB-style triple crank with a 'granny' gear.
The 'road' Quick-3 has a slightly nicer road group (Shimano Sora) and a 50-34t road 'compact' crank.
If you've got significant hills where you live, that triple could be a nice feature to have for tugging the little one up hills.
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Old 12-11-18, 06:26 PM
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A couple of friends have the Carbon Quick's and whilst superb bikes are more road orientated than gravel / some off road as they're very limited on tyre width and it's volume of air that soaks up the bumps.

I've been riding a 29er quite seriously for the last year and a half on mixed road / gravel with the fork constantly locked out and more road orientated tyres, unless you're doing quite serious off road riding then MTB's are overkill but are heavy and generally have wide / knobbly tyres (although they can be changed) which isn't good for the road.

If my 29er broke tomorrow I'd replace it with a decent Hybrid .... but one with reasonable tyre clearance (ideally up to 40/45c) so it could be used off road / on gravel easily enough as well.

I have just bought a gravel bike and the Jury's still out .... am wondering if quality Hybrid may of been the better option.

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Old 12-12-18, 01:35 PM
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@veganbikes I checked out the new Sirrus Sport and it appears to still use square taper, but I could've misread. Anything else you recommend looking at? I rode a Quick 5 and it felt good but want to check out some other potential options. Is your impression that the Quick 3 isn't worth the money? Thanks again
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Old 12-12-18, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by blakesimus View Post
@veganbikes I checked out the new Sirrus Sport and it appears to still use square taper, but I could've misread. Anything else you recommend looking at? I rode a Quick 5 and it felt good but want to check out some other potential options. Is your impression that the Quick 3 isn't worth the money? Thanks again
I know for the 2018 Sports they were 2 piece cranks. My guess is they are listing old specs because it shows a triple w/square taper when I did a search on the googles. The new one is a 2x9 with a Sora rear derailleur. Unless of course the regressed which is not unheard of, Jamis did it with their Coda Comp and then put it back to right for 2019.

It looks like C-dale does smaller numbers equal better bike so go with a 3 or lower for sure. The Quick 3 isn't so bad compared with the 5 but I probably wouldn't go with it. However I am not a big C-dale fan and the fact that even on their $1150 version it is still square taper (the 1 isn't even though they list it as that unless they have a different crank than pictured) is kind of not what I want to see. However if you love the ride of the Quick 3 compared to other non-C-dale bikes you have ridden then certainly go with that but if you haven't ridden other bikes you might go ride at least one other if not a few more.

Last edited by veganbikes; 12-12-18 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 12-12-18, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I would imagine getting a suspension fork and wide plush tire is necessary for the welfare of the baby child.

I search mountain bike child seat on google, and it was pretty interesting.
I think he daren't go out of the house unless it's at least a monster fat bike with some f .... off suspension ... both front and rear .. and cradle mounts in front of the kids to take their smarts phones and if they don't have 4g internet access for the whole ride what the F... would be the point in taking them anywhere on bikes anyway
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Old 12-12-18, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I would imagine getting a suspension fork and wide plush tire is necessary for the welfare of the baby child.

I search mountain bike child seat on google, and it was pretty interesting.
Welfare of the "baby child" what??? You don't need suspension to ride on the road. Any mountain biking addict would know that as they have been on mountain bike trails and seen what those are and probably been on the road for a least a little bit and seen what those are and say nah, don't need suspension. The Topeak BabySeat does have some built in suspension just a little bit but it is made for road riding and is more of an elastomer than anything. That is about all one might need for a child. Plus a full sus mountain bike (a real one not the wally mart junk that has an inch or less of travel) won't have rack mounts and you would have to be really nuts to put your kid on a seat post mounted rack or one of those ridiculous front mounted monstrosity which is only good for using a child as an "air bag"
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Old 12-12-18, 06:37 PM
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Re: Trailer vs Seat:

Cannondale's literature strongly discourages seats and recommends trailers (the user manual does this).

