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    • After quite some time of not using a bike at all, I finally started again last year. I took my old bike out of storage, did some minor maintenance like new tires and tubes, and it worked well enough for one last summer - but I fear it's now breaking apart and no longer reliable.

      Doing some online research about types of bikes - there are dozens, and I really don't know what exactly I need.

      I will probably mostly use the bike for fitness - short trips of about an hour in the evening, or some sort of combined biking&hiking on the weekends. "Going fast" is not my primary goal. During my activities this summer, having a small backpack with me was more than enough, so I probably don't need a carrier or rack. The routes I took were mostly asphalt roads, but interspersed with some dirt tracks. The bike should be able to cope with that.

      I'd like to try running some errands using the bike instead of a car, but won't be able to use it for commuting. That means stuff like splashguards or other dirt protection is probably a secondary concern.

      I like the look of a Mountain Bike (except for the very huge tires of recent models), but I have no clue if another type of bike would be better suited to what I have in mind. Any suggestions for bike types, or pitfalls that I need to avoid?

    • I have an old Marin Larkspur hybrid (2004) that does most that you describe, I've had it for years and still love it.

      I seldom ride in peak winter or peak summer and only ride about 100 days a year for a couple of hours, it's been a solid no nonsense bike on and off road(easy)

      May be worth looking at some of the new hybrids, they seem to be well advanced on my old bike.

    • That one looks good, thanks.

      Searching for "hybrid bike", I found several different variants:

      A "cross bike" or "city bike" might be what I was looking for. What are other details that are a must-have, or which can safely be ignored?

      I guess a suspension fork is still a nice thing to have. What about derailleur gears vs. a hub gear - and if the former, how many does one really need?

    • Perhaps what you are looking for is actually a Gravel Bike. Essentially it is a roadbike that can handle dirt with comfort. The tires and frame clearances are larger than in the traditional road bikes so that the dirt doesn't clog up. They also have flat bars like on a mountain bike for comfort.

      For dashing around town you won't need front or rear suspension since they require more maintenance and significantly increase the weight of the bike. This matters if you live in an apartment building and need to cary the bike upstairs.

      Depending on your budget you could get a belt drive drivetrain or an internal gear hub. Both require almost zero maintenance over the years, but are also significantly more expensive. In fact you'll need to buy the bike that already has these drivetrains built in. So if you plan to upgrade your bike in the future, I would stick with traditional drivetrain derailleur systems.

      Lastly, I would highly recommend going with disc brakes. They are incredibly reliable in all weather conditions and are easy to maintain (unless they are hydraulic).

      Here is an example of an entry model of a gravel bike:

      If you plan on riding it often get a nicer model. You get what you pay for and the difference between an entry model and the next one up can be huge in terms of components. I would also look into buying a used bike to get the best deal.

    • Sounding a lot like my riding. Recently picked up a Surly Cross Check. Great ride. Hits all the situations you’re looking at. Really liking it. Just got a handlebar bag to carry my Canon..

    • A repurposed mountain bike would be great for that kinda use, also.’Previous bike was a Rockhopper I’d built into a Rivendell inspired ride. Tourist bars, road tires, flat pedals, fenders and rack. It worked very well.

    • I would totally concur with VilTri....and, the Diamondback bikes are a great price point. You can easily add fenders and baskets as needed. You can experiment with different handlebars over time. As your riding evolves, you might want to migrate towards tubeless tires, etc. Gravel grinders are really gaining huge popularity.

      In fact, a good friend of mine that we did a bunch of triathlons together (meaning, multiple weekends of getting 75+ mile training rides in) jumped on a crazy train and has been working in rural towns in Africa and now Timor. In Africa, besides craving a good bike ride, the mountain bikes she was relegated to were terrible. So, on her recent transfer to Timor, she went to the local bike shop and sort of described your riding needs and they recommended a gravel grinder. In this photo she did NOT BUY THAT HELMET. LOL

    • Agreed. The cross bike thing is incredibly freeing. Built a cycle crosser back in the ‘80’s. We had a cross racing series in the winter. Really fun. Gotta say tho, my new Surly’s a much better bike than my home built was. Run downtown, to the store, back road exploring, off on the trails. The 2.1” 700’s roll much better then expected. It’s a suitable replacement for my much missed Paramount.

    • Perhaps what you are looking for is actually a Gravel Bike. Essentially it is a roadbike that can handle dirt with comfort. The tires and frame clearances are larger than in the traditional road bikes so that the dirt doesn't clog up. They also have flat bars like on a mountain bike for comfort.

      @VilTri You're right, that sounds very much like the bike I need and want. Some of the pages I visited earlier suggested that a "gravel bike" actually had more in common with a racing bike (for example handlebar shape) than a mountain bike - but the one in your example looks good. Thanks!