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Keep my hybrid, or move on to a road bike?

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Keep my hybrid, or move on to a road bike?

Old 12-13-15, 09:18 AM
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Keep my hybrid, or move on to a road bike?

Have been riding my hybrid(s) for quite awhile now, with my latest, a Roam 2, about 6 months. I was riding almost every day, averaging about 30 to 50 miles a day there through the spring, summer and fall. Now, because of a career change, I'm down to about once or twice a week at 20 to 30 miles each ride. I also have an average speed of about 13.5. Although I enjoy not getting in a big hurry, and concentrate more on distance than average speed, I have been thinking about buying a road bike (Giant Defy 2 Disc) to get my average speed up. That, and I'm really wanting something lighter and more sleek.

My thoughts are... at 53, is my hybrid with a bit more of an upright position, better on the old back and shoulders than a road bike? Also, I ride almost exclusively on green-ways (MUP's) where there are wooden bridges, rough asphalt, etc.. that are better suited for my Roam 2 and the stability it provides. But I really want to experience a road bike.

Should I change? If so, is the Defy 2 Disc a good choice, or are there others you would suggest I give consideration?
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Old 12-13-15, 09:27 AM
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A road bike is defiantly better suited to 30+ miles, but at 63 I ride my FX because it's way more comfortable for me.
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Old 12-13-15, 09:29 AM
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Old 12-13-15, 09:40 AM
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I just went through this decision myself and opted to keep my hybrid (Fuji Traverse) and bought a road bike, a Focus Mares. Most of my rides are off road, I live near the Erie Canal. But when I go out on a group ride (the only way I'll go on the road) the road bikes leave me in the dust. So it's nice to have a bike that is right for both.

I should mention that the Focus is actually a cyclocross bike (similar to the Defy, I think) but I put road slicks on it. Hard core roadies would scoff but for me the trade offs are negligible. YMMV.

Good luck, and let us know what you get.

Last edited by bargeon; 12-13-15 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 12-13-15, 11:02 AM
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I've also just gone through a similar choice. In the end I decided not to limit myself to either one or the other, but to have both.

The right decision for me. I enjoy riding the drop bars, but I also love riding the flat bar sports bike. I don't find either of them any more comfortable over my sort of distances (35 - 50 mile rides), although the road bike does have the edge on the (very limited) occasions where speed might be important.

If you can afford it have both then you will be in a better position in the long term to decide if either is better for you.
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Old 12-13-15, 11:09 AM
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There is a huge difference in the feel and general performance results between a dedicated roadie and hybrid. Rolling resistance of tires will be a major factor as will weight. Personally, in my experience I can feel the difference most is the rolling resistance, wheelset weight and "aero" when road riding. Hillclimbing will be quite noticeable (in the wheel and weight aspect) as will your average speeds. Few roads are perfectly level, few times you will have a tailwind. The biggest factor when open road riding is "aero". Anything above 12mph and you become your own headwind. Getting in the drops will be immediately uncomfortable to most but becomes 2nd nature when developed. If you have a ride computer you can see the power surge when riding in a 10-15mph headwind being upright and then changeup into the drops position, you can see your mph jump 2-3mph and feel the pedal pressure lighten.

As an obvious factor, if a rider is overweight, losing 10lbs is immediately noticeable.
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Old 12-13-15, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by one4smoke
Have been riding my hybrid(s) for quite awhile now, with my latest, a Roam 2, about 6 months. I was riding almost every day, averaging about 30 to 50 miles a day there through the spring, summer and fall. Now, because of a career change, I'm down to about once or twice a week at 20 to 30 miles each ride. I also have an average speed of about 13.5. Although I enjoy not getting in a big hurry, and concentrate more on distance than average speed, I have been thinking about buying a road bike (Giant Defy 2 Disc) to get my average speed up. That, and I'm really wanting something lighter and more sleek.

My thoughts are... at 53, is my hybrid with a bit more of an upright position, better on the old back and shoulders than a road bike? Also, I ride almost exclusively on green-ways (MUP's) where there are wooden bridges, rough asphalt, etc.. that are better suited for my Roam 2 and the stability it provides. But I really want to experience a road bike.

Should I change? If so, is the Defy 2 Disc a good choice, or are there others you would suggest I give consideration?
If you were asking which bike to buy and you had zero bikes, I would probably suggest something like the Defy, or one of the newer Touring/Adventure bikes on the market because, IMO, they give a new rider more room to grow as a cyclist before considering an upgrade. That said, the Roam is a fine bike and seems to be meeting your needs.

Look at the advantages and disadvantages of your current ride versus upgrading to a new road bike.
The advantages to keeping the Roam is,
1. Sunk cost. You already own it. Nothing is cheaper than keeping what you already have. And it is brand new, and presumably still covered under warranty, so really not much concern about putting money into your current ride for at least another 6 months, and even then, probably just consumables like chain, brake pads, and tires for the next couple of years.
2. Versatility. While there are no doubt faster bikes, and more rugged bikes, the Roam 2 looks to strike a nice balance between comfort and speed, road and off road. The Defy 2 Disc looks like a fine bike, but you might want to hold off.
3. Familiarity. It takes awhile to get dialed in on a bike. The Roam seems to suit the sort of riding you do. Unless you decide you want to ride much longer rides, in which case, the Defy 2 Disc looks like a contender. That said, if you like what you have, why upset the applecart and start over again with something new?

