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  1. #1
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    Do I want/need a hybrid or a road bike?

    Here's the background story. I apologize for the long post in advance. I've become something of a poet as of late.

    I have always owned mountain bikes. Although I do take them on trails many times a year, I find my real calling in riding them on the road. I have found myself time after time taking my mountain bike on long (and painful) treks on nothing but road. I like riding on the road but I hate doing it with the mountain bike. So let's try a road bike you say.

    I bought a cheap and used road bike just to see how I like it, and I hated it. I don't like the position you have to sit in, where the gears were located, etc. I just didn't feel comfortable on it. Another thing that worried me is that I'm heavier than the average road biker at 225 lbs. Next, I looked into hybrid bikes.

    I looked at one at the LBS and it felt pretty good; a lot quicker than my mountain bike that's for sure. It's a Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc. Not too much, not too little in terms of price. Well, I'm about to go back tomorrow to finally buy it, but I ask you this,
    Do I need a hybrid?

    My main use will be riding on the road as I have a mountain bike for off-road. The question is, should I go for a similarly priced road bike (with flat bars)? Will it be okay in terms of tires? Will it be okay in terms of shock versus no shock? My weight concerns me as I don't want to buy a bike and have it ruined when I hit a bump or something. Please help clear my mind on this; there's just too many damn options.

  2. #2
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    If you like how the Crosstrail felt , I think you should get it. Tires should be ok
    for your weight, just ask them to check the tension on the spokes. Some folks
    like a cushy ride so maybe that's why this model came w/ shocks, you can ask
    the dealer to "lock out" the fork if it's adjustable. Don't worry too much about
    "breaking " something, there's plenty of cyclist much heavier than you and their
    bikes are holding up ok. Also, if something does break; your new bike should be
    covered under warranty(usually for a year).

  3. #3
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    Not to be contrary, but don't buy a bike for the road with a front shock. It is totally wasted weight and energy. I started with a typical hybrid, Specialized Sirrus, road it exclusively on the road, and then started the steady progression to making it a flat bar road bike. I love the flat bars, but realize that most things that make a hybrid a hybrid reduce its efficiency at something else.

    I essentially ride what is sold at Nashbar as the flat bar road bike, FB-1. That is a good deal. Also, don't discount all road bikes since you had 1 and didn't like it. If you didn't like the shifting, was it a down tube shifter? Modern road bikes shift with the brake levers. And modern road bikes come in all geometries, from a racer to a more relaxed all day rider.

  4. #4
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    And your size is nothing. Check out the Clydesdale / Athena pages. There are carbon road bikes frequently used. At 205 to 210 myself, I can safely say you are within the standard distribution.

  5. #5
    I'm doing it wrong. RJM's Avatar
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    I will second the sentiment - If you are going to ride on the road predominantly, don't use a shock fork. Just wasted weight and energy bleed-off with really no benefit on the road. What LBSs consider "road bikes" usually have skinny tires and more of a racer type geometry. Hybrids can use wider tires and have more relaxed angles, putting you a bit more upright. I like the wider tires and the v brakes of my hybrid over my road bike. The road bike is faster and I do like the drop bars/brifters, but the hybrid is no slouch. I would say to go to you shop and test ride road and hybrid bikes on the road. Go for at least ten minutes for each ride. You should then be able to make up your mind as to which one is best for you.

  6. #6
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    At 6'6" and 250 myself, I know where you're coming from.

    About 1&1/2 months ago I started looking for a bike that would fit me... I know weight's a bit of a concern (though I knew my weight would go down once I started commuting to work) but I had the added issue of height/frame size. Locally, short of spending $1800 on the first bike I've bought since 1999, my options were extremely limited... not many companies make a lot of bikes that are available in 25" frames, and not many shops carry those bigger sizes (at least around here). Finally, I found a 2010 Specialized Crosstrail Base XXL. It was the first bike I tried that actually fit well & felt good- so I bought it.

