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Recommend me a bike for trails?

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 Hooo 19:24 Thu

Sorry, another "recommend me a bike" thread. 

I've been meaning to upgrade for a while, but today I've been spurred into action by some turd taking my current bike. 

What I'm after is a proper "hybrid" bike. I'll be using it mostly on the road, but now it's too wet to climb I'm going to be doing some trails and very gentle MTB stuff. Previously I had a Carrera hybrid that would have been OK but for the limited clearance for tyres, which meant it was unrideable in mud. So here's what I think I need: Disk brakes, clearance for decently wide knobbly tyres, flat bars, comfy seat, luggage rack, front suspension, gears that go low enough for steep off road and high enough for downhill on road.

I'd prefer secondhand, but could go new. Budget up to £700. I've started looking around Gumtree etc. but I've no idea what's good. Where do I start?

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In reply to Hooo:

Good luck with finding second hand bikes that are good value at the moment. Cycling became very popular due to Covid. New bikes got snapped up and second hand market prices rose accordingly.

Sadly this has led to a massive influx of used bike on e-bay, gumtree, marketplace that are not particularly good but asking prices are silly. Be wary!

New bike supply is not yet back to normal. Halfords display very few new bikes at the moment because they are usually sold to people who are constantly ringing the shops.

Hybrid, Mountain bike, Gravel are terms used to describe types of bikes these days. (There are more)

MTBs will have knobblier tyres than a hybrid therefore better off road than on tarmac. Modenr MTBs have trended to one charinring at the front and even with big cassettes at the back may not have the gear range that you had on your hybrid.

The bikes from Go Outdoors, Decathlon and Boardman bikes are generally good value for money

Are you after similar replacement or more off road orientated? Might be useful to state the model of the stolen bike?

Hope this helps.

Post edited at 10:20
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In reply to Hooo:

Forgot to ask.

Would you consider drop bars or are you only after flat bars?

Current trend for gravel/adventure bikes opens more doors.

Do you have a good bike shop local to you? Local shops can be a great help in choosing a bike. I am fortunate in having lots of bike shops near to me but have used one for the last 15 years . Great shop, great advice, great people. (Spokesbikehop)

Local shops can be competitive and may be able to help.

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 Hooo 15:47 Fri
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

I see what you mean about secondhand. I've found a Specialized crosstrail Elite 2017 locally on Gumtree. It looks pretty much ideal, but they're asking £600 for a 3 year old bike that retailed for under £800 new (as far as I can tell). I'm going to try and haggle, but it's got to go down a lot to get to a sensible price.

From my research so far it appears that anything described as an MTB will not have high enough gears for road use, unless it's a cheapo one with a triple chainring. 

Gravel bikes all appear to be drop bars and no front suspension, so no good for me.

This Boardman looks OK, but the gears don't go low enough for me. It looks like I might be able to buy a slightly smaller chainring and bigger cassette, but I don't know if it will shift properly if I do. Unfortunately being Halfords I assume I won't get any sensible answers from the shop. https://www.halfords.com/bikes/hybrid-bikes/boardman-mtx-8.8-mens-hybrid-bike-2021---s-m-l-frames-366094.html

I went to my local independent bike shop today. Unfortunately they were a complete waste of time as usual. I don't know how they stay in business.

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 Hooo 15:50 Fri
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

My previous bike was a Carrera Crossfire 2000. It was OK on the road and dry tracks, but not adequate for anything muddy.

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In reply to Hooo:

Where are you based?

Members on UKC may be able to point in the direction of a good shop. Doesn't mean they will have stock but always good to have local knowledge.

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In reply to Hooo:

West Sussex?

That Crostrail Elite would not be good on slippery slopes! The 32/42 bottom ratio is reasonably low for 2 ring bikes.

I do note that Boardman MTBs tend to be single ring therefore 32 front and 11-46 may not give you a high enough gear on the road.

There will be something out there with eenough range of gearing. Gravel/Adventure bikes can have good range of gearing and usually have dropped bars but can be available with flat bars. No suspension at all but I can do tracks, off-roading, even simple rough rocky stuff in the Peak on mine. Not as comfortable or as easy as something with suspension but do able all the same and quicker on the road.

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 Hooo 17:55 Fri
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

Yes, West Sussex.

Why is the Crosstrail no good on slippery slopes? 

I've found this Trek which seems to fit the bill, and also appears to be available in a localish shop. What do you think of it?

https://www.trekbikes.com/gb/en_GB/bikes/hybrid-bikes/dual-sport-bikes/dual-sport/dual-sport-3/p/32892/?colorCode=orange

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 tomsan91 18:04 Fri
In reply to Hooo:

Have you been to Sussex velo in East preston? The guy who runs that shop is top notch.

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In reply to Hooo:

Just thought the tyres might not give any grip on slippery surfaces.

