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  1. #1
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    What Are Hybrid bikes?

    I've been hearing about Hybrid bikes but cudn't actually make out what is it... are cannondale bikes one of them...Seriously confusing..somebody tell me!

  2. #2
    Senior Member vsopking's Avatar
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    A Hybrid is a cross between a "normal commute" bike and a sport bike. The Hybrid bike will have more sporty looks, and as a rider you are in a bit different position on the bike, it sure has other ride qualities compared to a standard bike. I started with a Trek Hybrid but grew into a "road" bike which is even lighter. As Cannondale is a bike manufacturer they try to attract all sorts of people to buy their bikes and the offer a whole range of bike that go from conventional to ultra fashionable to race. You just have to decide for what purpose you like to use the bike.

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    Allez means go. bengreen79's Avatar
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    There is a whole hybrid forum here with everything you'd want to know about them.

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    In the beginning there were road bikes. Oh sure, there were BMX bikes and English 3-speeds and American knock offs of English 3-speeds but, if you were interested in a serious bike, it was going to be a road bike period.

    Then the loonies in San Francisco started trucking old Schwinn newspaper boy bikes to the top of a mountain and riding them down the trails. It was a lot of fun. One trail was even named "Repack" because, after one ride, the heat from the coaster brake would cook the grease out of the rear hub and it would have to be repacked. At some point somebody (Gary Fisher) put a derailleur on one of those frames so that he could ride the bike back up the hill and mountain bikes were born.

    So for several years we had 2 styles of bikes with derailleur gears to choose from. Road bikes with 1" wide tires and Mountain bikes with 2" wide tires. (I know the English 3-speeds and their ilk never went away but there were only about 5 or 6 people who cared.)

    Then somebody in Wisconsin came up with the idea of tearing up the tracks from an abandoned railroad and replacing it with crushed limestone. Skinny tired road bikes were a little sketchy on the surface but fat tired mountain bikes were overkill. People wanted something "in-between" to ride the rail trails etc. That's when hybrid bikes were born.

  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    In the beginning there were road bikes. Oh sure, there were BMX bikes and English 3-speeds and American knock offs of English 3-speeds but, if you were interested in a serious bike, it was going to be a road bike period.

    Then the loonies in San Francisco started trucking old Schwinn newspaper boy bikes to the top of a mountain and riding them down the trails. It was a lot of fun. One trail was even named "Repack" because, after one ride, the heat from the coaster brake would cook the grease out of the rear hub and it would have to be repacked. At some point somebody (Gary Fisher) put a derailleur on one of those frames so that he could ride the bike back up the hill and mountain bikes were born.

    So for several years we had 2 styles of bikes with derailleur gears to choose from. Road bikes with 1" wide tires and Mountain bikes with 2" wide tires. (I know the English 3-speeds and their ilk never went away but there were only about 5 or 6 people who cared.)

    Then somebody in Wisconsin came up with the idea of tearing up the tracks from an abandoned railroad and replacing it with crushed limestone. Skinny tired road bikes were a little sketchy on the surface but fat tired mountain bikes were overkill. People wanted something "in-between" to ride the rail trails etc. That's when hybrid bikes were born.
    Up to the last paragraph, you were absolutely correct. The first Rail Trail was the Elroy-Sparta Trail which opened in 1965. That's a decade before the San Francisco loonies started throwing bikes down mountains and almost 2 decades before the first production mountain bike.

    The 'hybrid' bicycle's first introduction was around 1989 (nearly 25 years after the first rail-trail). It was an attempt to make a bike that was part mountain bike and part road bike by combining the worst of both systems...large wheels (700C), higher gearing (because of the 700C), more effort to spin the wheels (not something you want during a high angle climb), upright riding style (not too aerodynamic), heavy frame (for a road bike), etc. A hybrid does everything that a road bike or a mountain bike can do but it just does it badly Today's 29er craze is just taking hybrids to their illogical conclusion without the 'road worthy' bandaid

    To get back to rahulsingh's question, hybrid bikes are now flat bar bikes for people who don't want to ride a full mountain bike or a full road bike. They currently fall into a couple of broad classes. There's comfort bikes which are more towards the mountain bike style which usually have some rudimentary suspension system (fork and, usually, seatpost shock) like this



    If you want a ride that takes the edge off on bumps, this might be the bike for you. It's heavier, slower and, perhaps, a bit more comfortable than the other branch of the hybrid tree.

