Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

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Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby Lovelessrobot » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:36 pm

I have been currently riding my hybrid bike with road tyres on roads and paths. If I swapped to knobbly tyres do you think my hybrid would be suitable (or acceptable) on a mountain bike trail?
When I first got my bike I did some off road riding on mainly flat, dirt trails (Fire tracks in SA forests) using the hybrid-ish tyres that came with the bike.
I am really keen to try mountain bike riding, but also kinda scared as well. I would also appreciate any advice as to potential problems using a hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail.
Thanks.
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by BNA » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:14 pm

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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby bychosis » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Why not. If it's not too rough it'll be fine. MTBs are just built tougher so you can throw more stuff at them. The more you start to enjoy being in the scrub the more you'll want a proper off road bike. Fire trails should be fine, especially if it's a decent level hybrid, just don't go jumping it or hitting any rock gardens.
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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby zero » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:16 pm

Depends on the scenery, your weight and how fast you ride or how fast you need to ride. The main issue is hybrid forks are usually bottom of the barrel and can be bent or bottomed/damaged under a heavy rider if the trails have drop offs and the rider is riding fast.

You'll also have to verify that your cables/disc brake line aren't routed through the forks badly (and will thus touch a wider tire) and that you have sufficient frame/fork clearances and rim width for the tires you want to use. You might have a lot more luck/safety fitting 2.0in wide MTB tires rather than 2.3s for example.
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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby Lovelessrobot » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:50 pm

Thanks for the replies.
I think my hybrid is decent-ish. It is a Scott Sportster. I have had it since about 2008-09 and it has put up with everything so far and still rides qute smoothly.
The front forks have this written on them: Nex SR Suntour 4110. A quick google search did not provide me with any info about where they sit on the quality scale.
I think the tyres I have on it at the moment are 3.2 (cm i assume). I think I will go to my local bike shop to make sure I get the right tyre in consideration of the calliper brakes.
While I have taken it on fire tracks, I am looking to try actual mountain bike trails in WA.
Again, thanks for the replies. I didn't even think to include my bike specs (see how clueless I am?).
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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby bychosis » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:58 pm

If you are talking about specifically constructed MTB trails in a MTB park then a hybrid won't cut it, they put technical rough stuff in there. If you are talking about bush tracks that have been formed over the years I the local Bushland then you might find they aren't that rough and your bike should be fine.

Any suspension on a hybrid will not really be suited to MTB style riding, that's not what they ate designed for.
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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby clackers » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:36 pm

There are people who do single track on MTBs with solid forks, Lovelessrobot!

They may have a little more skill, however. :D

And they've got wide tyres running low pressures, you have road bike wheels and 700cc forks/frame, which most likely can't take 29er tyres.

The 60mm travel of those forks should be fine for dirt roads with pebbles.
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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby human909 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:09 pm

Lovelessrobot wrote:Thanks for the replies.
I think my hybrid is decent-ish. It is a Scott Sportster. I have had it since about 2008-09 and it has put up with everything so far and still rides qute smoothly.
The front forks have this written on them: Nex SR Suntour 4110. A quick google search did not provide me with any info about where they sit on the quality scale.
I think the tyres I have on it at the moment are 3.2 (cm i assume). I think I will go to my local bike shop to make sure I get the right tyre in consideration of the calliper brakes.
While I have taken it on fire tracks, I am looking to try actual mountain bike trails in WA.
Again, thanks for the replies. I didn't even think to include my bike specs (see how clueless I am?).


The scott sportster is pretty much a mountain bike anyway unlike most hybrids which have terrible shocks and geometry that is made for mums and dads on bike paths. With chunky nobbly tires I would have no issues taking a bike like that on most mountain bike trails, even a few downhill trails would be fine.

Obviously though there a easy trails and hard trails. The hard trails will be too much for your ability and your bike. :wink:
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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:02 pm

You can ride anything on anything depending on your skill set :D ... I think the Scott Sportster is as much a mountain bike as any mountain bike from 15 years ago and we could ride most things on them. Maybe some chunker tyres and tubes. OK you won't be wanting to launch too much big stuff :lol: but looking at pictures of the bike, it does look pretty close geometry to a basic MTB. Good enough for a first taste anyway.It is likely you will just be putting round on a first go anyway. You will soon realize it's limitations if you decide you actually want to ride mountainbike trails properly though.
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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby Lovelessrobot » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:46 pm

Thanks for all the replies.

With all of those opinions taken into account, I am going to give it a try... chunkier tyres and a beginners trail!

I'll let you know how I go.
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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby il padrone » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:44 am

A friend of mine once came along on a MTB trail ride (on 4WD forest trails near Murrundindi) that I organised. The tracks were not technical, but rough enough with some long steep climbs and big descents. He rode his "clunker" - a three-speed ladies bike with 27 x 1 1/4 tyres (not knobbies of course). We all thought he'd be off and walikng very soon and forced to turn back. He completed the whole ~40km ride, and most of the time he was up with the leaders.


It really depends on the rider :wink:
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Re: Hybrid bike on a mountain bike trail?

Postby human909 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:53 am

il padrone wrote:A friend of mine once came along on a MTB trail ride (on 4WD forest trails near Murrundindi) that I organised. The tracks were not technical, but rough enough with some long steep climbs and big descents. He rode his "clunker" - a three-speed ladies bike with 27 x 1 1/4 tyres (not knobbies of course). We all thought he'd be off and walikng very soon and forced to turn back. He completed the whole ~40km ride, and most of the time he was up with the leaders.

It really depends on the rider :wink:


A group of my friends organised a weekend of camping, eating, drinking and informal mountain biking racing. Invitations were sent to a wider audience, different groups came and most knew each other. The bikes were a mix of hard tails and full suspension. One guy came alone from the road cycling club came along on his rigid commuter which was a early 90s MTB. Everybody car pooled to the destination, he rode panniers and all from the (not so) local V-line station. The race was number of laps complete in 2 hours, it was twisty and muddy.

He ended up leading for almost all the "race" he gave up his lead because he got bored and sat down to chat with the many others who weren't being competitive. RESPECT to him. I'm sure he was losing time on everybody else including me on the downhill. But on the steep uphill hit fitness is what made him the time! :mrgreen:
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