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  1. #1
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    Is it dumb to have a MTB exclusively as a city bike?

    I wanted to buy a bike. I liked MTB's as well.

    Buying MTB for city-road ride, worst decision or fine?

    I didn't like thin wheels. I like bikes with bigger tires Kona unit X for example.

    Sorry for bad english.

  2. #2
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    No problem with that. As long as it works for you!
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  3. #3
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    Not a bad idea at all. Obstacles like sewer grates, and just poor pavement are no issue with the bigger tires.

    Besides, the knobbier tires offer more rolling resistance and you're getting a better workout than you'd get on street tires.

  4. #4
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    Suggest just a cheap bike like Hyper if you are just going street use only. Of course; if you can afford it and want something that can go faster; you are looking at spending 520 to 5000 dollars.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guanzo View Post
    I wanted to buy a bike. I liked MTB's as well.

    Buying MTB for city-road ride, worst decision or fine?

    I didn't like thin wheels. I like bikes with bigger tires Kona unit X for example.

    Sorry for bad english.
    If you like it, it's not dumb. Ride whatever you want to.
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  6. #6
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    When I moved to Tokyo, I took my mountain bike with me and road it all over the city.
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    Remember, there's always quilting and knitting if pedalling becomes too tough.

  7. #7
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    If the bike you choose makes you happy then don't worry about what others think just go out and enjoy it.

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  8. #8
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    I use a 97 super v as my town/commuter bike. Tough balloon tires and suspension smooth out the worst city roads.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  9. #9
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    Old school, rigid fork mountain bikes make the best townies.

  10. #10
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    A cyclocross/adventure/gravel bike might be a better option. It is kinda the middle ground between a road bike and an MTB. Allows for wider tires as well.

  11. #11
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    I rode a mid-range HT as my daily commuter for a number of years then I moved and bought a Raleigh Redux 2, which is a city bike based on a modified 27.5 MTB frame that anyone used to an MTB will instantly feel comfortable on. I like the Redux a lot more for a number of reasons. First, I thought I'd hate the rigid fork, but it's actually nice and light, and the steeper head tube angle makes the bike much more nimble and stable for city riding. Also the Redux has bosses for racks and full fenders which are much better than what you can put on a MTB. Finally, the bike stock was under 26 lbs, which you're not going to get to on an MTB unless you spend a good bit more.

  12. #12
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    Love the idea.


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  13. #13
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    A mountain bike is quite good for riding in traffic. The more upright position helps you look around and the ride is more forgiving. Wheels are less likely to get bent on the potholes too! Only down-side is that the bars can be a bit wide if you're squeezing through rows of cars.

    Don't use off-road tyres though. Rolling resistance is terrible, puncture too easily and they'll wear down really quickly. I use Specialized Nimbus Armadillo for street/road on my MTB.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonSonic View Post
    Old school, rigid fork mountain bikes make the best townies.
    I still have my first mtb, a 1990 HardRock that I've had fenders on, knobbies, smooth city commuter tires and and presently, a fast rolling small block 2.2 knobbie that is a good for almost anything and has just the right balance of comfort and grip. This bike has been very handy in many facets of riding.

    If the bike you choose is comfortable, there is very little if any limits to what or how you can use it. Tire type, commuter/city bags as carry options, lights etc.... Bikes are more and more becoming multi-use by the way we set them up even though the industry like us to have one for weekends, one for gravel roads, or for Wednesday nights ... on and on.

    Here's two pics of my Spec HardRock, a good all rounder, loaner, back-up or spare.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is it dumb to have a MTB exclusively as a city bike?-2017-08-20-02.20.42_resized.jpg  

    Is it dumb to have a MTB exclusively as a city bike?-special4834286956674685998_n.jpg  

    Last edited by bachman1961; 05-11-2018 at 03:36 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Not dumb.
    I commuted to school for 5 yrs. on a MTB in a busy city. Having a MTB meant I had a lot of route options that included stairs, parks, and creative short-cuts where a road bike would be less than ideal if not dangerous.

    I also did a supported 400 mile road ride on it after graduation. It's not aero, but the route options are priceless.

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    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  16. #16
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    I am decidedly not a skinny (<2") tired fellow, have not been nor will ever be as I grow wider and no longer taller. I've always liked mtb bikes for all riding and just swapped tires depending on the usage. Ride the bike you are comfortable on the most, you will go farther with less effort and perhaps be less sweaty at your destination.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  17. #17
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    You will be significantly slower and use much more effort.

