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  1. #1
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    Should I be looking at a mountain bike or something else?

    I own a road bike and absolutely love traveling around and taking in the scenery. Iíve gotten to thinking it would be fun to do that on the hard dirt trails around my area as well as just have a more upright riding position to make quick runs to the store on.

    -Thrill and challenge/riding through technical trails doesnít really interest me. I have a very stressful job and use biking as an outlet to get outside, look around, get some fresh air, and relax.
    -the dirt trails Iím looking to ride on are very hard, smooth, and flat.
    -I would expect this bike to get 50/50 usage between the dirt trails and just as an ďalternativeĒ bike to add a bit of variety to my road biking.

    I went to the bike shop (sell mainly specialized and trek) and looked at gravel, cyclocross, hybrids, hardtails with a second set of smooth tires, etc. My head is kinda spinning and I see benefits to each. If you were in my shoes with the criteria above, which route would you go? Price range is $1000-$1500.

  2. #2
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    Hi Void,

    I think you can easily choose between the mountain bikes since they also designed to fit the different types of riding and environments. You should pay attention to the frame geometry like head and seat tube angle, as well as suspension components such as gears, handlebars, and brakes. Among the most popular mountain bikes, you can select from:

    -cross-country bikes that are lightweight, with minimal travel and a suspension system;
    -trail bikes that are good options for all-purpose riding, yet are more focused on climbing and descending;
    -enduro and all-mountain bikes that are suited for the long rides covering large distances.

    So, everything depends on your riding requirements and budget. Also, donít forget to take the potential bike for a ride to check if it feels right for you. You may find some useful information about the mountain bikes here bestadviser.net/how-to/how-to-keep-riding-in-wet-and-cold-conditions/.

    Hope, it helps!
    Last edited by Oksana; 08-22-2018 at 01:57 AM.

  3. #3
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    Any chance you could track down some photos of the trails you're talking about? Might there be youtube video of the trails? That would be helpful.

    You may not even need suspension. If you don't, the next consideration would be whether you'd prefer to ride the trails on drop bars or flat bars.

  4. #4
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    cx bike or gravel bike

    that way you can do it all and easily use road to get somewhere

    if you want to hit the chunder a cx bike or gravel bike has no real problems there either, it just takes more control and a lot more out of you per unit mile
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geralt View Post
    Any chance you could track down some photos of the trails you're talking about? Might there be youtube video of the trails? That would be helpful.

    You may not even need suspension. If you don't, the next consideration would be whether you'd prefer to ride the trails on drop bars or flat bars.
    Sure, Iím thinking hardpacked flat trails. Feels more like a sidewalk than a trail Iíd say, just flat dirt roads. Hopefully these pictures work:
    https://goo.gl/images/ow6BQd
    https://goo.gl/images/fwLNS2

    Flat bar would be preferred.

  6. #6
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    Get a nice hardtail that way you'll have most trails covered if you want explore other areas.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeyekulBayrd View Post
    Get a nice hardtail that way you'll have most trails covered if you want explore other areas.


    I agree. I think gravel bikes are pretty cool but in your situation only as a third bike, you need to get a hardtail first IMO. A hardtail mtb is more versatile and will be a nice change from your road bike.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  8. #8
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    I have a FS trail bike and a gravel bike with 2 wheelsets (700 and 650). With a gravel bike that accepts a larger tire (in my case 47) and a FS trail bike you can do whatever you want. Road, xc, cx, bike packing, bike parks, chunky gnar are all options.

  9. #9
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    I was in the same situation a few weeks ago. To make a long story short i went with a hard tail. It covers everything you want to do. Once you can accept Nothing will be perfect you will feel more confident in your decision. When mixing categories in anything, there will not be a perfect solution. One type will be better for this , another type for that kind of deal.

    I got a bike on clearance. If i didnt i might have gone with a ridgid bike based on my money spent.
    I also went with a larger bike which isnt good for single trail but better for roads. Riding it is comfortable. 1000 to 1500 is a great range to get a nice starting bike. I say starting only because the prices go alot higher as you must know.
    Anyway, the thing that made me bike a hardtail was the good people here explained to me that some of the hybrid types wont really hold up off road. I wanted something to ride road and smooth trail with and occasionally maybe try something more aggressive. I also wanted something that would last me as well. Your price range will get you some decent quality components.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysteve View Post
    I wanted something to ride road and smooth trail with and occasionally maybe try something more aggressive. I also wanted something that would last me as well. Your price range will get you some decent quality components.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    I think this sums up perfectly what Iím looking for. What bike did you end up getting? Have you taken it out on the road at all?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Void View Post
    Sure, IÔŅĹm thinking hardpacked flat trails. Feels more like a sidewalk than a trail IÔŅĹd say, just flat dirt roads. Hopefully these pictures work:
    https://goo.gl/images/ow6BQd
    https://goo.gl/images/fwLNS2

    Flat bar would be preferred.
    A hardtail would be overkill for the trails in those photos, but a hardtail wouldn't be a bad choice. You might want to hit rougher trails once you start riding off-road. Capability of the bike aside, a suspension fork is kinder to the wrists and elbows. I ride rigid, hardtail, and full suspension mountain bikes, and I do feel the after effects of riding rigid--there's a bigger difference in that regard between rigid and hardtail than there is between hardtail and full suspension(for me anyway.)

