Forum home Commuter cycling forum Commuting chat

Grave flat vs Gravel drop vs Hardtail

secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,547
I feel the need to get a cheap hacking bike for local woods and trails, nothing serious - mostly just riding through woods, I'm not looking to jump or fling it around like a loon, and will be using use the bike to ride with kids.
Don't know whether to go CX/gravel or MTB, and if CX/gravel whether flat bars are better? All other bikes have drops, but not sure if I'd feel comfy riding a drop bar bike off road.
I used to have a hardtail MTB (26"), but gave it to the boy as I found it horrible to ride on road (although much fun off road). But I could drop in some smaller tyres than the 2" monsters on that.
Thoughts welcome.

It's just a hill. Get over it.

Posts

  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,125
    Voodoo Marasa sounds ideal, perhaps fit some larger tyres as it will fit at least 2" and I'd love to know if it would fit 2.35" slicks such as G One Speeds.

    Carrera Subway 2 might be able to same job, also now coming back into stock at Halfords, if you don't mind 27.5" wheels and tyres, although it is 2x9 rather than 3x9 on the Marasa.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,547
    Funnily enough, I'd been thinking about a second hand hybrid, having regretted not converting my ex-wife's unwanted Carrera Speed back in the day; always loved riding that, slow but fun. So maybe a Subway 2 is the way to go, I have some cheap QR wheels I can drop in which will be better than stock, and I'd probably throw on some better tyres.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 7,810
    Why not get a decent steel tubed roadbike frame and just convert to straightbars. This was basically how mtbing started, as a youngster we fitted wider riser type MTB bars and did single up front back then. You should be able to knock something half decent up and a lot lighter.
    I'm talking Reynolds tubing not scaffold type as currently used on some bikes. So older bike frame.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • mpattsmpatts Posts: 910
    I've ended up with a Single Speed Trek Crockett running 650b's, and its perfect for this type of thing. Ebay bits plus some time, it wasn't that expensive.
    Insert bike here:
  • denis992denis992 Posts: 43
    mpatts said:

    I've ended up with a Single Speed Trek Crockett running 650b's, and its perfect for this type of thing. Ebay bits plus some time, it wasn't that expensive.

    My Trek Crockett (2*11) gets ridden on Sunday club runs, tow paths, forest tracks, cycle paths, road commuting, training runs, snow/ice commuting etc. All I have ever done is swap the tyres. I have run it on everything from 25mm to 37mm and it could still take a bit wider (38mm maybe 40mm). When I was doing more off road I used the Schwalbe gravel tyres. Currently on Schwalbe touring tyres because they are pretty much indestructible.

    If you just want one bike and are OK with 38mm or so width tyre then CX is about as flexible as you could hope for.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,547
    oxoman said:

    Why not get a decent steel tubed roadbike frame and just convert to straightbars. This was basically how mtbing started, as a youngster we fitted wider riser type MTB bars and did single up front back then. You should be able to knock something half decent up and a lot lighter.
    I'm talking Reynolds tubing not scaffold type as currently used on some bikes. So older bike frame.

    I have thought about using my old 531 for this, but there's just not enough clearance - takes long drop calipers but probably 32c maximum to leave clearance for mud

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • crossedcrossed Posts: 209
    mpatts said:

    I've ended up with a Single Speed Trek Crockett running 650b's, and its perfect for this type of thing. Ebay bits plus some time, it wasn't that expensive.

    How do you find it with the 650b's?
    I've got a Crockett that's currently either a singlespeed road or singlespeed gravel bike depending on which wheels I've got fitted. Was going to give it a go with 650b's but not got around to it yet. Will probably have to do something with the gearing as well as 42/16 is probably a bit much for the smaller wheels off-road.
    I really want a second Crockett frame to build as a flat bar commuter in pace of my Boardman but they're in short supply now unless you want fixed dropouts.
  • mpattsmpatts Posts: 910
    crossed said:

    mpatts said:

    I've ended up with a Single Speed Trek Crockett running 650b's, and its perfect for this type of thing. Ebay bits plus some time, it wasn't that expensive.

