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How hybrid are hybrid bikes?

Old 06-18-19, 11:36 AM
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Wishiwasabiker
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How hybrid are hybrid bikes?

Shopping for my first real bike. Are most hybrids able to handle some gravel paths or light dirt trails? Or should I keep it on pavement?
My personal riding terrain will probably be 75% pavement with moderate hills, some gravel and dirt paths.
Now looking at Giant Escape 2 or Trek FX 2.
One other cheap possibility is a Trek FX 7.5
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Old 06-18-19, 11:45 AM
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With the proper tires, those bikes should be able to handle everything you listed.
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Old 06-18-19, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Wishiwasabiker View Post
Shopping for my first real bike. Are most hybrids able to handle some gravel paths or light dirt trails? Or should I keep it on pavement?
My personal riding terrain will probably be 75% pavement with moderate hills, some gravel and dirt paths.
Now looking at Giant Escape 2 or Trek FX 2.
One other cheap possibility is a Trek FX 7.5
I have a 5 mile (10 mile round trip) river channel in my town that I ride each day. The path starts off with normal, flat pavement. Around the halfway mark it turns into broken pavement, dirt road/gravel, potholes, bumps and small hills of broken pavement. I own a Trek Dual Sport 2. I choose the Dual Sport 2 because of the front suspension. The FX bikes you listed will be fine for what you described but I would suggest looking at the Dual Sports if you plan to go over rough terrain. I really LOVE the ability to dampen my front suspension on that river channel I ride, it makes my ride much less bumpy in my arms and hands once I turn the knob on the forks. As soon as I want to get some better speed and am back on flat ground, I can turn it into the lock-out (while riding). I was on the fence about buying the Dual Sport 2 and was going to purchase an FX3 instead, I'm very happy I went with the Dual Sport for my type of riding. If I were just looking to commute around town and riding normal pavement 100% of the time, I'd go with the FX over the Dual Sport. Even if my riding is like 10-15% off road, having the option of front suspension vs not having the option is worth it for me.

There are quite a few haters on this board and will say the front suspension is useless and is just more weight...I really disagree. It makes the ride so much more comfortable over rougher terrain, it's unreal to even try to compare. There is about a 3-4lb difference in bikes due to the front suspension but in reality, that's like nothing. I could see if you plan to race and want to go fast, you'd be looking at a full-carbon road bike anyways so I don't understand people care so much about weight of the bikes when it comes to modern hybrids. they're all around 30lbs.

I suggest riding all the bikes you can and then make your decision. I rode the FX but picked the Dual Sport instead because it was more comfortable and up-right for me.

Last edited by fat2fit; 06-18-19 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 06-18-19, 01:25 PM
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I have a Trek Verve 2 hybrid and I ride it mainly on MUP's but I also have ridden it on some gravel and dirt trails. Nothing too rough but it did fine on those paths. If I was going to do more of a rougher type of dirt trail then I probably would ride my MTB with the front suspension but for a typical park type of trail I've not had any issues with my Verve. No suspension on the Verve so a really rough trail wouldn't be enjoyable over a longer distance.
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Old 06-18-19, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fat2fit View Post
I'd go with the FX over the Dual Sport. Even if my riding is like 10-15% off road, having the option of front suspension vs not having the option is worth it for me.

There are quite a few haters on this board and will say the front suspension is useless and is just more weight...I really disagree. It makes the ride so much more comfortable over rougher terrain, it's unreal to even try to compare. There is about a 3-4lb difference in bikes due to the front suspension but in reality, that's like nothing. I could see if you plan to race and want to go fast, you'd be looking at a full-carbon road bike anyways so I don't understand people care so much about weight of the bikes when it comes to modern hybrids. they're all around 30lbs.
I agree with this. I was torn between an FX and DS2, and I picked the DS2. I'm 90% on the pavement, and the suspension fork is awesome. I've ridden the same road with the fork locked out, and no locked out, and it makes a ton of difference in comfort. Unless the road is nice and flat with no bumps or pot holes, the suspension fork makes a difference. Around my area, those nice road conditions are hard to come by.

