Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-roading?

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pinkteapot
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Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-roading?

Postby pinkteapot » Wed Mar 06, 2013 09:32 am

Newbie user so apologies in advance if I break any board conventions....

I've started cycling regularly. I cycle to work (4.5 miles each way on tarmac) and at weekends like off-road trails (but not full MTBing). For anyone who knows north Essex, weekend rides are round Alton Water (8.5 miles of hard mud / gravel / sand, fairly well maintained) or in Rendlesham forest.

At the moment I'm on my very old and very cheap Raleigh MTB. Now that I've finally started riding properly I'm considering a replacement for it. Budget max £600.

Went to Tom's bike shop in Colchester and the guy there recommended the Specialized Vita Sport (£500):
http://www.specialized.co.uk/gb/gb/bike ... /vitasport

I like how light it is, and having only ever owned MTBs it felt so easy to ride up and down the road outside the shop. The sales guy said it would be fine for the off-roading that I do. But I'm just not convinced that the tyres it comes with will be bumpy trail friendly?

My husband thought I should go for the Ariel Sport Disc (also £500):
http://www.specialized.co.uk/gb/gb/bike ... lsportdisc

Less chunky tyres than my current MTB and lockout suspension for road use. Will obviously be better off-road than the Vita but probably won't give me the same sense of joy on-road.

Bit despondent as I naively thought a hybrid would be equally suited to on-road and off-road. Obviously it would involve compromises but I thought there'd be one that was more middle-ground between MTB and road bike. These two seem to be an almost-MTB and an almost-road bike.

Does anyone else use the same bike for an on-road commute and weekend off-roading? What do you use?

I'm now thinking I should maybe keep my cheapy bike for a few months more and see how my weekend rides go. Maybe I'll start doing more road rides as I start to want to cover longer distances...

Confused! :?

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meanredspider
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby meanredspider » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:41 am

A CX (cyclocross) bike would be your best bet but whether you can find (a new) one in your budget, I don't know. For sure you should be able to pick up a secondhand one. I know quite a few people that use them for both commuting and off-roading.

Probably your best mod to whatever bike you buy is to fit some reasonably wide tyres. That will provide the best cushioning which is possibly the biggest difference you'll notice going from MTB to anything more road-focused.
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flybywire
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby flybywire » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:53 am

how about boardman fi hybrid comp? http://www.boardmanbikes.com/fi/fi_hybrid_comp.html

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165534
£50 off currently at £499.99

can change tyres to
http://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/TYSCRRPFC/s ... cross_tyre
for more grip and volume to off-road & will be fast rolling on also

an alternative to the specialized bikes with better equipment and frame/forks (lighter weight)

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pinkteapot
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby pinkteapot » Wed Mar 06, 2013 13:21 pm

Thanks both - I'll look into cyclocross bikes as I'm not familiar with them at all, and will look at Boardman's range and try and find a local stockist where I can try one out. :)

ooermissus
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby ooermissus » Wed Mar 06, 2013 13:30 pm

The tyres on the bike you were recommended will be fine on the trails - as long as it's not too muddy when they might slide around a bit.

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pinkteapot
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby pinkteapot » Wed Mar 06, 2013 13:42 pm

ooermissus wrote:The tyres on the bike you were recommended will be fine on the trails - as long as it's not too muddy when they might slide around a bit.


The Vita? That's interesting... As I've only ever owned MTBs (just what my parents got me when I was a kid) the tyres look really smooth to my untrained eye!

Are Boardman sold anywhere other than Halfords? The local branches to me are awful in terms of customer service and knowledgeable staff. :?

ooermissus
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby ooermissus » Wed Mar 06, 2013 14:07 pm

pinkteapot wrote:
ooermissus wrote:The tyres on the bike you were recommended will be fine on the trails - as long as it's not too muddy when they might slide around a bit.


The Vita? That's interesting... As I've only ever owned MTBs (just what my parents got me when I was a kid) the tyres look really smooth to my untrained eye!

Are Boardman sold anywhere other than Halfords? The local branches to me are awful in terms of customer service and knowledgeable staff. :?


