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Bike Choice Dilemma

Old 09-27-20, 09:00 AM
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Bike Choice Dilemma

If I had my druthers I would be living with a trailhead outside my front (back) door. Unfortunately, since moving, I have zero access to trails unless I want to drive 30 miles, which goes against my grain. I don't mind a 10 mile ride and then a trail and then a 10 mile ride home (all on the bike). I also enjoy jumping on my old Giant road bike and hitting the road for a day trip. But now I want a bike that gives me both road and trail enjoyment. Riding my old MTB on the road is like riding a tank. And riding the road bike on trails is not happening. What is a good compromise? And can we keep it under $2K? Does anyone own a Motobecane Phantom 2.5? If so, what do you like or dislike about it? Thanks in advance for all comments and/or suggestions.
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Old 09-27-20, 07:02 PM
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Did you mean the Fantom 2.5? https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...b-275.htmLooks like a decent bike, and i have had good experiences with BikesDirect .... but that bike won't fulfill your dream of a bike which works equally well on the road and the trails.

Really, no bike will. Yo9u need knobs in dirt and the hurt you on the road. You need width on dirt and it is just weight and dragon pavement.

You could compromise with skinny tires with a center slick strip .... the Fantom has 2.5" tires ((62.5 mm) but you might be able to make it work with 1.9 (45 mm.) Or you could keep tires in a knapsack and swap at the trailhead.

Basically if you want a car-plane or an amphibious car---drive to the lake and drive right in! Amphicar!---you are going to have a lousy plane or boat, and not a very good car. So, do you want to enjoy the ride to the trails or the ride on the trails?

No matter which bike you buy, the trails will still be 30 miles away, right? I cannot think of Any bike which would be a good ride for 30 miles on pavement and worth anything on singletrack unless you pretty much wanted to go bog-slow on the trails. Fire roads, double track ,.... sore get a good gravel bike .... but real MTB riding? I don't see it.
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Old 09-27-20, 07:46 PM
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Motobecane went defunct in the early 80s. Anyone using that name is probably trying to trick you into thinking it might have some of that old French quality.

In terms of a do it all bike it really doesn't exist. As Maelochs said it will be good for one or the other but not great for both. A gravel bike is certainly awesome but will probably not be great for mountain biking and while ok on the roads won't be as fast and efficient as a proper road bike. It sounds like you need at least two different bikes. Though you might also need to do some trail building close to home and that will also help solve your dilemma.

While it won't be efficient on the road you could look at a proper electric mountain bike. It will blow your budget completely (unless you buy crap) but something like the Specialized Levo SL might be just the ticket. The motor can help on the road and the bike itself is light enough to ride as a regular mountain bike when you get to the trail head.
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Old 09-27-20, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Did you mean the Fantom 2.5? https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...b-275.htmLooks like a decent bike, and i have had good experiences with BikesDirect .... but that bike won't fulfill your dream of a bike which works equally well on the road and the trails.

Really, no bike will. Yo9u need knobs in dirt and the hurt you on the road. You need width on dirt and it is just weight and dragon pavement.

You could compromise with skinny tires with a center slick strip .... the Fantom has 2.5" tires ((62.5 mm) but you might be able to make it work with 1.9 (45 mm.) Or you could keep tires in a knapsack and swap at the trailhead.

Basically if you want a car-plane or an amphibious car---drive to the lake and drive right in! Amphicar!---you are going to have a lousy plane or boat, and not a very good car. So, do you want to enjoy the ride to the trails or the ride on the trails?

No matter which bike you buy, the trails will still be 30 miles away, right? I cannot think of Any bike which would be a good ride for 30 miles on pavement and worth anything on singletrack unless you pretty much wanted to go bog-slow on the trails. Fire roads, double track ,.... sore get a good gravel bike .... but real MTB riding? I don't see it.
Yeah, that's the one that seems to come closest. Even though it has big tires it also has taller gears than most XC or trail bikes. I already upped the front chain rings on my MTB so they're almost the same ratio as the road bike, but with full suspension it's still too heavy. I average 15MPH on the MTB while averaging 20MPH on the road bike, plus with the drop bars on the road bike I am much less affected by headwinds because I'm not so upright. But you're right, the trails are still 30 miles away, and then they're not even that good of a trail system because they were built for ATVs. Thanks for the input.
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Old 09-27-20, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Motobecane went defunct in the early 80s. Anyone using that name is probably trying to trick you into thinking it might have some of that old French quality.

In terms of a do it all bike it really doesn't exist. As Maelochs said it will be good for one or the other but not great for both. A gravel bike is certainly awesome but will probably not be great for mountain biking and while ok on the roads won't be as fast and efficient as a proper road bike. It sounds like you need at least two different bikes. Though you might also need to do some trail building close to home and that will also help solve your dilemma.

