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Mountain or Hybrid for my needs?

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Mountain or Hybrid for my needs?

Old 05-25-14, 05:25 PM
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Mountain or dual-sport for my needs?

I have recently gotten back into riding after many years away. I borrowed a friend's dualsport and have been enjoying it, however, I am unsure what bike to buy for my needs.

My riding is 75/25 road/trails. And when I say trails I mean hard-packed dirt with a couple rocks here and there, maybe a few roots as well, maybe a little mud. The roads and paved trails in my town aren't the smoothest.

The question is: do I get a ds or a mountain bike with some more road oriented tires?

I've read a lot that the hybrid/ds bikes are decent on-road and off, but very good at neither. Any input?\

edit: one of the reasons I am considering a mountain bike is that I have enjoyed what I've done offroad so far and plan on exploring it more.

edit2: bikes I've been eyeing in no particular order are Trek 8.5DS, Trek Superfly series, Trek Stache series, KHS Tucson among others.

Last edited by goobernaculum; 05-25-14 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 05-26-14, 10:07 AM
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If you plan on expanding how much riding you do on trails, consider getting a hardtail mountain bike and a set of slick tires. The other possibility, particularly if that 75% of the time on the road is going to be long distance or high speed, is to consider a cyclocross bike, which can handle light trails and will be much faster on the road than a hybrid or a mountain bike.
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Old 05-26-14, 01:57 PM
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I've ridden hybrids, road bikes, mountain bikes, a cruiser, 24 inch wheel BMX and banana seat bicycles in the 1970's (lol).

Even though I bought the parts to build a touring bike, I realized later on that if I had to do it again, I would have built a cyclocross after all. (This is based on my research though, I haven't tried a cyclocross or touring bike yet.)

I also bought parts to complete a mountain bike. Neither projects are completed but I mean if I had my choice of two bikes, I'd be leaning on the idea of having one mountain bike with 26 inch wheels (I'm 5'8" or 173cm) and a cyclocross commuter like the Trek CrossRip. [I'd replace the shifter/levers (brifters) with Shimano Ultegra 8 speed bar-end shifters sold at chainreactioncycles and put them on friction mode.]

EDIT: And according to various messages I've read, I think I'd go either 700x42 or 40cc or 26x1.75 semi-slicks for the tires.

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Old 06-18-14, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ****ernaculum View Post
edit: one of the reasons I am considering a mountain bike is that I have enjoyed what I've done offroad so far and plan on exploring it more.
I agree with the suggestion of strongly considering a hardtail MTB. I was in a similar quandary--in my case I wanted something other than my road bike for sort of all-purpose riding: a little fire road, riding with my kid, errands, goofing around in general. I thought a hybrid would make sense, but I'm glad my LBS talked me into getting a hardtail MTB. Even on an easy fire road, there's no comparison to how it behaves compared to a hybrid IMHO, at least the ones I've ridden. It's MUCH more fun, for starters, you have way more control, etc. (Now, I've really gone to the dark side and am totally hooked on trail riding--haven't ridden my road bike in ages). If you're thinking of getting even a little bit more into off-road riding, seriously think about a hardtail MTB. Also, I made a point of getting one with a lock-out, which does help when you're on the road.
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Old 06-18-14, 11:55 AM
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My recent experience with a Trek 7.2fx suggests that hybrids are not very well suited to anything off-road beyond the most manicured of trails. They're certainly capable of a lot more but at the expense of a lot of comfort and speed. I think that the off-road capability of hybrids without suspension forks tends to be overstated on these forums. This is of course coming from someone with limited experience, but I have noticed a distinct difference in comfort between my 7.2fx and even an old suspensionless 90s MTB on what I would have thought was very undemanding terrain. I expect this difference would be more pronounced with a modern hard-tail with suspension forks.

That said, a hybrid with suspension forks (such as the type you've been looking at) might be a lot better than a suspension-less 7.2fx. As you've experience of one on the conditions you'll be riding you're in a good position to judge for yourself if the comfort etc is satisfactory to you. Of course ideally you'd be able to try a hardtail on the same terrain in order to compare.

I veer towards recommending a hardtail over the hybrids you're considering. In the main this is based on the impression I've got from these forums that the suspension forks on hybrids are generally pretty poor quality. This isn't necessarily the case with DS bike you're considering, but insofar as you're considering it, I'd advise asking more knowledgeable people than myself for their opinions on the quality of the forks it has.
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Old 06-18-14, 01:38 PM
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I think tires matter more than anything else, a hybrid with a 40mm tire will tackle just about anything with ease. It's simpler. It's lighter. I only prefer to ride a hard tail when I'm on a trail where I frequently run over rocks the size of a baseball or soda can. I would only get a mtb for 100% use on those types of trails, I don't like riding a mtb on gravel all that much and definitely not on paved roads. Just my preference, I started with a hard-tail in 98 but it didn't take long before I moved on to a hybrid and traded the mtb. Now I mostly ride a drop bar road bike, even on some of the more bumpy paths through the woods.

So, the things to consider are the size of the rocks and the amount of mud and if your tires will give you enough clearance. Will the shock actually give you any benefit, or is it just adding weight? At the very least make sure your front shock has a lock out feature or else you will waste a ton of energy riding up any paved hills.

I'd suggest finding a lightly used hard tail for a good price and starting from there, if it doesn't suit your needs, you can spend more on a hybrid and have the correct bike for whatever scenario presents itself. I frequently see old Specialized Rockhoppers, C'dales, and Kona's for around $100 on CL.

It's really hard to give a good answer without riding along with you and seeing what you really have to deal with in person. Photos help.
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Old 06-21-14, 06:16 PM
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Hybrids are good commuter bikes, but not good on mountain trails. In you situation, go for a 29er mountain bike, you'll be happy with it off road and the large wheels are similar in size to the 700C hybrid. YOu can find alternate tires that will work well on the road and off road.
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