Hybrid Bike Limits for Trek FX 2 and Dual Sport 2

Welcome to MoreFamFun Outdoors.  I’m Ryan and I would love it if you can subscribe to follow along on my family’s biking adventure. This week we are going to have a little more fun while talking bikes.  I am going to share what these hybrid bikes can handle. That means Trek FX 2 limits and our Trek Dual Sport 2. 

I’m also going to share my secret to riding longer and faster whether I am in the road or on the mountain.  (Sorry guys, this one won’t help with your wive’s and girlfriends.)

Types of Hybrid Bikes

Before we get into the limitations, it’s worth mentioning the differences in these bikes. They are both hybrid bikes, but there is no comparison in regard to how they are meant to be ridden.

First we have the Trek FX 2 which is a hybrid fitness bike.  (Check out our Trek FX 2 Review here) So what is a hybrid fitness bike?  It is a bike that has the speed of a road bike, but you get upright posture. That means a little more comfort on long commutes, or fitness rides, when you’re exercising. 

Next we have the Trek Dual Sport 2. It is also a hybrid bike, but its what is known as an urban commuter. You could call this an XC hybrid, too.  It can handle the gravel trails as well as the potholes and sidewalk deviations. The types of things you come across when commuting in a big city. It handles them thanks to 60 mm of travel in the front fork and 40 mm tires.

We use our Dual Sport 2 as our backup trail bike because of that front suspension.  The front suspension is heavy and makes pedaling less efficient when climbing. It won’t bother you unless you’re going out on long rides.

Dual Sport 2 and Trek FX 2 Limits

So what holds each bike back?  Without a doubt the biggest limitation on both of these bikes is the tires.  The good news is, tires are an easy upgrade to make.

The Trek FX 2 has much skinnier tires than the Trek Dual Sport 2.  The FX 2 tires have a lot less resistance on the pavement at 35 mm with a smooth surface, which makes this bike feel smooth and fast.  Compared to a true road bike these tires are still a bit wide.  A road bike will usually run tires that are 30 mm wide or less. 

The Trek FX 2 is more than capable of handling fine gravel trails, or even loose sand and gravel that makes its way onto a paved trail, but not much more in terms of off road ability. When I am on a true gravel trail I don’t feel comfortable pushing as much speed with the FX 2. It feels like the wheels will come out from under me.  I don’t get that feeling when I am riding the Dual Sport 2 on gravel. 

Trek FX 2 Limits

The Trek FX 2 can handle just about everything in my suburban neighborhood.  We have bumpy curbs, construction spots in the road, and potholes like every other neighborhood out there.  I can ride over most of it without issue.  Obviously if I see an opportunity to dodge a deviation in the sidewalk or a pothole in the road, I am going to do it when I am on the FX 2.  If I were on my mountain bike I would probably run those things over on purpose. 

With the Dual Sport 2 its a bit more questionable. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to avoid them like I do on the FX 2, but the size of pothole would play a role in my decision.

You have to pay attention and ride within the limitation of the tires on the Trek FX 2. Even so, its one of our favorite bikes.  Its fast and is an absolutely incredible ride on smooth surfaces.  The limit for this bike is when gravel chunks start getting up to an inch in size. It quickly ruins the ride if there is any loose rock.

Trails with 1 inch gravel are going to be the most this bike can handle. You wouldn’t want to ride on gravel like that for long either.

Is the Trek Dual Sport 2 a Mountain Bike?

The Dual Sport 2 will handle the 1 inch gravel with ease, unlike the FX 2. This bike was made for those bumpy surfaces thanks to the front fork suspension and 40 mm wide tires.  Even when the gravel gets loose, I don’t feel like I am losing traction on the Dual Sport 2.  These tires aren’t the best, so swapping them out could easily allow you to push the limits of this bike even more. 

When I was a kid the Dual Sport 2 would have been considered a mountain bike.  We’ve taking this to cross country bike parks and downhill bike parks.  We stick to green trails only, but this bike handles them. That being said, it doesn’t even come close to comparing to a modern day mountain bike.

If I would put a wider tire, or a knobby tire on, this bike could be pushed even harder on the trails.  Right now its not worth it because we don’t ride off road trails daily.  The tires are holding up great for the type of riding we use it for, but they will definitely get an upgrade with the next flat.

Dual Sport 2 Limits

The Dual Sport 2 is more than capable of handling everything we throw at it on a daily basis. It’s a great bike to have around as a back up trail bike.  Hitting the trail on the dual sport 2 may not be as fun as it would be on a full suspension trail bike, or even one of our other hardtails, but its still better than sitting at home. 

