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Disclaimer: I am a bike amateur, so my knowledge is very limited.

I currently have an old model of the Pegasus Piazza, which I've been using for 4 years (I only replaced the saddle and the lights of my bike) to travel from my house to work and back (for a total of approximately 4km), and for small weekend-trips (up to 15km). In the last year, though, I've started to enjoy longer trips (>=60km), where sometimes I have to go through dirt roads, but definitely not super-heavy paths.

During those journeys I always had problems with the bike (a flat tire can happen, but spokes of the rear wheel breaking every time... I'm not even a huge guy, I am 1.76m x 90kg of happiness), so I grew frustrated and decided to go for a new, better one.

I started to search the web for some clues on what I'd need and eventually I found the B'twin Hoprider 700 (what's the difference between HF and LF anyway?), which I though it'd do... Unless I saw the disclaimer at the end of its website, which says:

This bike is not designed for cycling on rough terrain.

At this point I'm pretty puzzled. Most of the hybrid bikes don't have a luggage-rack, which is something I'm not willing to sacrifice, on the other hand trekking bikes are not designed for dirt roads. I can't even take mountain bikes into consideration, since I need to assume a confortable position if I have to pedal for 5-6 hours.

Is there any bicycle there that would fit my needs, or should I buy the one I saw and hope-rider (pun intended) that it doesn't break?

EDIT: I accepted the answer with the most upvotes, but let me thank everyone for their contribute, because at the end each one of you gave me some food for thoughts.

At the moment I am very polarized towards the Diamant Ubari Legere 2017 (I have yet to find some feedback from users though), which is, for the money I'm willing to spend, the bike that I find nearest to my needs.

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If you want to see if a bike can take a luggage rack, you should look for eyelets for a rack. These are on a lot more bikes than just city bikes.

If you're looking for a rear rack mount, near the dropouts, you should see a set of holes or two, and a set of holes on the seat stays so that you can attach a rack. For a front rack, you should have eyelets at the bottom of the fork, and some bikes will have another set half way up the fork (though some racks will attach to a hole at the top of the fork + some p-clamps).

It's less ideal without the eyelets for a rack to install a rack -- normally you have to do some work with fidgeting with p-clamps and stuff, so its not recommended (or use a seatpost rack, ick!).

Installing a rack when you have eyelets is pretty simple -- you generally bend a small piece of metal to make the rack to be level, and put a few bolts in.

Most hybrids have rack eyelets, as do many cyclocross bikes, pretty much all touring bikes, a decent amount of road bikes, a good amount of lower end mountain bikes and so on. They may not ship with the rack like a lot of city bikes or whatever, but its not hard to put one on. You can easily look for the eyelets or just ask the person whose selling you the bike if it has rack eyelets.

This article has an overview of different common rack types, which shows you how they mount. It's relatively obvious though -- just walk into a bike shop with a bike, and in about 5 seconds they should be able to show you what kind of racks will fit it.


This bike is not designed for cycling on rough terrain.

Generally, a statement like this means you don't want to do serious off-roading with it. In the US, there's a set of condition numbers from the ASTM:

  • Condition 0 — Adult supervision required, no traffic;
  • Condition 1 — Suitable for road riding (only);
  • Condition 2 — For off-road riding and jumps less than 12 in. (30 cm.);
  • Condition 3 — For rough off-road riding and jumps less than 24 in. (61 cm.); and
  • Condition 4 — For extreme off-road riding.

The bike under consideration is something like a condition 1.5 bike. You don't want it to jump more than say, 6 inches. See this chart from Salsa for more examples. But if you're just riding on fire roads or the gravely dirt roads you show above, it'll be fine.


Now, onto the type of bike you should get. I'd consider a cyclocross bike with good tire clearance, a touring bike with good tire clearance or a hybrid with good tire clearance. An older (say 80s) road bike would probably do fine too, since they could take bigger tires). The touring bike might feel weird when not being loaded, but the advantage of the first two is that they have more hand positions available for a longer ride (and you can install interrupter levers to stop from the flat portion of the bar, if you want). Larger tires = more comfort and cushioning.

We don't do product rec for specific models here, so thats about as far as I'll go in this answer. But, I'd probably go for a cyclocross bike myself. Theres a pretty wide variety in this range -- things like the Trek Crossrip, which take a cross geometry and tweak it for more commuting/city use, to bikes which are suitable for intro level racing yet can still take a rack and fenders (like the Kona Jake the Snake used to be until a few years ago).

I'd also remark that you don't need (or want) suspension for that type of riding.


The most important thing for comfort is to actually try the bikes -- don't just buy something from the internet (especially since sizing isn't standardized across bike types).

  • I'd very much like to avoid to mount a rack by myself, or to buy a new bike that doesn't have one (this is nevertheless an option, though). Thanks a lot for the precious hints... You gave me some food for thoughts. – Noldor130884 Jun 13 '17 at 15:16
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    @Noldor130884 fitting a rack is a very simple job, provided your bike has the appropriate fittings. If you don't want to do it youself then any bike store could do for you, and if you mention it while buying a (non-bargain-basement) bike, I wouldn't be surprised if they'd throw the rack-fitting in for free. I'm rather curious why you'd want to avoid buying a bike that comes without a factory-installed rack - that seems like a significant and entirely unnecessary reduction in the options available to you. – Chris H Jun 13 '17 at 15:49
  • Well my budget is more or less 500€, and I strongly doubt they'd fit in that for me as well :P – Noldor130884 Jun 13 '17 at 16:04
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    @Noldor130884 - one of the local shops here charges $10 to fit it. I'd imagine that if they charged for it (which I highly doubt; its pretty standard practice that if you buy a new bike with accessories, they put the accessories on for you; theres often a discount for buying the accessories with a new bike as well), it'd only be a few euros. A basic decent rack in the US is about $30-40, so I'd guess roughly the same in Europe. – Batman Jun 13 '17 at 16:08
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    Many shops will also fit the rack on for free if you buy it with the bike. – whatsisname Jun 13 '17 at 17:11
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I don't agree with the assessment that trekking bikes are not designed for dirt roads. A good trekking/touring bike is good for any road, paved or unpaved. I ride a trekking bike to work every day, partly on a dirt path. I used to ride through the snow a lot. Dirt makes the bike muddy (in particular the mudguards), I don't care.