    The other branch of the hybrid tree is the road leaning hybrid. They are faster than the comfort hybrids, less comfortable and don't, usually, have suspension...rudimentary or otherwise. This is a pretty good example



    As you can see this is almost a road bike. It just doesn't have the drop bars.

    There is a bit of a continuum when it comes to 'hybrid' bikes from the road machine above to the comfort bike but, generally, the above covers most of the spectrum.

    My personal feelings about hybrids...if I haven't made that clear...is to pick the sport you want and get a bike that is designed to do the job. If you want to go hammer on the road, get a road bike. If you want to go pound rocks, get a mountain bike. If you want to do both, get both
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  6. #6
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Or, if you haven't decided where you want to ride yet, get a hybrid anyway. If, after a few months, you wish you had fatter tires and better suspension, get a mountain bike; if you wish you could use more riding positions and stay on pavement for hours at a time, get a road bike. Then keep the hybrid as a commuter, rain bike, or something to lend out to friends or go tooling around the park with the family.

  7. #7
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Go to the Hybrid Bicycles forum. Lots of pics and discussion there.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...ybrid-Bicycles
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2011 Felt Z4

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    My personal feelings about hybrids...if I haven't made that clear...is to pick the sport you want and get a bike that is designed to do the job. If you want to go hammer on the road, get a road bike. If you want to go pound rocks, get a mountain bike. If you want to do both, get both
    However if you're an older, saner person who doesn't need a fully shock-absorbed, fat knobby-tired hill charger, -or a person who doesn't need to travel at 40MPH on skinny rail-like tires that will floor you rolling over tiny rocks, or even a person who likes to sit fairly normal on a bike in everyday clothing and not ride hunched over like a jockey on a horse dressed in a sweaty tight lycra uniform, them a hybrid is EXACTLY the absolutely best possible bicycle you could ever own or ride!

    So, if you can afford to buy two bikes, buy two hybrids instead! -They're made for riding, and not for hammering or pounding anything...?

    -And forget about the ravings of the cycling purists, they're all crazy anyway...
    Namaste,
    Chazzlee ">**)

  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazzlee View Post
    However if you're an older, saner person who doesn't need a fully shock-absorbed, fat knobby-tired hill charger, -or a person who doesn't need to travel at 40MPH on skinny rail-like tires that will floor you rolling over tiny rocks, or even a person who likes to sit fairly normal on a bike in everyday clothing and not ride hunched over like a jockey on a horse dressed in a sweaty tight lycra uniform, them a hybrid is EXACTLY the absolutely best possible bicycle you could ever own or ride!

    So, if you can afford to buy two bikes, buy two hybrids instead! -They're made for riding, and not for hammering or pounding anything...?

    -And forget about the ravings of the cycling purists, they're all crazy anyway...
    I am an older, saner person (mostly). Hybrids are made to do two things...ride off-road and ride on-road. They also happen to do both badly. They are slower and less efficient on the road meaning that they are harder to push through the air so that the older, weaker person has to work harder to do the same thing they could do on a road bike. Off-road they are rougher, have less control, are harder to climb on and take more effort to get from point A to point B. This, too, means that the older, weaker person has to work harder to make them do the same thing as a mountain bike would do.

    As for the lycra 'uniform', I'm an older wiser cyclist that knows that if I go for a ride in everyday clothing, I'll be riding in sweaty everyday clothing that is poorly designed to take care of the sweat that I produce...no matter what speed I ride at. Also as an older wiser cyclist, I know the pain and suffering of riding in 'normal clothes' with seams that make broken glass seem soft. I've earned my right to wear lycra by experiencing riding without it. I wear it not out of fashion but out of necessity and long experience.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    I am an older, saner person (mostly). Hybrids are made to do two things...ride off-road and ride on-road. They also happen to do both badly. They are slower and less efficient on the road meaning that they are harder to push through the air so that the older, weaker person has to work harder to do the same thing they could do on a road bike. Off-road they are rougher, have less control, are harder to climb on and take more effort to get from point A to point B. This, too, means that the older, weaker person has to work harder to make them do the same thing as a mountain bike would do.
    On the other hand, if your glass happens to be half full, you could say that hybrids handle off-road better than a skinny tired road bike and better on the road than a knobby tired mountain bike. You might not go quite as fast with equal effort, but then how many SUV's ever get off the pavement and how many Corvettes ever go faster than 100 MPH?

