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whats the difference between Hybrid/Commuter

Old 08-17-09, 10:48 PM
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whats the difference between Hybrid/Commuter

ok so im new to this commuting thing but while browsing the hybrid forum I see a bunch of bikes that i would call a commuter.. why are they calling them hybrids..." remember class, there are no stupid questions, just ignorant questions"..
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Old 08-17-09, 10:53 PM
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A hybrid is a type of bicycle... commuting is something you do and a term you can apply to any bicycle that serves this purpose.
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Old 08-17-09, 11:02 PM
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which would make a "commuter bike" ANY bike that a "commuter person" rides to work on...
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Old 08-17-09, 11:08 PM
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Why do we have to constantly defend this question. I know the OP is asking genuinely but boy oh boy. Maybe we need a solid STICKY defining these. Here is the info from Wikipedia

Hybrid Bike:
A hybrid bicycle is a bicycle designed for general-purpose utility or commuter cycling on paved and unpaved roads, paths, and trails. Also known under such names as City bike, Cross bike, or Commuter,[1] the hybrid takes design features from both the road bike and mountain bike, with the goal of making a bike for general commuting and transportation.
In general, hybrids use the mountain bike's triple crank, together with the latter's handlebars giving a more upright posture than road bicycles. They also usually use one of the kinds of brakes used on mountain bikes, namely linear pull, or disc. From the road bicycle they take the 700C (larger) wheel diameter for higher speeds, but use a wider rim and tire for increased strength. (wikipedia)


Commuter Bike:

The commuter bike is a hybrid designed specifically for commuting over short or long distances. It typically features derailleur gearing, 700C wheels with fairly light 1.125-inch (28 mm) tires, a carrier rack, full fenders, and a frame with suitable mounting points for attachment of various load-carrying baskets or panniers. It sometimes, though not always has an enclosed chainguard to allow a rider to pedal the bike in long pants without entangling them in the chain. A well-equipped commuter bike typically features front and rear lights for use in the early morning or late evening hours encountered at the start or end of a business day.[1]


City Bike
Similar to the commuter bike, the city bike is optimized for the rough-and-tumble of urban commuting.[1] The city bike differs from the familiar European city bike in its mountain bike heritage, gearing, and strong yet lightweight frame construction.[1][3][4][5] It usually features mountain bike-sized (26-inch) wheels, a more upright seating position, and fairly wide 1.5 - 1.95-inch (38 - 50 mm) heavy belted tires designed to shrug off road hazards commonly found in the city, such as broken glass.[1][6] Using a sturdy welded chromoly or aluminum frame derived from the mountain bike, the city bike is more capable at handling urban hazards such as deep potholes, drainage grates, and jumps off city curbs.[1][6] City bikes are designed to have reasonably quick, yet solid and predictable handling, and are normally fitted with full fenders for use in all weather conditions.[1] A few city bikes may have enclosed chainguards, while others may be equipped with suspension forks, similar to mountain bikes. City bikes may also come with front and rear lighting systems for use at night or in bad weather.[1]


Comfort Bike
Another subclass of the hybrid category is the comfort bike. Comfort bikes are essentially modern versions of the old roadster and sports roadster bicycle,[1] though modern comfort bikes are often equipped with derailleur rather than hub gearing. They typically have a modified mountain bike frame with a tall head tube to provide an upright riding position, 26-inch wheels, and 1.75 or 1.95-inch (45 - 50 mm) smooth or semi-slick tires. Comfort bikes typically incorporate such features as front suspension forks, seat post suspension with wide plush saddles, and drop-center, angled North Road style handlebars designed for easy reach while riding in an upright position. Some comfort bikes have hub gears instead of derailleur gears.
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Old 08-17-09, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by TamaraEden View Post
Commuter Bike:
The commuter bike is a hybrid designed specifically for commuting over short or long distances.
That's the problem right there. This is a marketing definition of "commuter bike" and bears little actual resemblance to what makes a bike useful for commuting.
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Old 08-17-09, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
That's the problem right there. This is a marketing definition of "commuter bike" and bears little actual resemblance to what makes a bike useful for commuting.
I see your point. I think the issue is that the word "commute" has grown into many meanings. (these are my very simple off the head definitions but I think the point will be clear)

Commute (Verb), to move or travel

Commuter (Noun), one who travels to work

Commuter (Adjective-sort of) "I'm a bike commuter"

Commuter (Noun) a bicycle used for the act of commuting.

