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Old 09-04-13, 08:29 PM   #1
vol
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What makes road bike faster than hybrid beside what I know....

This is very elementary question: beside the difference in riding position (handlebar, saddle), tires (more slim), weight (lighter), what else make road bike faster? e.g. the chain? pedals? I've never tried a road bike... Does it feel less exhausting when pedaling a road bike? If so, what makes it so? Do you need to pedal less cycles to travel the same distance than hybrid?
Bottomline, I'm curious if I'll feel less effort and less tiring when riding a road bike. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-04-13, 08:42 PM   #2
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Not the chain.
Hey, it's just riding a bike! Except that the bike is probably considerably lighter and designed to go faster easier than most hybrids.
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Old 09-04-13, 08:51 PM   #3
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The position helps in two ways: it's more aerodynamic, and it allows the rider to use more of their bodyweight to turn the pedals. The narrower tires and lighter weight help as well, but after these factors, the other features of a road bike are minor contributors to the speed.

People think that switching to higher gearing and skinnier tires will make their hybrids go faster, but they won't.
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Old 09-04-13, 09:28 PM   #4
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Oh, thanks. I thought there is some mechanical difference in the design of the parts.
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Old 09-05-13, 02:00 AM   #5
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Had bikes ranging from folders to roadbikes and the main difference between a roadbike and a modded mtb or hybrid is the aerodynamics. Weight helps but being more aero is what allows you to go faster. Of course its different for every rider but I personally prefer a modded mtb for long rides in excess of 200km as speed is less important and comfort and versitility are paramount. However for a fast 160km over a few hills nothing beats a road bike for sheer speed and responsiveness. Its just tricky to get the cockpit dialed in for (relative) comfort.



That for all night and all day riding.



That for getting somewhere fast.
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Old 09-05-13, 03:28 AM   #6
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Some road bikes(comfort bikes) are built more like hybrids. A more race oriented road bike is build with an aggressive geometry that assumes the rider will be in an aero position, with all of his energy to go into the pedals. The race frame needs to be a snappy handler @ high speeds. A comfort bike, hybrid or road, has a geometry built for a rider in a more upright position who isn't intending on the 60mph descent through twisty mountain roads & prefers to be more upright, enjoying the scenery.
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Old 09-05-13, 03:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vol View Post
This is very elementary question: beside the difference in riding position (handlebar, saddle), tires (more slim), weight (lighter), what else make road bike faster? e.g. the chain? pedals? I've never tried a road bike... Does it feel less exhausting when pedaling a road bike? If so, what makes it so? Do you need to pedal less cycles to travel the same distance than hybrid?
Bottomline, I'm curious if I'll feel less effort and less tiring when riding a road bike. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-05-13, 05:52 AM   #8
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Bottomline, I'm curious if I'll feel less effort and less tiring when riding a road bike. Thanks in advance.
Yes, it is the effort in comparison with all bikes, including road bikes themselves. The comparison is at different terrains and wind conditions. It starts with frame design and the material used, implementation. Road bikes come with different kinds of wheel sets that are designed for speed.

Yours is a twofold question: about the bike and about the rider. Road bike riding will push the rider into a different style of riding, a higher cadence, a more efficient pedal movement, even a long downhill descent with drop bars positioning.

I think a seasoned road bike rider on a road bike will ride more efficiently, less wattage, than that same rider on a hybrid. He will go faster and longer. When you take that rider on different terrain, say a 5 mile climb, it will be even more of a difference, both on the climb and on the descent.

The gearing part comes down to what the gearing is pushing. You can take the exact same gearing on two very different bikes, and it will come down to the bike frame, wheel set, and terrain, relative to the rider's capabilities to ride a road bike.

There is a price to pay to ride more efficiently. Its the rider who must conform to how a road bike should be ridden. For some, that price is not worth it.

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Old 09-05-13, 06:40 AM   #9
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People think that switching to higher gearing and skinnier tires will make their hybrids go faster, but they won't.
Gearing won't make any difference unless they're spinning out (which is unlikely).

Better tires might make a noticeable difference if there average speed is on the lower end.

Being in a better aerodynamic position certainly makes a bigger deal at the higher end of speeds. Putting bar ends (or even clip-on aerobars) on a hybrid can make a difference here.