I run similar tyres on a range of surfaces - mostly road, but some tracks, trails etc. They have good puncture protection, so they are going to survive abrasive surfaces, but just won't grip that well when it's very muddy. I just find I have to be a bit more alert to the back wheel sliding away from me if I am going through a patch with poor drainage. On stone tracks, they work fine.

Not a tyre expert by any means, though, and others may have more informed opinions.

And the Boardman you are looking at is exclusive to Halfords. Nice bike but, as you say, crap service.

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Big_Paul
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby Big_Paul » Wed Mar 06, 2013 14:50 pm

I never thought I'd be recommending my previously unreliable Rockrider 5.3, but since I put right what the factory got wrong, it's been a stalwart, I took the basic £300 bike, fitted hydraulic brakes and bought a spare set of wheels so I have a set with slicks for town work and hauling a trailer, and a set with proper knobbles for off road.
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supersonic
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby supersonic » Wed Mar 06, 2013 16:36 pm

I run both my MTBs on the road and off road. I find the Zaskar LE far, far better than a Cyclocross bike on and off the road. Converting an MTB can be a very good option.

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Initialised
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby Initialised » Wed Mar 06, 2013 21:45 pm

Yes, with an MTB, CycloCross or Hybrid all it takes is a change of tyres.
I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.

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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby Slowbike » Thu Mar 07, 2013 08:51 am

My wife has a Sirrus - that's used both on and off road - as said, all it needs is a change of tyres. I have a Tricross and I've used that for commuting as well as trail riding with a trailer on the back ...

It depends how bumpy and squelchy your trails are - if they're just footpaths/bridleways then you'll mostly be fine with any middle of the road bike.
a commute of 4.5 miles is short enough not to be overly bothered by the ride - and with something capable of doing trails you may like to extend it (if poss) by going down some trails as well ...

Of course, the real answer is that you should have both a road bike and a mountain bike .... why settle for compromise?! ;)

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The Rookie
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby The Rookie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 14:31 pm

Voodoo Marrassa may be worth a look, inexpensive with wide (45mm) 700c tyres, so fairly good on and off road, pretty good compromise I think.

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flybywire
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby flybywire » Thu Mar 07, 2013 14:58 pm

I understand Wiggle sell Boardman aswell although some Halfords have knowledgeable staff and good aftersales back-up imo.

Typically 700c or 29" wheels will roll faster if you're doing the miles are more efficient than standard 26"mtb.
The hybrid will be more upright generally in riding position than a cyclocross bike, the tyres they come with are good for tarmac or hardpack trails/paths.

Best to try several and see what you like, the cycle show had opportunities to test bikes from different brands :)

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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby Long Time Lurker » Thu Mar 07, 2013 21:14 pm

My concern would always be that a roadie or cyclocrosser will always limit the riding that you can do. You can adapt a mtb for use on the road, you can't always ride a cyclocrosser on all trails. It all depends how serious you think you will get into cycling. If you could foresee a time when your riding will get more adventurous, I wouldn't discount an MTB.

I just use my MTB with knobbly tyres on my commute now. I got fed up constantly swapping tyres.
It's a 26 mile round trip. Using slicks makes the ride 15 minutes longer all in. Not that much trouble.
I just look at the extra resistance as endurance training.
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby Initialised » Thu Mar 07, 2013 23:04 pm

The Beginner wrote:Voodoo Marrassa may be worth a look, inexpensive with wide (45mm) 700c tyres, so fairly good on and off road, pretty good compromise I think.
Had a look at that the other day, looked huge. But I'll bet you could ride it pretty much anywhere but black grades and down-hill parks. Running gear looks a bit poverty spec.
I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.

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pinkteapot
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby pinkteapot » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:56 am

Thanks again for the tips and ideas all. :D

Definitely want to try some other brands so I'll go to another bike shop in town this weekend.

If I look at the Specialized ones again I'm going to try the two I mentioned above and the Sirrus again. The shop I've been to gave me a Sirrus to hope on when I just wanted to try a "nice" bike, because they had it ready to go in a Gent's Medium which is my size (Ladies Large in the womens range). The sales guy was then pushing me to go for a womens bike, so the Vita or Ariel, but I can't get over the feeling that the mens one I tried was more comfortable and a better fit. It felt absolutely natural. Sales guy said he didn't like selling mens bikes to women and vice versa though. :?