    I've never owned a hybrid. I've had rod bikes and mountain bikes but I've never been particularly fast with either. Recently I've been forced to make the switch to recumbents. Recently I met another recumbent rider in the middle of a ride. He looked at my 1.35" tires and said: "You've got HYBRID tires." At the time I felt obligated to defend my choice but, in retrospect, I'm wondering why.

  11. #11
    Senior Member referee54's Avatar
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    X2!
    We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    I am an older, saner person (mostly). Hybrids are made to do two things...ride off-road and ride on-road. They also happen to do both badly. They are slower and less efficient on the road meaning that they are harder to push through the air so that the older, weaker person has to work harder to do the same thing they could do on a road bike. Off-road they are rougher, have less control, are harder to climb on and take more effort to get from point A to point B. This, too, means that the older, weaker person has to work harder to make them do the same thing as a mountain bike would do.
    Of course hybrid bike will not be as fast or efficient as a road bike on the road nor as a mountain bike off the road but for many people it does not matter. If you're riding your bike at 10 mph to get from A to B on a paved road then it really does not matter. I'd say that describes a large portion of the cycling population (even though I have absolutely no statistics to back this up).

  13. #13
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazzlee View Post
    However if you're an older, saner person who doesn't need a fully shock-absorbed, fat knobby-tired hill charger, -or a person who doesn't need to travel at 40MPH on skinny rail-like tires that will floor you rolling over tiny rocks, or even a person who likes to sit fairly normal on a bike in everyday clothing and not ride hunched over like a jockey on a horse dressed in a sweaty tight lycra uniform, them a hybrid is EXACTLY the absolutely best possible bicycle you could ever own or ride!

    So, if you can afford to buy two bikes, buy two hybrids instead! -They're made for riding, and not for hammering or pounding anything...?

    -And forget about the ravings of the cycling purists, they're all crazy anyway...
    Hybrids rock to go to the bank to cash your social security check, or take that shortcut across the parking lot islands to get to Old Country Buffet faster

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    If on a single ride you're going to cover smooth road, go up and down curbs, travel paved, semi-paved and unpaved paths through wooded areas where you may run over sticks, take a detour around a fallen branch, and deal with other irregularities and disruptions, hybrid makes a lot of sense.

  15. #15
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NVABiker View Post
    If on a single ride you're going to cover smooth road, go up and down curbs, travel paved, semi-paved and unpaved paths through wooded areas where you may run over sticks, take a detour around a fallen branch, and deal with other irregularities and disruptions, hybrid makes a lot of sense.
    Which hybrid? Look at the examples I provided. The comfort bike isn't going to do all that well on on the road nor will it do very well if you travel off-road since the geometry is rather relaxed. The more road bike like hybrid is just plain gonna suck on irregularities and disruptions because the tires are too narrow and the bike is too road bike like for dealing with much roughness.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    If you want to go hammer on the road, get a road bike. If you want to go pound rocks, get a mountain bike. If you want to do both, get both
    There are jobs that hybrid bikes do very well that a straight road bike or a straight mountain bike cannot do nearly as well. A mountain bike is too heavy for many commutes, but a road bike wouldn't do the job either. My hybrid is better than either one for the commute.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Which hybrid? Look at the examples I provided. The comfort bike isn't going to do all that well on on the road nor will it do very well if you travel off-road since the geometry is rather relaxed. The more road bike like hybrid is just plain gonna suck on irregularities and disruptions because the tires are too narrow and the bike is too road bike like for dealing with much roughness.
    It's becoming fairly obvious that one cannot reasonably have a discussion re what style of bike one prefers with a "mad bike scientist"..
    I guess those of us who love hybrid bikes for what they do so well are just losers who ride bikes that "suck", while road bike and mtn bike riders must be superior human beans who know more about bikes than anyone else..?

    AFAIC when someone takes the attitude, "don't bother discussing any good points about your ride, because I know better than you that there aren't any", then IMO the thread is more or less dead and not worth any further interaction on my part....!
    Namaste,
    Chazzlee ">**)

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Which hybrid? Look at the examples I provided. The comfort bike isn't going to do all that well on on the road nor will it do very well if you travel off-road since the geometry is rather relaxed. The more road bike like hybrid is just plain gonna suck on irregularities and disruptions because the tires are too narrow and the bike is too road bike like for dealing with much roughness.
    In my case, Specialized Crosstrail. Does everything I need it to in the environments I ride and and the distances I travel (generally <10 miles). Not everyone has the same concept of what "Do[ing] all that well on the road" is.

  19. #19
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    Q. What is a hybrid bike?

