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  1. #1
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    What makes my road bike more comfortable than my hybrid?

    So after a long time off my road bike, I took it for a spin today and WOW, it feels much more comfortable than my hybrid over bumps. I don't understand why! Sure I can still feel the bumps etc but it feels more dampened than the hybrid. The differences are:

    - road bike has 23mm armadillos at 120psi and the hybrid has 35mm tyres at 75psi
    - hybrid has a brooks and the road bike has a selle royal viper (I had this on the hybrid though too)
    - hybrid is heavier with mudguards and a rack
    - road bike has a carbon fork

    Both have drop bars and carbon seat posts.

    Am really curious at what does this dampening - surely it can't all be the fork?

    Thanks

    Daven

  2. #2
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    what is the frame materiel? brand and model of bikes too
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
    - road bike has 23mm armadillos at 120psi and the hybrid has 35mm tyres at 75ps
    The wider/lower-pressure tires are going to be better at absorbing bumps.

    Quote Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
    Am really curious at what does this dampening
    It's you (I believe)! You probably are riding lighter on the road bike. It's possible that you are using your arms more to absorb bumps.

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    The frames are both alu, except for the road bike carbon fork.

    I had thought the wider tyres would be better at absorbing bumps, but the ride just seems much harsher on my hybrid! I had suspected it may have something to do with the weight, although I was carrying a u-lock, shoes, and 2 cable locks, which is probably the same weight as what I carry on my hybrid. I also thought it may be the rack and therefore extra weight on the back wheel - although even bumps from the front wheel seemed less harsh (although this is probably the carbon fork).

    It is possible that it is me doing the dampening, although I do stand up and do a lot of absorbing on my hybrid.

    Not complaining though! I am pleased, but have been looking for ways to improve comfort on my hybrid!

    Thanks for the replies

  5. #5
    Senior Member tntyz's Avatar
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    I notice the same thing. Had a compressed nerve in my upper back and found that riding the hybrid really hurt after a while. On hybrid I sit much more upright and every bump was helping to compress my spine. On the road bike I'm more stretched out and the bumps are absorbed by muscles and joints flexing.

    Who says that hybrids have to be more comfortable than road bikes?

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    Well I converted my hybrid to drop bars so I have a similar, if not identical, position.

    Either way I am pleased, because I always thought my road bike was harsh - obviously I was wrong! Had such a beautiful ride on it though

  7. #7
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
    I notice the same thing. Had a compressed nerve in my upper back and found that riding the hybrid really hurt after a while. On hybrid I sit much more upright and every bump was helping to compress my spine. On the road bike I'm more stretched out and the bumps are absorbed by muscles and joints flexing.

    Who says that hybrids have to be more comfortable than road bikes?
    That's a big part of it, I'd say. I sometimes see people riding hybrids and city bikes with a bolt-upright position and imagine every bump shooting straight up their spine. A further-forward position like on a road bike lets the body pivot over bumps instead.

  8. #8
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
    Well I converted my hybrid to drop bars so I have a similar, if not identical, position.
    Ah, I remember reading this thread last night...

    I'm also thinking that hybrid frames are meant to be sturdy while road bike frames are designed for long, half-day training rides and races. You won't see many marketing materials bragging about a road bike's hard ride and buzzy feel, for example. Your hybrid's rack also stiffens the rear triangle more than it already is.

    That still doesn't explain the fatter tires not making up for the frame differences, though.

  9. #9
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    Carbon forks (at least for me) make a HUGE difference in absorbing road "buzz".

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep_sky View Post
    Carbon forks (at least for me) make a HUGE difference in absorbing road "buzz".
    Yeah, but surely not through the back end! Either way this has lead to me having buy new drop bars (as my road ones are a bit too wide!) as I really do find it gives a lovely ride, and want it as a good alternative to my commuter sometimes!

