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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    Newb Questions, need me some help from you experts!!!

    Hey guys, my name is Adam. I just recently picked up biking again after a few years. Used to really be into bmx and never stepped onto a MTB but I made the jump after riding my buddies specialized.

    I picked myself up a new Specialized Hardrock and I love it. It rides great on trails compared to my old MOSH and DK and I couldnt ask for anything more for a newb like me.

    My main issue is the fact that my girl wants to come along with me to ride. She is into kayaking and camping and all that awesome stuff....and im happy as hell that she wants to ride trails with me but I kind of question her bike.

    First of all we dont ride super hardcore trails. Our local trails are Franke Park in Fort Wayne, IN.



    We stay torwards the begginer trails but even those have quite a few roots and sketchy spots.

    She rides a Specialized Ariel 2011 sport model. Its a great bike but I question the components and tires. Main thing is the tires. Is there more of an offroady 700c tire that she can get thatll handle some sketchy stuff?? Also is there anything you guys think cant handle regular trail riding (3-4x a week).

    Specialized Bicycle Components


    Thanks guys, sorry if i rambaled. I just thought I would give you the full scenario so you can give me the best advice.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the site
    No expert but can offer my opinion.
    I'd say the bike is more than fine if it fits her.
    The tires are good if you want to do both road and trail but also far from optimal for both. I'd at least get a bigger rounder slightly more aggressive tire up front, even if i wanted to do both but go for a ride and see. If you know you want trails get trail tires that're good for your area straight away.
    "Tortured by mental illness" ~monogod

  3. #3
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    What im confused on is which size tires should i buy.

    The oem tires are 700x45c, i dont want something crazy aggressive but the tires she currently has have a flat tread in the middle for more "road-going".

  4. #4
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    There's lots to choose from just google it, or head to lbs. Those boro xc tires are not trail tires so if you're riding trails or if that's the destination, change em.
    "Tortured by mental illness" ~monogod

  5. #5
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    700c = 29er. Maybe find a 29er tire that will work.

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Trek has a few slimmer 29er tires that can be a good fit for trying to mountain up a hybrid. I forget what they're called - they're numbered or have acronyms or something like that. But check out your local Trek dealer. Take the bike with you.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    As has been stated a 29er tire and 700c tire are the same diameter. The problems you may run into is the inner width of the rim and the clearance to the frame and fork. 700c rims are typically narrower which limits the width of the tire that will stay seated under lateral stress. The rim may have its inner width someplace on it or you can measure it. If it is 15mm wide a 2.1" tire would be the upper limit, if its 17mm wide a 2.1" wide tire should be completely fine. Not sure what will clear that frame and fork or not on that bike. You might run it into you LBS and have them recommend some tires that will fit that bike and will work well on your local trails. You can even see if they will install them for you just to be sure they fit.

    Everything else should be fine to take on beginner singletrack. I take my 8 year old daughter with me on some intermediate rooty trails on her 24" Specialized Hotrock and she loves it. She champions through what she can and walks the rest.

    Now here is the not so good side of it... Hybrid bikes aren't meant to see a lot of trail riding so some components will break down more quickly than trail orientated components. The wheels (both hubs and rims) and fork will take the brunt of this. The BB and rear hub can wear quickly if she likes to stand and hammer though the rough stuff. Pedal and chainring strikes will hasten the demise of the crankset but by the video I doubt that will be much of an issue. Will it last a season or two? Maybe, probably, who knows. Riding the bike she has will ultimately tell you whether she likes the sport but if she does you should probably look into getting her a trail orientated bike in the near future. It will last longer and feel more at home on the trails.

    One other think I thought of is the gearing of hybrids. They don't have the crazy low gearing she may need for serious uphill climbs.

    Good luck, be encouraging and have fun.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    IME, it's clearance in the fork and between the chainstays that limits the tire that fits on a hybrid. That's why it's helpful to bring the bike to the shop, although you won't know for sure until you actually mount and inflate the tire.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the rest of the build, although if it's one of the newer hybrids with a piece of junk that looks like a suspension fork bolted to the front, that's a bit of a disadvantage out of the gate. Rigid forks at least track well. I'm too lazy to look up the build, but I notice that many (most?) hybrids use MTB components, maybe with bigger chain rings.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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