Picking up on tomsan91 recommendation of Sussex Velo.

They sell Marin.

Marin list a few bikes that may be suitable.

San rafael DSX = flat bar gravel no suspension

San Rafael DS2 - flat bar 63mm front suspension

Bobcat trail MTB - 120mm front suspension.

Those 3 have wide gearing and probably cover the types of suitable bike.

All have variants of eqt prices so could be worth a shot. Tomsan91 recommends as top notch.

Good luck with identifying one and then buying one.

Cycling has been brilliant for me over the last few years as various injuries have curtailled my climbing. Keep pedalling.

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 Hooo 19:13 Fri
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

I'd change the tyres for off road as a matter of course. I'm not expecting to find a bike with tyres suitable for off road use. In fact the second hand Specialized comes with a set of knobbly tyres included. Which reminds me that my stolen bike still had the knobblies on, so I've lost them and I'm left with a set of road tyres that I won't need

I'll check out the Marin and Sussex Velo, although they are a little far for me.

Any opinion on Trek?

Thanks

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In reply to Hooo:

Most manufacturers these days build decent bikes. Some boutique brands charge a premium for their name. (A BMW/Audi may be a nicer place to be but still get stuck in traffic like my Skoda)

Trek make some good bikes. Similar equivalents to Marin range.

FX3 = flat bar gravel no suspension

Dual Sport - flat bar short travel front suspension

Marlin MTB - 100mm front suspension.

Searching for the correct bike is difficult as there is so much to choose from but severely restricted by availability. Just done this process for my niece looking for similar kinds of bike!

It can be very personal. I don't like the short travel front suspension models as I don't think they offer enough suspension for off road but add weight over a rigid front fork. For me, I have a drop bar cyclocross bike and a 140mm travel hardtail.

It is just that I would prefer the lighter weight of a rigid bike or the capability of my 140mm hardtail. Having said that, the Trek dual sport seems a good bike of that kind. The Trek seems much better value than the second hand Gumtree bike.

Difficult but look at them if you can given the limited supply and Covid restricted availability.

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 Yanis Nayu 20:06 Fri
In reply to Hooo:

Cyclocross bike? 

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 Hooo 20:30 Fri
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Aren't they all drop bar and no suspension?

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 Hooo 20:33 Fri
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

That's interesting, so you reckon short travel suspension is not worth the weight? I can't say I fancy the flinty chalk paths round here with no suspension, but decent travel is going to be out of my price range.

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 Yanis Nayu 20:49 Fri
In reply to Hooo:

Yes, but it seems to me like you’re expecting too much from one bike. I guess it’s relative to what you’re used to but my cx bike is plenty capable and comfortable for most terrain. 

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 Hooo 20:56 Fri
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Oh yes, I realise I'm trying to do everything with one bike where most sensible people would have two. But I figured that I don't do anything serious so I can compromise on both.

I am never going to have drop bars on any bike I own though, not on or off road. 

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In reply to Hooo:

re- short travel value/worth

Very personal and depends what you want. Marin Bobcat Trail 3 120mm travel available at £525 from winstanleys so longer travel is within your price range. Trek Marlin 100mm range at £530 plus at various stores.

My cyclocross bike is great but generally drop bars do make it harder work on rough stuff. Similar bikes, gravel/adventure are however available with flat bars. San Rafael DSX and Trek FX3.

The 63mm travel on the Marin DS2 or Trek Dual Sport may be enough. Your Carrera Crossfire had 75mm travel so the Marin/Trek have less travel. 

Decathlon have some good value but recognise no branch near to you. Using Marin or Trek I would be looking at either:

Rigid flat bar gravel/adventure Marin DSX or Trek FX3

100/120mm hardtail MTB. marin Bobcat or Trek Marlin.

It depends what you want, where you want to ride and to a certain degree, how much comfort you want.

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 Hooo 22:07 Fri
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

The trouble is that all those MTBs don't have the gearing I need. The Trek Dual sport is currently my favourite. Shorter fork travel but everything else is right. It looks like better components all round compared to the Marlin, apart from the forks which are bottom grade Suntour on both bikes. The forks on my Carrera were the same and they were crap, but I guess decent forks are out of my budget.

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 Hooo 22:17 Fri
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

I do have a small Decathlon nearby in Crawley, but I couldn't find anything in their range that meets my requirements.

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In reply to Hooo:

Marin Bobcat trail has 36/22 front chainring and 11/36 cassette.

Trek Dual sport is 46/30  and 11/36 cassette

Marin MTB would therefore have lower gearing but would be shorter geared for the road.

Out of fashion MTBs would have triple front rings. The combination you seek of wide range of gearing, flat bar, suspension and grip may not be available.

If the Trek Dual sport suits your needs, go for it.

