Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

Road bike / Mountain bike or in between?

CrazeUKCrazeUK Posts: 10
edited March 2009 in Road beginners
Hi Guys.

I am totally new to cycling. Well when i say totally i have had bikes before but never taken it up seriously.

Now i have a planned few weeks off from next week (using up annual leave before end of march) so i was hoping to purchase a bike and take a trip on the roads.

My problem is i cannot decide between a road bike, a hybrid bike or a mountain bike.

The problem is that i live inner city manchester, so i cant really get off road that often excpet on weekends. Also i want to do Manchester to Bradford return in one day in the coming months.

The other issue is i also like Mountain (rough terrain) biking.

A friend has suggested i buy a new Road bike, and then once i get into it to go and purchase a good off road bike. But to be honest bikes are expensive and i dont have the space to store them.

What are peoples opinions? what are my options?
total novice

Posts

  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    If you only ride on the road, get a road bike. If you want to ride on mud then get a mountain bike.

    Don't get a hyrbid, they are slow on the road and poor off road.
  • Robmanic1Robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    +1, get both if your budget allows. Hybrids are the worst of both worlds.
    Pictures are better than words because some words are big and hard to understand.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3336802663/
  • CrazeUKCrazeUK Posts: 10
    Infamous wrote:
    If you only ride on the road, get a road bike. If you want to ride on mud then get a mountain bike.

    Don't get a hyrbid, they are slow on the road and poor off road.

    Lol someone else said that too.

    It appears to me it all boils down to three things:
    1. tyres
    2. the weight of the bike
    3. suspension
    My problem is i enjoy both on and off road. But then dont want to spend the money on two bikes nor have the physical space in the house for two.
    total novice
  • Robmanic1Robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    What's "want" got to do with it, you NEED both!

    + you'll need a winter road hack, a summer race bike, a hardtail mtb, a full suss, all mountain mtb and a jump bike if that's you thang.

    Seriously though, if the majority of your riding is on tarmac, get a roady. If it's 50/50 a nice, light hardtail with some semi-slicks and lock-off-able suspension could be the answer.
    Pictures are better than words because some words are big and hard to understand.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3336802663/
  • nasahapleynasahapley Posts: 717
    Well if you're going to do some 'proper' off-roading (i.e. not just riding along fairly smooth tracks), and you only want one bike, then the obvious solution is to get an mtb (probably a hardtail), and a pair of slick tyres for the road. I happily did this for years when I was short on cash/space; I used to do a 75-mile hilly route on a regular basis with no trouble at all, and once cycled the 105 miles to my girlfriend's folks place and had a great tme doing it (on mtb tyres!) A slicked-up mtb certainly won't be as quick on the road as a pure road bike, but the difference isn't huge. If you do go down this route I'd suggest you get some L-shaped bar ends; they give you a few more hand positions which helps on a long ride.

    If the cycling bug bites, you could get a nice road bike later on.
  • pintoopintoo Posts: 145
    A hybrid is more about the style of riding you are comfortable with rather than being a really multi-purpose bike. Hybrids are good for riders who prefer an upright riding position and flat bars. Road bikes tend to be less comfy, but usually faster. Having said that, there are plenty of hybrids available that are basically road racers with flat bars.

    It comes down to you and your riding style. However, as another alternative - have you thought of looking at a cyclocross bike? They're good for both road and off-road. Rather than taking up the space of two bikes, you can have one. You could keep two sets of tyres - one road set, one off-road, if you want to optimise it. A CX can certainly take some rough stuff, but it's not the right choice for boulder jumping.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    You do need 2 (or more) bikes. I got a "gravity stand" to store mine indoors where space is tight

    6e2f_1_b.JPG

    However, if you only get one, a hybrid bike with suspension - the suspension won't be worthwhile for rough off road riding - so get an mtb with proper front suspension, or do what we all did 15 years ago and have a fully rigid one.

    Buy an extra set of wheels, with cassette, and narrow slick tyres, then you can quickly change from road to off road setup. A budget wheelset, tyres and cassette might be doable for £120ish.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    CrazeUK wrote:
    Infamous wrote:
    If you only ride on the road, get a road bike. If you want to ride on mud then get a mountain bike.

    Don't get a hyrbid, they are slow on the road and poor off road.

    Lol someone else said that too.

    It appears to me it all boils down to three things:
    1. tyres
    2. the weight of the bike
    3. suspension
    My problem is i enjoy both on and off road. But then dont want to spend the money on two bikes nor have the physical space in the house for two.
    Then get a MTB. It will be 99% as fast as a hybrid on the road, and be suited to the task off road.

