New full suspension, road bike or cross bike as a second bike - your vote counts!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New full suspension, road bike or cross bike as a second bike - your vote counts!

    Your Vote Counts, please help...

    I currently ride an '08 Sepcialized Stumpjumper hardtail. I primarily ride Marin Headlands and Mt. Tamalpais as I can ride to those rides - which I do a minimum of three times a week.

    What bike type should I get next? My three serious contenders are a new FS, a roadbike or a cross bike.

    Factors to consider:
    1. I want to and will continue to primarily ride where I already do - see above.
    2. I would like to commute to work once a week (30 miles roundtrip)
    3. I would like to ride road because I have a couple friends to ride with and all my MTB riding friends say it is a good compliment to my trail riding and insist it will improve my speed and skills on the hill.

    What say ye...?

  2. #2
    aka baycat
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    Cross bike

    if you are only riding Mt. Tam and Headlands a full suspension bike is over kill and with a cross bike you can create epic mixed terrain rides throughout Marin.

  3. #3
    YESBRO!!!
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    cx.

  4. #4
    just another bleepin SSer
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    Cross bike.
    --
    Getting old, fat, and slow...
    自転車が好きだよ

  5. #5
    newless cluebie
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    Cx.

  6. #6
    formerly Gobike69
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    Cross is boss
    Speed costs money, how fast can you afford to go?

  7. #7
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    buy a 60lb dh sled and make those legs stronger!

  8. #8
    Paper or plastic?
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    Put skinny tires on your hardtail, and you got your cross bike. Then, get a nice 5" dualie. FS rocks!
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  9. #9
    I Void Waranties
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    take the car and spend the extra time drinking beer.

    in all honesty sounds like all you need is a set of skinny slicks on your HT
    The 1st production mountain bike was sold in 1984.
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  10. #10
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    Sell the HT. Buy a 5" FS MTB and a CX bike. Yes, your bikes will be sometimes overkill and sometimes underkill (not a word) but you will never be able to turn down a ride in the bay area because you don't have a suitable bike.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    Put skinny tires on your hardtail, and you got your cross bike. Then, get a nice 5" dualie. FS rocks!
    Yes, this is the correct answer. You can even get a set of CX wheels with disk hubs and put them on the hardtail. I did it and it made for an awesome commuter. My woman has that same setup now and prefers it over the CX bike for commuting.
    Then get an Ibis Mojo for dirt.

  12. #12
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan51
    Yes, this is the correct answer. You can even get a set of CX wheels with disk hubs and put them on the hardtail. I did it and it made for an awesome commuter. My woman has that same setup now and prefers it over the CX bike for commuting.
    Then get an Ibis Mojo for dirt.
    N O T the SAME as a CX rig!!!!

    and the only reason your lady likes it better is because her CX rig was stoled


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus
    Sell the HT. Buy a 5" FS MTB and a CX bike. Yes, your bikes will be sometimes overkill and sometimes underkill (not a word) but you will never be able to turn down a ride in the bay area because you don't have a suitable bike.
    I agree. I have 5" FS that I use for trail riding and cross country racing. I have a cross bike that I convert into a road bike during spring and summer, and back into a cross bike during fall and winter (it is really only a wheel swap away from hitting the trails, but during the CX season it's a single ring). But if a FS is not in the budget, get the CX for it's versatility.

  14. #14
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    hookers and blow

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by grrrah
    hookers and blow
    x2

  16. #16
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    Sell the hardtail and get a full suspension bike and a road bike. That way, you're doing both sports right. Granted, a dualie isn't necessary for a lot of trails on Tam and the headlands, but going down is more fun on a dualie, and to me, that's the fun part of mountain biking. The uphill part is to keep the beer belly in check.

  17. #17
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    CX. Good for everything.

    Get a cross bike with eyelets for a rack. Now you have a bike that works offroad, on road, and commuting. Want to ride with your road buddies... get another set of tires.
    Trade: My 17" c2c Fat Chance Monster Fat in Fair condition for same in 18- 19"

  18. #18
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    Yet another opinion...

