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  1. #1
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    A Question Regarding the Number of Gears on A Hybrid

    Hey guys,

    Greetings from singapore. New guy here currently riding a Jamis Trail X3 hardtail, but on the verge of changing to a hybrid, probably a Jamis Allegro 1 or 2.

    The question i have is that why do some/ most hybrids have lesser gears than their mountain bike counterparts? Everything on the allegro seems good (including weight), except for the number of gears. Is this because a hybrid is way lighter, hence it can do away with the lower gears? Sorry if i sound stupid, but any help is much appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Is that the case? I never really noticed it much.

    Seems like to me, at the same price point, they all seem to have the same number of gears. In fact, hybrids generally use MTB gearing.

    Can you provide examples of this being the case?
    My Bikes: 2009 Breezer Uptown EX | 1980 Miyata Six Ten | 1970 Hercules Three-Two-Speed
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    Thanks for the quick response.

    If you look at the above 2 links for the trail x3 and allegro, the x3 is 24speed and the allegro is only 16 speed. The reason for me wanting to change to a hybrid is that i want to go faster, and i feel that i cant go much faster with the hardtail.

    By the way, what's your opinion of the allegro? Thanks dude.

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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Ah yes, the difference there is the Allegro has a Compact Double on it. Taken from road bicycles. I was looking mostly at the eight speed rear cassettes on both.

    The reason for their use in road cycles is that double chain rings shift smoother than a triple chain ring. You lose the advantage of the granny gear, but unless you do lots of climbing, its not always necessary. You do need the granny gear more often in mountain biking.

    As far as my opinion on the Allegro, don't have much of one. Never ridden one or seen one in person. Looks like a slick bike with a decent component set.

    Go out and ride it at the local bike shop and see if you like it.
    My Bikes: 2009 Breezer Uptown EX | 1980 Miyata Six Ten | 1970 Hercules Three-Two-Speed
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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Most non performance hybrids run a slightly taller gearing than an mtb having a 28/38/48 triple mated to a wide range mtb cassette.

    This gives a gearing range that is higher than an mtb but lower than a road bike.

    This is better for road and trail use while an mtb needs those lower gears for more intense climbing and more extreme off road.

    A true hybrid drive would be something like an internal hub with derailer gears like SRAM's Dual Drive.

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    Ok thanks that cleared up some doubts. How's your Sirrus? Just went thru the specs... quite similar to the allegro if i'm not wrong?

    Also wanna ask if hybrids are ok to go over curbs at moderate speed, like a hardtail with front suspension can? Or will there be damage to the thin wheels and the front fork? Here in singapore its roads everywhere only, and when traffic gets heavy i would probably go onto the pavement and would have to negotiate all these curbs, of which i had no trouble with with my hardtail

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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Jumping curbs is never good for a bike...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Jumping curbs is never good for a bike...
    haha... i meant for small curbs around 2 to 4 inches high, will there be damage to a hybrid if i just went over them at moderate speed? what if i slowed down at every of these curbs in order to mount it gently, would there still be resulting damage? i wasnt referring to those tall, right angled curbs...

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    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Bombing over curbs is never good for a bike.

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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rben View Post
    haha... i meant for small curbs around 2 to 4 inches high, will there be damage to a hybrid if i just went over them at moderate speed? what if i slowed down at every of these curbs in order to mount it gently, would there still be resulting damage? i wasnt referring to those tall, right angled curbs...
    If you're going to take the curbs, take them slowly. A 26" MTB wheel may be up to the challenge (though its not good for it), however a 700c road wheel probably isn't.
    My Bikes: 2009 Breezer Uptown EX | 1980 Miyata Six Ten | 1970 Hercules Three-Two-Speed
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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    It all depends on your wheels and tires...

    A well built 700c wheel with higher volume tires can take a lot of punishment... cross bikes are a good example of this.

    700c road wheels with narrow high psi tires don't do curbs very well as the tire does not have a lot of volume or ability to absorb bigger hits.

    A 26 inch mtb wheel with higher volume tires is designed to take much bigger hits than a curb regardless of whether or not it has a suspension.

    My mtb can handle 6 foot drops and stairs and hit some fairly big objects at speed with no issues.

    My U.A.V. was built as my winter / messenger bike and has taken some massive hits... my wheels are still as true as they were when I built them and the rear wheel is actually pretty cheap.

    This bike eats potholes for breakfast and I really find that I prefer an mtb wheel and higher volume tires for urban assaults.


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    Mrs. DataJunkie Luddite's Avatar
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    The wheels/tires on my Luddite laugh at curbs/potholes/gravel etc. They're just Kenda tires. I think they're 35 (!) though.

    My Kuwahara has meaty wheels and tires, I haven't taken him over curbs yet but I'm sure it won't be a prob. The road bike I'm selling to my landlord I wouldn't so much as look at curbs with though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    It all depends on your wheels and tires...

    A well built 700c wheel with higher volume tires can take a lot of punishment... cross bikes are a good example of this.

    700c road wheels with narrow high psi tires don't do curbs very well as the tire does not have a lot of volume or ability to absorb bigger hits.

    A 26 inch mtb wheel with higher volume tires is designed to take much bigger hits than a curb regardless of whether or not it has a suspension.

    My mtb can handle 6 foot drops and stairs and hit some fairly big objects at speed with no issues.

