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  1. #1
    Senior Member AcornMan's Avatar
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    Need advice for hybrid purchase

    Here's the scoop: I'm male, 6'4", 38 years old, in good shape, and I'm considering buying a hybrid because I ride on paved and hard pack surfaces (ie unpaved trails, but not anything rugged like a single track mountain trail). Currently I have a 15-year-old Bianchi Timberwolf, which is an entry-level mountain bike I rarely used until recently when I suddenly became a bicycling fanatic (I rode over 500 miles in August). In my opinion it knocks the socks off going to the gym and working out on an elliptical trainer for an hour. I have upgraded the Bianchi with several new components, but let's face it, it's only going to go so fast because that's not what it's designed for. I'm lucky if I can maintain 16 mph during a ride of 1-2 hours, but it takes a lot of work to achieve that, despite the smoother tires I put on it.

    I ride primarily for fitness and to just get out and see the countryside, but I enjoy going fast and I'm tired of being passed by guys on traditional road bikes who aren't working any harder than I am. I ride about an hour per day, 6-7 days per week. When I get a chance I go for longer rides, up to about 2.5 hours. I would love to be able to ride 50+ miles at a time, but with my current bike that's a tall order.

    My first thought was that I should get a devoted road bike, but I'm not crazy about the dropped handle bars, and it would also limit me to paved surfaces. That's when my LBS told me about hybrids. I've only tried one (an entry level Giant, which I wasn't all that impressed with frankly). I guess what I'm looking for is a bike that will go considerably faster than my Bianchi so I can cover more ground, but one that can also be used on unpaved trails and paths. If I want to really get dirty and hit the single track trails, I can always get a suspension fork for my Bianchi and use that, so I don't need a new bike that can handle that kind of riding. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Pro Paper Plane Pilot wunderkind's Avatar
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    I don't know if a typical hybrid (they range from comfort ones to performance) will be significantly faster than your rigid fork, smooth tired mtb. In fact at this point, there is really very little to distinguish a typical hybrid to that of a rigid forked mtb apart from tires/wheels. Most parts are interchangeable b/t a hardtail or rigid fork mtb with regular hybrids. Most hybrids share the 48t/38t/28t chainring as that found in many mtbs. Not sure what yours are like. Gearings do make a difference though.
    Anyhow, I think what you want to get is a road bike with a flat bar. Also don't forget the "powerplant".
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  3. #3
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    6'4", your gonna need an oversized frame i think

  4. #4
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    Flat bar road bike

    Trek FX
    Cannondale Quick
    Specialized Sirrus

    I think that the sweet spot if that's going to be your only road bike should be at around the $800-$900 models. Anything higher and you're better off with a "real" road bike.

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    What's not "real" about the bikes that you've listed?

    Why does it seem necessary for so many to trivialize the hybrid bike?

    I've got a fast hybrid and am very, very pleased with it (paid $800 for it). I'm now contemplating getting a higher end fast hybrid -- I feel no need for drops or tighter geometry and I go plenty fast. A hybrid bike is real enough for me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCoastPeddler View Post
    What's not "real" about the bikes that you've listed?

    Why does it seem necessary for so many to trivialize the hybrid bike?

    I've got a fast hybrid and am very, very pleased with it (paid $800 for it). I'm now contemplating getting a higher end fast hybrid -- I feel no need for drops or tighter geometry and I go plenty fast. A hybrid bike is real enough for me.
    It's just that at the $900 price point you get very good components, carbon fork, carbon seat stays... pretty much everything you'd want in an all purpose fast bike. I believe that if you're only going to own ONE bike, this should be it but IMO it makes no sense to spend a ton of money on much better upgrades if you'll always have drag from the upright position. If you want more speed then why not go with a bike specifically designed for that?

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    I think that what you think is that the only thing that I think about is going fast. I think that you should think about that and realize that what I think is not what you think.

    How fast is fast? How fast is fast enough? I can clip along on my hybrid on flat roads at speeds of up to 35 km/hr without too much effort -- going down hills, I can hit 65-70 kph. Is that fast enough?

    I like the upright seating position. I like the relaxed geometry. I like going as fast as I do, which may not be as fast as someone on a dedicated road bike, but it's nearly as fast, and plenty fast enough. AND, I can ride my hybrid wearing baggy shorts without succumbing to the self-righteous attitudes of stuffy roadies.

