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Commuting with a Road Bike or a Hybrid: How much of a difference are we talking?

Old 06-26-13, 05:44 AM
  #51  
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Commuting with a Road Bike or a Hybrid: How much of a difference are we talking?

BOTH! Road bike for the summer, hybrid with studded tires for snow/ice winter, AND a cyclocross and/or touring bike for spring and autumn!

Uh that makes three bikes (at least), but, well, n+1 yerknow...
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Old 06-26-13, 06:24 AM
  #52  
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I'm in the "have both & pick which one you want to ride that day" camp. Some days you may want the benefits that come with a road bike, and some days you may want to ride a hybrid. If you have to pick one, there are going to be days where you wish you had chosen the other one instead. Such is life.
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Old 06-26-13, 07:55 AM
  #53  
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Option "C"

Road bike or hybrid? Neither. I get more of an aero advantage on my commuting 'bent and the seat is more comfortable than either upright platform. I also have a Schwinn Suburban and a 70's Motobecane. Of those two, I'd take the Moto- a little faster and even with the smaller saddle my butt hurts less than on the Schwinn. But neither has the Barcalounger comfort of the P-38 (below), and both are considerably slower. Moto less so but the Schwinn is a dog. They all handle about the same in traffic but I find cars give me more room on the 'bent. In a nutshell I'd say, for me, about a 3-4 mph (avg) difference between platforms at similar effort.

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Old 06-26-13, 08:41 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by slcbob View Post
Almost the polar opposite of my experience. For a short, slow ride, machts nichts. In an upright hybridy position on longer rides, my butt gets less comfortable vs. on a well fitted road bike because relatively more weight is on it, i.e. hands & upper body are supporting less.

Having to "look up" is a function of how bent over/aero you are, and there's a huge range of possibilities on a "road" bike. A mild touring "road" bike and an aggressive windy-centric "hybrid" can be six of one and a half dozen of the other as far as that torso angle is concerned.

If you are having to reach too far to the hoods, you have a fit problem not a road bike problem. Your top tube and/or stem is too long.
Well, I can set it up to be more comfortable but then it defeats the purpose of the road bike geometry. Speed and efficiency come when you are positioned aero dynamically and can transfer the power thru the drive train more effectively. Comfort comes with body position, and even balance of weight on the saddle and on your arms and hands. The proper saddle with sit bone support is key here. It all depends what type of riding you want to do. If you want speed and efficiency=road bike. If you want to be riding for longer periods of time and speed is not so much of a factor= hybrid or touring. Generally comfort comes with a speed and weight penalty. Just like Cadillacs. JMO
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Old 06-26-13, 09:02 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by droy45 View Post
Well, I can set it up to be more comfortable but then it defeats the purpose of the road bike geometry. Speed and efficiency come when you are positioned aero dynamically and can transfer the power thru the drive train more effectively. Comfort comes with body position, and even balance of weight on the saddle and on your arms and hands. The proper saddle with sit bone support is key here. It all depends what type of riding you want to do. If you want speed and efficiency=road bike. If you want to be riding for longer periods of time and speed is not so much of a factor= hybrid or touring. Generally comfort comes with a speed and weight penalty. Just like Cadillacs. JMO
Many people, including me, find speed, efficiency and comfort on a road bike. I'm sure others can say the same thing about hybrid or touring too. So it's not quite this or that.
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Old 06-26-13, 09:07 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
Many people, including me, find speed, efficiency and comfort on a road bike. I'm sure others can say the same thing about hybrid or touring too. So it's not quite this or that.
Then we really can't help the OP with his question. I just generalizing to shed a little light on the subject for him.
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Old 06-26-13, 09:38 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by droy45 View Post
Well, I can set it up to be more comfortable but then it defeats the purpose of the road bike geometry.
95% of the road bikes I see about PDX are in the leisure-touring-cyclocross category. the geo of these bikes is not very different from many medium- to upper-end hybrids. even weekend warrior road bikes, such as, the madone 3.1 or specialized roubaix have a relaxed geo. imo, until you are riding a bike that really stretches you out (e.g. long top tube with slammed stem) the aero advantage of a "road" bike is often exaggerated. moreover, riding efficiently in an aero position requires conditioning, appropriate fit, and core strength.
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Old 06-26-13, 09:56 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
95% of the road bikes I see about PDX are in the leisure-touring-cyclocross category. the geo of these bikes is not very different from many medium- to upper-end hybrids. even weekend warrior road bikes, such as, the madone 3.1 or specialized roubaix have a relaxed geo. imo, until you are riding a bike that really stretches you out (e.g. long top tube with slammed stem) the aero advantage of a "road" bike is often exaggerated. moreover, riding efficiently in an aero position requires conditioning, appropriate fit, and core strength.
Yeah, thats true. Those type road bikes are really about the same. I think the OP wants to know what is better, an all out road bike or hybrid. I agree an inbetween bike would be best like the ones you mention here.
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Old 06-26-13, 11:57 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
even weekend warrior road bikes, such as, the madone 3.1 or specialized roubaix have a relaxed geo. imo, until you are riding a bike that really stretches you out (e.g. long top tube with slammed stem) the aero advantage of a "road" bike is often exaggerated.
the aero advantage of a relaxed-geometry road bike may be exaggerated compared to a full-blown time trial bike, but drop bars do help with getting lower and out of a head wind compared to a flat bar at the same height.