I'm not sure I buy the "more of their bodyweight" argument for all sorts of reasons (different body positions use different muscles, but that's not the same as using more body weight).
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Old 09-05-13, 06:43 AM   #10
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I think a seasoned road bike rider on a road bike will ride more efficiently, less wattage, than that same rider on a hybrid. He will go faster and longer. When you take that rider on different terrain, say a 5 mile climb, it will be even more of a difference, both on the climb and on the descent.
If said rider has the conditioning for the higher gears. Personally climbing on 39-24 is not my favorite thing to do. I'd rather take the stress off my knees and let the gears do more work. If its a little slower so be it.
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Old 09-05-13, 06:47 AM   #11
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Changing from mixed use tires, 60 psi, road, grass, gravel, whatever tires to road only tires at 90psi made a big difference in effort required to move my 40 lb comfort cruiser bike, although gearing limits to speed to around 15-16 mph. Cadence is just too high, but it's a lot easier to cruise at 12-13 with the road tires on the same bike.
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Old 09-05-13, 09:16 AM   #12
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Thanks. I realize I'm actually concerned not about high speed, but about efficiency or less effort/exhaustion when pedaling (similar to the feeling when having proper gearing). Aerodynamic features only make difference when the speed is high. If I ride only speed like 10-13 mph, perhaps it doesn't make much difference in my feeling of effort whether I'm on a road bike or a hybrid?
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Old 09-05-13, 09:37 AM   #13
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I have often had the same questions as the OP. I would like to try riding a decent road bike on my commute sometime, just to see how it differs. Currently, I average 14-16 mph on the hybrid depending on how many traffic lights catch me, stops at intersections, and weather/wind conditions.

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Old 09-05-13, 09:39 AM   #14
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I'm not sure I buy the "more of their bodyweight" argument for all sorts of reasons (different body positions use different muscles, but that's not the same as using more body weight).
I struggled with my wording, and still wasn't happy with it in the end. The road bike position lets the rider use their muscles more effectively -- one can absolutely apply more force to the pedals when the weight is shifted forward and the rider can pull up on the handlebars. With the hybrid/upright position, there's more weight on the saddle that isn't going to be available as leverage unless the rider gets out of the saddle.

vol, aerodynamic concerns are present from the moment you start moving -- at lower speeds, it isn't the main source of drag, but it still makes things easier if you are more aerodynamic.
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Old 09-05-13, 10:14 AM   #15
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I have often had the same questions as the OP. I would like to try riding a decent road bike on my commute sometime, just to see how it differs. Currently, I average 14-16 mph on the hybrid depending on how many traffic lights catch me, stops at intersections, and weather/wind conditions.
I too have the same question. I hope to be in the market next year for a bike and I am pretty sure I want a hybrid style, but I'm curious about the hybrid vs. road bike.

I'm riding a heavy POS Walmart mountain bike on paved bike trails with a front and a rear shock and 26/1.95 knobbies. I am riding about 14 mph (~12 average with riding slowly enjoying the cold air in tunnels) on my flat trail and want more speed only so that I can ride further than I am for my hour nightly ride.

I really don't want to be hunched down riding. I am taking in the scenery when I ride. I'm checking out the canoes and kayaks floating down the river. I'm watching for bald eagles. I stop about 3 times usually in my 6 miles up and 6 miles back to watch the deer that are standing in the middle of the trail that I practically ride up on (one trail up at the lake, I got off and walked my bike between the 2 fawns feeding in the grass on either side of the trail. I literally could have patted each one on the head as I walked through.) I like sitting up as I am on my mountain bike. I'm pretty sure I'd be faster if I was to trade from my mountain bike to a hybrid and have been wondering about how much faster yet it would be on a road bike. If it was just the aerodynamics, then I'm not interested. I'll sit upright and enjoy the nature.
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Old 09-05-13, 10:57 AM   #16
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I think we have all been saying pretty much the same thing. Weight, positioning, components, gearing and design are all part of it. They do make flat bar road bikes that to me are a compromise as well. But even a more comfort designed, sometimes called plush, road back mimics what we remember even as kids a position we assumed when we wanted to go faster. We lowered our heads, moving our chest over the knees and pedaled as fast as we could while unconsciously pulling up on the bars. The position and road bike gives you tends to stress those same characteristics. When a road bike rider wants to slow down going down hill what do they do? They sit up and create drag. That position is more like the average position of the average hybrid. The more upright you sit the more drag on you body. Plus the more upright you are the more work your legs have to do without the assistance of other muscle groups. So "yes" the road bike seems or is easier to move at a given speed. Comfort is subjective because the more you are conditioned to the riding positions available on a road bike the more comfortable you are.
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Old 09-05-13, 11:12 AM   #17
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I really don't want to be hunched down riding. I am taking in the scenery when I ride. I'm checking out the canoes and kayaks floating down the river. I'm watching for bald eagles. I stop about 3 times usually in my 6 miles up and 6 miles back to watch the deer that are standing in the middle of the trail that I practically ride up on (one trail up at the lake, I got off and walked my bike between the 2 fawns feeding in the grass on either side of the trail. I literally could have patted each one on the head as I walked through.) I like sitting up as I am on my mountain bike. I'm pretty sure I'd be faster if I was to trade from my mountain bike to a hybrid and have been wondering about how much faster yet it would be on a road bike. If it was just the aerodynamics, then I'm not interested. I'll sit upright and enjoy the nature.
For mountain bike to hybrid, the biggest difference is having slick tires. This is something you can do very easily on a mountain bike that makes a HUGE difference.