    Buy all three

    Seriously, though, if you are a mountain biker who just needs a commuter, then do as some suggest and convert your HT, and buy a nice new FS bike.

    If you are looking to switch up your riding, get a road bike. Marin has some of the best road riding around, and you will find yourself out riding far more on a road bike.

    I would skip the CX bike, as it is just a poor second at either road or MTB. I have all three and almost never ride my cross bike. If I am on dirt, I take the FS. If I am on the road, I take the road bike.
    "When you're asked to fight a war that's over nothing, it's best to join the side that's gonna' win."

  19. #19
    OOOOOOOh Gee Are Eee
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    If you are happy with your current bike...

    Then don't let the herd talk you into a full suspension bike. If you are happy with your HT then stick with it.

    Get a nice commuter bike. Cyclocross is a good call so you can hit a little dirt on your commute.

  20. #20
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    get a road bike, no doubts about it. it will train your stamina like crazy and your climbing will improve tremendously. you've already got a bike for the dirt, whats the point of a cx when you've already got a hardtail? it'll be slower on the road, not as fun in the dirt, and unless you plan on doing some serious cx racing (which 90% of cx owners don't), stick with the roadie.

  21. #21
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    Depends a lot on what you really like to ride. I hate riding road but I like long steady state rides so I just got a CX bike. I've been riding it from SF to the top of Tam and back on fire roads and pavement or from SF through the headlands and back on fire roads. It's a killer bike for that.

    I bike commute some from SF to Marin too and now I can ride through the headlands on dirt on the way home and still get home in a reasonable amount of time. That's a long ride on a mt bike after work. The CX bike rocks for me.

    My road bike gets almost zero use cause I don't like riding around cars very much. Road bike is solely a means of getting exercise and if that's all I'm after I'll go for a run.

    If you'd like to get into more techy stuff I'd say full suspension is the hands down choice.

  22. #22
    190lbs of climber
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    Road bike for sure.

    You already have a mountain bike and have no problem riding those trails, none of which need a full suspension bike. If you are leaning towards a CX bike, don't do it unless you are going to race or ride long dirt road rides regularly. If your commute includes short sections of dirt, a road bike can take it no problem, so don't worry about that. Get some Armadillo tires if you are really worried.

    A CX bike is a pathetic excuse for a road bike unless you go super high end, so don't short change yourself if you planning on riding road with your friends.
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

  23. #23
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    closer then I thought

    mmkkkk...after about 12 hours my rough math has the following:

    Full suspension: 7 votes (actually sort of surprised by this, but this is MTBR.com)
    Road Bike: 5 (But gaining...)
    CX: 9 (cross bike riders are fanatic)

    I am a maverick, I guess, but the explanations the road bike minority give are the most compelling...

    PLEASE chime in if you have not...

  24. #24
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    A total aside - but a confession

    ...I took that hard-tail on regular headlands spin in the late afternoon sun today. And chalking it up to the header "if you don't fall once in a while you are not going fast enough"- I high sided around a corner. I slammed my left side and was worried and alone for a minute - but there was not damage to the bike or my helmet so I patched my arm/elbow quite well with my small first aid bag and popped a few advil and finished the ride...yee-haw!

  25. #25
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    [QUOTE=Gaz-Man]
    Factors to consider:
    1. I want to and will continue to primarily ride where I already do - see above.
    2. I would like to commute to work once a week (30 miles roundtrip)
    3. I would like to ride road because I have a couple friends to ride with and all my MTB riding friends say it is a good compliment to my trail riding and insist it will improve my speed and skills on the hill. QUOTE]

    1. I want to and will continue 1. I want to and will continue to primarily ride where I already do - see above.
    Great ROAD rides in your area

    2. I would like to commute to work once a week (30 miles roundtrip)-

    A ROAD bike will get you back and forth much more efficiently

    3. I would like to ride road because I have a couple friends to ride with and all my MTB riding friends say it is a good compliment to my trail riding and insist it will improve my speed and skills on the hill.

