Just moved to Colorado, need a new bike. MTB or Hybrid?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by starfly, May 3, 2014.

  1. starfly

    starfly New Member

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    Hi everyone!

    I'm an experienced cyclist, but so far all my experience has been in the city where I've used a regular city bike almost all my life. Now that I've moved out to Colorado I want to purchase a new bike, up to the $500 price bracket. I already went to a few stores to check out several different bikes and I have a few questions. Hopefully you guys can help me clear these up so I can make up my mind.

    I'm thinking of getting either an MTB or Hybrid. My cycling will be mainly on pavement and well packed dirt tracks. Not sure yet if I'm really gonna go do any proper mountain biking, but I somehow like the idea of having a bike that I could potentially really take off road (but I don't have any experience mountain biking and I'll also need to build up stamina first in the mountainous terrain and high altitude of Colorado).

    So the questions I have are:

    - Will the wider tires of an MTB be that much more cumbersome on pavement? Especially given that for now I suspect that most of my biking will be on pavement or tightly packed dirt tracks. Will it make biking a lot harder?
    - If I were to get an MTB, should I go for a 29" or for a 26" bike? I'm 6'1" tall. My reasoning so far is that if I would go for a MTB, the 29" might overall be better on-road as well, since there's theoretically less rolling resistance.
    - Will MTB tires have less grip when making turns on pavement and such, since the tires are fairly knobby, so there is effectively less rubber touching the pavement?
    - What about Hybrids? What kind of Hybrid would be good? And what kind of tires should I be looking for?
    - I've sort of made up my mind about getting a front suspension, since it will smooth out the ride a little bit. But what are your thoughts? Really necessary?
    - Is it wise to get disc brakes, or is that not really necessary (I've noticed that it adds about $100 to the price tag), considering my purposes?
    - What are some decent brands to consider, given the price range?

    Are there any other suggestions you might have? Thanks a lot for your tips!
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. THAT is a really tight budget ...

    Particularly, for a 29er!

    Regardless, 'I' recommend that you get a 29er if you can manage to up your budget enough to do so ...

    A 29er will allow you to use ANY tire size.

    But, PLAN on having a second wheelset with narrower tires for riding on pavement ...


    FYI. Here is an old "sports touring" bike which I have which I found can accommodate 700x52 (29er) tires:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    BTW. Riding MTB tires on the pavement is false economy ... the tread will wear out prematurely AND due to the nubs on the tires, you will have much less traction ...

    You could install 700x42 "Hybrid" tires if you want an all-around tire ... which, of course, resurrects the question about choosing a Hybrid ...

    • I love "Hybrid" frames when matched with a Rigid fork, BTW .., But, my MTB has not been ridden in over 10 years, so a suspension fork of any ilk is currently dead weight in my mind.
    • Be very aware that most Hybrids come with a woefully substandard front Suspension Fork which would probably be worse than a Rigid Fork if you were to venture anywhere where the obstacles were more than an 1" in height-or-depth ...
    • Hybrids ARE available with Rigid forks ... THAT will save on the initial cost ... the head tube angle is good for pavement, but not as good for off road handling beyond crushed gravel roads or rough-graded-once-a-year fire roads.
    [*]IMO, a 29er is basically a Hybrid on steroids -- THAT's potentially a good thing!
    • ​I reckon that MOST Hybrid frames cannot accommodate a 700x52 tires.

    Disc brakes? If you are planning on riding in wet-and/or-muddy conditions, then disc brakes should be considered as a must-have ... but, for riding in either dry conditions or on pavement then they are probably not necessary IF you managed to live with "regular" brakes in-your-past-life.
     
  3. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    Then don't get a MTB. Get a hybrid. I have a Trek 8.4 that I've taken on some pretty rough MTB trails without issue, but it's far faster than a real MTB on pavement.




    Quote: - Will the wider tires of an MTB be that much more cumbersome on pavement? Especially given that for now I suspect that most of my biking will be on pavement or tightly packed dirt tracks. Will it make biking a lot harder?

    Absolutely.



    Quote: - If I were to get an MTB, should I go for a 29" or for a 26" bike? I'm 6'1" tall. My reasoning so far is that if I would go for a MTB, the 29" might overall be better on-road as well, since there's theoretically less rolling resistance.

    29er for sure if you insist on getting a MTB.


    Quote: - Will MTB tires have less grip when making turns on pavement and such, since the tires are fairly knobby, so there is effectively less rubber touching the pavement?

    Absolutely.

    Quote:
    - What about Hybrids? What kind of Hybrid would be good? And what kind of tires should I be looking for?


    Personally I'd look for something with more city oriented tires. You can always get more off-road capable tires if you need to later on.

    I love my DS because it's fast enough to be fun on the road (my gf kept up on it on a 50+ mile road ride that averaged 17mph), but it's much more off road capable than many other hybrids I've seen. I regularly use it for gravel/dirt trail rides where most folks are on cyclocross bikes and I keep up just fine.

    This trim level is only slightly over your budget. http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/mountain/dual_sport/ds_series/8_2_ds/#



    Quote: - I've sort of made up my mind about getting a front suspension, since it will smooth out the ride a little bit. But what are your thoughts? Really necessary?



    Totally useless if you're not going off road.



    Quote: - Is it wise to get disc brakes, or is that not really necessary (I've noticed that it adds about $100 to the price tag), considering my purposes?

    Not necessary unless you regularly ride in wet weather/mud.



    Quote: Are there any other suggestions you might have? Thanks a lot for your tips!


    There's no such thing as do-it-all bike. Jack of all trades - master of none. Pick a bike closet oriented towards what you want to do. If you think you'll want a full out MTB later, don't waste money on a MTB-ish hybrid now, just get a city bike or cyclocross bike, then buy a real MTB when you're ready.
     
  4. starfly

    starfly New Member

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    Hi, thanks for the replies. I've been starting to lean towards just getting a hybrid and your posts confirm that I should just do that. If I ever plan on doing actual mountain biking, I'll just buy a MTB.

    So far I have my eyes on these bikes:

    Raleigh Misceo Trail 1.0
    Trek 8.3 DS

    These bikes I like because of the lockable front suspension, I suppose giving me the best of both worlds. And they only exceed my budget by a little bit.

    Otherwise, if you're adamant I should forgo a front suspension bike, I have these in mind:

    Trek 7.0 FX
    Trek 8.1 DS
    Raleigh Misceo 1.0

    What do you guys think? And any other suggestions perhaps?

    Either way, thanks a lot so far, I really appreciate it!
     
  5. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    The 8.3 DS is better spec'd, but that's to be expected for over $100 more. Comes down to how much you want to spend. Lockable suspension has worked well for me so far and allowed me to take the bike over some trails I wouldn't have with a solid fork.
     
  6. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. Supposedly, WalMart has a 29er ...

    OBVIOUSLY, it won't be as nice as one which you will pay 2x-or-more for at a bike shop.

    While 'I' love Hybrid frames, again, 'I' would choose a(n INEXPENSIVE) 29er over a Hybrid because it would allow ME to use any tire size ...

    BECAUSE, in part, the $500 +/- Hybrid's frame won't be much better (if at all!!!!) than the one which a WalMart 29er might have.

    Which is to say that YOU (starfly) need to figure out what the largest tire size is that you hope to use.

    AFAIK, a Rigid fork can handle a 700x52 (small 29er) tire without any problems; so, it's a question of what tire size the frame can accommodate.

    I guess the question is ....

    • WHAT BIKE DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE?
    • AND (presuming that you have a bike to ride), what do you expect the new bike to do which your current bike cannot do?
     
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