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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    Haven't had a bike in 30 years

    Back in high school, a simple Centurion 10-speed.

    Been looking mostly at REI. Would mostly ride around home, on pavement at first. There are a lot of bike lanes and off road trails.

    But I've been browsing mostly hybrids, on the assumption that most of the riding will be on streets, starting out by reducing my driving for simple things like errands, maybe some longer weekend rides of say 10-15 miles.

    The assumption is that hybrid will hold up better through uneven pavement and the occasional gravel areas one encounters around here, like construction sites, little neighborhood parks and such.

    Price range I have in mind is $500-700. REI has a fair number of Cannondales and other brands as well as their own Novarra.

    But looking at the specs, it's hard to evaluate them. For instance, in this range, there are some bikes with front suspension and disc brakes (which are really new to me) but presumably, those bikes would have lesser components elsewhere than bikes in a similar price range which do not have such "exotic" features.

    Do suspensions make sense for mostly pavement riding? One of the models features "Cannondale Synapse Active Vibration Elimination" while a lower priced Cannondale has actual front suspension.

    Does disc brakes provide advantages, again mostly on pavement? I don't anticipate doing much riding in wet weather.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: falconpunch79's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Suspension doesn't really make sense for pavement riding, but many mtb forks have a lockout which can be handy in those situations. And disc brakes offer many advantages over rim-type brakes, as can be seen with the rising popularity of road disc brakes. If you really think you'll never hit any real trails, then maybe a hybrid is a good choice for you. However, I think a lot people would suggest you look into putting slicks on an mtb and getting a fork with a lock-out just in case your curiosity takes you off-road. I don't know much about the componentry on hybrids though, but I assume they're fairly low-end in order to meet a price point. On the higher end of the price spectrum, cyclocross and touring bikes make great commuters and adventure bikes, although it may be overkill for what you're planning.
    *Not a real mountain biker

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: Haven't had a bike in 30 years

    I don't have any room for a hybrid in my garage. People often underestimate the ability of a road bike. The bike companies feed into it because it lets them sell more bikes. I'm sure you took your Centurion on dirt and gravel, down curbs, etc. You can do that with newer models too. For me, hybrids combine the least attractive aspects of the road and mountain sides.

    Look at light touring, endurance, and cyclocross bikes. Look for clearance and mounting holes for racks and fenders. Try a bunch of different bikes and see what you think. Bear in mind that you can adjust handlebar height and tire pressure and tires come in widths.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    To give you an idea whar road bikes can stand up to ,go to youtube and watch Road Bike party 2.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Zomby Woof (MCM700)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Well, you never forget how to ride. But for mountain biking you will be learning new skills.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    look at the base Specialized rockhopper 29er. Good bang for the buck.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 70sSanO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    I am also in the get a touring/cyclocross and not a hybrid. I agre with AndrwSwitch that a road bike can handle more than just pavement (I've taken an '86 Cannondale on mild dirt with cyclocross tires).

    Since you are looking at REI have you looked at their Safari? It looks to be on sale and the reviews are really good, especially when a few talk about riding from Florida to Maine, or across the country, etc.

    Here is a link...

    Novara Safari Bike - 2014 at

    1995 Trek 970 - 80mm Atom Race
    1992 Serotta T-Max - 70mm Z3 Light
    1993 GT All Terra - 46mm Mag 21

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    If you are considering bikes at REI, check out the GT Corsa Disc. not really a cyclocross bike, not really a road bike, certainly not a hybrid. it should handle some dirt and gravel and do just fine on pavement as well. disc brakes are not really necessary for most riders but why not? don't get a bike that will only handle boring, mellow riding and then limit yourself to boring, mellow rides.

    REI has a ton of older bikes on sale, so sizes might be limited, but the Randonee, Safari, Buzz, and Big Buzz are all great do-it-all bikes that could handle gravel and road riding.

  9. #9
    Vincit qui patitur
    Reputation: owtdorz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    I was in the same boat a few years ago.
    A lot of unanswered questions.
    How active are you?
    Types of trails in your area?
    I commute on all of these except the Kona.
    I started with a GT Karakoram hardtail.
    6 months later Salsa Spearfish f/s
    Then Giant Defy road bike
    Now Kona Process 153
    I have all of them for different types of riding.
    I also have a Tandem cruiser and custom beach cruiser.
    Make a wise choice because this can become very addictive.
    Vincit qui patitur
    2014 KONA Process 153
    2016 KONA Operator
    2017 Salsa Powderkeg
    2018 Santa Cruz Tallboy 29 C R

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    You just need to decide where you are most likely to ride. If it is on road then a road bike is idea as once setup right it will comfortably count up the miles at speed. If you want to do trails and road riding a mountain bike is better but will be slower on road.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Phinias's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Here is the deal, compromising means never being excited no matter what type of riding you are doing. If you think you might enjoy singletrack or other types of trail riding off road than my advice is get a 29er.... of any type... make it one with adjustable air shocks and disc brakes. you will be looking at around $1000 new or as little as $3-400 used. Next get some 700 road bike tires and tubes. Those will fit on a 29er, and just swap them out when doing extended road riding. But always put the nobbies back on for the dirt! Enjoy....

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Haven't had a bike in 30 years

    This is the same situation I was in earlier this year. I was looking between a hybrid bike and a mtn bike. My suggestion is to seriously go down and try as many bikes as you have time for. REI usually just holds on to a license or credit card so you don't run off with the bike.

    A couple of observations I made. The lower end by hybrids tended to shift roughly compared with the ones more towards the $1000. The cannondale quick line with carbon forks were really nice, but on dirt it seemed like a bloody knee waiting to happen.

    There was a novara hybrid that was pretty decent. Dont remember the name but the feel of the bike was better than the cannondale, just heavier.

    If you do look at mtn bikes. I highly recommend the Novara Ponderosa 29" (2014 $750). A friend of mine got one around the same time I got my mtn bike and i spent some time in the saddle. Granted its not high end components but it handled as well as some of the mid range ($2500+) 29" bikes i've rented over the past 2 yrs. My buddy is a big dude and rides the hell out of it.

    Had I not lucked out on a smokin deal for the bike I do have, the Ponderosa would have been in my garage.

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