now that last part is the tricky part because "road bike" and "hybrid bike" are two giant categories that include all sorts of different frame geometries, such that a very aggressive hybrid with a slammed stem and a flat bar would be more aero than the most relaxed geometry road bike with a raised stem, even on the drops. but in general, a drop bar will afford a couple extra inches of drop if the overal gemoetry and stem mounting height are in a similar ballpark.

take my two bikes below, a relaxed geometry road bike with stem mostly slammed, and a hybrid with stem mostly slammed. both bars have several inches of saddle to bar drop and allow me a decently aggressive aero postion when i'm on the hoods or the grips of the flat bar, but with the road bike i can get down even lower when i need to because of the drops. the bar ends on the hybrid can also stretch me out a little bit more for bad headwinds, but they're not quite as effective as drops.


my "go fast" fair-weather commuter: 2010 Motobecane le Champion SL Titanium













my foul-weather/winter commuter: 2011 Scott SUB 10 (alfine 8 IGH, hydraulic discs)






but again, it all comes down to the specific bike and its specific set-up. and yes, there are some fairly aggressive-geometry hybrids out there that allow for a pretty good aero position (i personally believe that style of bike is better referred to as a "flat-bar road bike", but that's just me)

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Old 06-26-13, 12:25 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
flat-bar road bike
only by people who are embarrassed about not riding a drop bar road bike.
i am proud of the hybrid heritage of my commuters:

"road" components: frame, drive train, saddle
"mtb" components: disc brake, flat bar, XC wheels
generic: stem, post, headset, disk fork

PS: many cyclocross bikes are actually drop bar hybrids.
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Old 06-26-13, 12:32 PM
  #61  
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With me on it...none.
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Old 06-26-13, 01:42 PM
  #62  
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I regularly do 15-20 mile morning exercise rides with my hybrid, complete with pannier saddlebags for hitting the grocery store on the way home, but I don't think I could pull it off if I hadn't changed the handlebars. A bounty of hand positions and ability to get a comfortable aero position are really a must for longer rides. For me, anyway.
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Old 06-29-13, 07:21 AM
  #63  
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I have a choice in my commute. I can cycle home from work (20 miles) or take the train and cycle home from the train station (11.5 miles). Disclaimer: We cheat. My lovely parmachi takes me to the work/station via a VW bus. I only ride home. (end disclaimer)
I generally take my MTB set up as commuter if the distance is less than 12-13 miles. That is my V2 point, normally. The comfort of my 1984 Grand Touring rig is such that I want it for longer rides. However, DFW has some rough roads that make me prefer the MTB on occasion.
For the shorter ride, yes, MTB. For the longer ride, I'll generally lean towards the more comfortable bicycle, the Grand Touring bicycle.
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Old 06-29-13, 07:35 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
none.
Ah, finally the correct answer to the OP's question!

Anyone can set up a perfectly crappy or perfectly wonderful commuter with either a "road bike" or "hybrid."

There is NO difference between categories, only between specific bikes and to the extent they meet your needs.
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Old 06-29-13, 12:47 PM
  #65  
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My '97 Specialized Crossroads with the B17 is very comfortable and oh so heavy and slow compared to my Centurion Elite RS. But it does hurt between the shoulder blades on my way home from work on the Elite . I just replaced the gooseneck stem on it last week with a short one and I hope that helps (Suggested by a fellow forum member) I hope that helps cuz I really like light weight and speed of the Elite compared to the Crossroad. Just waiting for the triple digits to go away so I can spend some time on it.
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Old 06-29-13, 12:55 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
the aero advantage of a relaxed-geometry road bike may be exaggerated compared to a full-blown time trial bike, but drop bars do help with getting lower and out of a head wind compared to a flat bar at the same height.

now that last part is the tricky part because "road bike" and "hybrid bike" are two giant categories that include all sorts of different frame geometries, such that a very aggressive hybrid with a slammed stem and a flat bar would be more aero than the most relaxed geometry road bike with a raised stem, even on the drops. but in general, a drop bar will afford a couple extra inches of drop if the overal gemoetry and stem mounting height are in a similar ballpark.

take my two bikes below, a relaxed geometry road bike with stem mostly slammed, and a hybrid with stem mostly slammed. both bars have several inches of saddle to bar drop and allow me a decently aggressive aero postion when i'm on the hoods or the grips of the flat bar, but with the road bike i can get down even lower when i need to because of the drops. the bar ends on the hybrid can also stretch me out a little bit more for bad headwinds, but they're not quite as effective as drops.


my "go fast" fair-weather commuter: 2010 Motobecane le Champion SL Titanium













my foul-weather/winter commuter: 2011 Scott SUB 10 (alfine 8 IGH, hydraulic discs)






but again, it all comes down to the specific bike and its specific set-up. and yes, there are some fairly aggressive-geometry hybrids out there that allow for a pretty good aero position (i personally believe that style of bike is better referred to as a "flat-bar road bike", but that's just me)
This has actually inspired me to upgrade my hybrid for "foul weather" commuting. Currently, I simply take a car on bad weather days, but I'm reaching a point where I rather not. Setting the hybrid up--removing heavy accessories---to ride my 25-plus mile commute may not be a bad idea.
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Old 06-29-13, 01:57 PM
  #67  
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I skimmed this thread before posting and I did not notice three very important issues - weather, road surfaces, and luggage.

