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Most Versatile Bike - If You Could Have Only One - What Would It Be?

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General Mountain?
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Most Versatile Bike - If You Could Have Only One - What Would It Be?

Old 07-01-20, 10:10 PM
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Most Versatile Bike - If You Could Have Only One - What Would It Be?

So you saw the title. Forget this N+1 stuff .

Whats the most versatile bike if you could have only one. What would it be?

Road bike?
Cyclocross bike?
Gravel bike?
General Mountain bike?
Cross country mountain bike?
Something else?

Tell me why.

Last edited by cango; 07-02-20 at 04:30 AM.
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Old 07-01-20, 10:39 PM
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Other - Steel Touring
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Old 07-01-20, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
Other - Steel Touring
Bingo. For me it'd be a Co-Motion Divide w/Pinion gearbox and belt drive. One expensive bike though, starting at close to $7k new.
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Old 07-01-20, 11:23 PM
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I’d like a bike that could hang in a crit but still shred singletrack. The 3T exploro racemax would probably be it. I obviously wouldn’t be able to hit black diamond trails or DH parks but I don’t do that right now anyway.
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Old 07-01-20, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
Other - Steel Touring
Yep. My Rolhoff Rodriguez does everything. Everything.

It is not a fast aero racing bike but the low 20's is enough for a flat land cruise.
It's not a mountain bike but pulling a 25% grades with 16 gear inches & single track switchbacks gets done.
Gravel centuries happen on it.
Trailering happens with it.
Air travel is a thing.
Logging roads are a thing.
Mountain passes are a thing.
Camping is a thing.
Terrible weather & mud are a thing.

None of my other bikes are as adept to general purpose, all condition, all weather, use as the steel touring "other."

I've come to appreciate just how rarely I really *need* to drive 350 watts at 32mph to justify the true "racing" bike I own. (That bike is a hoot, btw.) I'd rather just be a stronger rider regardless of speed.

The steel touring bike truley is: "The one bike to rule them all."

Last edited by base2; 07-01-20 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 07-01-20, 11:34 PM
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CX bike. I’ve raced mine in the local MTB series, commuted, gravel rides, singletrack, and CX racing of course. It’s probably under geared for sprinting in a crit, but I don’t think I’d get dropped either.
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Old 07-01-20, 11:43 PM
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For us bike nerds = gravel / cx / touring bike or similar.
For the casual rider = rigid mountain bike.

I voted gravel as "general" mountain bike implies suspension.
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Old 07-01-20, 11:58 PM
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I voted "road" but only because I own the bike. My Peter Mooney. Built to: handle either 700c or 27" wheels with cantilevers set halfway between. Room to big tires and fenders. (Design requirement - rideable in Maine in winter on big 27" ties and fenders. In 1978, it was not clear which way wheels were going, 27" or 700c. And could I even get 700c in back country Maine? THis was 11 months after my head njury. The bike had a mission - to keep me sane, alive and out of institutions until my recovery journey was past.) I've put on 38c in front (could go larger) and 35c in back (and still could use the most forward position in the traditional horizontal road dropout and pull the wheel out, tire inflated) Triple with a close freewheel so I could run my old racing gearing when I was that strong and still go onto the mountains on the inner ring. The bike now runs fix gear. True mountain fix gear - 46 x 13, 42 x 17 and 36 x 21 or 42 x 16 and 17 for flat ground riding.

The bike has climbed Mt Diable, both light and touring. Done fast club rides on sew-ups. Ridden the Trask River Trail to the Oregon Coast. Been my ride for 50,000 miles. Many centuries. Ridden in snow. It is still going strong. I call the Mooney a road bike. A bike that can take anywhere there is a road. Paved, not paved, rain, snow ... Yes I do have to set it up for the conditions. But there is little it cannot do.

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Old 07-02-20, 02:31 AM
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Out of these, it has to be either gravel or hybrid. CX or XC MTB come close, but usually lack mounting points for racks and fenders for true versatility.

That said, the line between gravel and hybrid is rather blurry anyway as they all are in essence hybrids, just marketed to different people.
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Old 07-02-20, 02:57 AM
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I voted general mountain to represent fully rigid steel, 2” tire width, flat bar, wide gearing range.
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Old 07-02-20, 04:05 AM
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XC mountain as in my 29er XC MTB. It goes where gravel bikes cannot. Where I live, we have truly harsh rocky technical single track etc that is very demanding.

We also have a lot of gravel trails, the 29er is adept at that too, simply lock suspension to reduce energy losses.

