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Old 08-03-08, 03:31 PM   #1
bebeck625
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Road bike vs. hybrid?

So, someone was asking me why I wanted a hybrid and not a road bike.
For those of you who don't know me, I'm female, 49, usually very active, the last year have not been.
I have the opportunity to ride with my son in law across a lot of the country next year or in 2010, some will be on roads, some on trails. We are pretty flexible though, ie: when he's riding trail, I can still parallel him but on roads.
I will be training as soon as I get my bike, until we start.
I figured a hybrid would be good for off road riding, as well as roads, but I keep hearing I'll never get up hills, or very far, very fast on one!
I know a road bike will get me into shape quicker, and will be good for speed, distances, etc.
Here where I live, we have main roads, with wide shoulders, but so much truck and 55 mph limits, that I think I will be taking secondary roads more, which means chipped pavement, and sometimes fresh gravel.
I also have an aversion to low handlebars, but I know that once I am back in shape I'll be fine with them.

Also, I'm not crazy about spending too much money at my age, what happens if I find out I hate (I doubt it), or break something (me) or something hurts too much to ride anymore (I really hope not, I"m extremely excited about riding!) I was thinking $700.00 or under.
Does anyone have any recommendations based on all this info?
Any questions you want to ask just let me know!
Thanks everyone!
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Old 08-03-08, 03:51 PM   #2
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I rode Mountain bikes for 15 years but a couple of years ago decided to try road bikes. My main concern was that I would not be able to ride with the drop handlebars. I bought a Giant OCR 3- the cheapest in the range and a starter bike that many here would recommend

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...ad/1243/29271/


Now on those drop bars. I did not use the drop position for 6 months. Too many years of an upright position meant I was not comfortable. 6 months into road riding and I was not using the drops so started practicing with them. 30 seconds occasionallyand gradually increased the time. Then one ride into a headwind and I used them all the wayout to a meeting point for the group.

I still do not have the drops as my favoured position- but I do use them when required and they are comfortable.

Now if you still do not want a Drop handle bar bike- then Giant have the FCR. Basically the same as the OCR- but with straight handlebars. But do not be frightened by a full road bike- You do not have to use the drops all the time- but they do come in usefull as a change of hand and body position and definitely worth it when riding into a headwind.


http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...ad/1244/29286/
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Old 08-03-08, 04:52 PM   #3
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Get a road bike, or if you want something a little more sturdy for trals, get a cross bike. My personal opinion of hybrids is that they combine a mountain bike with a road bike and bring out the worst of both. I feel you are better off with a rigid mountain bike (no suspension) with road tires than with a hybrid. A cross bike was designed to go on roads and trails and mud and all that other stuff... If you are going to be mainly on the roads, get a road bike.

I was in Colorado in June and we went over Cottonwood pass--over 12,000 ft, and the main climb was 14 miles of dirt road, with gravel and such. We were on road bikes. It was not that bad.

Regardless of what you choose, enjoy!

(and welcome to the 50+ forum)

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Old 08-03-08, 05:21 PM   #4
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Just as two--make that three--data points: I went to the LBS for a hybrid but knew I would have to get a road bike as soon as I saw them (it was some kind of magic magnetic pull or something ). Then my brother and sister-in-law decided to start cycling. He got a hybrid and she got a recumbent. Six months later he has a road bike and she has a (different) hybrid but is looking at road bikes. So I'm just saying...go road early and save money.
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Old 08-03-08, 05:24 PM   #5
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This type of trip calls for a rare bike. Room for fenders, comfortable, strong, reasonably light, with a classic touring setup of relatively high bars. Used to be that most of the "road" bikes sold were relatively nice steel frame utility models with rack mounts, room for bigger tires even with fenders, stable geometry, etc. Now that's the exception.

I suggest backing into a bike. What exactly do you want to do with it? Rain? Then you'll need fenders. Mix of good and bad and gravel road? Then you'll find at a minimum something like Conti gatorskins or stronger and bigger to be good. 28 mm is a reasonable compromise. Gearing? No gear too low for that tired day at the base of a big hill. A simple or not so simple change to most bikes. Lots of space for water bottle mounts. Comfortable material. And more personal, what handling do you like?

