Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Most Versatile Bike - If You Could Have Only One - What Would It Be?

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!
View Poll Results: Most Versatile Bike - If You Could Have Only One - What It Be?
General Mountain?
Cross Country Mountain?
Voters: 113. You may not vote on this poll

Most Versatile Bike - If You Could Have Only One - What Would It Be?

Old 07-01-20, 10:10 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: NJ
Posts: 17
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Most Versatile Bike - If You Could Have Only One - What Would It Be?

So you saw the title. Forget this N+1 stuff .

Whats the most versatile bike if you could have only one. What would it be?

Road bike?
Cyclocross bike?
Gravel bike?
General Mountain bike?
Cross country mountain bike?
Something else?

Tell me why.

Last edited by cango; 07-02-20 at 04:30 AM.
cango is offline  
Old 07-01-20, 10:39 PM
Senior Member
SalsaShark's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eastern Iowa
Posts: 527

Bikes: 2014 Trek Allant drop bar conversion, modified Schwinn MTN commuter, 2015 Trek 520, Soma ES, Salsa Journeyman

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 127 Post(s)
Liked 231 Times in 114 Posts
Other - Steel Touring
SalsaShark is offline  
Likes For SalsaShark:
Old 07-01-20, 11:06 PM
General Geoff
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Posts: 780

Bikes: 2018 Lynskey Cooper CX; 2007 Cannondale F4

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 368 Post(s)
Liked 146 Times in 64 Posts
Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
Other - Steel Touring
Bingo. For me it'd be a Co-Motion Divide w/Pinion gearbox and belt drive. One expensive bike though, starting at close to $7k new.
General Geoff is offline  
Likes For General Geoff:
Old 07-01-20, 11:23 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,276

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Allez Sprint Comp

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 773 Post(s)
Liked 281 Times in 198 Posts
I’d like a bike that could hang in a crit but still shred singletrack. The 3T exploro racemax would probably be it. I obviously wouldn’t be able to hit black diamond trails or DH parks but I don’t do that right now anyway.
smashndash is offline  
Likes For smashndash:
Old 07-01-20, 11:32 PM
Random Internet Person.
base2's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 1,709

Bikes: 5 good ones, and the occasional project.

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 874 Post(s)
Liked 483 Times in 296 Posts
Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
Other - Steel Touring
Yep. My Rolhoff Rodriguez does everything. Everything.

It is not a fast aero racing bike but the low 20's is enough for a flat land cruise.
It's not a mountain bike but pulling a 25% grades with 16 gear inches & single track switchbacks gets done.
Gravel centuries happen on it.
Trailering happens with it.
Air travel is a thing.
Logging roads are a thing.
Mountain passes are a thing.
Camping is a thing.
Terrible weather & mud are a thing.

None of my other bikes are as adept to general purpose, all condition, all weather, use as the steel touring "other."

I've come to appreciate just how rarely I really *need* to drive 350 watts at 32mph to justify the true "racing" bike I own. (That bike is a hoot, btw.) I'd rather just be a stronger rider regardless of speed.

The steel touring bike truley is: "The one bike to rule them all."

Last edited by base2; 07-01-20 at 11:36 PM.
base2 is offline  
Likes For base2:
Old 07-01-20, 11:34 PM
Senior Member
caloso's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 40,388

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Canyon Exceed, Specialized Transition, Ellsworth Roots, Ridley Excalibur

Mentioned: 67 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2748 Post(s)
Liked 2,502 Times in 1,159 Posts
CX bike. I’ve raced mine in the local MTB series, commuted, gravel rides, singletrack, and CX racing of course. It’s probably under geared for sprinting in a crit, but I don’t think I’d get dropped either.
caloso is offline  
Old 07-01-20, 11:43 PM
Senior Member
katsup's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,520

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter v1, 1989 Bianchi Tangent and Vintage Mountain Bikes

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 526 Post(s)
Liked 375 Times in 222 Posts
For us bike nerds = gravel / cx / touring bike or similar.
For the casual rider = rigid mountain bike.

I voted gravel as "general" mountain bike implies suspension.
katsup is offline  
Likes For katsup:
Old 07-01-20, 11:58 PM
A Roadie Forever
79pmooney's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,708

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3008 Post(s)
Liked 1,611 Times in 1,068 Posts
I voted "road" but only because I own the bike. My Peter Mooney. Built to: handle either 700c or 27" wheels with cantilevers set halfway between. Room to big tires and fenders. (Design requirement - rideable in Maine in winter on big 27" ties and fenders. In 1978, it was not clear which way wheels were going, 27" or 700c. And could I even get 700c in back country Maine? THis was 11 months after my head njury. The bike had a mission - to keep me sane, alive and out of institutions until my recovery journey was past.) I've put on 38c in front (could go larger) and 35c in back (and still could use the most forward position in the traditional horizontal road dropout and pull the wheel out, tire inflated) Triple with a close freewheel so I could run my old racing gearing when I was that strong and still go onto the mountains on the inner ring. The bike now runs fix gear. True mountain fix gear - 46 x 13, 42 x 17 and 36 x 21 or 42 x 16 and 17 for flat ground riding.

