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  1. #1
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    Is there such a thing as a "do-it-all (most)" bike?

    Hey All,

    I've been going around for the better part of a year trying to decide on a road bike or simply upgrading/changing up my mtb for a more "do-it-all" bike.
    I've test ridden several road bikes to include carbon, alum & Ti, where the last was my favorite.
    My problem is I'm a large Clyde at 6'6" 285 lbs and would have to invest a lot of money into a road bike in order to "Clyde proof" it. I've learned the hard way having to replace a few components and wheels on my current mtb, '08 Spesh FSR FS (w/brain).
    The main reason I was looking at a road bike was for exercise and the simplicity of stepping outside and going for ride. So for the time being I've decided to just stick to one bike.
    So my question to you guys, is there a bike that can do it all. I'm not necessary looking for a certain brand I guess, more so for a type of ride. Iím mainly looking for a bike that can do single track XC (roots/rocks) on the East Coast (DC area) but am also able to take on a paved path and knock off some miles for exercise while the trails are too muddy to ride or I just donít have time to get to the trails.
    The stipulations to the bike, it has to be a 29er and FS. Should I be looking at 100mm suspension or 120mm? I've thought about going carbon or Ti for longevity but am a bit hesitant because of my weight.
    So, what do you guys think? Is there such a bike out there?

  2. #2
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    Depending on how much time you will be spending on paved paths to knock out miles I would suggest a geared hardtail 29er.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunyan View Post
    Hey All,

    I've been going around for the better part of a year trying to decide on a road bike or simply upgrading/changing up my mtb for a more "do-it-all" bike.
    I've test ridden several road bikes to include carbon, alum & Ti, where the last was my favorite.
    My problem is I'm a large Clyde at 6'6" 285 lbs and would have to invest a lot of money into a road bike in order to "Clyde proof" it. I've learned the hard way having to replace a few components and wheels on my current mtb, '08 Spesh FSR FS (w/brain).
    The main reason I was looking at a road bike was for exercise and the simplicity of stepping outside and going for ride. So for the time being I've decided to just stick to one bike.
    So my question to you guys, is there a bike that can do it all. I'm not necessary looking for a certain brand I guess, more so for a type of ride. Iím mainly looking for a bike that can do single track XC (roots/rocks) on the East Coast (DC area) but am also able to take on a paved path and knock off some miles for exercise while the trails are too muddy to ride or I just donít have time to get to the trails.
    The stipulations to the bike, it has to be a 29er and FS. Should I be looking at 100mm suspension or 120mm? I've thought about going carbon or Ti for longevity but am a bit hesitant because of my weight.
    So, what do you guys think? Is there such a bike out there?
    Well, something that is good at everything is typically not great at anything...ie - spork...but something like a Salsa Fargo with a sus fork comes pretty close. However, you want a fully, so...

    This year will see the rise of the 'do-all' 29er IMO. The newer offerings like the Specialized Camber Expert Carbon I just rode, the Yeti SB95, or even the new Ibis Ripley will be pretty darn good at everything and still be pretty light. For bike path stuff, just swap tires or get a cheap extra set of wheels with fast commuter tires on em. Or just ride it like you got it set up for normal. It won't be fast, but so what?

    I would not worry about carbon for a big guy. A good carbon frame is likely better for a big guy if it is built well. Wheels are the bigger deal for a heavy rider IMO.
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  4. #4
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    What's wrong with your Specialized? A road bike is a lot more fun on the road than a full suspension mountain bike, so why not keep the Specialized and add a road bike? Any bike that you use for both purposes will be a compromise. A newer, nicer, 29er FS bike may be a little bit better offroad but it will still suck on pavement.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    What's wrong with your Specialized? A road bike is a lot more fun on the road than a full suspension mountain bike, so why not keep the Specialized and add a road bike? Any bike that you use for both purposes will be a compromise. A newer, nicer, 29er FS bike may be a little bit better offroad but it will still suck on pavement.
    I agree with this. Why not just add a road bike? MTB on-road sucks. Especially a fully.

