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Should I upgrade from my hybrid?

Old 09-26-16, 04:05 PM
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obelix74
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Should I upgrade from my hybrid?

Hi all

I actively started biking an year ago on my Giant Escape 1. I changed a few things, got a better seat and run it on 28 slicks now.

I commute to work on it a few days a week (5 miles one way) and in weekends, I go longer and longer.

I did my first 50 miler last Sunday. I also workout in a gym 3-4 days a week building up strength and endurance. At the end of the 50 mile ride, I wasn't overly fatigued and could have gone for another 15-20 miles at least.

However, I am rather slow, my average speed was 10 mph (it took me 4 hrs 55 min for the 50 mile ride), and my max speed in flat ground is about 13-15 mph max.

Speed is not too much of a concern to me, I want to ride safely and I often ride in bike trails with strict speed limits. What I am interested in doing though is go on longer and longer rides, my goal is to do at least one 100 miler in the next couple of years and at least do a few 50 milers a year.

Currently, I ride in flat trails (that 50 mile ride had an elevation increase of 700 feet total), but I live in a hilly area, so might start riding some hills as well.

Also, my rides have been solo since the folks I want to ride with have road bikes and are faster.

Given all this, does it make sense for me to buy a cyclocross bike (or any other bike)? I would keep my Giant Escape 1 as my commute bike and family ride bike, would a different bike help me on my longer rides?

Or am I convincing myself to buy another gadget?
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Old 09-26-16, 05:17 PM
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Um ... Boy am I probably the wrong guy to answer ... If you are looking for someone to talk you out of it as your last line kinda implies.

I have 15 bikes - 3 road, 1 tri, 3 full suspension mt, 2 hard tail mt, 1 fat bike, 2 hybrids, 1 cross bike, 1 full-throttle e-bike, and a folder - wow, 15 - I even forget how many until I list them out.

Why so many? Because as you have already figured out, different riding styles, different substrates, different topography, riding with other cyclists of different ability - all of them require different features in a bike. I have that many bikes because I believe in having the right tool for the job - in cycling and other aspects of my life.

Only you can ultimately answer your question - it's not strictly objective in it's nature. There isn't any reason you can't do a century on a hybrid, I've done many. Speed isn't an issue for you, but you can up that by experimenting with different tires as you found out - narrow the width as low as your wheels allow to pick up speed. If you decide you do want to ride with roadie friends you will need a road bike to keep up.

A cross bike? Well, first make sure riding drop bars is ok with your back. Ask yourself what kind of substrate will you ride? Do you need off-road capability to ride gravel or mud? Or would you actually be better off with a true road bike?

Honestly I think a valid case can be made either way, but only you can know for sure.
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Old 09-26-16, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by obelix74 View Post
Hi all

I actively started biking an year ago on my Giant Escape 1. I changed a few things, got a better seat and run it on 28 slicks now.

I commute to work on it a few days a week (5 miles one way) and in weekends, I go longer and longer.

I did my first 50 miler last Sunday. I also workout in a gym 3-4 days a week building up strength and endurance. At the end of the 50 mile ride, I wasn't overly fatigued and could have gone for another 15-20 miles at least.

However, I am rather slow, my average speed was 10 mph (it took me 4 hrs 55 min for the 50 mile ride), and my max speed in flat ground is about 13-15 mph max.

Speed is not too much of a concern to me, I want to ride safely and I often ride in bike trails with strict speed limits. What I am interested in doing though is go on longer and longer rides, my goal is to do at least one 100 miler in the next couple of years and at least do a few 50 milers a year.

Currently, I ride in flat trails (that 50 mile ride had an elevation increase of 700 feet total), but I live in a hilly area, so might start riding some hills as well.

Also, my rides have been solo since the folks I want to ride with have road bikes and are faster.

Given all this, does it make sense for me to buy a cyclocross bike (or any other bike)? I would keep my Giant Escape 1 as my commute bike and family ride bike, would a different bike help me on my longer rides?

Or am I convincing myself to buy another gadget?

