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MTB/Trail Riding Curious

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MTB/Trail Riding Curious

Old 05-10-20, 08:36 AM
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Attilio
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MTB/Trail Riding Curious

Hello. I am curious about easing my way into MTB but after having seen videos I don't know if it's for me. That said I find the trail riding attractive, what I mean is basically going on the same trails in the woods as I would normally hike/walk but just on a bike. This is because a lot of the parks are partially shut down, have limited parking or not allowed to park so local residents only can enter because they are accessble to bicycle and foot traffic only.

I could conceivably walk to a large number of parks but working from home I don't have quite that large a block of time to do so as it's quite a walk to get there, quite a walk back and not counting the biking. If I were to cycle to the park on the other hand I could ride around and then get back home in maybe only slightly more time it would take to drive, hike it, and drive back home.

What I do not like about MTB is not sitting on your seat, all the jumps, drops, stunts, balancing yourself. I am in good shape and close to my high school weight as of my early 40's but don't like all that sudden, high impact stuff. I would blow my knees and back out in a day of that. And the sudden impactful stuff is not for me just like I would never ride dirt bike or skateboard. Balancing is out of the question as well as I am a total klutz, one thing I have learned is not to rely on my coordination because if I haven't developed any by my 40's, I just won't. I am not trying to knock MTB, I just see my limitations as a huge barrier but at the same time I see some elements of it that may work for me and know the trails that I would want to explore and they don't look like the videos or races for MTB. Just like canoeing if the going gets too rough you would portage and carry the canoe around nasty rocks or rapids so would I in the rougher, steeper (up or down) or more rocky sections of the trails I plan on going.

Could I use a gravel/hybrid bike for the purpose like a Salsa Journeyman flat bar? Anyone have experience with a gravel/hybrid bike which is what the Mountain bikes used to be in the 80's and 90's before suspension, or a "vintage" (no suspension) Mountain Bike on hiking trails? I don't think I want to go down the rabbit hole of MTB just yet just asking if I could press a hybrid bike into trail riding or if I am looking at breaking stuff and should avoid the trails with my gravel bike.
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Old 05-10-20, 08:50 AM
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Ya know those online videos show the extremes for entertainment. If there are jumps and drops you can push or carry your bike or just go slower. Im slow so
in dont get much air. If in the future when things open up you want to ride more rootie single track get a mountain bike with from suspension. If on the other hand you want to ride more road get more like you state. Personally I want a full suspension mountain bike and a gravel bike I can put racks and fenders on as a doo it all.
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Old 05-10-20, 08:56 AM
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Is suspension necessary for trails or can you do it with a gravel bike if you are willing to push/carry the bike on the harder more "technical" sections? Reason I am asking is 30 years ago what constituted a "Mountain" bike lacked suspension and would now be considered a gravel or hybrid bike. The suspension part is what seems to delineate a "Mountain" bike. It is really necessary? Would I be beating on my gravel bike by riding it on hiking trails?
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Old 05-10-20, 09:35 AM
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Around here a lot of "hiking trails" are black diamond MTB trails and some are even red, so you can't really classify hiking trails as easy.

To ease into riding check out Trailforks or MTB Project. Start with purple and green trails. Purple is usually gravel roads, but sometimes can be rougher two-track keep trails and the like.

I ride at least a couple times a year on a '91 rigid MTB. I like the challenge. Riding the same trails on full suspension is definitely faster and requires less attention.

I also ride gravel on a road bike with 30mm tires a lot. Sometimes I take the XC hardtail on gravel. Last ride I did was a mix of blue green and black trails on the rigid plus bike. All fun.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 05-10-20 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 05-10-20, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
Is suspension necessary for trails or can you do it with a gravel bike if you are willing to push/carry the bike on the harder more "technical" sections? Reason I am asking is 30 years ago what constituted a "Mountain" bike lacked suspension and would now be considered a gravel or hybrid bike.
Well, only if the gravel or hybrid can take 2.2" tyres in my opinion. If not, I'd rather take the 90s MTB.

If underbiking and expecting a lot of hikeabike I make sure to put BMX flats on so I can wear trail runners. Even with walkable SPD shoes, scrambling over rocks isn't much fun.

Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
The suspension part is what seems to delineate a "Mountain" bike. It is really necessary? Would I be beating on my gravel bike by riding it on hiking trails?
Yeah, I'd totally ride a Journeyman on plenty of green MTB trails. Nothing is "necessary". Some bikes just help increase speed or maximize fun.

If you really like hitting the trails on it, you could investigate getting a 650b wheelset and see if you can go with wider tires. Then you could put that on for trails days, and keep the orig wheelset with skinnier tires for road/gravel days.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 05-10-20 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 05-10-20, 03:24 PM
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As was said, you can't go by the videos. Those are going to show the most extreme stuff, as it is more interesting to watch. It is like canoeing or kayaking: you can get a lifetime of enjoyment out of those activities without doing anything like you see in the extreme videos. For many folks, MTB is just riding their bike in the woods.

