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  1. #1
    I'm just sayin'... Raven87's Avatar
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    Already, I'm learning - Hybrid vs Comfort for me...

    Thanks to all the great people who have answered so many of my dumb noob questions along with having sat on a lot of bikes recently (I'm sure my LBS's will be absolutely thrilled when I DO finally buy!), I am now leaning towards a hybrid versus a purely 'comfort' bike.

    Since I've been riding and riding, my knees do not always bother me as much as before which is a good thing. And after having ridden so many comfort bikes and finally testing some hybrids, I find that (surprisingly) I do not want a strictly upright seating position. While a comfort bike IS more comfortable in the near term (only slightly so) I know that I will eventually tire of it and want something a little more aggressive. Not a full on roadie mind you, but not a Townie 21 laid back rider either.

    So, it's going to be a hybrid for me. I've read several good threads and really like what I'm learning.

    I guess I just want to thank you guys for helping me and ask if you think this is a mistake in the long run, given my age?

    Thanks again.

    Steve

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven87 View Post
    So, it's going to be a hybrid for me. I've read several good threads and really like what I'm learning.

    I guess I just want to thank you guys for helping me and ask if you think this is a mistake in the long run, given my age?
    I guess you need to decide what kind of riding you want to do. I started out looking at comfort bikes and ended up buying a fitness hybrid. I have only been riding a little over a year but for me it has not been a mistake. I am totally satisfied with the hybrid. In my case I would have quickly outgrown a comfort bike.

    It also may be easier to modify a hybrid to be more comfortable than try to transform a comfort into something a bit more aggressive. If you decide you like a more upright riding position you can always modify or replace the handlebar. I added some bar ends to give me another riding position. Here's a great thread about flat bar alternative handlebars.

    Flat Bar Alternative Handlebars

  3. #3
    chicharron
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    In my case I would have quickly outgrown a comfort bike.

    I can relate to to that. I DID buy a comfort bike. I do like the bike that I bought, I now wished that I had paid a little bit more, and bought a real hybrid without the front suspesion. I would now rather have a flat handle-bar hybrid, with a lighter frame and more narrow tires. ( but not a road bike)

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicharron View Post
    In my case I would have quickly outgrown a comfort bike.

    I can relate to to that. I DID buy a comfort bike. I do like the bike that I bought, I now wished that I had paid a little bit more, and bought a real hybrid without the front suspesion. I would now rather have a flat handle-bar hybrid, with a lighter frame and more narrow tires. ( but not a road bike)
    Just face it- If you are riding on the road- Then any sort of bike will work. You may have to adapt some of them like putting a slick tyre instead of the aggressive knobblies, but basically any bike will work. Only thing is that some set-ups on bikes do work better on the road.

    Mountain bikes and some comfort bikes have suspension and suspension does take a bit of pedalling effort away from the riding. Same again on the ride position and an Upright stance will not help you get all that leg power into forward movement.

    I am a firm believer in buying the right tool for the purpose. It is far easier to road ride on a bike that is suitable for the purpose than to use one that is not. So if you are road riding or trail riding on smooth surfaces- Then get one that will work on the road rather than adapt something that will not.

    And that is from someone that for 15 years or so used to do metric and century rides on a Mountain bike fitted with slicks. (Unless it was offroad and after 65 miles on a rough trail, I still used to have the wrong bike)
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  5. #5
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    I would advise that you stay away from a front suspension fork on your hybrid. At that pricepoint, they are usually not worth the cost and weight penalty. Usually they are springs or elastomers without the proper damping and rebound adjustments that make suspension bikes work. They never have sufficient adjustment for rider weight and usually require the field installation of a spring kit to adjust for rider weight (assuming that they are of high enough quailty to have various spring kits.) For a first bike that I assume you will be riding on relatively smooth paths and roads, stick with a hard front suspension. Your wallet will thank you and the bike will be more useful later when you feel like modifying it.

  6. #6
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven87 View Post
    I guess I just want to thank you guys for helping me and ask if you think this is a mistake in the long run, given my age?

    Steve
    What the H*** does your age have to do with anything???

    I didn't even start riding until I was 4 years older than you. I rode a mtn bike for a year, then bought a road bike, and now have two and have ridden a road bike ever since. And that was almost 11 years ago.

    Don't use your "age" as an excuse. It won't sell in the 50+ forum, and age means nothing in the world of bicycling.

    Good luck.

    A fellow Clyde.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-20-08 at 05:29 AM.
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    Look at the Trek 7200, 7300 and 7500. Same frame, different levels of components. Great bikes that run between about $450.00 and 750.00. bk

  8. #8
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    The definitions of these bikes seems to vary by manufacturer, and they are awfully similar to me....
    Originally, a "hybrid" was a road frame with 700c wheels, MTB components, and an upright position. Usually, a tire in the 28-32 mm range.