If you live in SoCal where the weather is mostly perfect and your route to work is glass smooth I don't see how there is any other choice but a road bike unless you have to haul more than a small backpack full of clothes, lunch, tools, flat fixins, etc. My road bike allows me to keep up with traffic more often, get off the roads faster, and expend less effort. This is mostly due to thin, high pressure tires.

If you live somewhere that does not have perfect road surfaces, you often ride after dark, or you just can't get comfy on road bike geometry, then you have to start widening the tires and relaxing the frame geometry. Wider tires roll slower but are more cushioning, are less likely to find a crack to get stuck in, and are more flat resistant. You are far less likely to take a spill on a bike with fat tires because you hit something after dark. Potholes often look like grease stains when illuminated by one bike headlight. Potholes disappear when full of rain water.

Really, you need two bikes. One for near perfect days and surfaces, and one for dark, snowy, poor surface rides. My fat tire bike is faster under bad conditions because I am not tip-toeing around every pile of gravel, pothole, crack, wet leaves, manhole covers, trolley tracks, etc. I take a straight line and blast along.

I am a roadie at heart. I have a full blown road bike for spring/summer/fall rain or shine - daylight only. For winter I switch to my touring bike with 26x2" street tires, panniers, fenders, lights, and so on. My touring bike is set up EXACTLY like my road bike - same handlebar/saddle/pedal relationship - because like I said, I am a roadie and most comfortable on road bike geometry.

Skinny tire road bike - fair weather / good surface.
Fat tire road bike - bad weather / dark / poor surfaces.

If the world was perfect I would get rid of all my bikes except my road bike. In reality, I would keep my touring bike if I could only have one bike.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 06-29-13, 02:14 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by salek View Post
My lovely parmachi
Is her name Grilka?
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Old 06-30-13, 01:51 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Splitting the hairs finer. It's all about what you like riding, and not about "I need to get the perfect bike before I can ride to work."
I really think this is true. Originally I thought I had to have exactly the "right bike" for commuting, then I figured out I could configure almost any bike so it would work for me. I thought, "I have hills to climb, gotta find a bike with a triple..." and, "I sometimes have to carry a lot of stuff, so only a bike loaded up with racks will work..." It didn't occur to me that a light road bike is pretty easy to climb with if it has the right double, and that a messenger bag can be used for gear. Scott's statement about finding a bike you like to ride and starting there is good advice, I think. Don't let finding the 'perfect commuter' keep you off the road. It slowed me down some, and in retrospect, that was dumb.
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Old 07-01-13, 03:05 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by simmonsgc View Post
I really think this is true. Originally I thought I had to have exactly the "right bike" for commuting, then I figured out I could configure almost any bike so it would work for me. I thought, "I have hills to climb, gotta find a bike with a triple..." and, "I sometimes have to carry a lot of stuff, so only a bike loaded up with racks will work..." It didn't occur to me that a light road bike is pretty easy to climb with if it has the right double, and that a messenger bag can be used for gear. Scott's statement about finding a bike you like to ride and starting there is good advice, I think. Don't let finding the 'perfect commuter' keep you off the road. It slowed me down some, and in retrospect, that was dumb.
I agree.

BTW, after convincing myself that a triple was right for me and feeling pretty happy with it for a while, I eventually came to loathe its extra complexity and now swear by a compact double on my road bike. OTOH, I commuted very happily for a long while on a hard tail MTB with a messenger bag not realizing ignorance was bliss until I switched to a rigid fork and a rack. So I guess I'm batting .500 on wanting and making do. Tastes will evolve, as will wants and needs. Just ride something that fits and recon pull your way in from there.
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Old 07-01-13, 03:13 AM
  #71  
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FWIW, I no longer understand what the heck anyone means by hybrid. Or, for that matter, by road bike. Sure, they're terms that have some broadly applicable trends of characteristics that make some sense and allow them to be used as stereotypes, but there are so many exceptions and permutations in the details that matter significantly to the intended use and issues at hand that I find them no longer useful. Somewhat like those other terms Democrat and Republican these days.
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Old 07-09-13, 09:48 PM
  #72  
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Well, what kind of roads are you riding on? Take that into account. I ride a Trek 7.1 FX hybrid, but I ride on the should of a busy freeway with a lot of loose gravel.

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