    How do you find it with the 650b's?
    I've got a Crockett that's currently either a singlespeed road or singlespeed gravel bike depending on which wheels I've got fitted. Was going to give it a go with 650b's but not got around to it yet. Will probably have to do something with the gearing as well as 42/16 is probably a bit much for the smaller wheels off-road.
    I really want a second Crockett frame to build as a flat bar commuter in pace of my Boardman but they're in short supply now unless you want fixed dropouts.
    Its really changed the bike - made it more 'lively' and it absorbs the bumps better, and has more grip. I'm surprised that I have had to go from a 42/21 to a 42/19 - its my SS race rig and it just feels easier to get up to speed. Its also fast - rolls more than I thought.

    I'm going to try it on 47's (which I think will be a squeeze) - its now on 42's and although its never been an issue the BB is definitely slower.
    Insert bike here:
  • pee_beepee_bee Posts: 2
    I have a Pinnacle Lithium hybrid in my bike fleet and in many ways it the most versatile bike I have.
    Essentially it’s a rigid forked 29er so it handles like a mountain bike but is still pretty rapid when I use it on the road.
    I have used in on dry bridleways and gravel paths on 37mm slicks and it works very well.
    It does have room for up to 2.2 mtb tyres so I might try some fast rolling mtb tyres like Conti X Kings on it at some point.
    It’s the cheapest of my 5 bikes but in some ways the most fun.
    It has mudguard and rack bosses too adding to it’s versatility.
    I picked mine up secondhand for £170 but I have spent a bit of money upgrading and replacing a few bits but it’s still notvcost me more than £350.
  • crossedcrossed Posts: 209
    pee_bee said:

    I have a Pinnacle Lithium hybrid in my bike fleet and in many ways it the most versatile bike I have.
    Essentially it’s a rigid forked 29er so it handles like a mountain bike but is still pretty rapid when I use it on the road.
    I have used in on dry bridleways and gravel paths on 37mm slicks and it works very well.
    It does have room for up to 2.2 mtb tyres so I might try some fast rolling mtb tyres like Conti X Kings on it at some point.
    It’s the cheapest of my 5 bikes but in some ways the most fun.
    It has mudguard and rack bosses too adding to it’s versatility.
    I picked mine up secondhand for £170 but I have spent a bit of money upgrading and replacing a few bits but it’s still notvcost me more than £350.

    I've got a Boardman hybrid that does the same thing. It's currently running a set of Hunt 650b wheels with 47mm tyres. It commutes 17 miles each way three days a week complete with rack and pannier and is great fun and fairly fast on bridleways when I'm commuting.
  • crossedcrossed Posts: 209
    mpatts said:

    crossed said:

    mpatts said:

    I've ended up with a Single Speed Trek Crockett running 650b's, and its perfect for this type of thing. Ebay bits plus some time, it wasn't that expensive.

    How do you find it with the 650b's?
    I've got a Crockett that's currently either a singlespeed road or singlespeed gravel bike depending on which wheels I've got fitted. Was going to give it a go with 650b's but not got around to it yet. Will probably have to do something with the gearing as well as 42/16 is probably a bit much for the smaller wheels off-road.
    I really want a second Crockett frame to build as a flat bar commuter in pace of my Boardman but they're in short supply now unless you want fixed dropouts.
    Its really changed the bike - made it more 'lively' and it absorbs the bumps better, and has more grip. I'm surprised that I have had to go from a 42/21 to a 42/19 - its my SS race rig and it just feels easier to get up to speed. Its also fast - rolls more than I thought.

    I'm going to try it on 47's (which I think will be a squeeze) - its now on 42's and although its never been an issue the BB is definitely slower.
    Good to know.
    I was planning on doing some of the Central League CX races on it singlespeed this year but that's not happening now.