Strangely the deciding factor is not likely to be gearing, forks, tyres, value. It could be purely availability. Good luck with the search.

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 Hooo 23:10 Fri
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

Yes, I'm coming to realise that finding the ideal bike is a bit optimistic. Even if someone makes it there probably won't be any available. I think I am getting my head round what to look for though.

Thanks

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In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

A good 100mm fork can take you anywhere in comfort. I did my MBL assessment in the lakes on a 100mm hard.

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 peebles boy 09:04 Sat
In reply to Hooo:

https://www.wiggle.co.uk/cube-aim-sl-29-allroad-hardtail-bike-2021 

If you're the right size, that looks ideal...?

https://www.pedalon.co.uk/acatalog/hardtails.html#usestorage 

These guys are good - you get free stuff with their "Pedalon Points" when you buy a bike.

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 Hooo 09:20 Sat
In reply to peebles boy:

Both those look worth checking out, thanks. The top gear on the Cube is a bit low. I wonder if it's possible to fit a larger chainring? 

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 peebles boy 09:45 Sat
In reply to Hooo:

If 40x11 is too low for you, I'd maybe question the need for a hybrid...? My top gear on my gravel bike is 40x11 and I'm still pedalling efficiently at 35kph?

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 Hooo 09:56 Sat
In reply to peebles boy:

A lot of my riding is on the road. I had a 42-11 before and I was spinning out so I fitted a 48. I'd be willing to go back down to 42-11 but don't want to go any lower.

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 baron 10:27 Sat
In reply to Hooo:

Despite what many will tell you, if you want a range of gears that will enable you to use your bike on and off the road you need a triple chain set.

They may not be fashionable but they work.

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 quirky 10:47 Sat
In reply to Hooo: Not a thread hijack but I am selling a full carbon focus mares cyclocross. I use cx bikes for everything, my mtb and road bike are pretty much redundant, obviously they have some limitations but not many and part of the fun is getting around those limitations with route choice and riding ability. 

 If you want a versatile bike then cx or gravel (new fandangled marketing terminology) is where it's at. 

Mine is up for sale for £750....no covid tax from me! 

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In reply to Hooo:

It does really seem that you want a single bike that is perfect in quite different situations. If you're are unwilling to make compromises (i.e. gears where you can pedal at 55 kmph down hill on a road, but still climb steep loose off road stuff [actually I can do that on my gravel bike just about, but understand you don't want one of them] then surely two bikes is the answer. Then you can have real fun riding off road on an MTB and then have a light, fast road focused bike - even if its a flat bar (although I would really recommend having a go on a modern, slightly flared compact drop bar - they more comfortable, better in traffic, and faster than flat bars).

I can tootle about on roads and lanes on my plus-tired mountain bike just fine if I want, it's not as fast as my gravel bike but it's OK. And I can descend and climb pretty loose rocky and muddy stuff on my gravel bike - it's not as comfortable or as fun (or as fast!) as my MTB, but you can do it. So it's always going to be a compromise - although I reckon modern gravel bikes are about the best compromise you can get for riding both on and off road. I rode many years for all my commuting (and started bikepacking) on a "sport hybrid" that I was very fond of - it was really a flat bar cyclocross bike, but with better brakes than you could get on any drop bar bike back then. But when I got my first cyclocross bike (which I used in the same way I now use my gravel bike) I just preferred the multiple hand (and back) positions the bars give you and noted it was faster for the same effort.

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 Hooo 10:50 Sat
In reply to baron:

That's one of the problems I've been having. All higher spec bikes are single chainring nowadays, so no use to me 

I'm hoping a double will do it though.

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 Hooo 11:01 Sat
In reply to TobyA:

Of course two bikes is the proper solution, but at my budget that means two absolute base level bikes at £350 each, which probably aren't available now anyway. I think I'll have a better time on a single decent compromise bike than a more specific basic one.

I don't understand your points about drop bars though. IME they are uncomfortable, especially for my neck. They are scary in traffic because I'm lower down and can't see over the cars. There is less control because they're so narrow. I can't hop up over kerbs with them. Yes, you go faster with them but I don't care about that.

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In reply to Hooo:

The Cube Aim linked by Peebles Boy seems to fit almost all your requirements apart from the 40/11 top gear. It has a Shimano FC-MT101 triple ring. 40/30/22. I believe this crankset has rivetted chainrings so not possible to swap to a larger chainring. Swapping the whole  crankset for a 46/32/22 would give you the higher gear you seem to require.

There are loads of cheap suitable triple cranksets available on the web which would suit your needs.

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 webbo 11:07 Sat
In reply to Hooo:

You don’t have ride on the drops in traffic, ride on the hoods and you are upright. If you can’t hop up kerbs regardless of the bars should you be going off road.

