Road Worthy But Able To Handle Some Trails


New Member
Jun 12, 2015
I'm currently riding a comfort/hybrid and getting a little bored.
My strength, distance and speed have all increased so I'm looking for a bit more of a challenge.
I will mostly ride on the roads, but there are some dirt trails nearby and in some parks that I would have to travel too.
I think mountain biking would be fun, but I don't have room for two bikes.
Any suggestions as to a reasonably fast, smooth mtb that is ok for both pavement and some not especially technical trails.
I'm not looking to spend thousands of dollars, but for the right bike i would be willing to.
IMO, mountain bikes have become increasingly purpose built. Even my son, who loves his mountain bike balks at the thought of riding his mountain bike any significant distance on knobby tires.

What you are saying is, you are getting bored with your comfort bike and looking for something that can go further and faster on the road, but have some off road capability.

Have you looked at cyclocross and touring/adventure bikes? So many to choose from these days, with or without a drop bar.

Kona Rove, Surly Crosscheck, Surly Troll, Giant AnyRoad, Trek 920, Specialized AWOL, Salsa Vaya, Salsa Fargo, etc, etc.
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I know a guy who rides a ridged frame, a cyclocross bike, single speed and only a back rim brake. A throw together parts bin bike, nothing notable or expensive, not even the frame. His thing.. Is chasing down $5000+ bikes on black diamond trails. Every now and then some hot shot tells him, "You better not do this trail on that bike"
He says, "lead the way" and promptly spanks them without mercy
He's a machine.

I took four ladies on a guided ride on blue Intermediate trails, they all had comfort/hybrid bikes,,they had a blast....
It ain't the bike, It's the Engines.

Go trail riding op,, Just try and keep both wheels on the ground, don't ride over anything you cannot see all the way to the bottom, stop, get off the bike and take a look see..
Watch how others are riding, see what they ride, ask where the local bike shop is and buy from them,,you will need the support..

Jump In, the water Is fine
I ride my tubular tired road bike on just about anything as good or better than a single track goat trail. Meaning just about anything that's rideable at all. I've been doing so for almost 50 years, so I'm not a believer that you need anything special for non-technical trails.

Of course thin tires drop into soft surfaces, so they're less than ideal for mud and sand, but otherwise they're fine. So get a decent road bike and set it up with decent tires and gearing that will allow you to climb an embankment and you;re good to go. If you expect more than occasional playing in the dirt, consider a cross bike.
You could try a Hardtail 29er trail bike, something like the GT Timberline or GT Karakoram. Or spend a bit more on the Salsa El Mariachi which is a great bike from a great company.

Yeah, as others have said, you can ride any bike offroad and survive. But if you're not the real hardcore rough-and-tumble type and you want to actually enjoy the experience then you need a bike that's built for it, IMHO. The 29er breeds roll great on the road and handle pretty well on gnarly trails and singletrack stuff too.

I ride a Salsa gravel bike with drops and love it. Yes I can ride it on rough singletrack but it isn't very comfortable and I don't feel particularly safe when doing it. I guess that's why they build different bikes and not everybody rides the same one
Don't buy a bike yet. Slap on a couple of shallow knobby tires, like a Kenda Small Block 8, and have ago at it. As long as you are not going through severe rocks and drops, you shouldn't have an issue. I tried some trails on an '86 Cannondale with drop bars with 28mm Kenda Karves and was surprised how well it worked. The trails were not tough. Biggest problem were the downtube friction shifters... lol.
I guess my mountain bike can handle off road and also road cycling although a bit slower than the standard racer bikes. But given the chance to choose, I would not part with my mountain bike. Actually, I love my mountain bike although it's quite old so it had to go. Now that I'm nearing to buy a new bike, it would be mountain bike again. The sturdy wheel is what I like in mountain bikes although those fat wheels are what make the mountain bike slow.
Let me just share this photo that I took last weekend where I had the opportunity to test my legs again. It was really exciting although I suffered cramps after a while. And that night, muscle pains were expected. The photo was taken in the province of Batanes, the island province that lie on top of the country. Take note of the vista and I'm sure mountain bikers here would agree that it is such a nice place for mountain biking.

In photo is my friend who owns the bike that he brought with him on the one-and-a-half hour plane ride. IMG_3913 biking friends RESIZED.jpg