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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-28-08, 01:06 PM   #1
gkieser
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Hybrid vs. Road bike-talk me into or out of selling my road bike for a hybrid

Hello all, I'm new here but have been reading threads before posting. I'm a big dude-6'5" and three-fiddy. During college (10 years ago) I was a very committed bike commuter/mountain biker. About three years ago I wanted to start riding again with my wife. She bought a Specialized Sirrus and I bought a Specialized Sequoia. I visualized doing long rides and centuries. I have found that the drop bars bother me. I bought the bike based on my experience when I was younger/lighter/fitter/daily rider. Since then, we had a baby and I almost exclusively ride the bike with 40+lbs of bike trailer behind me, around the neighborhood. I cannot remember the last time I even used the big chainring or the lower part of the bars. I hold onto the tops of the bars exclusively, which are narrow and wobbly, while the hoods are too low/far away to use for more than a minute or two. This is even with an adjustable stem. Even if I was in shape, the kiddo won't stay in the trailer more than 30 minutes, so that is the longest I go between breaks. I've also had durability problems with the skinny tires and the brakes are pretty weak to stop the over 400 pounds of weight.

I'm thinking of trading the Sequoia in for a hybrid. It seems that most riders here deride (pun intended) them, and 10 years ago I would have to. I've test ridden the Kona Dew Plus (cable disc brakes), Giant FCR, Specialized Sirrus, and I'll try a Trek 7.2 FX later today.

What say ye? Am I trying to fix a software problem with hardware? Opinions on those hybrids?

Current bike (pic makes bar look more even with seat than reality):

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Old 07-28-08, 01:15 PM   #2
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It depends on the type of riding you do......

Generally speaking, a Hybrid is the worst of both worlds between a mountain bike and a road bike. They are heavy, slow and have a mushy suspension fork. If you want a hybrid like bike, you can put slicks on a mountain bike and get the same weight, but a better performing bike.

If you want a bit of speed, but a more relaxed ride, then you might look at the A Specialized Sirrus, a flat bar road/fitness bike. Only you know what you are going to be riding though, as far as conditions go. If you are going to toodle around on bike paths and maybe to the corner store, a Hybrid might be just fine. All I can really say is define the task and then choose the most suitable tool, and your bike is that tool.
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Old 07-28-08, 01:21 PM   #3
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Well, the lifestyle change of having kids has changed my bike riding ambitions somewhat. Most of my riding will be on suburban neighborhood streets and paths.
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Old 07-28-08, 01:30 PM   #4
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Is the Sequoia comfortable for you to ride? If so, remember, you can ride it short and slow just as easily as long and fast. I'd keep it and get another bike if you want a new one. You won't get much for trade anyway, and then you'll have the pair of bikes. One for good weather long rides and the other for family time. This is not to mention that the correct number of bikes to own is the current number you have......+1!
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Old 07-28-08, 01:36 PM   #5
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The Sequoia is NOT comfortable. With a 115mm adjustable stem practically vertical, the top of the handlebar is 3-4" lower than the seat. I get hand/wrist/shoulder/back pain after only a few blocks of riding. I could probably chalk this up to being out of shape, but I find myself avoiding riding at all, much less enough to get be back in shape.
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Old 07-28-08, 01:42 PM   #6
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SOunds like time to replace then.....

Ride lots of bikes and get the one that calls your name and makes you feel like you're wanting to ride it then
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Old 07-28-08, 01:50 PM   #7
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I'll chime in here with a slightly different approach based on an assumption. If the Sequoia used to be a comfortable bike for you at one point, and you plan to make cycling with the kiddos a part of your life, then you may want to hang on to it for when you are in better shape - kind of using it as the carrot to keep you going. In the meantime, get a bike that is more suitable to your current riding needs and current condition. You can always sell it or hand it off to another person getting into cycling when you are closer to a weight that you are happy with.
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Old 07-28-08, 01:57 PM   #8
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Well, from what your lifestyle sounds like, the hybrid is better suited to your needs. Last time I went hybrid shopping, I noticed something: there are really 2 kinds of hybrids.

Since the hybrid is a ******* breed of bike, there exist both those who favor their mountain bike heritage (you can almost read this as: cheap hybrids) and those that favor their road bike heritage.