    My next bike will also be a hybrid -- a really expensive one -- not because I need to go faster, but because I like nice things and I can afford it.

    And, it's real.
    Last edited by WCoastPeddler; 09-05-09 at 10:09 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCoastPeddler View Post
    I think that what you think is that they only thing that I think about is going fast. I think that you should think about that and realize that what I think is not what you think.
    Took me a while to sort that out


    Quote Originally Posted by WCoastPeddler View Post
    My next bike will also be a hybrid -- a really expensive one -- not because I need to go faster, but because I like nice things and I can afford it.
    And, it's real.
    I don't know what made you think I'm against hybrids. FWIW, I ordered a Cannondale Quick 3 with the intention of it being my only bike for years to come.

    BTW, which one are you planning to get?

  9. #9
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    It's hard to say what type of bike you need from your description. Exactly how rough are these trails? How steep? Are guys on road bikes passing you on them, or on the road? (16mph for 2 hours on a rough trail actually sounds quite good to me - but it depends how rough.)

    The bad news is that an old entry level MTB is not a good candidate for a suspension fork - good suspension forks are expensive and fitting one to a low end bike not designed to take one is an exercise in futility. Stay away from suspension forks unless you are willing to buy a mid-range MTB - and they don't belong on hybrids at all, except for the purpose of gulling the unwary.

    Your fastest moving option would probably be a cyclocross bike. I know you don't want drops, but I suggest riding one to see what it is like - most people don't realize the real position is up on the hoods and superbly comfortable. If you still don't like drops, you could buy something like a Surly Crosscheck and have it built with flat bars.

    Buying one of the more road racer like hybrids would probably be a big mistake. These are often limited to very narrow tyres and your size and weight say that you need at least a 38mm tyre.

    Perhaps your best option of all would be a modern 29er, like a Surly Karate Monkey. Google these funny words and see what you think.

  10. #10
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    I'm 6'4" on a XL Trek FX 7.3.

    I'm somewhat comfortably doing 30 mile trips on country roads and/or bike paths right now. If I wanted to go further, I think I'd want a road bike. I'm getting to that point now, and will probably seriously consider it in the spring.

    I think that part of what is holding you back over 16mph is the aero advantage of being more bent over. I wonder if something like a cyclocross type bike would suit you? http://www.surlybikes.com/crosscheck_comp.html (despite the handlebars).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCoastPeddler View Post
    I think that what you think is that they only thing that I think about is going fast. I think that you should think about that and realize that what I think is not what you think.

    How fast is fast? How fast is fast enough? I can clip along on my hybrid on flat roads at speeds of up to 35 km/hr without too much effort -- going down hills, I can hit 65-70 kph. Is that fast enough?

    I like the upright seating position. I like the relaxed geometry. I like going as fast as I do, which may not be as fast as someone on a dedicated road bike, but it's nearly as fast, and plenty fast enough. AND, I can ride my hybrid wearing baggy shorts without succumbing to the self-righteous attitudes of stuffy roadies.

    My next bike will also be a hybrid -- a really expensive one -- not because I need to go faster, but because I like nice things and I can afford it.

    And, it's real.
    Dude I hear you, I'm not quite sure why others don't understand. High End Hybrids kick arse!!!. Carbon fibre Sirrus Pro's?, awesome bike really fast. A road bike is meant for the open road that's why they have drops bars and the name road bike. Hybrids are made more for the urban environment. What's wrong with having an expensive hybrid? Are only mountain bikers and road bikers allowed to have nice bikes with high end components.

    I don't have a car so don't have the luxury of driving my bike to the edge of the city in my car and go for a road ride. My playground is the city and I like to go fast just like road guys do. Sue me.

    All carbon speed demon... http://www.specialized.com/ca/en/bc/...Sirrus&eid=121

    It's none of my business what other people think of me.

  12. #12
    Learning 1 day at a time
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    I'm in the same boat as the OP in that I want a hybrid bike (Road bike with flat bars) that is FAST.

    I'm researching and trying to understand the best I can what Hybrid Bike I can buy for under $1000 that is going to be the FASTEST.

    I'm not looking to join in any races but I want to be able to push it and hit good speeds on the paved trails I ride on. If one bike will offer me more speed than another then that's what I want to go with.

    After reading some of the threads here on the hybrid forum it seems that the Trek 7.5fx and the Specialized Sirrus Comp are the top runners for a decent hybrid under $1000. I'm not sure of the pricetag on the Sirrus Pro I'll have to look at that as well as the Cannondale Quick.

