1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    194

    Buy a hybrid or convert a 29er?

    Now that I have my (dedicated) off-road bike situation settled, I am looking at picking up a hybrid for 99% paved use with the occasional dirt road thrown into the mix.

    (mostly for riding with my wife who completely refuses to ride on any trails)

    However after thinking about it I have to wonder if it wouldn't be better to just buy a budget 29er along with another set of wheels/tires and a possibly a stem extension.

    After all, I can't really convert a hybrid over to a true off-road bike but I would think that I could reasonably be able to adapt a 29er over to serving potentially both purposes.

    Basically budgeting say $400-500 for a Karakoram, Overdrive, or something from Bikes Direct plus another $150 in extra parts should give me what would functionally be two different bikes.

    Does this sound like a reasonable idea?

    If so, are there any other items on the 29er that might need to be swapped as well?
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,815
    you could just do tires.. takes a few minutes. i swap mine out all the time depending on what i'm doing.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    194
    True.

    I suppose I could just start out that way and decide if the convenience of buying an extra set of wheels/cassette/rotors is worth the cost based upon how often I end up switching it from street ready back to off-road use.

    Aside from the tires/wheels is there any other considerations I need to make with converting a 29er over for street use?
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  4. #4
    Anchorage, AK
    Reputation: Lars_D's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    654
    Works great. Check for braze ons ons for racks, etc.

    --Lars
    --Peace

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,815
    It really depends on how comfortable you are on it. I swap tires to not ruin my dirt tires, and to reduce rolling resistance. If you really wanted to hybrid it out, you could swap the fork for one that sucks, and do a weird death trap adjustable stem, with a suspension seat post lol... Oh, and a basket

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    13,480
    $500 is too much for a hybrid.

    This is a class of bike that's not good at anything, that fat people buy in the hopes that it will get them in shape hanging in their garage, and that gets resold frequently. They're all over Craig's List.

    TBH, I just hop on my mountain bike to ride with my fiancee. I don't see that I need an additional bike to do something that bike already does fine, and it's not like we get a lot of miles, so even if we were on pavement, I wouldn't be particularly concerned about tire wear.

    Do you still have the Topanga in your sig? Put some slicks on that, spending the extra few hundred dollars on some nice dinners or a real fork for your GT.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    194
    Quote Originally Posted by ou2mame View Post
    It really depends on how comfortable you are on it. I swap tires to not ruin my dirt tires, and to reduce rolling resistance. If you really wanted to hybrid it out, you could swap the fork for one that sucks, and do a weird death trap adjustable stem, with a suspension seat post lol... Oh, and a basket
    The tire swap seems like what I will do at first, alternate wheels may come later.

    Thanks for the rest of the (sarcastic) advice but no.

    Whatever bike I buy will have a lockable fork for use on pavement, an adjustable stem or stem extension (if I bother experimenting with one) would also be only for paved use and a suspension seat would be ridiculous and one of the things which initially steered me away from buying a straight-up hybrid to begin with (since they all seem to come with them).

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    $500 is too much for a hybrid.

    This is a class of bike that's not good at anything, that fat people buy in the hopes that it will get them in shape hanging in their garage, and that gets resold frequently. They're all over Craig's List.

    TBH, I just hop on my mountain bike to ride with my fiancee. I don't see that I need an additional bike to do something that bike already does fine, and it's not like we get a lot of miles, so even if we were on pavement, I wouldn't be particularly concerned about tire wear.

    Do you still have the Topanga in your sig? Put some slicks on that, spending the extra few hundred dollars on some nice dinners or a real fork for your GT.
    I am hoping that my wife and I will be putting in at least 40 miles a week on the pavement around here (she really wants to try to get back into riding and I am encouraging her as much as I can) and I just want a comfortable ride when rolling around with her.

    My logic is that I could either spend $400 on a hybrid which is basically useless off of pavement or just a few dollars more and have a bike with a better frame and components that will also have the option of playing with as an entry level 29er on the tamer trails around Houston.

    Plus by justifying the purchase as a "bike to ride with her" it negates some of the complaints I would otherwise hear about "buying a second MTB".



    The Topanga I have other plans for in that I want to use it as a "training bike" to teach myself how to tear it down to the frame and rebuild it (skills I am currently lacking) which I can take my time with since I won't be depending upon it for my daily ride. I have already sat in on a couple of mechanical classes at the LBS and have a friend who is more experienced with bike mechanics coming over next Saturday to help walk me through the break down (so that I don't accidentally break something) and that I can rely on for help if I really get in over my head beyond what Youtube videos and internet tutorials can walk me through on the refurbishing/rebuilding process.
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,815
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    $500 is too much for a hybrid.

    This is a class of bike that's not good at anything, that fat people buy in the hopes that it will get them in shape hanging in their garage, and that gets resold frequently. They're all over Craig's List..
    hahahaha thats so true

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    378
    for putzing around the neighborhood or paved bike trails/roads you can use pretty much any bike. just put some mostly slicks on , lock the fork and go with what you have.

    if you want a 29er then get one. but its not going to be significantly better than your current avalanche for this. where something like the spec sirrus or trek fx (flatbar road bikes) is designed for road use and is significantly lighter and geared higher.

    the only change i make to my 29er between road and dirt are: wheelset swap for slicks and more road friendly cassette (11-28). but i eventually just bought a cx bike for the mostly road/hardpack rides.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: GOTA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    473
    Hardtail 29ers are great as commuter bikes. I put some Big Apple tires on my Jamis Dragon and love it on the roads.
    He who dares....wins!