I think a lot of the weight saving, rigid frame, slick tire ideologies from the road bike camp are exactly what a hybrid needs. A hybrid should be everything a road bike is (light, agile, meant for pavement) with just enough comfort and upright positioning to suit the general population.

That said, IIRC with kona, the dew is the road bike descendent and the smoke is the MTB descendent. I test rode both, LOVED the dew, but the wife made me start my bike career with a yard-sale 70's ten speed for financial reasons.

Don't believe *all* the derision on the hybrid species. but do be wary of their suspension components (most of which are always not clyde friendly) and do go for a ride on as many bikes as you can.
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Old 07-28-08, 02:08 PM   #9
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I've had a Specialized Globe hybrid for 4 months now, and while I really like dit starting out, I've started swapping parts to make more road-like. I mainly use it for commuting with an Arkel Commuter pannier but on the weekends I'm trying to fit in more long rides. I've thinned up the tires and am now looking at swapping out the flat bar for a trekking bar or something else. I think the comfort aspect got me at first, but once I got used to riding, all of those plush things became dead weight.
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Old 07-28-08, 03:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkieser View Post
What say ye? Am I trying to fix a software problem with hardware? Opinions on those hybrids?
It sounds to me like you've got a bit of both...

I recently (~3 months ago) started riding again after a significant period of time off the bike. At first, I felt very wobbly and thought my handlebars were way too low. Put a slightly wider tire on the bike to add some stability and I bought an adjustable stem (which I cranked toward vertical) to make the ride more comfortable. Funny thing: over the last 4-5 weeks I've felt as stable as I ever did and have been lowering the handlebars about 5 degrees/week.

A new bike is a major expense. Are you sure you need one? Sounds like you could get most of what you want with a few simple upgrades. Try replacing your existing brake pads with Kool Stop salmon-colored pads, for instance. You might also try installing cyclocross brake levers on your handlebars. They're a secondary lever that installs on the flat part of the handlebar. They work with your existing brake levers so you can brake from any hand position. If you can't find a stem that works, consider buying a new fork and cutting it so that it's long enough to move your handlebars to the appropriate height. Finally, consider buying new tires (especially if you're using the tires that were on the bike the last time you rode regularly) or wheels as necessary.
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Old 07-28-08, 04:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by gkieser View Post
Hello all, I'm new here but have been reading threads before posting. I'm a big dude-6'5" and three-fiddy. During college (10 years ago) I was a very committed bike commuter/mountain biker. About three years ago I wanted to start riding again with my wife. She bought a Specialized Sirrus and I bought a Specialized Sequoia. I visualized doing long rides and centuries. I have found that the drop bars bother me. I bought the bike based on my experience when I was younger/lighter/fitter/daily rider. Since then, we had a baby and I almost exclusively ride the bike with 40+lbs of bike trailer behind me, around the neighborhood. I cannot remember the last time I even used the big chainring or the lower part of the bars. I hold onto the tops of the bars exclusively, which are narrow and wobbly, while the hoods are too low/far away to use for more than a minute or two. This is even with an adjustable stem. Even if I was in shape, the kiddo won't stay in the trailer more than 30 minutes, so that is the longest I go between breaks. I've also had durability problems with the skinny tires and the brakes are pretty weak to stop the over 400 pounds of weight.

I'm thinking of trading the Sequoia in for a hybrid. It seems that most riders here deride (pun intended) them, and 10 years ago I would have to. I've test ridden the Kona Dew Plus (cable disc brakes), Giant FCR, Specialized Sirrus, and I'll try a Trek 7.2 FX later today.

What say ye? Am I trying to fix a software problem with hardware? Opinions on those hybrids?
What you may find most helpful is to find someone that does professional bike fitting, cause if you can't reach the hoods, then the bars are either too far away or too low, probably a bit of both, and it sounds like they may be a little too narrow as well. Your brakes are probably fine, just the position of the levers isn't good, so your not getting full efficiency. As for skinny tires, some road bikes have a pretty narrow range of tire sizes, others can take fairly wide tires, you need to see what the clearance is, if you have 23's then a 25 or a 28, while still a narrow tire, can be a big difference.

The problem with trading in a 10 year old bike, is that you will probably not get a lot for it, a good pro fitting that makes your current bicycle fit, is a better investment.
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Old 07-28-08, 05:45 PM   #12
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OK I currently have 2 road bikes and a hybrid. I use the Hybrid for shopping errands and when I ride with the wife.
I use a road bike for faster fitness rides, 15 to 30 miles that I go alone.
If you can afford it I’d buy a Hybrid with a rigid fork and keep the road bike.