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 quirky 11:08 Sat
In reply to Hooo:

Modern drop bars are much wider and as a cx/gravel/Road bike isn't as slack as a modern mtb 40+ cm bars are a controlled as 75+cm bars on an mtb. Drop bars are more versatile if you need to shift positions depending on what terrain you are riding and riding the hoods gives you a more upright riding position in traffic, the drop section is there for cheating the wind and getting the power down and the tops can be used when grinding up those looooong up hills. Very versatile and if you haven't rode a modern drop bar bike I would book a test ride on one before you discount the versatility they offer. 

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 Hooo 11:10 Sat
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

So I can just swap the whole chainring then. And that will work with the same derailleur? As I found out when I put the 48 in my previous bike it wasn't quite as simple as just changing the sprocket. I never got chainring selecting to work perfectly.

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 Hooo 11:13 Sat
In reply to quirky:

> a cx/gravel/Road bike isn't as slack as a modern mtb 40+ cm bars are a controlled as 75+cm bars on an mtb.

Sorry, I have no idea what you're talking about here. What is "slack"?

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 quirky 11:14 Sat
In reply to Hooo:

You would probably need to add some links to your chain. 

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 quirky 11:18 Sat
In reply to Hooo:

Slack meaning the angle of the forks in relation to the frame. A road or cx bike has more upright forks (more perpendicular to the road) mountain bikes are more relaxed with a greater angle between your top tube and your forks. It's all to do with how quickly they steer and how stable they are at speed, road and mtb bikes are at opposite ends of the spectrum with cx somewhere in between. 

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 Hooo 11:25 Sat
In reply to quirky:

So is a CX more or less stable than a MTB?

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 quirky 11:48 Sat
In reply to Hooo:

Generally the mtb will steer quicker and the cx will feel more stable, obviously there are many other factors that will affect steering, wheelbase, stem length, tyres, so it's not a straight forward comparison. It all boils down to what you want to use if for, ride on the roads, get a road bike, ride at trail centres, single track etc, get a mountain bike.... Want to do a bit of everything, get a cx/gravel bike. I have all 3 and my cx is my go to bike for smiles per miles. 

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In reply to Hooo:

Swapping to a suitable crankset would enable you to expand the range to your requirements. Quirky is probably right in saying might need to add a few more links to the chain or just swapping to a longer chain.

Your question about CX or MTB being more stable is an interesting question. There are stable drop bar bikes and stable MTBs.  My Ridley drop bar bike has a 72 degree (fast steering) relatively high bottom bracket and has a short wheelbase hence less stable. A Whyte Friston drop bar bike is 74 degree (slow steering) low bottom bracket and long wheelbase hence more stable.

Both bikes are excellent drop bar bikes but different strengths. The same principle would apply to MTBs and there are MTBs that are long wheelbase, slack head angle, slow steering and ones that are the opposite.

Comparing CX as you call it, and MTB is comparing apples and oranges. Big generalisation but I suspect most people would find wide, straight flat bars easier and probably more stable.

The Cube with wider range crankset sounds ideal.............. if you can find one in your size!

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 Hooo 12:09 Sat
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:

So I've found an independent bike shop half an hour away that has the Trek Dual Sport. Very tempted now. I can find the Cube online and it does look very good, but the prospect of buying from a local independent and getting it today might swing it.

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In reply to Hooo:

Good luck.

I suspect your nearest Cube dealer would be Hargrove Cycles with one of their branches in Chichester who do list the Cube Aim on their website.

The Trek and Cube should both be reliable so I hope you enjoy whichever you get.

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In reply to Hooo:

Chainset I guess you mean. As far as I know both a shifter and the derailleur for a 2x system probably won't be compatible with 3x. You could probably bodge the other way around using the stops, but the travel needed for a double chainset both at the derailleur and in the shifter is less than for a triple. My road bike was one of the last ones that came with a triple chainset for Shimano 105. I've often considered swapping it for a modern compact double, but looking into it it made me think that it could be far more complicated than just buying a new chainset.

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 Hooo 15:04 Sat
In reply to quirky:

I've just tried a CX bike and it's not for me. Don't like the riding position, don't like the bars, I didn't feel confident on it at all. I think the whole CX thing is for much more serious riders than me. I'm just pootling around.

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 quirky 15:19 Sat
In reply to Hooo: feeling confident and wanting to ride it are number one on choosing a new bike. Good you have tried one and can now discount it. 29er hardtail or rigid?? That would be my next choice. 

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 Hooo 19:19 Sat
In reply to all:

I bought the Trek Dual Sport. Only been to the chip shop so far but I feel at home on it. Looking forward to a proper ride tomorrow.

So please don't post any more suggestions of better bikes I could have bought.

Thanks for all the advice.

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 Dell 11:50 Mon
In reply to Hooo:

> So please don't post any more suggestions of better bikes I could have bought.

I was just about to do that 😉

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