Feeding into that, the tried and true things. Drop bars. Most of the time is on the top, at that nice sweep towards the hoods, or on the hoods. That's the wing bar secret - the tops are really comfortable! And in the drops. I use them maybe 10 or 15% of the time, tops. But that's the fast downhill or strong headwind part of the time. Or pulling for a minute before dropping back for a rest behind the other men. Those are very important times.

And reliability. I never quite trust brifters. But I ride them anyway. But my robust commuter has bar end shifters.

Sort through how much you'll carry, how high your bars need to be, realize you don't want to be UPRIGHT in a stiff way, and the bikes that will likely work should come to the surface.

And how you'll ride.

A supported trip fast coast to coast? I'd take my carbon Wilier with race blade fenders and some light bags in a heartbeat. I'd think about a triple, but it wouldn't happen.

Self supported? My old big Paramount steel with new running gear and a mega-low triple. And that would be marginal. Better to have more clearance, bigger tires, etc.

Everything is a compromise. Flat bars tend to kill many folks hands after a while. Multiple positions really help. And that position in the drops is really handy.

Check out the "fit" on the Rivendell site. I have one bike fit that way, and it's very comfortable, big, stable. But I'm also fine on a truly tiny carbon compact with more drop. It's just not supportive of sightseeing and loafing! I could still do cross country on it fast and efficient. It would be fun, but it wouldn't be the same kind of trip as a mellow tourer would bring.

Have fun!
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Old 08-03-08, 05:31 PM   #6
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I'm a road bike guy, too. Believe me, you can be very comfortable on a well-fit road bike. You'll appreciate the lightness. I might suggest you look at used bikes. You may be able to find a very respectable road bike in your price range. If there is a bike club near you, put out the word about what you want.

I can just about guarantee you will get the fever. But, if you keep reading this forum, you can keep it under control . . . NOT!
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Old 08-03-08, 06:06 PM   #7
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Road bike.

Full carbon.

That's it.
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Old 08-03-08, 06:09 PM   #8
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Think about a cross bike- they can be nearly as light as a road bike, especially with road wheelsets/tires. They have a slightly relaxed geometry- a bit more upright than a roadie- but not so much as a hybrid. (I ride a cross almost exclusively, swapping out the wheelset for distance road riding.) On the other hand, you could think about something like a Trek Pilot, which is a road bike with a relaxed geometry.
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Old 08-03-08, 06:20 PM   #9
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Rigid steel MTB converted to road configuration with 1.5" semi-slicks and drop bars.

Or a cyclocross bike. Or a touring bike. Or an older, lugged steel road bike. Or a new Moots titanium road bike with SRAM Red components and wheels that cost more than all my bikes combined. Or all of the above.
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Old 08-03-08, 06:26 PM   #10
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I'm an all road bike guy myself, but I don't think anyone should feel they have to get a road bike if it's not what they are comfortable with. Much better to get something you are comfortable with. It's not a life-altering, once-in-a-lifetime decision. You can always get a road bike later on if you want to.

A good quality hybrid is not dramatically different from a touring bike, so it's not out of the question. Hybrids can ride pretty well if you set them up right. There's no denying the laws of physics and physiology as they apply to a person on a bicycle, and so if you want to make the most of a hybrid, just set it up for as close to an efficient riding position as possible. If it comes with motorcycle style "riser" bars, swap them for flat bars and then put bar ends on them so you can vary your hand positions. If you go this route, the one thing I would suggest is that you make sure the hybrid's frame is small enough that you can set the handlebars no higher than level with the top of the saddle, and preferably slightly lower. Most people I see seem to buy them too big for this. You can always raise the bars on the hybrid if you want to, but there's no way to make the head tube shorter if you buy too big a frame in the first place. All this assumes you get one of the more performance-oriented hybrids (almost like a road bike but with flat bars), rather than one that is more like a comfort bike (which quickly becomes a discomfort bike the minute you ride more than a few miles).
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Old 08-03-08, 06:51 PM   #11
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The only bike that I own is a hybrid. I love my hybrid, but for your intended use, please do not buy a hybrid. A hybrid is good for 40 to 50 mile jaunts, but not cross country touring. You need a touring bike. Drop handle bars or mustache handle bars will be infinitely more comfortable than straight bars. Good luck and ride safe! Hotwired in Milwaukee
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Old 08-03-08, 07:10 PM   #12
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Remember that the bars don't have to be low on a road bike. There are ways to raise them if you aren't able to deal with the low position. Also, you will appreciate a lightweight bike more and more as you ride it. Be sure to get a bike that is small enough so you aren't too stretched out. Go light, as light as you can afford. You can also find a bike with slack geometry that will be stable on rough roads.
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Old 08-03-08, 07:25 PM   #13
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It's not the style of the bike and bars but rather the fit of the bike. And drop bars don't have to be really racy aggresive. There's a reason why both racing and touring bikes have traditionally used variations on drop bars. The racers and the touring riders both need to deal with wind. The racers for high speed sections and descents and the touring rider for headwinds coming out of that canyon up ahead. Your need to have some dirt ability while being mostly pavement oriented suggests touring or cyclocross bike set up with tires that give you a fighting chance on packed smooth dirt trails while still rolling easily on pavement.

