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.
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Are Mountain Bikes Good For Urban Riding?

    Are mountain bikes good for urban riding?

    I see a lot of mountain bikes in NYC. I don't know why so many people want to ride a mountain bike in a city; but apparently they do, and I'm wondering if I'm missing out on something.

  2. #2
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    i ride my mountain bike everywhere it helps keep the ride fun for me. i mean if im riding along the road and i get bored i can find a dirt path somewhere take it and see where it goes and there is always something around to challenge yourself such as stairs,drops off walls and such or just jumping some speed bumps. it really just helps to keep things interesting. i have tried to commute on a sirrus before but it was just boring for me and every time i would go a different way to try and make it interesting i always found something new i wanted to try but i couldnt because of the bike i was on now i just use the same bike i ride on the trails and i am a happy camper.so are mountain bikes good for urban riding i say yes but any bike that gets you out to ride is good for urban riding it really just depends on the person and what they want to accomplish.
    surly karate monkey
    surly ogre

  3. #3
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    Just my opinions.

    1. MTB has a more upright position. I just cant imagine road bike/cx positioning when you have to be aware of the nutjob cars and cabs that are on the streets of NYC.

    2. Horrendous roads. Potholes, broken up streets , gratings , broken bottles , pampers , you name it youll come across it. Seems easier with a MTB to handle terrain than with a road bike.

    3. On paper wouldnt disc brakes handle sudden city stopping and cars cutting you off better in rainy or wet conditions ?

    4. I would think winter riding is basically out of the question. MTB you can have skinny tires all the way to spiked snow tires.

  4. #4
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    A lightweight MTB with slicks isn't that much slower than a road bike.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  5. #5
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    I think it is simply because it is what they have. Most of those bikes a re really cheap dept bikes, and dept store bikes are mostly mountain bikes (or at least a loose interpretation of a real mountain bike).

    For those comparing mtb bikes to road racing bikes for city use, the majority of bikes I see in NYC are really neither. There are tons of bikes and designs out there better suited for city riding than a true mtb with slicks, or a road racing bike.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  6. #6
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    I ride my mtb all the time around town. I'm not in a huge city like NY, but if I'm riding laps around my town for fitness, I jump on the mtb. If I wan to get in some miles out on the back roads, I jump on the road bike. For me it's different tools for different jobs.

  7. #7
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    I have an old full rigid Giant mountain bike I am converting over to road/city riding.
    Partly because what it is and its durability and partly because it is cheap and if somebody jacks it, I am not out of a lot of money. I will probably only have $100 total in it when done.

    I would say you wouldn't want full suspension and maybe not any suspension at all.
    I would also go with a slick to semi-slick tire but that is just me.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  8. #8
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    I see a lot of "jeeps" and SUVs in town. I don't know why so many people want to drive a "jeep" or SUV in a city; but apparently they do, and I'm wondering if I'm missing out on something.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  9. #9
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    A lot of similar replies to what I think. I had a road bike and a 26er mtb when I lived in the city. I rode the roadie for speed and fitness riding but for a commuter bike I just put slicks on the mtb bike. Way more comfortable, upright riding position. Better for weaving in and out of traffic. Great for hopping kurbs, bike paths, potholes etc and generally the tyres were much less prone to punctures riding over city streets with rubbish, broken glass etc. I much prefer a mtb for a commuter than a road bike.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    A lightweight MTB with slicks isn't that much slower than a road bike.
    I'd have to disagree, if we're talking about top end speeds (over about 25-30mph) there is a surprising amount of difference and that's almost entirely down to the aerodynamics of flat bars vs drops. Having said that I think an MTB on slicks can be a great commuter bike because a proper road bike can beat you up a bit on rough roads and the more upright position of the MTB is better for seeing over the tops of cars...A big bonus in the city.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hogdog View Post
    I'd have to disagree, if we're talking about top end speeds (over about 25-30mph) there is a surprising amount of difference and that's almost entirely down to the aerodynamics of flat bars vs drops. Having said that I think an MTB on slicks can be a great commuter bike because a proper road bike can beat you up a bit on rough roads and the more upright position of the MTB is better for seeing over the tops of cars...A big bonus in the city.
    Agree with all of this but who really cares about top end speed when commuting.

  12. #12
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    Hi TomBrooklyn, I'm PetefromBrooklyn, welcome to the site.
    Think some members nailed it.
    MTB = better braking, more upright, less pinch flats, better at obstacles and sh!ty roads.
    For smoother roads with less going on a roadbike is the way to go.
    Where do you ride trails?
    Round and round we go

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi_GR_Biker View Post
    Agree with all of this but who really cares about top end speed when commuting.