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Old 07-28-08, 05:55 PM   #13
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you could always just change the handlebars out on your current bike, to something with more rise to it ...

there are also 'hybrid' bikes that are more road oriented ... road gearing, rigid fork etc .... like the kona dew ... but they just have a more upright seating poss ... that with some bar ends should (may) work for you ... but before spending much i would pick up a different handlebar and give that a try.
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Old 07-28-08, 06:35 PM   #14
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+1 to Tom's original comment. A hybrid basically combines the worst of a MTB and road bike.

I am concerned with your bars being 4 inches below your seat. I have adjusted my 2005 Trek SL1000 road bike so that the bars are bsically the same height as the seat, with the stock parts (flipped the stem). Seat/bars relationship is the same on my 1992 Trek 950 mountain bike, my 1975 Peugeot U08 and my 1990 Giant Cadex (and my 1983 Trek 520 too, but I did not take a picture of it). Perhaps I just set them up weird, I don't know. The U08 is my old college bike, so that gives you an idea of my age....

The MTB is the smallest frame, and my old Peugeot is the largest. I do need a shorter stem on the Giant.

I have put about 2000 miles on the SL1000 since Feb, so it is pretty comfortable for me.


How about posting a picture of your setup??
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 950 comp.JPG (25.6 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Cadex Comp.JPG (37.8 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Trek SL1000 comp.JPG (27.3 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg U08 Comp.JPG (37.2 KB, 13 views)

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Old 07-28-08, 06:50 PM   #15
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it almost sounds like the frame is too big... are you sure it is the right size?
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Old 07-28-08, 07:31 PM   #16
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One other option, albeit not a "cool" one, if you like most of the attributes of your current bike except for the bars, is to go to BMX-style handlebars. I've got mine set up so the handle grips are ~ 3 inches above the seat. I'm never going to win any speed records with that sort of setup, but it makes for a really comofortable and upright ride, with no back pain whatsoever.
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Old 07-28-08, 07:36 PM   #17
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I don't know if it is too big...it might be. My last road bike, a Bianchi Volpe, was 6 cm smaller. The bars were never level with the seat (I have a 36" inseam, so my seat is really high) but it was much closer. Funny thing, a professional bike fitter told me that bike was too small. All of the frames I've test ridden lately are 60+cm, which doesn't give a lot of standover but does raise the bar relative to the seat. I have long legs and arms, but a short torso. I have pics of the bike at home, I'll post them tomorrow morning.
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Old 07-28-08, 07:41 PM   #18
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I'm not as heavy as you, but I'm almost as tall (6'-4") and just bought a hybrid. It's a Specialized Crosstrail Sport. It's the 61 cm frame and it fits my riding style. It does have a front shock and the bike weighs 30 lbs (I weighed it at the LBS) but the front shock locks out for a no squishy feel. I ride over crappy roads and the shock helps, otherwise I would have just gotten the Sirrus. Does weight really matter to you? I personally believe it's all about comfort, if you are not comfortable, you won't ride. I'd sell the Sequoia and buy the bike that is most comfortable for you that you'll use.
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Old 07-28-08, 08:12 PM   #19
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To ME, it sounds like the bike is too small. 3-4 inches of handle bar drop is pretty extreme for us big guys. That could be causing your neck and hand pain right there. My wife has a 2 year old Sequoia and my Dad just bought a new one and both really like them.
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Old 07-28-08, 08:29 PM   #20
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The fit must not be right. the Sequoia has a long headtube to give the rider a more upright position. Mine sits parallel to the seat hight. maybe an inch lower.

You can switch to a MB handlebar, but the shifters would need changed, and the brakes separated out.

Comments about the tires are a bit more concerning. You should be on 28's or 32's but they may not fit on the Sequoia which comes with 25's. Maybe the Trek 7.X series would be a better option. The tires are wider, but not mountain bike wide. The 7.5 comes with 32's, and the 7.2 comes with 35's. So by the time you change the tires, rims, brakes, shifters, amd handlebars, you may have bought a bike.
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Old 07-28-08, 08:55 PM   #21
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+1 Bike is too small, hence the dramatic difference between the seat and the bars.
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Old 07-28-08, 09:13 PM   #22
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The fit must not be right. the Sequoia has a long headtube to give the rider a more upright position. Mine sits parallel to the seat hight. maybe an inch lower.

