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Is there a bike, which can be used for several types of riding? By this, I am referring to commutes, tours, cross country, off-road mountain biking, trailing especially.

The bike should contain the major quality of several specifically designed bikes. By this I mean the following:

  1. Road Bikes: Lightweight, speed, ergonomic
  2. Downhill MTBs: Rigid Frame, High performance suspension and Tires
  3. Cross Country: Comfortable (on Long tours)

For me, I have an habit of using a MTB for most of all the activities I mentioned above and most of time, this is not an comfortable experience over long run.

So, the question is simple Is there a bike, which contains all the qualities in one?

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Can anything useful come out of this question? Maybe if it was more specific. –  Jay Bazuzi Jan 17 '11 at 18:29
    
@Jay, I dont know how a Is there a All-In-One Bike? question be more specific. Why dont you suggest me? :) –  Starx Jan 18 '11 at 4:19
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Probably the best form of this question is "what bike is the best all-around compromise?" but that's still highly subjective and unlikely to lead to a useful answer. Let's take it up on Meta (meta.bicycles.stackexchange.com/q/226/605) –  Jay Bazuzi Jan 18 '11 at 7:22
    
@Starx - As per the meta thread referenced above, how about "Do I need more than one bike?" or "Can I use one bike for several types of riding?" Let's be careful not to make the existing answers irrelevant, some of them are quite good. –  Neil Fein Jan 18 '11 at 23:11
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@neilfein, I liked you second one better. Have made some changes to the question as per it. –  Starx Jan 19 '11 at 6:17
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7 Answers 7

up vote 16 down vote accepted

In general you can get an very good all-around road bike, or a very good all-around mountain bike. To get a single bike for everything there will always be trade-offs in areas like weight/durability; speed/traction; etc.

That said - many people own one bike and use it for everything. If I had to drop to one bike I would buy a 29"-wheel based front suspension mountain bike with the following:

  • suspension front fork with lockout
  • disk brakes
  • rack and fender mounts (and a rack and fenders)
  • a spare wheelset

In my mind the spare wheelset is key - that way you can run a high pressure slick on one set, and then switch to a knobbie without the hassle of swapping out the tires on each wheel.

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+1 yep - the spare wheels are key. –  David Dec 1 '10 at 0:01
    
If you mean a suspension on the front fork with a lockout, my wife uses a 26" bike with one of those and finds it remarkably versatile. –  Neil Fein Dec 1 '10 at 0:16
    
+1 This is a well-balanced bike, but it'll never be the best at any one thing (trail riding, commuting, downhill, etc.) and that's the point. –  zacechola Jan 18 '11 at 17:26
    
When I was young, me and all my friends had no problems mountain biking without suspension on our bikes. My current bike doesn't have the tires for offroad use, but I think that if I had the proper tires, I could easily do some offroading. –  Kibbee Jan 20 '11 at 1:12
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Agreed on the choice of a CX-style bike with a selection of wheels & tyres for road vs off-road use: I ride a Surly Cross-Check, which is light enough, comfy enough and handles pretty much everything I want to do, though Salsa's Vaya (or even the Fargo) would probably be my first choice if I was starting again from scratch...

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Welcome to Bicycles SE. We prefer answer posts on this site to be self-contained. Because this post supports the existing answers rather than adding something new to the conversation, it would be better suited as a comment on either the original question or one of the answers. Also, if you're going to give specific suggestions it would be preferable if you provide the reasoning behind those suggestions, i.e., the characteristics that make those bikes preferable. –  jimirings Mar 31 '13 at 17:40
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All good answers, figure out what will be the primary use and base your decision on that. That way the compromises you make will be less apperant on your primary rides. Having said that, and owning multiple bikes (hybrid, cyclocross, hard tail mountain) if I were forced to keep just one, it would be my Trek Lane, steel frame cyclocross bike.

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I use a Surly cross-check as my all-purpose bike. I use 23/28 mm (summer/winter) Bontrager Race lite hard-case tires for day-to-day (including towpath/flat trail). I have a second set of old wheels/tread tires that I can stick on if I'm planning on going across very rough terrain.

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There are always trade-offs so it depends on what you do, but there will probably always be arguments in favour of multiple bikes. Simple answer, though, is that there is no such thing as the "all-in-one" bike (unless you have a really small, tight definition for "all").

My cyclocross is great (ticks the heavy duty, gear range, off-road, comfortable boxes), but my fixed is way lighter (so is faster, less attractive to thieves, easier to maintain), my time trial bike is fastest (but not so useful for commuting) and my road bike is too fragile for daily use (and too nickable).

I couldn't do the shopping on my trial bike, I wouldn't want to leave my road (or trial) bike locked up away from home, I couldn't race on my fixed (even if I wanted to).

So the cyclocross is the closest to an allrounder, but there are things it can't do as well (it's not fast, it is relatively heavy).

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exactly - if there were an all in one bike, there would be no excuse to maintain such a diverse collection of machines. –  David Dec 1 '10 at 0:00
    
Agreed - one of the joys of bicycles is that you can have several, so I have both a recumbent and a Brompton because they solve radically different problems (and, erm, a few other bikes to other purposes...) –  Murph Dec 1 '10 at 8:49
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Hence the answer to the wife question - "how many bikes do you need?" = One more than I have. –  mgb Dec 30 '10 at 5:03
    
If All-In-One cannot be found... can about two bikes cover the complete set? –  Starx Jan 18 '11 at 4:21
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@Starx to be honest, no. Every style of bike exists for a reason and if that's important for you then you'll want to have it in your shed, but there are enough different qualities that covering them all in a limited number is going to be tricky. Each of my bikes can do something specific that none of the others can, so if that's what I want from a particular ride, then I use that machine. Whether you can compromise on your requirements to be able to cover with two bikes is going to be specific to your criteria. –  Unsliced Jan 18 '11 at 9:44
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I agree with everyone's answers as well but over the years I have found myself using Trek's 7.5 fx hybrid bike as a do everything bike. It has mounts on it and everything you need for communting, touring, leisure rides, camping, gravel roads, and some other big bike events and riding in the median.

I also have a Specialized road bike that I use for speed rides, windy days, and races and some touring. I favor my hybrid for riding with the kids and friends that are not avid cyclists and do not have the endurance and speed. The only thing I hate about the road bike I use to scoot across town is I can't leave the asphalt.

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That's a pretty broad question, but my personal take is that if you want one bike that will do anything a cyclocross bike isn't a bad idea. You can ride it off road like a mountain bike with a bit of skill, you can put road tyres on it and it's still light enough for road riding, provided you don't get a top end one it'll probably have mudguard eyelets and rack mounts so you can go touring, and the frame is strong enough to tow a trailer and it should last for years.

That's been my personal experience since getting one earlier in the year (I got a Kinesis Crosslight 5T, but plenty of other cyclocross bikes are similar), but may not match your requirements. If you add a bit more detail about all the different things you want to use it for you might get a better recommendation.

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While you certainly can ride a cyclocross bike off road, you're pretty much limited to fireroad-ish type of trails. There are pretty good all-in-one roadies and all-in-one mountain bikes, but an all-in-one covering both is perhaps asking too much. –  Vache Nov 30 '10 at 12:14
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@domsterr I would say that a racing bike is limited to fireroad-ish type trails, but a is cyclocross bike is pretty much just as versatile as a 29"MTB with no shocks. I would say that the is shocks are a much greater limitation when going off road than wheels, given strong enough wheels and a some care. –  David Dec 1 '10 at 0:05
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