    Riding ROAD with faster guys than you will improve your leg speed, pedaling, aerobic threshold and recovery.

    One more vote for a ROAD bike

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menso
    A CX bike is a pathetic excuse for a road bike unless you go super high end, so don't short change yourself if you planning on riding road with your friends.
    How do you figure? My CX bike (Giant TCX0, less than $1000.00) can hang on any road ride (my legs and lungs are another story). It can do 100% of everything my former (from a previous economy) 5K+ road bike with hand built-custom fit frame (name withheld to protect the innocent), Dura Ace, Chris King, titanium this, carbon that, etc., could do. All I do now is throw on a set of slicks mounted on a pair of cheap spare wheels and I am good to go.

  27. #27
    190lbs of climber
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    Quote Originally Posted by kc929
    How do you figure? My CX bike (Giant TCX0, less than $1000.00) can hang on any road ride (my legs and lungs are another story). It can do 100% of everything my former (from a previous economy) 5K+ road bike with hand built-custom fit frame (name withheld to protect the innocent), Dura Ace, Chris King, titanium this, carbon that, etc., could do. All I do now is throw on a set of slicks mounted on a pair of cheap spare wheels and I am good to go.
    The geometry is off for cornering, sprinting, and general handling, and dollar for dollar a cross bike will be heavier.

    I understand where you are coming from--I raced road on a cross bike as a cat 3 and almost got my 2 upgrade on it, but I am much, much more comfortable corning and sprinting now that I have a bike with proper road geometry (mostly the steep HA). While it is true that I could do nearly as well on my cross bike, why not use the bike purpose built for riding on road?

    He already has a hardtail and won't race cx, so I don't see a reason to get a less capable bike. Cross bikes aren't the best at anything save for cross racing.
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

  28. #28
    jms
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    Versatility

    Quote Originally Posted by Menso
    A CX bike is a pathetic excuse for a road bike unless you go super high end, so don't short change yourself if you planning on riding road with your friends.
    Hyperbolic.

    I know a few "roads" I could make you eat those word on

    I prize versatility, and cross bikes are amazingly versatile. Really, unless you're road racing, a cross bike [w/road tires] can "hang" on a road ride w/o being much, if any disadvantage, especially if you choose one of the quicker handling bikes with a 73 degree head angle [Redline].

    The latest generation of road bikes, ridden on dirt roads are limited by their tire and mud clearance @ the fork bridges, chainstay/seatube intersections, and brake calipers. One of my laments is current road bike don't have good mud clearance. As a disciple of Jobst Brandt [once removed], who rode/rides everything, everywhere on a steel road bike, I really miss my old Bridgestone RB 1. With 28-30mm road tires and it's longer reach brake calipers it could handle just about anything with "road" in it's name and many of the bay areas trails too [Menso wouldn't remember those days - he was just beyond the larval stage of mutant/heart/lung/velo-alien then].

    If you're looking to improve your fitness and skills, a cross bike ridden @ mountain trails will make riding those same trails with a MTB much easier. CX bikes are marvelous at pointing out the flaws in one's technique, line selection, fitness [upper body too] etc. They can also increase your saddle time, by riding to the trailhead instead of driving there.

    For fun, I don't think yo can go wrong with an FS bike, but they're limited, realistically, to trail work, unless of course, you're looking to make that Quixotic point that it is possible to ride one on the road: " See! Dude, I was only 6 minutes behind you up Hamilton with my Nomad today! Wheeze! Gasp. Wheeze! Puke. If I hadn't worn the baggies...."

    I've recently been doing somewhat the inverse as the OP. I'm attempting to winnow the "fleet" down. I've sold the SS, a CX frameset, a Roubaix frameset [great dirt road bike IMO], and I'm trying/planning to dispose [sell] of my current road and CX bikes, and a FS frameset to get myself down to just my 29er HT [with sliding dropouts for geared or SS], a FS 29 which is my backup race bike [doesn't get used much], and a new "quick" geometry CX bike.