    What they are calling "comfort bikes" these days are just an extension of this concept; usually they throw in front suspension, maybe a suspension seatpost, and other amenities to make that upright position more comfy.

    If you're finding this sort of bike limiting, you might consider a proper roadster. You'll go faster and further, and if the bike is properly sized and adjusted, your comfort level should be fine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven87 View Post
    Thanks to all the great people who have answered so many of my dumb noob questions along with having sat on a lot of bikes recently (I'm sure my LBS's will be absolutely thrilled when I DO finally buy!), I am now leaning towards a hybrid versus a purely 'comfort' bike.

    Since I've been riding and riding, my knees do not always bother me as much as before which is a good thing. And after having ridden so many comfort bikes and finally testing some hybrids, I find that (surprisingly) I do not want a strictly upright seating position. While a comfort bike IS more comfortable in the near term (only slightly so) I know that I will eventually tire of it and want something a little more aggressive. Not a full on roadie mind you, but not a Townie 21 laid back rider either.

    So, it's going to be a hybrid for me. I've read several good threads and really like what I'm learning.

    I guess I just want to thank you guys for helping me and ask if you think this is a mistake in the long run, given my age?

    Thanks again.

    Steve
    I think it's not a mistake now, no matter your age. Whether you evolve to want something more refined, more aggressive, or just different from the bicycle you'll buy, only time will tell. Many of us, our friends, and our spouses have done so, but some have not.

    It's not your age, it's just your path. By getting this next bike, you'll take a step from which you'll learn. We don't know what you'll learn.

    Keep in touch as you walk (sorry, pedal) the path. Then we'll watch you learn and learn from that.

    Don't get hurt, and enjoy it!

    Road Fan

  10. #10
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
    The definitions of these bikes seems to vary by manufacturer, and they are awfully similar to me....
    Originally, a "hybrid" was a road frame with 700c wheels, MTB components, and an upright position. Usually, a tire in the 28-32 mm range.

    What they are calling "comfort bikes" these days are just an extension of this concept; usually they throw in front suspension, maybe a suspension seatpost, and other amenities to make that upright position more comfy.

    If you're finding this sort of bike limiting, you might consider a proper roadster. You'll go faster and further, and if the bike is properly sized and adjusted, your comfort level should be fine.
    There's a sub-genre called the "fitness bike." Mrs. Road Fan has one of these, and the love affair continues after a year. Basically a fitness bike is a road bike with straight bars, usually near the top of the line for the hybrids, that has almost no mountain bike heritage left. They come with proper road tires that have rather smooth tread and are on the narrow side, 25 to 28 mm width. The frames are often rather tight, leaving the addition of fenders as a task requirig ingenuity. But her Cannondale Road Warrior is 19 pounds, has a very wide gear range, coasts like ice, and is nearly as smooth as my steel road bikes.

    If you're not planning to go on woodsy paths or down dirt roads, this is probably something you should take a good look at. Examples I know something about are the Cannondale Road Warrior 800 and the 1000.

    Road Fan

  11. #11
    Senior Member Crank57's Avatar
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    Don'twant to rain on anybody's parade here, but 3 years ago my wife and I bought bikes for her 50th birthday. She thought she wanted a road bike, I thought I wanted a hybrid. We got Giants; an OCR2 road bike for her and an FCR2 hybrid/fitness bike for me. After we got them, she decided she didn't like the the Shimano Tiagra brake/shifters on the OCR2 road bike. She liked the Sram X 07 trigger shifters on the FCR2 hybrid better. I found that the straight bar on the hybrid gave me cramps and pain in my wrists, and I preferred the multiple positions available on the road bike. Bottom line, since we are both the same size we just swapped saddles. Now I am on the hunt for a recumbent to help get the load off my wrists. I guess all this is just to say you have to ride more than a few test laps around the LBS parking lot to know what you really want/need.

  12. #12
    I'm just sayin'... Raven87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crank57 View Post
    Don'twant to rain on anybody's parade here, but 3 years ago my wife and I bought bikes for her 50th birthday. She thought she wanted a road bike, I thought I wanted a hybrid. We got Giants; an OCR2 road bike for her and an FCR2 hybrid/fitness bike for me. After we got them, she decided she didn't like the the Shimano Tiagra brake/shifters on the OCR2 road bike. She liked the Sram X 07 trigger shifters on the FCR2 hybrid better. I found that the straight bar on the hybrid gave me cramps and pain in my wrists, and I preferred the multiple positions available on the road bike. Bottom line, since we are both the same size we just swapped saddles. Now I am on the hunt for a recumbent to help get the load off my wrists. I guess all this is just to say you have to ride more than a few test laps around the LBS parking lot to know what you really want/need.
    Absolutely!

