All-rounder bike: Mountain with semi-slicks or Hybrid with knobbies?


New Member
Aug 7, 2009
Hi, I am relatively new to bikes but I have already bought my first bike - it's the standard Specialized Hardrock. I'm thinking about changing a bike, as I find my current one unsuitable for two main reason reasons:

1. I am a tall person, 6'5". My bike is size 23" and after several months of riding I still feel uncomfortable on it. Feels like I have to raise the seat way up and the wheels are way below me, and it also makes the handle bar too low in relation to the seat height. The bar also feels a little far as my legs are long in relation to torso.

2. I use my bike mainly as a transportation method. I like a bike that is some sort of all-rounder - able to handle the majority of terrains (typically excluding extreme ones), but also efficient on longer rides. The paths I ride would be several miles on average (usually up to 10) but not limited to paved paths. It might include road, pavement, dirt trails and sand. I also like to jump into the simple single track parks from time to time.

For these two reasons I am considering two bike types. after doing some reading and searching - A 29er mountain bike with semi-slick tires, or a hybrid bike with wider tires (between road and mountain). My target budget is around $500 and have found the following options from the two groups:

29er Mountain bikes:
KHS Tucson (used) KHS Bicycles :: Tucson
Marin Alpine Trail Marin Bikes | 2009 Collection | Mountain HT | 29er | Alpine Trail 29er - Brick
GT Peace

Hybrids with wide 700c tires:
Specialized Crosstrail Specialized Bicycle Components : CrossTrail
Kona Smoke 29er KONA 2009 - Smoke (needs tire change to a knobby one)

These are the options avalable in my area. As you can see I haven't decided yet between rigid and suspension. But my greater concern is this: Will the hybrids "fall apart" and be too limiting on uneasy paths? Will the mountain bikes slow me down and "drag" on long rides? I obviously can't test them outside the small store area.

Any suggestions will be welcome :)