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Help Needed - New to bikes

Old 09-09-20, 03:01 PM
  #1  
kenjidm
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Help Needed - New to bikes

Hello,

Please be patient with me. I understand the bike shortage but have a few questions.
  1. What is a good bike for a starter that is uprgradeable?
  2. Budget around $800
  3. Looking for something light, but want something that will last and I can upgrade to better parts later on
  4. Is there a good bike frame to buy around $500 and maybe go that route?
thanks in advance
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Old 09-09-20, 03:43 PM
  #2  
IGH_Only
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I would go with a Priority Classic Plus. I will admit I am quasi obsessed with their bikes at the moment:

I don't think it is a good candidate for upgrades but unless you really like tinkering with bikes, I generally don't see positives for upgrading as often times, you could have bought a whole new bike for all the money that you would need to spend to "upgrade".
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Old 09-09-20, 03:54 PM
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$800 barely gets you above the level of a department store bike.

Instead of buying cheap and upgrading parts later you're better off forking over more $$$ for a bike now with good parts. Bike companies get volume discounts on parts. Upgrading will cost you more in the long run.
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Old 09-09-20, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by kenjidm View Post
Hello,

Please be patient with me. I understand the bike shortage but have a few questions.
  1. What is a good bike for a starter that is uprgradeable?
  2. Budget around $800
  3. Looking for something light, but want something that will last and I can upgrade to better parts later on
  4. Is there a good bike frame to buy around $500 and maybe go that route?
thanks in advance
IME, bikes under $1000 rarely make sense to upgrade, because once you start swapping parts there will likely be a cascade effect where changing one part necessitates changing other parts. When you add shop labor costs on top of the cost of components (since you are new to the sport and likely can't do the installation yourself), you could easily spend 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of your bike to change components, especially if you want new wheels. Of course, YMMV, but I think a lot of people here would recommend an entry point of $1000-1500 for a new bike. If you can find a used bike from a trusted source, then maybe $800 makes sense, but I would expect it will need some work.

I highly recommend Canyon bikes or maybe the REI house brand. I've had great experiences buying new from those places.
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Old 09-09-20, 04:16 PM
  #5  
kenjidm
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Originally Posted by BoraxKid View Post
IME, bikes under $1000 rarely make sense to upgrade, because once you start swapping parts there will likely be a cascade effect where changing one part necessitates changing other parts. When you add shop labor costs on top of the cost of components (since you are new to the sport and likely can't do the installation yourself), you could easily spend 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of your bike to change components, especially if you want new wheels. Of course, YMMV, but I think a lot of people here would recommend an entry point of $1000-1500 for a new bike. If you can find a used bike from a trusted source, then maybe $800 makes sense, but I would expect it will need some work.

I highly recommend Canyon bikes or maybe the REI house brand. I've had great experiences buying new from those places.
thanks for the reply. I am not opposed of going up to $1500. At that price point I am sure I have more options but can you steer me in your recommendation?
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Old 09-09-20, 04:29 PM
  #6  
BoraxKid
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Originally Posted by kenjidm View Post
thanks for the reply. I am not opposed of going up to $1500. At that price point I am sure I have more options but can you steer me in your recommendation?
What type of riding do you plan to do? If you are thinking of staying on pavement, a road bike, endurance bike, or even a hybrid would suit that application. If you want to ride off road, a gravel bike, cyclocross bike, or mountain bike would probably be better. If you browse through Canyon or REI's websites, they will have bikes sorted by category.
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Old 09-09-20, 04:32 PM
  #7  
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Narrow it down,,, what can you buy and get serviced after the sale locally.. Brands your local Bike shop sells..

Out here there are decent used bikes they bought & are re selling.. getting you savings ..
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Old 09-09-20, 06:20 PM
  #8  
kenjidm
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Looking for a bike that i can use on the road, but something that is versatile and can be used on trails...So not sure if that would be a MTB or a hybrid.

I saw the Trek Dual Sport 4....Or the Trek Sport 6 which is classified as a hybrid, but doesn't look like i can ride that on trails...

