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Very basic question...

I'm looking at purchasing my first 'serious" bike but need some help on which type is more appropriate for the riding I plan on doing.

Most my riding will be on the road (80-85%) but there will be the occassional trips that border more on the mountain bike side. What type would best handle this? Is there a hybrid bike for such scenarios?

Thanks in advance
 

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There are hybrid bikes, which are funnily enough known as hybrid bikes but when you say "border more on the mountain bike side" what exactly do you mean? You really are going to enjoy that 80 - 85% on the road a lot more on a road bike than on a hybrid or mountain bike but if you need to really go offroad then you might not have a choice.
 

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You can't ride offroad on a road bike...

If you are going to do some of both you basically have these options:
1. Hyrbrid (road and mountain, but not great on either)
2. Mountain (can't go fast on the road).
3. Mountain with an extra set of smooth tires for the road.

My first bike as an adult was a hybrid, which got me into cycling. I quickly discovered I needed a mountain bike to ride trails, and I bought one. I then switched from trails to road and bought a roadie. I got rid of the hybrid and now have one mountain and one road - I haven't ridden the mountain in 2 years!
 

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A lot of stuff I ride my road bike on would be classified as off road, like dirt trails, gravel roads and what seems to pass as a shared use path in Houston, of course you can't take a road bike on any technical MTB stuff or on any real off road trails but it isn't limited strictly to on road hence my query about the conditions they need to ride in.
 

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Get a Cyclocross bike. Here's why:

Cantilever brakes allow for larger tire clearance and you can run skinny road tires on normal 700c wheels.

Cross bikes are basically the same ergonomics as road bikes with drop bars and road componentry. The gearing is a bit lower with the same cassettes but a 48 tooth (typically) front big chainring. This will keep you in the peloton in all but the quickest sprints or breakaways.

Run bigger cross tires on the dirt and normal 700 x 23c road tires on the road. Later, you can enter your first cross race and upgrade to a nice road bike if you like the road.
 

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Are those "occasional trips" like trips to the grocery store, or like vacations to the mountains?.Does "border more on the mountain bike side" mean single-track rides over rocky hills, or just unpaved roads and paths?

A road bike can be occasionally ridden off road as long as the terrain isn't too rough. Or if "occasional" is occasional enough, you might consider just renting a mountain bike for those times. In any case, I think you need a road bike. You may or may not also need a mountain bike.
 

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Yeah, what kinda off-roading are you talking? If 1% of it is in 6-inch-deep mud, a hybrid or cyclocross bike won't cut it. If it's a ride in the woods on packed dirt trails or flying down dirt roads and the such then no problemo, at least for the hybrid (not familiar with cyclocross bikes). I definitely would not buy a MTB for a lot of road riding; you can swap between 36mm knobbies and usually 23mm slicks with a bike sporting 700C wheels, and that makes a ton of difference in speed even compared to 26-inch slicks like a MTB can accept. Plus, my hybrid and I used to outrun most MTB'ers on easy off-road terrain just 'cause the bike's much lighter and has larger-diameter wheels. Then we reached pavement and they disappeared behind us. :thumbsup:
 
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