    I'll have a swap around with wheels on the bikes and will put the 700's on the commuter and the 650b's on the Crockett to see how it feels.
  • mpattsmpatts Posts: 910
    crossed said:

    mpatts said:

    crossed said:

    mpatts said:

    I've ended up with a Single Speed Trek Crockett running 650b's, and its perfect for this type of thing. Ebay bits plus some time, it wasn't that expensive.

    How do you find it with the 650b's?
    I've got a Crockett that's currently either a singlespeed road or singlespeed gravel bike depending on which wheels I've got fitted. Was going to give it a go with 650b's but not got around to it yet. Will probably have to do something with the gearing as well as 42/16 is probably a bit much for the smaller wheels off-road.
    I really want a second Crockett frame to build as a flat bar commuter in pace of my Boardman but they're in short supply now unless you want fixed dropouts.
    Its really changed the bike - made it more 'lively' and it absorbs the bumps better, and has more grip. I'm surprised that I have had to go from a 42/21 to a 42/19 - its my SS race rig and it just feels easier to get up to speed. Its also fast - rolls more than I thought.

    I'm going to try it on 47's (which I think will be a squeeze) - its now on 42's and although its never been an issue the BB is definitely slower.
    Good to know.
    I was planning on doing some of the Central League CX races on it singlespeed this year but that's not happening now.

    I'll have a swap around with wheels on the bikes and will put the 700's on the commuter and the 650b's on the Crockett to see how it feels.
    Ha! I bought the SS as I was planning on racing it in the central league too. V40 followed by SS (which if rumours were to be believed would be in with the seniors). I like the crockett so much I'm thinking of selling the boone and getting a geared crockett too.
    Insert bike here:
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,547
    pee_bee said:

    I have a Pinnacle Lithium hybrid in my bike fleet and in many ways it the most versatile bike I have.
    Essentially it’s a rigid forked 29er so it handles like a mountain bike but is still pretty rapid when I use it on the road.
    I have used in on dry bridleways and gravel paths on 37mm slicks and it works very well.
    It does have room for up to 2.2 mtb tyres so I might try some fast rolling mtb tyres like Conti X Kings on it at some point.
    It’s the cheapest of my 5 bikes but in some ways the most fun.
    It has mudguard and rack bosses too adding to it’s versatility.
    I picked mine up secondhand for £170 but I have spent a bit of money upgrading and replacing a few bits but it’s still notvcost me more than £350.

    I'm increasingly wondering if this is the way to go, still kicking myself for letting my missus' cheap Ridgeback go

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 1,605
    Yeah - I was looking at the OnOne bootzipper a while back:
    https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBOOBZ29SX/on-one-bootzipper-29er-sram-sx-mountain-bike
    Steel frame, rigid, 29er. Unfortunately its £900.
  • crossedcrossed Posts: 209
    mpatts said:

    crossed said:

    mpatts said:

    crossed said:

    mpatts said:

    I've ended up with a Single Speed Trek Crockett running 650b's, and its perfect for this type of thing. Ebay bits plus some time, it wasn't that expensive.

    How do you find it with the 650b's?
    I've got a Crockett that's currently either a singlespeed road or singlespeed gravel bike depending on which wheels I've got fitted. Was going to give it a go with 650b's but not got around to it yet. Will probably have to do something with the gearing as well as 42/16 is probably a bit much for the smaller wheels off-road.
    I really want a second Crockett frame to build as a flat bar commuter in pace of my Boardman but they're in short supply now unless you want fixed dropouts.
    Its really changed the bike - made it more 'lively' and it absorbs the bumps better, and has more grip. I'm surprised that I have had to go from a 42/21 to a 42/19 - its my SS race rig and it just feels easier to get up to speed. Its also fast - rolls more than I thought.

    I'm going to try it on 47's (which I think will be a squeeze) - its now on 42's and although its never been an issue the BB is definitely slower.
    Good to know.
    I was planning on doing some of the Central League CX races on it singlespeed this year but that's not happening now.