I don't think I'll ever get into 'proper' MTBing. I can see myself doing more both on-road and off when it comes to weekend rides, but the off-road is unlikely to go beyond forests/country parks/water reservoirs etc with well maintained foot and cycle paths.

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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby alidaf » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:42 pm

Unintentionally...kind of.

I have a road bike and plot different routes to try out most weekends. I'll go for a cycle path when I can to avoid main roads. The problem is that OSM and others don't distinguish between the path surface and I've ended up on some loose gravel, quagmires, dirt tracks, swamps, ocean trenches, moon craters and all kinds of surfaces which never do the bike any good.

Some parts of the 62 are very good, but others.....ugh! Mind you, some of the roads are just as bad around here.

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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby Slowbike » Fri Mar 08, 2013 15:29 pm

pinkteapot wrote:The sales guy was then pushing me to go for a womens bike, so the Vita or Ariel, but I can't get over the feeling that the mens one I tried was more comfortable and a better fit. It felt absolutely natural. Sales guy said he didn't like selling mens bikes to women and vice versa though. :?
The saddles are different for one - so the Sirrus may not be as comfortable after a while - apparently men & women have different posteriors! ;)

pinkteapot wrote:I don't think I'll ever get into 'proper' MTBing. I can see myself doing more both on-road and off when it comes to weekend rides, but the off-road is unlikely to go beyond forests/country parks/water reservoirs etc with well maintained foot and cycle paths.

Then (IMHO) you'll be fine with a hybrid/CX - disc brakes could be handy if they tend to be muddy paths though.

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pinkteapot
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby pinkteapot » Fri Mar 08, 2013 16:35 pm

Yeah, I know a mens' saddle may be a problem but I figure I could change that. The overall riding position just felt completely comfortable on the gents bike, but it may just be pot luck that it was set up exactly right for me.

On the womens, despite fiddling with the saddle and handlebars, I just wasn't quite comfortable. Not sure what measurement was off but I felt like my back was squashing up into my shoulders, if that makes any sort of sense.

Might just be that the Specialized womens geometry isn't quite right for my proportions and I'll find a different brand that works better. It was only slightly off - not enough to make me say an outright no to any Specialized ladies bike.

I do have weird proportions as I always have issues getting clothes to fit. For my height I have relatively short legs and a relatively long body. Weirdo. :roll:

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pinkteapot
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Re: Anyone use the same bike for road commuting and off-road

Postby pinkteapot » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:05 pm

So after all the advice, research, etc., this morning I fell in love with a bike from a brand I hadn't heard of before and just bought it. :D

Went back to the same shop to see what a different sales-person would say about the Vita vs. Ariel. While there, I spotted the Whyte Malvern in their sale (last year's model) for £500 (£650 when it was current). Same price as the two from Specialized I was considering.

Today's guy said he wouldn't recommend the Vita for the trails around here that I go on. He said the person I spoke to last week hadn't ridden round the particular place I mentioned. :lol: I asked him about the Whyte and said it looked like a better compromise than the Ariel, as it was a bit lighter and the tyres weren't quite so chunky, but it still has the hydraulic discs and suspension (with lockout). He told me about the brand, said they are good and the Malvern is about the cheapest bike they make. Liked the fact they're British. :)

Had a test ride on the Malvern and that was it. It fit like a glove and I had that "This is my bike!!" moment. So smooth, beautiful gear changes (compared to my awful current grip-shift). Felt like I was flying along the road!

Had to leave the bike in the shop because they sell from display and then check everything over, clean it up etc before taking it away. They're also taking off the toe-clips for me and changing the quick-release axles to non quick-release.

Going to get it at 2pm then hopping straight on it for a ride. :D

EDIT: This is my bike *squeeeee*: http://www.whytebikes.com/2012/bike_pag ... W-1-022-12

Had already set myself a target of 100 miles in March (I'm still getting fit!) and looking forward to it even more now!


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