    Another possiblity is a cyclocross bike, but that would depend on the type of off roading you do.
  • HigsHigs Posts: 105
    If you really don't have room or cash for two bikes then I'd agree with comments above - get a decent hardtail MTB and slicks. With the slicks pumped up hard you'll feel like you're whipping along on the road and it will be more than capable of a Mcr - Bradford return.

    Personally I've never gone down the spare wheels route and have just swapped the tyres over when I needed to.

    Now I'm doing a lot more road biking I got a dedicated road bike (erm... 3, in fact!) and there's no doubting that they're better suited to the road but a slicked MTB is a better compromise than any kind of compromise off-road. (Am I making sense?)
    Higs
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    Robmanic1 wrote:
    +1, get both if your budget allows. Hybrids are the worst of both worlds.

    Don't agree at all. I think most of the arguments against hybrids could just as easily be levelled at cross bikes, but aren't because those are currently in vogue.
    Now, I'm not saying a hybrid is what you want, but don't necessarily write them off. Unless you're prepared to look at getting another bike in the near-ish future then you have a compromise to make and IMHO hybrids are a pretty reasonable place to start.
  • Robmanic1Robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    MrChuck wrote:
    Robmanic1 wrote:
    +1, get both if your budget allows. Hybrids are the worst of both worlds.

    Don't agree at all. I think most of the arguments against hybrids could just as easily be levelled at cross bikes, but aren't because those are currently in vogue.
    Now, I'm not saying a hybrid is what you want, but don't necessarily write them off. Unless you're prepared to look at getting another bike in the near-ish future then you have a compromise to make and IMHO hybrids are a pretty reasonable place to start.

    Cross bikes are suitable for on or off road, the simple fact is that most hybrids will struggle on anything other than a canal path, crossers will cope with much rougher terrain. My opinion only, but anyone I've ever known who's bought a hybrid has regretted it.
    Pictures are better than words because some words are big and hard to understand.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3336802663/
  • fnegronifnegroni Posts: 794
    To add to the comments above:

    whatever bike you end up buying, if it has suspensions, make sure they are lockable.
  • CrazeUKCrazeUK Posts: 10
    Hi Guys thanks for all your comments and suggestions by the way.

    I must admit i am definitly noit a race bike position sort of person. I prefer to be upright.

    My issue is right now i am not a serious bike fanatic so i cant justify spending that sort of money, especially with a new little one we plan on the way.


    I have just read a brief on the Cyclocross t bikes and they do sound interesting so will probably take a bit more reading.

    The styles of biking i will be doing:
    Well typically i will probably do a few long distance journeys on weekends where i will be out with other road bikers.

    BUt then i would like to go off road over much rougher ground (not like canal cycle paths). Also to go down hill too. I DEFINITLY wont be doing know boulder hopping lol.

    I mean if worst comes to worse i will suffer and just buy a decent road bike and then forfeight off roading for a while.
    total novice
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    Robmanic1 wrote:
    Cross bikes are suitable for on or off road, the simple fact is that most hybrids will struggle on anything other than a canal path, crossers will cope with much rougher terrain.

    What is it that makes crossers more suitable for on or off road?
    I'm not arguing that hybrids can do anything, of course they can't. My point is that for a lot of Monday-Friday riding they make pretty good sense, and will stretch to some other stuff as well.

    I like crossers too though and they're certainly another very good option!
  • CrazeUKCrazeUK Posts: 10
    So it seems crosses are the favourd option so far.

    Anyone know any good but not too highly priced brands?
    Or even a used one for sale?

    On a side note i read on another forum about the government tax free scheme on bikes. Where you get your employer to pruchase the bike then pay them off in payments (loan the bike back).

    Is it too good to be true? and how do you get your employer to look into the scheme.
    Also can you buy the bike from any where?
    total novice
  • Robmanic1Robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    MrChuck wrote:
    What is it that makes crossers more suitable for on or off road?
    I'm not arguing that hybrids can do anything, of course they can't. My point is that for a lot of Monday-Friday riding they make pretty good sense, and will stretch to some other stuff as well.

    I like crossers too though and they're certainly another very good option!

    Crossers are built to withstand more abuse than hybrids (IMO), and, at the same time, are closer, performance-wise, to road bikes than hybrids (again, only my opinion based on experience).

    I really don't see the benefits of a hybrid but I await conversion.
    Pictures are better than words because some words are big and hard to understand.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3336802663/
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    Well, a lot of crossers look pretty much like hybrids with drop bars to me but it could be that they are built tougher. I don't really see why they'd necessarily be quicker on-road than a hybrid though.
    Don't get a hyrbid, they are slow on the road and poor off road.