I have a Tubus Cargo Evo rack. This is one of the strongest racks available. It is fully capable of carrying 88 pounds. Yet it is explicitly limited in its documentation to a restricted weight class for the sole purpose of preventing people using child seats on it. The documentation even states that it was tested to 88 pounds and passed, but that due to legal requirements for child seats it is restricted to something 40 pounds.

In other words, manufacturers are scared of child seats on bikes. They consider it too much of a liability. I don't know if this fear is based on sane usage going wrong, or if it's based on incorrect usage getting them blamed. But regardless, they don't like child seats.

Trailers, on the other hand, are sanctioned. Cannondale's literature suggests using a trailer for kids, but does recommend aluminum bikes (not fiberglass) for pulling trailers. Trailers are useful for kids, and also have room for stuff -- diaper bags, food, tools, water. And when the kids outgrow the trailer they're still useful for cargo. Most can have their seats removed for this purpose.

I bought a used Burly trailer when my kids were young (son was 18 months, daughter wasn't born yet). They outgrew it by the time my daughter was four and my son was six. ...we probably never used it after he was 5 and she was 3. But I still use it for pulling stuff behind me once in awhile. I picked it up used on eBay for about $150, and here we are eight years later still using it once in awhile for carrying stuff.

It's probably not the most ideal cargo trailer, but it's good enough to keep it around.

I'm sure that there are a lot of people who have successfully and safely carried kids around in bike-mounted seats, and that's fine. I just think that the additional safety and utility of a trailer is worthwhile, and tips the scales for me in that direction.

As for the Cannondale Quick series, as I mentioned above, I own a CX 3 and it would make a good candidate for pulling a trailer. If you have some light offroad use intended, get the CX. If you have mostly road use planned, get the non-CX. If you need lower gearing for hills (especially with trailer) get the CX. If you do not have a road bike already and can deal with hills fine, get the non-CX.

I got the CX because I already have a road bike and wanted something with a little more distance on the road-offroad spectrum. If I didn't already have a road bike I would probably have gotten the non-CX.
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Old 12-12-18, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
Re: Trailer vs Seat:

Cannondale's literature strongly discourages seats and recommends trailers (the user manual does this).
It may do (and there may be more profit in selling a trailer than a bike seat) but when my kids were that young I preferred the fact they were right behind me on my saddle in effect part of you .... rather than on a trailer hanging off the back of the bike that a car could clip them ... it felt like they had to hit my rear wheel (as the seat sits above this) before my child rather than the other way round.
Also if I needed to swerve instantly to get out of the way of something the child seat was a part of you rather than something trailing behind you didn't have as much immediate control over.

One of my close friends is wheelchair bound (no use of legs) and bought in essence a recumbent and he always said he felt vulnerable at such a low level and out of sight compared to someone on a normal bike that sat that much higher from the ground.

We did buy the kids " Tags" as soon as they git that much older and whilst I appreciated they were that much higher / visible we only really used them in very low traffic or no traffic situations but even in the low traffic situations I'd rather they were in front of me.

Down to each individuals choice and this is just my personal opinion ..... not a criticism of anybody else's preference.
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Old 12-12-18, 08:32 PM
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Note: When I mentioned MTB as a build candidate, I specifically mentioned a hard tail. Most will accept all sorts of accessories, racks, hitches, etc.

I never said, or implied, hauling a little one with a full suspension bike (FS). New FS would involve either a huge weight penalty, or a serious budget busting exercise ( >$3K ) - neither of which is desirable ...

The reason I suggested a build out on an existing chassis is that I have no idea what the roads are like around the OP's area ... And even more important, I don't know what the trails are like ... If they are maintained gravel paths and the roads are sound - sure a rigid bike is good enough.

