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Hybrid of Mountain Bike

Old 09-23-19, 08:11 AM
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spinconn
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Hybrid Or Mountain Bike

I ride a road bike about 150 miles a week. I love speed but also scenery and new routes. Where I live I cannot ride more than about 40 miles without repeating portions of a route unless I go on roads that I consider very unsafe due to high speed, high volume traffic and no shoulders.

I want to increase my available routes and there are trails and dirt roads I can use. Not much in the way of hills really, or any technical riding and I am an old guy and would not want to ride those anyway. The dirt roads are pretty rough as far as ruts and potholes and the trails are pretty much grass and mud, not so much big rocks or roots or logs. I always like speed but for this purpose would more prefer simplicity, durability and strength and just log more miles with different scenery from what I get on my road bike.

I love my drop bar on my road bike but I do think I want a flat bar for this one. I will not ride it on pavement at all, though there is one rails to trails section that has about 10 miles of concrete. I would rather have rim brakes but can live with discs and I can live with or without suspension. I would prefer aluminum, or even steel to carbon fiber but I can live with CF forks if necessary. I prefer 1 or 2 chain rings but can live with 3 if necessary. I want to spend under $1000. I cannot get a chance to ride a bike off road at any of my LBS.

Should I be looking at a hybrid or a mountain bike?

Last edited by spinconn; 09-23-19 at 08:05 PM. Reason: correct typo
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Old 09-23-19, 10:27 AM
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posting this in the hybrid subforum will probably get you more suggestions for hybrids. got any pics of the trails you intend to ride? lots of ppl ride drop bar bikes on rough terrain, just look at this thread!

https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...e-pics-48.html

personally, I experimented with hybrids but then got a cheap used 29er style mountain bike & have been having fun with it

this was easy & fun on a hybrid w/ rigid fork



this was every challenging on a hybrid w/ rigid fork. came back w/ a mountain bike & spring loaded fork, it was much better!


this section on the rigid hybrid was OK but lots of other sections were challenging. did it again with the MTB & it was much easier



one of my rigid fork hybrids


the wider tires of the MTB make occasional mud much easier to deal with


steep rocky trails are much easier with a MTB bike


good luck with your search!

Last edited by rumrunn6; 10-01-19 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 09-23-19, 10:32 AM
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A few years ago I bought a Kona Fire Mountain as a second bike for that type of riding. Very happy with it! It has a triple crank, but I would bet you could easily find something similar with a single or double. A few weeks ago I was riding with two friends on a steep, bumpy gravel road. Two of us had mountain bikes and the other had a cyclocross bike, and even with our coil suspensions (not air) the mountain bikes were MUCH better suited for that ride. The slack geometry of a mountain bike helps on steep downhills, and you can generally get beefier stanchions on mountain bikes compared to what's available on hybrids. I wouldn't want my only bike to be a mountain bike, but since this will be a second bike I would definitely lean towards a mountain bike for what you're describing.

EDIT: I see that the current version of the Fire Mountain has a 2x9 drivetrain.

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Old 09-23-19, 12:26 PM
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Mountain bikes are pretty versatile. I have a 27.5" mountain bike (a Redline-branded version of a Diamondback Overdrive) and it's really quite nice to use on a lot of different terrain. I have 2.1" Vittoria Mezcal tires on it, which are very comfortable. Except for the long reach for its frame size, which is typical for conventional rigid or hard tail mountain bike geometry, it makes a great "hybrid". In fact, I have a rack on it and sometimes carry a trunk bag. I'm currently thinking about ways to shorten the reach and set it up better for "all around" riding (I don't really need the wide flat bar it currently has). I've been thinking about a butterfly bar for it, which would set it up more for comfort/distance riding (at the expense of real mountain bike riding, which I don't do that often).


