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  1. #1
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Speed Difference, Hybrid-vs-Road

    Hello All,

    I'm currently riding a Trek 7500. On a 20 mile ride yesterday I averaged 18m/h. This includes brief stops at lights, etc., so I'm not sure what the actual average speed is.

    But what I am wondering is this: given the same rider (me) with a fairly decent road bike, how much of a difference in average speed can I expect?

    I know there are probably too many variables to give a precise answer, but is there a ballpark percentage as how much faster, on average, one can go with a true road bike as compared to a hybrid. After all there would be less weight, less rolling resistance, and less wind resistance (due to lowered riding position).

    Many thanks!

    --gordon

  2. #2
    It tastes like burning! deliriou5's Avatar
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    remember that wind resistance increases with the SQUARE of the velocity. that means going from 50 to 51mph could take as much effort as it does to go from 12 to 16mph. (these aren't real figures... i'm just using those #s for purpose of illustration).

    that's a good speed for a hybrid, but you have to take into account tire width and tire pressures to account for contact patch size and rolling friction. you can't even do a ballpark estimate of your road bike speed without knowing these.
    The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing - Socrates

    Back on the bike!!

  3. #3
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Its not so much speed as it is effort.I went from hybrid to road and the same 20 mile ride and i am a lot fresher durning and after riding.
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  4. #4
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Hi deliriou5,

    Thanks for the note. I think I may have to just do some empirical research (new bike!) and see what happens. I'll relay my motivation for this...

    As I posted in the intro section the other day, my wife and I are now bike-commuting, and these Trek's we got seem ideal for that purpose. When I was browsing around to see if there were any bicycling clubs in the Houston area I found the main Houston group and they are apparently quite active.

    On their ride schedule they had an explanation of different categories of rides and on their more advanced rides they maintain a 20 m/h pace. Sounds like fun but I'm not sure if my 45-year-old bones can maintain that with my current machine, although it may be possible as my stamina improves.

    Also there are a couple of really great rides every year that start in the Houston area. There is the MS-150 where folks ride from Houston to Austin, and there are a couple of other similar rides, including a Houston to Dallas ride.

    --gordon

  5. #5
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Hi shokhead,

    Originally posted by shokhead
    Its not so much speed as it is effort.I went from hybrid to road and the same 20 mile ride and i am a lot fresher durning and after riding.
    So, given that all other considerations are equal, it's basically less work to maintain the same speed. That sounds pretty good! I think I'm going to keep my eye open for a decent road bike, and in the mean time, I'm just going to keep hitting the road with what I've got and try and keep pushing my personal envelope.

    --gordon

  6. #6
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Originally posted by gordyt
    When I was browsing around to see if there were any bicycling clubs in the Houston area I found the main Houston group and they are apparently quite active.

    On their ride schedule they had an explanation of different categories of rides and on their more advanced rides they maintain a 20 m/h pace. Sounds like fun but I'm not sure if my 45-year-old bones can maintain that with my current machine, although it may be possible as my stamina improves.
    You may want to try riding in one of the group rides that you think you fit in with at your current fitness level. There may be others in the group riding hybrids. If not you can ask for recommendations or help in determining what type or brand of bike others are riding.

    You might also find others who are 40-60 years old. I'm 58 and most of the group rides I go on have riders aged 35-65.
    I think you'll be able to keep up.

  7. #7
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Thanks RonH,

    I think that's a good idea. The Houston group has a bunch of different ride categories. This is pasted from their web site:

    "O" (Orientation) Rides
    Perfect for the novice. Rides are short (20-30 miles) and guided by experienced riders.
    "EZ" (Easy Rider) Rides
    Good rides for beginning riders. Short (20-25 miles), in-town rides led by an experienced cyclist; leisurely-paced with lots of sightseeing stops.
    "GR" (Group) Rides
    For intermediate riders. Medium length (25-40 miles), leader-led rides at a 12-15 mph pace.
    "MP" (Mid-Paced) Rides
    For intermediate to advanced riders. Medium-length rides at 16-20 mph.
    "TR" (Training) Rides
    Long rides (50-60 miles) in a fast (20+ MPH) paceline.
    "TT" (Time Trials)
    Riders start at one minute intervals and are timed on a short (10-20 mile) course.
    "DD" (Dirty Dozen)
    Century rides (100 miles) for those who plan to ride 12 centuries in a calendar year.
    "S&E" (Slow and Easy)
    Century rides for those who aren't sure they can do a century. 11-13 mph with no sags but frequent stops.
    "ATB" (All terrain bikes)
    Offroad 20-30 mile rides, all or mostly on dirt or gravel roads.