To answer the OP's question... Don't get caught up in the marketing terms: hybrid, gravel, etc. I don't know how old you are, but when I started riding bikes we had 10 speeds and BMX bikes, and rode them everywhere on all roads and trails. While it's true you won't want to take a dedicated road bike on trails, any of the current flat bar bikes are great for all road and trails. The exception would be real mountain bike trails. You'd probably want a dedicated mountain bike for that.
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Old 06-18-19, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by EGBigelo View Post
I agree with this. I was torn between an FX and DS2, and I picked the DS2. I'm 90% on the pavement, and the suspension fork is awesome. I've ridden the same road with the fork locked out, and no locked out, and it makes a ton of difference in comfort. Unless the road is nice and flat with no bumps or pot holes, the suspension fork makes a difference. Around my area, those nice road conditions are hard to come by.
The two bikes I ride most often have suspension forks, and I enjoy them, but to be fair to rigid forks, a locked suspension fork is about as rough as it possibly gets. They're hollow circular tubes that are designed to be dimensionally stable (because parts slide within them) and there is no give at all when locked. None.

This is not comparable to a high quality rigid fork. I have a '90s Trek 750 with a fully butted chrome-molybdenum frame and fork, and the fork is so compliant, it's nearly like having a suspension fork. Not quite, but it's far more comfortable than a locked suspension fork. In fact, you can just lean on it with the brakes on and see the fork blades deflect. Even more comfortable than this is my 1969 Peugeot, which has a huge fork offset (blades that really reach forward) -- this fork is super compliant on rough surfaces.

Many lower end hybrids with rigid forks are fully aluminum -- frame and fork. This doesn't give a very comfortable ride, but modern chrome-molybdenum and carbon fiber forks both offer a pretty nice ride. Nearly all modern so-called "gravel" bikes have these types of forks. Not suspension forks, but comfortable chrome-moly or carbon forks.

As I said earlier, I'm not against suspension forks, and ride them regularly. But it's also misleading to suggest that rigid forks would be like riding around on a locked suspension fork all the time. Depending on the type of fork, it's likely much more comfortable than that.
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Old 06-18-19, 07:33 PM
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By the way, this is one of the downsides of disc brakes (compliant forks). The old school bikes that rode really comfortable also had fork blades that don't stand up to the forces of all the braking action at the hub (the fork blades will crush or permanently bend). Modern carbon forks have opened up fork design so that it can be super strong in some directions and relatively compliant in others. We may still not get back to the relatively "noodley" frames and forks of yore. I bought my '69 Peugeot on a whim -- because it was 25 bucks on my local Craigslist and it looked interesting. But it totally blew my mind how comfortable it rides!
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Old 06-19-19, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
The two bikes I ride most often have suspension forks, and I enjoy them, but to be fair to rigid forks, a locked suspension fork is about as rough as it possibly gets. They're hollow circular tubes that are designed to be dimensionally stable (because parts slide within them) and there is no give at all when locked. None.

This is not comparable to a high quality rigid fork. I have a '90s Trek 750 with a fully butted chrome-molybdenum frame and fork, and the fork is so compliant, it's nearly like having a suspension fork. Not quite, but it's far more comfortable than a locked suspension fork. In fact, you can just lean on it with the brakes on and see the fork blades deflect. Even more comfortable than this is my 1969 Peugeot, which has a huge fork offset (blades that really reach forward) -- this fork is super compliant on rough surfaces.

Many lower end hybrids with rigid forks are fully aluminum -- frame and fork. This doesn't give a very comfortable ride, but modern chrome-molybdenum and carbon fiber forks both offer a pretty nice ride. Nearly all modern so-called "gravel" bikes have these types of forks. Not suspension forks, but comfortable chrome-moly or carbon forks.

As I said earlier, I'm not against suspension forks, and ride them regularly. But it's also misleading to suggest that rigid forks would be like riding around on a locked suspension fork all the time. Depending on the type of fork, it's likely much more comfortable than that.
Thatís encouraging- thereís a $100 Trek Multitrack 730 the next town over that I have thought about too. Looks like itís in decent shape - not that I would actually know by looking, but I like the idea.
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Old 06-19-19, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by EGBigelo View Post
I agree with this. I was torn between an FX and DS2, and I picked the DS2. I'm 90% on the pavement, and the suspension fork is awesome. I've ridden the same road with the fork locked out, and no locked out, and it makes a ton of difference in comfort. Unless the road is nice and flat with no bumps or pot holes, the suspension fork makes a difference. Around my area, those nice road conditions are hard to come by.

