MTB or Hybrid? Advice for Beginner on rec trails/commute

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    • #127314

      I’m weighing my options for the most appropriate bike style for my needs, and there was some debate at the bike shop which would work best for me.

      My plan is to use my bike to commute to and from work, while also being able to take it on park and nature trails.
      I live only a mile and a half from work, so my commutes would be short, but frequent. I would bike on trails less often, but for longer periods of time. Most of the trails are either roughly paved, packed dirt, or gravel, and I expect to see the occasional root.
      I’ve only ever ridden cheap mountain, BMX, and comfort bikes; I’d like to take riding a little more seriously, but not so serious that I would be confined to using my bike only for sport. Most recreational rides would be accompanied by my more experienced at cycling girlfriend (who has a Trek 7.2 FX Disc).

      The impressions I get of my options are that hybrids are [i:2uymtwna]slightly[/i:2uymtwna] better on roads than MTBs, but MTBs are [i:2uymtwna]way[/i:2uymtwna] better on trails than hybrids. I was told that I could compensate for the extra effort I’d need to put into riding a MTB on the road by using wheels with larger diameters and less nubby tires, but the hybrid would hit a wall on any rougher terrain than a bumpy trail.
      So should I get a mountain bike and customize it to be slightly more adapted to pavement, or should I stick with a hybrid?

      About me:
      -I’m 32 and suffered a minor back injury last year, so somewhat low athleticism
      -More concerned with stability over speed
      -Aiming for something around the $400-600 range (before additions)

      Also, any tips on quality brands for the price would be helpful; the brands featured at my local bike shops are Specialized, Trek, Giant, Diamondback, and GT.

    • #127315

      With as short as your commute is, I’d go with a mountain bike. Tons of people ride them as a commuter without any derogatory effects other than wearing down a tire that isn’t designed for pavement. It doesn’t happen so quickly that I’d consider it a checkmark in the against box, however.

      As for which brand to buy, try them all and see which fits you best. Giant is known for offering better components on their entry level. Since they make a bazillion bikes for themselves and others, they get the parts for less cost. If it doesn’t fit you good, that’s not of much benefit, however.

    • #172558

      A hard tail mountain bike with a lockable fork makes for a very versatile commuter bike. You can get a set of cyclocross tires to greatly lower your rolling resistance on asphalt. With this set-up you can also unlock the fork and hit some awesome fire access roads, gravel trails, and even some easy singletrack trails.

      When you decide to hit slightly more technical mountain bike trails, simply swap to the knobby tires you have sitting in your garage and you are good to go.

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