Not sure how well those are....
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Old 09-09-20, 06:41 PM
  #9  
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A gravel bike is good on roads and trails. That's what I'm riding as my only bike, and I'm completely happy with it. But here's what I'm thinking. If you're not sure exactly what you want, and you don't seem to be, get an inexpensive bike with the thought that you can ride it for a year or two, when you'll have a better idea of what you want, and then get a new bike. As others have said, upgrading an inexpensive bike is probably not worth it, but buying an inexpensive bike until you have a better idea of exactly what you want is worth it. If you're new to cycling, there is a good chance that the bike you think you want today will not be the bike you will want in two years.
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Old 09-09-20, 06:43 PM
  #10  
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I have a Trek and like it. They are a good value for the $.
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Old 09-09-20, 07:05 PM
  #11  
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First of all, don't let people tell you that $800 buys you just above department store grade bikes. Everything depends on what type of bike you buy. And that should be determined by where you intend to ride. I noticed you mentioning the ability to ride both on the road and trails. Just keep in mind that most hybrid bikes really aren't meant for the trail at all. A hybrid bike will get you something that may be acceptable for the road but will likely be heavier than a road specific bike. In addition, a hybrid will only get you on hard packed smooth dirt roads. If you plan on riding on more "adventurous" terrain, don't gt a hybrid. It won't do the job. If you think you'll end up doing a fair amount of riding on dirt, then just get an entry level mountain bike. At the $800 pricepoint, you are looking at a hardtail. That just means it won't have a rear shock absorber. It could have a front shock which comes in a suspension fork. Or it could come with a rigid fork. But there are some decent hardtails out there by Cannondale, REI, Diamondback, and yes, even Schwinn. Giant is a quality bike company. They have a hardtail, the Talon, that comes in lots of different permutations. Some other things to consider when buying a bike are the size wheels you want to get. There are 26" wheels, 27.5" wheels and 29" wheels. The smaller the wheel the more maneuverable the bike is from a handling point of view. The larger the wheels the easier it will roll over obstacles like downed trees, rocks, etc. This is why people have asked you what kind of riding you intend to do. Bikes are built for fairly specific purposes. Only you know where you are headed. I hope this helps. Everything you want to know can be found online. For moutain bikes, check out MTBR.com. They have user reviews and expert reviews of all sorts of bikes.

Once I was out of my parent's house and on my own and married, my childhood bike was long gone. So my wife and I went out and ended up getting his and hers mountain bikes. Entry level. I rode mine and ened up putting about as much as I paid for the bike in upgrades over the next few years. I'm not sorry I did that because I built the bike that I wanted based upon research and the kind of riding I was doing. Which was more and more technical single track trails with lots of downed trees, roots and rock gardens. Later on as I felt the deisre to ride on the road I realized the only thing to do was buy a bike specifically for the road and ended up with a decent road/racing bike with top notch components. I spent as much on the new road bike as I had invested in the mountain bike.

You are starting out and you are spending plenty of money for something that you still don't know if you will stick with it down the road. If someone tells you to spend $1,500 on a bike and that anything costing less is crap, don't listen to them. They don't have the slightest idea what they are talking about. $800 is plenty.
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Old 09-09-20, 08:31 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by IGH_Only View Post
I would go with a Priority Classic Plus. I will admit I am quasi obsessed with their bikes at the moment:

I don't think it is a good candidate for upgrades but unless you really like tinkering with bikes, I generally don't see positives for upgrading as often times, you could have bought a whole new bike for all the money that you would need to spend to "upgrade".
I live in Manhattan and have been to the store downtown. They look even better in person.
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Old 09-09-20, 08:41 PM
  #13  
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Bike Shops Help new riders Although Pandemic has had effects on supply stocks..

You will benefit from personal help ..
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Old 09-09-20, 10:11 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
$800 barely gets you above the level of a department store bike.

Instead of buying cheap and upgrading parts later you're better off forking over more $$$ for a bike now with good parts. Bike companies get volume discounts on parts. Upgrading will cost you more in the long run.
WHAT??? Dude (or dudette or non binary casual personage identifier) have you seen department store bikes? A bike shop bike even in the $300-400 range is going to be better in nearly all cases but $800 gets you generally a decent hybrid. It isn't the nicest bike and probably isn't worth much in upgrade but is not a barely above department store level it is quite far above. I am cool if you want be snobbish heck I am sometimes but to say $800 for a bike is department store level is just nuts. Yeah sure it isn't going to be close to the level of the new Lambo bike from Cervelo which for 18k but that has a lambo badge on it (and not much else to justify 18k). Then again I can get one on a bike for 60 buckaroons from Hong Kong (and a little glue or epoxy)