While it won't be efficient on the road you could look at a proper electric mountain bike. It will blow your budget completely (unless you buy crap) but something like the Specialized Levo SL might be just the ticket. The motor can help on the road and the bike itself is light enough to ride as a regular mountain bike when you get to the trail head.
Building trails close to home sounds like a good idea, or moving to the city and just cruising streets would even be better than riding non-existent shoulders on a busy hiway. The wife told me to buy a decent road bike (Giant was a rebuild find) and if/when we move if there are trails there, get a MTB. She's obviously the smart one between the 2 of us. Still, I like building trails. Thanks for the input.
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Old 09-27-20, 08:42 PM
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Old 09-27-20, 09:01 PM
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Why not investigate getting a used gravel bike? My neighbor has one and regularly does 70 mile combination trail and road rides. Even does some light mtn biking with it.
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Old 09-27-20, 09:04 PM
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The simple solution to this really bad situation is to buy a second home near the trails. This way you can spend your weekends, holidays and vacation near the trails you love and get your city fix the rest of the year.
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Old 09-28-20, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Why not investigate getting a used gravel bike? My neighbor has one and regularly does 70 mile combination trail and road rides. Even does some light mtn biking with it.
I'm still considering that option, but haven't found a gravel bike even close to what I like. Maybe I'm just chasing a pipe dream here...
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Old 09-28-20, 11:46 AM
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I have a gravel bike with a second set of DT Swiss ER 1600 wheels onto which I've mounted 700x32 GP5000 tires. I like it so much I retired my dedicated road bike. The 32s will handle most trails and perform well on roads. I do a fair amount of mixed paved and dirt roads in the Berkshires and have not even resorted to using the original wheelset. Unless you are a featherweight or racing I doubt you'll notice the extra weight of the tires.

Or if your existing road bike will clear wider tires and the wheelset is suitable just try wider tires.
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Old 09-28-20, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
I'm still considering that option, but haven't found a gravel bike even close to what I like. Maybe I'm just chasing a pipe dream here...
You might consider rebuilding an old road bike and get close to what you want. Im working on a old steel Peugeot road bike converting it for light trails, wheels, tires and gears. Tire clearance is my biggest issue, I think we can get away with 28s.

You have your other two priorities covered with your current bikes.
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Old 09-28-20, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pennstater View Post
I have a gravel bike with a second set of DT Swiss ER 1600 wheels onto which I've mounted 700x32 GP5000 tires. I like it so much I retired my dedicated road bike. The 32s will handle most trails and perform well on roads. I do a fair amount of mixed paved and dirt roads in the Berkshires and have not even resorted to using the original wheelset. Unless you are a featherweight or racing I doubt you'll notice the extra weight of the tires.

Or if your existing road bike will clear wider tires and the wheelset is suitable just try wider tires.
I'm actually considering just that and sticking more to hiking trails instead of MTB trails, Now if I can just find some hiking trails around here...
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Old 09-30-20, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Motobecane went defunct in the early 80s. Anyone using that name is probably trying to trick you into thinking it might have some of that old French quality.
Motobecane, like many other brands from the 80s, is no longer its own brand. It is owned by BikesDirect. They may not have the cachet of the original French brand, but they're not bad bikes.
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Old 09-30-20, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Motobecane, like many other brands from the 80s, is no longer its own brand. It is owned by BikesDirect. They may not have the cachet of the original French brand, but they're not bad bikes.
We had a couple of semi-fat tire Motobecanes for trail patrols and I found the quality to be top notch and we abused the hell out of them. Between 60 plus pounds of gear and a lot of hard riding they stood up really well, so I'm definitely not put off by the low prices or ownership of Bikes Direct. Thanks for that comment.
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Old 09-30-20, 10:11 AM
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I had a BikesDirect bike for a while and it was totally fine, exactly what I needed in a super discounted price. I wouldn't have any concerns about buying another one. As long as you know what you're looking for and are OK doing setup/adjustments on your own (or paying an LBS to do this) there should be no problem.

As far as type of bike for this purpose, it really depends on the types of trails. You can definitely ride easier, less technical singletrack trails on a gravel or CX style bike with 40-45mm tires. This setup will still be pretty fast on pavement and give you some off-road capability. It isn't a replacement for a 100mm travel fork and 2.5 inch tires though, so it definitely depends on how technical and what type of riding you're talking about.

Something like the Motobecane Gravel X3 would be much lighter and more efficient on-road than the Fantom 2.5 MTB, but with narrower tires and no suspension it would be less capable on rough/technical singletrack. It says it fits up to 40mm tires, but probably fits a little wider:
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...avel-bikes.htm
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Old 09-30-20, 10:20 AM
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If you have to have one bike for both, I would approach it by looking at the minimum you need for the trails you're going to ride. If the trails are relatively smooth and not all muddy, you can get by with tires that won't be much of a drag on pavement.