And something I didn't mention before, but should have: Having a solid front fork (or being able to lock out your front fork) is also something that can make a huge difference.

If you want aerodynamics and comfort, it may be time to think about joining the dark side. That is, after all, what recumbents are all about.
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Old 09-05-13, 11:36 AM   #18
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Bending over Low for less air resistance ,and working harder on the pedals is the way..

slower is less air resistance, too .. just have to start earlier in the Morning ..
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Old 09-05-13, 11:42 AM   #19
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I really don't want to be hunched down riding. I am taking in the scenery when I ride.
I'm like you, although there is little scenery in NYC, let alone animals . I'm not into cycling as a professional sport and don't ride it just for the sake of riding. For much part I do it as relaxation and enjoyment in addition to commuting, getting from A to B, so lowering my head and hunching my body would be depressing and defeat the purpose .

One reason I was thinking about road bikes is the flexibility of hand positions on the handlebar, of which I feel the need when on a long ride. But I'm no keen about the "odd look" of dropped bar on a hybrid bike, especially when the hybrid is a step-through...

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If you want aerodynamics and comfort, it may be time to think about joining the dark side. That is, after all, what recumbents are all about.
Recumbents are nice but not without cons: Bird droppings will fall straight onto your face
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Old 09-05-13, 11:50 AM   #20
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One reason I was thinking about road bikes is the flexibility of hand positions on the handlebar, of which I feel the need when on a long ride. But I'm no keen about the "odd look" of dropped bar on a hybrid bike, especially when the hybrid is a step-through...



Recumbents are nice but not without cons: Bird droppings will fall straight onto your face
There's another thought that I am always seeing, different hand positions. But, with the addition of a bar end grip on a flat bar for a mere $10, I am counting at least 5 different hand positions that I could put my hands in should I add them to my mountain bike handlebar. If the bar end is curved at the outer end, you can hold above the curve, hold on the straight part, hook around the very end and the grip, the normal grip and because I have grip shifters instead of the trigger shifters at the moment, I often for a larger circumference to grab around, grab around the shifters themselves. So, I'm not buying all the "flexibility of hand positions" that always is mentioned.

I haven't researched road bikes much. Every one that I look at is $1000+, way out of my price range. I clicked on a few recumbants before as well and they would really be way out of my price range.
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Old 09-05-13, 12:16 PM   #21
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What good bar end grips would your recommend?
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Old 09-05-13, 01:39 PM   #22
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hybrid is a broad term ranging from wicked slow comfort bikes to speedy straight bar road bikes. ever hear of n+1? it applies to the 1st time you consider it. go get a another bike my friend!
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Old 09-05-13, 02:05 PM   #23
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What good bar end grips would your recommend?
There's one manufacturer in Asia that makes almost all of them and they're sold under dozens of brand names. The difference in cost is largely due to differences of decals on identical products.
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Old 09-05-13, 02:17 PM   #24
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Recumbents are nice but not without cons: Bird droppings will fall straight onto your face
That's why we have big visors on our helmets.

See? Problem solved.
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Old 09-05-13, 07:02 PM   #25
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Oh, thanks. I thought there is some mechanical difference in the design of the parts.
Position, higher pressure tires (less rolling resistance), and lighter wheels will make a difference.
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