In other words...it's all symantics. My feeling is there are bikes that are made SPECIFIC to commuting. The ones that come with pre installed racks, fenders, etc. (yes, they might also be city bikes) OR bikes that have the set up for racks, fenders, etc. when you buy them.

HOWEVER...there are also all sorts of bikes that have been adapted to be bikes that commuters use hence also called commuter bikes. Maybe they should be called "Commuter's bikes"
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Old 08-17-09, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by TamaraEden View Post
My feeling is there are bikes that are made SPECIFIC to commuting. The ones that come with pre installed racks, fenders, etc. (yes, they might also be city bikes) OR bikes that have the set up for racks, fenders, etc. when you buy them.
Well, yes, but that doesn't necessarily make them better bikes for commuting than many others. This is exactly what I mean by this being a marketing-created definition. This is a bunch of bike marketers getting together and saying, "This is what a bike for commuting should look like." I disagree with them. In fact, this is one of my pet peeves.
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Old 08-17-09, 11:44 PM
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In preemptive defense of myself, I'd like to offer this quote borrowed from Sheldon Brown's web site:

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw
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Old 08-17-09, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Well, yes, but that doesn't necessarily make them better bikes for commuting than many others. This is exactly what I mean by this being a marketing-created definition. This is a bunch of bike marketers getting together and saying, "This is what a bike for commuting should look like." I disagree with them. In fact, this is one of my pet peeves.
Well, I can only speak for me, and I don't see one as better than the other. I just see different styles and components as better for some and not for others. Like me for instance, I got a step through bike on purpose. One, i thought it would be easier to get on and off. Two, I have a short inseam and my crotch doesn't clear most bikes
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Old 08-17-09, 11:52 PM
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I think you guys scared the OP off. Come back OP, come back... it's safe now.
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Old 08-17-09, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ivandarken View Post
I think you guys scared the OP off. Come back OP, come back... it's safe now.
We didn't scare anyone. If they're sincere they'll be back
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Old 08-18-09, 05:10 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by TamaraEden View Post
Why do we have to constantly defend this question. I know the OP is asking genuinely but boy oh boy. Maybe we need a solid STICKY defining these.
There's really no need to "defend" anything, and no reason to be so defensive.

OP, these days a hybrid is basically any diamond frame bike that's not really a road bike and not really a mountain bike. Any other taxonomy, implied or otherwise, is just marketing.
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Old 08-18-09, 06:00 AM
  #13  
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This was a post by Sixty Fiver on the Hybrid forum (I hope it's okay that I copied it). I think it sums it up pretty well

Hybrid: Something of mixed origin or composition

I like this article from Suite101.com

The hybrid bike was first conceived as a cross between the road bike and the mountain bike. And while it never worked as a mountain bike, and it can't really keep up with a road bike, the hybrid has become an interesting and dynamic design, spawning many sub-categories to satisfy a diversity of riders.

The Hybrid Bicycle Frame

Most hybrid frames are aluminum, making for light, durable, and affordable bikes($350-1600). Some manufacturers soften the aluminum ride characteristics with front suspension or, for a little more money, carbon forks. The geometry is generally lax, with a shallow head and seat tube angle and a relatively long wheelbase. Mounting fixtures for accessories should be plentiful, with bolt points for rear and sometimes front racks, extra water bottles, and fenders.

Hybrid Handlebar Styles

Most hybrids come with flat bars and mountain-bike shifters and brakes. The bars are wide, for maneuverability and control, and the hand-position is high, which lets the rider sit up and have a full, comfortable view of the road and surroundings. Often, the stem (the piece that connects the bars with the fork) will be adjustable.
Wheels and Tires for Hybrid Bicycles

Hybrid bikes can be built around a 26-inch wheel, which is a mountain bike wheel size, or a 700c wheel, which is the road bike size. In either case, the rim is usually designed to take a tire in the one- to one-and-a-half inch range. This is wider than a road bike but narrower than a mountain bike. Tire tread patterns vary from a road-specific smooth tread to a semi-knobby, cyclo-cross style. But most hybrids come with a combo tread, with a solid center ridge to reduce rolling resistance combined with a grooved side pattern for grip on wet roads or gravel. The bike shop will often swap tires at the time of purchase if the buyer prefers as different tread pattern.
Hybrid Bike Drive Trains

Most hybrids have a standard drive train of three chainrings in the front and eight or nine cogs on the rear cassette. Gearing is a compromise of road and mountain, leaning more toward road. Specialty bikes, often toward the higher end price-wise, may have only one or two chainrings or even be single-speed.