For a trip like that you'll want some luggage. Even if it's only day tripping luggage and you keep all the "heavies" back at the motel or in the van or whatever.

That means racks since you really don't want all that heavy stuff in a backpack with you sweating under the padding. So that means a bike with lugs and brazeons that will let you mount a rack.

If this is a tour you WILL run into rain. So that means fenders.

So we're pretty much looking at a road style bike. But this doesn't mean it needs to be a hardcore bent over road bike. Touring bikes have drop bars like road bikes but when you look at them the bars are up a lot higher. It's not uncommon at all to see touring bikes with the upper middle bar even with or slightly above the saddle height. Something you won't see on a bike set up for serious racing or racing like training rides.

I suggest drop bars and road bike controls just because it provides a lot of hand and rider position options. Perhaps add on cyclocross style inline levers so you still have access to the brakes when riding with your hands on the crossbar. When you hit a strong headwind or want to bend forward and grunt a little you'll be thankful for the drop position. In the meantime by keeping the cross bar and hoods area up higher and a little closer you have two far less aggresive options for casual riding.

If you can find it in your budget to start with a raw frame you can ask the shop not to cut off the steer tube too short. Start your training with extra spacers and even a shorter MTB riser stem at first so that you're comfy. This lets you select a stem and the amount of spacers to suit your needs of the moment and yet adapt to your conditioning as you progress. If you leave a little extra steer tube on it's easy and cheap to cut off a little later and to alter the stem as you feel the need. The final cut can wait until a little before the trip. In the meantime you have the option of fitting the bike in the way you want to fit it.

A raw frame build does not need to break the bank. Surly and Soma have frame options that will work for you as well as other companies. Good solid but middle of the road components offer good reliability at a price that isn't over the top. An inexpensive set of wheels that get some wheel builder attention will bed in nicely and offers you a possible cost saving. But do price a set of local hand builts from a good builder. It may not be as bad as you think.

Earlier I mentioned a cyclocross bike setup. Both the gearing and ergonomics are good for riding both touring and trail. The frames also have the clearance for bigger tires and fenders if you don't get too greedy on the tire sizing. As well there's some nice, not too expensive frame options that come with brazeons for racks and fenders. Surly makes the Cross Check and Long Haul Trucker and Soma makes the Double Cross. In looking around before I bought my own Double Cross frame I saw lots of examples set up in various ways as light to medium duty touring bikes. There's others but these are the ones that come with all the right brazeons. My DC frame even has the front fork brazeon for front racks. Not that I'm planing on using them....

Another option is to shop for a decent quality used bike locally and transfer the parts to a new frame and then sell the old frame. You'd have to study the numbers on this option but if you do well it could be a really inexpensive way to get your components for the custom build that you work on over the next couple of seasons.

Having focused on comfort so far you should take that with a grain of salt. You should consider a riding position that makes you "lean into it" a little but don't get so aggresive that you're uncomfortable in the short term. The whole idea of a frame build of this sort is that you can adjust it. I'd say get it to where you're totally comfy riding around the LBS that's doing the work and then ask them to set it to "one step" more aggresive. This will make you train into it. As you develop and get comfy with it ask them to go the next step more aggressive. Keep chasing the setup until you're as aggresive as you want to be. If you go one step too far and just can't seem to adapt have them bump it back to the last setup that you were happy with. This will likely mean 2 to 4 stems and spacer alterations over the course of the next training year.

