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  1. #1
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    Making My Hybrid more road friendly?

    Would I get noticeably better road performance if I went from 700cc 32mm to 28mm?

    I am starting to regret my hybrid purchase as I am riding much more with long group road rides then I am on the light trails that I was riding when I first bought it... I just do not have the money now though to buy a road bike, so I would like to find a way to make what I have a more road friendly. I plan on adding bar ends just so I have more space to move my hands around when they get tired, but I really need to do something to pick up the speed a bit without having to work so much harder then all the other riders who are on road bikes (Im usually the only person on a hybrid). Any ideas would be helpful, Im still really new to cycling and know next to nothing about bike mechanics.


    Would be a big bonus if anyone is familiar with Giant GX-02 rims and can tell me what size tire I can drop down too without changing rims. I can find no specs for it on Giants website.

  2. #2
    Senior Member camjr's Avatar
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    Have you tried flipping your stem and removing spacers under the stem to give you a lower, more aerodynamic riding position on your Escape? That would probably provide more benefit than marginally narrower tires. Bar ends are a good choice, but you already realized that.
    Last edited by camjr; 06-03-14 at 10:05 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Changing tires from 32 to 28 will make almost no difference, IMO. When I say tiny, I mean, maybe you will shave 10 or 15 seconds off a 30 mile ride. And your ride quality won't be as good. Don't know if you want to or even can go down to 25 mm tires.

    The main thing slowing you down is the upright riding position. You could switch stems to stretch out and get lower but, in general, you can't turn a hybrid into a road bike.

    In general, if you want a road bike, buy a road bike.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by camjr View Post
    Have you tried flipping your stem and removing spacers under the stem to give you a lower, more aerodynamic riding position on your Escape? That would probably provide more benefit than marginally narrower tires. Bar ends are a good choice, but you already realized that.
    No, like I said, I know nothing about mechanics so I would have never thought about that. Thanks, I will look into it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    Changing tires from 32 to 28 will make almost no difference, IMO. When I say tiny, I mean, maybe you will shave 10 or 15 seconds off a 30 mile ride. And your ride quality won't be as good. Don't know if you want to or even can go down to 25 mm tires.

    The main thing slowing you down is the upright riding position. You could switch stems to stretch out and get lower but, in general, you can't turn a hybrid into a road bike.

    In general, if you want a road bike, buy a road bike.

    Would adjusting the seat make a difference? I could go a little higher with it and a little further back.. I have been meaning to test out different positions with it anyways.

  6. #6
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexxer View Post
    Would adjusting the seat make a difference? I could go a little higher with it and a little further back.. I have been meaning to test out different positions with it anyways.
    I would hope you have your seat set up for optimal comfort and performance. Sorry to say but, you may just have to chalk this up to experience, build up your cycling muscles, make cheap but minor changes like flipping the stem or adding bar ends, and saving up for a road bike.

    They should put this type of thread up as a sticky in the hybrid and general cycling forums. Too many of us started with hybrids when we might have been happier and saved money in the long run had we gone with road bikes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Just curious, how long have you been riding a bike in general? I don't doubt having a more "road-friendly" bike would help, but on the other hand, can it also be that your riding buddies have more experience that enables them to go fast for a long period of time?
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  8. #8
    Senior Member 2702's Avatar
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    Its the power transfer of the bottom bracket that matters. How much that area flexes or how stiff it is that makes the ride to me for going faster and easier. Your hybrid is made for commutes in comfort.
    And the reality is many hybrids feel like jello in the bottom bracket area compared to road bikes.
    And the others are right, 32 to 28 wont make it faster, maybe feel more nimble and that's it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    Just curious, how long have you been riding a bike in general? I don't doubt having a more "road-friendly" bike would help, but on the other hand, can it also be that your riding buddies have more experience that enables them to go fast for a long period of time?
    In most cases that is probably true... fitness too as before I started cycling two months ago, I had not been on a bike in 20 years and had really been a couch potato. All that aside though, people keep pointing to how wide my tires are as the reason I'm struggling to keep up... maybe they are just being nice and blaming the bike instead of my out of shape butt...lol. I don't know really. Its probably a mix of all of it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2702 View Post
    Its the power transfer of the bottom bracket that matters. How much that area flexes or how stiff it is that makes the ride to me for going faster and easier. Your hybrid is made for commutes in comfort.
    And the reality is many hybrids feel like jello in the bottom bracket area compared to road bikes.
    And the others are right, 32 to 28 wont make it faster, maybe feel more nimble and that's it.
    Is that something that can be changed? Can I change the bracket out? Sorry if that is a dumb question.