The Two Major Hybrid Set-Ups

Hybrid bikes broadly fall into two major groups:

* The Comfort Bike, probably the largest category of hybrid ($300-1000). It has a shock-absorbing fork and seatpost, an adjustable stem, and it is often set up to be ridden in an upright position with a cushy ride. This is good for long rides at moderate speeds on bike trails or flat roads, generally for the recreational rider. It's probably not for those who want to go out and "hammer" or climb long hills on a daily basis. Comfort bikes start aound $350, but it makes sense to kick up a level or two if one intends to ride often, say several times a week.

* The Fitness Bike ($400-1600, $2000-plus for a carbon frame and high-end components). A lower handlebar leans the rider forward into a more aggressive, efficient position, to facilitate more athletic pedaling. There are usually no shock forks or seatpost; the cushy feel of the Comfort Bike gives way to a faster, ergonomic ride. The fitness bike works well on paved and semi-paved bike trails, and it also rolls quite efficiently on the road and climbs decently. Some riders enhance this latter ability by adding mountain-bike bar ends.

Niche Hybrids

Within these two major groups, there are many permutations and adaptations. Some come from the manufacturer, some are pieced together by the user. These include:

* The Commuter Bike. This can be a comfort bike or a fitness hybrid, adapted for commuting with the addition of fenders, racks, lights, and so on. Some commuters use disk brakes, which improve performance in the rainy conditions that are unavoidable when the bike is used as the primary vehicle. Most commuters opt for clipless pedals and compatible shoes to maximize pedaling efficiency.

* The City Bike. It can look like a commuter bike with muscles, meaning a beefier frame and wheels designed to take multiple hits from curbs, recessed manhole covers, and pot holes. City bikes often have a nondescript paint job so as not to attract the attention of thieves. The top tube may be wrapped in electrical tape (after-market) to protect it when locked to parking meters or street signs. It may have fenders, racks, and flat pedals.

* One-Bys and Single Speeds. Commuters who don't have to face hills will sometimes ride a one-by-, which means there is only one chain ring, making the bike a one-by-eight or a one-by-nine, and so on. Reducing the front drive components makes shifting simpler and maintenance less complicated. Single Speeds are just that - the bike has one gear; this is usually the province of more experienced cyclists. Most major manufacturers offer a single speed model or two, though in many urban bike cultures it's hipper to build one's own.

* Euro-bikes. This is the Amsterdam-type commuter or city bike, an upright style with fenders, skirts, lacquer paint job, and so on. While these bikes can be very chic looking and are fine for noodling down to the market, their upright, rear-weighted riding position generally makes them less than ideal for serious daily duty.

Last edited by exile; 08-18-09 at 06:03 AM. Reason: Credit to Sixty Fiver
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Old 08-18-09, 06:15 AM
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IMO the problem is, the Forums have areas where a specific bike type is discussed (Folding, Tandem, and recently, Hybrid, etc) AND areas where usage is the topic (Winter, Commuting, Long Distance, Living car free etc). Then there are a couple of Forums that are between the two. Looking at the Forum name, Road Cycling for example could include other bikes than pure road machines, but in practice does not. I believe this was the key issue for some Hybrid Forum supporters.

Personally, I favor the usage approach. So for me a commuter bike is any bike that is used for commuting, regardless of what marketing term was applied to it when it was sold.

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Old 08-18-09, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
A hybrid is a type of bicycle... commuting is something you do and a term you can apply to any bicycle that serves this purpose.
Originally Posted by Juha View Post
Personally, I favor the usage approach. So for me a commuter bike is any bike that is used for commuting, regardless of what marketing term was applied to it when it was sold.
This is my answer as well. And since they came from moderators, it must be correct!

My Trek Portland is purpose-built and sold specifically as a high-speed commuter. Other than rack and fender mounts, it shares no other characteristics with hybrids of any ilk, including those sold as commuters.