    WcoastPeddler you sound like your hitting VERY good speeds on your Hybrid! What are you riding if you don't mind me asking?

    I believe someone posted that he and his wife own both the Trek 7.5FX and the Sirrus Comp and that he believes the Specialized Sirrus Comp to be the faster of the two. That is one I am currently leaning towards but I have some time before I will be ready to commit to the purchase.

    When I'm looking at Bikepedia and doing comparisons what are the components that are the driving force behind the speed?

    Obviosuly the crankset and Cassette. If one crankset has more teeth than another does make it faster?

    I believe I read it's the size of the crankset and not the number of teeth that are the driving force in speed. Is that accurate?

    If anyone can provide some feedback or point me in a thread that has some information I'd be much obliged.

    Or if anyone has firsthand experience with the Trek 7.5fx vs. the Sirrus Comp and would be willing to provide some feedback that would be much appreciated as well.
    Last edited by Infinitedreams; 09-05-09 at 11:57 PM.

  13. #13
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    Deleted Double Post.
    Last edited by Infinitedreams; 09-06-09 at 12:03 AM.

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    Saddle Up, that Sirrus is one nice looking bike.


    Quote Originally Posted by agc1976 View Post
    I don't know what made you think I'm against hybrids.
    Because you refered to a hybrid as something other than a "real" bike. No big deal really.


    FWIW, I ordered a Cannondale Quick 3 with the intention of it being my only bike for years to come.

    BTW, which one are you planning to get?
    Not sure yet (all the 2010 models haven't been announced).
    ---



    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    It's hard to say what type of bike you need from your description. Exactly how rough are these trails? How steep? Are guys on road bikes passing you on them, or on the road? (16mph for 2 hours on a rough trail actually sounds quite good to me - but it depends how rough.)
    Good questions. I might add that it would also be good to know what the budget is.


    Stay away from suspension forks unless you are willing to buy a mid-range MTB - and they don't belong on hybrids at all, except for the purpose of gulling the unwary.
    I disagree. I specifically looked for a suspension fork on my bike when I was shopping. I know that the fork on my bike is not capable of full-on mountain bike activity, but then again, I don't ride my hybrid like I do a mountain bike. Comparing the suspension fork needs of a hybrid to a mtn bike is not comparing apples to apples. The suspension on my hybrid is intended only to soften the ride on inconsitencies in the road and on fields, etc. -- and for that purpose, it's worked remarkably well and see no reason why it won't continue to do so. I've absolutely no regrets for purchasing a bike with front suspension -- for the type of riding that I do, it makes it much more pleasurable.


    Your fastest moving option would probably be a cyclocross bike. I know you don't want drops, but I suggest riding one to see what it is like - most people don't realize the real position is up on the hoods and superbly comfortable.
    Yup. If you really want a fast on-off road bike, cyclocross is the way to go. My daughter wants a bike with lots of capacity for speed on the road but also to be able to ride light trails and such -- we were out looking today at cyclocross bikes for her.


    Buying one of the more road racer like hybrids would probably be a big mistake. These are often limited to very narrow tyres and your size and weight say that you need at least a 38mm tyre.
    The OP didn't mention how much he weighs so I don't know how you can make this recommendation. At any rate, I think you'll find that narrow tires and wheels can handle much more weight that you might think. Obviously, though, and as you've alluded, narrow tires are not going to work well on rough stuff. But you can also put wider tires on most hybrid bikes.


    Perhaps your best option of all would be a modern 29er, like a Surly Karate Monkey. Google these funny words and see what you think.
    That could be worth looking into, but I doubt that you'd get higher top end speed out of a 29'er that you would from a fast hybrid unless you make a drastic change to the tires and rims -- and add multiple gears (which the Karate Monkey doesn't come stock with). Cool bike though.
    ---



    Quote Originally Posted by Infinitedreams View Post
    I'm in the same boat as the OP in that I want a hybrid bike (Road bike with flat bars) that is FAST.

    I'm researching and trying to understand the best I can what Hybrid Bike I can buy for under $1000 that is going to be the FASTEST.
    Fastest is really going to depend most of all upon you. In that price range, you'll probably find that most of the bikes are going to stack up pretty close as far as capablities and components go. The one that you like the best for comfort and style will probably be the one that you will ride fastest.

