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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

I'm on the hunt for a mid-range hardtail mountain bike, which I could use to do trails and go cross country off roading with, but also use as an on-road touring bike. So something that is nippy, strong and lightweight enough for long distance cycling. With gearing, and handling that would be a happy medium between road cycling and off-roading up and down steep trails.

Any advice, recommendations, or ideas of what to look for greatly appreciated. I'm thinking budget wise £1000 - £1500 new.

I know this might be asking a lot from one bike, but I'd love a bike I could go touring with, but then diverge off road with!

The bikes I've been considering are the trek x-caliber 9 and the trek roscoe. Any advice on these bikes for this use, as well as other bike recommendations, greatly appreciated!
 

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There is a new Roscoe more suitable or with 29r wheels so check that out. The steel QBP brand bikes have more threaded mounts and some bikes that specialize in touring. Another strategy people take is get the hard tail that handles the way you love and go the frame and seat bag vs rack route for carry capacity.

You might need 12 speed and/or 2x gearing to really satisfy the road and off road cycling you mention. My experience with 1x is you still might want 2x 10 or 11 speed cassette for closer splits even if you have satisfactory range.

There's a popular competing bikepacking.com site but not really a forum site with a whole lot of analysis and content for what you want.

We found what I think you're after with bikes that are more off road tourers than anything else - drop bar bikes - but are selling one because of how much time I spend with a pure MTB and anywhere/road/gravel bike. The super fun Kona Sutra Ltd. will go and steel Honzo will stay.

Try stuff even if supplies are limited. Think out what type of riding will occupy most of your time. Think where you might consider a compromise such as better for single track or better for touring. It's not so easy with so many tremendous products out there.
 

· ACHOO
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I wonder if tires will wind up be your limiting factor.

I don't do touring, but do a 1-hour tarmac loop to mix things up from time to time on my MTB. The rolling resistance is noticeable on some off-road tires, not to mention added wear. This might be the opposite of your use.

In my case, I've tried several different tires. I couldn't find a magic bullet, and even though Schwalbe Thunder Burt had very good (low) rolling resistance, you still knew they were offroad tires on tarmac, and they weren't the best offroad tires I've used either. I suppose it was a decent tradeoff (and probably a technical challenge to design), but certainly still a tradeoff. I've wound up easily favouring off road, and taking the pain from rolling resistance on road.

To get a bit more granular on @bitflogger's point, you'll really want to figure out the primary use, and accept the compromise elsewhere. I'm not a Touring expert, but I'm sure you'll have to give up a bit off road.
 

· Cycologist
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It's going to depend on your trails and what you're up for, but I would consider a rigid bike. I have two Kona Units, one SS and one geared, and they have lots of mounts, but probably aren't what you would consider "lightweight". It also depends on what you consider long distance cycling; to me, that's more toward wanting a dropbar bike. Would a gravel/all road/adventure bike work for you off road? But plenty of people tour on flatbar mtn type bikes so that's still a possibility.
 

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I wonder if tires will wind up be your limiting factor.

I don't do touring, but do a 1-hour tarmac loop to mix things up from time to time on my MTB. The rolling resistance is noticeable on some off-road tires, not to mention added wear. This might be the opposite of your use.

In my case, I've tried several different tires. I couldn't find a magic bullet, and even though Schwalbe Thunder Burt had very good (low) rolling resistance, you still knew they were offroad tires on tarmac, and they weren't the best offroad tires I've used either. I suppose it was a decent tradeoff (and probably a technical challenge to design), but certainly still a tradeoff. I've wound up easily favouring off road, and taking the pain from rolling resistance on road.

To get a bit more granular on @bitflogger's point, you'll really want to figure out the primary use, and accept the compromise elsewhere. I'm not a Touring expert, but I'm sure you'll have to give up a bit off road.
Yes on the compromises. Our Fargo is my wife's favorite bike period and an all time great because tourer that is competent off road but the compromise is not a speedy road bike. So many great choices.
 

· slow
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I've got a 2008 Jamis Dragon 29 hard tail with a 2x10 drivetrain. I used that bike for everything from loaded bikepacking to lift served downhills within a period of 6 months. At various times I've run a rigid fork on it and a 100mm Reba. I've also put beefy knobbies and low resistance XC race tires on for different duties. I bought it used locally for a very reasonable price and put 3500 miles on it the first 15 months I had it.
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Every bike is a compromise. Having two wheel sets helps. I have a Fargo (second generation, set up rigid), and after 10 years of that and my rigid fat bike being my only mountain bikes, I just added a ragley big Al. When my wheels are on the ground and I am on relatively flat terrain, the Fargo is faster and easier to ride. When things start getting much beyond buff singletrack or I start getting air, the big Al is much more capable. If I could have only one bike (my bikes also includes a cyclocross bike), I would keep the Fargo because it is so versatile and comfortable for all day riding. But I don't have long singletrack trails around me and I enjoy the utility of the Fargo. Add others have indicated, figure out what you are willing to compromise on.
 
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