  11. #11
    Senior Member 2702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexxer View Post
    Is that something that can be changed? Can I change the bracket out? Sorry if that is a dumb question.
    No you have to change the entire frame for that.
    I think the bike can be made to feel more nimble and more aero with stem swaps and that's about it. As for going faster that's really not in the cards.
    The good news is fast cheap road bikes like the CAAD line or Allez line is really not that expensive.

  12. #12
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexxer View Post
    In most cases that is probably true... fitness too as before I started cycling two months ago, I had not been on a bike in 20 years and had really been a couch potato. All that aside though, people keep pointing to how wide my tires are as the reason I'm struggling to keep up... maybe they are just being nice and blaming the bike instead of my out of shape butt...lol. I don't know really. Its probably a mix of all of it.
    I can relate to that. I was totally out of shape until I picked up cycling last summer. For the first couple of weeks, I was barely able to ride a few miles, let alone at any meaningful speed. It took me a few months until I was able to cruise at 14-15 MPH comfortably for 10+ miles. I've ridden 2,000+ miles since I bought my first bike, and I can now ride at 18-20 MPH on relatively flat roads for about an hour. I still have a long way to go. It just takes time.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  13. #13
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    Bolt on drops, from Origin 8, can help you get lower, inexpensively.

    Higher quality tires, if you still have the OEMs on there, have lower rolling resistance.

    Have you tried pumping your tires 10# over max, to see if it makes a difference? What pressure are you running?

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  14. #14
    Senior Member Jaeger99's Avatar
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    I'm in exactly the same position as the OP. My conclusion is that my hybrid is pretty close to perfect for its intended application, but it isn't a road bike and never will be. I don't want to get rid of the hybrid because I love the off-road versatility it brings (still do about 30% of my riding off pavement). But for longer road rides where I want to carry more speed over greater distance, I "need" a road bike.

    I added bar ends to mine - as well as clipless pedals - both helped a bunch in improving the riding experience.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I spent considerable time and money roadifying my hybrid because I made the mistake of not getting a road bike. eventually I got a road bike. save yourself the time and money and get a new bike and go riding!

    what I did: tires, stem and drop bars (after trying all sorts of bolt on bars straight and dropped), saddle, fenders & rack. very comfortable, fast and a great commuter. but now I ride an aluminum road bike with a carbon fork, no fenders and a Brooks leather saddle. oh and brifters (integrated brake lever / gear shifter) which changed my life.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Bolt on drops, from Origin 8, can help you get lower, inexpensively.

    Higher quality tires, if you still have the OEMs on there, have lower rolling resistance.

    Have you tried pumping your tires 10# over max, to see if it makes a difference? What pressure are you running?
    About 80, the tires say 85 max but I can't seem to get higher then 80 with the pump I have.

  17. #17
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    The biggest difference in tires might be from tread pattern. If the stock tires are really knobby for off road use switching to slick 28s may help - somewhat. And by all means try playing with your saddle position and height to maximize power transfer. Clipless pedals will also help, particularly if you're climbing.

  18. #18
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    You can't make Filet Mignon with hamburger...

    Save your money and get a road bike!

  19. #19
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    What about butterfly handlebars? I have never seen anyone using them before, but from what I have read online, hybrid riders who switched to them say they make a huge difference. Not many places seem to sell them though.

  20. #20
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexxer View Post
    What about butterfly handlebars? I have never seen anyone using them before, but from what I have read online, hybrid riders who switched to them say they make a huge difference. Not many places seem to sell them though.
    For touring. They won't make you ride any faster.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    For touring. They won't make you ride any faster.
    Wouldn't the different hand positions though stretch you out, making you lower and more aerodynamic?

  22. #22
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexxer View Post
    Wouldn't the different hand positions though stretch you out, making you lower and more aerodynamic?
    No, but it will give the hands and back some relief on rides longer than 3 or 4 hours. If it were that easy to turn a $400 hybrid into a road bike, I am sure more people would do it.

  23. #23
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    Get the Schwinn Fastback 1 at www.nashbar.com @ $680 on sale, today and tomorrow, only!

    Tiagra gruppo + a CF fork 2!
    Last edited by WestPablo; 06-04-14 at 09:04 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    Get the Schwinn Fastback 1 at www.nashbar.com @ $680 on sale, today and tomorrow, only!

    Tiagra gruppo + a CF fork 2!
    I wish I could, really do not have the money right now.

  25. #25
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexxer View Post
    I wish I could, really do not have the money right now.
    Save your money and just ride what you have then. You might surprise yourself how far, and how fast you can train yourself to ride a hybrid.

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