    For an all-around bike, I prefer a 2x drivetrain. 1x hardtails usually have a 30 or 32t chain ring, and 30x11 or even 32x11 isn't a big enough top gear for a bike that will be used on the roads, IMHO. I prefer 29ers. I prefer Shimano mountain bike components(I prefer SRAM road bike components.) Definitely spend enough to get an air fork. Since you mentioned Trek and Specialized, the hardtails I'd be looking at in the price range you mentioned would be the Trek X-Caliber 9, Specialized Chisel Comp(the 2x version not the 1x), Trek X-Caliber 8, and Specialized Rockhopper Pro.

    A rigid bike that would be a pretty capable all-arounder is the Giant ToughRoad SLR 1(I have a bike that's fairly similar to that one.) A lighter duty bike that should still do fine on the trails in the photos and looks pretty well spec-ed for the money is the Marin Fairfax 4(it comes with 32mm tires but there looks to be clearance for tires quite a bit larger.) The Cannondale Bad Boy 2 is an oddball option that goes against most of my preferences but might work for you depending on how flat your terrain is. 650B, lefty rigid fork, 1x with 38t chain ring, 11-32 cassette(I'm okay with a high 38x11 but a low 38x32 is iffy.)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Void View Post
    I think this sums up perfectly what Iím looking for. What bike did you end up getting? Have you taken it out on the road at all?
    I got it right before a busy time for me so i only have taken it down the street.... not for miles. I really dont know much about bikes aside from the basics so thats how i shopped for my bike. Road bikes are bigger.... mtn bikes come smaller.... i went with a larger mtn bike. Its a German bike called Bulls Copperhead Supreme XL.
    $450 shipped and it came with a air shock. I was going to put on some hybrid tires for better road use when someone suggested i can just air up the knobbys that came with it for a smoother road ride for now.
    I think it was originally a $1500/$2000 bike! Got it off ebay. The whole story is Bulls sold off all of their old stock at 50 to 70% off to come out with everything new for 2019. Im not sure whats left but getting a leftover or something on sale is always the way to go

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysteve View Post
    I got it right before a busy time for me so i only have taken it down the street.... not for miles. I really dont know much about bikes aside from the basics so thats how i shopped for my bike. Road bikes are bigger.... mtn bikes come smaller.... i went with a larger mtn bike. Its a German bike called Bulls Copperhead Supreme XL.
    $450 shipped and it came with a air shock. I was going to put on some hybrid tires for better road use when someone suggested i can just air up the knobbys that came with it for a smoother road ride for now.
    I think it was originally a $1500/$2000 bike! Got it off ebay. The whole story is Bulls sold off all of their old stock at 50 to 70% off to come out with everything new for 2019. Im not sure whats left but getting a leftover or something on sale is always the way to go

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    I do recommend going with a more hybrid tire vs. just airing up the tires for road work. Something like the schwable G-one (https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_t...es/G-ONE_Speed) is a great all arounder available in many sizes and configurations. You can get cush, traction, and low rolling resistance. Obviously it won't be a great technical tire but a technical tire won't be a great road tire. You will want to go with a sort of master of none proficient at all type tire.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geralt View Post
    A hardtail would be overkill for the trails in those photos, but a hardtail wouldn't be a bad choice. You might want to hit rougher trails once you start riding off-road. Capability of the bike aside, a suspension fork is kinder to the wrists and elbows. I ride rigid, hardtail, and full suspension mountain bikes, and I do feel the after effects of riding rigid--there's a bigger difference in that regard between rigid and hardtail than there is between hardtail and full suspension(for me anyway.)

    For an all-around bike, I prefer a 2x drivetrain. 1x hardtails usually have a 30 or 32t chain ring, and 30x11 or even 32x11 isn't a big enough top gear for a bike that will be used on the roads, IMHO. I prefer 29ers. I prefer Shimano mountain bike components(I prefer SRAM road bike components.) Definitely spend enough to get an air fork. Since you mentioned Trek and Specialized, the hardtails I'd be looking at in the price range you mentioned would be the Trek X-Caliber 9, Specialized Chisel Comp(the 2x version not the 1x), Trek X-Caliber 8, and Specialized Rockhopper Pro.