The bike has climbed Mt Diable, both light and touring. Done fast club rides on sew-ups. Ridden the Trask River Trail to the Oregon Coast. Been my ride for 50,000 miles. Many centuries. Ridden in snow. It is still going strong. I call the Mooney a road bike. A bike that can take anywhere there is a road. Paved, not paved, rain, snow ... Yes I do have to set it up for the conditions. But there is little it cannot do.

79pmooney is offline  
Likes For 79pmooney:
Old 07-02-20, 02:31 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Rīga, Latvia
Posts: 866

Bikes: Focus Crater Lake

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 381 Post(s)
Liked 316 Times in 193 Posts
Out of these, it has to be either gravel or hybrid. CX or XC MTB come close, but usually lack mounting points for racks and fenders for true versatility.

That said, the line between gravel and hybrid is rather blurry anyway as they all are in essence hybrids, just marketed to different people.
subgrade is offline  
Likes For subgrade:
Old 07-02-20, 02:57 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 601

Bikes: 2017 Co-op ADV 1.1; ~1991 Novara Arriba; 1990 Fuji Palisade; mid-90's Moots Tandem; 1985 Performance Superbe

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 252 Post(s)
Liked 348 Times in 204 Posts
I voted general mountain to represent fully rigid steel, 2” tire width, flat bar, wide gearing range.
flangehead is offline  
Likes For flangehead:
Old 07-02-20, 04:05 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2020
Location: The Algarve, Portugal
Posts: 208

Bikes: Wilier Zero.6 (2019), Trek Madone SLR 6 (2020), KTM Scarp Sonic (2019)

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 60 Post(s)
Liked 137 Times in 75 Posts
XC mountain as in my 29er XC MTB. It goes where gravel bikes cannot. Where I live, we have truly harsh rocky technical single track etc that is very demanding.

We also have a lot of gravel trails, the 29er is adept at that too, simply lock suspension to reduce energy losses.

The question is however a tough one. I chose my MTB simply because it can do everything and I'd not want to be restricted by a specialist bike if I was only permitted one.

My road bikes are my favourites, I prefer road overall. But not for touring, commuting - I am a speed merchant so my road bikes are suited to that pursuit.

I have never shared the joy many have with steel bikes, they are very much 'meh' for me. I own one! I raced on steel in the 80's/90's. Not for me now.

Gravel? Yep, very good, like CX, but the rocky terrain I take my MTB over is just too harsh without suspension. So my pick would have to be my carbon 9kg 29er full sus XC MTB with XTR in this instance. (Not downhill longer travel, heavier and unnecessary for me)
AlgarveCycling is offline  
Old 07-02-20, 04:14 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Valley Forge: Birthplace of Freedom
Posts: 1,062

Bikes: Novara Safari, CAAD9, WABI Classic, WABI Thunder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 294 Post(s)
Liked 293 Times in 155 Posts
Yeah, you need to add Touring to the list. During the Covid shutdown I sold my ss/fg and refurbed 80's steel road bike. Now I just have a Novara Safari steel touring bike left. Does road, gravel, commuting real well.
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
stevel610 is offline  
Old 07-02-20, 04:32 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: NJ
Posts: 17
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by stevel610 View Post
Yeah, you need to add Touring to the list. During the Covid shutdown I sold my ss/fg and refurbed 80's steel road bike. Now I just have a Novara Safari steel touring bike left. Does road, gravel, commuting real well.
I would except it appears that you can't edit polls once you put them in place.
cango is offline  
Likes For cango:
Old 07-02-20, 06:59 AM
Zip tie Karen
Phil_gretz's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 6,913

Bikes: '79 Peugeot PXN10LE, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite, '18 Velobuild VB-R-022, '21 Tsunami SNM-100

Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1405 Post(s)
Liked 1,406 Times in 750 Posts
Other - steel touring bike. You left that off of the survey. Why?
Phil_gretz is online now  
Likes For Phil_gretz:
Old 07-02-20, 07:20 AM
Senior Member
alcjphil's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 4,608
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1217 Post(s)
Liked 676 Times in 434 Posts
Another vote for a touring bike, seems they are the forgotten cousins of the bike world
alcjphil is offline  
Old 07-02-20, 07:22 AM
Senior Member
freeranger's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 2,106