Last edited by BCRider; 08-03-08 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bebeck625 View Post
So, someone was asking me why I wanted a hybrid and not a road bike.
For those of you who don't know me, I'm female, 49, usually very active, the last year have not been.
I have the opportunity to ride with my son in law across a lot of the country next year or in 2010, some will be on roads, some on trails. We are pretty flexible though, ie: when he's riding trail, I can still parallel him but on roads.
I was thinking $700.00 or under.
Does anyone have any recommendations based on all this info?
Any questions you want to ask just let me know!
Thanks everyone!
Only because I didn’t see anyone else mention it I have to ask. What is your son-in-law riding? Is someone else going as well or is it just the two of you? You might want to ride the same kind of bike he is unless you are sure about how close you will be when he in not right on the road. Will you be able to see him or can he see you? If you ride the same type of bike you can often share parts or have extra tubes just in case you need them.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:27 PM   #15
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Specialized makes a bike that is more upright, has carbon fiber fork, seat stay & you can still put a rack on the back for panniers.

I have a Roubaix & have been very happy with it. Like someone else said if you go with a 28mm tire that will help on the gravel.

Today we road 3 miles on hard packed gravel & I didn't have any trouble. Sure it won't be a soft as a ride but I made it.

Last year I rode my hybrid back & forth to work a few times & my road bike is so much more comfortable. I don't have to put near the effort to make it go like I did the hybrid. I do have to say the shock does make it a lot softer ride but I still like the road bike.

Good luck in whatever you choice, but fit is the most important part period.
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Old 08-03-08, 09:22 PM   #16
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I'll go along the lines of BCrider.

You could get a touring bike or maybe a cyclocross bike. The cyclocross has shorter chainstays, so it might feel a bit more responsive, but also a bit harder on bumps and the like. On such a bike, you will be able to fit wider tires than on road bikes, so it will be more comfortable on bad pavement and even gravel.

As for drop bars, the key point is to get them relatively close to you and at seat level. In other words, get them so you are comfortable using them without feeling stretched out, leaning too much and without any vision of the sky; then they will be even more efficient and comfortable than straight bars.

Another important aspect: the touring or cyclocross bike – or the hybrid for that matter – will also allow you to install front and rear racks, and carry some gear around; something which is useful if you ride for errands, and also essential for multi-day rides and tours. I think it would be a mistake to ride exclusively a lightweight high-performance road bike for 2-3 years, and then tour with a fully loaded bike: you would feel it slow and sluggish.

By the way, someone mentioned earlier on that "one climbs hills faster on a road bike". Well, that's not true (if you compare naked bikes). One striking difference, however, is that the typical road bike has tight gearing and fairly high low gears, which force you to stand up on the pedals, whereas a good touring bike has lower gears, so you may as well decide to stay seated and climb more calmly. The latter option takes more time, but is more restful, which is very useful at the end of a long day.

Finally, two other points.

1. You didn't say how tall you are. If you are on the short side (say under 5' 3"), a bike with 26" wheels may be a good option as it eliminates toe clip overlap. On the other hand, if you are sure you want to do a long tour with your son in law, it may be wiser to use similar wheel size on both bikes to limit the amount of spare parts you'll be carrying around. Obviously that doesn't work if you are 4' 10" and he is 6' 6"...

2. Does he live close to you? Are your riding styles (especially RPM) compatible? Riding a tandem might be an option.

Last edited by Michel Gagnon; 08-03-08 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:47 PM   #17
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All this talk about a cross bike and I would not recommend. They are heavy- Cannot do road as well as a road bike--- And they cannot do offroad as well as a Mountain Bike. Basically another form of hybrid with drop bars.
I know I am thinking of one for the winter- but that will be for a certain type of riding That I would like to try. (Unmade trail with a good surface with no mud or Severe hills- for around 40 miles)

Most of us think of a Hybrid as a do-nothing-well bike. But there are the higher grade of Hybrids that are fantastic if you not want drop bars and still want to ride almost solely on the road. Thinking of the Specialised Cirrus as one of these and the giant FCR-C's as another.