Are you an older guy or carrying extra weight?


I ask because your flat ground speed average does seem a bit slow, as whilst your bike isn't the fastest out there, it should be capable of a fair bit more than you are currently getting out of it.


What brand and model of tyre do you have on your bike?


You could always test ride another bike and see if it at least feels faster than your current bike.
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Old 09-26-16, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
Are you an older guy or carrying extra weight?


I ask because your flat ground speed average does seem a bit slow, as whilst your bike isn't the fastest out there, it should be capable of a fair bit more than you are currently getting out of it.


What brand and model of tyre do you have on your bike?


You could always test ride another bike and see if it at least feels faster than your current bike.
I am 42, male, 5' 10" and 200 lbs . So yes, carrying a lot of extra weight. I am reasonably fit right now, have the endurance, but my cardio levels are not what I expect them to be.

I use ThickSlick 700 x 28c mm tiers (https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-TR350...30O?th=1&psc=1).
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Old 09-26-16, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
Um ... Boy am I probably the wrong guy to answer ... If you are looking for someone to talk you out of it as your last line kinda implies.

I have 15 bikes - 3 road, 1 tri, 3 full suspension mt, 2 hard tail mt, 1 fat bike, 2 hybrids, 1 cross bike, 1 full-throttle e-bike, and a folder - wow, 15 - I even forget how many until I list them out.

Why so many? Because as you have already figured out, different riding styles, different substrates, different topography, riding with other cyclists of different ability - all of them require different features in a bike. I have that many bikes because I believe in having the right tool for the job - in cycling and other aspects of my life.

Only you can ultimately answer your question - it's not strictly objective in it's nature. There isn't any reason you can't do a century on a hybrid, I've done many. Speed isn't an issue for you, but you can up that by experimenting with different tires as you found out - narrow the width as low as your wheels allow to pick up speed. If you decide you do want to ride with roadie friends you will need a road bike to keep up.

A cross bike? Well, first make sure riding drop bars is ok with your back. Ask yourself what kind of substrate will you ride? Do you need off-road capability to ride gravel or mud? Or would you actually be better off with a true road bike?

Honestly I think a valid case can be made either way, but only you can know for sure.

Dave - thanks. I appreciate your response. I don't need off-road capability and there is little need to ride on gravel or mud. As you can tell, I don't have much idea about road-bikes and the various options I have there.

Good question about drop bars. I have not done any long rides on drop bars at all . I guess I should start there.
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Old 09-26-16, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by obelix74 View Post
Hi all

I actively started biking an year ago on my Giant Escape 1. I changed a few things, got a better seat and run it on 28 slicks now.

I commute to work on it a few days a week (5 miles one way) and in weekends, I go longer and longer.

I did my first 50 miler last Sunday. I also workout in a gym 3-4 days a week building up strength and endurance. At the end of the 50 mile ride, I wasn't overly fatigued and could have gone for another 15-20 miles at least.

However, I am rather slow, my average speed was 10 mph (it took me 4 hrs 55 min for the 50 mile ride), and my max speed in flat ground is about 13-15 mph max.

Speed is not too much of a concern to me, I want to ride safely and I often ride in bike trails with strict speed limits. What I am interested in doing though is go on longer and longer rides, my goal is to do at least one 100 miler in the next couple of years and at least do a few 50 milers a year.

Currently, I ride in flat trails (that 50 mile ride had an elevation increase of 700 feet total), but I live in a hilly area, so might start riding some hills as well.

Also, my rides have been solo since the folks I want to ride with have road bikes and are faster.

Given all this, does it make sense for me to buy a cyclocross bike (or any other bike)? I would keep my Giant Escape 1 as my commute bike and family ride bike, would a different bike help me on my longer rides?

Or am I convincing myself to buy another gadget?
The Escape is reasonably light for a hybrid, and the riding position not too upright. Buy a road bike if you want, but IMO, it won't make you much faster. IMO, you can train to ride faster with your Escape. Now, drop bars might help you on longer rides if your hands get tired riding on flat bars for hours, so there is that.

