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  1. #1
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    Smile Newbie - commute/trail combo?

    Hello, I have just joined the forums after browsing some topics such as show your commute photos it seems like a friendly place to hang out

    I used to be a regular rider 3 or 4 years ago on trails up north so have done a fair amount of mileage for a few years. Moved to london and got out of it and havent ridden since
    (still got an old giant xtc 4 bike, bit sluggish to say the least). We have just moved offices at work and I feel like I want to ride in to work and also ride out to some places in london like epping forest and ride some trails.

    I was wondering Is it possible to get a bike to combine going on trails and commuting or is this a silly thing to do?

    If you guys think I should really have two bikes I can use my giant xtc to ride trails and get a commute bike. If I can combine and get one bike Id like to spend 800-1000, if you think just a commuter is best then 800. As I want a light, quick commuter thats pretty decent so if its gonna comprimise maybe its best to have two.

    Thanks for reading!

    Additionally Im 6" 5" (yes, I am a giant person) so that would factor into bike size. I like the look of cannondale bad boys but Im right out of touch what the best bikes are these days so I was hoping you knowledgable here could give me a hand.

  2. #2
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    Absolutely possible, in a few different ways. You could get a spare wheelset with slick tires for your existing bike, then switch when you want to hit the trails. Or you can get a cyclocross bike, which will have provisions for rack/fenders and knobby tires. Not a true "offroad" bike, but it can handle quite a bit of it with ease. This will be plenty quick on the roads and can handle the occasional road hazards like potholes and curbs without the fragility of a true road bike.

  3. #3
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    It's usually best to have two bikes, one for the dirt and the other for commuting if you can swing it. Even if you converted an MTB to commuter duty it'd be a huge compromise for the trail. It's simply that the characteristics and accessories that make for a good commuter, i.e. smooth tires, racks, lights, fenders, gearing, etc., just don't cut it on the trail.

    I'd say go with a dedicated commuter. The Cdale Badboy is a good choice. And there are plenty of others out there as well. The key to any commuter is a fit and geometry that you like, and (if you are going to be an all weather commuter) the ability to mount fenders. Also if you need to carry stuff to the office the additional ability to mount both a rack and fenders is nice as well. And the Badboy will do both. A big plus with the way the Badboy is designed is the rear disc brake. With the caliper nestled between the seat stay and chain stay it allows for the use of any rack and/or fenders. The traditional seat stay disc mount requires that a rack or fenders be "disc brake compatible".

    Anyway, your call of course. There are lots of riders out there that set up their MTBs for "dual duty". I have a friend that has a 29er MTB, two sets of wheels, one set up with thinner 700x38 street tires, the other with 29x2.2 knobbies. He found some quick dismount fenders, and he prefers a back pack for commuting. He commutes during the week, then swaps the wheels and pops the fenders off for weekend dirt duty.

    The bottom line is, the traits that make for a good commuter usually make the bike quite a bit less than optimal for dirt. If you don't mind swapping things out to go from pavement to dirt, then a dual duty bike is okay. But if you are like me and would rather just through a leg over it and ride, then two bikes makes better sense. Or as JAG410 noted a Cross bike may work as well. As I said, your call.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  4. #4
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    Cheers guys, two good views to take on board there. I shall mull it over, Im initially thinking maybe its best to have two bikes then as I think Id prefer convience and dedication. Ill have a look into cyclocross as never heard of those before.

    Thanks again!

  5. #5
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    I commute on an old Trek 720 hybrid. It came with 700c38 tires, but I put 700c45 knobby tires (Panaracer fire cross) on it before I got a mountain bike. When I had those tires I rarely used it on trails, but it was alright. Now that I have a real mountain bike I put hybrid tires back on the commuter and the decrease in rolling resistance is remarkable.
    Matt

  6. #6
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    I think it really depends how far your commute it.

    In the mornings when I'm in a hurry I have a 7km ride to work. But on the way home it's typically 15~25km, because I hit the trails. So my bike has full knobbies, and I'll probably bump them up from 2.1 to 2.3 this year.

    Slicks would make my morning ride a little easier, but wouldn't actually save me much time. I don't know about other peoples' experiences, but my riding time is pretty consistent regardless of conditions. Sun, rain, snow, ice, studded tires, 1.9s, 2.1s - there's a few minutes difference at most. For me commuting and riding is as much about exercise as anything, so having to put in a little extra effort isn't a bad thing.

    So distance really matters, but for anything around 10km I'd think one bike would definitely work.

    (pavement riding can be tough on the knobbies, but that's why I stay away from Kenda tires now.)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by roy59
    Cheers guys, two good views to take on board there. I shall mull it over, Im initially thinking maybe its best to have two bikes then as I think Id prefer convience and dedication. Ill have a look into cyclocross as never heard of those before.

    Thanks again!
    A Cross bike is basically a road bike, but with a bit different geometry, the ability to run a bit wider tires (42 to 48C range) that are agressively knobed (for a skinny tire). They are designed specifically for Cyclo Cross racing, an off road event that usually takes place in the fall thru winter season. The bikes are visually very similar to a standard road bike. However they're usually a bit heavier duty to take the off road beating that they get. And as noted, the geometry is different to allow for better handling in the dirt. Most are not set up for standard road brakes but rather use brazons and posts for cantilever or V-brakes. And since the UCI has finally sanctioned disc brakes, they are starting to show up with disc tabs as well. Thank you UCI for getting your heads out of your collective a**'s finally! But I digress! With the more relaxed geometry a Cross bike can be very versitile. I've seen them used as commuters and touring bikes, or just good solid bikes for longer distance rides. It can be a little difficult to find a Cross frame that has brazons for racks and fenders as they are designed for racing,and most Cyclo Crossers don't want anything to do with them. But there are some out there that do. The Surly Cross Check comes to mind.

    Anyway you get the idea. A cross bike wouldn't be the ticket for riding technical terrain as in many cases they must be carried over obsticals that most mountain bikes can roll over, goodle and check out some race footage. But they are a versitile bike.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

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