    When I ride to work on a mountain bike it takes around 30 minutes, when I ride to work on a single speed road bike it takes 15-20 minutes. If I had a proper road bike with gears it would probably take under 15 minutes.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post
    You will be significantly slower and use much more effort.

    When I ride to work on a mountain bike it takes around 30 minutes, when I ride to work on a single speed road bike it takes 15-20 minutes. If I had a proper road bike with gears it would probably take under 15 minutes.
    That seems like an unusual discrepancy, if I average ~14mph on the mtb I might do about 18mph on the same route with my road bike. The roadie seems a lot faster on the road but strava says it's not as different as I would have guessed.
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  19. #19
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  20. #20
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    nothing wrong with a mtb on the road. I used to commute to work on my Scalpel which is a full suspension XC race bike. I had a road bike but it was damaged when it got hit by a truck with me on it. only thing that generally doesnt work is a road bike on a mtb trail.

    Like Mr. Pig said. you sit upright, you tend to more visible that way and more comfortable. plus if you see or feel like having some off pavement fun you can depending on the tires. off road tires will wear out quickly on the road. Maxxis Hookworm is a good tire.

    Since we moved if I commute to work on my mtb the first 12 miles can be single track if I want to go that way.
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  21. #21
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    I agree with most others here. I have a 1995 scott boulder that i turned into a commuter bike. I love it for its purpose. I put some 26x1.25 tires on it which have enough give for durability but are still pretty light and quick. Compared to my road bike i am only 2-3mph slower at the most. Go for it!

  22. #22
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    When I was in college in Boston 20 years ago I used and old mtn bike for transportation. By old I mean it was already 10 years old at the time. Cheap, heavy and generally crappy, but worked fine. It was not about speed, but being faster than walking and the wide wheels/tires and gears allowed me to pretty much ride anywhere over any bits of broken pavement, grass, snow etc. I would go food shopping with it packing food in a small backpack an carrying regular plastic bags on the handle bars. Most days I left it outside locked to a bike rack even in rain and snow. Total beater, but it worked.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    That seems like an unusual discrepancy, if I average ~14mph on the mtb I might do about 18mph on the same route with my road bike. The roadie seems a lot faster on the road but strava says it's not as different as I would have guessed.
    I think that's valid and more to the point.
    Some extreme example's can certainly reveal differences and if it's the intent of the O.P. to be fast and light, there are some considerations but I'll stand by the character of many bikes being somewhat tunable / versatile in a variety of general use options.
    My old mtb felt like a city bike with city tires and pedaled quite easy and efficient. It performs quite predictably when paired with tires for the intended duty and the old 3x7 is plenty good.

    The fact that bikes of that style and era can be found for prices or $15 to $50 makes them a valuable asset for many.
    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

  24. #24
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    I'm doing to buy Giant ARX series bikes as ARX 1 model.

    Thoughts about this bike?

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/int/arx-1

  25. #25
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    I used a hard tail with pacestar hans dampf for a while. I thought it was safer because I could jump off the road wherever there was trail, and traction was very good.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guanzo View Post
    I'm doing to buy Giant ARX series bikes as ARX 1 model.

    Thoughts about this bike?

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/int/arx-1
    That looks perfect. Fully rigid is best on hard surface. Better power. I ride my fully rigid Surly Karate Monkey on the road. No problems.
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  27. #27
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    Is it dumb to have a MTB exclusively as a city bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemonaid View Post
    Why not?

    Nice!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guanzo View Post
    I wanted to buy a bike. I liked MTB's as well.

    Buying MTB for city-road ride, worst decision or fine?

    I didn't like thin wheels. I like bikes with bigger tires Kona unit X for example.

    Sorry for bad english.

    I'm doing it right now with a cheap 'hybrid' bike. Use 1.95 inch tires for road biking and then switch to 2.4 or 2.8 in front for dirt. Works fine. No need to be the fastest road biker out there, I despise some of those snobby elitists anyway.
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  29. #29
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    I have also decided to get a MTB even though 3/4 of use will be riding on roads with my young daughter or laps around our suburb. i purchased a good road bike 10 years ago and it just sucked. Was stuck on crap boring roads and the longest way to get anywhere as i couldnt just hop a gutter and cross the road, and it was super uncomfortable.

    the other 1/4 is trails with some friends who are strong enthusiasts.

    so my issue is, that i'm hoping for some advice on - how much is too much considering trail use is limited.