I had this conversation with a friend the other day. he rides a very old road bike and asked me if a modern bike would make him faster. I said, probably a little, but not as fast as you would want it to make you. So he asked, how much faster, and I said I don't know but if I were to hazard a guess, maybe a minute or two per hour in the saddle.
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Old 09-26-16, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
The Escape is reasonably light for a hybrid, and the riding position not too upright. Buy a road bike if you want, but IMO, it won't make you much faster. IMO, you can train to ride faster with your Escape. Now, drop bars might help you on longer rides if your hands get tired riding on flat bars for hours, so there is that.

I had this conversation with a friend the other day. he rides a very old road bike and asked me if a modern bike would make him faster. I said, probably a little, but not as fast as you would want it to make you. So he asked, how much faster, and I said I don't know but if I were to hazard a guess, maybe a minute or two per hour in the saddle.
Got it, thanks. Are there any modifications I could do the bar on the escape for additional hand positions?
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Old 09-26-16, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by obelix74 View Post
Got it, thanks. Are there any modifications I could do the bar on the escape for additional hand positions?
You can always try Ergon grips with little bar ends, or switch to a Trekking bar, which would give you some more hand positions.
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Old 09-26-16, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
You can always try Ergon grips with little bar ends, or switch to a Trekking bar, which would give you some more hand positions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1UaHXlkASU
Thanks, will check them out. I currently use an Ergon grip, tried a few bar ends, didn't like them .
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Old 09-26-16, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by obelix74 View Post
I am 42, male, 5' 10" and 200 lbs . So yes, carrying a lot of extra weight. I am reasonably fit right now, have the endurance, but my cardio levels are not what I expect them to be.

I use ThickSlick 700 x 28c mm tiers (https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-TR350...30O?th=1&psc=1).
You are not that heavy.


What psi do you run with your tyres?


Where you previously mentioned a 10mph average, was that taking into account any stops?


Are you sure you are not underestimating your flat ground average speed?
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Old 09-26-16, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
You are not that heavy.


What psi do you run with your tyres?


Where you previously mentioned a 10mph average, was that taking into account any stops?


Are you sure you are not underestimating your flat ground average speed?
For the 50 miler, I ran them at 100-105 psi. Yes, there were many stops, multiple stop signs and lights.

I am basing that number from Strava:

51.3mi Distance
4:53:55 Moving Time
573ft Elevation
80W Estimated Avg Power
1,407kJ Energy Output
Avg Max
Speed 10.5mi/h 26.6mi/h
Heart Rate 144bpm 180bpm

The GPS input itself came from Fitbit Surge pulling in GPS data from my phone, Fitbit doesn't even differentiate between moving time and total time, so looking at Strava data.
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Old 09-26-16, 06:09 PM
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Here is the speed data from Fitbit:

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Old 09-26-16, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by obelix74 View Post
For the 50 miler, I ran them at 100-105 psi. Yes, there were many stops, multiple stop signs and lights.

I am basing that number from Strava:

51.3mi Distance
4:53:55 Moving Time
573ft Elevation
80W Estimated Avg Power
1,407kJ Energy Output
Avg Max
Speed 10.5mi/h 26.6mi/h
Heart Rate 144bpm 180bpm

The GPS input itself came from Fitbit Surge pulling in GPS data from my phone, Fitbit doesn't even differentiate between moving time and total time, so looking at Strava data.

With your fastest speed there, did you not encounter any hills that you went down?


26.6mph max seems slow unless you literally had no hills of any note to go down, or you were braking so as to not get to a higher speed.
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Old 09-26-16, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
With your fastest speed there, did you not encounter any hills that you went down?


26.6mph max seems slow unless you literally had no hills of any note to go down, or you were braking so as to not get to a higher speed.
There were hills, here is the elevation profile:



Yes, I was braking on the way down, since the speed limit in the trail is 15mph and there were other people on the trail.
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Old 09-27-16, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by obelix74 View Post
Dave - thanks. I appreciate your response. I don't need off-road capability and there is little need to ride on gravel or mud. As you can tell, I don't have much idea about road-bikes and the various options I have there.

