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Why I chose a road bike over a hybrid

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Why I chose a road bike over a hybrid

Old 07-16-11, 02:21 PM
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kcscooterdude
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Why I chose a road bike over a hybrid

I am just getting back into cycling and I am posting this because it might help other (new or returning) riders who are considering what type of bike to buy. I don't mean to disparage any type of bike. I'm just posting my experience in case somebody might find it helpful.

I'm in my 40s, and grew up with a Schwinn 10-speed. At college mountain bikes were becoming popular and I switched, though 90 percent of my cycling was on the road. After getting older (and fatter) and going through a few mountain bikes, I switched to a hybrid. I did not like the hybrid, which I attributed to the front fork, which had a reasonable amount of travel and could not be locked out. I rode less and less and eventually did not ride for several years. But, I needed to get back into shape and bought a one-speed cruiser about a year ago, which I did enjoy riding, but it was slow and forget about anything but flat bike paths.

For a long time I was sure I wanted a Specialized Sirrus, which is similar to other hybrid or comfort bikes out there. I was sure the position was right for me and it had a solid front fork.

Went to the LBS and rode some different bikes. They happen to sell Specialized which I suppose has a similar range as Trek and others. I rode the Allez, a road bike, the Sirrus, a hybrid, and the Tricross, which is a cyclocross bike that the salesperson said was more versatile and great for touring and longer rides.

I found the Allez was the best choice for me right now. The price point was right and although I will readily admit the Tricross was by far the best ride, I could only (and barely) afford the base model. It seemed to me that it made more sense to start out with a pure road bike and perhaps later move up to a bike like the Tricross after I better define where I am going with my riding.

What surprised me was that although it was a great bike, I did not find the Sirrus comfortable. I did not like the lack of choice about where to place my hands and the upright position was not as comfortable on my backside. I felt great after riding the road bike and distributing my weight a bit further forward. Easy to get up and climb, too. I was shocked that my back felt great too.

Obviously, a hybrid might be a better choice for some, and this is my point: Ride a few different types of bikes before choosing one and get somebody to help you. You will save more money buying a bike at a specialty shop with staff that knows what they are doing than by plucking one off the shelf at a discount store. I realize that financially, a discount store bike might be all you can afford, and if it is, go for it, but I think even though my Allez cost more than one of those I'll save money and my back in the long run. For example, when the salesperson fitted me he put the seat up higher than I would have thought and it made a huge difference.

Anyway, I don't want to offend anyone. You have to make the choice that best fits you and you just don't know if you don't ask questions and ride a few.
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Old 07-16-11, 03:27 PM
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The standard old wisdom is... "If you want to go fast and far, get a roadster". The various sorts of "hybrid" bikes available nowadays, be they "fitness" or "comfort" or "urban" bikes, are great for casual riders who don't spend a lot of time on the road and who are not interested in great performance.

Above all... Fit.
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Old 07-16-11, 03:44 PM
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I commute on a road bike. I recreate on a road bike.

I think the CX bike is maybe the best compromise for anyone who wants to do both - and doesn't want a road bike.

Make mine a road bike.
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Old 07-16-11, 09:35 PM
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Do some road bikes allow you to sit upright (via adjustment)? If so, I might consider getting a road bike.
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Old 07-16-11, 10:26 PM
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Vol, there are things you can do to get more upright. Actually, with your hands on the top bar (opposed to brake hoods) you are pretty upright. You need to go to the hoods or drops to shift and to brake, though. There are ways to raise the bars a bit, such as the direction the stem is placed (angle up or angle down). You might be surprised though at how comfortable the position is on a road bike. Your weight is a bit further forward, which makes your backside more comfortable, but you are not so far forward that most of your weight is on your arms. I actually found the flat bar on a hybrid hurt my hands more than when placing them on the hoods on the road bike. In general, though, the seat is going to be higher than the bars on a road bike. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong folks.
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Old 07-16-11, 10:31 PM
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To me the main benefit of the CX bike would be the ability to do crushed limestone paths comfortably, such as the Katy Trail here in Missouri and I suppose it would be more comfortable touring. I think you would sacrifice a bit of speed on the open road, though not much. I did not ride a Secteur or Roubaix, which I understand is a road bike with a bit longer geometry and a bit softer ride.
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Old 07-16-11, 11:07 PM
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Plush Bike

