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Upright seating position that can handle light MTB trails

Old 08-10-14, 07:14 PM
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grizzy
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Upright seating position that can handle light MTB trails

Obviously there's no bike that can do it all. Here's the breakdown of how I plan to use it:

50% flat paved suburban trails for exercise
35% those same paved trails but with a 2yo on the back (Topeak child seat quick release...and one day moving to a trailer)
15% light singletracks in flat Florida

OK, now here are my needs & specifics:

I have a herniated disc so PRIORITY #1 is an upright position.
Under $600ish
Must be able to fit my Topeak child seat and must be able to then pull a trailer (when our 2yo outgrows the seat)
I'm 5' 11.5" and weigh 188 lbs.
Not looking set speed records on the road but don't want to get passed by everyone either.
Light trails (greens and blues). No crazy jumps or downhills.

Here are two youtube vids of the MTB trails I'm my area that I'm talking about:

Mountain Bike Park Tampa Florida Morris Bridge Road Main Exit Trail - YouTube

This one is more advanced but would only be doing the trails up to the 6:00 minute mark of the video

Alafia River State Park - Mountain Biking in Florida - YouTube


Now on to the bikes. Only been to one LBS so far and really liked the fit/feel of the Raleigh Venture Raleigh Bicycles - Venture 3.0

Also, looking at all the other usual suspects, I came across the Giant Sedona DX Sedona DX (2015) | Giant Bicycles | United States

So, any insight on those, or any other upright bikes that can fill my needs? Obviously it's the desire to do some light trails that make my search a little harder so what components/build do I need to look for to handle those trails.

Remember, leaning further forward isn't really an option for my back. Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 08-11-14, 07:49 AM
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I'm a big fan of TREK bikes. For mostly paved trails, there's the TREK FX series. For dirt trails, there's the TREK DS series.

There is also the TREK VERVE, more of a 'comfort hybrid'. The first two are 'performance hybrids'.

Whichever bike you choose, just remember that the stem and/or handlebar can be changed for even more upright ride.

Last edited by dadman50; 08-11-14 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 08-11-14, 09:12 AM
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It is probably better to buy two bikes than one bike that's not going to be great at either application. 85% if the time you will be on paved trails, I'd probably go with a hybrid bike or comfort style bike like you have on your list.

If you want to go on MTBs maybe just buy a entry level MTB. For $800 you can get two bikes that should suit your purposes. Or buy a hybrid and then keep any eye on Craig's list for a MTB.

I think if you are set on using a bike for all purposes, just buy at MTB and an extra set of wheels and tires. Get a MTB with lockout on the suspension fork so you can lock them for paved paths. Have one set of wheels with heavy MTB treads, another with 1.5" semi slicks for riding on paved trails. That way you could buy a MTB and and extra set of wheels/tires for around $600, you have all purposes covered and you can just slap the off road tires on when you want to hit the MTB trails.

I don't generally recommend any hybrid bike for MTB trail riding unless it is a very mild trail.
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Old 08-11-14, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mcrow View Post

I don't generally recommend any hybrid bike for MTB trail riding unless it is a very mild trail.
I agree with mcrow. I have an older Trek 750 hybrid and tried swapping out with bigger tires that would handle off-road single-track rides. I was continually fighting flat tires, and the bike just didn't feel right on the trails. I would recommend a nice Hybrid for the majority of your riding, and then as mcrow suggests, keep an eye out for a good used MTB.
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Old 08-11-14, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 1Treky View Post
I agree with mcrow. I have an older Trek 750 hybrid and tried swapping out with bigger tires that would handle off-road single-track rides. I was continually fighting flat tires, and the bike just didn't feel right on the trails. I would recommend a nice Hybrid for the majority of your riding, and then as mcrow suggests, keep an eye out for a good used MTB.
Hybrids are excellent utility bikes but nothing does MTB trails right but a MTB. Hybrid wheels and suspension forks are not made for that sort of work.

Hybrids should stay on paved paths or gravel/crushed stone type of paths. On a true MTB trail you are likely to have hop over stumps, roots, rock and you may have jumps and that's not something I'd trust to a hybrid.
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Old 08-11-14, 10:19 AM
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Trek 3 Series mountian bikes are quite upright. My BIL has one and it's a marked difference from my 2001 Hardrock, which has the bars more or less level with the seat.
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Old 08-11-14, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by mcrow View Post
Hybrids are excellent utility bikes but nothing does MTB trails right but a MTB. Hybrid wheels and suspension forks are not made for that sort of work.