Good question about drop bars. I have not done any long rides on drop bars at all . I guess I should start there.
I have to respectfully disagree with the poster who said a road bike might not make you faster.

10 mph is not that slow if that factors in multiple stops in traffic, slowing for pedestrians, etc.

But a hybrid bike generally puts you into an upright position that forces your quads to do almost all the work of pedaling.

A road bike generally puts you into a more forward position that not only creates less wind resistance, which is the main factor that you need to overcome, not your weight, to raise your average speed, but also engages your glutes.

Triathlon bikes are even more forward specifically to spare your quads even more in the expectation that you will need them for the running part of that sport, so position definitely makes a difference in what muscle groups you can and do utilize.

I was 100% a hybrid rider for commuting this time two years ago, mainly from belief that the upright position was safer for maneuvering in traffic, but then one day I dusted off my old road bike, a not particularly light Trek 2200 from 2001, and the difference was night and day for me. I found myself accelerating up hills rather than grinding up them. I haven't looked back and now own multiple road bikes and hardly ever ride my hybrid.

In fact two of my road bikes now are "gravel grinders" or "monstercross" types, in stainless steel and the other in titanium, and in many ways those are the new version of "hybrid" bikes in terms of bikes that can go where either road or mountain bikes go, but with less compromise in road performance.

Obviously your mileage may vary but for me switching from hybrid to road for commuting was kind of a revelation. Much easier to get to speed and sustain it for me and frankly a lot more fun. Give a road bike a try, but don't just go buy one, rent one or borrow one from a friend first.

Keep in mind that whether its a hybrid or a road bike, the fit has to be right first to properly compare them.
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Old 09-27-16, 12:27 PM
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I have a Giant Escape 1 and a Specialized Sequoia Elite (road bike). The Giant is just as fast on most terrain but the Specialized is better on hills (it's about 9 pounds lighter). I am 62 years old and my typical speed on either is around 15 mph. I did a century ride with the Giant last year and the Specialized this year. I use smooth tread 28s on my Giant. So based on my experience, a road bike will not make you much faster. I think the only way to get faster is to ride more, ride harder, and lose weight. That's the only thing that works for me (and losing weight is the hardest part!)
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Old 09-27-16, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ShortLegCyclist View Post
I have to respectfully disagree with the poster who said a road bike might not make you faster.

10 mph is not that slow if that factors in multiple stops in traffic, slowing for pedestrians, etc.

But a hybrid bike generally puts you into an upright position that forces your quads to do almost all the work of pedaling.

A road bike generally puts you into a more forward position that not only creates less wind resistance, which is the main factor that you need to overcome, not your weight, to raise your average speed, but also engages your glutes.

Triathlon bikes are even more forward specifically to spare your quads even more in the expectation that you will need them for the running part of that sport, so position definitely makes a difference in what muscle groups you can and do utilize.

I was 100% a hybrid rider for commuting this time two years ago, mainly from belief that the upright position was safer for maneuvering in traffic, but then one day I dusted off my old road bike, a not particularly light Trek 2200 from 2001, and the difference was night and day for me. I found myself accelerating up hills rather than grinding up them. I haven't looked back and now own multiple road bikes and hardly ever ride my hybrid.

In fact two of my road bikes now are "gravel grinders" or "monstercross" types, in stainless steel and the other in titanium, and in many ways those are the new version of "hybrid" bikes in terms of bikes that can go where either road or mountain bikes go, but with less compromise in road performance.

Obviously your mileage may vary but for me switching from hybrid to road for commuting was kind of a revelation. Much easier to get to speed and sustain it for me and frankly a lot more fun. Give a road bike a try, but don't just go buy one, rent one or borrow one from a friend first.

Keep in mind that whether its a hybrid or a road bike, the fit has to be right first to properly compare them.


