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What makes a better hybrid bike better?

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What makes a better hybrid bike better?

Old 08-19-17, 01:00 AM
Robert P
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What makes a better hybrid bike better?

I've got a Giant Cypress DX and a Trek Verve 2. Both are 24 speed, the Giant has a suspension front fork, the Trek doesn't, I don't perceive much if any difference in the ride between the two. The thing I favor on the Trek is the rapid-fire shifters over the twist grip on the Giant, otherwise the experience is pretty similar on both. They both shift about the same which is to say quickly and smoothly. I prefer upright style handlebars which they both have and wasn't available on the bikes at the Trek store that were more expensive than the Verve. The Trek is a bit lighter than the Giant, but again it doesn't seem to make a difference in how the bike rides.

What would be better about the riding experience on a more expensive, "better" hybrid bike that would be readily noticeable compared to what I've got now?
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Old 08-19-17, 05:15 AM
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At what point does red become orange?

A bicycle is a simple machine. Shimano now markets so many different component group sets that I can't keep track of them all. If you were to ride a bike that was equipped with their top of the line components and immediately ride one with entry level components you would surely feel a significant difference. If you were to ride two bikes with only a single component group difference, probably not so much. It's there, but the difference is too subtle for me to feel.

When I bought my first bike that had index shifting, I thought it was real nifty but it really didn't change my riding experience all that much. Since that time I have consciously built up a couple of bikes with friction shifting just to minimize the amount of tuning. The same thing happened when I bought my first bike that had STI shifters built into the brake levers. I suppose that I would feel the same about electronic shifting - nifty but doubt it would affect my objective riding experience very much.

Honestly, I think that it has more to do with pride of ownership than with features or even quality. I like to feel that I have a nice bike to ride. As long as it doesn't hold me back to the point that I can't keep up with the groups that I ride with, I'm happy.
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Old 08-19-17, 06:31 AM
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Speaking in broad generalities, more money buys you some combination of: less weight, better looks, more features, tighter tolerances.

Trek's FX S6 fitness bike is one example to look at:


Big difference in price, and the difference is enough that -- as Retro has pointed out -- you'll notice.

So what do you get for the extra $1500? You get five pounds less weight at 22.02 pounds versus 27. 76. (I'm going by Trek's listed weights here). You're getting disk brakes, a carbon frame, and some enthusiast level components that you can talk about to your friends. However, the bike is intended for a different use case and different riding position in which the lower weight and higher-level components matter to many of Trek's customers for that type of bike.

Another example is the Trek Lync 5:


Here you're paying almost an extra $1000 for urban-friendly features like a belt drive, built-in lighting, and all the gearing is sealed up in the rear hub. The listed weight is actually more than your Verve. Do those different features matter? They might if you are commuting to work each day by bicycle in Manhattan.

Getting down to specific components, I recently threw down $120 to replace the disk brakes on one of my bikes -- all because I wanted one feature: reach-adjust for my levers. Reach adjust is a small detail that means a lot to me and I was willing to throw money at it.

Sometimes you have to look closely at the specs for individual components to tease out what you're getting for the added money that you're spending. Components close to each other in price point often end up -- as Retro aptly pointed out -- in a zone where you're not sure of red or orange.
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Old 08-19-17, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert P View Post
What would be better about the riding experience on a more expensive, "better" hybrid bike that would be readily noticeable compared to what I've got now?
Probably nothing.

It sounds like the Trek has all you need - it is comfortable and you prefer the rapid-fire shifters.
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Old 08-19-17, 08:27 AM
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"What makes a better hybrid bike better?" Buying either an MTB or road bike instead.
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