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Hybrid vs Roadie Speed

Old 07-22-20, 08:26 AM
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MemRiverman
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Hybrid vs Roadie Speed

I am curious on the difference in average speed of a Hybrid vs a Road Bike. I am talking run of the mill $1000 bikes. If a person rides 25 miles on both and exerting the same level of effort, what would be the difference in average speed?
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Old 07-22-20, 08:48 AM
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Curious what others might say but I recently have been rebuilding/comparing two bikes I own: an endurance road bike and what would be considered a hybrid style bike. Both 700c and Aluminum. I would give the hybrid 75% compared to 100% for the road bike. Those aren't science based numbers, just a feel for distance over time covered.

I attribute this mainly to three things:

Faster tires on the road bike. GP5000's compared to Schwalbe Road Plus

More aggressive geometry on the road bike which puts me in an angle to put more power down into the pedals

Overall better component specs on things like wheels/drive train that increase efficiency.

One could put the same components and tires on a hybrid and bring those numbers closer but the geometry remains the same. Seated more upright may be comfortable/convenient for some but you do lose a degree of power transfer from it.
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Old 07-22-20, 09:35 AM
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3.5 mph. Approximately. (Did you know 78% of all statistics are made up on the spot?)

Explanation in generalities -- you can quibble with every assertion I'm about to make, but on average, I think this is pretty descriptive. Mechanical losses are pretty close to negligible for a well maintained bicycle. So that leaves two contributors to the difference in speed, tires and aerodynamics.

Road bike tires are going to have less rolling resistance than the average hybrid tire. Hybrid tires, although they're all over the place because there's such a range of bikes called "hybrids," will, on average, be heavier, run at lower pressure, and have more tread resistance (knobs and such).

Your average road bike rider, riding on the hoods, will be somewhat more aerodynamic than your average hybrid rider, who will tend more toward a sit up and beg posture

Finally, although your question neglects it, your average road bike rider will be more performance oriented -- younger and harder charging -- that your average hybrid rider. If you put the same rider on both bikes, had that rider in the same position (which would probably involved bending the elbows more on the hybrid), and put similar tires on both bikes inflated to similar pressures, the first bike tested would be fastest just because the rider would be fresher -- whichever bike went first.
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Old 07-22-20, 09:37 AM
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As with so many things..it depends. "Hybrids" are a very broad class of bikes. If the (fast..sporty-fitness) hybrid (i.e. Trek FX4) were set up comparable to the road bike(same wheels & tires), then there'd be a rather minor difference between the two. A fast-designed hybrid is basically a flat bar road bike..and many road bikers never ride the drops if the wind is low.

If the hybrid is an OEM townie-type..well then there'd be a significant difference.
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Old 07-22-20, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by MemRiverman View Post
I am curious on the difference in average speed of a Hybrid vs a Road Bike. I am talking run of the mill $1000 bikes. If a person rides 25 miles on both and exerting the same level of effort, what would be the difference in average speed?
If you're contemplating a hybrid bike, you're likely not interested in racing or even holding the pace on a fast group ride. So why worry about avg speed?
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Old 07-22-20, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
If you're contemplating a hybrid bike, you're likely not interested in racing or even holding the pace on a fast group ride. So why worry about avg speed?
Commuting distance over time. Touring distance over time. Those are things that a couple mph stretched over a year of commuting or several long days in the saddle on vacation could make a tangible difference to somebody who doesn't race or group ride.

Both could be situations where someone wants to know the difference in speed a road bike or hybrid have.

Saving two minutes each way on a commute over 200 work days a year is almost saving an entire waking hours day of your life! If touring on vacation, the difference could mean showing up 1/2 hour later to a destination for cleanup and dinner. It could mean over a long touring vacation being able to stretch the destination out.
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Old 07-22-20, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Commuting distance over time. Touring distance over time. Those are things that a couple mph stretched over a year of commuting or several long days in the saddle on vacation could make a tangible difference to somebody who doesn't race or group ride.

Both could be situations where someone wants to know the difference in speed a road bike or hybrid have.

Saving two minutes each way on a commute over 200 work days a year is almost saving an entire waking hours day of your life! If touring on vacation, the difference could mean showing up 1/2 hour later to a destination for cleanup and dinner. It could mean over a long touring vacation being able to stretch the destination out.
Good points, which I had not considered. But I think neither a road bike nor a hybrid is suitable for touring, and speed would never be my first concern for a commuting bike. (My priorities for a commuting bike are fenders, cargo capacity, etc. - though I wouldn't assume that everyone shares my preferences.)
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Old 07-22-20, 10:16 AM
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Too Many Variables to answer...

...without some serious and strict testing. In my limited experience with riding hybrid style bikes (without exception, done borrowing a bike while on vacation somewhere), the riding position is quite a bit different. In addition to what has been correctly mentioned (aerodynamics), I'd expect the major factor to be muscle group engagement as a function of riding posture.

On a road bike, I can adjust my position on the saddle AND pelvic rotation, in conjunction with my hand position(s) AND torso angle to the pelvis to achieve several different kinematic outcomes. Each might provide benefit depending on wind angle, incline and duration, and my general level of momentary strength or fatigue.

With a hybrid style bike, not so much. At all.

Miles per hour? Who knows? Maybe this is a 5-10% variation, which is a lot.
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Old 07-22-20, 10:30 AM
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^^^ When commuting in the city, traffic lights are what influence the time spent the most. For instance, I have 17 traffic lights on my daily route, and the time spent at red lights, including decelarating and accelerating, influences the overall time more than the actual speed I'm going. That said, going faster might mean I catch more green lights - or not. The green wave is programmed for 50 km/h which (undrafted) is quite unlikely for extended periods on any bike except maybe a TT rig.
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Old 07-22-20, 11:09 AM
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How fast do you ride?