    This is true, if you're comparing them to a road bike AND an MTB, and I'd say 'slower' rather than slow. But the other side of this is that they're quicker than MTBs on road and quicker than road bikes off it. I'm not lucky enough to have any singletrack or open road on my commute and just-getting-about riding. What I want is something with a pretty good turn of speed on urban roads, decent stopping power*, can take full mudguards, can blat along the canal path happily, not too attractive to thieves, and could fill in at stretch for a weekend 30 miler on the road. Oh, and in my opinion flat bars are just as good if not better than drops for urban riding. My hybrid does this better than a road bike or MTB, and I reckon just as well as a crosser would, so what's not to like?

    Obviously if you could only have one bike and were particularly keen on MTBing or road riding then you'd adjust your compromise to suit. The compromises my hybrid makes suit me fine, YMMV.

    *I'm sure someone will be along in a sec to argue the case for how dual pivot brakes are more than adequate, but IME 32 tires+ v-brakes brings me to a stop quicker than 23+ dual-pivots.
  • BarkiesnakeBarkiesnake Posts: 244
    I've been using a hybrid for the last 2 years for commuting and even rode from london to Amsterdam in 3 days on it last May. It is reliable and comfortable, however it is not so good off road and even on some canal paths it struggles if the surface gets too lumpy.
    I have now taken the plunge and pick up my new road bike in 2 weeks time as i want to be a lot faster on road and do my first century ride in July.
    IMHO the hybrid is very much a compromise and would suggest that if you are doing more road then get a road bike.
    "If you think you can, or if you think you can't, your right" Henry Ford
  • gpsBRMgpsBRM Posts: 123
    My girlfriend asked me the same question. I got her to get a Specialized Sirrus hybrid. Its lighter than most hybrids (certainly light than an MTB for the same price) and can take racks etc. Wacked some cyclo cross tyres on it and now she uses it on MTB trails and bridle paths. Not as good off road as my MTBs but good enough.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,130
    MrChuck wrote:
    This is true, if you're comparing them to a road bike AND an MTB, and I'd say 'slower' rather than slow. But the other side of this is that they're quicker than MTBs on road and quicker than road bikes off it. I'm not lucky enough to have any singletrack or open road on my commute and just-getting-about riding. What I want is something with a pretty good turn of speed on urban roads, decent stopping power*, can take full mudguards, can blat along the canal path happily, not too attractive to thieves, and could fill in at stretch for a weekend 30 miler on the road. Oh, and in my opinion flat bars are just as good if not better than drops for urban riding. My hybrid does this better than a road bike or MTB, and I reckon just as well as a crosser would, so what's not to like?

    Obviously if you could only have one bike and were particularly keen on MTBing or road riding then you'd adjust your compromise to suit. The compromises my hybrid makes suit me fine, YMMV.

    *I'm sure someone will be along in a sec to argue the case for how dual pivot brakes are more than adequate, but IME 32 tires+ v-brakes brings me to a stop quicker than 23+ dual-pivots.
    Are they really quicker than MTBs though? they have the same un aero position, they marginally edge it on the thick heavy tyres. For the huge loss of speed, you might as well get a MTB in my opinion.

    I myself owned a "hybrid" and put plenty of miles on it, it simply doesn't compare to a road bike. Although I never went off road with it, I wouldn't want to on the tyres it has, to be honest.

    You do make a good point about the brakes though, they do stop quicker than road bikes, but on a hybrid you rarely get up enough speed to actually use them ;)

    As for flat bars vs drops, it's personal preference really, but drops are far better for obvious reasons... loads more hand positions (including the same ones as a flat bar) = more comfortable, more leverage when climbing, more aero on the drops.

    There is nothing wrong with riding a hybrid (I had one myself), but they are a jack of all trades, master of none.
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    edited March 2009
    My hybrid is sure quicker than my MTB! Anyway, I wasn't trying to argue that they're as good as a road bike for road riding, or an MTB for off-road- if you want to do one of those things and are limited to one bike then the choice is obvious. But there's an awful lot of day-to-day riding that falls between the two opposites of road riding and MTBing, and on balance a hybrid is, IMO, not a bad choice for it- kind of like the name implies

    :wink:
    but drops are far better for obvious reasons... loads more hand positions (including the same ones as a flat bar) = more comfortable, more leverage when climbing, more aero on the drops.
    Agreed 100% for- road riding. But riding around Brum I'm stopping pretty frequently so long-distance comfort and getting aero aren't too important. I have bar ends so can climb fine.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    I'm going to take a different tack, other than the long mancs to bradford ride, how far will you be doing on roads around manchester?

    If it's going to be less that 5 miles at a time then a MTB with full on slicks which are swapped for knobblies at the weekend will be acceptable for the lot. There is only a significant difference after about 5 miles, where the comfort and speed of a roadie really comes into play, before that the mtb will only be a bit slower.
  • CrazeUKCrazeUK Posts: 10
    I'm going to take a different tack, other than the long mancs to bradford ride, how far will you be doing on roads around manchester?