    I started looking at Giant ATX / Trek Marlins 4ish. then i kept price bracket creeping up to the Marlin 7, Xcal 8, and now even a Roscoe 8 which by all reports is a banger of a MTB bike, but would it be terrible around streets with its wide tires??

    the first bikes was interested in was second hand Giant Talon 3 (2015) in perfect condition, hardly ridden for $450 AUD or brand new Giant ATX 2018 for $470 AUD, now i'm looking at $1400 bikes and fear i am getting out of control.

    this noob needs some guidance

  30. #30
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    Not at all, big tires are comfy. Plus it allows you to go any and everywhere, as well as play round on stuff! I ride mine around the city all the time, esp. if i'm tired of road/cx bumpiness.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    Not at all, big tires are comfy. Plus it allows you to go any and everywhere, as well as play round on stuff! I ride mine around the city all the time, esp. if i'm tired of road/cx bumpiness.
    thanks for the quick reply.

    that sounds great that big tires are more comfortable, would i notice a big impact on speed at all? both from tires, and even it being a 11 speed and having less options.

    compared to say the XCal, which seems to be made more for speed?

    i think my choice is between those 2, although for the 150-200 extra the Roscoe has a dropper post and some other slight tech upgrades.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ndoggy View Post
    thanks for the quick reply.

    that sounds great that big tires are more comfortable, would i notice a big impact on speed at all? both from tires, and even it being a 11 speed and having less options.

    compared to say the XCal, which seems to be made more for speed?

    i think my choice is between those 2, although for the 150-200 extra the Roscoe has a dropper post and some other slight tech upgrades.
    Itís a tough call between those two.
    I prefer the Xcaliber 8. It would be faster with the bigger 29er tires and bigger/dual chainring (36/22), it is lighter, and more XC geometry.

  33. #33
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    Thanks so much for the advice. Couple of things influencing my decision now is that there donít seem to be any more Roscoe 8s around in my size. The lbs said August is next batch and they are 2019 models.

    They are also willing to drop $200 off the XCaliber 8 so itís now a $400 difference between the bikes and one isnít available for months.

    if I get the xcal, any parts of it worth upgrading to make it more similar to the Roscoe? All I can think of is a dropper post? I doubt I can switch to fatter tires without undoing what the xcal is meant to be?

    Thanks again.

  34. #34
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    Mountain bikes excel at crappy pavement commutes, and as others have noted, they give you the precious option of route diversity...
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  35. #35
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    Is it dumb to have a MTB exclusively as a city bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ndoggy View Post
    Thanks so much for the advice. Couple of things influencing my decision now is that there donít seem to be any more Roscoe 8s around in my size. The lbs said August is next batch and they are 2019 models.

    They are also willing to drop $200 off the XCaliber 8 so itís now a $400 difference between the bikes and one isnít available for months.

    if I get the xcal, any parts of it worth upgrading to make it more similar to the Roscoe? All I can think of is a dropper post? I doubt I can switch to fatter tires without undoing what the xcal is meant to be?

    Thanks again.
    If it were me, and if you really like it, I would buy the Xcaliber 8, ride it for a while, and upgrade parts later.
    Btw, I think the Xcaliber can take up to 2.4 tires, nothing larger than that. Confirm with your LBS.
    Last edited by j102; 06-18-2018 at 04:55 AM.

  36. #36
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    I do mostly urban riding.... I have kenda k-rads on my gt and beach cruiser tires on my beater rockhopper.... both roll great
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  37. #37
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    Iíve just bought an MTB which is 99% for riding on the roads. It is somewhat slower than my hybrid but a lot more fun to ride, and provides a better workout.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
    Iíve just bought an MTB which is 99% for riding on the roads. It is somewhat slower than my hybrid but a lot more fun to ride, and provides a better workout.
    How much slower than hybrid bike?

    If the distance you go with the hybrid bicycle goes in one hour, how many hours do you go with MTB? 1,5h?

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guanzo View Post
    How much slower than hybrid bike?

    If the distance you go with the hybrid bicycle goes in one hour, how many hours do you go with MTB? 1,5h?
    I'd have to look at the Garmin stats more carefully, but on a 25Km round trip (around 15.5 miles) it takes about 15 minutes longer compared to my hybrid (CrossTrail).

    I've found it comes down mostly to the gearing and possibly the wheels. I'm maxed around 35% of the time on the gears on my MTB, whereas I'm only maxed out around 15% of the time on my hybrid (down long, fast straights). The wheels on the hybrid are 700c and I've got 27.5 inch wheels on the MTB.