The advantage of a road bike is, you can go longer distances more efficiently. This is an issue if you are competing or doing club rides with a bunch of fast riders, because all things being equal, you are working slightly harder on your Roam to go the same speed as someone on a true road bike. On the other hand, until you get used to riding a true road bike, you might not enjoy riding it as much. If you are having fun on your Roam 2 and covering 20 or 30 miles without any trouble, maybe just hold onto your Giant for now?

Last edited by MRT2; 12-13-15 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 12-13-15, 11:12 AM
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I also have both. My road bike gets ridden the least, but it sure is fun to go out and go that fast on a bike.

Another thought, though, is that if you are mostly on MUPS, do you really want to go much faster. Around here, it is not a great idea to average over 15 on the MUPS, whether it be the extra people or the MUPS that have speed limits.
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Old 12-13-15, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by one4smoke
........... My thoughts are... at 53, is my hybrid with a bit more of an upright position, better on the old back and shoulders than a road bike? Also, I ride almost exclusively on green-ways (MUP's) where there are wooden bridges, rough asphalt, etc.. that are better suited for my Roam 2 and the stability it provides. But I really want to experience a road bike.

Should I change? .....
20 years ago it was determined a back injury and arthritic spurs were the cause of my back pain. I prefer to think of it as "old mans back" because it seems so many of us old men have similar afflictions.

When I returned to cycling (in my late 50's) I first tried a more upright positioned bike... and experienced some discomfort. I soon bought a road bike as I had road bikes in my younger years.

I find the 3-point (feet, hands, and saddle) position of the road bike alleviates much of the jolting and weight from my back. I have no back pain or discomfort from riding a road bike. I do ride conventional "road bikes" with bull horn handlebars and such. But not the over-priced and aggressively designed ultra-light racing (road) bikes. The drop from the top of my saddle to the top of my handlebars is only about an inch.

Keep your hybrid.... and ADD a road bike! If you have room for more than one bike... life is good.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 12-13-15 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 12-13-15, 11:57 AM
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Rent a road bike and choose a high end road bike to rent. One that is very light and a short wheelbase. There will be a period of adjustment for your mind and body to get accustomed to it.

This way you get to experience a road bike. Isn't that all you really wanted?
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Old 12-13-15, 12:53 PM
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Question for OP. Did you ever figure out a solution to your hand problem?
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Old 12-13-15, 01:03 PM
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I think every situation is different. For me, I find riding a road bike actually makes my back feel better. I guess stretching it out a bit is good for me. Like a bunch of previous posters have said, having 2 bikes is a good thing!
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Old 12-13-15, 02:04 PM
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One should not predicate their selection of a bicycle(s) based on their age, IMHO. You stated,

My thoughts are... at 53, is my hybrid with a bit more of an upright position, better on the old back and shoulders than a road bike?
Heck, I did not even start riding until I was 58. Your back is not "old" at 53, IMHO.

So, now at 76, I keep two road bikes and one mountain bike for my riding pleasure. As far as the "old back" goes, I have found that the stretch of a road bike is great for my back. YMMV - only trying things out will tell.

Good luck - and keep in mind that you are not "old" yet. You are very young. Even I still feel "young."
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Old 12-13-15, 08:28 PM
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Old 12-13-15, 08:56 PM
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Appears to me you really need to look into getting a road bike. And, keep the hybrid
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Old 12-14-15, 12:04 AM
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Nothing comfortable about hybrids, in my opinion. They give me neck pain and wrist pain. A drop bar road bike, on the other hand, especially a touring style, is sublime. Your hands drop naturally onto the hoods, and a touring or endurance style will have a fairly upright position that can be ridden all day. Many different positions to grip the bars, unlike a hybrid, which only has one. I don't have a single hybrid anymore - only road and mountain bikes.
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Old 12-14-15, 12:13 AM
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I'm in a similar position .... I'm comfortable on a hybrid and dont think that I will feel as safe riding with drop bars through heavy traffic

I may look at buying a road bike, and if I don't like the drop bars, I will swop the bars for straight bars
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Old 12-14-15, 12:19 AM
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I just picked up a Flatbar disc, road bike. Liking it , the fit & the faster speeds.

Go check out a couple, sit on some & see how they feel.
Gotta like the looks too.

Keep the trusty hybrid, you'll need a bike for going to the mailbox, around the block & the such,
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Old 12-14-15, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter
I find the 3-point (feet, hands, and saddle) position of the road bike alleviates much of the jolting and weight from my back. I have no back pain or discomfort from riding a road bike. I do ride conventional "road bikes" with bull horn handlebars and such. But not the over-priced and aggressively designed ultra-light racing (road) bikes. The drop from the top of my saddle to the top of my handlebars is only about an inch.