Hybrids should stay on paved paths or gravel/crushed stone type of paths. On a true MTB trail you are likely to have hop over stumps, roots, rock and you may have jumps and that's not something I'd trust to a hybrid.
In general, sound advice. 29ers can take MTB singletrack with the appropriate tires.
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Old 08-11-14, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
In general, sound advice. 29ers can take MTB singletrack with the appropriate tires.
Yeah, might be OK for some mild stuff if tires are right and inflated properly but I'd still be a little worried about busting up a rim.
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Old 08-11-14, 12:21 PM
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If you want to ride technical singletrack, a dedicated MTB does well, no question. But 29ers and hybrids can handle the other stuff.
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Old 08-11-14, 01:11 PM
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Welcome. Visit some more LBS. Oliver's is just across the street from Flatwoods.
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Old 08-11-14, 01:18 PM
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Wow...so much good info in here. Thanks everyone!

I like the idea of picking up a used MTB on craigslist if I get more interested in the local trails.

Now the problem is every Hybrid I test ride (the Raleigh Route 3.0 & 4.0, the Raleigh Venture 3.0, the Giant Sedona DX, and the Cannondale Adventure 4) all feel and ride great. I'm coming from a cheap 10 yo hand me down MTB from Sports Authority that has me leaning way forward. All these nicer bikes feel like butter!

I'm heading to a couple more LBS...one that specializes in Trek's and one that specializes in Specialized (that was funny to type). I need more options to cloud my judgement more!
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Old 08-11-14, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
If you want to ride technical singletrack, a dedicated MTB does well, no question. But 29ers and hybrids can handle the other stuff.
700x35C to 40C isn't a 29er.

If it is a 29er it is a MTB, they are close to the same thing but you can't use the same tubes and 29ers are normally about 2 ich wide tires.

Most hybrids us 700 x 35,38,40 because they offer less rolling resistance than 29er or other MTB sizes but can still handle gravel and crushed stone or hard packed dirt. So, if your trail is more or less hard packed and isn't going to require a lot of jumps or obsticles then maybe a hybrid would work but I wouldn't go out there full steam ahead like you could on a MTB. You'd have to ride pretty cautiously on most trails and that takes the fun of MTBing, IMO.
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Old 08-11-14, 01:25 PM
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grizzy
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
In general, sound advice. 29ers can take MTB singletrack with the appropriate tires.
Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
If you want to ride technical singletrack, a dedicated MTB does well, no question. But 29ers and hybrids can handle the other stuff.
I'm a bit of a newb...29er? Is this in reference to the tires? Any example of what I should be looking at?

Originally Posted by linnefaulk View Post
Welcome. Visit some more LBS. Oliver's is just across the street from Flatwoods.
Thanks linnefaulk .
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Old 08-11-14, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by grizzy View Post
I'm a bit of a newb...29er? Is this in reference to the tires? Any example of what I should be looking at?



Thanks linnefaulk .
A 29er like the Marin Muirwoods 29er has wide tires - wider than the typical road bike. Mine has 700 X 42 tires but it can accept 700 X 52 balloon tires.
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Old 08-11-14, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by grizzy View Post
Wow...so much good info in here. Thanks everyone!

I like the idea of picking up a used MTB on craigslist if I get more interested in the local trails.

Now the problem is every Hybrid I test ride (the Raleigh Route 3.0 & 4.0, the Raleigh Venture 3.0, the Giant Sedona DX, and the Cannondale Adventure 4) all feel and ride great. I'm coming from a cheap 10 yo hand me down MTB from Sports Authority that has me leaning way forward. All these nicer bikes feel like butter!

I'm heading to a couple more LBS...one that specializes in Trek's and one that specializes in Specialized (that was funny to type). I need more options to cloud my judgement more!
The Specialized Cross trail is a really nice bike, Raleigh Misceo are cool as well. Trek DS is cool.

There are so many hybrids out there it is hard to recommend just one.

Also, they range from Comfort (less sporty) all they way up to road bike with a flat bar. So there is awide range of hybrids out there.

The first ones you mention are more on the comfort line, in that they have wider tires, more upright and have cushy seats...ect. They tend to be heavier and slower but ride very nice. The once I mention are lighter, faster bikes and some of them are perfectly capable of being great on most any trail other than a MTB trail.

You can ride comfort bike on same trails as the more sporty bikes but they are heavier and more clunky and may not be as good to pedal standing up (depending on how you set it up) so climbing with them can be a chore. So, you have to balance what is more important, comfort, speed, climbing, weight...ect.

That's why it's best to get out there and test ride as many as you can, then you'll know if you like something more on the comfort bike side or more on the sporty side.
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Old 08-11-14, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
A 29er like the Marin Muirwoods 29er has wide tires - wider than the typical road bike. Mine has 700 X 42 tires but it can accept 700 X 52 balloon tires.
1.5-6" tires are not that wide if you are talking about MTB trails, though many hybrid frames will allow you to use wider tires if you want to.
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Old 08-11-14, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by grizzy View Post
I'm a bit of a newb...29er? Is this in reference to the tires? Any example of what I should be looking at?



Thanks linnefaulk .
The vast majority of hybrids will either be 26" or 700x38C or there abouts. 29er is more of a mountaint bike thing because they offer easier rolling over obsticles and are a little quicker on the flats. Other than that there's really not much difference. OTOH, 26" wheels tend to be a little more stout and more nimble. So there is give and take depending on what your preference is for the wheel.