  13. #13
    I'm just sayin'... Raven87's Avatar
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    Right now, my leading candidate of all I've looked at it the Cannondale Adventure 3. I'm going to ride it again next week and decide from there. It seems to fit and 'feel' the best for me all around at this point although I do want to take a look at the Marin Stinson and take it for a spin.

    I've ruled out the Townie's and another LBS Specialized delaer does not have any Specialized Hyrbrids in yet. He's actually more of a ski shop that happens to sell bikes than an LBS but that's another issue as well.

    Other models that are serious contenders are the Jamis Explorer and the Trek 7300, all of which are great bikes.

    But at the moment, the 'Dale has the lead. One or two more rides next week and then I will buy a bike.

  14. #14
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    We all wish that bikes were like Transformers. It would be nice to push a button and the bike simply changed to something that was perfect for the kind or riding you wanted to do that day. Life simply isnít designed that way.

    I started out with a comfort bike, not only are they upright but they have a more peddle forward position. Not great for hills but very good for that MUP or around town errand bike. I still love my Revive LX for daily riding around town. I tend to side it solo and for specific tasks.

    We have a few dirt trails near my house and a bike like my Revive wouldnít be a good choice to ride with friends on a single path or dirt trail. So my second bike was a hard tail mountain bike. It works just like advertised and after a few tweaks 22 miles in the dirt isnít too bad.

    Next I joined a bike club and many or the regular riders had Road Bikes so after riding with the cruisers and bents for a few weeks it seemed if I wanted to take longer rides a Road Bike was in my future. A fitness bike might have worked but the dropped bars are more comfortable believe it or not. Yes a lot of time is spent on the hoods but being able to move the hands in more positions make them worth it. (At least that is for me.)

    So just remember if you buy a bike for one type of riding and then you decide to do something else you are looking at a compromise. Not everyone wants to buy three bikes and most donít need three bikes. If you are determined to get one bike to do all things get a bike that works best on whatever kind of riding you plan on doing the most of.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven87 View Post
    So, it's going to be a hybrid for me. I've read several good threads and really like what I'm learning.

    I guess I just want to thank you guys for helping me and ask if you think this is a mistake in the long run, given my age?
    I say "Go for it." The only mistake you would be making is not seizing every day of your life with gusto. How can you go wrong doing something that is beneficial to your mental and physical health?

    I started with a comfort bike myself, and am grateful to that bike for getting me excited about riding again. I'm 55 and just came home today with my first road bike. Looking forward to many more fun years of riding.

    Let us know what you bought-and enjoy!

  16. #16
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    The problem with buying a first bike - or a first serious bike - is that it usually takes some time to know what you really want/need, or if you're going to take to bicycling at all. That's why the best advice I ever got was, buy cheap and used to start with, then figure it out. I rode a hybrid a mile or two and thought, this is so comfy and nice. After 400 miles bouncing up and down in that upright position my back was about shot. Test-rode a whole bunch of bikes with that knowledge and now I have a cyclocross bike with North Road bars that is the perfect geometry, fit, etc. I would've laughed at the idea of me on a CXer when I first started. But there you go.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    I didn't notice what your "age" actually is but I'll add that a hybrid or other performance bike that is then altered to suit you is the way to go. At "our" age we need to BUY our performance since we can't rely on youth and exuberance.....

    Seriously though a lighter and more responsive frame with good lightweight wheels but with a rider's cockpit setup for whichever level of comfort vs aggresiveness you want is the way to go. The good stuff makes it easier for you to ride faster or farther or just not break into a sweat. Meanwhile the custom fit to suit yourself coddles your body.

    If you were willing to actually do a custom build you could get a full on racing carbon frame and fit it up as your comfort hybrid. Not many are willing to do this but it would be an interesting exercise to say the least. Not cheap by any means but it would produce an amazing bike.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  18. #18
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    I didn't notice what your "age" actually is but I'll add that a hybrid or other performance bike that is then altered to suit you is the way to go. At "our" age we need to BUY our performance since we can't rely on youth and exuberance.....
    Since he didn't state age, I had to do some fancy research to figure out he was 54.

    How much is some "performance?"

    I would like to buy some. Does the supermarket have some? Is it a derivative of Viagra?
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  19. #19
    I'm just sayin'... Raven87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Since he didn't state age, I had to do some fancy research to figure out he was 54.

    How much is some "performance?"

    I would like to buy some. Does the supermarket have some? Is it a derivative of Viagra?
    Bingo! 54 is right! Tell him what he has won, Johnny!