    If it's going to be less that 5 miles at a time then a MTB with full on slicks which are swapped for knobblies at the weekend will be acceptable for the lot. There is only a significant difference after about 5 miles, where the comfort and speed of a roadie really comes into play, before that the mtb will only be a bit slower.

    I was considering riding it to the train station which is two miles and back for work. But probablky wont, i dont like getting hot and sweaty, also the idea of tieing it up for someone to steal doesnt appeal to me lol.

    So i guess the main use will be evenings and weekends. Chances are evenings will be around manchester for about an hour or two.

    Weekens will be whole day trips either solely on road (i.e. manchester to bradford and back) or take the bike on a carrier to the nearest forest lol.

    Because of this i have a problem. For the moment the cyclocross thing is winning the debate so far. If not i may have to settle for a road and then possibly see if i can get a MTB and get a decent shed. lol
    total novice
  • nasahapleynasahapley Posts: 717
    I'm going to take a different tack, other than the long mancs to bradford ride, how far will you be doing on roads around manchester?

    If it's going to be less that 5 miles at a time then a MTB with full on slicks which are swapped for knobblies at the weekend will be acceptable for the lot. There is only a significant difference after about 5 miles, where the comfort and speed of a roadie really comes into play, before that the mtb will only be a bit slower.

    That's what I said! Tbh a hardtail cross-country style mtb with a set of slicks seems like a complete no-brainer to me. The OP said he would like to go off-road over rougher ground, so how hybrids come into the discussion I don't know. If you're ever going to want to do serious off-roading then you need an mtb of some sort. Sure it may mean you're not quite as quick on the road (though by how much is another matter - in my experience the difference isn't that great), but you will have a bike that can do one thing very well (off-road), and another reasonably well (on-road) with a simple change of tyres. If, however, you are prepared to forgo off-road riding altogether, then a road bike would seem the obvious choice.
  • CrazeUKCrazeUK Posts: 10
    hmm decisions decision. I think it was me in my illiterate mind that asked if i should get a hybrid like a specialized sirrus elite (which i must say i was quite impressed with, but then i am easily impressed lol.) one that i used to have, lol.

    :oops:

    I presume by hardtail you guys mean a bike with suspension at the front but not at the back?
    (sorry a total novice).
    total novice
  • nasahapleynasahapley Posts: 717
    CrazeUK wrote:
    I presume by hardtail you guys mean a bike with suspension at the front but not at the back?
    (sorry a total novice).

    Yep that's the one. Avid mtb-ers may disagree, but I don't think that you need full suspension for anything but the roughest off-road stuff, and it does add weight and cost that aren't really necessary. Less to go wrong too (helpful if you're a mechanical numpty like me!) I think I'm right in saying that there's even a fair few types of hardtail mtb, to make things a bit more confusing. The one I used as both a full-on off road machine and put in many, many miles on the road was labelled as a 'cross-country/race' type mtb; so it had a long stem (thing that holds the handlebars on), flat bars, and a fairly (by mtb standards) stretched-out riding position. It worked really well for me - I had a fortnight in the Pyrenees where for the first week I had the slick tyres on and explored the awesome roads, and then for the second week stuck the knobblies on and went exploring some awesome trails! Now I've got a road bike, it wears the knobblies full-time.
  • CrazeUKCrazeUK Posts: 10
    Hey guys..
    right decided on a brand new bike..BUT it has to wait till June when my workplace gets on the cyclescheme.

    In the mean time i still need a bike, so i will just get a road bike only.

    If anyone has one?
    total novice
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    try ebay if your after a old hack? for station duties.

    if your love is MTB's (as is mine) then a £300/500 should get a half decent hardtail.

    you may well fall in love with road though i have, not as exhilerating as a blast though single track but lovely ride never the less.
  • CrazeUKCrazeUK Posts: 10
    HI Mate. Really am wanting one for leaisure (i have until the 1st april off.).
    So wanted to clock some healthy miles.

    I did look on flea bay but its far over priced heheeh. So thought a good place to start would be this place :D

    Besides this gives me time to look around and decide what real bike i want for june. lol
    total novice
  • rogerthecatrogerthecat Posts: 669
    Hi some great advice here, I myself am in a similar situation,

    I was looking at the CUBE Aerial as an entry level bike, any views, all would be appreciated.

    May I add that I am 17 Stone and 6' 3" I am concerned about breaking the damn thing, as they look rather fragile. :oops:

    My usage would be a daily round trip of 16 Miles, up hills and down dales, but all on metal roads.

    your help would be appreciated.

    Thanks
Sign In or Register to comment.