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Discussion Starter #1
Hey ya'll.

First post yay. So here is the deal. I have been working out and getting shape which prompted me to get back on a bike. Using craigslist i got a good deal on a 2001 Specialized Hardrock. I love the bike and it is alot of fun, but is not get best on pavement. I am one of those people who always aim for the middle, that is I try to equip myself with items that will perform well across multiple area's.

Currently I am looking to either upgrade my bike or buy a new bike. The upgrade path may save me money, but for the money spent do i get a new bike? As the area around Houston that I live does not have very many "off road" places to ride I find myself on pavement nearly all of the time, but dont want to shut that door.

I am looking to replace the front fork with a locking fork as well as replacing the tires with more road friendly tires. Next i may look at the handle bar.

OR

Do I suck it up, save up, and purchase a bike geared more towards the road like a Hybrid?

Thank you for your input!
 

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Two skinny J's
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First, welcome! Given what you have just explained my money is on the hybrid :)
 

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Based on what you've told us, I'd hold out for the road oriented hybrid.

Oh, and Welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Industry, I was hoping that that would not be the answer. Yet, buying a new bike......not a terrible out come.

I like weighing all options and want to make sure I get the most function. Again paved roads will make up nearly all of my riding and i want more speed. A road bike may be extrem for now.

Anyone ride a specialized crosstrail?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Another thing I was hoping to know is if anyone knows trails around the houston area. What i have found online is 30 or 45 min away and doesnt fit into my schedule. I don't think i would get out there much.
 

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The term "hybrid" gets applied to a wide range of bikes. However, you often see it applied to a bike with 700c tires, an upright seating position, and often some kind of limited travel fork. Honestly, the forks on most hybrids seem to be more trouble (weight, something to break) than they are worth. Bascially, I would say if you are going on rocky and/or rooty single-track you need a decent fork on a mountain bike. However, if off-road in your area is basically a fairly flat dirt or gravel path (I'll call this a "path") then I would probably steer you away from a hybrid with a suspension fork.

If you want to upgrade your bike, a mountain bike with a rigid fork and slick tires can be decent on the road -- Nashbar.com has a rigid fork (for 26" wheel) for $50. And these tires are designed to ride mostly on the road, but give some grip on trails: Kenda Komfort tires

If you want a new bike, there are a lot of fitness/flat-bar road bikes with somewhat larger tires (700x35 or 700x38) that could be fine on "paths", like some models of the Cannondale Quick, Fuji Absolute, Trek FX or maybe SoHo.

Trek has some Dual Sport (bikes) that claim to be for both road and mountain biking, but the components that you get (for the price) don't seem that impressive to me -- with narrower tires and questionable forks, I probably wouldn't want to take most of them on anything tougher than a "path" anyhow. You could actually buy a decent mountain bike with decent fork (that you can lock in place to ride on the road effiently) and a set of slick tires for less than some of those.

Hope this helps!
 

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Never lock out your suspension. The only downside of suspension is the extra weight. Locking out your forks won't make them lighter. If you're hauling a suspension fork around, use it!
 

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Never lock out your suspension. The only downside of suspension is the extra weight. Locking out your forks won't make them lighter. If you're hauling a suspension fork around, use it!
Locking a fork can help eliminate some loss of efficiency (by bouncing fork) while riding on the road, and can be helpful while climbing hills -- especially for big folks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Purchasing a locking fork and road friendly tires was something on my mind. The thing is do I trade function (that I may not use) for less weight and a better drive train. I currently ride an 01 specialized hardrock sport. I have heard from a cycling buddy of mine that a lot of effort is wasted on a suspension fork on the road. Again trails are not easily accessable to my schedule. I live in Kingwood which has 75 miles of paved green belt paths.

What is the smart money? Also o would like more speed and longer rides.
 

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Purchasing a locking fork and road friendly tires was something on my mind. The thing is do I trade function (that I may not use) for less weight and a better drive train. I currently ride an 01 specialized hardrock sport. I have heard from a cycling buddy of mine that a lot of effort is wasted on a suspension fork on the road. Again trails are not easily accessable to my schedule. I live in Kingwood which has 75 miles of paved green belt paths.

What is the smart money? Also o would like more speed and longer rides.
I used to blaze down the Kingwood green belts on my old Schwinn 10 speed road bike, but that was long, long ago (I'm in Pennsylvania now). If they are still in kept in decent condition, any bike can ride those.

From a quick search online it looks like, as you say, no real mountain biking trails are super close to you. Looks like East End Park could be done with almost any bike, though I might not love it on my skinny 700x23 road bike tires. Probably 700x28 or larger would be better.

So, the fitness/flat-bar road bikes I mentioned before might be best for getting some exercise there. With the mild weather and extensive bike trails there, you also might consider more commuter/touring bikes like the Trek Soho I mentioned or a Breezer Uptown, etc., as they come "turn-key" ready to use for running errands (with lights, fenders, racks, etc.), so you could combine exercise and running some errands pretty easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have been looking at the Specialized Sirrus and Crosstrail bikes as well as the Trek FX 7.3 bikes. Someone told me about their DS series as well. Not sure how important locking suspension is on a bike that i may not take "off road" much.
 

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A hybrid with a ridgid fork is the way to go for the terain you are riding. If you do decide to buy a new bike you can always sell your existing one to help cover the cost.
look at CL in the Houston area I bet you can find loads of Hybrids at reasonable prices.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok. I have been looking into replacing the fork with a rigid fork. I didn't realize there was so much to it. Anyone got an explanation of.all of the measurements or can point me in the right direction?
 
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