    I know I can handle the Mid-Paced rides, so I think that would be a good starting point.

    --gordon

  8. #8
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Check out performance bicycle,i just got a mailer,all 02 bikes are 50% off.You might find a road bike.
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  9. #9
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip shokhead!

    --gordy

  10. #10
    Senior Member ahuman's Avatar
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    the mid -pace ride 16-20 mph did not say how many miles they ride at that pace
    16-20 with hills can be very hard.. (wait do they have hills in houston?).
    I'm sure you will ride even better once you get your new road bike...
    "I Love To Ride My Bicycle, My bicycle"

  11. #11
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Hi ahuman,

    I think most of the mid-pace rides are 25 to 40 miles. And yes, we do have an *occasional* hill in Houston. OK, nothing extreme...I guess it depends upon your definition of hill. I lived in TN for a couple of years and we had lovely hills there. Sadly, Houston has nothing like that.

    --g

  12. #12
    Pat
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    Well, as you suspected the answer is complex.

    A road bike is lighter with lighter wheels so you can accelerate faster. A road bike is probably a little faster in the corners. And you are more aerodynamic on a road bike, so you probably have a higher max speed. Cruising say at 20+ mph is much easier on a road bike then with the more upright posture on a hybrid.

    There are times when hybrids are faster. That would be for potholes, RR tracks, rough pavement, road kills, sand etc.

    With an 18 mph avg you are probably cruising about 20 mph or even a tad bit faster. Aerodynamics starts to kick in at about 17 mph, so you would probably have a small but noticeable speed increase on a road bike from .5 mph to as much as 2 mph. Now you may go nuts with the "sporty feel" of the road bike and average even more, but then your power input is different and the effect as more motivational then anything else. And then again, if you hate the feel of a road bike, it might not help one little bit.

    I had a friend who rode an old clunky sport touring bike for years. He had this one gear that he loved to ride in. Then he got a brand new road bike with ultegra and he went SLOWER. We figured that he lost his "magic" gear or something.

  13. #13
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for the post. I'm browsing around for a road bike now. I'm considering getting a Trek road bike since I already have that Trek hybrid that I do like a lot. But I am soooooo confused about the differences in the models. In this case, the entry-level Trek road bike is a model 1000. Up from there is the 1200, 2000, 2200, 2300, and then the really expensive bikes that are aimed for hard-core racing types.

    Their web site lets you do comparisons between the different models, but I'll confess that I don't know enought about the different componenets to know what the best return-on-investment is with regards to price and component selection.

    --gordon

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    Max
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    I would agree that the hybrid is more forgiving on the potholes, as the tires are wider and higher.

    What I do not like about my hybrid is the short fenders. This really sucks in rain. I plan do buy some additional fenders or something. I did not figure out how solve it yet.

    If you wish to increase the speed - buy the clipless pedals. Then you will be able to not only push the pedals, but to pull them up too.

    It seems it depends more on the "engine", than on the bicycle. Sometimes I can not even keep pace with a cyclist on a hybrid, but sometimes I can easilly take over a cyclist on a roadbike. Depends on the cyclist, more than on his/her bicycle.

  15. #15
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Hi Max,

    I'm sure you are right about the "engine"...I'm just getting into cycling on a more serious basis than in the past. Sort of a getting-in-shape commitment thing. And I'm probably a bit impatient, but am having a great time.

    About the clipless pedals - The ones that are on there now are the allow cage with clips and straps. Is there a big difference with the clipless pedals?

    --g

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    bike club that puts on the blue bonnet express and the katy flat land is the northwest cycle club. its a good group of which i belong to and race for.
    http://www.northwestcyclingclub.com/
    GHORBA - is a great group but it's mtb.
    http://www.ghorba.org/
    If your north of the city the woodlands cycling club is also very organized and a good group i hear.
    If your getting ready for the ms150 my club has rides from zube park every saturday morning starting at 8 and has varing distances and fitness levels. it's free so you cant beat the price.
    if you have anyother questions feel free to email me at tonydeore@hotmail.com and i'd be happy to answer.
    MtbPhreek

  17. #17
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Hi Toninator,

    Thanks for the links! I am in the Humble area so I'm not really close to Katy or the Woodlands, but I'm not adverse to driving across town to be able to ride with some more experienced folks. My wife and I do plan on doing the ms150 next year so I suppose I am getting ready for it. For some reason that doesn't worry me too much as my dear old dad did the 150 when he was 65 and he was an ex-smoker and lung-cancer survivor! So I figure if he can hack it, so can I... :-)

    --g

  18. #18
    Where did whooooo go nemo's Avatar
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    When I went from a mtn bike to my trek 7100 hybrid, I noticed an immediate 5-8 mph increase in speed more comfortable position and all. When i test rode the trek 1000 road bike, I could not get comfortable it felt like a toy I was cramped etc, even then I could tell the potential for another speed increase was there if I could only get comfortable. I ride without toe clips or clipless pedals and honestly I am happy there.
    Just put on your big boy pants and get over it!