Keep your hybrid.... and ADD a road bike! If you have room for more than one bike... life is good.
+1

I would not assume that the road bike will be less comfortable than the hybrid. The upright posture of a hybrid puts more weight on your rear end, less on your hands, and is actually less comfortable for me.

Give a road bike a try. My guess is you'll like it just fine. And if you do, and can afford to have both, welcome to the wonderful world of N+1.
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Old 12-14-15, 07:57 AM
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Although there is a particular 'bent rider that will come along and swear that you cannot make a conventional DF bicycle comfortable by correctly fitting it to you, it is possible, and not really difficult to accomplish. I'd say to keep the hybrid, if its financially feasible, and to start looking at drop bar bikes that interest you. Wrangle a few rides from friends, and test rides at the LBS in your area so as to find what geometry is in the ballpark for your build, and needs. Once you get that in hand, dialing things in, with stem length and height, seat choice and placement, crank length, and even shoes and cleats, can fine tune the ride to best suit you.

I have appliances in my lower spine, and with getting my CAAD10 totally dialed in, my back, shoulders and arms/hands give me no problems doing 25+ miles daily. When I had the final spine surgery, a 2 level fusion and all the hardware, I asked about cycling, and on seating in my workplace. the neurosurgeon told me in no uncertain terms to avoid slouching seating, and recliners at home, and not to try recumbents, as both of these put the lower spine in the wrong position for what I had injured, and what he had fixed. Surprised me totally, I expected to get placed in the recumbent class by him. No regrets on my choices, or his recommendations at all. I am doing 7000 miles a year now, usually around 150 miles or so each week, and its by doing 25+ miles 5-6 days a week, and a longer ride thrown in to the mix, about 2 hours each time. It has helped me in losing around 110 lbs, and get all my various lab numbers into my optimal ranges, thankfully.

If you find that you like a hybrid, or even a recumbent more, by all means go those routes, and enjoy the miles which ever particular setup up that you go with. Lots of good folks here, like Blazing Pedals, JanMM, and several others that use and treasure their 'Bents, but also realize they aren't the sole answer for everyone. Hybrids are great bicycles, they have large followings and for us older guys with no racing aspirations they are fine.

For your use, I'd say to look at endurance frames and set ups, and go with tires above the 25 width, say 28, 32, or even 35+, for some compliance in your ride. Have a ball choosing your N+1, and keep on riding as much as you can, it has been the smartest thing I ever did, when I returned to serious cycling, in 2008.

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Old 12-14-15, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by dim
I'm in a similar position .... I'm comfortable on a hybrid and dont think that I will feel as safe riding with drop bars through heavy traffic

I may look at buying a road bike, and if I don't like the drop bars, I will swop the bars for straight bars
That might prove to be more expensive than you think because you would have to swap out shifters and brake levers, as well as handlebars. If you really have your heart set on a road bike with flat bars, the bike companies make that style.
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Old 12-14-15, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2
That might prove to be more expensive than you think because you would have to swap out shifters and brake levers, as well as handlebars. If you really have your heart set on a road bike with flat bars, the bike companies make that style.
+1
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Old 12-14-15, 10:22 AM
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[MENTION=414208]one4smoke[/MENTION],

There is only one way to find out, and that is to ride road bikes as much as possible to see whether they are for you/the kind of riding you do. You cannot figure this out in advance, in the abstract.

As MRT2 correctly points out, these days "road bikes" -- that is, bicycles intended primarily to be ridden quickly over distance 'on road' -- come in two forms: those with flat bars, and those with drops. Which you choose should depend on your preferences, not those of others; unless you intend actually to race, that is all that is involved in the choice: personal preference as to bar type.

You mention the Giant Defy 2 Disc; that affords you a perfect comparison: Giant Defy 2 Disc or Giant Fastroad SLR 1. Both light road bikes: carbon fork, light aluminum frame, same wheelset, same drivetrain for all practical purposes. The former designed for drop bars, the latter designed for flat bars.

My suggestion would be that you try to arrange to test ride both, as extensively as possible and correctly fitted, and see which you prefer. If you prefer drop bars, go that way; if you prefer flat bars, go that way. You might end up liking neither, preferring instead to keep what you have or purchase a higher-end/lighter version of the same kind of "cross terrain" bike as you have now. Whatever works.
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Old 12-14-15, 11:19 AM
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I made the swap at 67 years old and 275lbs when I went to a road bike. Now at 73 and 250 I ride a Specialized Roubaix and use my hybrid to carry stuff. I rode over 200 miles last week but it does take some time to get used to the saddle, position, etc
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Old 12-14-15, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg
both
I concur. Keep the hybrid and additionally purchase a lightweight road bike. This way you'll have a bike which best suits two different terrains and you'll be able to chose which bike to ride based upon the intended ride scenario/terrain.

Last edited by Gnosis; 12-14-15 at 02:56 PM. Reason: keyboard issue when typing
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