    You can also look into a cyclocross bike, which can be built up a little beefier.

  6. #6
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    I have a geared hard tail 29er that I use as my back up mtb and run slicks on to use as my commuter/road bike. Way more durable than a road bike and it does it "all" for me.

  7. #7
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    I was about to suggest a rigid, geared steel or Ti hardtail, until I saw you also wanted full sus. I can't really seeing that being lots of fun. Something with a good lockout, I'd guess.

    How about a HT with a thudbuster, then swap the thudbuster/seat combo with a rigid post/seat when you hit the road? That's a quick swap that gives you a different feel for each type of riding. You'll also want either another seat of tires (and maybe wheels), or some kind of compromise tire, like a Nano or a Vulpine that rolls pretty well on and off road.

    I can't see any sense in a Ti full sus bike, it seems like the suspension would mute the Ti's ride characteristics. And it would be super pricey.

  8. #8
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    At the moment, a niner RIP or WFO with a TALAS fork would do just about anything.

    If you can wait a year, surely Santa Cruz will release a Tallboy LT in Carbon. Put a 120-140mm fork on that sucker and you'll have your "do anything" bike.

    Failing that, Pivot may release a 529. THAT would be something beautiful......

  9. #9
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    Ummm.......Monster Crosser,anybody?

    (drop bar 29er ht or CX with fat rubber)
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  10. #10
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    USED road or cross bike as a second bike.

  11. #11
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    The do-all bike is the one you already have.

    I ride a rigid 29er and I think that it's a do-all bike.
    If I end up on the road, so what? My tires don't wear out that fast.
    If I end up on a huge gnarly descent and I have to go a little slower, so what? I'll still get down just fine.
    If someone talks me into racing, my placement will def. not be because of my bike. I will still make a good race out of it.
    And while a full susser does look a little out of place on the road, there's nothing wrong with piling on some pavement, path, or gravel miles on it. I guess some susp. lockouts would serve the purpose, but I still don't see that as a requirement.
    Plus, if you're riding down the road and you suddenly get the urge to launch some stairs, or impulsively hit some singletrack, you're already ready already.

    They call them "mountain bikes" (MTBs), but not too long ago they called them All-Terrain Bikes (ATBs). They're still the same thing. Just that ATB does not sound as cool.

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  12. #12
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    As a heavier rider you might like something like a Salsa vaya or one of the new Specialized Tricross bikes that comes equipped with discs as your "road bike" that does everything aside from the trail riding that you would keep a MTB for.

  13. #13
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    Whether a mountain bike 'sucks' on the road is irrelevant, if the OP's goal is fitness. Indeed, you would get a better work out riding something that is not as efficient on the road as a road bike. It will still be fun to ride on the road.

    My suggestion is to look into the Specialized Epic with brain. Depending on the ride you're doing you can adjust the brain incredibly stiff and it will act very close to a hard tail. Get on some single track and adjust it again for more compliance in the bumps. I think the comp is around $2500 but I haven't checked. The Salsa spearfish might be another good option, or I keep seeing ads for the Niner Jet9 for $2800. I think any of the more race oriented full suspension 29er's would serve the duel purpose well in one bike.

  14. #14
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    As others have said...

    You will not like FS on the road.

    A hardtail 29er with a suspension seatpost is a decent option.

    A cyclocross bike is a better option. Note that with a drop handlebar (or similar, maybe a mountain drop bar) will be more comfortable for long road rides.

    Maybe a Salsa Fargo or Vaya (or Vaya Ti). Or Specialized TriCross.

    Something not already brought up: a softail, like a Curtlo Epic Mountaineer (Curtlo Cycles - Epic Mountaineer). The little bit of cush will take the edge off, but not quite so squishy as a full suspension. My buddy's got one and love's it.

    Also note that a custom framebuilder like Curtlo will take your size and weight into account in the build.