The question is however a tough one. I chose my MTB simply because it can do everything and I'd not want to be restricted by a specialist bike if I was only permitted one.

My road bikes are my favourites, I prefer road overall. But not for touring, commuting - I am a speed merchant so my road bikes are suited to that pursuit.

I have never shared the joy many have with steel bikes, they are very much 'meh' for me. I own one! I raced on steel in the 80's/90's. Not for me now.

Gravel? Yep, very good, like CX, but the rocky terrain I take my MTB over is just too harsh without suspension. So my pick would have to be my carbon 9kg 29er full sus XC MTB with XTR in this instance. (Not downhill longer travel, heavier and unnecessary for me)
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Old 07-02-20, 04:14 AM
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Yeah, you need to add Touring to the list. During the Covid shutdown I sold my ss/fg and refurbed 80's steel road bike. Now I just have a Novara Safari steel touring bike left. Does road, gravel, commuting real well.
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Old 07-02-20, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by stevel610 View Post
Yeah, you need to add Touring to the list. During the Covid shutdown I sold my ss/fg and refurbed 80's steel road bike. Now I just have a Novara Safari steel touring bike left. Does road, gravel, commuting real well.
I would except it appears that you can't edit polls once you put them in place.
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Old 07-02-20, 06:59 AM
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Other - steel touring bike. You left that off of the survey. Why?
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Old 07-02-20, 07:20 AM
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Another vote for a touring bike, seems they are the forgotten cousins of the bike world
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Old 07-02-20, 07:22 AM
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As I enjoy riding singletrack, with rocks, roots, small drops, stream crossings and I also enjoy riding pavement, I'd be missing front susp. when off-road, or the efficiency of a road bike on pavement. Guess if I HAD to settle, maybe a hybrid with front susp (would probably switch out stock fork for a better quality one) and which would accept a larger tire. I started riding off-road on a rigid mtn.bike, but don't care to go that way again. Very glad I don't have to settle for just one type.
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Old 07-02-20, 07:38 AM
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I assume “General Mountain” means a FS Trail/AM bike, so I voted for that.

Is it the most versatile? No, and definitely not the way I set it up. I’d probably drop nearly all my road and most of my gravel riding if that’s all I had.

But I’d rather kiss all that goodbye than to have to ditch the bike that brings me the most joy, even if it means riding bikes less.
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Old 07-02-20, 07:39 AM
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Voted gravel because that's the way I went when I bought my new bike.

Close second would be my workhorse, my hard tail XC MTB 29er. I've been to the Rocky mountains with it, to local single track. It's my winter road bike, and the bike I use in the summer to pull the kid trailer. It still holds a couple of gravel PR's as well.
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Old 07-02-20, 07:49 AM
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A couple of weeks ago, I was contemplating going from two to one, because I was going to give my Schwinn frame to my son, built up for him to ride on campus. But it’s a 25” frame and just a bit too tall to be right for him.

That would have left just my vintage MTB with sweptback “touring” bars which would be my choice. I have wheels with slicks and wheels with small knob tires. Hopefully that isn’t cheating.

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Old 07-02-20, 08:29 AM
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Had to go other since both my mtn bikes a hardtail and full squish have 140mm of travel and don't fit into cross country or general. My cross bike might be able to do everything but it isn't nearly as fun off road as a mtn bike and if I have to give up road or mtn bikeing it is pretty easy to say bye to road riding.
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Old 07-02-20, 08:33 AM
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Clarify "general mountain" and add "fatbike".
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Old 07-02-20, 08:39 AM
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A hard tail 29'er is pretty versatile with the right tires - urban, road, gravel, dirt, some single track.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:45 AM
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If I could only have one, it would be a Specialized Epic FSR with a Brain shock on the rear and lockable front fork. It would allow me to have a very functional mountain bike for mountain bike riding and a serviceable rigid road bike. It doesn’t have much capability for carrying things and it is slow on the road but it does allow for both kinds of riding. In fact, I have one (of 2) at my daughter’s house for exactly that reason. It works on-road and it’s an excellent off-road bike.
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Old 07-02-20, 10:54 AM
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The one just inside the door.. now , rather elderly I'm liking the step through convenience of my Bike Friday..

So, A category? folding bike,, Brompton is the Best..


Last edited by fietsbob; 07-07-20 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 07-02-20, 11:40 AM
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I suppose if I had to choose ONE bike to own, I'd go with a gravel bike something like a Canyon Grail. I've seen gravel bike handle easy single track just fine, and they seem to do fine on the road.

Fortunately, I don't have to make that choice, my two main bikes are a CF roadie, and an aluminum hardtail.
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