Why all the MTBs?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Caden, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. Caden

    Caden New Member

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    I commute to work on a road bike but when I get there I see that almost everyone else who has also ridden is has a full mountain bike with big fat knobbies and often full suspension parked at their cubicle. Why are these so much more ubiquitous? Is it that MTBs are now considered the "standard bike"? I *love* riding in on my road bike and the only complaint I have is that there are NO rack mounts on my bike so I either pre-stage my stuff at work the previous day or I use a backpack which is less than ideal. Still, the MTBs I see at work don't have racks either so that's obviously not why folks are riding them.

    I'm just curious!
     
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  2. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    I do not know the answer, but I have made a similar observation. I see a lot of hybrids and mountain bikes, but I have only seen one road bike. Also, most of the bicycle commuters I see are using platform pedals without toe clips. I have only seen one cyclist with clipless pedals (the same one that was on the road bike), and I have only seen him commuting on that bike once in the past year.

    The reason might be the cost of the bikes. I would much rather leave my $500 hybrid in the bike rack at work than a $2000 road bike. Another reason might be that hybrid and mountain bike tires are far less likely to flat. I have had one flat in the past two years on my hybrid. A third reason might be durability and stability. Most bicycle commuters I see either have a fairly loaded backpack or a rack and panniers. I would think that with that extra weight, a mountain bike or hybrid would be easier to control and would less likely be damaged.
     
  3. OLDYELLR

    OLDYELLR New Member

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    Just look in the car parking lot and see all the SUVs. Same reason. It's obviously much safer, not to mention more trendy, to drive an SUV or ride a MTB.
     
  4. Jeff in IL

    Jeff in IL New Member

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    Comfort! Big tires, squishy ride, comfortable riding position, no worries about rough roads, durable wheels, etc.

    MTBs have been the bike of choice for the "non-biking" community for a long time. They outnumber road bikes in Chicago.
     
  5. StartTday

    StartTday New Member

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    I used to ask myself the same question. Until I started noticing hybrid bikes with aero bars installed. Thats when I stopped looking...
     
  6. Sarah23

    Sarah23 New Member

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    I only have a $500 hybrid (with dreams of a nice light road bike). However when I get my roadbike I will still commute on my hybrid. I am not going to spend $5000 on a bike only to leave it chained up outside a shopping centre. I am also not going to put a pannier on a road bike, it can stay permanently on my hybrid. I use mountain bike pedals so I can have a platform for taking off fast at traffic lights. Commuting has so much more stopping/starting that moutain bike pedals prove there worth.

    When I was younger I had the impression that mountain bikes where the only bike. If you go to K-Mart then you are going to leave with a mountain bike. I was always left with the impression that mountains bike superceded road bikes. People always seem to get excited at the sight of the suspension. Perhaps others have the same ideas?
     
  7. Caden

    Caden New Member

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    Shudder. I hope you're kidding about the hybrids with aeros. And speaking of hybrids - why do they all have heavy shock forks now? Does anyone need that on the road where they'll most assuredly be actually riding the bike? I think not! My hybrid before my current road bike had a big heavy shock fork and I got about zero use out of it.

    I guess I just get befuddled when I see folks using a fat knobby MTB to commute a pretty serious distance on the road. Then again, they're probably befuddled as to why I ride what amounts to a racing bike to my desk job.
     
  8. asterope

    asterope New Member

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    my commuter is a short travel hardtail with semi-slicks... why did i go the MTB over a much faster roady?

    the roads around here are sometimes likened to a gravelly, bumpy trail and when it does rain, i like to have something a little bit more substantial connecting me to the ground.

    any other times, i ride my roady... even if its for a short commute with a backpack... but not if its really raining hard.

    and i dont see the point of commuting on a full suspension MTB with knobbies... and wearing out those $$ tyres.
     
  9. SaintAndrew

    SaintAndrew New Member

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    the real reason i would say is just marketing- MTB exploded in the mid 90's to such an extent that yeah they became the new standard bike. but there are so many stikes against road bikes:


    "unmanly"
    get alot more flats
    harder to ride
    racier position
    gearing too high for stop and start

    that said IMO a touring bike is the best commuter (or maybe a cyclocross bike). i could see a MTB if you like have to take a trail or something but other than that it fuck 'em i can prolly maintain almost 10mph faster on a road bike. i rode a POS raleigh road racer with downtube shifters through colege and loved it. you blow by those stupid ass electric scooters like they're standing still.
     
  10. Rocket_Man

    Rocket_Man New Member

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    I would think the reason would be versatility (sp:confused:). I commute on a MTB...mainly because my dad gave me his when he found out I was looking to buy one. Eventhough...I would have purchased a MTB for the above reason. I can ride it on the road and on trails during the weekend. Although...I must be one of the few that commute with clipless pedals...I LOVE THEM!!!! Also, I have put on Specialized Mt. Baldy tires onto my bike. They have very little knobs...just enough to get around on dirt trails.
    With that all being said...I am looking for a Road Bike now. Both for commuting and to get into racing, but not sure when that will happen (hopefully late this year / early next year!!!)
     
  11. backtobiking

    backtobiking New Member

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    Reasently road a Gunnar Rockhound. I never even thought of owning a MTB, but now I might eventually. The first one I ever liked. Kind of fun assulting the urban landscape on one. I enjoy my hybrid, but currently getting back into road bikes.