Originally Posted by vol View Post
Do some road bikes allow you to sit upright (via adjustment)? If so, I might consider getting a road bike.
That's a great question. After having ridden a Trek FX straight-bar "fitness" bike for a year, I decided I wanted a road bike with drop bars, because there is more variety in hand positions, it's easier to get aero, and (in my opinion) it's easier on the body when riding long distances. I really don't see any advantage to straight bars, except perhaps they might be a little easier to balance when ridden by a complete novice.

The road-bike type that you're looking for is typically called a "plush" or "endurance" road [QUOTE=vol;12939473]Do some road bikes allow you to sit upright (via adjustment)? If bike. The main difference between a plush bike and more of a racing-type bike is that the head tube on the plush bike is a little longer, which lifts the handlebars a little and makes for a little more of a comfortable upright riding position.

I think the plush bike is an excellent option for someone who wants to put on some miles and stay a bit more comfortable than on a racing-type bike. The carbon-framed Specialized Roubaix, introduced a few years ago, is a pioneer in this field. Specialized also has the less expensive aluminum-framed Secteur, which has the same frame geometry. Many major bike manufacturers now make a plush-type bike. Ask the salesperson at your local bike shop to show and explain to you.

I purchased a Roubaix, simply love it, and ride it much, much more than my straight-bar bike
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Old 07-17-11, 01:42 AM
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If riding on the road- then a road bike- If offroad then a mountain bike- if Road and Smooth unpaved trails- possible a Good Hybrid or a CX.

But it doesn't matter what type of bike you have for road riding. All will work but some will work better than others.

But whatever bike you have it has to suit and fit you and the type of riding you want to do.

I have MTB's and Road bikes. Each bike to its's own use for me. A hybrid or CX does not fit either type of riding.
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Old 07-17-11, 07:42 AM
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Oh and dont forget to save $150 for all the extras your gonna need, not including the bike itself.
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Old 07-17-11, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by kcscooterdude View Post
To me the main benefit of the CX bike would be the ability to do crushed limestone paths comfortably, such as the Katy Trail here in Missouri and I suppose it would be more comfortable touring. I think you would sacrifice a bit of speed on the open road, though not much.
This^^

Plus, a hybrid (I'm thinking of the Trek FX line like the 7.5 fx that I have) allows you to mount a rear rack and put 38mm tires on for those crushed limestone trails. I could take my 25mm tired roadbike on those trails, but it wouldn't be fun and I would probably be stuck fixing flats a couple of times on the trail. With the FX and probably a CX bike, it just isn't a problem.

So, if you are going to do those kinds of trails and not limit yourself to the road, you may want to look at hybrids and cx bikes, something that will take larger tires.

I bought a Rivendell Sam Hillborne road bike instead of buying a skinny tire bike because I knew I would be using it for trails also, I can slap wide tires on it. So far it has been doing great, but I'm certainly not trying to keep up with the 25mph paceline that the group ride seems to get into.

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Old 07-17-11, 08:26 AM
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The benefits of hybrids are obvious.

I think the downside is they excel at nothing. They are the bike of compromise. For every style/type of riding there is a bike with geo and components to match which and enhance the experience. Hybrids walk the middle line on everything.

In direct answer to your question, you'd pick a road bike if your buyng decision turned on weight, geo, handling at speed, gearing, aero, acceleration, climbing-wheelset....you get the picture.
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Old 07-17-11, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
The benefits of hybrids are obvious.

I think the downside is they excel at nothing. They are the bike of compromise. For every style/type of riding there is a bike with geo and components to match which and enhance the experience. Hybrids walk the middle line on everything.