    It also makes a big difference if your pedaling into a headwind but generally speaking an MTB with the right mods would be my choice for a commuter/city bike.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hogdog View Post
    It also makes a big difference if your pedaling into a headwind but generally speaking an MTB with the right mods would be my choice for a commuter/city bike.
    Oh yeah, headwinds. I'd forgotten about those. Worse than hills.

  15. #15
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    I have a 22 lb MTB and a 20 lb road bike and ride them both around the same 17 mile loop or 30 mile loop. The difference in time for my MTB with slicks and my road bike is +\- 2 minutes. I'd disagree with me too if I were comparing a 32 lb MTB vs a 20 lb road bike, but I said a "lightweight MTB."
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  16. #16
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    Most all the mtb's in NYC are relatively cheap or old used bikes, so if they get stolen it's no biggie. I love my roadie but if I lived in NYC I would ride an mtb to deal with all the potholes and crappy roads, I would destroy road wheels in no time not to mention rattle a frame to pieces. I remember seeing one bike on wall street with duct tape all over the frame and decals, sporting an azonic outlaw wheelset. Only an mtber would notice something like that

  17. #17
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    I love riding my CX bike around town compared to my MTB, but I can see the benefit of disks (esp hydro) on the MTB in the city. I have much more faith in my MTB brakes over the canti's on my CX bike.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    I have a 22 lb MTB and a 20 lb road bike and ride them both around the same 17 mile loop or 30 mile loop. The difference in time for my MTB with slicks and my road bike is +\- 2 minutes. I'd disagree with me too if I were comparing a 32 lb MTB vs a 20 lb road bike, but I said a "lightweight MTB."
    22lb mtb with knobby tires?

    a 22lb mountain bike cost a whole lot more than a 20lb road bike.

  19. #19
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    I could only afford one bike. I like to ride a lot, and here is my train of thought. If I don't have time to make it out to the trail, I can still ride. If I had gotten a road bike, I wouldn't have the same freedom. You can ride a mountain bike anywhere, anytime, any condition. Good luck with a road bike anywhere but a road.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    22lb mtb with knobby tires?

    a 22lb mountain bike cost a whole lot more than a 20lb road bike.

    Sette Serum Pro XT Carbon Mountain Bike | Sette | Brand | www.PricePoint.com
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  21. #21
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    And your point is..............what?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    And your point is..............what?
    That a 22lb MTB isn't that expensive compared to a 20lb road bike. Even a 27 lb MTB with slicks isn't that much slower than a 20lb road bike. And the BIG point is five minutes slower over a 15 mile commute isn't the end of the world - but riding 23c tires @ 105 psi and drop bars in the name of speed during a commute is stupid.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Where do you ride trails?
    Hi Pete. I ride mainly in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and a little bit over the GW Bridge in NJ. I don't come across many trails. There's a few places the paths are washed out in Prospect Park. There's a little dirt hill besides the stairway that accesses the the shore path from the 4th Avenue overpass over the Belt Parkway. There's a few parks with some kind of hardpack path. I'd say I come across trails pretty rarely. There are some rough patches of road, and occasional potholes all over.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    That a 22lb MTB isn't that expensive compared to a 20lb road bike.
    You linked to a 22.5 lb mtb coating $1,700
    20 seconds of searching on the same site turns up a 19.5 lb road bike costing $800.
    Sette Vitale 2.0 Tiagra Road Bike | Sette | Brand | www.PricePoint.com
    That's a really big price difference. The mtb weighing 22.5 lb is more than double the price of the road bike weighing 19.5 lb.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomBrooklyn View Post
    Hi Pete. I ride mainly in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and a little bit over the GW Bridge in NJ. I don't come across many trails. There's a few places the paths are washed out in Prospect Park. There's a little dirt hill besides the stairway that accesses the the shore path from the 4th Avenue overpass over the Belt Parkway. There's a few parks with some kind of hardpack path. I'd say I come across trails pretty rarely. There are some rough patches of road, and occasional potholes all over.
    Yeah, thought I might learn something, that's what I figured. Well since this is a mtb site and all I'll throw out there that Cunningham Park in Queens is the closest to you trails I know of that're worth the trip. It's not huge, and there's not a whole lot of elevation, but it's packed full of all levels/types of trails and even has a couple dirt jump and pump tracks.
    here's a linky Cunningham Park Mountain Bike Trail Map | NYC Bike Maps

    Oh, and if you've never done the 5 boro bike tour you should. Can't explain how cool it is to ride the path, like along the FDR drive with 10,000 fellow cyclists.
    Round and round we go

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