    Ok, a little dramatic to be sure. But yes, my age enters well into my consideration. My trusty M500 Cannondale is a lot like an old friend that did not age with me. It is a magnificent bike but it just doesn't work for me any more... not the bike's fault at all; it's just me getting older. What fit 15 years ago geometry-wise does not fit as well anymore, especially since I need to lose a lot of weight. I would not sell it or trade it for anything but I am going to let my youngest son take it and enjoy what it offers.

    So, while I first thought a comfort specific bike was the initial buy, I've come to find out that actually I'm beyond that for what I want now that I've ridden several. I know a strictly 'comfort bike' would be a great and comfortable ride all right - but for maybe a month or two. Then, I would probably get bored or worse yet, frustrated.

    I know I would be wanting more - not more comfort, just 'more'. Thus, thanks to all the research and especially the response from people who know (you guys and gals!), this purchase will be a Hybrid. I know I will ride it for several months or more before I am ready to move up again.

    So - it will not be my last bike. I imagine that as the weight keeps coming off, I'm going to want more of a road bike (or another hybrid more road oriented?), something that can handle long rides with lots of miles. A bike with more of a conventional riding posture. I am sure of that because by then, I'll be ready and in better shape.

    That is why I want to buy a solid bike this time - because it will be a step to another level.

    Like the one poster said, too bad we can't have just a transformer bike that turns into what we need. But in a way, I'm glad we can't.

    I would rather have more bikes!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Since he didn't state age, I had to do some fancy research to figure out he was 54.

    How much is some "performance?"

    I would like to buy some. Does the supermarket have some? Is it a derivative of Viagra?
    Depends on your color preferences. Some here go for the white pill, others for the red pill.

  21. #21
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Raven, what about somethng that positions you LIKE a hybrid but that you can modify as time goes on to roll your body into a more aggresive posture as your tastes alter. I'm thinking of something like a Surly Long Haul Trucker or a cyclocross bike of some sort like a Surly Crosscheck or the Soma Double Cross that you set up with a short and sharply angled riser stem and some "alternative" bars like Northroads or similar that offer better hand and wrist positions than hybrids and a pull back for the grips so you're not totally upright but you're not trying to do "pushups" off the bars for now. And then as you get back into shape and reform your body you move over to some shallow drop bars. Finally at some point if you get there and WANT the racy position you just swap out stems and you're back to a pure cyclocross/touring bike sort of cockpit.

    This way you have a whole hunk of performance at the core of the bike with a lighter and stiffer performance oriented frame, nice wheels and good cranks, derrailleurs, brakes, etc and just change the human interface parts as time and the miles roll by.

    Likely you'll find that at some point you'll halt the transformation before it gets to be a pure road bike and call it good and then go buy a pukka light road bike when you get serious. At that point this one could perhaps take a small step back to the last casual but still hill worthy setup and grow racks and fenders to be used as your errand bike. But either way it's up to you how it's set up.

    Do a search here at BF for "northroad", "trekking bars" and "sparrow" to find threads with pictures of some of the alternative handlebars and how the bikes built up. There's lots of options to going "hybrid" and they don't all have to start with a heavy clunky frame and wheels like so many of the out of the box options are. Granted there's lots of higher end performance hybrids but if you're like me there's always a few things to change to fit my just right. And since those higher priced options all cost a pretty penny suddenly spec'ing out your own build becomes a price matching alternative.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  22. #22
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    ....How much is some "performance?"

    I would like to buy some. Does the supermarket have some? Is it a derivative of Viagra?

    Nah... the good stuff isn't approved by the FDA yet. I buy mine from the underground pill pushers down behind the mall.....
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    Raven, what about somethng that positions you LIKE a hybrid but that you can modify as time goes on to roll your body into a more aggresive posture as your tastes alter. I'm thinking of something like a Surly Long Haul Trucker or a cyclocross bike of some sort like a Surly Crosscheck or the Soma Double Cross that you set up with a short and sharply angled riser stem and some "alternative" bars like Northroads or similar that offer better hand and wrist positions than hybrids and a pull back for the grips so you're not totally upright but you're not trying to do "pushups" off the bars for now.
    Like this, for example.


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by GearsForFears View Post
    Like this, for example.

    Now you're talking! That's exactly what I have in mind to replace my too-big heavy hybrid. The Surly LHT is a top contender.... triple crank and light enough for hills, rack and fender mounts to convert to a tourer, a steel frame and a nice price. I'd prefer bars that put me into a more aggressive posture than the hybrid. We learned this week that our most favorite LBS can get Surlys. Jamis is still a contender, if I can find a local dealer....
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
    Surly Long Haul Trucker

  25. #25
    I'm just sayin'... Raven87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GearsForFears View Post
    Like this, for example.

    I'll look and see if there is a dealer for Surly around here. Thanks for the suggestion.

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