I am a newbie on bikes and i want to buy one. I want to buy a bike that i can cover some small city road distances ~30km daily with comfort and to be able to go on some mountain trails when i got time on weekend so i can get some experience in dirt trails and if i like it to consider in the future buy a fs downhill bike. I think that cross country hardtail with lockout suspension is the type of bike i search! I want to give a budget about ~1000 - 1500 euro. I don't have any riding experience so it would help me a lot if someone has a xc ht that he also uses it for that kind of distances in city road, for some feedback! If Its too unconfortable i may consider to buy a cx!

Any suggestion would be useful.

Thanks in advance!

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    I watched this recently, and found it interesting. – Vorac Jun 20 '14 at 14:42
  • We don't do shopping questions here. – Batman Jun 21 '14 at 1:38
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    My usual advice: Used. Find a garage sale/thrift store bike that seems to fit you and seems to be in halfway good shape. After you've ridden it for 3-6 months you'll have a better idea of what you want. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 21 '14 at 13:54

An XC MTB should certainly be workable for what you want. Depending on the trails and your skill level a cyclo-cross bike would also be a reasonable choice as well. There are lot's of bikes like this on the market now.


If the trails are mostly packed dirt with few rocks, then a CX bike works pretty well off road and will generally be a much nicer commute bike. The rougher the trail, the more suspension helps.

In terms of getting an XC MTB, the key things to look at are the components and quality of the fork. At that price range I would look for a good quality Fox or Rock Shox fork that used an air chamber. Shimano SLX or XT components or the equivalent SRAM ( Nice chart here http://www.choosemybicycle.com/in/en/bicycle-tips/know-your-bicycle/sram-mtb-component-hierarchy )

The important thing to remember is that you won't get it exactly right the first time around. Until you're out there and riding you really can't know exactly what the right bike for you is, and the right bike will change over time as you gain fitness and skills. Components from the major manufacturers, even at the entry level are all of very high quality these days. As long as you get a bike that fits you, it's pretty hard to get the wrong bike these days. Take your budget and reserve 30% for getting upgrades and tweaks as you learn more about exactly the kind of riding you like.

The one caveat is extremely cheap bikes sold at large retailers. Basically, you get what you pay for.

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    "pgrades and tweaks" - e.g. helmet and knee pads. – Vorac Jun 20 '14 at 15:05
  • Thank you for the info was really helpful. I think XC HT would be a better choice for me, because i ll get more experiences on mountain compare with a cyclocross! On the other hand i ll use it 90% on road so the cyclocross in a more reasonable choice :( Is the speed and efficiency in small distances in the city (~30km) so different between those two types? – RednoseRigas Jun 21 '14 at 8:28
  • If you aren't going full gas, the speed difference between the two will be minimal. A lot depends on the exact tires you use on the MTB. – Fred the Magic Wonder Dog Jun 21 '14 at 18:10

You might check http://bike.shimano.com/ and http://www.sram.com to get somewhat familiar with the names of the components and which might be a bit better. For the most part something just better than the entry level components will be good. For Shimano Deore is would be a good level to start. I'm not sure on SRAM. This probably won't be your last bike so no need to spend it all now.

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  • It might be worth mentioning that a Shadow+ rear derailleur is a huge improvement over non shadow-plus variantm with a revaltively small increase in price. – Vorac Jun 21 '14 at 12:44

A cross country with a lockout would be decent commuter. Probably the best mountain style for the road.
I would put small block tires on it. They would have better grip, smoother roll, and longer life on pavement. On the trail they do fine on hard pack and rock. A knobby would be better on mud. Full lockout is nice for the street but don't eliminate the adjustable as the stiff setting would be OK on the street.

The other style of bike to look at is a cyclocross. It is going to be a better road bike. It is designed for lighter trails. If you just just look at one you would think this is not going to handle trails but it does better than you would think. I know you are looking to narrow and not expand your search. If you are going to commute 5 days a week and only some trail it might be a better style. Something to consider before you lay out ~1000 - 1500 euro. Since you are newbie then I don't advise you go used but you get racers selling cyclocross every year or two so there are some great used values.

I know you want to narrow your search but you also have bikes designed to fit in the middle. This is a bike to consider: CrossTrail

looking for the efficiency of a road bike with proven off-road componentry

There are so many styles of bikes now that it is hard to decide. Bike shops will help you select the proper bike and fit you to the bike. As a newbie I would not decide over the web and order online.

In a comment you asked about efficiency (and distance). Distance does not affect efficiency. Over a small distance efficiency is just not as big a factor. I am used to miles so will report in miles. That is about 12 miles. So at 12 mph it is 60 minutes and at 14 mph it is about 50 minutes. You should get a 2 mph bump on a cyclocross (for me it is 3-4 mph). So a difference of like 10 minutes. But you may want the exercise. Not all of that is the style of bike as the cyclocross is also going to have more narrow tires. On a longer distance the drop bars are are nice. You can vary hand position to spread fatigue and more aerodynamic. For your commute can go either way. But if you want to go on some 40 miles road rides then cyclocross (and some more road type tires). I have done 100 miles on my cyclocross (with road tires).

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  • Thanks for the answer. Cyclocross i think is the most reasonable choice! – RednoseRigas Jun 21 '14 at 8:32
  • You asked about efficiency on another comment. Will update my answer. – paparazzo Jun 21 '14 at 8:44
  • Yes efficiency on the distances i need them thought not very long runs ! – RednoseRigas Jun 21 '14 at 8:56
  • Thanks for the information, really helps! So i need a bike for daily ~20miles and that is all together not straight 20miles! The distances i want to cover daily is about 6-7 miles straight and then come back again when i am done! In weekends maybe i want some more miles straightforward but also go on some more rocky trails! So i guess for my work a cyclocross is the best fit for me , unless i want extreme mountain trails? I am right so far? – RednoseRigas Jun 21 '14 at 9:50
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    No bike single bike is going to do road to extreme mountain. Even hard tail cross country is not going to do extreme mountain. – paparazzo Jun 21 '14 at 13:33

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