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    120
    Quote Originally Posted by Slozomby View Post

    if you want a 29er then get one. but its not going to be significantly better than your current avalanche for this. .
    Do not, under any circumstances, let your wife read what Slozomby posted above.

    You NEED a hardtail 29er in order to spend quality time with your wife. Your only reason for getting this new bike is to develop and strengthen your relationship. Really, for a goal so noble, money should be no object. $400... $500... $1500... Can you put on a price on a healthy marriage?

    Now get out there and find yourself a sweet HT 29er.

    Do it for your wife.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    194
    Quote Originally Posted by jstaples View Post
    Do not, under any circumstances, let your wife read what Slozomby posted above.

    You NEED a hardtail 29er in order to spend quality time with your wife. Your only reason for getting this new bike is to develop and strengthen your relationship. Really, for a goal so noble, money should be no object. $400... $500... $1500... Can you put on a price on a healthy marriage?

    Now get out there and find yourself a sweet HT 29er.

    Do it for your wife.
    LoL! Exactly!



    Right now we're going out now to look at a new bike for her to ride today... This should be interesting..
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    378
    Quote Originally Posted by jstaples View Post
    You NEED a hardtail 29er in order to spend quality time with your wife. Your only reason for getting this new bike is to develop and strengthen your relationship. Really, for a goal so noble, money should be no object. $400... $500... $1500... Can you put on a price on a healthy marriage?

    Now get out there and find yourself a sweet HT 29er.

    Do it for your wife.
    i didnt think of it that way. your absolutely correct.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    194
    Well the wife now has her now bike...

    Schwinn Sierra 21 Women's Comfort Bike

    So yeah, definitely no off-road riding as far as she is concerned.

    The best part? When she saw me test fitting 29ers for size her first comment was..

    "Do you want to get one of those while we are here?"



    You could have knocked me over with a feather. Especially since I hadn't even mentioned my plans to "hybridize" a 29er into a road bike for street use to her yet.

    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    194
    Well here is my new toy:



    An Overdrive Expert that I got for $400 (plus a $40 Performance points credit).

    It's a "store exclusive" version sold only through Performance Bicycle (and their sister company Nashbar) which is roughly equivalent in components to the base model Overdrive except that the fork on the Expert has a lockout which the base model lacks which was important to me.

    Fits me beautifully and rides on pavement very nicely however due to all the rain here in Houston I won't be able to judge how it rides on the trails here for at least a couple of weeks.

    And my wife is happy because "it was her idea" that I buy it.

    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    15
    convert

  17. #17
    Picture Unrelated
    Reputation: zebrahum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    5,021
    Quote Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    Well here is my new toy:
    Looks good, here are some suggestions:

    • Level out that saddle
    • put the saddle in the center of the rails instead of slammed all the way back
    • Rotate your brake levers down so that you don't have to bend your wrists to use the brakes.
    • And since you're likely to use the bike on road it would be a good idea to point the reflectors in a direction that would be useful.


    Have fun with the thing and were you trying to make this bike both a hybrid and a mountain bike or were you simply going to convert this to hybrid mode and leave it there? I would buy a second set of wheels for it with a cassette (maybe higher geared) and high pressure tires then just have the same bike serve both duties. But then again, if I wanted to ride a bike on bike paths I would have bought a cruiser; which I did do.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    194
    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Looks good, here are some suggestions:

    • Level out that saddle
    • put the saddle in the center of the rails instead of slammed all the way back
    • Rotate your brake levers down so that you don't have to bend your wrists to use the brakes.
    • And since you're likely to use the bike on road it would be a good idea to point the reflectors in a direction that would be useful.


    Have fun with the thing and were you trying to make this bike both a hybrid and a mountain bike or were you simply going to convert this to hybrid mode and leave it there? I would buy a second set of wheels for it with a cassette (maybe higher geared) and high pressure tires then just have the same bike serve both duties. But then again, if I wanted to ride a bike on bike paths I would have bought a cruiser; which I did do.
    Oh, the saddle has already been adjusted. It was fine when I tested it at the shop but somebody messed up the position while it was there overnight to be checked out before I took it home (I bought it just a few minutes before the store was closing.

    I also realized that I wanted to rotate the brake levers when I took it out on the road last night with my wife.

    And yes, I did straighten out the reflectors.

    I do want to at least swap out the tires to reduce resistance on the roads and to preserve the off-road tires and I may also go ahead and grab another wheel set for the road when I see a good deal. Depends on how often I end up needing to swap the tires out.

    I was considering ordering a pair of these:

    Continental Speed King Cyclocross Tire - COMPONENTS RUBBER
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  19. #19
    gran jefe
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    3,088
    if you are riding with your wife, a little extra rolling resistance might not be a bad thing.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    194
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    if you are riding with your wife, a little extra rolling resistance might not be a bad thing.
    Good for me perhaps but bad for my off-road tires.

    I'd rather burn out $30 worth of 700c tires on the roads than $120 worth of trail tires.
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •