Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling - New to biking
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07-05-07, 08:52 AM
I am transitioning from running to biking with the intent on eventually completing a 100 mile ride. I need to get a bike and was wondering if anyone had any imput on the style. I am torn between a hybrid with the more upright position and a comfort road bike such as the specialized sequoia or trek pilot. Most of my riding will be of the fitness nature, not from a competitive stand point. I don't even know if a hybrid can be comfortable or if anyone ever uses these for 20 plus miles at a time. Any imput would be appriciated.
07-05-07, 10:09 AM
Get a road bike.
Even if you don't compete you will be envious of road riders passing you by on your rides. The main reason for getting a hybrid is if you're only planning on riding your bike in the city (and hence the speed difference between road and hybrid bikes is closed by red lights and stop signs) or if you've got carpal tunnel / RSI issues that prevent you from putting a lot of weight on your hands and forearms.
With that said, my first bike as an adult was a $400 Trek 720 hybrid and I rode that on a fair number of 100 mile rides. So you can take a hybrid on 20+ mile rides, if that's what you settle on. It was fine for solo rides, but trying to keep up with roadies on it required heroic levels of effort.
The advantages of a hybrid are that it generally has a more upright riding position than a road bike and can accept wider tires making it more comfortable and capable of off-road gentle trail riding. But it's not going to be as efficient as a road bike on the road or a MTB on the trails. Basically, a hybrid is a bike that does nothing well.
Don't make the mistake of overestimating the comfort of an upright hybrid. Although it may seem initially more comfortable I will be willing to bet that after too many miles you'll be longing to change your hand position. The reason road bikes have the drop handle-bars is so that you can change hand position as you feel like it, and you will feel like it. FWIW, I used to commute to work on a hybrid but I am just more comfortable on a road bike. I rarely use that hybrid anymore and I can't imagine going more than a few miles on it at a time.
** mp **
07-07-07, 08:26 AM
Don't make the mistake of overestimating the comfort of an upright hybrid. Although it may seem initially more comfortable I will be willing to bet that after too many miles you'll be longing to change your hand position. The reason road bikes have the drop handle-bars is so that you can change hand position as you feel like it, and you will feel like it. FWIW, I used to commute to work on a hybrid but I am just more comfortable on a road bike. I rarely use that hybrid anymore and I can't imagine going more than a few miles on it at a time. I got bar-ends for my old hybrid for different hand positions, but I've ridden centuries with other friends on hybrids and they've never complained about the need to change hand positions. part of that is because your hands don't hold up as much of your weight as they would on a road bike, so there's less pressure and less discomfort.
Get a cyclocross bike and put some slick 35s or 26s if you want to go fast. The geometry is comfortable and it has drop bars for changing hand position. The sequoia is a good choice too, comfortable geometry.
Well, lots of people do centuries on hybrids. It's harder, so they just ride a little more slowly.
A road bike is considerably more efficient, and it will make training for the century a fair bit easier (and likely more enjoyable).
What's your budget? It looks like you've got a fair bit to work with, considering the options you listed. My only advice is to try out a lot of models. Cyclocross bikes are a good bet too, though you'll want to replace the knobby tires.
But, your budget, as a new cyclist, must stretch to include accessories. These don't need to be bought all at once, but at a minimum you will need a helmet, if you don't have one already, a patch kit, a pump, and some spare tubes. You may also want a computer for tracking speed and mielage, bike shorts... the list goes on.
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