    The MTB is also around 3.5KG heavier than my hybrid.

  40. #40
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    Years ago, I was stupid (still am stupid), and decided to put slicks on my 26" MTB, and go out riding with my girlfriend who was on a road bike. I was absolutely spun out in my max gear, running a crazy cadence that I could not maintain, while she was gliding.

    The largest factor is gearing. Next up is tire tread, and wheelsize. Suspect bike weight is next, followed much, much later by aero factors such as the frame itself, and riding position.

    Interestingly I was much closer on steep climbs, where MTB gearing at least gives you a shot.

  41. #41
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    Used to go downtown with the hippies and yuppies for the local Critical mass group rides.
    All Kinds of bikes,

    One stood out,
    A guy on a low end city bike, all stripped of It's fenders and spring saddle, and missing the left crank arm and pedal,,,,
    The guy had only one leg, he was really good with that bike and plenty fast.

    It was often a group of thirty and some times more, much more.
    They shot for a 10 mph average pace and this was at night In the downtown, along the water, through the bar district, with open fast sections and lots of curbs and pot holes.

    I always took my mountain bike, It was tubeless so no worry of flats,
    I locked out the fork, aired up the 27.5x2.8 tires from my off road 15 psi to a solid 30 psi
    Only had a 1x11 and I never had a problem keeping up as we rarely got up to 25 mph.
    Spinning in 11th gear was kinda fun.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guanzo View Post
    I wanted to buy a bike. I liked MTB's as well.

    Buying MTB for city-road ride, worst decision or fine?

    I didn't like thin wheels. I like bikes with bigger tires Kona unit X for example.

    Sorry for bad english.
    One of my employees rides his FS MTB daily to work (20 miles round-trip), he claimed he gets a way more aggressive workout that way vs a roadie

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  43. #43
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    If I'm commuting regularly, I'd much rather have the utility and convenience of a true city bike, which are hybrids with full fenders, rear rack, low maintenance drivetrain, disc brakes, and wide tires with slick/grooved tread pattern.

    Example:
    https://www.trekbicyclesuperstore.co...h-233068-1.htm

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolwasabi View Post
    If I'm commuting regularly, I'd much rather have the utility and convenience of a true city bike, which are hybrids with full fenders, rear rack, low maintenance drivetrain, disc brakes, and wide tires with slick/grooved tread pattern.

    Example:
    https://www.trekbicyclesuperstore.co...h-233068-1.htm
    Ugly

  45. #45
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    Since Im saving for a car, mtb raffle for an enduro bike and for a dh bike, I just got a Hyper Havoc FS for an in town bike. No sense in spending 500 dollars for an in town bike. So Id advise against that Trek.

  46. #46
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    I use a re-purposed 2000 Spec Hardrock. Use it for commuting, bike camping, trail riding, single track, etc. It's my one bike for all jobs that copes with more of what i ask from it. Just put the right rubber on it and it's good to go. Suits my needs perfectly. Currently have Continental City Rides on it - 26x1.75 - 5000 Km so far with no punctures and good for a bit of rough stuff too (within limits).

    ps: i should of added that sometimes a modern suspension mtb would be great for the pot holes around here (more like bomb craters) but prefer the older rigid setup

  47. #47
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    whatever floats your boat.
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by blizzardpapa View Post
    whatever floats your boat.
    I see your an open-minded bundle of fun. Pointless reply but doesn't leave me surprised either.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragracer88 View Post
    Suggest just a cheap bike like Hyper if you are just going street use only. Of course; if you can afford it and want something that can go faster; you are looking at spending 520 to 5000 dollars.
    What if I only have $519 but want to go fast?

  50. #50
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    It is not dumb, not the most efficient choice, a road or cyclo-tourism bike would probably be better choices, but not dumb.
    High on dopamine

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryguy79 View Post
    What if I only have $519 but want to go fast?
    You are SOL, and I'm not giving you the extra buck.
    Last edited by phlegm; 06-29-2018 at 07:31 AM.

  52. #52
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    It is not necessarily dumb as some people (like me) love to jump around the sidewalks. However, if you donít want to progress into that stuff, itís likely overkill when you can just buy a road or hybrid bike thatís more efficient.

  53. #53
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    Weighing the options..

    -Road bikes are too restrictive in terrain selection.
    -Gravel bikes are diverse, but may leave you in a more aggressive position than desired, and don't have flat bars.
    -Hybrids are just horribly lame. Nothing personal to hybrid owners.
    -Beach Cruisers are comfortable, but heavy, with very limited (if any) gear selection.