    A rigid bike that would be a pretty capable all-arounder is the Giant ToughRoad SLR 1(I have a bike that's fairly similar to that one.) A lighter duty bike that should still do fine on the trails in the photos and looks pretty well spec-ed for the money is the Marin Fairfax 4(it comes with 32mm tires but there looks to be clearance for tires quite a bit larger.) The Cannondale Bad Boy 2 is an oddball option that goes against most of my preferences but might work for you depending on how flat your terrain is. 650B, lefty rigid fork, 1x with 38t chain ring, 11-32 cassette(I'm okay with a high 38x11 but a low 38x32 is iffy.)
    I looked at the specialized rockhopper Pro, the Trek Roscoe, and the Trek X-Caliber 8. The Roscoe seemed way overkill and not as well suited to what I was looking for in a bike at this stage. Between the other two, they were both pretty comparible, but I preferred the look of the Trek and felt it had slightly better components. It also had tubeless ready rims which is nice. The specialized had the fork lockout and the gear position showing right on the handle bars which I really liked but ultimately the choice came down to fit. I was kinda in between sizes on the Specialized it was recommended I size up and add a shorter stem, whereas with the Trek it just fit perfectly for me.

    I ended up getting 10% off the MSRP which is nothing to wrote home about but they had the exact size, color, etc that I wanted in stock and theyíre a large LBS right next door. Here is my new bike:

  15. #15
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    So Iíve never actually been mountain biking before and have some time to kill. Any good super beginner tutorials you guys would recommend aside from the basic ďgo watch some YouTube videosĒ advice?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Void View Post
    Here is my new bike:


    Nice, have fun!
    I brake for stinkbugs

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Void View Post
    So Iíve never actually been mountain biking before and have some time to kill. Any good super beginner tutorials you guys would recommend aside from the basic ďgo watch some YouTube videosĒ advice?
    Congrats on the new bike.

    YouTube really is a goldmine of mountain biking information, but there are so many videos that it can be a pain to find the gold. Here's a shortlist of some very basic instructional material that someone who has never mountain biked should find useful:

    https://youtu.be/QkM_bPE9ZBY
    https://youtu.be/Zo49Gd0NgeQ
    https://youtu.be/bSPR4kmCsL4
    https://youtu.be/nrHWdScZ0Uo
    https://youtu.be/ldVNB2QUQho
    https://youtu.be/M1oP-wQ-2hw
    https://youtu.be/yclYNY_BVl0
    https://youtu.be/dN1npxAn25k
    https://youtu.be/1UuqWeJqOTk
    https://youtu.be/cjNc2R8mAIs

    Mastering Mountain Bike Skills by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack is great if you're interested in a book.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geralt View Post
    Any chance you could track down some photos of the trails you're talking about? Might there be youtube video of the trails? That would be helpful.

    You may not even need suspension. If you don't, the next consideration would be whether you'd prefer to ride the trails on drop bars or flat bars.
    This was my thought exactly. If youíre looking for max comfort then Suspension is the way to go. If you like the feel of a road bike, but want the ability to ride dirt paths, then Iíd suggest the CX or gravel


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geralt View Post
    Congrats on the new bike.

    YouTube really is a goldmine of mountain biking information, but there are so many videos that it can be a pain to find the gold. Here's a shortlist of some very basic instructional material that someone who has never mountain biked should find useful:

    https://youtu.be/QkM_bPE9ZBY
    https://youtu.be/Zo49Gd0NgeQ
    https://youtu.be/bSPR4kmCsL4
    https://youtu.be/nrHWdScZ0Uo
    https://youtu.be/ldVNB2QUQho
    https://youtu.be/M1oP-wQ-2hw
    https://youtu.be/yclYNY_BVl0
    https://youtu.be/dN1npxAn25k
    https://youtu.be/1UuqWeJqOTk
    https://youtu.be/cjNc2R8mAIs

    Mastering Mountain Bike Skills by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack is great if you're interested in a book.
    Seriously man, thank you so much for all your help both with choosing the bike and also the videos. Iíve watched the first 5 videos and already learned a ton about turning, riding positions, braking, heel angles, etc. Gonna finish them off in a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Nice, have fun!
    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by dhosinski View Post
    This was my thought exactly. If youíre looking for max comfort then Suspension is the way to go. If you like the feel of a road bike, but want the ability to ride dirt paths, then Iíd suggest the CX or gravel


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Honestly, I ended up buying a hardtail. Even though a CX or gravel would have probably met my needs I kinda had a hard time justifying adding it as a second bike to my road bike. There was just such an overlap between the two. A hardtail kinda fit my sweet spot in price, needs, and difference from my other bike.

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