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Road bikes vs hybrid/mtb bikes

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Road bikes vs hybrid/mtb bikes

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Old 06-23-09, 03:34 PM
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Road bikes vs hybrid/mtb bikes

This is just a follow up to my "From hybrid to road bike will make a difference" thread, where I was basically saying that I was struggling in 28/32 uphill (knees & quads pain), and asking whether a race bike would have been better (or worse, since they do not go as low as 28/32).

Since the comments were variegated, I decided to risk and purchase the bike, which I've got today. Well the difference is staggering. I can now climb the road to my place (I live on top of a hill) without any effort, it's just like having a little engine really. What surprises me most is that I do not even need to use the biggest cog at the rear to climb. In fact, I came back home this evening with the bike in 30/23 and at a decent speed, instead of the pathetic 8mph with the hybrid.

How is that possible that just weight, thinner tyres, different geometry and posture can make 30/23 feel so much easier than 28/32 is beyond me, but at this point I don't care to understand and just enjoy my rides!

I just thought to share this experience because maybe there are other 50+ people riding an hybrid (or mtb) and contemplating a change... go for it!
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Old 06-23-09, 03:45 PM
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I totally agree with you, i.e. having the right bike for the ride (all things considered) is so much better than Compromise Bike, which is what a hybrid bike is.

A friend of mine says it's like the Chevy El Camino, a mix of a car and a pickup truck, but it didn't really do either one very well. Okay, well, I kind of like El Camino's anyway, so I think that's a bad example . . .

And the exception would be something like a Cyclo-Cross bike. A road bike for off road? That doesn't make sense, why not get a mountain bike for off road? Well, because there are different kinds of off-road rides, and a cyclo-cross bike will do some of them better.

So yes, as you know, you did the absolutely correct thing and are enjoying it!

Rick / OCRR
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Old 06-23-09, 05:26 PM
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There are so many variables in bicycles that it is sometimes astounding how much performance changes with just one alteration. I have a compromise MTB that is used on mixxed media rides. The change of tires from the springtime large knob tires to the summertime semislicks (dry hardpack tread) results in a 7mph change in speed on a specific asphault downhill coasting test!!!!!. The top speed is limited to a no longer accelerating speed of 25 on the knobies and a still accelerating 32 on the semislicks at the same point on the hill.

Rider positioning, tires, wheels and even seemingly small variations in weight all make noticable differences.
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Old 06-23-09, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I totally agree with you, i.e. having the right bike for the ride (all things considered) is so much better than Compromise Bike, which is what a hybrid bike is.
I think it depends on which hybrid bike that you have. Some are more suited for off road, and some are more suited towards pavement. I've got a Kona Dew FS and I don't feel that it's compromised at all. It allows me to ride on light trails, and it allows me to ride fast on pavement -- it's definitely more road than mountain but that's exactly what I was looking for when shopping for this bike.

Not all hybrids are created equal.

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Old 06-23-09, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
There are so many variables in bicycles that it is sometimes astounding how much performance changes with just one alteration. I have a compromise MTB that is used on mixxed media rides. The change of tires from the springtime large knob tires to the summertime semislicks (dry hardpack tread) results in a 7mph change in speed on a specific asphault downhill coasting test!!!!!. The top speed is limited to a no longer accelerating speed of 25 on the knobies and a still accelerating 32 on the semislicks at the same point on the hill.

Rider positioning, tires, wheels and even seemingly small variations in weight all make noticable differences.
This is exactly right. I propose an experiment: select a descent and with minimal power to start, coast each bike down and note the speeds. You'll see the difference. If I have my racing tires on (my roadbike) and I try to talk to someone while on a casual descent I often observe that I must brake while they pedal. It isn't my skill, my mass, or who I know. It's just what managers make believe doesn't exist: the laws of physics.
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Old 06-23-09, 08:14 PM
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While I have a MTB and would like to do some real mountain biking I loathe to take it or a hybrid on my commute. The MTB has much lower gearing but I detest trying to ride up any steep hill (paved) because it just slows me down and prolongs the pain. Any of my road bikes takes me uphill faster and with much less perceived effort.
I ride several of my road bikes and many many road bikes that I've built or refurbished (vintage and modern). I've found they have distinct personalities and responses to my riding style. Some are just sluggish. On one section of my commute there is a reasonably long downhill, through a light and into a long steep uphill. Some bikes maintain speed into the climb and seem to want to conquer it. Others just bog down. Guess which ones hit Craigslist and which ones audition further for my stables.
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Old 06-23-09, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Paravia View Post
This is just a follow up to my "From hybrid to road bike will make a difference" thread, where I was basically saying that I was struggling in 28/32 uphill (knees & quads pain), and asking whether a race bike would have been better (or worse, since they do not go as low as 28/32).