    Having done a couple hundred miles on it now, I do wish I would have got one with a lockout shock as a decent amount of my commute is on the road (even though I never stand up to pedal, it bothers me thinking that some of my energy is wasted pushing the shocks instead of moving forward.) Beyond that, I had one spoke break at the hub and another broke while the LBS was replacing the first so they ordered me a replacement double-wall wheel (they thought there might be a hub or wheel issue, and I had voiced my desire for a double-wall rim instead of the stock single-wall anyway.) Again, the LBS thought the breaking spokes were due to a defect, not strictly my size... and if you're getting a 2011 Crosstrail the rims are already double-wall so they're a bit stronger than my 2010s stock rims- so I wouldn't worry much at all about your weight on the bike.

    Finally, the Crosstrail comes with pretty big tires (45s) and though they're semi-slick they certainly are slower than thinner & smoother road bike tires... they are also known to be pretty weak, resulting in more flats than most people care to deal with. Though I've had no issue or complaints yet, I've given in to the fact that I'll probably want to spend another $70-$100 within a year to replace the tires to reduce the size, increase the speed, and better safeguard against flats.

    That said, though I've got more than a couple pounds on you from all that I've read Crosstrails are pretty durable and reliable bikes for relatively low cost... With the shocks in mind and despite having what the LBS believed to be a defect issue & not a build/component issue, I'm very happy with my bike. If the one you're looking at fits & feels good I say go for it.
    Last edited by Huzzah81; 07-23-11 at 10:24 AM.

  7. #7
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    I echo the feelings about losing the front shock. You already have an MTB for that. The Sirrus line would compliment it better.
    And for the road bike; if you put a *** to my head I would sell mine and keep my Trek 7.3.
    In the Anonymity of the Internet Everyone is an Expert

  8. #8
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    If you are like me (and I think a whole lot of others), when you start riding roads you will pick up the speed addiction. It is soooooo much fun to effortlessly go fast. Especially since you have an MTB, get something that will slide along sweetly from the get go. The tires with slicks in the middle and knobs on the sides are not fast, are not good of road, and are more hype than happy. If something looks slow, it prolly is.

    If you are looking at a Specialized shop, try the Sirrus, which is much quicker than some of the others, but try a Secteur as well. It is a relaxed geo alum road bike. The Allez is the more racing geometry. Then you can answer for yourself and by feel whether you want road or hybrid.

  9. #9
    Senior Member scooter bopp's Avatar
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    Now see, I really like the fork suspensions. In fact when my wife got her 7100 I would ride hers rather than ride my road bike, (When she wasn't riding it). So I got my own. My road bike is faster, but I guess I'm just not in that big of a hurry anymore. Also I7100 001.jpg like the upright riding position so I can see stuff I never got to see on the road bike. Not selling the road bike yet, but I'm just sayin... Also 700x35 tires seem like a good size for different riding conditions.
    Last edited by scooter bopp; 07-23-11 at 12:02 PM. Reason: tire size
    I used to be fast.....Now I'm just not in that big of a hurry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter bopp View Post
    Now see, I really like the fork suspensions. In fact when my wife got her 7100 I would ride hers rather than ride my road bike, (When she wasn't riding it). So I got my own. My road bike is faster, but I guess I'm just not in that big of a hurry anymore. Also I 7100 001.jpg like the upright riding position so I can see stuff I never got to see on the road bike. Not selling the road bike yet, but I'm just sayin... Also 700x35 tires seem like a good size for different riding conditions.
    I like the idea of the front suspension too... sometimes. However, for smooth road riding, particularly going uphill, it would be nice to be able to lock out the shock if I want/need to get off the saddle and really push.

    Though I haven't actually tried out any different sizes, from what I've seen & read I'm thinking 35-37 tires (maybe even smaller) sound ideal for road & smooth trail riding as well... when I pick up new tires I will likely be getting some in that size range.

  11. #11
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    All but the cheapest hybrids with a front shock will have lockout. Some of them aren't that easy/practical to reach while riding, though. The Cannondale Quick CX Ultra / CX1 has a magura fatty headshok which is lighter than a traditional supension fork and as a bonus the lockout lever is on top of the stem in easy reach.

    The bad news is that it is hardly entry-level pricing.