I will agree that yes if your goal is upgrades get the right bike in the first place or something closer to what you are looking for. Or if you know exactly what you want and nobody makes it save up your money and go custom. Pretty much all of my bikes are not stock in the least and most of my bikes have started frame up (though currently only one that was custom built for me though not totally to my exact measurements but I didn't really need that and at the time couldn't really spring for it) It is significantly more expensive because I don't get any volume discounts buying one of something but it will give you the right bike and you can make the compromises that you wish to make rather than ones pre-determined for you by the manufacturer.
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Old 09-09-20, 10:15 PM
  #15  
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Take a close look at the Salsa Journeyman gravel bike. Rides great on the pavement and will tackle the trails and dirt roads as well. If... you can find one, should be right in your wheelhouse at around $900. I have a hybrid in my Specialized Sirrus. Great bike but not really for dirt other than hard pack roads.
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Old 09-10-20, 12:46 AM
  #16  
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Don't even think about brands. And Certainly don't consider spending $1000-$1500 until you know what kind of bike you really want and how you really want to ride.

Brands---meh. I like Giant and Fuji for generally offering the same quality as the other manufacturers at a slightly lower price, but pretty much, every company makes equivalent bikes at each given price point and for each different style of riding, i.e. any bike manufacturer will offer an entry-level road bike, an entry level endurance-geometry bike, an entry-level, gravel bike, and an entry-level hard-tail MTB for about the same price and with almost exactly the same components as all the other manufacturers.

Buying a bike with a decent frame and upgrading can be Really expensive. manufacturers get parts at a huge discount due to volume. You do not. You can upgrade wear items, but you won't see big performance gains that way .... and it takes a lot of miles to wear out most components. Your best bet is to set your budget and look at everything in that range and buy as much as you can find up front. Most of the lower-end stuff nowadays is good enough that you won't need more --- I'd say get anything nine-speed and up and you will be getting gear you could ride for a decade or more without needing more .... for most riders.

I highly recommend checking out BikesDirect. BD makes generic bikes which are pretty much as good as the big names--usually they only lack the desirable manufacturer's decal, but have all the same parts--and if you don't care about impressing people at the local cafe, why spend more money to not get more bike? However, you would have to put the wheels on and adjust the brakes and shifters, or pay a shop $100 to do assembly and tune-up. might eb worth it, I have had good luck there. (https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...iberty_cxd.htm) (https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...avel-bikes.htm)

The Most Important Thing, is What kind of bike to buy.

if you need a pick-up, don't get a two-seat sports car. if you need a van to haul people or and SUV to haul people and gear and two a trailer, don't buy a sedan. if you need a jeep to go off-roading, don't buy an economy hatch-back.

@Random11 says,
Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
A gravel bike is good on roads and trails. That's what I'm riding as my only bike, and I'm completely happy with it. But here's what I'm thinking. If you're not sure exactly what you want, and you don't seem to be, get an inexpensive bike with the thought that you can ride it for a year or two, when you'll have a better idea of what you want, and then get a new bike. As others have said, upgrading an inexpensive bike is probably not worth it, but buying an inexpensive bike until you have a better idea of exactly what you want is worth it. If you're new to cycling, there is a good chance that the bike you think you want today will not be the bike you will want in two years.
This is actually wisdom---a rare find on Bike Forums.

There are who knows how many bikes in garages or sold for cheap at yard sales because people were sure they loved cycling--until they tried it, or people who were sure what kind of cycling they wanted to do, but were wrong.

When you say "trails" do you mean roots and ruts and rocks and really steep climbs and descents stretching for miles deep in the woods, or do you mean rails-to-trails paths of packed earth, or gravel over dirt, or what? A bike which can really work well on a serious trail will be a pig to ride on the road, and a bike which glides like a ghost over the pavement will shake your teeth out on a serious trail .... and then simply leave you stuck.

There is no "Do Everything:" bike because you can ride a bike everywhere from flat, paved roads to literally the top of mountains and back down. You can get a Corvette, a Camaro, a Camry, an SUV, or a full off-road 4x4 bike, and as with the cars, they won't all work as well in all settings.