    So, at the end of all my blather, and putting my money where my mouth is [and Jim Kish's pocket] I'd recommend a buying CX bike to the OP.

    And Menso, I gleefully await the beatdown I have coming for my comments @ your ancestry, etc.

  29. #29
    don't try this at home
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    i'ld say get a cx bike or vintage road bike for clearance for larger tires. and also think about how much off road riding will you do with it? if the answer is 0 because you'll only be riding to ride with with your buddies on the road, then just get a road bike. if you're not sure, then just get a road bike because odds are you won't take it off road. if you plan to ride mixed terrain, then get mixed terrain tires for your HT.

    a cx bike is a jack of all trades and master of none except cx racing. you can ride it virtually anywhere, but there probably is a better bike for just about everywhere except in a cx race or really mixed terrain rides.

    and keep in mind that people ride all sorts of bikes in all sorts of conditions. i've been on road rides where a guy would show up on a FS with nobs and he'ld smoke just about everyone and i've seen roadies riding annadel with skinny road slicks.
    will you rep me?

  30. #30
    MTD
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    I've been wrestling with the same question almost...I have a 5.5 inch trailbike (5-Spot), a roadbike, and an *old* hardtail ('94 Fisher SuperCaliber). Where i live on the peninsula you can ride to a bunch of the trailheads, so there's always a ~5 mile ride to dirt, and some of our crew has gone CX and are passionate about it...and I've wrestled with getting one or not.

    CX being jack of many and master of none is probably correct. Even though the trails down here (windy hill/alpine road) don't need FS by any means, it's *way* more fun to do just about anything downhill on a trailbike than a hardtail or CX. That's an opinion of course. I also did a timed lap on my trailbike vs hardtail at Arastradero, and my conclusion was that the HT was about 30-40 seconds faster over the ~30 minute course. Anyway.

    But if i just had a hardtail and were looking to get something new, I think a lot of it would depend on what else I'd be riding. I'm sure there are *many* on this board who could more than keep up with me if i were riding a roadbike and they were on CX, but that's not really the question...it's more a question of if *you* can hang with the group on a roadride if everyone was riding road. And with my paltry old la honda times of 26 min I need all the help I can get.

    So, I would say road bike, because your HT is closer on the spectrum to a CX bike than a trailbike for example.

    Now for me, if I were to say three bikes, it would be trail/CX or HT/road. Four bikes it would be trail/HT/CX/road. Starting with an HT for me though I'd say road.

  31. #31
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    CX

    I'd only do the HT conversion that dan51/zorg suggested if you have a separate road bike already, or plan for one in the future. But if you are limited to only a second bike, go CX all the way.

    My real answer though is to get 3 new bikes. or hookers and blow.

  32. #32
    Ride Responsibly
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    29er disk with a spare set of street wheels

  33. #33
    190lbs of climber
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms

    And Menso, I gleefully await the beatdown I have coming for my comments @ your ancestry, etc.
    Bwahahaha! I would argue, but they taught me to respect the elderly . You make excellent points, but my main argument is to get something purpose built.
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

  34. #34
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    Why not have your cake and eat it too? I have a road bike I have less than $250 into (initially) 20lbs and it has completed the Death Ride 4 times, about to do it 5, and all the rides training for, plus the SCMC, Grand Fondo etc... hand me down Ti frame and a mix between 105 and ultegra parts. rides great and i put them Armadillo Specialized tires on... I have a few rides that include dirt roads on Fort Ord (Anza finish etc...) and not a flat to speak of (knock knock).

    Cross bikes are cool if you want to race a cross bike, not much else... pretty much. **flip flop between road and dirt with a wheelset... ummm.. just dont go downhill... them cross brakes are scary past 35-40mph. i'd skip all that...

    full susp MTB, umm heck yah. i do not care how "core" you are, full susp is just plain more comfortable and more fun. plus a sub 25lb full susp is pretty common these days so why bother with an older 25lb HT??

