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Old 09-27-05, 02:00 AM   #1
Helmethair
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Mountain vs Hybrid/comfort (again)

Hi all. Long-time browser, first-time poster here.

Two years ago I retired the rusty Shogun Trailbreaker that I got in highschool, and now it's time for a new bike. I need some advice on hybrids and mountain bikes. I know knack-all about bikes, so I'm at the mercy of salesmen when I go shopping.

I ride locally in the city/suburbs, but I shortcut across parks and curbs, so a road bike won't do.

I've sifted through the archives, and this gets canvassed pretty often, so I'll try and be concise.

1. Is there a difference between a "hybrid" and "comfort" bike?

2. My old Shogun Trailbreaker used to run out of gears on the flat. Does a rider get more power out of a hybrid? Will a mountain bike with slicks go as fast as a hybrid?

3. I'm 194cm (6'4") and my back gives me gip. Will the upright seating of a 23" comfort bike put less strain on my back than a 25" mountain bike with one of those raised-stem things on the handlebars?

4. Both my local stores stock Giant. How does Giant compare to other brands?

Any advice appreciated.
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Old 09-27-05, 12:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmethair
1. Is there a difference between a "hybrid" and "comfort" bike?
I'd say generally "comfort bikes have more of a "sit-up-and-beg" riding style, "hybrids" not quite as much

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmethair
2. My old Shogun Trailbreaker used to run out of gears on the flat. Does a rider get more power out of a hybrid? Will a mountain bike with slicks go as fast as a hybrid?
Generally hybrids will have slightly bigger gears up front than mountain bikes (eg 48-tooth large ring vs 42). Probably not much differnence in speed between a mtb with slicks and most hybrids, though a front suspension may be slightly less efficient than fixed forks.

Can't off much help with questions 3 & 4. I think Giant generally makes decent bikes when compared to other makes/models in similar price ranges.
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Old 09-27-05, 05:23 PM   #3
fuchikoma
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1. I find comfort bikes are often lumped in with hybrids, but hybrids won't neccesarily have suspension/seat shock absorber/tiltable bars, etc... my Devinci St-Tropez hybrid has no comfort features, but they make a comfort model with the same frame.

2. SOME bikers can run a MTB with slicks as fast as a hybrid. Then again, some can use 2.5" offroad tires to go as fast as a race bike if you believe their claims. I find I'm going WAY faster on my hybrid than my old MTB, but then again, it was *ahem* a 1987 Sears "Free Spirit" and probably outclassed by anything that's considered a bike on this forum. Hybrids vary, but I'd imagine you'll find something between MTB and road gearing. Also, aside from raw sizes of gears, hybrids often have larger tires. Mine are 29". (I often brush my feet with the front tire when doing sharp corrective steering on narrow paths, but that's good-- the pedals should be under the balls of my feet, not the arches!)

3. Can't say, it probably varies a lot. Like I said, mine's not a COMFORT hybrid, so it feels like a smooth, fast MTB. Definitely the right one for road/commuting with shortcuts though. It even holds its own on dirt trails if the hills aren't too steep for my semi-slick narrowish tires.
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Old 09-27-05, 05:36 PM   #4
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I agree with the previous posters on the difference between comfort & hybrid. I've actually owned both this year! In Jan. I bought a comfort: Electra Townie. When I got tired of the "upright only" seating and the constant pull back on the bars caused me tennis elbow, I sold the Townie & bought a hybrid: Kona Dew Deluxe. Of the two, the hybrid is a MUCH more versatile bike!

For the type of riding you described, you're DEFINITELY a potential hybrid customer IMHO. Trek & Giant are supposed to make nice hybrids, and I'd also encourage you to seek out a Kona dealer - my Dew is a GREAT bike for the price. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably have bought the "base" Dew instead of the Deluxe. The disc brakes on the Deluxe are nice, but I really don't need them for the riding I do.

Ride all the options you can before you buy & happy shopping!
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Old 09-27-05, 09:32 PM   #5
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Some thoughts:

I bought a Gary Fisher Nirvana hybrid and really like it. I've only been riding for a few months and have problems going up hills but I think it's the "engine" not the bike although the "engine" is slowly becoming more efficient.