Since the comments were variegated, I decided to risk and purchase the bike, which I've got today. Well the difference is staggering. I can now climb the road to my place (I live on top of a hill) without any effort, it's just like having a little engine really. What surprises me most is that I do not even need to use the biggest cog at the rear to climb. In fact, I came back home this evening with the bike in 30/23 and at a decent speed, instead of the pathetic 8mph with the hybrid.

How is that possible that just weight, thinner tyres, different geometry and posture can make 30/23 feel so much easier than 28/32 is beyond me, but at this point I don't care to understand and just enjoy my rides!

I just thought to share this experience because maybe there are other 50+ people riding an hybrid (or mtb) and contemplating a change... go for it!
Glad you are having success. I have found that posture has a lot to do with power generation. The more you lean toward the handlebar the more you use the glutes (butt) muscles versus the quad. The glutes are the largest muscle and get excellent blood flow. A more upright riding position shifts the work to the quads.
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Old 06-24-09, 05:46 AM
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That's true this morning I woke up with a (very light) soreness in the back of the thighs, legs etc. which I had never experienced with the hybrid, meaning different muscles have been working.

Headwind the experiment would be interesting. Can't do that however, the hybrid is already cleaned up and put for sale! Wouldn't touch that thing with a barge pole anyway... it made me feel old!
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Old 06-24-09, 06:04 AM
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I'm planning on riding my old Trek 7700 in a metric 100...the tires are 32s and I wonder if I would get an appreciable gain by switching to 28s. I'm trying to coax a little more speed out of it without moving on to a road bike just yet.
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Old 06-24-09, 08:01 AM
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The sad thing is seeing someone make a decision on bike choice based on bad information. A young, fit neighbor just bought a hybrid because he didn't want to be "all hunched over as on a road bike."
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Old 06-24-09, 08:08 AM
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I Have both a Hybrid (Specialized Crosstrail Elite) and road bike ( Cannondale 6-13) Both have their place. I use the Crosstrail when riding gravel trails and some lite single track trails, and of course the Cannondales on the road. I loike both bikes and use them for what they were designed for.
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Old 06-24-09, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by 4 Putt View Post
I'm planning on riding my old Trek 7700 in a metric 100...the tires are 32s and I wonder if I would get an appreciable gain by switching to 28s. I'm trying to coax a little more speed out of it without moving on to a road bike just yet.
Appreciable...Probably not. My rule of thumb is that heart, lungs, legs, posture and brain constitute 95% of cycling performance. Equipment makes up 5% with 80% of the 5% coming from aerodynamics.

Reducing the tire width by a couple of millimeters will reduce aero drag and you may improve rolling resistance. A lighter tire is less weight.

Will you get a speed increase? yes. If you are so motivated, play around with this simulator. http://web.archive.org/web/200802130...ish/espeed.htm It has some different tire selections and you can see speed changes.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by 4 Putt View Post
I'm planning on riding my old Trek 7700 in a metric 100...the tires are 32s and I wonder if I would get an appreciable gain by switching to 28s. I'm trying to coax a little more speed out of it without moving on to a road bike just yet.
A little. If the 32s have a pronounced tread pattern and you switch to 28s with little or no tread pattern (slicks), then the difference would be more noticeable. Also, if the 32s are heavy wire beaded tires and you go to lightweight, folding 28s, you'll notice the rotating weight difference on the hills.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:34 AM
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I have a Madone Road Bike, Trek Hybrid and a Cannondale Tandem.
The road bike allows fast acceleration and sustained high speeds especially using the drops and Aerobars. OTOH this bike is dangerous on bad pavements and wet Limestone Trails.