Thanks!
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Old 09-27-16, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by practical View Post
I have a Giant Escape 1 and a Specialized Sequoia Elite (road bike). The Giant is just as fast on most terrain but the Specialized is better on hills (it's about 9 pounds lighter). I am 62 years old and my typical speed on either is around 15 mph. I did a century ride with the Giant last year and the Specialized this year. I use smooth tread 28s on my Giant. So based on my experience, a road bike will not make you much faster. I think the only way to get faster is to ride more, ride harder, and lose weight. That's the only thing that works for me (and losing weight is the hardest part!)
Appreciate your response. I have some weight on the bike I could lose too (rack for commute).
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Old 09-27-16, 07:44 PM
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I too have an Escape 1. I have a rear rack with a trunk bag that I carry 24 ounce water bottle, 32 ounce water bottle, and two 20 ounce Gatorades. I carry a lot of liquid weight. Also in that bag is a thick cable lock which isn't very light, and my camera which wouldn't be significant enough, but is a heavy camera for a compact.

I'm also 220 lb. at the moment. I just swapped the stock Giant 32's for Schwalbe Marathon 28's. I'll mention about my riding on the 32's for now since I just swapped them a week ago. I also have an adjustable stem that I have adjusted to put me in even more of an upright position.

Your ride was 50 miles with approximately 700 feet of climbing according to your Strava file. That is pretty much dead flat. In comparison, I would only have to ride about 10-12 miles to get 700 feet of climbing with my normal road riding. On the road which I normally see around 75 feet per mile and very often am at less than 5 mph for half my ride distance, I average between 10.5 and 11.5 mph. Today's ride for example was 12.8 miles with 736 feet of climb at 11.9 mph which was a pretty easy relaxing ride tonight, though it was on the 28's I mentioned. On flat pavement with the 32's, I would be cruising at about 16 mph. I think certainly with no offense to you as I was there at one point not long ago as well, 10 mph on the ride you posted is very slow with that bike.

Just keep riding. I think you should improve easily. A road bike would probably get you faster, but it's going to still be relative to your fitness and riding ability. Meaning, it will be faster for you but would still be slow and not a magic solution to get you riding as fast as more experienced riders. You still have much improvement coming to you if you just keep riding.

To compare the same bike for long distances like your Strava shows (great job on the 50 miles, btw, that is an accomplishment in itself at whatever speed if it was your first after a year of riding under your belt), I have quite a few 60 mile rides this year. Example is on Friday I rode 68 miles with well over 6 times as much elevation change as you had in 50 at 4600 feet. Stopping for traffic lights and such slows average down considerably and climbing really affects the average speed to drop a lot more than higher speeds going down grade and my average was 11.2 mph. Even my 11.2 average is pretty darn slow and I probably should be much higher than that at this point of my cycling. I've been doing this since 2013 and I think your other post from last year says you just started in May of last year. You're not all that far behind me at 10 mph.

tl;dr - a road bike certainly should be faster than the Escape hybrid you have, but you have a lot of improvement coming in the future if you continue to just ride that Giant. The Giant Escape 1 is a pretty light hybrid bike and a pretty quick bike as well for a hybrid.
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Old 09-27-16, 08:02 PM
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Thanks mrodgers. Appreciate your candid response.

Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
I too have an Escape 1. I have a rear rack with a trunk bag that I carry 24 ounce water bottle, 32 ounce water bottle, and two 20 ounce Gatorades. I carry a lot of liquid weight. Also in that bag is a thick cable lock which isn't very light, and my camera which wouldn't be significant enough, but is a heavy camera for a compact.

I'm also 220 lb. at the moment. I just swapped the stock Giant 32's for Schwalbe Marathon 28's. I'll mention about my riding on the 32's for now since I just swapped them a week ago. I also have an adjustable stem that I have adjusted to put me in even more of an upright position.

Your ride was 50 miles with approximately 700 feet of climbing according to your Strava file. That is pretty much dead flat. In comparison, I would only have to ride about 10-12 miles to get 700 feet of climbing with my normal road riding. On the road which I normally see around 75 feet per mile and very often am at less than 5 mph for half my ride distance, I average between 10.5 and 11.5 mph. Today's ride for example was 12.8 miles with 736 feet of climb at 11.9 mph which was a pretty easy relaxing ride tonight, though it was on the 28's I mentioned. On flat pavement with the 32's, I would be cruising at about 16 mph. I think certainly with no offense to you as I was there at one point not long ago as well, 10 mph on the ride you posted is very slow with that bike.