  15. #15
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    Pivot Mach 429 is the bike you are looking for.

    Niner RIP would probably be my next recommendation for what you're describing.
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  16. #16
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    I was waiting for a new road bike this spring and put some slicks on my HT Ti 29er and I found myself passing a lot of slow roadies climbing

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
    USED road or cross bike as a second bike.
    We have a winner. This is the best piece of advice I have seen.

    Leave your nice mtn bike as it is. Theres no since in throwing good money after bad money. Purchasing another set of wheels/tires etc.... trying to convert your mtn bike to a dual ride mtn/road bike is a waste. Everyone I have seen try this comes up disappointed. PITA to swap out wheels. Always disappointed they cant hang with the roadies on thier 14lb bikes. While you pedal a pig with suspension. Robbing you of energy.

    Purchase a cheap used road or cyclecross bike and give it a try. If you like it. You can go from thier. If you don't, youve saved a bunch of money and don't have an expensive ti or carbon bike collecting dust in the garage.

    BTW.......you don't have to have a TI or carbon bike to burn caliries. Take a quick spin around the block. Cruise down to the local convient store. Ease into it speed racer.

  18. #18
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    I'd invest in a dedicated road bike - aluminum and used, ideally. Buy a stout wheelset if necessary. Upgrade later if you get really into it. I wouldn't even consider a mtn bike for road duty, especially FS. And I'm not a big bike nerd (2 bikes)..
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by longhaultrucker View Post
    Ummm.......Monster Crosser,anybody?

    (drop bar 29er ht or CX with fat rubber)
    Great idea, add a second set of wheels for road riding.
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  20. #20
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    Test ride whatever bikes you can get your hands on, make sure you find a good and reputable shop who'll help out if something goes wrong, buy the one you like the best and also buy a 2nd wheelset and put some nice 38mm semi slicks on it. When you hit the trails, enjoy, if you have to hit the road/path, then just throw on the 2nd set of wheels and have a pretty decent time. It's all for exercise right, so what's some added weight and resistance, it'll just give you more of a workout.All that being said, I think if you scoured around for a used cross/road bike you'd be better off.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunyan View Post
    Hey All,

    I've been going around for the better part of a year trying to decide on a road bike or simply upgrading/changing up my mtb for a more "do-it-all" bike.
    I've test ridden several road bikes to include carbon, alum & Ti, where the last was my favorite.
    My problem is I'm a large Clyde at 6'6" 285 lbs and would have to invest a lot of money into a road bike in order to "Clyde proof" it. I've learned the hard way having to replace a few components and wheels on my current mtb, '08 Spesh FSR FS (w/brain).
    The main reason I was looking at a road bike was for exercise and the simplicity of stepping outside and going for ride. So for the time being I've decided to just stick to one bike.
    So my question to you guys, is there a bike that can do it all. I'm not necessary looking for a certain brand I guess, more so for a type of ride. Iím mainly looking for a bike that can do single track XC (roots/rocks) on the East Coast (DC area) but am also able to take on a paved path and knock off some miles for exercise while the trails are too muddy to ride or I just donít have time to get to the trails.
    The stipulations to the bike, it has to be a 29er and FS. Should I be looking at 100mm suspension or 120mm? I've thought about going carbon or Ti for longevity but am a bit hesitant because of my weight.
    So, what do you guys think? Is there such a bike out there?
    I'll take the other side of the argument with regard to a full suspension "sucking" on the road. I have a JET 9 and a RIP 9 - both of which see a lot of training time on the pavement (and yes, I own a road bike as well). I have an 8 mile ride to the singletrack, so the mountain bike gets a 16 mile round trip to and from the singletrack on pavement. Ikons, Ralphs, Aspens, Nanoraptors, Ardents, Ravens, etc... - have all seen hundreds of miles to and from the singletrack on the pavement on the FS 29"ers. And I ride a 26 mile pavement ride using the FS as well. So yes, a do-it-all one bike works just fine. I'd probably choose the RIP (120mm front/rear travel) as mine if I had to as the JET is more of a race day bike for me the way I have it set up.