    With all the nut jobs on the roads driving maybe alot of cyclists feel they have a better chance with a MTB and feel safer? After all the road bike doesn't take to low shoulders, soft gravel, and choppy roads to name a few.
     
  12. brad g

    brad g New Member

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    I'll probably be laughed at for this, but what is the problem with aerobars on a hybrid bicycle? I just bought a hybrid (Trek 7.2 FX, total $470), I would've preferred a nice $1000+ roadie, but just couldn't come up with that much cash. I thought that the hybrid was a decent alternative, or I guess I could've continued riding my mtb on the road. I have often found myself, while descending a hill or trying to gain some speed, leaning down and putting my elbows on the middle of the flat handlebars. Although this position isn't very comfortable (nothing to hang onto and no pads for the elbows) it does make a difference in coasting distance and generally makes it easier to go faster. I had even tossed around the idea of adding some kinda grab bar or aero bar to my hybrid, maybe I would be more likely to spend more time in that position, and it would also seem to be good training for the day that I do get my road bike. But I guess I won't because I don't want to be laughed at every time I cross paths with one of the "elite" cyclists on the bike trace.
     
  13. tyler1212

    tyler1212 New Member

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    they ride them because they're comfortable. Ever seen a bear on a bike? Imagine one on a road bike!
     
  14. g00dd0ggy

    g00dd0ggy New Member

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    I second the aero bars on a hybrid. Why not? I have a Marin Mill Valley as a commuter and will put clip on aero bars this year. Why? It carries a rack, it is solid and it is cheaper than my road bike. It is a flat bar though, so it is hard to get a reasonable aero position for the long bits of open road on my 16 mile commute, hence the aero bars. Also I find the aero position quite comfy, and it gives me an alternative to the flats.

    The bike itself is essentially a racer with flat bars, so why wouldn't you put aeros on?
     
  15. Insight Driver

    Insight Driver New Member

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    On the other hand, in the 60's and 70's there were what were called sport-touring bikes. They were road bikes in the classic geometry with more-upright position and slacker head tube with more trail for greater stability aimed at the more enthusiast cyclist. There were also full-touring bikes that would take racks and panniers with long chain stays and slack head tube with lots of trail for loaded stability. This was before mountain bikes came on the scene. You could commute with a touring bike, putting only what panniers you needed to carry whatever stuff you wanted to carry. Many bikes were fit with lights as well. Of course, back then, it was either platform pedals, or toes clips and straps.

    For anyone who got beat up on rough roads, going to a mountain bike was like riding a cadilac. This is why they became popular. They are a lot softer on the tush and all that weight, while slow to get going, has so much inertia it make the bike seem fast on the flats.

    Now, I'm a road bike guy but I wanted a practical commuter bike, so mine has a rear rack and a rack trunk. Very practical. I went on a 47 regular ride yesterday. I threw in two apples and three pieces of raisin bread (home made). This is in addition to my identification, two spare tubes, patch kit, multi-tool, and tire irons. Oh, and I threw in a towel to wipe the sweat when I stopped for breaks.
     
  16. Smilf

    Smilf New Member

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    Lol I saw that earlier today.. I just kind of laughed to my self.
     
  17. brad g

    brad g New Member

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    I'm not trying to be funny or anything, I'm just curious. Is there an unwritten rule about certain attachments like panniers on road bikes or aeros on hybrids. I will eventually install some clip-on aeros on the trek, and I really don't care how much I'm laughed or sneered at, after all if it works, why not? Can someone who has shuddered or laughed at the idea of the aeros on the hybrid please explain this to me?

    I guess I can liken this to motorcycle gear, since it's something I'm familiar with. I don't see too many ppl wearing brightly colored leather jump suits and riding Harleys or black traditional leather jackets and brain bucket helmets on crotch rockets. Is the aero/hybrid thing similar to these examples?
     
  18. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    The major problem with panniers on road bikes is that the chainstays are often too short, and you end up hitting the pannier with your heel as you pedal. The other problem is that road bike frames are usually lighter and not built to take the extra stress of the pannier.

    The only problem with aero bars on a hybrid is that the reach on a hybrid is usually too short for the aero bars to be of much benefit. Even though your arms are extended, your body would still be pretty much upright. Bar ends make sense, since they give you multiple hand positions compared to the flat bar, but aero bars would not make much sense.
     
  19. Caden

    Caden New Member

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    Yeah, I think it kind of is. It's also perhaps a bit like putting a really fancy rear spoiler on a front-wheel-drive Honda Civic. See, a Honda is a decent car (so I'm not making fun of the Honda, per se) - but putting a go-fast item on a car not made for that and then forgetting that the "geometry" of the car makes it really not right anyway (front wheel drive) makes it silly. IMHO.
     
  20. nomotornozen

    nomotornozen New Member

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    I've wondered the same thing. I've riden motorcycles for years, and have been pedaling a mountain bike for about 9 months now and have wonder how the groups would split up on bicycles. It seems to be just the opposite in the bicycling community with regards to dress and behavior. We've laughed for years at the groups of Harley riders dressed almost identically (while avoiding most safety gear) while out for a short ride on their low performance bikes. But on bicycles, the ones on the higher performance road bicycles are the ones who seem to dress and act alike when they're out, and this type of rider is the type that seems to put on the most miles. And both seem to be the least likely to return a nod or wave!
     
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