    I'd look at:

    - FX series from Trek -- http://www.trekbikes.com

    - Dew series from Kona -- http://www.konaworld.com/

    - Sirrus series from Specialized -- http://www.specialized.com

    - Quick and BadBoy series from Cannondale -- http://www.cannondale.com/

    - Performance Hybrid series from DeVinci -- http://www.devinci.com/

    - Alp and Hybrid series from Marin -- http://www.marinbikes.com/

    - Hybrid series from Rocky Mountain -- http://www.bikes.com

    There are obviously more to choose from, but that list has some pretty nice hybrids in your price range.


    I'm not looking to join in any races but I want to be able to push it and hit good speeds on the paved trails I ride on. If one bike will offer me more speed than another then that's what I want to go with.
    I think you're going to have a difficult time qualifying one bike over another if speed is the only factor -- all things being equal, one bike might feel faster to me than it does to you. The only way that you can really decide which bike is faster is to take each of them for a test ride.


    After reading some of the threads here on the hybrid forum it seems that the Trek 7.5fx and the Specialized Sirrus Comp are the top runners for a decent hybrid under $1000. I'm not sure of the pricetag on the Sirrus Pro I'll have to look at that as well as the Cannondale Quick.
    The Sirrus Pro is probably out of your budget but don't discount the Sirrus models that are within your range. The 7.5FX is in the ballpark.


    WcoastPeddler you sound like your hitting VERY good speeds on your Hybrid! What are you riding if you don't mind me asking?
    I ride one of these:



    It's a 2009 Kona Dew FS. I've been extremely pleased with this bike. It's really solid and has decent components all around (primarily Deore, including hydraulic brakes). When I bought it, I felt that it had the best components of the price range of the group of bikes I was looking at, was well built by a company known for it's good frames, and the overall look of the bike just appealed to me.

    My idea of a hybrid is that I can ride it on or off road. When I'm on the road, this bike hauls pretty good. I run stock tires, Continental CountryRide 700x37c -- I keep the tires inflated to a few pounds above their max of 70 lbs. It has a locking fork that is really, really useful when climbing hills but most of the time, I have the front suspension active. It's got reasonably high gearing of 48x11 but I think I'm going to replace the 48 with a 50 tooth cog. I tend to crank hard with a moderate to slow cadence so I think the larger cog will get me a bit more speed going down hills.

    The Dew FS is not built for true mountain biking but it handles hard packed and hard gravel trails just fine at speed. I also tend to do a lot of urban pounding -- rough roads and back lanes, crossing fields, jumping the odd curb -- these are all a daily occurance and my bike has stood up quite well.

    It's quick, nimble, and makes me feel a whole lot younger than I ought to.
    Last edited by WCoastPeddler; 09-06-09 at 02:11 AM.

  15. #15
    Mrs. DataJunkie Luddite's Avatar
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    WC, you get up to 60 km/h on a downhill?! Where?! I can get nearly to 50 km/h going down Main street if I don't hit red lights.

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    My fastest speed has been 68.65 kph (as shown on my computer) -- I've not been able to beat that time. There are a few very long hills with nice smooth pavement near where I live -- I can get pretty fast going down them but I think I need some higher gearing to be faster.

  17. #17
    Mrs. DataJunkie Luddite's Avatar
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    Um, 70 km/h is plenty fast enough if you ask me. Can you even stop going that speed with bike brakes? lol. I'm right in Vancouver so long delicious downhills without intersections don't exist here.

  18. #18
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    Dude I hear you, I'm not quite sure why others don't understand. High End Hybrids kick arse!!!. Carbon fibre Sirrus Pro's?, awesome bike really fast.
    Mediocre and one of the most cynical bike designs in history - and more importantly, totally unsuited to the OP. A heavy rider on an uneven road surface needs at least the option of wider tyres (beside being more comfortable they will probably be faster on a rough surface). And a Sirrus is deliberately crippled by its poor tyre clearance - the point being to create a poor ride that can be used to justify upgrading to a model with more carbon, sold at a much higher margin.

  19. #19
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCoastPeddler View Post
    Comparing the suspension fork needs of a hybrid to a mtn bike is not comparing apples to apples. The suspension on my hybrid is intended only to soften the ride on inconsitencies in the road and on fields, etc. -- and for that purpose, it's worked remarkably well and see no reason why it won't continue to do so.
    Sorry; no. A good MTB fork has a purpose - handling shocks that a tyre can't. Your hybrid's low travel fork doesn't. A wider higher quality tyre would do the job better with less loss of pedaling energy and would improve braking and turning instead of making them worse. Does your fork even have anti-dive braking?

