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Old 07-10-11, 02:38 PM   #1
tbo
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The more I use my road bike, the more I appreciate my hybrid

I picked up a new 2010 Cannondale CAAD8 road bike about a month ago on closeout. It is a sweet bike. Fast and light. I also have a 2008 Trek 7.2FX. The more I ride my Cannondale, the more I like my Trek.

Don't get me wrong here. I like the Cannondale. It is doing exactly what it was designed for. It goes fast and I can use it on group rides. The miles (when you have open road) peel away much faster than on my Trek.

Here is the problem: A hybrid is a normal self-contained bike. You get on it in just about anything you are wearing at the time and just go.

The road bike is more like a piece of a system that includes the bike, you, your clothes (awful and very specialized) and your shoes (cleated). There is limited to no storage, and trying to secure the bicycle means adding almost 20% of the bike's weight in a simple U-lock. Some people say to forego the lock and never let the bicycle leave your sight. That's not very convenient.

The hybrid has pedals that can accept the bike shoes or street shoes, doesn't hurt at all when I sit on it for extended periods, has a Topeak quick-latch rack and pannier system that it just awesome, handles about 50% of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's and the Farmer's market, etc, etc. I choose to wear certain shorts ($10 nylon ones at Target) and underwear (UnderArmour Heat compression shorts), but it really is not a requirement like bike shorts on the Cannondale.

At this point, if I had to go back to only having one bike, it would be the three-year-old Trek rather than the brand-new Cannondale. The strange thing is that it isn't even a close decision.

I had an MTB before hybrid (years ago) and the change from MTB to hybrid seemed very incremental. The change between hybrid and road bike seems more involved.

Is this just me or is there a HUGE jump between hybrids and road bikes?

Last edited by tbo; 07-10-11 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 07-10-11, 03:23 PM   #2
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Interesting post. I have a Trek 7.2 also and am thinking of buying a CAAD down the road.

I guess I would think of the Trek as a quick-ride bike with the ability to commute, get groceries, hit light trails, or whatever around time. The road bike is just for some straight dedicated road cycling where you're probably going to go 10 mi minimum just for speed and endurance training. I guess it's definitely good to have them both though instead of sell the hybrid in favor of the bike, since in fact there are some uses that the road bike is not really suited for.
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Old 07-10-11, 03:25 PM   #3
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I always say that you can't buy a bad bike but you can buy the wrong bike.
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Old 07-10-11, 03:42 PM   #4
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I'm by no means a roadie, but I'm aware that you don't have to kit up to ride one. A stem swap will allow you to get a bit more upright and in a bit more relaxed position that you're used to on the hybrid. A saddle swap takes care of the comfort there. You don't need eggbeaters or other clipless specific pedals. You can use platforms on a road bike...
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Old 07-10-11, 03:53 PM   #5
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For me it is the other way around. I have a rack and use a trunk bag on both my hybrid and my road bike, but I just love my road bike! It is faster and feels better. Both the bikes have clipless pedals and mirrors and I kit up to ride them both (unless I'm just going around to a friend's house or something). Don't bother with a lock when I'm commuting, so that isn't an issue.

I think the main difference between hybrids and road bikes is the body position - hybrids are much more upright, usually without drop bars.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:01 PM   #6
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I'm by no means a roadie, but I'm aware that you don't have to kit up to ride one. A stem swap will allow you to get a bit more upright and in a bit more relaxed position that you're used to on the hybrid. A saddle swap takes care of the comfort there. You don't need eggbeaters or other clipless specific pedals. You can use platforms on a road bike...
True. On the other hand, I have a hybrid that puts me in the same aerodynamic position as a typical roadie, has eggbeaters, race (XC) saddle, skinny tires and no rack mounts.

My other hybrid has a big rack, pedals with platforms on one side, trailer hitches etc.

I think the distinction is between sport and utility vehicles. Hybrids can be either or both. Road bikes can also be either or both unless by road bike you mean only road racing bikes.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:11 PM   #7
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This morning, I did 15 miles out on this popular local route with scores of bikers, but very very few people weren't riding road bikes. On the way back in the afternoon I saw more people heroically slogging it out on comfort bikes, but still very few hybrids.

When I got to the trails, I saw about 25 fellow cyclists but only two other stiff-forks.

I am certain that a hybrid is not the best off-road, or on-road choice...But as far as I know, its the only way to go without closing yourself off from one or the other.

I just can't see myself running up the street casually for coffee during a rain in my sandals on a roadie or a cyclocross, and I know I can't bring myself to cart my old MTB out to the local trails when I could be riding there instead.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:59 PM   #8
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I'm by no means a roadie, but I'm aware that you don't have to kit up to ride one. A stem swap will allow you to get a bit more upright and in a bit more relaxed position that you're used to on the hybrid. A saddle swap takes care of the comfort there. You don't need eggbeaters or other clipless specific pedals. You can use platforms on a road bike...
This.

My husband only rides a carbon road bike except when pulling our son's trailer. He has big BMX style platforms on his roadie that he usually rides with crocs and half the time he doesn't put on bike clothes but he can still easily jump on it and ride 30-50 miles with very little effort. He has it set up in s more upright position with a higher stem because he has lower back issues.