As far as using a gravel bike for singletrack... that might be doable, but it is going to be a lot harder. Getting a proper mountain bike will make it much less sketchy and easier. It takes a bit more skill and confidence to ride a gravel bike on single track than a proper MTB. Yes, 30 years ago many MTBs were about as capable than a flat bar Journeyman with the 650b wheels (you did not say what version you have), but 30 years ago MTB (even just XC riding) had a much more brutal learning curve than it does now. The fact that you are mentioning that you don't feel confident in your technical abilities and have little interest in getting beat up makes me think you will be MUCH happier on a MTB with at least front suspension. It will far more forgiving of mistakes, and beat you up much less. Think about it, there is a reason people use what they do for singletrack.



Like you said, just ride what you can and walk the sections that freak you out. Heck of a lot easier than a portage with a canoe. You will probably find that over time you just start riding more and more of it.
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Old 05-10-20, 04:46 PM
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Thanks for the very helpful replies. I am still learning the lingo but I get what being "underbiked" is a problem. I am just trying to get the same access to the places I loved to visit before that have more barriers now (literally, like those massive mobile water-filled portable jersey barriers at park entrances). I went down some expensive rabbit holes in my younger years but made sure to have a good savings rate first and only blew "play money". Now is not the time to get into a demanding, expensive, time consuming hobby as I have plenty of toys and things I already enjoy like indeed paddling and archery.


I think there is a decent chance sometime in the next few years I might probably buy a mountain bike with some suspension system as it just seems amazing to be able to bike the same trails I hike but in order to do this I'd have to try it. I don't want to push anything dangerous or needing fast reaction times. Agree, with paddling most videos show white water or 8 foot ocean waves in a force 8 gale. Most paddlers go out of their way to avoid situations like that just like I stay home in bad weather or avoid rapids.
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Old 05-10-20, 06:12 PM
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I bike a lot of the same trails I hike, and just find getting out in the woods with the bike to be so much fun. I'm lucky to have 100's of miles of trails 800 yards from my front door. If I want to challenge myself I'll go on a tough trail, or stay on an easy one if I'm not in the mood to push. If I end up walking a section that's fine to, I'm just out there having fun and that's what matters.
So I would say go for it and do what makes you feel comfortable and just have fun. Can't beat the fun that the woods have to offer.
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Old 05-10-20, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ZIPP2001 View Post
Can't beat the fun that the woods have to offer.
I would have put +100 until I took up paddling (add water) and visited the Southwest (add desert). Maybe add Mountains too as I love New Hampshire as well. But yes, nature.

One thing I must urge everyone here, as it seems most people on this forum are American, is to be thankful we're in the USA as the lockdowns in most of the rest of the world are quite draconian. Think your or our governor is annoying with all of his and her *****y executive orders? Be grateful for our constitution, as most countries with a stroke of a pen can and have suspended theirs. I have friends and family in Western Europe and it's basically like prison over there. Between some government benevolence, increased unemployment benefits and having a love for the outdoors, many people in the USA don't have to give up so much as a whole, at least not yet. Whatever we've lost we've been able to more or less replace with time for all our outdoors pursuits. Be thankful you're not stuck in an apartment unable to leave, having to log every time you set out the door to go to the supermarket, or fill prescriptions, or get fuel for your car or "buy essential goods".
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Old 05-10-20, 10:45 PM
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OMG this was a P&R troll thread?

Pffft.

Lame.
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Old 05-11-20, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
OMG this was a P&R troll thread?

Pffft.

Lame.

Jesus you're touchy! No P&R here, just gratitude. I have family and friends in Italy, Spain and France who cannot leave the house and have been essentially imprisoned for about 2 months. Over the weekend my grandmother over there even told us off and not to go because it's like prison over there whereas here I am trying to plot and scheme how to enjoy the forest, woods and trails more. For this I am very grateful, it's not P&R, it's my European friends and family all telling me how they basically are in jail right now. And here in the USA we are complaining of this and that and staging protests to reopen or not when most of the rest of the world is basically IN JAIL! And for that reason I am very, very, very, very grateful that I can still enjoy nature and am about to leave the house now and go on a bike ride.

I do appreciate your good advice in previous posts and will take it to heart. I will try to sample this as inexpensively as possible some local shop offer rentals and group rides which are at a standstill right now and they did invite me on some MTB excursions over the easier trails which I will take them up once things get back to normal.

Last edited by Attilio; 05-11-20 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 05-11-20, 05:38 AM
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Not often that an OP derails his own thread.
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Old 05-11-20, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
Jesus you're touchy! No P&R here, just gratitude.

I do appreciate your good advice in previous posts and will take it to heart. I will try to sample this as inexpensively as possible some local shop offer rentals and group rides which are at a standstill right now and they did invite me on some MTB excursions over the easier trails which I will take them up once things get back to normal.
Hi, perhaps it's best if you just started another thread if your questions have not been fully met yet, this thread is kind of ruined and unsalvageable now.
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