    OH, and I own 5 bikes, road bike, Guerciotti Cross that collects dust except for Oct - Feb (cross racing), blur LT (ridden the most frequently), Chameleon SS, blan new Gary Fisher 29er SS (race bike) (I am following the heard, I am just another cow) Thought I'd see what all the hu-bub was with 29 wheels... pretty cool actually.

    my 2 cents worth about 2 cents.

    Q

  35. #35
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    My vote would be sell the HT and get a SC Blur LTc and a Cx bike. You can always throw some slicks on the CX and make it a roadie during the summer months.

  36. #36
    Totally, and to the max.
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    after years of bike swapping, I've realized (for myself) that I want three bikes. A steel hardtail with light wheels, a 6" FS rig with big brakes, and a road bike. I've ridden everything else inbetween. These three fit my three riding moods in all seasons. I couldn't eliminate one of them and be happy. If your lifestyle is bikecentric, your garage is going to reflect that. It only gets crazy when you start buying the rigid SS, the hardtail 29er, the 4" carbon racer FS, etc.

    I say scan craigslist for a killer deal on an FS and a road bike that would be less combined than either new at a shop.

  37. #37
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    Let's really get a difference of opinion...

    Now that we have narrowed down the field and and have a clear winner for TYPE of bike...NOT.

    What make/model bike would you recommend for a intro class road bike, FS, or CX?

    If I were to get a FS - I am leaning towards an SC Blur, but have had liked my Stumpjumper and would consider that as well...

    I have never owned a true road bike (well not since my Schwinn 10 speed circa 1983ish - which I bought at Stanyan Street Cycles in SF - it was in the store right next to these new fangled large BMX looking bikes with fat tires that were just coming out...). Any suggestions? My price range is 1-2K.

    What about a sugggestion on a CX bike? I am like Schulz on the subject - "I know nothing..."

    Anybody *know* the right answer?

  38. #38
    jms
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    This

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaz-Man
    What about a sugggestion on a CX bike? I am like Schulz on the subject - "I know nothing..."
    This:

    http://salsacycles.com/bikes/chili_con_crosso/

    If you look around, they're on sale - CX season is over.

  39. #39
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    or...

    Check out the Fargo, drop bar 29er from Salsa. I bought one about a month ago and my other bikes are lonely. I've ridden road, single track, ridden the road to the single track, it's just plain fun to ride. They have a Fargo sticky on the Salsa forum. But beware, you can go crazy with accessories

  40. #40
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    I have a buddy that got a Fargo a few months ago, and he doesn't ride anything else anymore. He's even gone so far as to sell his Indy Fab hardtail because it was just sitting in his garage (it had slicks on it, so he wasn't riding trails with it anyways).

    My advice, which is almost useless, would be a cross bike that has the capability for SS or geared applications. Actually, I say go Fargo.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMac46
    Check out the Fargo, drop bar 29er from Salsa. I bought one about a month ago and my other bikes are lonely. I've ridden road, single track, ridden the road to the single track, it's just plain fun to ride. They have a Fargo sticky on the Salsa forum. But beware, you can go crazy with accessories
    OK....that rig actually looks pretty badical
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  42. #42
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    Hmm

  43. #43
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    I would think long term and figure whichever bike you don't get now you can get later. With that in mind I would go for a road bike, then plan on getting a nice FS later on. I really like road bikes, they are just a pleasure to ride on the road. They can potentially handle dirt as well. Once you get used to riding a road bike, riding a mountain bike on the pavement feels like riding a tank.

  44. #44
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    penny farthing

  45. #45
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    Get a road bike. It is the proper tool if you want to ride on asphalt.

    The reality of a cross bike is they suck on the road and suck on the trail. On a few mix terrain rides, they are ideal. They are really good for racing.

    The new cross bikes with disc brakes can be really interesting. If you set it up properly wiith big slick tires, it can be a good commuter. For cross or road, fit is very,very important.