I on the other hand have the same speed play frog pedals on both my hybrid and my road bike and I always put on bike shorts and at least a technical running t-shirt if not a jersey when I ride my roadie but I will sometimes just jump on my hybrid with bike shoes and whatever else I am wearing at the time to do a quick neighborhood ride.

I have been riding my road bike every weekend with the bike club for about a month now. At first I was tentative and felt uncomfortable on my road bike after such a long break from it but with some adjustments I am very comfortable on it now. My weekly by-myself or with a friend rides are all done on my hybrid. I prefer the hybrid for shorter rides because I just feel more carefree on it and I don't feel the need to keep up with anyone but when I am in a group I want my road bike. They each have their place.
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Old 07-10-11, 06:06 PM   #9
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BMX pedals on a carbon roadie? Haha, it takes all kinds!
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Old 07-10-11, 06:45 PM   #10
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Yeah, I made fun of him for a long time but it works for him.
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Old 07-10-11, 09:57 PM   #11
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I'm VERY new to ACTUALLY biking....that is, I've got myself rev'd up several times over the last two years, and finally, yesterday, bought a bike. I fell in love with road bikes, or rather the idea of them. They're beautiful, mechanical wonders when paired with the human body. But, my belly and my back say "nope, you're not ready for that". I just bought a spectacular hybrid (Cannondale Quick 3), and I love it. Someone once said that your bike should get you excited about riding it as soon as you see it. I was initially disapointed that I couldn't get a road bike, but it seems to me now that your bike should just be what's the most fun for you at that time...if that means a $5k all carbon-fiber bike, then who cares what you have to do to get there (suit up!), and if it's a $500 hybrid with a chromoly fork then it doesn't matter how few other hybrids are on that group ride with you. I'm probably a little biased given my brand new toy...I guess it's a good thing I feel that way, since it will be a long time before I could really consider a roadie.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:16 AM   #12
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A few months ago my wife bought me a mountain bike at goodwill and I rebuilt it and started riding. The thing weights 42.4 lbs with nothing added on. If I carry my water and a lock alone, it weighs 46ish or so. It's a monster that I still enjoy. I'm up at 4:30 am 3 days a week to ride with a friend, we're only doing 8-10 miles per morning so it's not like we're riding a ton (yet) but I decided the mtn bike needed a break. I bought a road bike and LOVE it. I'm faster, it's lighter and listens much better than that mule of a mountain bike.

Personally it's like asking what my favorite song is though. I like both bikes for what they are. I hit 400 miles on that mountain bike and felt like I should have got a medal. Hell, I rode 13 miles the other day and it felt like 4 miles on my mountain bike. But it's down to preference. Some frames are built for certain bikes I believe. I did notice the road bike requires muscles I didn't use on the mtn bike, that could be some of the discomfort.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:26 AM   #13
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Jeep does make bikes! No roadies though, perhaps you might like a GMC Denali road bike.

I don't think it's fair to compare an MTB from Goodwill with a decent road bike.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:54 AM   #14
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I feel the same way, tbo.
For longer rides on nice tarmac a road bike is bliss personified.
The hybrid with wider tires, slower speeds, and better field of vision, makes me feel at one with the world.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:58 AM   #15
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Jeep does make bikes! No roadies though, perhaps you might like a GMC Denali road bike.

I don't think it's fair to compare an MTB from Goodwill with a decent road bike.
I think people make the comparison all the time when deciding on a new rig for themselves, and the beater MTB represents something alot of us (myself included) need to be reminded of: no matter how specialized and high-tech your ride, there will always be someone doing equally daunting things on a very simple machine.

I often wonder if the customary bike at the side of a rural gas-station represents the world's strongest rider stuck in the wrong profession with the wrong bike. Sometimes it seems like it, and my better-bike-bug is put in its place for a brief time.
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Old 07-11-11, 07:07 AM   #16
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I was just saying compare bikes of equal value. I was not suggesting the GMC is a decent road bike, but that it's much closer to a cheap MTB in cost and probably weight, ride quality etc. than a basic bike shop drop bar bike.
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Old 07-11-11, 07:40 AM   #17
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BMX pedals on a carbon roadie? Haha, it takes all kinds!
I've posted this before, but it's worth another look. Not quite BMX but....

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Old 07-11-11, 08:13 AM   #18
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My situation...

I've been riding road (race) bikes for the majority of my life and only got a hybrid (about 3 &1/2 years ago) after one of my road bikes was destroyed in an accident here in Japan.

It was the point in my life where I decided a road bike was most definetly not what I wanted as a city bike.
My choice for a hybrid was made after searching initially for an MTB, but personaly couldn't justify shocks in the city. So the obvious choice for me was hybrid ie. rigid MTB frame with 700c.
I love every moment riding this bike in the city because luckily (for me), the geometry suits both my body and city riding. In the morning, it gives me a boost of energy as I jump on it to start work.