    The OP didn't mention how much he weighs so I don't know how you can make this recommendation.
    He's 6'4''. I think we should consider the possibility he weighs more than average...

    At any rate, I think you'll find that narrow tires and wheels can handle much more weight that you might think.
    When buying a new bike you don't spend money to get a grudging "can handle". You aim to buy the best you can with in your budget.

    Obviously, though, and as you've alluded, narrow tires are not going to work well on rough stuff. But you can also put wider tires on most hybrid bikes.
    On some, but all. It's a point to watch for. For instance -


    - Sirrus series from Specialized -- http://www.specialized.com
    ..is limited to about a 30mm. Sirruses also have a poor reputation for toughness. This might have improved with the latest version, but I wouldn't assume it. It's a mediocre design to start with and a poor choice for a heavier than average rider on a rougher than average surface.

    That could be worth looking into, but I doubt that you'd get higher top end speed out of a 29'er that you would from a fast hybrid unless you make a drastic change to the tires and rims -- and add multiple gears (which the Karate Monkey doesn't come stock with). Cool bike though.
    The KM comes as a complete bike now??? Anyway, it will be as fast a hybrid and tougher and more versatile. If I was 6'4'' and anything but an extreme ectomorph this would matter to me a lot!

    And the KM has a derailer hanger, so switching an SS version to geared should be only around an hours work time for a decent bike mechanic.

    There are obviously more to choose from, but that list has some pretty nice hybrids in your price range.
    As you said earlier in your post, the OP didn't give a price range...
    Last edited by meanwhile; 09-06-09 at 02:30 PM.

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    Forks: Well, that's your opinon (and it's incorrect). I've actually experienced a hybrid with a suspension fork and as such, my opinion is different. Your comments are not fact based, they are personal opinions -- I have a hybrid with a front suspension and it works, and it works very well -- that's a fact. Are you telling me that I don't know the difference between what I like and what I don't. How absolutely arrogant (and unneccesarily argumentative of you).

    Weight: well, again, not facts. Possibly a reasonable assumption, but certainly not factual (I know a guy who is 6' 4" and weighs 170 lbs - far from a heavy weight, and at any rate most people who are 200+ lbs are not heavy enough to be a problem on virtually any production bike. 300 lbs and you might convince me that there's a potential problem. Can't comment personally on the Sirrus series as I know little about them -- you could very well be correct that they're not a solid bike. I don't know.

    Tire width: What are you arguing about here? I've agreed with you.

    Karate Monkey: Your assumptions that a KM is as fast, tougher, and more versatile than a hybrid are based on which hybrid?

    Budget amount: I wasn't replying to the OP -- I was replying to InfiniteDreams who stated a budget of $1000.

    fwiw: If you're going to argue all points based on assumptions and personal opinons, there's not going to be much point to a discussion with you.
    Last edited by WCoastPeddler; 09-06-09 at 03:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Mediocre and one of the most cynical bike designs in history - and more importantly, totally unsuited to the OP.
    Wow. You sure do know a lot without knowing all the facts. How did you get so smart?
    Last edited by WCoastPeddler; 09-06-09 at 03:16 PM.

  22. #22
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    Dude, you would lose an argument with yourself. Send him a private message, nobody wants to hear your whining.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luddite View Post
    Um, 70 km/h is plenty fast enough if you ask me. Can you even stop going that speed with bike brakes? lol.
    Disk brakes are amazing.

    I'm right in Vancouver so long delicious downhills without intersections don't exist here.
    There are a few good ones -- one that comes to mind is NW Marine Drive coming out of UBC towards Spanish Banks. Another good hill is from Prospect Point in Stanley Park to Third Beach. There are more...

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    Quote Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
    Send him a private message, nobody wants to hear your whining.
    I'm merely clarifying some misinformation. No whining here, Sunshine. None at all, so I assume that your comments are a reply to someone else.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by WCoastPeddler View Post
    Disk brakes are amazing.


    There are a few good ones -- one that comes to mind is NW Marine Drive coming out of UBC towards Spanish Banks. Another good hill is from Prospect Point in Stanley Park to Third Beach. There are more...
    You mean that path we took after coming off the Lions gate bridge during the Mass? Love that bit. Bit of a ride just to get there for me though, I'm kinda lazy.

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