If they are really forest trails, your trailer is not going to work ... And if the roads are run down with pot holes and pavement heaves, some front suspension is nice and a fatter rear is good. 2.3 is a good rear tire to carry a load and can be had in a mild tread that rolls pretty easy. Neither tire I suggested has knobs of any kind. I hate knobs on the road - hard to pedal, noisy, and wear quickly. I prefer a tire that can dissipate water and mud, but still roll easily like the Schwalbe Marathon I mentioned. I also like the highly reflective white stripe sidewall so that everyone can see you at dawn and dusk. Those moving reflective white circles are attention getters. That's good for Pop and Baby

If there is no time or interest in CL shopping and building a bike (?), that's fine. I understand getting one ready to go as a package. In which case I'd suggest a few features to look for in a commuter/hybrid/gravel type bike. I would not buy any bike with a quill stem. And there are plenty of expensive bikes with them ... 1-1/8" straight steer tube and an ahead stem only. Lots more options on bars, stems, risers, etc. Note the ladies Novara shown below. Good road/trail bike (not mine) with no real penalties that I'm aware of. Sure, it's an older bike, but something like that with modern brakes and maybe 27.5 wheels would be fine for one partner. IF you want road bars, it's doable. Or straight bars, or up and swept back - any way you want it.


I'd be looking for a big seat tube - 30.9 or so. Light, stiff and strong. The above bike does not have enough seat tube for me. But it would accept all sorts of racks and panniers. There are bolt points on the seat stays just above the brakes (rusty, dark) which are needed for sturdy attachment. So toting baby on mild trails would be OK with the right tires (not city slicks).

So let's say you got men's and women's models of similar bikes (your choice). And they both got similar sturdy racks. If anything happens out riding, you transfer the baby carrier to the other bike and carry on as needed. I get Pop will be pedaling baby most of the time. But stuff does happen and it might be good to have options away from the parking lot or road ... We also need to know the sort of average speeds you envision? If it'll be mostly 8 mph cruising it's one thing. If you will be trying to maintain road pace 15~25 mph, it's a whole different can of worms ...

Lets think about what a typical ride might look like in the OP's area. We all mount up and ride to where? The city park, the local Starbucks, the river on the other side of town, 5 miles down some local rails2trails corridor? Or 8 miles out into a State Park with multi-use trails that are narrow with a lot of pitch changes, some rocks, some mud ... Since we don't know this part, we are all struggling to suggest the best options ...

If I ended up with some good hybrid bike and the child grows into their own, and I wanted to be a bit more adventurous trail-wise, I could easily swap a much more compliant and advanced fork into the chassis shown above and go hit some more technical trails with confidence. Nothing near race pace or even black diamond trails (those are for hard core). But out here, we have many multi-use trails that will be very uncomfortable for a more pavement oriented chassis. Most started as logging roads or skid roads 100 years ago and have grown into public trails as the land passed from lumber company ownership to public domain.

We just need more info

Last edited by BrocLuno; 12-12-18 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 12-13-18, 12:41 AM
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I have three kids under 5 so I needed the works. I shopped carefully for a MTB at the $1000 level that had a ďrealĒ fork (that is, with damping), and provisions for a dropper seat post and tubeless tires, that would also take a trailer OR kid seat. I wound up with a Salsa Timberjack but the Trek Roscoe and XCaliber are similar and way more available.

A lot of mountain bikes at the $500 level which still have quick release axles and mounting holes for racks and seats are pretty crappy for actual MTB riding with components that are not up for abuse and none of the benefits of the last twenty years of design evolution.

I think hybrids are great for kid hauling. If you do choose to use a kid seat then a step through frame is a great help.

I donít favor bikes like the one in the post above, theyíre really not meant for anything except tooling around a few miles a week. But if thatís what you are doing then itís fine for that. Itíll be a real wheelie machine with a 40lb kid in a rear seat.

we have two Copilot seats and bought two extra racks so my wife and I can swap them amongst all our bikes. We also have a Chariot trailer bought secondhand. Kids grow up faster than nice trailers wear out, so buy used Chariot or Burley, not Walmart.