Once you reach around 15 MPH on a flat road, aero resistance surpasses all of the other factors that are holding you back combined. As your speed increases, aero drag continues to become even more significant.
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Old 07-22-20, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post

Saving two minutes each way on a commute over 200 work days a year is almost saving an entire waking hours day of your life!
That'd be cool if one could stash those 2 minutes per commute day into a time bank of some sort and cash it in when late for work.
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Old 07-22-20, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
3.5 mph. Approximately. (Did you know 78% of all statistics are made up on the spot?)
For typical power outputs, this will be fairly close. Hereís a graph of total power requirements vs speed for typical bike/rider combinations (upright, road and aero).

Just pick a power level and go across to see the speeds for upright vs road. That will give you an idea of the difference the position and aerodynamic factors make, and at any decent speed, aerodynamics will swamp the rolling resistance factors of tires and drivetrain. You can see that in the second chart showing, for a typical road bike, how the rolling and wind factors vary with speed to create the total load.

Graphs taken from an article on Sheldon Brownís website. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/aero/formulas.html

Otto






Last edited by ofajen; 07-22-20 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 07-22-20, 12:03 PM
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I've been wondering the same thing. I recently got back into more than casual riding after a long hiatus. I'm riding a fat tire, steel frame hybrid at about 15 mph for 1.5 to 2 hours at a time. I'd like to invest in a road bike to participate in some LBS evening rides and other organized road events but was not sure if I could keep up. Sounds like maybe so.
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Old 07-22-20, 12:42 PM
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A flat bar road bike is NOT a hybrid.
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Old 07-22-20, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bikejrff View Post
A flat bar road bike is NOT a hybrid.

There's a lot of grey area around that border, though.

My FX 3 felt a lot more like a road bike than a typical hybrid, yet it was sold as a "fitness bike".
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Old 07-22-20, 12:55 PM
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So, what would be the difference in average speed?
Biggest difference is the Rider bent over low presenting less body surface in the drops , vs sitting up more comfortably ..

And Having the added surface area of your torso to push through the air resistance .

Which exponentially increases the faster you try go..
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Old 07-22-20, 01:20 PM
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Depending on the type of riding you do, average speed may or may not be very variable--like people have pointed out, there's traffic lights, weather, road quality, etc.

WHere I saw the difference between my FX 3 and my road bikes was in the top speeds and the amount of time I could sustain them. Over a long ride, I might have a 1-2 mph bump in average speed, but my top speed (level) could be 2-3 mph (in the mid-20 mph range). As has been pointed out, this makes sense because it's at the high speeds that the aero effects really kick in.
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Old 07-22-20, 04:40 PM
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The real question is why do you need to be fast? You could get just as good of a workout on a hybrid as a road bike even if you are a bit slower. Effort is most important to me and I think way too much emphasis is placed on speed for the average rider. YMMV
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Old 07-22-20, 04:47 PM
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let me tell you somethin; it takes up at least 5% mph riding the hybrid flat bar with suspension fork compared to a road drop bar. Assuming you were able to match the gearing, groupset, color, & wax lube used.
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Old 07-22-20, 04:49 PM
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Donít by a hybrid bike it is a total waste of money. You wonít ride it. Bikes arenít the best appliances for compromise, maybe the worst actually.

There is an assumption of comfort and safety in hybrids that is pure fiction, just great marketing by the bike companies.
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Old 07-22-20, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ride_furthur View Post
I've been wondering the same thing. I recently got back into more than casual riding after a long hiatus. I'm riding a fat tire, steel frame hybrid at about 15 mph for 1.5 to 2 hours at a time. I'd like to invest in a road bike to participate in some LBS evening rides and other organized road events but was not sure if I could keep up. Sounds like maybe so.
Go for it! Even if you struggle initially you should quickly improve enough to find a compatible group.
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Old 07-22-20, 06:01 PM
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I can tell over commuting ( with lights ) there is very very little difference in time. Since xmas 2019 I have bought three bikes. xmas 2019 redux 2 commute bike with 47 road tire ( not a typo ). march 2020 carbon road bike with 23 tires. A few weeks later gravel bike with 37mm gravel tires.

All three bikes with flat pedal and stop lights are about the same time of about an hour when doing my little fitness route.


If you talk about section times then the individual bikes start to make a difference. If I take some place with no lights the difference start to add very quickly.
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Old 07-22-20, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Adonis72 View Post
The real question is why do you need to be fast?
If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand the answer.
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Old 07-22-20, 07:10 PM
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On a road bike, I can get a 5% difference in speed (at the same power/slope) just by being on the drops vs. the hoods. In a head wind, the difference can be much more.

SO... what is your goal? Riding comfortably? Riding fast? When I'm solo, I'm probably on the drops 70% of the time when on relatively level terrain.... on hills much, much less; on descents...close to 100%.. In group rides, maybe 10% is on the drops (mainly on the pull.... will be higher if I KNOW EVERYONE in the group and can trust them)...
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Old 07-22-20, 07:35 PM
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If you're talking about a typical hybrid--35 mm tires and flat bar, vs road bike with 25 mm and drop bars, the speed difference over 40 km might be 2-3 kph, ceterus paribus.

I used to have a flat bar 'hybrid' bike--Giant Rapid, but it was more road than hybrid with 25-mm tires and clearance barely enough for 30 mm tires. Then I converted it to a drop bar, keeping the same everything else. The result? Maybe 1 kph difference, if that.

So the answer is that it really depends on the bike you have. If you're comparing a near-30-lb hybrid with 35 mm treaded tires, front suspension, and an upright position with a 15-lb aero bike with areo wheels, and a kit to match, well the difference could be quite substantial, especially if there is some climbing.
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