    When the 35mm tyres wear out I will be getting some marathon ones as they can take a lower pressure - these specialized nimbus ones need at least 75psi according to the sidewall!

    This has somewhat changed my view of my next bike though, I was going to go with a MTB frame and balloon tyres, but perhaps a Cyclocross frame and fat tyres would be as good (perhaps better due to fit etc.)

    Thanks Barracks, I had thought the rack would do something - I suppose if I get bored one day I can put a rack on my road bike (it used to have one - and I don't remember the ride being this good!) and see if it makes a difference, however I don't think I will be that bored any time soon!

    Unfortunately I need the rack for commuting - don't like a sweaty back!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
    I notice the same thing. Had a compressed nerve in my upper back and found that riding the hybrid really hurt after a while. On hybrid I sit much more upright and every bump was helping to compress my spine. On the road bike I'm more stretched out and the bumps are absorbed by muscles and joints flexing.

    Who says that hybrids have to be more comfortable than road bikes?
    Your different posture explains a lot. On the road bike, you are supporting some of your weight using your arms. Sitting upright puts all of the weight on your seat. And it's harder/slower to get off of the seat to react to bumps.

    Good road bike riders ride in such a way so that they can react to bumps quicker.

    Quote Originally Posted by deep_sky View Post
    Carbon forks (at least for me) make a HUGE difference in absorbing road "buzz".
    "Road buzz" isn't bumps.

  12. #12
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    The road bike may well have a lighter frame which is absorbing the shocks and vibrations better. That, along with the carbon fiber fork, could have an effect on the ride. Take a tape measure and level and see if the bar height and reach on both bikes are the same. A more upright position on the hybrid, even with drop bars, could explain part of what you are feeling.

    Also does the road bike have a CF seatpost or bars? Both reputedly can increase comfort compared to Aluminum. So can tire construction as many Hybrid bike tires have very stiff sidewalls compared to road bike tires.
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    The reach and bar height is very similar on both bikes - I set the hybrid up to match the road bike. Both bikes have a CF seatpost, both have alu bars. The tyres seem to have supple side walls on both bikes, but I guess the road bike ones are a little more supple - however they are specialized armadillos which are generally pretty rigid.

    Thank

  14. #14
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Riding in the drops is what I find comfortable.. When ever I ride our city bike with upright handlebars is when I feel pressure on the hands and an eventual numbness. Are their guides to the correct position on city bikes.. My elbows are 90 degrees perpendicular to the handlebars. I'd think that the best position to minimize pressure points on one's hands.?
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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    maybe because the road bike is lighter and faster. I have Armadillos myself and find they are VERY comfortable even OVER their MAX pressure!
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    The road bike may well have a lighter frame which is absorbing the shocks and vibrations better.
    Road bikes are often "stiff", which means they would be less capable of absorbing shocks. "Vibrations" are a different thing.

    Most of the "shock absorption" is done by the rider, most of the rest is done by the tires. (Ignoring bikes with shocks.)

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
    Riding in the drops is what I find comfortable.. When ever I ride our city bike with upright handlebars is when I feel pressure on the hands and an eventual numbness. Are their guides to the correct position on city bikes.. My elbows are 90 degrees perpendicular to the handlebars. I'd think that the best position to minimize pressure points on one's hands.?
    If your posture is upright, then there should be very little weight on your hands on the "city" bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
    The reach and bar height is very similar on both bikes - I set the hybrid up to match the road bike. Both bikes have a CF seatpost, both have alu bars. The tyres seem to have supple side walls on both bikes, but I guess the road bike ones are a little more supple - however they are specialized armadillos which are generally pretty rigid.
    Tires without any air are pretty floppy. It's the pressure in the tire that really provides rigidity.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 04-12-10 at 09:39 AM.

  17. #17
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    Hmm it appears that there is no real reason for this - not to worry though, I love both the bikes and will now be using my road bike even over the poor road surfaces to work (when the weather is warmer....and not raining!!)

    Thanks all

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