    A. Confused

    The term hybrid is applied to so many bikes these days, the term is pretty much meaningless.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  20. #20
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    A mountain bike is too heavy for many commutes
    What does "too heavy" mean in this context, anyways?

    As I see it, the only situations where the weight of your bike really matters is 1) you're actually carrying it (up stairs, onto the train, putting it in your car, etc.) or 2) you're racing (where every fraction of a second counts.)

    When you're carrying your bike, that part is obvious, and weight really matters. But when riding, it really only matters up hills -- and not very much. If you're 150 lbs and your bike is 20 lbs, you'll go up that steep hill only about 6% faster than if your bike was 30 lbs instead.

    For a commute, it seems more important to have a bike that can do what you need it to -- carry your stuff if needed, jump up on curbs, handle broken pavement, etc. and not break than to have it be as light as possible. A mountain bike (or hybrid) especially with slick tires if it's mostly ridden on the road, often excels at this job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    For a commute, it seems more important to have a bike that can do what you need it to -- carry your stuff if needed, jump up on curbs, handle broken pavement, etc. and not break than to have it be as light as possible. A mountain bike (or hybrid) especially with slick tires if it's mostly ridden on the road, often excels at this job.
    Yes, it's almost as good as a cyclocross style bike.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazzlee View Post
    It's becoming fairly obvious that one cannot reasonably have a discussion re what style of bike one prefers with a "mad bike scientist"..
    I guess those of us who love hybrid bikes for what they do so well are just losers who ride bikes that "suck", while road bike and mtn bike riders must be superior human beans who know more about bikes than anyone else..?

    AFAIC when someone takes the attitude, "don't bother discussing any good points about your ride, because I know better than you that there aren't any", then IMO the thread is more or less dead and not worth any further interaction on my part....!
    So don't let somebody else define the use for your bike.

    "I want a bike for mostly city riding and some crushed limestone rail-trail use. I want an upright riding position. I want wide range gearing. I want a kickstand. I want a basket that will carry a six pack. Whatever."

    Define what you want a bike to do as detailed as you can and see what the mad bike scientist comes up with for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Which hybrid? Look at the examples I provided. The comfort bike isn't going to do all that well on on the road nor will it do very well if you travel off-road since the geometry is rather relaxed. The more road bike like hybrid is just plain gonna suck on irregularities and disruptions because the tires are too narrow and the bike is too road bike like for dealing with much roughness.
    But...
    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommuter
    There is a bit of a continuum when it comes to'hybrid' bikes
    So you could go with something in between (which is the whole point).

    For mixed terrain you may want mountain bike like head tube and seat tube angles, mountain bike like bb height, 25mm to 32mm (or wider if you spend any time on really rough terrain) tires, and wide range gearing.

    What kind of bike would that be?
    Mountain bike with semi-slicks? It would work, but bigger wheels would be an advantage on road without much disadvantage on light trails.
    You may be able to find a road bike with higher than average bb and greater than average trail, and a wide range cassette and compatible rear derailluer.
    An English 3 speed with 1 1/4" or 1 3/8" tires may actually be a workable choice.

    But, if you want a new stock bike for this the best choice will probably be sold as...
    Drum roll please...
    A CycloCross bike.

    Wait, was that the answer I was supposed to be leading up to?
    Well, it's still a hybrid to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

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    Rogerstg,
    You beat me to it.
    Last edited by NightShift; 08-02-10 at 03:04 PM. Reason: typo
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

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    When I got my hybrid, the genre featured 700c wheels with knobby tires, either flat or short riser bars, and had mountain components and gearing. Ccyccommute's first picture shows a comfort bike, which is a form of mountain bike. Being a recumbenteur, I totally think the name is a misnomer, but that is another story. It was geared for those who wanted the stable ride of a fat-tired mountain bike, but wanted a more-upright position - sort of like mountain bikes before the sport of racing the things caused the riding position to be altered to a more aggressive stance. In his second picture, cyccommute shows a flat-bar road bike. It's got a compact double crankset and skinny tires, even road calipers; and is no more a hybrid than is an old English 3-speed. If someone at Giant is referring to that as a hybrid, they're *really* blurring the lines. A hybrid, as described in my first sentence, is equally at home on easy trails, MUPs, or roads. Their more-upright position is better for commuting than either a full mountain bike or a full road bike, and will roll easier than a 'comfort bike.' It's a compromise, but so are most SUVs and look how popular those things are.

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