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  1. #1
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    MTB geometry and Surly Ogre vs Trek Multitrack

    There are a lot of options here so I hope this is the appropriate forum.

    Iíve been riding since 1995 but in the past year or two itís become a primary interest and hobby. All of my riding has been MUPS and neighborhood streets on hybrids and I tried road biking long enough to discover itís not for me. Based on my normal style of riding and what Iíve enjoyed, I think itís worthwhile to give mountain biking a try.

    Iíve been looking at bare frames (I have all new components for a full build) and the Surly Ogre is at the top of my list. However, looking at itís geometry, itís very similar to the old 1995 Trek Multitrack I own.

    Both have 73 degree seat-tube angles, 71.5 degree head-tube angles, 43cm chainstay length, BB drop in the 60ís, and similar fork rakes. The Ogre has much longer wheelbase and a much longer fork. In addition, the Ogre has much greater tire clearance.

    Assuming Iím not interested in disk brakes, suspension or Single-speed/IG compatibility, what characteristics of the Ogre would make it substantially better as an MTB (other than tire clearanceÖwhich is a biggie)? The Multitrack was not designed as an MTB but it definitely has a lot of MTB heritage, as many of those older hybrids did.

    Iím considering putting the Trek back together (itís a bare frame right now) and taking it out to a beginnerís trail to see how I like it. Would this give me a ballpark ďfeelĒ for how an MTB rides or would it be an ďApples/OrangesĒ comparison? Iíve got a complete bike but itís got road bike trail (60mm), which I like on pavement, but Iíve discovered that even small clumps of dirt clods or rocks really throw the front-end off, even running 40mm tires. I donít think itís even in the ballpark for getting a feel for MTB riding.

    How different is a Surly Ogre likely to feel than my old Multitrack and why?

  2. #2
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    It is the tires. Fat tires will give you a lot of confidence, margin, and fun on a trail. Riding a skinnier tire bike off road can be a fun challenge, but it's different from mountain biking. Anyway, no harm in trying your Trek on the trail. If you absolutely hate it, you probably wouldn't like mountain biking at all. If you had some fun but some worries, a bike with fatter tires could really suck you in.
    WTB: Specialized AWOL frameset, XL

  3. #3
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    I think the biggest difference is that the Ogre is designed to ride offroad and hybrid bikes generally aren't. I don't know enough about bike geometry or the geometry of the two bikes in question to be able to say its this variable or that variable. What I do know is that there are a lot of inputs into how a bike performs - yes, the geometry, but also the tires, weight distribution, size of the frame, length of the stem, width of the handlebars, etc. They all work together, so its not as simple as saying that Bike A and Bike B have similar geometry, so they must ride the same.

    Specifics on the Ogre that make it more suitable for offroad riding: 1) the tubing and dropouts are reinforced for heavyduty use 2) the fork is suspension-corrected, allowing the option to get a suspension fork for it which improves offroad performance dramatically 3) the toptube is sloped for more standover clearance 4) frame clearance for very wide tires

    I guess that's a long way of saying that I don't think riding your Trek will give you a good approximation of an Ogre. It might be fun to ride in its own right (I wouldn't know - never ridden a Multitrack). But I don't think you can go wrong with an Ogre. They are great bikes. And if you decide mountain biking isn't your thing, the Ogre is plenty useful as a commuter, townbike, tourer, or anything else you might want to do. Since I've never ridden a Multitrack, I may be speaking out of turn, but I'd wager that the Ogre would make a better "hybrid" than the Multitrack would a "mountain bike".
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
    Surly LHT: Kid hauler
    On One Inbred: SS 26er

  4. #4
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    The fatter tires having a major contribution makes sense. Bolandjd, based on what I know, I suspect you are exactly right that the Ogre would be a better hybrid than the Trek would be a mountain bike. I think I'll just get the Trek put back together and take it out in the dirt and see how I like it. I've also posted to a local board looking for a lead on a bike shop with an Ogre in stock. I think a lot of this is N+1 kicking in. The new bike I'm riding is fantastic as a sporty city bike but I can't help being drawn to the MTB scene.

  5. #5
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    Great! Good luck with your project. I think the dirt will suck you in once you get out there.

    If you have an REI near you, check with them about the Ogre. The REI near here usually has one on the floor.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
    Surly LHT: Kid hauler
    On One Inbred: SS 26er

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