Recommendations on choosing road/hybrid/gravel bike
I'm 49 years 5'11" 225lbs & wanting to get into cycling for the health benefits and weight loss. Currently I have an old Giant Sedona for the off road stuff but I am looking for a good road/hybrid/gravel bike. I will be road riding (not necessarily perfectly smooth roads) about 95% of the time while building up to 10 - 20 mile rides. I want to be able to do light trails down the road and will need to dip off onto the shoulder of the road if necessary. I need a bike that I can grow with and I'm not looking to race. I rode a brand new 2013 Giant TCR Composite 1 @ LBS today; it is marked down to $1300.00. I'm also interested in the Giant Anyroad but they aren't in yet. I've also researched the Specialized Sirris some. The riding position of "true" road bikes is simply too uncomfortable. Do I need disc vs canti brakes etc. and any other important points to consider. Any guidance or suggestions on these or other bikes would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks for your help!!
Last edited by RPM0625; 07-24-14 at 08:56 PM.
I think most any hybrid is going to work for you. A cross bike is going to feel like a traditional road bike except it will likely have a higher head tube for more upright positioning. If you only plan to ride 10-20 miles then a nice hybrid would be perfect. Disc brakes aren't necessary for your riding style BUT they do perform exceptionally well in wet conditions. I have them on my cx bike and will continue to buy disc brakes on all of my mixed surface type bikes.
As for hybrids, most brands make good ones. The Trek 7 series, Fuji Absolute, Jamis Allegro, cannondale quick(I think). Are a few that I have ridden and enjoyed. However, if you can find a comfortable cx bike then I would opt for it over a hybrid.
What is it you don't like about the Sedona? For building up to 10 - 20 mile rides, I'd just put some 26" slicks on the Giant and go ride. When you get to the point that you're doing 20 miles or more on a regular basis, then you'll have a much better idea what qualities you're looking for in a new bike. Keep in mind that a bike you can "grow into" will probably be uncomfortable at your current fitness level. A bike that is comfortable now will probably feel like it's holding you back as your fitness improves.
I have to agree with Kopsis. I was in a similar situation as you a few years ago. I bought a Trek Katai which was what they called a dual sport bike. I started increasing the distances of my rides and lost 50 lbs. At that point I bought a true road bike b/c as my fitness increased this bike was less comfortable on longer rides.
Mike12, thanks for the advice. Just curious, what weight did you go from/to and any one particular thing that made it "work for you"?
I went from 185 to 135. I just made the required changes in my life. Exercise & eating better/less. There's no shortcut. I'd tried several other times to drop the weight, but I finally got it through my head to actually do it. The lifestyle changes were hard at first, but after a couple months it became the norm. Those 2 months weren't easy though.
As I started loosing weight and getting in better shape I obviously got faster. I think that continual cycling improvement kept me motivated to exercise & eat better.
I went through a similar situation of discovering cycling, dropping weight (about the same as mike12 above), starting with the bike I had and then growing into the sport. Where I differed though is I started on a mountain bike, but found that I wasn't riding as much as I wanted on the trails (winter, bad weather at other times), so I bought a second set of rims/tires (with slicks) so I could ride on the road too. This worked well for a while, until I found the road rides lacking with the mtb, so I bought a road bike. You'll know when it's right. I was up to 50k on my mtb bike on roads. I think it's more about the lure of seeing road bikes everwhere that got me hooked. Funny thing is years later and I just bought a mountain bike after not owning one for 8 years. So much better at that now that I'm fitter and stronger. And it's just as much fun.
You could keep your eyes open on the used sites for something that fits you and is a good deal...that way you're not dropping too much coin (until you're ready too).
I find Hybrid bikes to be a bad decision in almost all ventures. There are a lot of comfortable road bikes out there that are built more for endurance than racing. Just ask your LBS about which would be more comfortable. Road bikes can always go further off the road and in more difficult terrain than most people give them credit for. 23mm tires do just fine on crushed gravel.
Touring road bikes offer the comfort of endurance road bikes, but with the more off-road capabilities (i.e. bigger tires and more spokes in the wheels, which makes them tougher).
Hybrid bikes are heavy and slow with lower grade components. I've seen them fall apart with somewhat odd problems.