If whatever that minimum is for your trails is no good for the road, then you're chasing a unicorn.
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Old 09-30-20, 10:25 AM
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While 30 miles is pretty far, just drive to the trails. When I was younger everything started from my driveway, I was only riding road, but I was proud that I could go anywhere from my house. As I got older, and started to ride trails, it was not that important anymore. I'll even drive my road bike to a starting point.

For me the key is whether the trail, or ride, is worth the drive. If the trails are not very good, or too short, then it may not be worth it. But if they are exactly what you like, then put together an easy way to load and unload the bike and enjoy it.

John
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Old 09-30-20, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I had a BikesDirect bike for a while and it was totally fine, exactly what I needed in a super discounted price. I wouldn't have any concerns about buying another one. As long as you know what you're looking for and are OK doing setup/adjustments on your own (or paying an LBS to do this) there should be no problem.

As far as type of bike for this purpose, it really depends on the types of trails. You can definitely ride easier, less technical singletrack trails on a gravel or CX style bike with 40-45mm tires. This setup will still be pretty fast on pavement and give you some off-road capability. It isn't a replacement for a 100mm travel fork and 2.5 inch tires though, so it definitely depends on how technical and what type of riding you're talking about.

Something like the Motobecane Gravel X3 would be much lighter and more efficient on-road than the Fantom 2.5 MTB, but with narrower tires and no suspension it would be less capable on rough/technical singletrack. It says it fits up to 40mm tires, but probably fits a little wider:
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...avel-bikes.htm
That's actually a pretty good option except for lacking a front suspension which will kill me on the type of trails I ride. I like the drop bars, hyd disk brakes, and overall gearing, which is tall enough for road riding even if I have to walk up a few steeper hills with it. I have a friend with an old mountain bike with no suspension, maybe I can borrow it and see if going without it will work or not. I'll definitely have to haul it somewhere to ride though cause his bike is geared way too low for cruising haha. Thanks for the input.
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Old 09-30-20, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
While 30 miles is pretty far, just drive to the trails. When I was younger everything started from my driveway, I was only riding road, but I was proud that I could go anywhere from my house. As I got older, and started to ride trails, it was not that important anymore. I'll even drive my road bike to a starting point.

For me the key is whether the trail, or ride, is worth the drive. If the trails are not very good, or too short, then it may not be worth it. But if they are exactly what you like, then put together an easy way to load and unload the bike and enjoy it.

John
I guess I've been spoiled and am having a hard time justifying hauling a bike somewhere to ride for a couple hours unless I'm on vaca and taking it with. But I appreciate your input and like the idea of exploring new trail systems that way and ultimately, that might be my best option.
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Old 10-01-20, 07:03 AM
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I too hate to drive to ride, but the nearest MTB trails are so far from where I live---45 miles---that I have no choice. I have some decent riding roads around here but if I move to somewhere lacking good riding roads, (must compromise with the wife sometimes) I will do the same---drive to ride.

Not what I want to do, but if I have no other way to do what I want to do overall (ride good roads or trails) then I will compromise.
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Old 10-01-20, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
If I had my druthers I would be living with a trailhead outside my front (back) door. Unfortunately, since moving, I have zero access to trails unless I want to drive 30 miles, which goes against my grain. I don't mind a 10 mile ride and then a trail and then a 10 mile ride home (all on the bike). I also enjoy jumping on my old Giant road bike and hitting the road for a day trip. But now I want a bike that gives me both road and trail enjoyment. Riding my old MTB on the road is like riding a tank. And riding the road bike on trails is not happening. What is a good compromise? And can we keep it under $2K? Does anyone own a Motobecane Phantom 2.5? If so, what do you like or dislike about it? Thanks in advance for all comments and/or suggestions.

I think your best bet, would be to find yourself a capable flat bar grabel bike, or some sort of mountain oriented frame, preferably with 26" rims, and have two sets of rims. One for the road, one for trail riding. Slap on a suspension seatpost for added comfort, and you'll have a bike which can easily do both without any sort of compromises.
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Old 10-01-20, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
I think your best bet, would be to find yourself a capable flat bar grabel bike, or some sort of mountain oriented frame, preferably with 26" rims, and have two sets of rims. One for the road, one for trail riding. Slap on a suspension seatpost for added comfort, and you'll have a bike which can easily do both without any sort of compromises.
You missed the point I think. I have a road bike and a MTB now but I'm not going to pack the MTB on the back of the road bike till I reach the trails and then flip the road bike onto the MTB just like I'm not going to pack a set of wheels. I think I'm stuck doing what Maelochs does and that is to transport my MTB to the trailhead for my mountain ride fix. In the meantime, I'll put my time in on the roadbike for exercise. It's all good, was just wondering if maybe someone had come up with something I wasn't aware of to solve this dilemma. Thanks for the input.
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