A lot of times we are stuck riding the same set of trails locally due to work or whatever. If you can’t swap trails then swapping bikes can make for a fun ride.  Its fun to get a different experience on a trail just by using a different bike.  You will be forced to pick new lines and it can make the same old boring trail fun again.  Make sure you ride within the bike’s limitations and take it easy if you aren’t on your ‘every day’ bike.

Like I said, the BIGGEST limitation on these bikes is the tires, but depending on how you use the bike you might find other limitations.  The FX 2 is a rigid bike, meaning there’s no suspension. It is my opinion the tires will let you know when the terrain is too much long before the rigid frame wears out your arms.

Riding Style Determines Type of Hybrid Bike

If your worried about your bike not having a suspension, then consider the Dual Sport 2.  I am a 50/50 rider splitting my time between the street and the trails.  The rest of the family is probably 90% street riding and 10% trails.  Because of our riding style I would purchase the FX 2 again in a heartbeat for any one of them, and the Dual Sport 2 for myself.

The FX 2 is an awesome street bike if you can avoid bumps and potholes.  While our neighborhood has those things, its still fairly new so the sidewalks are nice and smooth.  The FX 2 is the smoothest and fastest ride in our bike family.  Its usually the one we are all trying to claim when we go on a family ride.  If you never ride on chunky gravel, the FX 2 will be an awesome bike for you. 

If you have issues getting flat tires on either of these bikes, consider upgrading your tubes, or even the wheels and tires all together.  The Dual Spot 2 had its first flat at the bike park a couple weeks ago.  We put a 29 inch thorn resistant tube in it even though it has 700c tires. (That’s all they had at the bike shop at the time.) I’ve been beating it up lately and haven’t had another flat since. There is no notable difference in the ride either. 

That is not a move you can make with the Trek FX 2 because a 29” thorn resistant tube is too much for the narrow tires.

FX 2 and Dual Sport 2 Maximum Tire Width

The maximum tire width I feel comfortable putting on the Trek FX 2 is 40 mm. Tread will play a factor and the less knobby the better. For the Trek Dual Sport 2 you can fit a 55 mm tire, depending on tread, but it’s not recommended. The bike becomes a bit too cumbersome. A 50 mm tire or 1.8″ mountain bike tire will ensure there is no rubbing and provide the best ride quality.

Recently, I had an opportunity to swap the wheels and tires on the FX 2 and Dual Sport 2.  I wanted to see how much faster the Dual Sport 2 would feel with thinner tires, as well as how much more capable the FX 2 would feel with wider tires.  I still want to see how the dual sport 2 feels with wider tires, but I don’t have anything laying around to try that yet.  But like I said, that will probably happen with our next flat.

Bike Tire Width’s Impact on Speed

The speed difference running the Dual Sport 2 with the narrow FX2 tires was more than I thought.  I don’t have a great scientific test to show you. I can tell you based on my Strava times this past week, it shaved some time off my normal route by putting the FX 2 tires on. 

The trade off comes on those gravel segments of trail. I was forced to go slower on the Dual Sport 2 because of the narrow FX 2 tires. On the FX 2 the bike still felt fast even with the wider 40 mm tires.  Because of this experiment I will now be upgrading the tires to a 40 mm wide tire. The ride quality improved so much, but I didn’t loose that much speed when I was riding with purpose.

My Strava times increased by quite a bit for such a short route, but I suspect part of that is because the tires are able to handle a different style of riding.  I found myself playing around a bit more. Doing things like riding over bumps and curbs. This is all thanks to the added cushion of the larger tires. In the segments I was riding with a purpose the time difference was minimum.

Rigid Frame vs Suspension

The wider tires from the Dual Sport 2 made the rigid frame of the FX 2 less of an issue. If you have an FX 2 and your roads are too rough to get an enjoyable ride, I’d recommend swapping out the tires with something wider. 

I do not make the recommendation of going to smaller tires on the Dual Sport 2.  That bike just isn’t made to be a fast road bike, and that’s what narrow tires are for.  After doing this experiment I am now more curious how the Dual Sport 2 will feel with wider tires.  I may have to give that a try here in the near future.

Bike Handlebar Issues

The other big limitation for these bikes, or at least on the Dual Sport 2 is the handle bars.  They are fine on the FX 2, but I prefer I slightly wider feeling.  Something like that is going to come down to personal preference.

You can put many different styles of handlebars on a hybrid bike.  For something like the FX 2 that is closer to a road bike I would consider upgrading to an affordable drop bar if you want to push it further to the road bike side.  On the Dual Sport 2 I would stick with a flat bar, but go with something wider.  Even a riser bar would be an upgrade because it would allow for a more upright position giving better vision of the trail ahead.