The Trek Hybrid is very good for long and fast centuries on a Limestone Trail. It will handle potholes and sandy patches and soggy trails. OTOH it is slower by at least 15% and hard to accelerate compared to the road bike.

The Tandem with its higher weight is very hard on the legs for acceleration and up a hill. OTOH it is ideal if you want to be with a wanna be female biker.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:37 AM
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I only changed to road from mountain bikes 3 years ago and My first road bike was a Giant OCR3. Just a basic bike but with all the right bits on it. I insisted that I wanted a triple as the MTBs have 44/32/22 and 11/32 cassettes on them and I knew how hard the road hills are where I live

I was surprised at how well I managed in 30/26 up our local hills. Still struggled on the steepest but no more than on the MTBs. Then a year later and the next bike. This was a Frame and forks build up and I went for a Compact double. That would give me 50/34 and a 12/27 cassette. Those same hills I struggled up with 30/26 with the triple- I now struggled up with the 34/27---But no more.

Then as I adjusted more to the Road bike- things got easier and the legs found the hills easier.

Road bikes work well on the black stuff- but I would hate to take mine on any rough trails. That is what mountain bikes are for.
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Old 06-24-09, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Glad you are having success. I have found that posture has a lot to do with power generation. The more you lean toward the handlebar the more you use the glutes (butt) muscles versus the quad. The glutes are the largest muscle and get excellent blood flow. A more upright riding position shifts the work to the quads.
Yes. That's it exactly. Mountain and hybrid bikes have a much more slack seatpost position.

A tri or tt bike has a very steep position and you really use your glutes. You can literally fly up hills compared to a regular road bike.
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Old 06-24-09, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I totally agree with you, i.e. having the right bike for the ride (all things considered) is so much better than Compromise Bike, which is what a hybrid bike is.
A friend of mine says it's like the Chevy El Camino, a mix of a car and a pickup truck, but it didn't really do either one very well. Okay, well, I kind of like El Camino's anyway, so I think that's a bad example . . .
And the exception would be something like a Cyclo-Cross bike. A road bike for off road? That doesn't make sense, why not get a mountain bike for off road? Well, because there are different kinds of off-road rides, and a cyclo-cross bike will do some of them better.
So yes, as you know, you did the absolutely correct thing and are enjoying it!

Rick / OCRR
Compromise bike or maybe 'Go Anywhere' bike. We sure have a bunch of really nice bikes to choose from when it comes to MTB, strict road, fixie, bents, yadda yadda yadda.
And an MTB can easily be ridden on the road (with compromise to speed performance) and a roadie can be ridden offroad (and mostly make it through).
Noting all those who now find a 'hybrid' as decidely not as good as a roadie or MTB; that may be because they just haven't been put together with the 'best' in mind.

Well, spending much more time offroad lately, I was given a lession in riding skill on one recent ride from another who's predominant leanings are 'cyclo-cross'. With rigid fork and road geometry he proceeded to 'learn' me how to ride a rigid bike off-road on 25 mm tires.
Well, if he can do it, so can I...
I'm thinking how many times I'd start on a road ride and pass some particular tasty bit of 'woodland' and wish I could wander off into it.
So maybe the Hybrid idea ain;t so bad.
What if:
a Hybrid:
had a top notch frame like a nice roadie, compact and very cyclocross...
had strong, light 700c wheels to carry hi-performance 28 or 32 mm tires, like schwalbes which ride well in most offroad conditions short of heavy mud and be real movers when on-road.
had a really light, hi performance front suspension fork with a lockout.
had a nice set of road drop bars
weighed in at 22-ish lbs. not quite carboniferious, but certainly still 'performance' for most roads.

MTBs are nice, but they are all incredibly overbuilt these days, for all those riders who want to launch themselves off precipices. And on the road they cruise nice enough, but certainly are difficult to keep movin on a faster road ride. So sacifice some of that indestructiveness for higher performance on the road.

with the resurgence of cyclcross, these frames are out there. The components certainly seem available.
that Specialized Crosstrail Elite and the Kona seem to be gettin close as hybrids.
manufacturers may not yet have a market for a $2000+ hybrid. But build a really nice one and I'm sure the riders will come. I'm so sure that I'm gonna give it a go and build one myself. The idea of charging off in any direction, and condition on any particular ride, is just too tempting to pass up.