    A mountain bike offers the most utility and fun. A good hardtail or full rigid makes the best city bike IMO. And with the right tires, can be plenty fast enough. Best of all worlds.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by GKelley View Post
    ....
    -Gravel bikes are diverse, but leave you in a hunched over position, and don't have flat bars......
    Most Gravel bikes have a relaxed, more upright position, very comfortable.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by j102 View Post
    Most Gravel bikes have a relaxed, more upright position, very comfortable.
    That's good to hear actually. I have been eyeballing some gravel bikes for quite some time now.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by j102 View Post
    Most Gravel bikes have a relaxed, more upright position, very comfortable.
    I think folks may have different definitions of what "more upright" is. Most gravel bikes I've seen still lean to a road bike stance, which may be unappealing to some.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    I think folks may have different definitions of what "more upright" is. Most gravel bikes I've seen still lean to a road bike stance, which may be unappealing to some.
    Yes, it is close to a road bike stance, but is more ďforgivingĒ for the back, neck and arms.
    There are definitely more upright bikes out there, but the little bit ďmore uprightĒ stance of gravel bikes helps.

  58. #58
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    I have a HT that mostly sees "road" riding duties during winter when shorter days and cold/snow make it harder to get out on real trails. I put "road" in parentheses as I can link in several suburban dog-walking trails in green spaces, a nearby rails-to-trails, and county parks that have some multipurpose trails.... all connected by roads and paved bike paths. I set it up with 3x10, so I have plenty of gearing for anything I ride.

    A road bike wouldn't be quite so versatile.

    I run Specialized Fast Tracks tires which I can find cheap and offer some modest trail traction with relatively little rolling resistance on the road.

    My rides are rarely over 2 hours, so the inflexibility of positioning isn't a significant factor. If you were riding much longer, the versatility of a drop bar would be useful to avoid hand numbness, etc.

    I'm old, fat, and slow, but otherwise awesome ;-) , so I wouldn't be "fast" even on a light road bike. However, the mtb is still less efficient and you'll likely be passed by lots of people on proper road bikes.

    Someone once posted here: Mtbers who don't ride road are slow; Roadies who don't ride mountain are dicks. I have found this to be generally true.

    Enjoy,

    AM.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverTeletubby View Post
    It is not necessarily dumb as some people (like me) love to jump around the sidewalks. However, if you donít want to progress into that stuff, itís likely overkill when you can just buy a road or hybrid bike thatís more efficient.
    This.

    I just bought a FS trek fuel for city duty and I love the fact that I can bunny hop little gaps and jump off curbs without even thinking about it. When I have to really pedal hard and fast I just lock out the suspension and away I go....

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycdiesel1 View Post
    This.

    I just bought a FS trek fuel for city duty and I love the fact that I can bunny hop little gaps and jump off curbs without even thinking about it. When I have to really pedal hard and fast I just lock out the suspension and away I go....

    You can hop curbs on a road bike too- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhrImDwwaDc

    Lots of other advantages for a mtb though.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  61. #61
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    My current commuter bike is/was my old MTB from the 90's. I used that bike to get around college...did bike couriering on it etc...and, if I was riding a paved trail, and saw an opening in the woods, I could go into it no problem. I honestly have never opened a road type bike ever...it just seemed too restricting...or more like I ride too rough for one to last
    "It's about having pointless fun in the woods...." - Walt
    '15 Surly Krampus
    '87 Mongoose Californian Pro
    LET IT SNOW!!!

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guanzo View Post
    I wanted to buy a bike. I liked MTB's as well.

    Buying MTB for city-road ride, worst decision or fine?

    I didn't like thin wheels. I like bikes with bigger tires Kona unit X for example.

    Sorry for bad english.
    I don't think it's dumb, as long as you're not fooling yourself for your reasons. If you simply like the style and looks of a mountain bike, even if you're not riding it on the mountain, that's as good a reason as any to have one.

    What's lame is if you have to start justifying that you need it. I see this all the time with truck lovers who daily drive a huge truck in urban areas, while hauling air most of the time. Just say you like the look and the handling of trucks and let that be that. Don't lame-out and try to make the case of why you need one for everyday driving.

    I'm in the middle of putting disc brakes on an old 2000-era Trek 6000 that I use for around town transportation. The v-brakes on it now work just fine. I'm putting disc brakes on it for look and feel, and I'm not kidding myself or justifying the disc brakes for any reasons other than given.

    -Peter

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