It's a fairly ordinary midrange road bike--drop bars, STI, carbon fork, the works--with a ruggedized frame, room in the fork and frame for my studded snow tires with full fenders, and disc brakes.

It will never be confused with a hybrid.
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Old 08-18-09, 06:56 AM
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thank you everybody. the first two responses summed it up for me but the rest of you guys...WOW!!
you really laid into the subject... i greatly appreciate all the info. No way this OP is not scared off easily. HaHA, now if I only new what an OP was? hhmmm. do I dare ask? well I better get ready for my 12.5 mile OP commute..;-)


OP = ocean pacific
OP= Opie
OP=oblivious pissant
OP=?
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Old 08-18-09, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by coffeespecial View Post
OP = ocean pacific
OP= Opie
OP=oblivious pissant
OP=?
Original Poster--person who started the thread
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Old 08-18-09, 08:08 AM
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ill be commuting on this bike! lol its neither a commuter or hybrid...at the same its all of them....lol
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Old 08-18-09, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
My Trek Portland is purpose-built and sold specifically as a high-speed commuter. Other than rack and fender mounts, it shares no other characteristics with hybrids of any ilk, including those sold as commuters.

It's a fairly ordinary midrange road bike--drop bars, STI, carbon fork, the works--with a ruggedized frame, room in the fork and frame for my studded snow tires with full fenders, and disc brakes.

It will never be confused with a hybrid.
This is a great example. My fear (paranoia?) is that if the definition of "commuter bike" as something that looks like this:



is allowed to win the day, then it will stifle the progress of bikes like the Trek Portland being developed.

It seems to me that bicycle manufacturers behave in very simple ways. They prefer to build bikes that fit into very well-defined categories. Only rarely do they attempt to create a new category, and when they try they often fail.

So, while the Breezer above is an excellent bike for many commuting situations, if the "commuter" category gels around that, then we won't get a lot more bikes like the Portland, and frankly I am of the opinion that the Portland needs a little more work to make it an ideal commuter.

So, I believe that it behooves us to take up the task, quixotic though it may be, of defining, creating and defending a new category of commuter bikes. Trek uses the term "high speed commuter" as tsl observes. That's not bad, but there's also an element missing. I think beyond "high speed" there are other elements such as long-distance comfort that cause bikes like the Long Haul Trucker to be used as commuters. I don't believe that the ideal commuter bike for this category has yet been developed.

I see the following bikes as strong candidates for inclusion in this category: Surly LHT, Surly Cross Check, Kona Jake, Kona Dirt Drop, Kona ***** Inc., Salsa Fargo, Salsa La Cruz, Soma Double Cross, Trek Portland, Raleigh Sojourn. Notice that most of these are targeted at some other category. Hence the task.
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Old 08-18-09, 02:09 PM
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From the Sixty Fiver post:

"Most hybrids come with flat bars and mountain-bike shifters and brakes. "

Is there such a thing as a drop-bar hybrid? Fascinating. I had assumed a non-drop bar was a defining characteristic. But maybe I'm on the wrong forum.
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Old 08-18-09, 02:30 PM
  #21  
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Labels are only important for sorry people who worry more about fashion than function. Ignore the labels and use what works for you.
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Old 08-18-09, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bkrownd View Post
Labels are only important for sorry people who worry more about fashion than function. Ignore the labels and use what works for you.
I completely disagree (obviously). Labels are also important to bicycle manufacturers.
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Old 08-18-09, 02:45 PM
  #23  
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There are three types of bikes:

1. Road bikes. Sub categories are:
a. Race bikes with race geometry, no compromises.
b. Tour bikes, support for fenders and racks, more relaxed geo.
c. Performance bikes, almost like a race bike, but more upright position, still has good lay-down-the-power geo.

2. Mountain bikes, sub cats are
a. No sus (yeah I know these dont exist, but these are MY categories)
b. Front sus
c. Full sus

3. Other bikes, sub cats are:
a. mishmash of everything else, hybrid, commuter, flat bar, bull bar. It seems to me every marketing person is looking for the next new niche (pronounced: neesh, and not, nich).
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Old 08-18-09, 02:49 PM
  #24  
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maybe the folks at the Hybrid forum can help?
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Old 08-18-09, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bkrownd View Post
Labels are only important for sorry people who worry more about fashion than function. Ignore the labels and use what works for you.
Lack of definition, categories, labels, order = Chaos
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