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  1. #1
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    Not happy with hybrid. Should I get a mountain bike?

    I used to race road bikes back in the high school days. Fast forward more than a couple of decades and I need an utility bike to use on a paved roads, local parks and some off road terrain. Nothing fancy as I am not into racing anymore or anything crazy like downhill or jumping. I have a hybrid and while I like it, I kinda miss my solid feel of a GT mountain bike I had long time ago. I guess at 6'4" and 210 lbs, I am pushing the hybrid's limits a bit when I step on it off road. So I got an idea of selling the current bike and building myself a budget HT mountain one. This would be strictly for recreational riding from easy strolls with the kids in the local park, to some easy beginner trails in the Northern NJ where I live. I just want something that doesn't feel too fragile when I decide to leave the pavement.

    Any input?

  2. #2
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    A lot of that's in the fork and wheels. A carbon fork and a good wheel set will definitely make it feel sturdy.

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  3. #3
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    You would better off going to some shops and talking to them and test riding some bikes. Building a bike from parts can get pricey .Go to Ebay for an idea on prices.To build from parts you need to know what fork,headset,bottom bracket ,cranks ,wheels and derailluers go with what frame .

  4. #4
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    If you are going to ride anything more technical than a gentle gravel path, there will be no substitute for a mountain bike (or something like a cyclocross bike and a yearning for pain.) you might get more out of your hybrid if you experiment with the fattest knobby tires you can fit in the frame and fork, but your choices will be limited and it might be a waste of time.

    for what it's worth, "building" a "budget mountain bike" will most likely cost a lot more than buying a complete new bike, unless you spend several months scrounging every bottom-of-the-barrel deal online and in used classifieds. you could spend all that time riding instead of trying to save a few bucks.

  5. #5
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    I have a similar thread going on below "what kind of bike do I need". Great information from members here, check it out...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NtrLvr View Post
    I have a similar thread going on below "what kind of bike do I need". Great information from members here, check it out...
    Here is the link for the OP: What kind of bike do I need?
    Last edited by Max24; 03-07-2015 at 08:09 AM.

  7. #7
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    When you say beginner trails in northern NJ, what trails are you talking about? This may help with advice. Also, depending on where you are: Towne Cycle in West Milford, NJ is an awesome bike shop if you decide to buy new. They carry several brands and price ranges. Mike, the owner...super dude.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the replies. NtrLvl, I have also checked your thread. Very informative. I am pretty much in the same situation. My hybrid is not good on rougher rail trails. That's why I would like to switch to mountain bike which I think will give me more freedom.

    As to the buy vs build, I know what I want and it is hard to get that in a pre-built bike. CL is overpriced plus I need XL frame which is hard to come by. Plus the component swapping and upgrading just doesn't appeal to me and can get costly too. I have visited LBS and the cheapest bike they have is little over $1K with majority falling in $5-7K range. Really nice guys working there though. Another LBS has bikes for $500 and up but very poor selection plus I do not like going there since the last failed tuneup. Third LBS near the place where I work should have a "You are not welcome here" sign in the window. So I will take my chances at building if I decide to go this way. I ski in winter so I can spend good few months building the bike. :-)

  9. #9
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    I did a bike build a few winters ago, it was rough having it done by Feb and looking at the snow... But when spring came I was ready lol

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  10. #10
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    I think you should be able to find a bike that suits your needs for under $1K. most manufacturers have something entry-level in their lineup around $800 that is trail-worthy for the kind of terrain that interests you. it sounds like the shop you visited focuses on high-end bikes only. they should have fit you on a high-end model and then offered to order a lower end model of a similar bike.

  11. #11
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    Thanks again for the replies.

    Are there any frames or bike models that offer more relaxing ride? I would like to have the handlebars higher than the seat for more upright position. Somehow, I do not like to lift my head up all the time when I ride a flat rail trail.

  12. #12
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    As a fellow tall guy, I'd like to suggest the Surly Krampus. The tires are real tall and 3" wide. You'll feel like it was made for you.
    I like turtles

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    As a fellow tall guy, I'd like to suggest the Surly Krampus. The tires are real tall and 3" wide. You'll feel like it was made for you.
    Well, I never stated my budget but if I spent $2K on a bike for a rail trails and occasional off road riding, I would feel guilty for the rest of the days I owned such bike. :-) I would like to stay in the $600-800 range for a simple HT bike. I guess that would be a step up from my $350 rigid hybrid.

  14. #14
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    My advice, for your riding get a good used 10 year old bike. You may have to do a lot of research, and it will take time, but you can probably find one for 25 cents on the dollar. Start looking on ebay and then if you see something that might work, go research it... old .pdfs of catalogs that show the geometry, Bikepedia for components, mtbr and other reviews including fork reviews, etc.

    Over the past year and a half I have built 3 bikes from the frame up, modified components on another 3, and bought a virtually unused 2001.

    You will want to find a 9 speed with disc brakes, and XT would be a plus. But if you can find a barely used bike with an original msrp of $1500 for $400, or even $500, you'll probably have everything you need. Especially when you compare what your $500 will bring for a new bike at an LBS.

    Latest technology is great if you are going to use it, but if not it is just money poorly spent. The key is finding the right bike without abuse.

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  15. #15
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    600-800 range u definitely need to visit lbs. Almost no way unless using used parts (which how long they'll last etc comes into question) ull build a bike for that price. Dont be concerned if an lbs only has high end, any decent one will be happy to fit u and order in a bike in ur price range u like.
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  16. #16
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    The problem with 10 year old used bikes is that they have 26" wheels and I would like to get 29er. I had 26" GT bike in XL size and somehow that still was a bit too small for me. Loved the way the bike rode though.

    LBS is an option but usually they carry only one or maybe two brands of bikes. The nice LBS by me carries mostly Trek and that's what they could put me on. The cheapest one they have is $750 and it is a special order so I am not sure how would they size me to that bike (unless the geometry of the step up model is the same).

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by drabina View Post
    The problem with 10 year old used bikes is that they have 26" wheels and I would like to get 29er. I had 26" GT bike in XL size and somehow that still was a bit too small for me. Loved the way the bike rode though.
    Proper sizing has nothing to do with wheel diameter. (At least that's what I keep reading when people recommend 29" wheels for 5' tall people anyway.) I ride with a few tall guys that prefer 26" wheels; if you like the way they ride (or really don't have a preference), you'll save a ton of $$ that way.
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  18. #18
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    Not happy with hybrid. Should I get a mountain bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by drabina View Post
    Thanks again for the replies.

    Are there any frames or bike models that offer more relaxing ride? I would like to have the handlebars higher than the seat for more upright position. Somehow, I do not like to lift my head up all the time when I ride a flat rail trail.
    You should be able to get most bikes set up the way you describe with a swapping of the stem and bars.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by drabina View Post
    Thanks again for the replies.

    Are there any frames or bike models that offer more relaxing ride? I would like to have the handlebars higher than the seat for more upright position. Somehow, I do not like to lift my head up all the time when I ride a flat rail trail.
    Look at bikes that are described as having "slack geometry" or in the Trail and All- Mountain catagories. These will as a rule sit you more upright then the typical XC style bike, without having to change stems, handlebars, and seat posts.

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