    I ride mine on the street locked out 90% of the time. I use suspension only on cobblestones and similar rough pavement. Offroad, however, I get great benefit from the suspension and only lockout when climbing a hill or sprinting.

  12. #12
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    So after reading most of your replies and going back to the LBS with some fresh thoughts, I ended up leaving with a Giant Seek 1. I took it for a spit and immediately fell in love with the road type tires. I took it for a spin today and it was a joy to ride. It will take me a little getting used to the fact of not having a front suspension anymore. How do you guys usually deal with objects (rocks, etc) in your path or when there is a break in the pavement?

    Thanks for all your feedback, it helped a LOT.

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-ca/....1/8069/45719/

  13. #13
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    Dodge objects, as striking them can lead to punctures.

    For breaks in the pavement, rail road tracks, holes too big to dodge, I stand up on the pedals, and tend to lean forward on entry and shift back on exit. The only time I have ever broken spokes was when I hit a jarring hole with my weight full on the seat.

    And congrats on the bike. It looks to me like a stealth urban assault vehicle. I like the SRAM shifters, and like that they are not integrated to the brake levers. Lets you upgrade and replace triggers without wrestling brake levers at the same time!
    Quote Originally Posted by Man in Black
    Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

  14. #14
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    Definitely dodge objects if you are able. If it takes a severe maneuver and you might crash into something or weave into traffic, it may be preferable to brake hard and hope for the best. When going over an obstacle-- big bump, hole, etc-- you will want to 'get light'.

    Raise yourself off the seat at least an inch and try to let your arms and legs act as shock absorbers for your body weight. You don't necessarily need to fully stand unless it's a really big bump, we're talking jumping curbs. (Which I don't recommend.) Usually just raising yourself a little is enough... make sure to practice this skill as you don't want to be unbalanced because you never stand up.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DiamondDave247's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Books View Post
    So after reading most of your replies and going back to the LBS with some fresh thoughts, I ended up leaving with a Giant Seek 1.
    hi, it looks like you got yourself quite a nice bike there. congrats! i've been thinking about a new, leaner and faster, hybrid-type of bike, too. my mountain bike seemed like a good choice a few years ago when i did a lot more off-road riding, but since i've been climbing hills on the paved paths lately, the wide wheels, fork, and weight have given me quite the added workout. a workout isn't always a bad thing in my case, but i'm ready to lighten the load a bit while keeping the option of an occasional off-path ride available. do you mind if i ask what the final sale price was for your new Giant Seek 1? i know prices vary from store to store, but it will give me a ball park idea of my budget. thanks for the reply.

  16. #16
    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    It goes like this:

    If you care only for speed and want to go as fast as possible, get a recumbent ... if you don't want a recumbent ... get a TT bike.
    Positives: very fast
    Negatives: only for riding solo, will not be allowed in groups mostly, uncomfortable for long distances.

    If you care only for speed and want to ride in groups on nothing but roads ... get a roadracebike!
    Positives: fast
    Negatives: less comfort due to high pressure tires, bad for doing tracks or gravelly roads or bumpy old crappy roads.

    If you care for speed and do mostly roads but like to be comfortable as well ... get a touring bike or road oriented hybrid.
    Positives: fast enough for 90% of riders, can be adapted to anything you desire like wide fast rolling tires (schwalbe marathon racer?) or aerobars with bartape, etc...
    Negatives: can not do actual mountainbiking.

    If you want an alround bike that can do roads and nearly anything else ... get a sporty hybrid.
    Positives: can do everything and can be adjusted to the rider any way you want.
    Negatives: none.

    If you are going to do only off-roading ... get a mountainbike.
    Positives: can do hard labour in mountains.
    Negatives: slower on roads.

    I think that about sums it up ... find the category you fall under and choose the bike that suits you best.
    Last edited by AdelaaR; 07-30-11 at 11:46 AM.

