Another "what bike" thread

Cap_Scarlet

Active Member
Sorry but I couldn't seem to get an appropriate answer / point of view from a search of the forum.

Situation is as follows - I have recently started commuting on my bike, about 12-13 miles each way. My commute is about 50% off-road on fairly rough forest tracks. The other 50% is cycle paths and roads.

I am currently using my hard-tail mountain bike which is quite light but I would prefer something a bit quicker.

I have been looking at Hybrid's / cross bikes (I would prefer an upright seating position) but am getting lost in all the details!

Anyone in a similar position?

I am prepared to pay fairly big money to get the right bike (up to about 1,000 squids)
 

martynjc1977

Veteran
Go to your local bike shop and tell them what you need, they might have something in stock that you could try out. sounds like you do have an idea what you want just a case of you trying a few out and seeing what works for you.
 

Moodyman

Guru
''Go to your local bike shop and tell them what you need, they might have something in stock that you could try out."

DON'T do this!

A lot of people on here will advise you of this, but don't do it (yet). You ride a bike already and 12-13 miles is enough distance to know what you like about your MTB and what you want to change.


Write a list of things that you'd like in your bike and why. Then find a selection of bikes that do all the things that you want. Only after armed with this list, should you contact the various bike shops and test ride your bikes.

As good as this forum is, people will tell you I ride this and it's great. But their priorities / pet hates will be different to yours.

I went to an LBS a while back and the guy was good - in fact he spent a lot of time with me. BUT.....he, himself was a racer. He pointed me towards 23mm thoroughbred racing bikes for speed, whereas I wanted durability & comfort for commuting 365 days a year.

If I didn't have my list with me, I'd have walked out there with the wrong (and expenive) bike for me.
 

Norm

Guest
Setting aside Moodyman's point for a minute, I was in a similar position and went for the very bike which 4F suggests, and I love it. Lighter and faster than an MTB, it's almost as fast as a road bike on tarmac.

However, looking at the "fairly rough forest tracks" makes me wonder if an MTB isn't already the best solution. Bikes which are faster on tarmac, whether *spit* "hybrids" *spit* or cyclo-x, have no suspension and relatively short side-walls on the tyres, so they are slower over rougher terrain.

As an example, I have a regular run which is, approximately, 6 miles of riverside path and 4 miles of road. Because the tow path is currently pretty hacked about (lots of wet weather has created ridges which have then dried and set like concrete), this route takes me almost exactly the same time on my Tricross and on my MTB - the difference is under a minute in a 40 minute ride.

On top of that, if your fairly rough forest paths have a tendency to get wet, then that will, IME, probably make an MTB a better choice.

All of which means that I'd recommend, if you do get a faster bike, I'd suggest you keep the hard tail.

Back to Moodyman's point, I agree with it completely. Drops or flats is a pretty important starting point, that will make the choice for your between *spit* "hybrids" *spit* and cyclo-x style. If you are unsure between these two, then a visit to your LBS to try one of each might help you make that first decision.

If you want to go with flat bars, then make sure you look at a *spit* "hybrid" *spit*which is biased towards the trails. Many *spit* "hybrids" *spit*are road bikes with flat bars and the wheels, tyres and components will not be suited to a life on a forest trail.

However, make a list of your priorities and alternatives and use that to narrow down the field. Then remember that all the brands are just slightly different mixes of the same stuff but people get emotionally tied to their own decision. Taking a test ride and finding one which you are comfortable with could mean you end up with something which others look down upon but, ultimately, no-one else but you will be riding it and no-one else but you knows your route, your strengths and your priorities.

Or you could just buy the Tricross and love it for ever. :becool:
 
OP
C

Cap_Scarlet

Active Member
Many thanks for the well thought out responses.

All good thoughts / advice.

It is true that its possible / probable that my ideal bike does not exist or perhaps I am just looking for an excuse to buy another bike ;). For further background I also own three other bikes (an MTB fully and two road bikes - one is a triple and one a double).

I could do the whole route on road and take one of the road bikes but to be honest I find the off-road route - whilst longer, a lot more enjoyable and more my preferred style of riding. The track I ride is more stones rather than mud and relatively even, so front suspension is not an absolute must.

The thing that is confusing me most is that manufacturers do not seem to have a consistent definition i.e. some call a bike a hybrid when it is in fact a roadbike with flat bars whereas for some a hybrid could also mean a bike with off-road capabilities.

I will take a look at the recommendation and let you know in which direction I go.
 

jonny jeez

Legendary Member
Cap_Scarlet said:
I am currently using my hard-tail mountain bike which is quite light but I would prefer something a bit quicker.
Aye Cap'n

and Welcome.

so you want something a little faster. Sounds like you may need new legs not a new bike!

Your route takes you on forest trails, cycle paths and road....

I hate you already;)...

but putting my envy to one side I would say keep your old bike for a bit and let your body catch up. the fitter you get the quicker you will run in and soon, you will know your limitations.

these limitations may help to point you in the right direction for a new bike.

I suspect you are bitten by the bug (which is great) and the warm weather has convinced you that you can commute full time, perhaps try a full season before spending a bag-o-sand on a new bike, you may just choose to up grade your drive system for a different gear setting and reach that "ever elusive" higher top speed when on the road.

PS, I ride a really, really old hardtail (with Judy fronts... old but pretty much maintenance free) and have no issues. I commute 40 miles a day at an average of 20mph with her, although it is all road work, I would not want to loose the front shocks and MTB geometry.. if I where ever going to attack forest trails. Especially over the winter

Happy trails.
 

gps315

Über Member
No long justification or argument from me.........i was in same situation, MTB with slicks that needed to be more road bike....

Went for a Scott P4 which has lockout forks, best of all worlds and loving the ride.
 

Norm

Guest
Touche said:
What is wrong with {{hug}} "hybrids" {{hug}}?;)
This...
Cap_Scarlet said:
The thing that is confusing me most is that manufacturers do not seem to have a consistent definition i.e. some call a bike a hybrid when it is in fact a roadbike with flat bars whereas for some a hybrid could also mean a bike with off-road capabilities.
It is a confusing term which covers too many bases. Rigid MTB or flat-barred road bike are, IMO, better, clearer and more accurate distinctions.

Whilst lock-outs can be useful, I leave my front unlocked on the road as it makes dodgy tarmac much more comfortable and, if you adapt your pedalling style to suit (I use a smooth continuous circular motion of the legs and little body movement) it takes hardly any extra effort.
 
Top Bottom