BUT, my road (race) bike is a dream to be on in the mountain roads around here. I can't imagine the same style of riding in the same situation on my hybrid. Don't get me wrong, IF I didn't have a spare road (race) bike, I'm conviced I would / could have built a hybrid to suit close enough to mountain road riding.

I guess the biggest (obvious) difference are the frame lengths of my bikes.

Oh, like all bikes, road bikes too, often need adjustments to get them just right for you. On occations, those whom complain about riding road bikes just have to make some changes to get it right. The same as on a hybrid / MTB etc...
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Old 07-11-11, 11:10 AM   #19
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Ive said it before, so here goes; Im not surprised by the OPs verdict. You really cant compare a hybrid to a roadie. The roadie is far too specialized, the hybrid too versitale. Its two different concepts. AND IT IS NOT ABOUT SPEED OR PACE OR HOW FAST YOU CAN RUN ON A HYBRID. Hybrids could be compared to CXs, maybe...
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Old 07-11-11, 12:23 PM   #20
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I do think that hybrids can be loosely compared to CX bikes and that is exactly what I was thinking when I purchased my CX bike back in March. The whole sequence of events for how I arrived at my current 2 bikes was a bit unusual. I started riding a little over a year ago with a 17.5 inch Trek 7100 hybrid. Because I didn't like the grip shifters or the gearing after few months I moved onto a 17.5 inch 7.2 fx. In both cases the LBS did not think the bikes were too small but did think I might fit on a 20 as well. I told them I wasn't sure but that the 20 inch was a tad too tight on clearance over the top tube. Flash ahead 5 months and my sister in law's husband offers me for free a mint super clean 1988 Fuji road bike (54 cm; still snug). Other than being snug at on top tube clearance, from the get go this bike fit me 100% perfectly even though I really didn't get a chance to ride it much due to a nasty January. I have a very strange body type as I'm 6' tall but my inseam is barely 31 inches. Come February I had my wife photograph me on both the road bike and the FX (side shots while riding) because I was a bit suspicious of my lack of progress with long rides on the FX due to hand pain and just general discomfort. When I saw the photos I got my answer. The FX was very obviously too small as I was way too far in front for a hybrid (i.e. my entire upper body was the suspension!). At the same time I could not ride the Fuji enough. I was looking for errands to run just so I could have a reason to do a quick mile or two in addition to my planned rides.

In March, I went looking for a replacement for the FX after selling it to a coworker. It came down to a GT Tachyon 3.0 hybrid for $450 at Performance (really good price on that bike) and a Scattante x-330 cx bike for $599. I went back and forth for a week or two and took one final ride on each. I went with the CX bike mainly because I think it is even more versatile than a hybrid IF you don't mind leaning towards the road bike side of things. I plan on getting another set of wheels to make my bike pretty much a pure road bike at times and plan on using the stock wheels for "hybrid" use. I've never looked back and when I'm riding the tops (about 20% of the time; hoods rest of time; < 1% drops) on my CX bike it's pretty much no different than riding a hybrid. I also have cross lever brakes on both bikes so I can hit the brakes from the tops. One disclaimer is that my bike is probably not real great as a pure CX bike but it can currently be had for $499 and that's something you can't do with the name brand CX bikes.

Last edited by knobd; 07-11-11 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:50 PM   #21
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I feel the same way, tbo.
For longer rides on nice tarmac a road bike is bliss personified.
The hybrid with wider tires, slower speeds, and better field of vision, makes me feel at one with the world.
I totally agree!
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Old 07-12-11, 12:49 PM   #22
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I think my bike is the perfect one cause it rides like a road bike but I can unlock the fork for the bumps. I don't think I rather ride anything else unless I was somewhere where there were no bumpy places but I donno where that would be. I had to put on different tires, crankset, brake levers and handlebar for me to get it that way. Yesterday I was riding next to this guy in a road bike and I beat him.
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Old 07-12-11, 01:36 PM   #23
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nice, i guess i gotta get out there more often, cuz they're usually passing me left and right
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Old 07-12-11, 01:40 PM   #24
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Thanks for posting this. I've had a Trek 7.3 for about 4 years now and love it and recommend the FX series bikes to anybody (my girlfriend is going to buy one today actually). the main reason i haven't gone to road is my size. Not only am i pretty big at 6'2" 280 but i actually have a large build so even if i lost the weight i'd still have broad shoulders and a wider frame. This doesn't feel right on a road bike. the handlebars are wobbly at times. The 7.3 is a light, fast bike that lets me keep up with most casual road bike riders but also let me hit the crushed gravel trails that some road bikes can't even go on. if i were to cross over to races in a copule years when i get really fit, then i might consider getting a road bike. Most of them are RIDICULOUSLY expensive though. 2,000 bucks for a bike? really? no way. not unless i was a serious racer. i also couldn't imagine caring how many grams my bike holder is. but who knows, in 2 years i might be buying carbon fiber shoe laces.
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Old 07-12-11, 01:52 PM   #25
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i spent around 1500 total on my bike after i modified it and it's prolly one of the heaviest bikes I'm around when I go riding.
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