You can switch to a MB handlebar, but the shifters would need changed, and the brakes separated out.
Not always MTB Style, there is always a bar like this:


Theoretically the horns could point forward or backward

For example point the stem back toward to rider, instead of forward, then run the horns away from the rider, mount the brake levers/brifters at the rear curved section, or even drop them below the bar, whatever is comfortable for the rider.

Second option, leave the stem as is, flip this bar over, and use it moustache style, again road levers/brifters would be mounted at the front curved section, or dropped below. Rider would still have several hand positions, without needing to use drops.

Same shifters and levers could be used.
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Old 07-29-08, 10:54 AM   #23
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Sounds more like the frame is too small...

"Most bikes are sold too small. We see it all the time: bars way below the saddle, the rider leaned over 35-degrees with arms straight out as his hands are on the brake hoods. If he took his hands off the bar he'd flop down and smack his nose on the stem. It's not comfortable or correct."

From Rivendell, http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_fit/fit_sizing_position.
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Old 07-29-08, 11:04 AM   #24
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Without question, the bike is too small. It is not a problem of the style of bike (road vs. hybrid) but the general fit of the particular bike you have. You can get a bike with drop handlebars to fit comfortably, you just need to look around.

The problem is that you are a big guy, definitely outside of the population of people most bike manufacturers have in mind when designing bikes. The measurement that needs to change to make a bike fit well is the head tube length, and a lot of manufacturers don't put extra-long head tubes on their extra large bikes - I can't figure out why.

The other problem is that almost every bike shop is going to try to sell you the largest bike they have, even if their largest is still too small for you. Keep shopping and you can find something comfortable.

Also, consider a touring bike - lighter and faster than most hybrids, but with drop handlebars (more hand positions and more comfortable) and also generally made tougher to handle heavier loads and rougher roads. You can also fit fatter tires on a touring bike to handle dirt or other terrain better than any road bike. Narrow tires make it as fast as a road bike.
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Old 07-29-08, 11:24 AM   #25
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Here are a few throughts:

- Used bike are worth next to nothing so I would not yet get rid of the road bike. Keeping it would not cost you much, but possibly replacing it in the future would cost you a lot more.

- You can can get the handlebars on your road bike raised, it shouldn't cost more than $20. That may help make the bike a great deal more pleasurable to ride. I know myself that I do not like riding with the bars lower than the seat. My body is not yet ready for that. If I do it... then I will ride in pain.

- I know what you mean about life changing after having a child. You definitely have to find ways to make the kids part of your activity. I think a hybrid biek is an excellent solution. It will be much easier and comfortable to ride with the family. I use my Gary Fisher Hybrid when riding with my daughter (she is now 7). At first she could be on the back in a seat. Later I got a tag along bike (Wee Ride Co-pilot for under $70). With the hybrid I can comfortably on the paths at a speed that works well with my daughter (12 to 14 MPH). Going much faster than that is prety hard when you are riding with someone in tow. Once your child gets older you'll have more time and may again enjoy being able to ride lighter and faster on your own, but still have a hybrid to ride with the family.

- Now that I am commuting by bike to work, I use the hybrid whenever the weather is not good, and use the road bike when the weather is nice. The hybrid is also setup with generator hub light, fenders and rack. It is a studry steed, but weights in nearly 65 Lbs once loaded down with lunch, water bottles, change of cloths, etc. I makes me work hard, but it also allows me to enjoy the "light" days on my road bike when I can realy fly.

- The Trek FX series is very nice. I was helping a co-worker recently find a descent bike. His wife was adement that a Wallmart bike should do fine. He know better... We wenet out looking and he was OK with the 7000 series Trek, but immediately was drawn to the FX series. He quickly found the FX 7.3 offered the best bang for the buck for him. It fit well, and the compentents were excellent without going overboard. He worried about his wife having a fit about spending $550 on a bike. When she went with him to pick up the bike she tried a few bikes and then demanded a matching FX 7.3 (he was happy to oblige).

Try various bikes and make sure it feels right to you. There is no clear right or wrong.

Happy riding,
André
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