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Old 06-24-09, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Appreciable...Probably not. My rule of thumb is that heart, lungs, legs, posture and brain constitute 95% of cycling performance. Equipment makes up 5% with 80% of the 5% coming from aerodynamics.
+1

Although I would say that the Aero effect is only true when you have an apparent wind greater than about 15mph. For hill climbing I too have found posture to make an amazing difference. I don't have the benefit of a personal trainer but what I try to do is rock my pelvis back (stick my big rump out so to speak) and flatten my back and I can motor up a hill much faster with more stamina. It works whether sitting or standing. I think that's what your saying anyway.
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Old 06-24-09, 03:16 PM
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cyclezen,

Nice concept. I think my tendency would be to forego the suspension fork, maybe going with slightly fatter tires to help smooth the bumps. This kind of bike is known in some places as "monster cross".
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Old 06-24-09, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
+1

Although I would say that the Aero effect is only true when you have an apparent wind greater than about 15mph. For hill climbing I too have found posture to make an amazing difference. I don't have the benefit of a personal trainer but what I try to do is rock my pelvis back (stick my big rump out so to speak) and flatten my back and I can motor up a hill much faster with more stamina. It works whether sitting or standing. I think that's what your saying anyway.
Aero wheels such as the Zipp 303/404 or equal, provide benefit at all speeds. Previously, aero wheels were much heavier than KOM wheels but their aero benefit would trump the weight penalty depending on speed of climb. So for P/1/2 guys, it was an 8% grade and the rest of us 5 to 6%. I do not think that apparent wind enters the picture in the decision of what to get but the more wind you have the better the aero wheels work.

I do not understand the rocking pelvis thing. In general, your pelvis should be pretty stable sprinting and climbing. If it rocks, the seat may be too high.

Here is the video of Lance giving Ulrich the infamous "Look" on Alpe D'Huez. Notice how low Ulrich and the other guys are. Right after Lance accelerates, Ulrich goes even lower to try to match Lance's power. And these guys are on Alpe D'Huez so there is little aero benefit to being low. Notice that their arms are bent almost parallel to the ground. Watch Ulrich's waist line and you will see very little movement. These guys are putting out max power at this point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmkRTbY9Gys
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Old 06-24-09, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post

I do not understand the rocking pelvis thing. In general, your pelvis should be pretty stable sprinting and climbing. If it rocks, the seat may be too high.
You missunderstood - What I ment was not to rock back and forth but to really flatten your lower back. This seems to help me quite a bit.
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Old 06-24-09, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
You missunderstood - What I ment was not to rock back and forth but to really flatten your lower back. This seems to help me quite a bit.
Thanks...
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Old 06-24-09, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
cyclezen,

Nice concept. I think my tendency would be to forego the suspension fork, maybe going with slightly fatter tires to help smooth the bumps. This kind of bike is known in some places as "monster cross".
seems a logical extension...
I also have been mullin over the fork suspension or not.
So far I'm leaning for suspension, since a halfway decent performance 700c fork is readily available, and off-road, suspension really rules.
I think the choice of tires will be the critical part of determining how well the bike performs both on and off road.
"monster cross" sounds like a good name, I'll have to do a web search to see what that comes up with...

1st step, a compact cross type frame...
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Old 06-25-09, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
seems a logical extension...
I also have been mullin over the fork suspension or not.
So far I'm leaning for suspension, since a halfway decent performance 700c fork is readily available, and off-road, suspension really rules.
I think the choice of tires will be the critical part of determining how well the bike performs both on and off road.
"monster cross" sounds like a good name, I'll have to do a web search to see what that comes up with...

1st step, a compact cross type frame...
Which fork are you referencing?

Check this thread for starters.
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Old 06-25-09, 05:22 AM
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Here is a bike that bridges the gap


http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...ad/2268/32199/
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