  17. #17
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    Hybrids are great for people who are making a transition from cross country or trails mountain bikes as it retains similar riding geometries and shifter/brake positions. The speed and comfort of the hybrid is dependent upon what tires you use and what type of riding position you are in. If you are more upright, you will ride a tad slower but with more relaxed posture as opposed to road bikes which gives you an aerodynamic position and better leverage for bigger gears. Our body accounts for 65% of the aerodynamics loss, the more streamlined your body is, the faster you can go. I used to know a strong young rider who is a CAT 1 and rode a hybrid with his peloton group in a sleek aero position and even I on a carbon road bike was having a hard time catching him. If he puts his bars any higher, he will not be able to go so fast or push big gears.

    Speed of the hybrid is dependent upon the ability of the rider, since hybrids already have 700c wheels to begin with.

    Some people still use mountain bikes (hard tails) as a makeshift hybrid by switching the wheels to thinner rims so they can run thinner and sleeker 26 inch road tires. That will work just as well, but 26 inch wheels won't retain their rotational momentum as well as 700cc wheels, so some people may simply go and buy a hybrid and keep the mountain bike strictly for trails.
    Last edited by pacificcyclist; 07-30-11 at 10:02 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Books View Post
    So after reading most of your replies and going back to the LBS with some fresh thoughts, I ended up leaving with a Giant Seek 1. I took it for a spit and immediately fell in love with the road type tires. I took it for a spin today and it was a joy to ride. It will take me a little getting used to the fact of not having a front suspension anymore. How do you guys usually deal with objects (rocks, etc) in your path or when there is a break in the pavement?

    Thanks for all your feedback, it helped a LOT.

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-ca/....1/8069/45719/
    Looks like a nice bike, overall. I'm with you in not caring for most modern road bikes. The geometry is far too tight, and it's all tailored towards racing and speed--even the lowest end models are built this way. Because of that, I purchased a Trek 7.5FX a while back. While it was a great bike, the flat bars were awful for rides more than 20 miles. I was resistant to getting drops because I thought they'd be uncomfortable, but I found that really it's the low stem angle, on most bikes with drops, that I don't like. I ended up selling my 7.5 and purchasing an older Raleigh road bike on Craigslist. It was a fixer-upper and I put on a lot of new parts, including a new stem with a high rise. I find that it's the most comfortable bike I've been on for long rides (40-80miles).

    If you find those flat bars uncomfortable on longer rides, you may want to consider going to drops.

  19. #19
    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRaleigh View Post
    If you find those flat bars uncomfortable on longer rides, you may want to consider going to drops.
    Or ... if you don't like drops ... consider a flat bar with barends and aerobar

  20. #20
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    Ride both a hybrid and a road bike and then get the one that makes you say "WOW!"
    HCFR Cycling Team
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  21. #21
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRaleigh View Post
    While it was a great bike, the flat bars were awful for rides more than 20 miles. I was resistant to getting drops because I thought they'd be uncomfortable, but I found that really it's the low stem angle, on most bikes with drops, that I don't like.
    Agreed on flat bars for long distances. I ride my hybrid on MTB trails and you cannot have bar-ends in the woods. Bar ends aren't nearly as good as drop bars anyway.

    Look for 'endurance road' bikes. The Specialized Secteur does not have a low stem. It is almost geometrically identical to the Roubaix carbon bike, at a far lower price. If they had the same components they'd weigh about the same, too, except they don't.. the best Secteur is not quite equal to the cheapest Roubaix. (And of course the Roubaix goes way higher into pro-grade equipment.)
    Last edited by ColinL; 07-30-11 at 01:34 PM. Reason: speeling mistake ;)

  22. #22
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    Yeah, I never liked bar ends. I had them on my FX and they helped some, but not near as much as drops. And of course bar ends like to catch on ****.

  23. #23
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    I have found that no one bike covers all types of riding. I have a hybrid and a road bike, and I use them for different routes and lengths of rides.

  24. #24
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    Over a month ago, I was in the same situation not knowing what to buy, so I settled for a Trek 7.5 (awesome btw) I logged in over 160 miles the first month and started riding with some friends which are roadies and I couldn't keep up, so today I just bought a Trek Madone 5.2. So my answer to you is buy both. They serve their purpose.


  25. #25
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    After riding for a whole month averaging over 5 miles a day, and with friends on road bikes that are faster than you, of course you needed a Madone. Congrats! Are you faster than your friends now?

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