    If I was going for a 40-80 mile road ride, sure - I'd reach for my road bike. But that's rare for me to find enough time to do that with my schedule. So the comfort of the FS and the ride it provides is fine on gravel, dirt, pavement, grass - you name it. Not a bad "do it all" bike at all. No need to run huge tread for off road, so a nice set of lower rolling resistance XC tires would suit you for the dirt, and the pavement days. Not really much that "sucks" about it if you are simply out riding on your own. Probably not what you would want for a group road ride, but that wasn't mentioned in your post - so I assume that is not a need.

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tws_andrew View Post
    I was waiting for a new road bike this spring and put some slicks on my HT Ti 29er and I found myself passing a lot of slow roadies climbing
    This pops up in every thread like this, and is totally irrelevant. The real point is that YOU will have a much duller and slower road ride on an mtb than YOU would on a road bike.

    Plus, if the road bug hits even just a little bit, you'll want to ride occasionally with others on the road (group rides are a blast), and the mtb idea just kind of falls apart there for so many reasons.

    The used road bike or cross bike is a great idea. Caution -- bikes that were actually used for cross racing can be beat to snot from excessive mud use, no matter how nicely they have been shined up!
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  23. #23
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    Wow guys, this is all great feedback. I seriously appreciate all the good advice. Reading through all the posts again pretty much reflects what I've been tossing around as well.
    Part of me would love to pick up a road bike for the simple purpose that it's made for the road but like one of you said, I'm not necessarily looking for group rides (for now) more so for getting a good workout in and strengthening my legs for XC rides which I can easily do on a mtb. Picking up a used road bike to see if it's something I would like to get into is a very good point. No sense jumping right into a high end bike just to find out it's not my bag. Problem is finding a used 63cm bikes are few and far between.

    I've noticed a few of you are mentioning more of a CX/all mountain bike like the RIP, etc with a 120-140 fork for a do-it-all would be the way to go. I was thinking a race oriented bike like the Niner RDO or an Epic style bike that's geared more towards races would be better suited for longer road rides for exercise? I guess I was thinking that a bike like that would put your body in a more race position and that might be better suited for rides on the road rather than a more stout bike with a bit more upright riding position? @ Bruce, since you mentioned you have both the RIP and a Jet, which one would you prefere on the road?

    This is all great feedback and is definitely helping me narrow down on making a decision on what choice I'm going to make.

  24. #24
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    I think what Bruce was saying is if he had to pick only one of his 2 it would be the RIP as it's a more versatile bike.

    Little info that may not be relevant to you, but in '07 when I was training for Leadville early in the year I was going between my old Trance MTB FS and a old rigid for the road with semi slicks. I then got my RIP about 1 month before I was to leave with Nano Raptors and rode that exclusively off-road and on roads rides in excess of 60 miles and the only thing I did was pump the Nanos up to 65 PSI and flip the lock-outs on. Riding it exclusively for that one month got me accustomed to the new bike and riding a 32lbs FS with Nanos on the road got me even fitter faster than if I'd been doing my road rides on a road bike.

    Running Nanos worked fine for me back then as I didn't quite ride as aggressive as I do now, if I was to do it now, for sure I'd have a 2nd wheelset with different tyres for road/commute duty as those rides are hell fast these days.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bunyan View Post
    Wow guys, this is all great feedback. I seriously appreciate all the good advice. Reading through all the posts again pretty much reflects what I've been tossing around as well.
    .................................................. ..................or rides on the road rather than a more stout bike with a bit more upright riding position? @ Bruce, since you mentioned you have both the RIP and a Jet, which one would you prefere on the road?

    This is all great feedback and is definitely helping me narrow down on making a decision on what choice I'm going to make.
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  25. #25
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    Sure, that makes a lot of sense. Another good point I'll have to take into consideration.

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