IMG_20190423_183602787_HDR by jnjadcock, on Flickr


IMG_20180930_130647117 by jnjadcock, on Flickr

There it is with my Roam (before I had the rack on it), and it's really very close in concept to a dual sport hybrid (or vice-versa).
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Old 09-23-19, 08:08 PM
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Thanks guys. Great photos. I can see mountain bikes may have more versatility than I had presumed.
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Old 09-24-19, 02:35 AM
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The way I see it, a hybrid works great as an only bike, as its a jack of all trades, master of none. If you already have a road bike, and want something for off road use, youd be better off with a hardtail mountain bike. As has been said before, they are not that different from a dual-sport style hybrid, except for slight differences in frame geometry, bigger tyre clearance and longer suspension travel. If you would at some point like to convert the MTB to be more suitable for all around riding, it can be done with relative ease. Just changing the tires makes a world of difference. Also there are far more options for the front suspension forks for MTBs out there (many of those will physically fit on a hybrid, however they'd change the geometry and thus also handling significantly due to longer travel).
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Old 09-24-19, 08:25 AM
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Thanks much guys, those comments helped me clarify the issue, and those photos helped get me motivated. I am test riding a Marlin today and hope to test the Giant and Specialized equivalent in the next week.
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Old 09-24-19, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by spinconn View Post
Thanks much guys, those comments helped me clarify the issue, and those photos helped get me motivated. I am test riding a Marlin today and hope to test the Giant and Specialized equivalent in the next week.
Make sure you test ride 27.5" (650B) and 29" bikes. There are pros and cons to each, but they definitely felt different to me when I rode them.
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Old 09-24-19, 05:33 PM
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I just traded in my Specialized Sirrus for a Trek Marlin 6. I thought it would be slower than the hybrid. It was not and the front fork lockout helps when riding on the road to my off road riding. Try as many bikes as you can and then decide.
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Old 09-24-19, 06:21 PM
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I took a neighbor's Trek Marlin 6 out today for a trail ride of about 8 miles. No hills, just grass, dirt, small branches and ruts. I took it easy, it took me over an hour to cover that distance, and I loved it. It had far more gears than I needed but it was very nice to enjoy the woods and the silence. Not having to worry about being hit by a car is a real luxury. The snakes, wild hogs and gators did not bother me and it was great fun and very relaxing.

I decided then it was going to be a mountain bike. I went to a LBS afterwards and tested a Giant ATX and did not care for it at all. I should have tried a Talon, which would be a more apples to apples comparison. Tomorrow I am going to try out a Specialized.

I think I am going to like this stuff.
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Old 09-24-19, 06:29 PM
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Yes, a Talon would be Giant's analog to the Trek Marlin and the Specialized Rockhopper and Pitch. Good luck in your search! MTBs are pretty fun, even the entry level hard tails like these.
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Old 09-25-19, 05:59 AM
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Op....for your intended use a "Mountain" bike would be better choice (vs a Hybrid) for many of the reasons already mentioned above.
A front fork lock-out would be a bonus feature for that 10 mile stretch of concrete but not absolutely necessary.

Personally, I would go for a hard-tail with a Quality front shock.

Be sure to post some pics!...............
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Old 09-25-19, 02:32 PM
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So I went through several test rides of various Mtn Bikes and decided to buy the 2019 Trek Marlin 7. I brought it home and, being retired, was able to go for an inaugural ride.

About a mile from my house is a trailhead so I got to ride a few miles on pavement and it is just fine. No need for a hybrid for my uses. The area is swamp and marsh and the mud is thick and slick with clay and sand mixed in. After a few nice miles in the trees I got bogged down in some deep, wet mud and had to walk a few steps. A mile or so later I ran into a construction site and gave it a go. Big mistake as it was softer and wetter than it looked. I made it about 75% through and had to walk it out the rest of the way. I ended up with a nice smooth stretch through the marsh.

It is only the second time I have cycled off road so I have no expertise with which to judge but I am very satisfied with the bike and think it will be all I need for my skill level. I am not selling my road bike but this is great fun. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 09-25-19, 06:55 PM
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Congrats on the new bike! Glad you're enjoying it.
I agree with you about the fun. It's a different type of fun than road biking, and I thoroughly enjoy both types.
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Old 10-01-19, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by spinconn View Post
It is only the second time I have cycled off road so I have no expertise with which to judge but I am very satisfied with the bike and think it will be all I need for my skill level. I am not selling my road bike but this is great fun. Thanks for all the help.
I can relate. you see trails & try to a get a bike for them, then you get the bike & look for trails to suit the bike. it's fun! but yeah, mud is evil
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