Two things you need to really consider.
Comfort bikes usually have slightly raised handlebars while hybrids often have straight bars. This will impact your back problem.
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Old 09-27-05, 09:41 PM   #6
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sorry, for some reason my message went to the board while I was typing so here is the conclusion:

The second issue has to do with the shifters. I didn't want the twist shifters that comfort bikes utilize. Knowing that I wasn't in great shape I knew that my grip would possibly shift when I didn't want it to. I absolutely love the rapid fire shifters on my GF. I can essentially have my fingers on all four shifters and the brakes at the same time. I like the control it gives me without any movement at all

Quite frankly I intend to get a road bike to do club rides because I don't think that longer rides will be enjoyable on the hybrid. I will keep it for rails to trails and other park rides.

Good luck
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Old 09-29-05, 10:32 AM   #7
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Trek makes a Hybrid, a Fitness, and a Comfort.

Trek Fitness has 700c tires, 32 or 35 wide. these are road tires. They have a fixed fork. Mountain bike handlebars, click shifters. Frame is chunkier than a road bike, like a mountain bike but not quite as beefy. Stem has 7, 10 or higher degree bend.
More for riding around town, faster than the hybrid. Can still ride dirt roads and hard packed trails.

The Trek Hybrid is more upright. Handlebars have more rise to them. Grip shifters on the low end, click shifters on the rest, adjustable stem. Wider tires, 26" rims. Front shock suspension. suspension seatpost.
Can ride dirt roads and packed trails.

The Comfort bikes are even more upright, have the suspension fork and seatpost, adjustable stem, even fatter tires. Grip shifters. Navigator and Sole Ride types. Navigator similar to the Hybrid. The Sole Ride looks like a cool cruiser-type bike for going down to the store or just hanging out. They use the Nexus 3-speed shifting.

The front shock suspension must be popular because it is on so many bikes but for most folks it's totally unnecessary. Same for the suspension seatpost. The wider tires make for a more comfortable ride and a saddle with suspension would be better, anyways. All three have road tires, not the knobby mt. tires.

I'm thinking of getting my wife one of the FX bikes, the 7.5 FX WSD, and adding the adjustable stem to get her more upright. She has a Hybrid 7100 now and likes it but wants to go faster.


Fitness


Hybrid


Comfort

Last edited by bbattle; 09-29-05 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 09-29-05, 11:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
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I'm thinking of getting my wife one of the FX bikes, the 7.5 FX WSD, and adding the adjustable stem to get her more upright. She has a Hybrid 7100 now and likes it but wants to go faster.
Honestly, she wont gain any speed going from a hybrid to a fitness. The 7.5 fx is last years 7500fx, which was the same as a 7100 with diff comps and no suspension fork.

If she's currently on a hybrid and wants more speed, she needs a bike with drop bars.
Road bike
sport touring bike
touring bike
cyclocross bike
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Old 09-29-05, 08:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmethair
1. Is there a difference between a "hybrid" and "comfort" bike?
Hybrid: 700c wheels, but not narrow like road bike wheels. Sort of in between.
Comfort: 26" MTB wheels.
For riding position, many of both categories have adjustable stems. Almost all have front shocks and seat post suspension. Especially the front shock really take the edges off road bumps. My personal choice would be a hybrid. I started off with a Giant Sedona (comfort) but pretty soon got an old hybrid (Giant Innova) that I preferred more even though it is old. Still later I got a flatbar racer (Giant CRX2). This is a new category in between hybrid and road bikes. No front shocks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmethair
2. My old Shogun Trailbreaker used to run out of gears on the flat. Does a rider get more power out of a hybrid? Will a mountain bike with slicks go as fast as a hybrid?
Assuming you don't run out of gears, yes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmethair
4. Both my local stores stock Giant. How does Giant compare to other brands?
Giant over here gives more bang for buck than most other brands. Compare installed components for price range for different bikes. All my bikes are Giant.
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Old 09-30-05, 02:22 PM   #10
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I disagree....I have a quote Hybrid (fitness) bike a Trek 7500 FX and have yet too see a mountain bike hang with mine or anyone else's on the road...the Trek 7500 FX is a cross between a road bike & a mountain bike...my gearing is different...my tires are 700 25c...the bike is lighter...and I certainly know my bike can't hang with a mountain bike off the road....two different bikes....two different worlds...
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Old 09-30-05, 09:32 PM   #11
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Thanks for the excellent feedback. And thanks to bbattle for the pics - I can clearly see the construction differences when they're lined up like that.

Looks like it's a hybrid for me.
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