In direct answer to your question, you'd pick a road bike if your buyng decision turned on weight, geo, handling at speed, gearing, aero, acceleration, climbing-wheelset....you get the picture.
Well said. This is why I commute on a road bike, instead of the more expected style.
I have a ten mile commute and I don't want it to take forever. I like the sporty, speedy handling of the road bike.
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Old 07-17-11, 10:19 AM
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A straight bar can be modified with, like, bar end handles,
or replaced with trekking bars, their figure 8 bend offers a near and far grip.

Rather than up and down on the drops. and the control swap is easy.


N + 1 .. I have a road bike, I have a cross bike,
I ride my Rohloff hub bike with, trekking bars the most. as Im liking the combination

1st I got a 26" wheel type, this year a Bike Friday got purchased,

I haven't taken either of the derailleur bikes out for months ..

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Old 07-17-11, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by RJM View Post
So, if you are going to do those kinds of trails and not limit yourself to the road, you may want to look at hybrids and cx bikes, something that will take larger tires.
Can't say enough about the Specialized Tricross. The ride was fantastic and it would be a great touring and I think would be perfect for a several day trip on the Katy Trail. You can also mount a rack front and back (Specialized makes a kick-a@@ set for this bike) and I can tell you would be comfortable on the thing for hours.

Today I rode out on a bike path with my skinny tire Allez and then back on a parkway that runs along side. (Yeah, I had been working toward an eight-mile path ride on the cruiser and had some unfinished business). Of course the road ride was smooth and fast, the path bumpy and twitchy but doable. That's asphalt, by the way, not the crushed limestone.

Now, a tourer/path bike, a mountain bike and an upgrade to a S-Works Roubaix or Tarmac in the next half-decade and I'm set. Honey, it will be cheaper than the Harley I used to want. (I know, it doesn't work that way, does it)?
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Old 07-17-11, 12:34 PM
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Very interesting comments. My only bike is a HT MTB on which I've added a stem riser and mustache bars for a more upright position. Haven't had a road bike since college and just assumed modern ones were all race or wannabe race oriented. That there is a "plush" geometry category is interesting and bikes like the Giant Defy seem to be worth looking at.

I love my hybridized MTB but it is a bit limited, especially where distance might be concerned. Thanks for this thread!
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Old 07-17-11, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by kcscooterdude View Post
Can't say enough about the Specialized Tricross. The ride was fantastic and it would be a great touring and I think would be perfect for a several day trip on the Katy Trail. You can also mount a rack front and back (Specialized makes a kick-a@@ set for this bike) and I can tell you would be comfortable on the thing for hours.

Today I rode out on a bike path with my skinny tire Allez and then back on a parkway that runs along side. (Yeah, I had been working toward an eight-mile path ride on the cruiser and had some unfinished business). Of course the road ride was smooth and fast, the path bumpy and twitchy but doable. That's asphalt, by the way, not the crushed limestone.

Now, a tourer/path bike, a mountain bike and an upgrade to a S-Works Roubaix or Tarmac in the next half-decade and I'm set. Honey, it will be cheaper than the Harley I used to want. (I know, it doesn't work that way, does it)?
It does if you tell her what a Harley costs. Dont forget to remind her what exercise does for your libido, too....
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Old 07-17-11, 07:36 PM
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kcscooterdude and makr, thanks for answering my question and for introducing "plush" road bikes to me. Sounds like comfort is not necessarily sacrificed on a road bike. I have two other concerns with road bikes:

1. It makes me feel/worry that when I'm hit by a vehicle from behind, I would fall head-first over the handlebar onto the ground, and face down (even helmet will not help) .

2. Considering the curved body position on a road bike for long term, can that make me a hunchback?
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Old 07-17-11, 08:40 PM
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I love my road bike but it limits me to riding on pavement. Thus, I also have an mtb and a hybrid.
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