You Really need to know what kind of riding you like to do---which might be very different than what you think now.

As a rule, I might recommend an endurance-geometry bike which can take 700C tires from 20-38 or 45 mm for general riding---you can sway to wide tires if you are riding on loose gravel or narrow tires f you plan to ride mostly on pavement. But if you really want to shred mountain bike trails, you will need suspension and that gets pricey, and it makes the bike heavy and inefficient for road use. So you really need to define where you think you want to ride----and you also need to figure out where you Really want to ride. (See the BikesDirect bikes I linked above---both are basically road bikes which will work on light-to-medium trails.)

You might find that you hate road-riding because you don't like sharing the road with cars, or you may think you want to ride trails but find that real MTB trails are more than you like and packed-earth rails-to-trails is as much as you enjoy. You might think you just want to ride a few miles around your local neighborhoods at a strolling pace after dinner, and then find that you like going fast and far.

Also---Most "hybrids" are compromise bikes, that aren't that good on roads or trails. However, "good" is a relative term. if you don't mind working hard and not going fast--or not working to o hard and really not going fast---then a hybrid---sort of an underbuilt MTB---might work for you. Most hybrids---I wouldn't expect them to last long if ridden really hard on trails, but do you plan to ride really hard on trails? Are you sure? And how much road-riding do you plan to do? A hybrid will work on the road, but for rides longer than about 20 miles you might not want flat bars and a heavy suspension fork which doesn't do much on pavement. If 20 miles on the road, and slow strolls over the trials, sounds right for you, a hybrid might work.

I'd spend As Little As Possible on a first bike. A $100 Walmart balloon-tire beach cruiser is enough to get you on the road and on smooth trails. I'd recommend buying used, if And Only If you have a friend who really knows bikes and can go with you to check out prospective purchases. nothing kills joy like buying a bike and finding out when you get it home that it needs work costing more than you paid for it to be ridable. Check out yard sales and get something that rolls and sort of fits for $25, if you can, maybe.

Buy just enough bike to see f you really ride a lot, and instead of selling your barley used $1500 bike a year from now for $600, you can sell your barely used $200 bike for $125. or ... you can spend a couple hundred, and in six months spend $1000-$1500 and get a bike you will ride a lot and really enjoy.
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Old 09-10-20, 01:29 AM
  #17  
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Having a bike shop you like and trust is of utmost importance, so shop locally with after sale service in mind.

I paid $700 for my Specialized Sirrus Sport Disc a few years ago. It's an awesome bike and I still ride it and have no complaints. It's very hard or impossible for me to make the perfect choice first time every time, so I do my best and adjust to reality as I go. Visit a few local bike shops and you'll find something you want.
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Old 09-10-20, 05:15 AM
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A hybrid is probably what you are looking at as your first bike, and you can get a pretty decent one for $800. They are fairly capable off road except on really rocky/rooty/rutty stuff which is a MTB-only territorry. Other than that, a hybrid will do fine - I have ridden mine through forests (moderately rooty/muddy/sandy trails) and overgrown trails/fire roads with 2-3 ft tall weeds without any problems. With some minor adjustments (like barends for multiple hand positions) long rides are no problems as well - recently did a 130 mile ride on mine (85% pavement of varying quality, 15% gravel). After a while you'll see what type of riding you enjoy more (if at all), and can then get a dedicated bike(s) for that.

As for upgrading: the normal way of upgrading is replacing components when they are worn out with better ones. That way you don't really spend that much (since you need to replace those parts anyway) and not all at the same time. However, there is a problem: the ever changing industry standards. That means new higher end components may be incompatible with lower end frame and other bits, while older high end components which would fit, are hard to come by. For example, in the current Shimano MTB line, 9 speed components are below mid-tier only, with the mid tier being 10-11sp and the higher end 12sp, and none of those are cross-compatible. Just some 10-15 years back there were high-end 9sp components which are still better than the new 9sp low end parts, but those are becoming very sparse now.

Or take the frame - the entry level MTB's, hybrids and gravel bikes have frames and forks with 135mm/100mm spacing (rear/front) for 9/10mm quick release axles, whereas the mid- and high end have the current 142(148)mm/110mm spacing and 12/15mm through axles - which means you can forget about new high end hubs for your entry level frame. Same goes for tapered headset and fork compatibility.