  19. #19
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Hi Nemo,

    Riding position is one thing that I would be worried about switching to a pure road bike -vs- the 7500 hybrid that I am currently riding. I have had problems with neck/shoulder pain that I ended up seeing a chiro about (on the recommendation of an office mate - worked out very well). Right now I have the bar tilt on the 7500 adjusted up as high as it will go. I'm planning on gradually lowing the height on it until I achieve a position that is as close as possible to a pure road bike position.

    --g

  20. #20
    Where did whooooo go nemo's Avatar
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    On a road bike you can get the bar tops exactly as high as they are on you 7500. I am debating putting drop bars on my 7100 to make it a more pure cyclocross bike. Honestly the things i would gain on a road bike are this:1. more hand positions as my hands go numb after 10 miles or so. 2. lighter weight. 3 less wind resistance.

    the things i would give up are: 1. toughness. 2. the ability to ride off road if i wanted to.3. a small amount of comfort.

    So I am trying to make the same decision as you are.LOL
    Just put on your big boy pants and get over it!

  21. #21
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Hi Nemo,

    Yep I get the hand numbess thing. I was glad to read your previous post - I guess I had not realized that you could get bar tops the same height as on a hybrid. To clarify - I had assumed you could adjust the up-and-down height, true, but I was thinking that with the way the bars curl down it would sort-of force your upper body to be more parallel to the ground.

    But I'm guessing that is what is actually desired in order to achieve the lesser wind resistance. We don't have much in the way of hills 'round here, but we get lots of gusts. When you add them onto the wind resistance that just your speed generates, well, you know.

    Hey, are you considering the purchase of a road bike or are you just going to modify your 7100 (or both)? Reason I ask is that I really do like the hybrids very comfortable setup for poking 'round town with, so I'm going to leave that alone and (when ready) get a different bike for pure roading. :-)

    If you *are* looking into purchasing a road bike, are you looking at another Trek or something else?

    --g

  22. #22
    Where did whooooo go nemo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by gordyt
    Hi Nemo,

    Yep I get the hand numbess thing. I was glad to read your previous post - I guess I had not realized that you could get bar tops the same height as on a hybrid. To clarify - I had assumed you could adjust the up-and-down height, true, but I was thinking that with the way the bars curl down it would sort-of force your upper body to be more parallel to the ground.

    --g
    According to my lbs with the proper stem you can put drops in any posistion desired



    Hey, are you considering the purchase of a road bike or are you just going to modify your 7100 (or both)? Reason I ask is that I really do like the hybrids very comfortable setup for poking 'round town with, so I'm going to leave that alone and (when ready) get a different bike for pure roading. :-)
    I am considering both actually the hybrid is decidely comfortable for short distances and is a superior commuter, but the weight is a little higher than that of road bike.
    If you *are* looking into purchasing a road bike, are you looking at another Trek or something else?
    I looked at trek, but all i ridden are very cramped lengthwise. some of the other brands seem to have other lengths that may work better for me. I truthfully need to get to a bigger bike shop and ride a few cannondale has caught my eye.
    Just put on your big boy pants and get over it!

  23. #23
    Are we having fun yet? Prosody's Avatar
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    To help get rid of hand numbness on the hybrid, put bar ends on. You can adjust their position so that you have a different reach and different places to put your hands. I have mine set so that I can rest my palms on the ends of the bars and my fingers on the bar ends. If I hold the most forward part of the bar ends I can be somewhat more aero. You can play around with the position of bar ends until you find what works best for you.
    You're east of East St. Louis
    And the wind is making speeches.

  24. #24
    Senior Member gordyt's Avatar
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    Thanks Nemo and Prosody,

    I will take a look at bar ends this weekend. I didn't realize those type of accessories were available. (so much to learn -- surprising, really, since I've been riding bikes for as long as I can remember -- just never seriously!)

    --g

  25. #25
    Max
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    The bar ends are the good thing to have.

    As for the clipless pedals - I am not so sure. I plan to return back the platform pedals on my Giant and see if I miss the clipless ones.

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