    I'll have a swap around with wheels on the bikes and will put the 700's on the commuter and the 650b's on the Crockett to see how it feels.
    Ha! I bought the SS as I was planning on racing it in the central league too. V40 followed by SS (which if rumours were to be believed would be in with the seniors). I like the crockett so much I'm thinking of selling the boone and getting a geared crockett too.
    If they ever get round to running any races this year I'll keep an eye out for the SS Crockett. I'll be easy to spot, I'll be the rider on the SS bringing up the back of the race!
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,622
    singleton said:

    Yeah - I was looking at the OnOne bootzipper a while back:
    https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBOOBZ29SX/on-one-bootzipper-29er-sram-sx-mountain-bike
    Steel frame, rigid, 29er. Unfortunately its £900.

    blimey that's a lot for an on-one 1x I have an old skool on-one inbred 26" which i've just converted to 1x8 and hydro brakes its been a revelation, i'm lending it to a friend at the moment but I might need to sell it, pronto!
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,622
    secretsam said:

    pee_bee said:

    I have a Pinnacle Lithium hybrid in my bike fleet and in many ways it the most versatile bike I have.
    Essentially it’s a rigid forked 29er so it handles like a mountain bike but is still pretty rapid when I use it on the road.
    I have used in on dry bridleways and gravel paths on 37mm slicks and it works very well.
    It does have room for up to 2.2 mtb tyres so I might try some fast rolling mtb tyres like Conti X Kings on it at some point.
    It’s the cheapest of my 5 bikes but in some ways the most fun.
    It has mudguard and rack bosses too adding to it’s versatility.
    I picked mine up secondhand for £170 but I have spent a bit of money upgrading and replacing a few bits but it’s still notvcost me more than £350.

    I'm increasingly wondering if this is the way to go, still kicking myself for letting my missus' cheap Ridgeback go
    I've a Ridgeback storm from waaaay back when i first started commuting and over the years i've upgraded it, today its full SLX with 100mm Rockshox fork, its a beautiful ride once again.
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,547
    Really quite tempted by this - a sort of old school MTB meets hybrid:
    https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-lithium-3-2020-hybrid-bike-EV339938

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • I bought one of those (might have been a Lithium 4 rather than a 3) a couple of years ago and it’s a really versatile bike. I use it on family rides, gravel rides, etc.
    Biggest problem is that I can’t get use to flat bars - and the bars are particularly wide. I’ve partially solved the problem by getting some “inner” bar ends which I hold on to most of the time.
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,547

    I bought one of those (might have been a Lithium 4 rather than a 3) a couple of years ago and it’s a really versatile bike. I use it on family rides, gravel rides, etc.
    Biggest problem is that I can’t get use to flat bars - and the bars are particularly wide. I’ve partially solved the problem by getting some “inner” bar ends which I hold on to most of the time.

    Funnily enough, it's the opposite problem that's stopping me getting a CX or gravel bike (I hate that term). It's the drops, which seem to offer less control. Having said that, I used to hoon about on an old drop bar bike back in the day...

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,547
    Update: borrowed son's hardtail today. Went to woods. Nothing I ride couldn't be done on a road bike, let alone a 'cross bike.
    And I hated those ridiculously wide bars. Do MTB designers have a crucifixion fetish?

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,142
    secretsam said:

    Update: borrowed son's hardtail today. Went to woods. Nothing I ride couldn't be done on a road bike, let alone a 'cross bike.
    And I hated those ridiculously wide bars. Do MTB designers have a crucifixion fetish?


    They do feel odd, at first, I have a old MTB that I use for the commute, so longer stem/narrow bars plus a more modern MTB with short stem/wide bars.

    Urban mild stuff the older bike in many ways feels better, but once properly off road the newer bikes geometry works.

    I also have a gravel bike for roadie plus well Gravel/ woods and what not.
Sign In or Register to comment.