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Old 04-25-2016, 08:29 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Edinburg, NY
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Which type of bike


I have recently started cycling again. Haven't done it since I was a kid. I have a hybrid bike which I ride on the roads around my house and I enjoy it. It does well on pavement and hard packed dirt. But, recently I have been trying to ride it on some dirt roads in the Southern Adirondacks (Perkins Clearing Rd and Powley-Piseco Rd) and I did struggle a bit. It just sinks in the sand/mud. I had to get off and walk many times. I'm told what I need is a fat tire bike. What do you guys think? I'm not sure I know the difference between a fat tire bike and a mountain bike. I really don't want to go on trails, just dirt roads or jeep tracks. I almost always bring the dog and he is attached to the bike using a Walky-Dog bike leash. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.

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Old 04-25-2016, 10:30 PM   #2
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If your bike is sinking in the sand and mud you might consider a Fat bike. There are some shops that would rent one so you could try it out before you bought one and found out it wasn't for you. Personally, I ride a fat bike year round and really like how it rolls over everything. A plus size bike with 3 inch tires might help for flotation too. They are available in 29 and 27.5 inch sizes and might be a little harder to rent to try. I have a 29 plus and have rode a bit in the Adirondack sand with it, Maybe just letting a little air out of your tires might help in a pinch. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:40 PM   #3
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You might want to look at wider tires for your current bike, if the ones you have now are narrow. I ride a touring bike with drop handlebars and 38mm wide tires if I recall correctly and I have ridden it through the Moose River Plains road, into Santanoni Preserve, and it does all right, though it does spin in the sand sometimes. It's not the best for those roads but I need to also be able to ride 2-300 miles of pavement in the same trip so it's a compromise. It would be cheaper to try getting the widest tires that will fit on your bike frame than to buy another bike, but the ideal solution if you're driving to these dirt roads is probably to get a dedicated bike for off-pavement use. I don't think you'd need a fatbike except for winter riding, people have been riding mountain bikes for decades on worse surfaces than dirt roads and fatbikes are pretty expensive but I am sure they are great if you can afford one.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:57 AM   #4
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The Fat Bike is a specialized bike that you would have a good time on in mud, snow and soft sand........but it IS special for those conditions. And it would be nice addition the bike collection. However, for navigating jeep/ truck trails in most conditions you might consider looking at some aggressive 2.3" tires if your rims can take that width. I use them on my 26" MTB and have no problems. If I plan on a lot of smooth pavement (like a tow path) I throw on another set that are very smooth...almost slicks. If it is sandy or muddy, just let a little air pressue out of the tires. Having and being able to change out the rubber dependent on conditions is a lot cheaper that buying another bike.
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:59 AM   #5
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I ride a regular 29er HT with skinny 2.2" tires in the Adirondacks. No issues really - not the greatest in sand, but that is usually short stretches.

I found for me getting the right pattern tires was key - I run a fairly aggressive front tire and a faster rolling, lower tread rear. Seems counter-intuitive to some, but I can crank up hills with plenty of grip and prefer the balance of having a more positive front end on descents.
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Old 04-26-2016, 10:34 AM   #6
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Location: Saratoga County, NY
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Bike & Tire options

Like many sports, the range of equipment is surprising once you get into it (look at all the “best canoe” discussions). A hybrid surely isn’t ideal for rough or sandy roads. I doubt you will be able to get a wide enough tire on a hybrid to enjoy the dirt roads in the ADKs. I’ve used an inexpensive 26” mtn bike for years for such trips. For the past 2 yrs, that bike now stays in SW Florida and I learned a lot about riding in sand. My inexpensive upgrade was to get 2.4” tires. For the front I got a Maxxis Advantage (off e-bay around $35), and I too use a less aggressive tread on rear (Maxxis Ardent) – I believe the widest available for 26”. The increased width & depth smooths out bumps a lot. Reduced tire pressure greatly helps get through sand. Pump them up when back on a hard surface. For extended loose sand, really make them squishy.

I’ve been considering a fat bike – but wouldn’t plan on using it on snow (I prefer xc skiing & SS’ing). Cost is still high on these, and there is some “penalty” on hard surfaces. With the big tires, no need for fancy suspension.

With lower tire pressure, and tubes, be sure to get a fully threaded valve with retaining nut. Without that (at least for me on the front) the tire/tube tends to rotate when traversing obstacles and can eventually cut the valve where it exits the wheel. With extended rides in the desolate western everglades (Picayune Strand Forest), this is something I learned the hard way (long walk back to the car one day - I now carry a spare). I also had a rear derailleur “hanger” break during a single track woods ride, so now carry a chain tool (to convert to single speed if necessary). A new chain ($10 and 15 minutes) was also a worthwhile upgrade on this older bike.

Biking with a dog is terrific. When necessary, I have a retractable leash hooked to a large carabiner on the handlebars. We both get great exercise, and I can periodically go faster than she can run. I have a 27.5” mtn bike up north (plus a vintage Motobecane road bike).

Biking woods roads is a great way to explore, including some of the hiking trails (non wilderness areas of course) and I've done this in the places the OP mentioned and others. Good resources on trail options if you search.
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