Best Entry Level Hybrid Bike

Both the Trek FX2 and Trek Dual Sport 2 are entry level hybrid bikes.  Its not going to be worth it to spend a ton of money on upgrades. You could simply upgrade to the FX 3 and Dual Sport 3 or higher.  However, I do think handlebars and tires are affordable ways to customize your bike for a better ride.

And now the part of this video you’ve all been waiting for.  Whats the secret to longer and faster rides?  A pre-ride drink.  During and after my ride I prefer water, but before I ride nothing gets me jacked up like a big glass of OJ.  If you have a favorite pre-ride drink let me know in the comments. 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading.  For those of you that don’t already know, my wife is still recovering from a mountain biking injury.  I’ll probably be doing biking content around the house the next couple weeks.  I recently built a manual trainer so I’ll be sharing that with you all. I will also be putting something together on what tools you need to complete a home bike shop. I’m really hoping to take ‘Tank’ to the jump park for some fun too.  Until then, I’m out but I will see you in the next video for some more family fun, outdoors.

12 thoughts on “Hybrid Bike Limits for Trek FX 2 and Dual Sport 2”

    1. I took the stock wheels/tires off our Dual Sport 2 and put them on the FX 2. It makes the FX 2 very similar to today’s version of a gravel bike, except with flat bars.

  1. Thanks for this comparison. I have a trek FX3 and a trek Neko which is similar to the DS1. I enjoyed reading this column! Oh and best wishes to a speedy recovery for your wife

    I ride almost the same conditions and bikes you mentioned. On the FX3 I switched the tires from stock 32mm to a tubeless 35mm gravel tire. The ride is more supple and strava comparisons show faster times on the offroad sections. And comfort is better.

    On the Neko I also put 42mm gravel tires with tubes. I ride mostly green runs and occasionally blue. The Neko with the 63mm travel suspension fork and the riding position gives me more confidence to ride the offroad stuff with less worry about losing control of the bike. I do feel the weight differential of having the suntour suspension fork though when riding it on road compared to the FX3 (carbon fork).

    Do you have any recommendations for affordable lighter than stock rims maybe even tubeless in 700c for the Neko? Thinking of maybe going to 44mm width for a little more grip.

  2. Assuming the same tires on both FX and DS, how much faster is FX? As far as I know, there is less than 2kg difference between these bikes?

    1. The FX is a lot faster. I think it has more to do with the rigid frame on the FX compared to the front fork suspension on the DS that really slows it down when climbing. When I put the FX 2 tires on the DS 2 the DS was definitely faster, but still not as fast as the FX with the wider tires. Hopefully that helps.

  3. I’m considering between these two bikes and I’ll mostly be doing street riding but want the option to go on some light trails on the weekends. Do you think the FX 2 will suffice? My main concern is that DS2 is significantly slower than the FX2 when riding on the street. I’m guessing the bigger tires requires more effort to pedal? Would you say it’s still worth it to get a DS2 if I street ride 80% of the time?

    1. The DS2 is definitely slower. If you were 50/50 I would suggest the DS2, but if you are 80% pavement the FX2 will be the way to go.

  4. ” So what is a hybrid fitness bike? It is a bike that has the speed of a road bike, but you get upright posture.”
    A clueless statement. It’s well known that the speed of a racer (road bike with drop bars) is due to the aerodynamics of the lay down riding position. Tyre width has very little to do with it. Look at the two Giant toughroad options in regard to this. I wish people would understand these basic concepts before writing articles for the general public.

    1. I don’t think its a lack of understanding the aerodynamic differences. You’re taking what is arguably at most an over simplification and trying to say its not factual, when it is a true statement. A fitness hybrid is meant to have features similar to that of a road bike, but a more relaxed posture. Obviously that relaxed posture will not be as aero as a true road bike, but when thinking of hybrid bikes on a spectrum the fitness hybrid is definitely on the road bike side of the curve. Your right about tire width, its not just width is surface area, but traditionally a wider tire has more surface area, thus more friction, thus a slower bike on the tarmac.

  5. I have a Trek FX2 and had recently found and rode a local hard packed gravel trail, so had started thinking about getting gravel specific wheels to swap between trail and road workouts. Your article is so very relevant, thank you very much.
    I hope your wife is recovering.

  6. I’m considering either an FX or Verve. I ride on neighborhood streets and a trail that is a combination of paved sections, smooth dirt sections, and gravel sections (the trail is mostly a thin layer of gravel). How would you compare these? I like the idea of the Verve, but wonder if the tires would be too wide. I also think the tires on the FX would be too narrow. I don’t want a suspension fork. Maybe I should get one of these and put wider/narrower tires on it?

    1. You can put 40 mm tires on the FX, while the Verve comes with 45 mm tires. I think the riding posture of the Verve will make climbs more difficult. Its an upright commuter bike vs. the slightly more aggressive geometry of the FX being a fitness hybrid.

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