Full-frame bicycles (as opposed to step-through frame women's bicycles) from brands like Koga, VSF, Santos, or similar, will work well whether you're carrying 25 kg of groceries home on the tarmac or through a muddy park, or whether you're cycling from Cape Town to Cairo. There's no need to bend over so sharply that you get a sore neck from seeing if there's any traffic around (i.e. bend-over racing bicycles), but you don't sit like a Dutch-style windcatcher (Gazelle) either. Short of a recumbent, you probably won't find anything that's more effective at getting you and your stuff from A to B over paved or unpaved roads.

What they're not is stunt bikes. If you want to jump over the fence without getting off your bike, look elsewhere. What they're also not is cheap.

  • I'm not looking for stunt bikes, don't worry :D Thanks for the reply, I'll look into those you suggested. – Noldor130884 Jun 13 '17 at 15:13
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There is a class of bikes called adventure that fit what you describe. They are designed for off road treking.

This is an example. This is an expensive bike. I am not specifically recommending this bike unless you have a big budget and I am not sure it is even distributed outside the US. Salsa Fargo

OP has added some new requirements

  • Rack pre installed.
    Only low end bikes come with rack pre installed. There are many styles of racks.
  • Chain guard
    Bikes designed for off road don't come with chain guards.
  • Budget 500€
    Not going to get a quality off road for that budget.
  • Something needs to give
    Look for an older used steel bike with eyelets and will take wider tires.
    In the US something like a Surly CrossCheck.

This is my ride for touring and shopping which is more of a touring bicycle. From what I see in that picture I would rather be on a more of a true expedition type bike. Just my opinion.
Vaya

CX have short wheel base. I don't like CX for rear bags for a long ride as not enough heel clearance and I have to ride forward on the pedals. One of my other bikes. enter image description here

  • Are those tyres as massive as they look? – Chris H Jun 13 '17 at 15:25
  • I think I've seen some around, but imho they're not really what I'm after. They normally lack quite a lot of stuff I need (rack, chain protector for example) and for a premium price have stuff I don't really need (ultra light frame, race handlebars, etc.) – Noldor130884 Jun 13 '17 at 15:31
  • @Noldor130884 They have multiple mounts. You buy a rack and install it. Chain protector was not in the question. They are drop bars and have comfort for hours in the saddle. – paparazzo Jun 13 '17 at 15:34
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    Just tie your pant leg (velcro strap) or tuck it into your socks or whatever. You can also get an aftermarket (half) chain protector i suppose, e.g. from SKS. I think the adventure bike is overkill though -- I'd happily take my road bike on the dirt road he shows. – Batman Jun 13 '17 at 16:04
  • @Noldor130884: The pictured bicycle, the Salsa Fargo, is pictured with its titanium frame. They also have a steel frame option. I have a first-gen Fargo, it is equipped with racks and fenders. It is a great bike. The Salsa Vaya is very similar to the Fargo, which would also be a good option, the main difference is that the Vaya uses smaller tires. – whatsisname Jun 13 '17 at 17:16
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You've got plenty of good options.

I've got 40 000 km on a hybrid, including dirt roads, forest trails etc. but also 70km in 3 hours on tarmac. They're very versatile. Choose the right tyres (good anti-puncture every time) and you'll be fine. Until a few weeks ago I'd have suggested 35mm or 38mm Marathon Plus if you're riding the trail you show plus road. That hybrid has no suspension (you don't need it on those tracks) and can take front and rear racks. I wouldn't call that "rough terrain" at all. Any competent bike shop would be able to fit a rack and chain guard to a suitable bike -- and help you buy such a bike.

However I've recently bought a tourer with a steel frame and 35mm Marathon Mondial tyres. They've got more grip on loose dirt than Marathon Plus (they're basically the same tyre with deeper tread; I'm actually going to swap to something with less tread). Having done very little dirt road on it so far I'm confident it will do a good job -- that, I suggest, would be your drop-bar option. Tourers are built to carry stuff, and have tougher wheels than most bikes (36 spokes instead of 32 -- I put a touring back wheel on my hybrid after breaking the rim). Cyclocross bikes are another possibiltiy but you have to be careful to get one that will take a rack and be sure you won't kick your panniers. However CX bikes are probably more fun to ride than tourers, and quicker on the dirt.

I upgraded to the tourer for similar reasons to you -- I found I'd reached the limit of riding time/distance on the hybrid but need to carry a pannier more often than not.

You have one more option, which I've hinted at. A minor upgrade to your existing bike would go a long way: get the back wheel rebuilt if you keep breaking spokes, and fit better tyres. The main reason not to do this would be if you find the gears inadequate -- a derailleur setup would be better.

  • Yeah, I though about the last option as well, but to be honest, if I have to put a couple of hundred bucks more on a new bike, compared to the cost of a wheel change, I'd rather buy a new one. Right now I got my eyes on a couple of 36 spokes bikes, but I really need to understand the differences before making a decision – Noldor130884 Jun 13 '17 at 15:56
  • I can see why. You may even want to keep both if you've got the space/money. I have, and will slowly adapt them to different things. – Chris H Jun 13 '17 at 15:58

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