But still feel that Road bike would be your best choice.
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Old 08-04-08, 05:16 PM   #18
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You might like something like this(http://www.vandesselsports.com/crb.html) i just got one for this winter, i won't bore you with details, you can research it yourself, but im gonna love this bike, you can make it what you want,Gears or no Gears,any size tire you want, ive got 700x32's on for now, good on chip roads,fenders ,yep, bright yellow! did i tell you im gonna love this bike?What im saying here is, you make it yours!! do the research!! and have a great ride...
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Old 08-04-08, 06:50 PM   #19
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You all give such good information! I sure have plenty to keep me occupied for awhile!
I guess I am leaning towards a road bike, I like the idea of traveling far, being able to get up hills without a problem and the different spots to place my hands, something I didn't even think of until yesterday.
The cross country trip is just a jot on the sketchbook for now. SIL will in all likelihood be running not riding, so that I can spend my days either taking my time and staying close by him, or racing ahead of him and relaxing!
But, I realized that I am getting this bike for me, and no one else. Aside from that trip, whenever it happens, I will be riding for pleasure and fitness. I will be riding roads around my general area, which are paved and pretty much hilly no matter which direction I go.
I have a good place to start now, and will keep researching and be ready to start trying out bikes soon.
Thanks again everyone!
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Old 08-04-08, 07:21 PM   #20
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One bit of information to add. If you buy a road bike, see if the dealer will close the deal by replacing the fixed stem with an adjustable stem. Ritchey makes a very nice one. This will allow you to change the angle of the stem to high when you first buy the bike, giving you a very relaxed position to lower as you want a more aggresive posture. Problem with a fixed stem is it gives you to positions, angle up or angle down, that's it.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:03 PM   #21
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I have done multi day tours with people who didn't have touring bikes.


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Old 08-04-08, 09:53 PM   #22
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We just came back from a ride on our hybrids. What a blast!! I haven't ridden mine for several months, since before I bought the Roubaix. It felt fun to just throw on a t-shirt and my bike shorts, my running shoes, no bulky liners, and take a swift ride around the neighborhood. Someone out watering his lawn waved at us and said "How ya doin'!". We don't get that while riding the Roubaix.

Sometimes I miss that upright type of ride. I wouldn't discourage anyone from starting with a hybrid. We rode 50 miles on ours, and mine weighs about 34 pounds. It can take you wherever you want to go -- perhaps not as fast, but just as fun.
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Old 08-05-08, 04:59 AM   #23
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Don't know about the USAthese days. {we are discouraged from visiting these days due to intensity of immigration control.** But here in the UK you can buy some beautifully made, older steel road bikes, that, if in good condition will give you a good start in cycling and will serve you well for years to come. One of my bikes is an 80s Raleigh Sprint Racer. In superb condition and picked up for £40. I have used it in all conditions on and off road and it has never let me down and will take a hell of a lot of luggage and not complain, plus it only weighs about 23lb. I recently borrowed my brothers new Hybrid and thought "this is a nice bike". Until I got back on the Raleigh and realised how light and responsive this old bike was. Comfortable and a joy to ride and little financial risk if you decide it is not for you.

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Old 08-05-08, 05:41 AM   #24
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Hi: I'm so new--to the forum and biking--that I shouldn't chime in, but ...
I sort of faced the same question, except I'm trying to learn to ride in a straight line before I head out across the country.

I was advised to get a road bike and was guided to Vita Sport by Specialized. http://kozy.com/itemdetails.cfm?id=6918

It was designed for a woman's body, which may appeal to you. The butterflies on the bar may not.
It's a better bike that I deserve, but I hope to grow into it.

Envious,

Puddin'
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Old 08-05-08, 07:00 AM   #25
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Most of us think of a Hybrid as a do-nothing-well bike. But there are the higher grade of Hybrids that are fantastic if you not want drop bars and still want to ride almost solely on the road. Thinking of the Specialised Cirrus as one of these and the giant FCR-C's as another.

But still feel that Road bike would be your best choice.[/QUOTE]

I have a Sirrus Comp and it is great on the road, ok on hard pack as well, but not loose sand or gravel. Have ridden long distances with it and it is comfortable. I put bar ends on the flat bar and this provides multiple hand positions. Also handles like a dream and is fast enough on the road unless you are looking for high roadie speed.
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