Just keep riding. I think you should improve easily. A road bike would probably get you faster, but it's going to still be relative to your fitness and riding ability. Meaning, it will be faster for you but would still be slow and not a magic solution to get you riding as fast as more experienced riders. You still have much improvement coming to you if you just keep riding.

To compare the same bike for long distances like your Strava shows (great job on the 50 miles, btw, that is an accomplishment in itself at whatever speed if it was your first after a year of riding under your belt), I have quite a few 60 mile rides this year. Example is on Friday I rode 68 miles with well over 6 times as much elevation change as you had in 50 at 4600 feet. Stopping for traffic lights and such slows average down considerably and climbing really affects the average speed to drop a lot more than higher speeds going down grade and my average was 11.2 mph. Even my 11.2 average is pretty darn slow and I probably should be much higher than that at this point of my cycling. I've been doing this since 2013 and I think your other post from last year says you just started in May of last year. You're not all that far behind me at 10 mph.

tl;dr - a road bike certainly should be faster than the Escape hybrid you have, but you have a lot of improvement coming in the future if you continue to just ride that Giant. The Giant Escape 1 is a pretty light hybrid bike and a pretty quick bike as well for a hybrid.
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Old 09-28-16, 05:24 AM
  #21  
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IMO, tires.
Though I've never used Thickslick tires, I've read and heard they have a high rolling resistance.
I would try some 700x25c continental, Vittoria or check what tires most roadies use.
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Old 09-28-16, 05:53 AM
  #22  
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I also own a Giant Escape (City) and a road bike.

If you want another bike, I suggest a road bike. They are a lot of fun. I ride mine more than my hybrid these days.

Will it be faster? A little. My hybrid average is around 15 to 16. My road bike is around 18 to 19. Those are solo numbers, urban riding with lots of stop lights.

You can get faster on the hybrid with some effort. Good tires help.

A road bike sounds well suited to your environment, and that's the kind of bike most often ridden by groups for long distances. Group rides can be a lot of fun and they can encourage you to push yourself. I do a bunch of training rides for charity events. My next one is a two day 175 mile ride around Galveston Bay. I haven't done this one before but it looks like a lot of fun. Last weekend our team did a day of hills and a day of flat. I think I rode 150 miles last week.

ETA: Also, you don't have to think of it as an "upgrade". Different bikes have different purposes. My hybrid has knobby tires, fenders, a trunk rack and panniers. My road bike is just for riding.
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Old 09-28-16, 06:45 AM
  #23  
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I road bike might give you that extra edge you're looking for at the cost of some comfort I guess.
My road bike feels fast as soon as I sit in it even though it's an older entry level but a lot has to do with its aggressive geometry and the tires I use.
I would still try some tires first and see how that work out and it's not going to be wasted cash since you can always use them on a road bike, should you get one later on.
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Old 09-28-16, 07:02 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by gilpi View Post
I road bike might give you that extra edge you're looking for at the cost of some comfort I guess.
My road bike feels fast as soon as I sit in it even though it's an older entry level but a lot has to do with its aggressive geometry and the tires I use.
I would still try some tires first and see how that work out and it's not going to be wasted cash since you can always use them on a road bike, should you get one later on.
If OP had thick, OEM tires and/or Knobbies, I might agree. But OP already has 28 mm slicks. Didn't mention the make and model, but I can't imagine he should go much narrower.
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Old 09-28-16, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by obelix74 View Post
Got it, thanks. Are there any modifications I could do the bar on the escape for additional hand positions?
I recently added these bar ends to my Fuji Absolute 1.5, which is nearly identical to your Escape 1, and I am loving the extra hand positions! You can see pics in this thread from a couple of weeks ago.
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