Also, 29ers make fitting bikes for taller riders easier where 26" makes it easier for fitting smaller riders. Though, depending on how the frame is made it might not make a difference. Really, IMO, the on thing to worry about is the tire/rim width if you are riding MTB trails. Wider tires will absorb more impacts, give you more grip and be stronger in general. They also weigh more and are not required if you will mostly ride on paved roads or gravel/crushed stone. Though, if the gravel/stone is loose you probably don't want to go lower than 35C or so and probably want wider than that if you are heavier.

Last edited by mcrow; 08-11-14 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 08-11-14, 02:18 PM
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Ill just say if the front tire is lightly loaded it may not bite into corner berms as well as if you were putting weight on it..

but I assume you will be riding rather sedate paced and just enjoying the country side.. .


A Trek Pure is a crank forward bike , casual upright and comfy.. to put a triple on those, Its a place where the Sram Dual drive rear hub would be great ..

Internal 3 speed replaces the triple crank functionally .. + 8 speed cassette on the right end still ..

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Old 08-11-14, 02:30 PM
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I have a Specialized Crosstrail. In their ads, they state, "the only hybrid that can handle single track". Well that might be a stretch. But the frame is very much more "MTB" than urban or street oriented hybrid. Even though this came with 700x45 tires, they just aren't enough for true single track where I ride here in PA with lots of rocks to go over. You need a beefier tire for that. But I have gone off road and it handled it very well. I just knew my limits. Also most hybrid tires just don't have the needed traction for true single track. And one last thing, most you will find the gearing on hybrids might not have the lowest gears you'd want on a true MTB. But I must say I've been very happy with the Crosstrail. On packed gravel rails2trails it rolls very nice. I ended up buying a 29'er for true single track stuff.
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Old 08-11-14, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by quattroG View Post
I have a Specialized Crosstrail. In their ads, they state, "the only hybrid that can handle single track". Well that might be a stretch. But the frame is very much more "MTB" than urban or street oriented hybrid. Even though this came with 700x45 tires, they just aren't enough for true single track where I ride here in PA with lots of rocks to go over. You need a beefier tire for that. But I have gone off road and it handled it very well. I just knew my limits. Also most hybrid tires just don't have the needed traction for true single track. And one last thing, most you will find the gearing on hybrids might not have the lowest gears you'd want on a true MTB. But I must say I've been very happy with the Crosstrail. On packed gravel rails2trails it rolls very nice. I ended up buying a 29'er for true single track stuff.
I think there may be some element of truth to the "only hybrid that can handle single track" statement from Specialized, as long as it's a mild single-track. I would take the Crosstrail to places I wouldn't ride a road bike, or even a road-oriented hybrid such as the Sirrus, for that matter. It makes me wonder if the Crosstrail should actually be marketed as a utility bike, but then that could sacrifice some of their market share for recreational riders. The Crosstrail is the best suited for what it does: Jack of all trades, master of none; but it does reasonably well with most jobs given to it.
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Old 08-11-14, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by quattroG View Post
I have a Specialized Crosstrail. In their ads, they state, "the only hybrid that can handle single track". Well that might be a stretch. But the frame is very much more "MTB" than urban or street oriented hybrid. Even though this came with 700x45 tires, they just aren't enough for true single track where I ride here in PA with lots of rocks to go over. You need a beefier tire for that. But I have gone off road and it handled it very well. I just knew my limits. Also most hybrid tires just don't have the needed traction for true single track. And one last thing, most you will find the gearing on hybrids might not have the lowest gears you'd want on a true MTB. But I must say I've been very happy with the Crosstrail. On packed gravel rails2trails it rolls very nice. I ended up buying a 29'er for true single track stuff.
Could I switch out the handlebars on the Crosstrail to get me a bit more upright?

If so can anyone point me towards some I should be looking at so I could see what that would do to the price, and to see what they look like.

Thanks!
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Old 08-11-14, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mcrow View Post
1.5-6" tires are not that wide if you are talking about MTB trails, though many hybrid frames will allow you to use wider tires if you want to.
Exactly! People want 2 bikes in 1 so if they have the itch to hit the trails, they can mount on wider tires if they want. They don't have to choose between having two bikes.
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Old 08-11-14, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by grizzy View Post
Could I switch out the handlebars on the Crosstrail to get me a bit more upright?

If so can anyone point me towards some I should be looking at so I could see what that would do to the price, and to see what they look like.

Thanks!
Wald cruisers bars are steel, USA made and for the price look classy! I bought Wald 896# cruiser bars to give my Marin Muirwoods 29er more of an upright riding position and city bike feel. I've been quite happy with it.
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Old 08-11-14, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by grizzy View Post
Could I switch out the handlebars on the Crosstrail to get me a bit more upright?

Thanks!
You could also change out the stem. There are adjustable height stems that would allow you to tweak the height of the handlebars.
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