tinman
The Dual Sport / Cross Trail class.

In Europe similar is referred to "Trekking Bicycles" often with out coil sprung shocks unlike the American versions.  My definition of "trekking bicycles" = heaps of practicality and common sense.

I own/bought one a few years ago from my LBS.  

Why a Dual Sport/Cross Trail over a 29er hard tail MTB for gravel,dirt,country pavement riding,touring,trekking?   Because it's basically where many of us went with 26" , rigid,steel MTB's about 1990/early 90's > beyound deer trail singe track (wasn't any groomed MTB trails then) as we rode forest/fire service roads,dirt,gravel, XC ski trails , country pavement.

Braze on's for racks,  higher mixed terrain, some say "Alpine" tour gearing,  different bars than straight MTB of the time more XC MTB Marathon with bar ends (a Scott "bullhorn" mtb .....at least thats what we called it.........so man different names for bars.......was popular then and I put them on mine)

You get that package on a Dual Sport/Cross Trail class compared to a hard tail MTB in todays world and the + or - $1ooo.oo bikes will be a little lighter in DS/CT compared to XC MTB out of the box and a lot lighter when/if you replace the coil sprung pot hole fork for a steel or Origin 8 black op's carbon which fits 90% of them.

They come with what ever components group level your willing to pay for now a days/often.

Geometry is right up the alley of gravel/dirt rideing = look and see

They take tires from 35mm to 2" typically right out of the gate.

The wheels in particular as well as the build as a whole are not going to win you gravel grinder races all else equal.  They are MTB Touring/light touring/durable/etc. and not build to win races.  Much like a steel touring down bar bike versus a Endurance down bar.

Modern as compared to early 90's you get the roll of 28er or 29er wheels depending on what tire size you want to run compared to the 26ers then.........along with the extra weight that comes with it [wink].........yet having owned/rode both......I like the roll and the disc brake myself.......despite the added weight.

Take a look at the Fargo's,  the AWOL's etc. ........heck Ogre's  as well.....geometry and then compare the Crosstrails/Dual Sports.........aside from the bars...........and price difference ........marketing [wink].............you tell me [wink]..............splitting hairs 

The bars on DS/CT these days..... If you have not tried the modern XCM (cross country marathon) type riser/sweep bars with bar ends and modern ergo grips........they are pretty darn sweet.  They give you a lot to work with out of the box, rolling them, trimming them etc.  You get at least as many usuable hand positions as any drops bars......in my experience more.

Here is a link I like agree with on the subject of btw:

http://pedalpowertouring.com/gear/bicycle-touring-with-straight-aka-mtb-handlebars/

So where is the love > Dual Sport / Cross Trails ?  I don't know?  Seems to me the only ones that "get it" are the early 90's MTB'ers that were converting MTB's into dirt touring / bike packing rigs of the time and no doubt in my mind > thats where DS/CT came from as a modern equal.

Maybe it's the lame, big company , USA marketing as "fitness bikes" ?.........who knows?

History >  If you like Guitar Teds script as I do......"he gets it".  Look up some of his stuff on his 29er site for > Gary Fisher / Dual Sport / 29er History > etc.

And here is a direct link to his article " 29er Lite "
http://twentynineinches.com/2010/06/22/thinking-out-loud-about-29er-lite/

I don't own a Trek Dual Sport personally.........Brand name don't matter to me.  I view them all as made off shore/Asia, don't actually build anything, marketeers that use reverse engineering and a lot more BS marketing for $$$ than actually building or designing anything themselves.  I buy what the local Veitnaum Vet. bike shop, brick and motor owner carries period and remove most the over marketed,child like brand stickers off the bike after with isopropyl.     Anyways,  I see Trek DS now even comes with tubeless ready wheels in some models and thankfully a less marketed , toned down, nice Olive/Army green color as well.

Would you like to see some high quality, made in the Netherlands versions of Trekking/DS/CT bikes rather than the American out source everything to Asia > marketeers versions?

Here is a link:

http://www.koga.com/en

Like I said they are sleepers......good value imo.....plenty of component package/choices............ride and compare yourself [wink]

So whether you call em Dual Sports, Cross Trails, Trekking or perhaps as  Guitar Ted did in the article linked above > referring to them as " 29er Lights "..........they do well on gravel and as do it all bikes..........and probably if you have never rode one before you will say as I and others have after > they are faster than you think/thought particularly on flats > they cruise right along at a surprising clip and are comfortable.

The coil spring forks are durable, maintenance free as all heck yet heavy and better suited to pot hole streets imo.  I took mine apart a gazillion times and tried to modify it a little to justify the weight.  In the end and after some corespondance email with GT, I swapped it for a Carbon 8 Black Ops,  steel is even cheaper. swap  Funny thing is its the one style fork (coil spring) hard core tour'ers will use/recommend but with a Marzochhi brand name tag on it [wink]... because there is not much to them and not much can break.......


And one more link to a ultra sweet build, frame parts from the refreshing company Velo Orange,  reviewed and reported by the only Bike Rag I will read Bicycle Times

http://bicycletimesmag.com/first-impression-velo-orange-camargue/

It was nice to see one whom replied to the article > "Peter" apparently a bicycle repair/mechanic > made note of the similarities between this bike and what was happening with early 90's MTB riders..........perhaps the nicest , classy, build of this style bicycle I have ever seen (drool )

The most common format one will find as brick and motor LBS are held hostage(leveraged to soul source via large minimal orders,freight,etc) increasingly these days by the "marketeers" is the "Dual Sport" & "Crosstrail" intentionally leaving out the brand names ................I think Guitar Ted nailed it well referring to them as " 29 er Lites"  
Enjoy the outdoors....
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