    Fc

  46. #46
    Paper or plastic?
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    Since this thread is over 1 year old, the question should be: OP, what did you end up getting?
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  47. #47
    It's about showing up.
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    Road Bike. If you're gonna ride the road.......

    Specialized Allez Elite Compact Double. 105 components with some carbon in the frame for smoothness.

    Other major brands have a similar model.
    I don't rattle.

  48. #48
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    You are in a tough spot, but a good spot...

    I have three bikes (6" FS, Hard tail, & Roadie) I consider myself a mtb'er but the truth is I ride that Road Bike more then any of the others. You can do it right out of your front door, no time wasted driving to the dirt. And those bikes are sooo dam fast, it really is a lot of fun (never though I would be saying that). And it will inprove your MTBing greatly, I am now the fast guy in our group on the uphills, that was never the case before I started riding road.

    But!!! that FS is so much dam fun to ride...You just can't beat it on the DH, even if it is over kill on some trails it is still super fun.

    CX bike, never got into it...when I ride dirt I ride a Mt. Bike. But it does look like it could be fun...I just don't have the time or $$ to get into another area of biking.

    So with all that said my vote is...Get the FS, no Roadie....dam...get the FS, thats it get the FS.

    The good news is you can't go wrong...in the end you will be riding a new bike.

  49. #49
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    I had a similar questions...here's what I did:

    I have a 6+ mile commute which can easily be (and often is) extended to do longer/more fun rides.
    My commute can easily be 50% dirt regardless of length, or 100% road of course.I ride 3-4 times per week including 1 weekend ride.

    I have Full Suspension XC bike and a Road Bike...here are a few observations:

    - I generally prefer riding the MTB on weekends
    - Riding road bike does make me a lot stronger for MTBing
    - Riding road is surprisingly pleasant, and I'm getting used to riding next to cars
    - I like commuting on both...they are different, but nice in their own way. I am 70/30 road on the commutes, 70/30 MTB for the weekends.
    - You get addicted to the speed/aero of the road bike...it's tough to ride the mountain bike on roads after that.
    - ...but I'm not necessarily always faster on the road bike...I did Page Mill on my mountain bike yesterday, and was in fact faster than on my road bike due to different gearing...
    - I'd buy a longer travel MTB before buying a cross-bike, then I'd buy a 29er hardtail...only then might I consider a cross bike.

  50. #50
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    I approve of this comment.
    Quote Originally Posted by dsnow23 View Post
    Sell the hardtail and get a full suspension bike and a road bike.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    Road Bike. If you're gonna ride the road.......

    Specialized Allez Elite Compact Double. 105 components with some carbon in the frame for smoothness.
    Boo! Get a Cannondale Caad10 - they donít try to upsell proper geo like Specialized/Trek/Giant, so you can get a new alu frame with same dimensions as the pro level Supersix. I agree on the 105 gruppo though.

  52. #52
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    I have a Specialized S-Work Tricross Carbon. Compared to most road bikes I've ridden it does really well, even better than most of them. The geometry doesn't seem much differant than the others either.

    I vote Cross bike.
    I like to ride bikes.

  53. #53
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    revival of the thread...

    ...I got a road bike to mix it up...but now am about to get the FS...because it is time...
    Mash, spin, flow.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaz-Man View Post
    ...I got a road bike to mix it up...but now am about to get the FS...because it is time...
    Now, you need to start a thread of what kind of FS bike you need to get. That should get the forum going for another year.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  55. #55
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    kross ftw.


  56. #56
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    MONSTER cross.

    Disks, 40mm+ tires, 135mm rear spacing.

  57. #57
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    My head agrees with everyone else, CX bike.

    But my heart says get a full suspension and have some fun! I know i wish i could afford a decent one.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB-Carl View Post
    My head agrees with everyone else, CX bike.

    But my heart says get a full suspension and have some fun! I know i wish i could afford a decent one.
    It's been two years since the question was asked.

    I wonder if he's decided yet...

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