To answer the OP's question... Don't get caught up in the marketing terms: hybrid, gravel, etc. I don't know how old you are, but when I started riding bikes we had 10 speeds and BMX bikes, and rode them everywhere on all roads and trails. While it's true you won't want to take a dedicated road bike on trails, any of the current flat bar bikes are great for all road and trails. The exception would be real mountain bike trails. You'd probably want a dedicated mountain bike for that.
Thats great info. I looked up some Trek dual sport options and found some on craigslist in the $400 range. And thanks for the assurance on names and titles, Iíve been worried about buying the wrong kind of bike and breaking it my first trip out.
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Old 06-19-19, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fat2fit View Post
I have a 5 mile (10 mile round trip) river channel in my town that I ride each day. The path starts off with normal, flat pavement. Around the halfway mark it turns into broken pavement, dirt road/gravel, potholes, bumps and small hills of broken pavement. I own a Trek Dual Sport 2. I choose the Dual Sport 2 because of the front suspension. The FX bikes you listed
will be fine for what you described but I would suggest
looking at the Dual Sports if you plan to go over rough terrain. I really LOVE the ability to dampen my front suspension on that river channel I ride, it makes my ride much less bumpy in my arms and hands once I turn the knob on the forks. As soon as I want to get some better speed and am back on flat ground, I can turn it into the lock-out (while riding). I was on the fence about buying the Dual Sport 2 and was going to purchase an FX3 instead, I'm very happy I went with the Dual Sport for my type of riding. If I were just looking to commute around town and riding normal pavement 100% of the time, I'd go with the FX over the Dual Sport. Even if my riding is like 10-15% off road, having the option of front suspension vs not having the option is worth it for me.

There are quite a few haters on this board and will say the front suspension is useless and is just more weight...I really disagree. It makes the ride so much more comfortable over rougher terrain, it's unreal to even try to compare. There is about a 3-4lb difference in bikes due to the front suspension but in reality, that's like nothing. I could see if you plan to race and want to go fast, you'd be looking at a full-carbon road bike anyways so I don't understand people care so much about weight of the bikes when it comes to modern hybrids. they're all around 30lbs.

I suggest riding all the bikes you can and then make your decision. I rode the FX but picked the Dual Sport instead because it was more comfortable and up-right for me.
Thanks for the practical advice- no Iím not planning to race any time soon and not too worried about 3-4 pounds extra. I got caught up in advice to find a very lightweight bike but now that I think about it I would take a couple pounds if it meant more versatility and stability. I wish I could ride a lot of options and choose afterward but I havenít found a way to do that locally. Per your suggestion I researched and have found a craigslist Dual Sport 8.4 in the $400 range that I may go check out
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Old 06-19-19, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Wishiwasabiker View Post
I researched and have found a craigslist Dual Sport 8.4 in the $400 range that I may go check out
If it's in nice condition, that's a good price. You can usually tell if a bike has been ridden a lot, or at least taken care of (no paint chips, scratches, etc.). Bikes will, of course, wear with time, but a bike that still looks like new is probably a pretty low-risk purchase.
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Old 06-20-19, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Wishiwasabiker View Post
Thanks for the practical advice- no Iím not planning to race any time soon and not too worried about 3-4 pounds extra. I got caught up in advice to find a very lightweight bike but now that I think about it I would take a couple pounds if it meant more versatility and stability. I wish I could ride a lot of options and choose afterward but I havenít found a way to do that locally. Per your suggestion I researched and have found a craigslist Dual Sport 8.4 in the $400 range that I may go check out
Great price, check it out and make sure it's the proper size for you and stuff.
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Old 06-26-19, 08:42 AM
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I really liked unpaved rail trails on a hybrid (no suspension required)



you can really go places on hard packed dry dirt





even a narrow tire road bike does OK on dirt


Last edited by rumrunn6; 06-26-19 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 06-29-19, 09:17 AM
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In Europe , most of the bikes sold are straight bar "hybrid" , drop bar touring bikes suggest you are American.. or British..
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Old 07-02-19, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Wishiwasabiker View Post
Thanks for the practical advice- no Iím not planning to race any time soon and not too worried about 3-4 pounds extra. I got caught up in advice to find a very lightweight bike but now that I think about it I would take a couple pounds if it meant more versatility and stability. I wish I could ride a lot of options and choose afterward but I havenít found a way to do that locally. Per your suggestion I researched and have found a craigslist Dual Sport 8.4 in the $400 range that I may go check out


So? Did you get the bike?
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