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Old 12-13-18, 10:21 AM
  #21  
blakesimus
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@dauswald thansk for the info! I'm leaning toward CX for myself and then comparable women's bike for my wife (althea i think). She rode one and liked it.
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Old 12-13-18, 10:24 AM
  #22  
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@BrocLuno I think with the kiddo we'd mostly be doing paved trails or compacted gravel. anything worse than that would be done without her. for road use...our roads aren't great. they're actually kind of crappy...which has me seriously considering something with front lockout suspension. There are some more technical trails in the area as well, which I'd like to test it on. Part of what has me torn is - get a more road centric bike now and spend money on a more serious mtb later?? I'm terrible at this lol.
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Old 12-13-18, 11:12 AM
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You could also consider a Surly Bridge Club which is sort of a lighter version of their original Troll. Very adaptable, very fat tires but no suspension like an early 90s MTB.
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Old 12-13-18, 11:13 AM
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I understand the dilemma. I have a granddaughter now, and when she was younger, we hauled her around on the rack. Yes, you need to keep your weight forward. Yes you need some tire cross-section to get the job done. But our trails are either pure road bike, or not conducive to a trailer. Sounds like your are better in that regard ...

Given your explanation of the roads and trails, seems like a trailer will work. So that's pretty easy to fit for both bikes. I'd also get skeletal rear racks (lunch, nappies, windbreakers, etc.). I'd like some semi-serious gearing for trailer pulling up gradient. I'd also opt for the largest diameter wheels you can swing in a a deal. They have better roll-over on pavement irregularities. And they are nice on trails. 27.5 or 29'ers are good

So crappy roads are tricky. It's either high pressure road tires and you take the hit on the pavement defects, but they roll efficiently, and you try to get some compliance out of the front end. Or mid-sized tires (cross-section) at mid-pressure and a maybe a plainer front end, but more rolling resistance ... Does not have to be suspension. There are good steel forks with enough give/spring to take the worst out. So, given your situation, I think I'd be looking seriously at gravel bikes. They are form of Hybrid. Do a bunch of YT reviews and watch the way the bikes act. See if that interests you ...

If you score a chassis with a tapered head set, you can upgrade to a Lauf fork when funds/time become available (used ones are starting to show up in the market). As your babe grows, you'll dedicate the existing chassis to road/gravel, tune it to be responsive and light, and pleasing in your average environment.

A bit later you can get a used MTB and tweak it, so that as things progress, you can challenge yourself on the more technical trails when time permits. So MTB stuff can get very techie and very spendy, very quickly. Many riders find themselves drawn to niche riding like down hill (DH) for the rush and the skill required. You will not know where you are going in that regard, so start slow. An aluminum hard-tail (used) with a very good fork (also used) and a dropper seat-post will get you a long way in finding what intrigues you ...

I recently bough a Specialized Hardrock Sport for $80. I got a nearly new Manitou R7 Elite air fork for it for $150 off eBay, and lost that horrendous RST fork that came on it. Some new cables, a bit of brake work and a tire swap and I'd ride that thing most anywhere. The chassis was/is nice and light and tough, but the OEM fit-out was very low grade to make their price point. This is so common in MTB stuff it's cliche'. I also bought an older FS K2 not long ago for $100 with air on both ends (Marzocchi & Fox). Not something you run across every day, but the owner just upgraded to a new Santa Cruz something and wanted it gone. Those deals do come along, not often, but they do

Point being you can explore a lot of MTB stuff/territory/conditions w/o breaking the bank - in the beginning. As you refine your tastes and build your skills, you can sell the used chassis for what you have in it (more or less) and progress upward. Buying new here, and taking the depreciation hit each time is not such a good plan at the start ... If you are real lucky, your baby will grow up to like trail riding, and as they get to middle childhood years, will have their own XC or All Mountain bike and ride with you. You'll be watching them ride away (kid energy & reflexes) while trying to keep up. But, it'll be fun

My guess, and it's only a guess, is that you'll end up with an "All Mountain" bike. There again, it'll take some research to figure out what it means exactly and which tweaks are important to you ... And, in the meantime you'll have your family outings and get some exercise - win/win

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Old 12-13-18, 11:14 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
This looks like so much fun. Although I have never seen anyone actually use something like this on the trail or on paved MUP either.

https://www.vitalmtb.com/product/fea...r-the-Ride,206

the trouble with products like this for me was that they prevented stand over. Cowboy stops and starts, always, with 40 lb on the bike. Kiddos head goes right in your sternum too
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