Bikes: 06 Lemond Reno, 98 GT Timberline mtn.bike

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 273 Post(s)
Liked 418 Times in 267 Posts
As I enjoy riding singletrack, with rocks, roots, small drops, stream crossings and I also enjoy riding pavement, I'd be missing front susp. when off-road, or the efficiency of a road bike on pavement. Guess if I HAD to settle, maybe a hybrid with front susp (would probably switch out stock fork for a better quality one) and which would accept a larger tire. I started riding off-road on a rigid mtn.bike, but don't care to go that way again. Very glad I don't have to settle for just one type.
freeranger is offline  
Old 07-02-20, 07:38 AM
Kapusta's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,755
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2071 Post(s)
Liked 1,457 Times in 833 Posts
I assume “General Mountain” means a FS Trail/AM bike, so I voted for that.

Is it the most versatile? No, and definitely not the way I set it up. I’d probably drop nearly all my road and most of my gravel riding if that’s all I had.

But I’d rather kiss all that goodbye than to have to ditch the bike that brings me the most joy, even if it means riding bikes less.
Kapusta is offline  
Likes For Kapusta:
Old 07-02-20, 07:39 AM
Senior Member
GrainBrain's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Central Io-way
Posts: 2,073

Bikes: LeMond Zurich, Giant Talon 29er

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1061 Post(s)
Liked 356 Times in 265 Posts
Voted gravel because that's the way I went when I bought my new bike.

Close second would be my workhorse, my hard tail XC MTB 29er. I've been to the Rocky mountains with it, to local single track. It's my winter road bike, and the bike I use in the summer to pull the kid trailer. It still holds a couple of gravel PR's as well.
GrainBrain is offline  
Old 07-02-20, 07:49 AM
Cheerfully low end
ofajen's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,071
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 317 Post(s)
Liked 456 Times in 310 Posts
A couple of weeks ago, I was contemplating going from two to one, because I was going to give my Schwinn frame to my son, built up for him to ride on campus. But it’s a 25” frame and just a bit too tall to be right for him.

That would have left just my vintage MTB with sweptback “touring” bars which would be my choice. I have wheels with slicks and wheels with small knob tires. Hopefully that isn’t cheating.

ofajen is offline  
Old 07-02-20, 08:29 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,508
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 244 Post(s)
Liked 96 Times in 57 Posts
Had to go other since both my mtn bikes a hardtail and full squish have 140mm of travel and don't fit into cross country or general. My cross bike might be able to do everything but it isn't nearly as fun off road as a mtn bike and if I have to give up road or mtn bikeing it is pretty easy to say bye to road riding.
Canker is online now  
Old 07-02-20, 08:33 AM
Kapusta's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,755
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2071 Post(s)
Liked 1,457 Times in 833 Posts
Clarify "general mountain" and add "fatbike".
Kapusta is offline  
Old 07-02-20, 08:39 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 1,334

Bikes: 1999 Schwinn Peloton Ultegra 10, Kestrel RT-1000 Ultegra, Trek Marlin 6 Deore 29'er

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 501 Post(s)
Liked 1,004 Times in 538 Posts
A hard tail 29'er is pretty versatile with the right tires - urban, road, gravel, dirt, some single track.
CAT7RDR is offline  
Old 07-02-20, 09:45 AM
Mad bike riding scientist
cyccommute's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 24,468

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 126 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4381 Post(s)
Liked 1,916 Times in 1,153 Posts
If I could only have one, it would be a Specialized Epic FSR with a Brain shock on the rear and lockable front fork. It would allow me to have a very functional mountain bike for mountain bike riding and a serviceable rigid road bike. It doesn’t have much capability for carrying things and it is slow on the road but it does allow for both kinds of riding. In fact, I have one (of 2) at my daughter’s house for exactly that reason. It works on-road and it’s an excellent off-road bike.
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Likes For cyccommute:
Old 07-02-20, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,324 Times in 833 Posts
The one just inside the door.. now , rather elderly I'm liking the step through convenience of my Bike Friday..

So, A category? folding bike,, Brompton is the Best..


Last edited by fietsbob; 07-07-20 at 08:56 AM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 07-02-20, 11:40 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Tucson Az
Posts: 1,613

Bikes: 2015 Ridley Fenix, 1983 Team Fuji, 2019 Marin Nail Trail 6, and a few dust collectors

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 321 Post(s)
Liked 168 Times in 110 Posts
I suppose if I had to choose ONE bike to own, I'd go with a gravel bike something like a Canyon Grail. I've seen gravel bike handle easy single track just fine, and they seem to do fine on the road.

Fortunately, I don't have to make that choice, my two main bikes are a CF roadie, and an aluminum hardtail.
Wileyrat is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.