    My U.A.V. was built as my winter / messenger bike and has taken some massive hits... my wheels are still as true as they were when I built them and the rear wheel is actually pretty cheap.

    This bike eats potholes for breakfast and I really find that I prefer an mtb wheel and higher volume tires for urban assaults.
    Yeah... the thing i love about mtbs is that i can practically go ANYWHERE with it without worrying about damaging it. However there will be the speed trade-off...

    Makes me think if a hybrid is really the best choice for me. Been riding mtbs forever, but definitely not getting a road bike though. hmmm....

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    Quote Originally Posted by rben View Post
    The reason for me wanting to change to a hybrid is that i want to go faster, and i feel that i cant go much faster with the hardtail.
    Well, I think the three most important factors affecting speed, in no particular order are gearing, tyre width and weight (both dynamic, eg tyres and rims and static, the whole bike + rider). I bought a secondhand hardtail mountain bike last November, I think it was a Falcon Gatecrasher. Thought it was pretty good value as it only costs me 80 but the bike was in good condition and it was close to 200 online. After a few weeks I swapped the 26x2.0 knobby tyres for 26x1.5 slicks, it made quite a difference in terms of speed. The ride was quieter (no more buzzing sound), acceleration and top speed were significantly better. Sadly, the bike got stolen in March, I came downstairs in the afternoon and found it was gone.

    So I went and bought a hybrid this time (now I keep the bike in my flat, never mind that I have to carry it four stories each day), it had 700x38 tyres. The other difference from the mountain bike was it had a 28|38|48 in front, which was quite a difference because the mountain bike only had a 42 in front, so previously on the mountain bike was constantly riding in the highest possible combination and still finding it too low.

    My hybrid lacks front suspension, disc brakes and STI shifters unlike my previous bike but after riding it for a while I don't really miss those features. What I appreciate is the slight weight depreciation, and the fact that the larger wheels and higher gear ratio meant that I could go a lot faster.

    Still not fully satisfied though, I went for even narrower tyres, from 700x38 to 700x28 (Continental Ultra Gatorskins). 10 mm may not seem much but it really made my ride more responsive, I could feel that acceleration and top speed was improved further. Of course, like the others said you trade durability and ride comfort if you get narrower tyres, but personally I am prepared to make the trade. After this experience I probably will never ride mountain bikes on roads again.

    So what you need to decide is which of these factors are preventing you from going faster. You could put slicks on your X3 but you would probably still be limited by the gearing. In that case I think a hybrid is not a bad idea, the Allegro has a "near road bike standard" 50 tooth chainring in the front which should give you at least 50 km/h downhill 700x32 tyres are not too bad, they will definitely be a huge improvement over whatever tyres your X3 has currently.

    In terms of kerbs, I go through a fair number of them, but so long as you're slow and gentle going off (and on too, pull up on the handlebars for the front wheel) it's won't cause damage. I just had a look at my wheels this afternoon and they're still very straight.

  15. #15
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    If you MUST jump curbs - or potholes - practice standing up on the pedals so you can make the bike as weightless as possible on the front-wheel and, then, the back-wheel. This will reduce the possible damage such bumps can engender.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cateye View Post
    Only panthers007 is stupid enough to believe that this is a good idea.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Error's Avatar
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    Nice bike Sixty Fiver iwouldlike to make smoething like that 700cc but good for offroad too ...

    Well
    rben i have hybrid with 700x35 and front suspension he goes well across curbs, just need to go slow and ALL TIME HAVE FULL PRESSURE in Rubbers that is very important

    and ofc going over curbs is not good for your hybrid but if you have to.....

  17. #17
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    It all depends on your wheels and tires...

    A well built 700c wheel with higher volume tires can take a lot of punishment... cross bikes are a good example of this.

    700c road wheels with narrow high psi tires don't do curbs very well as the tire does not have a lot of volume or ability to absorb bigger hits.
    The difference in the punishment a even 30mm 80psi tyre and a 25mm 100psi tyre can take is quite amazing. And if you select a premium 30mm tyre you don't pay a noticeable speed penalty. In fact I'd recommend a 35 or 38mm over a 30.

  18. #18
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhwj View Post
    Well, I think the three most important factors affecting speed, in no particular order are gearing, tyre width and weight ...

    Still not fully satisfied though, I went for even narrower tyres, from 700x38 to 700x28 (Continental Ultra Gatorskins). 10 mm may not seem much but it really made my ride more responsive, I could feel that acceleration and top speed was improved further.
    No. It isn't the width that makes the difference but the rubber compound, lack of tread, and casing thickness. This is a common mistake: tyre resistance isn't frictional - in which case width would be key - but hysteresis energy, which drops with tyre width (if everything is equal). Otoh tyre air resistance is proportional to width - but this is a small force until you hit time trialing speeds.

    If you bought Rubino Pro 26 x 1.5 slicks (which like Duraskins are made out of racing tyre compound) then your bike would be as fast with the the Duraskins, brake and turn better, resist punctures more, and be more comfortable and pot hole resistant.

  19. #19
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    I guess you're right then. Thanks for pointing it out. I had these on my old bike: Duro City Cavaliers http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...34374302693841 Not the best tyres but the only decent choice my LBS had.

  20. #20
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    " but hysteresis energy"

    Back to the encyclopedia for me!!!!!!

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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