I'm not saying that it is impossible or not worth to upgrade an entry level bike, it's just that choices are becoming more and more limited.
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Old 09-10-20, 05:25 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by kenjidm View Post
Hello,

Please be patient with me. I understand the bike shortage but have a few questions.
  1. What is a good bike for a starter that is uprgradeable?
  2. Budget around $800
  3. Looking for something light, but want something that will last and I can upgrade to better parts later on
  4. Is there a good bike frame to buy around $500 and maybe go that route?
thanks in advance
To quote: Keith Bontrager

Strong, Light, Cheap--pick any two.
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Old 09-10-20, 07:24 AM
  #20  
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It has been said very will on this thread that it is necessary to define exactly what kind of riding you want to do. The big problem is you might have that question answered in your head but not based on personal experience. I live in a geographic area that has just about everything, from technical and mountainous single track to long well maintained rail trails to rural road cycling with fairly steep hills if wanted.

In 2004 I bought a hybrid thinking that it would be good for semi-serious single track. Soon after I got it I rode a wilderness single track trail on the side of a mountain. I did that kind of riding one time. I then had to admit to myself that rail trails were the way to go. The thought of riding up hills on an uncomfortable road bike had no appeal to me. I put about 200 miles on my hybrid then put it away for the next 15 years.

Then last year I got sucked into doing a charity (road) ride. For that I got out my old mid 80s Asian steel frame road bike, fixed it up, started riding again. After much pain and agony I finally realized that my #1 priority is road cycling and #2 is rail trail (MUPs). At 62 I have enough to do with my time and energy so technical single track is one of those things that will have to exist without me. With my 2004 hybrid I can you know ride the trails but there is only so much a person can do. The whole point here is you are probably not going to know exactly what kind of cycling you really want to do until you get out there and try some things. In the old days it was easy, you buy a bike and go riding. Now everything is so specialized and expensive it's difficult to make a recommendation without knowing the application.

So I'm doing exactly what I thought I would not be doing, that is road biking. I'm on track to ride +5000 miles on such this year.
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Old 09-10-20, 07:28 AM
  #21  
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OP, an older cross bike with canti brakes seems like a good suggestion. You can run road tires for faster, smoother road rides, or cross tires for some off-road stuff. It's not going to be as competent on full mtb trails a real mtb, but you can do it.

Also, since disc brakes have taken over cross and gravel, you can generally find really nice canti brake cross bikes for $800.
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Old 09-10-20, 08:06 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by kenjidm View Post
Looking for a bike that i can use on the road, but something that is versatile and can be used on trails....
Then you are looking at two bikes. The right tool for the job.
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Old 09-10-20, 08:14 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by MntnMan62 View Post
$800 is plenty.
Workable dollar amount for a road/hybrid bike.

For a trail riding mountain bike...Not so much unless that is the price of a used one that was around $2k new.
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Old 09-10-20, 09:48 AM
  #24  
MntnMan62
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Workable dollar amount for a road/hybrid bike.

For a trail riding mountain bike...Not so much unless that is the price of a used one that was around $2k new.
The guy barely knows what a bike is and you're putting him on technical mountain biking trails on a $2,000 bike? With friends like you, who needs enemies?
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Old 09-10-20, 10:38 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by kenjidm View Post
Looking for a bike that i can use on the road, but something that is versatile and can be used on trails...So not sure if that would be a MTB or a hybrid.

I saw the Trek Dual Sport 4....Or the Trek Sport 6 which is classified as a hybrid, but doesn't look like i can ride that on trails...

Not sure how well those are....
When I was looking for a bike, I knew I wanted something I could ride on pavement as a road bike, and something I could ride on gravel or trails. I ended up getting a hybrid, which worked OK as a road bike but horrible on gravel due to the skinny tires. I later got a mountain bike with wide tires which I set up as a gravel/beater bike. I tended to use the mountain bike on trails and gravel and the hybrid ended up being used as a road bike. That setup worked OK but I wanted a dedicated road bike with drop bars since the upright riding position was not very aero. I recently got a road bike which I'll use 100% on pavement, and still have the mountain bike as a gravel bike.

So the upshot of all this is, the hybrid worked OK as a road bike, terrible as a gravel bike, and did neither well. The solution was to have more than one bike suited for different uses, and that works out much better.
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