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What makes a Hybrid a "Fitness" bike?

Old 03-29-17, 06:00 AM
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munkeyfish
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What makes a Hybrid a "Fitness" bike?

Just curious as to what makes a bike designated a fitness bike over just a Hybrid bike.
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Old 03-29-17, 06:08 AM
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A marketing department targeting a new market segment.
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Old 03-29-17, 07:34 AM
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I think FB is right, it's a marketing name and strategy, but it is also a bike designed to fit multiple needs, applications and terrain.
If a bike is versatile and comfortable too, then people might be more apt to ride it. While it might not be good at anything, it is acceptable at several types of riding.
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Old 03-29-17, 07:43 AM
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Old 03-29-17, 07:44 AM
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I have been helping friends shop a lot for new bikes recently, and the "fitness" bikes out there SOMETIMES have more aggressive geometry, no suspension, and narrower tires, and/or drop bars instead of flat bars. They are still hybrids, but tend towards the "road" vs "mountain" side of the spectrum. When I think a true hybrid, I usually envision 38-40mm tires, front suspension, flat bars, wide cushy saddle, upright riding position, almost a "townie" bike. When I think fitness bike, I think rigid frame, narrow tires, maybe a compact double instead of triple, possibly with toe clips or even clipless pedals, but not a full on road/race bike.
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Old 03-29-17, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by munkeyfish View Post
Just curious as to what makes a bike designated a fitness bike over just a Hybrid bike.
The term hybrid has been around for over 20 years now. Back in 1997 when hybrids were just a few years old, a hybrid was a hard tail mountain bike with riser bars, a solid fork and clearance for 700c wheels, usually mounted with semi knobby tires with an inverted tread pattern on the sides and a smooth rolling middle. Gearing was usually straight up mountain triples, with 42 - 32 - 22 chainring. The idea was a bike built for modest off road riding and a little more upright than a drop bar roadie.

Then a few years later, maybe the late 90s, the bike manufacturers switched from steel to aluminum frames, and at the same time, started putting suspension forks on hybrids, labeling them comfort hybrids.

Around the same time, or maybe a couple of years later, bike companies made a new line of performance oriented hybrids with lighter frames, smooth tires, and taller gearing, usually some variation of a road triple with a 48 or even 50 tooth big ring, but a mountain rear derailleur and cassette. Some higher end hybrids even came with carbon forks. This is the type of bike most often labeled a fitness bike, to differentiate it from the trail hybrid, and the comfort bike.
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Old 03-29-17, 07:55 AM
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I think personally, a fitness bike is a hybrid with wide/r tires at least 700x35c, upright position, and rigid fork. A bike that wouldn't be too aggressive yet not too sluggish, usually with a mountain bike drivetrain. At least that's what I noticed with the Trek FX(Fitness) line. For me it is a great way to get into cycling especially if you can't ride a road bike (usually back or neck issues)
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Old 03-29-17, 08:41 AM
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Fitness bikes also include urban and adventure/gravel road bikes.

My bike can accept up to 40 c tires so its clearly not a traditional thin tire Sirrus.

In the flat bar road bike segment, bike choices have increased.
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Old 03-29-17, 08:48 AM
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"Fitness bike" is a terms that is designed to make one get out their wallet and part with money. Period.
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Old 03-29-17, 08:51 AM
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Basically any bike that's not a comfort bike and can be ridden fast over desired terrain.

In other words, any bike without drop bars.
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Old 03-29-17, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
A marketing department targeting a new market segment.
precisely. you can get on a road bike and exercise, you can get on a mountain bike and exercise, etc etc. in the end it comes down to preference - do you like flat bars? road bars? do you ride in rough terrain or on city roads? etc.

i think hybrids got popular as cities are adopting cycling more and more and becoming more bike friendly. again, this is related to marketing of the bikes. people have been riding mountain bikes in cities since forever.
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Old 03-29-17, 09:04 AM
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A fitness hybrid is an updated version of the old Raleigh Sports.

A fancier version of the European city bike, just sensible transportation.

Few people in Europe ride drop bar road bikes.
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Old 03-29-17, 10:12 AM
  #13  
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I think most companies are calling "fitness bikes" those with 700x35mm smooth tires (or similar) with a low-rise stem and a rigid fork. They're light, they're nimble, and they're quick. Think Trek FX, Raleigh Cadent, etc. "Hybrid bikes" seem more geared towards the leisurely or more age-matured set, with various suspension bits (forks and/or seatposts) and adjustable rise stems. The frame geometries are likely a bit different as well. Hybrids also have 700C wheels, but often have wider tires (38-45mm) for additional volume (comfort). Both typically have similar drivetrains...usually a triple chainring up front and 7-9 cogs in the rear.
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Old 03-29-17, 10:19 AM
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As a followup for the OP, I would probably call your Specialized Crosstrail a "hybrid", simply because of the suspension fork and the 38mm diamond-file tread tires. I think a Cirrus fits better with my own definition of a "fitness" bike. The Cirrus has 32mm smooth tread tires and a rigid fork.

The Crossroads seems to be going where Trek is with the Verve -- ditching the suspension fork for high-volume 45mm tires. The intent is the same -- comfort. This is more of a "traditional" hybrid to me (is that an oxymoron?). The Crosstrail is more like Trek's Dual Sport line of bikes.

It's all grey area with few defined lines. I'm just glad we have the choice that we do in the marketplace, regardless of how the manufacturer organizes everything on its website!
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Old 03-29-17, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by munkeyfish View Post
Just curious as to what makes a bike designated a fitness bike over just a Hybrid bike.

The company's marketing dept. Spec for instance classifies all rigid fork flat bar bikes from the carbon Sirrus to the basic Roll in this category. And the Crosstrail is in there too.
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Old 03-29-17, 01:14 PM
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Within the “hybrid” category, I see three subcategories: fitness, trail, and comfort. You could probably narrow it down even more, but I think these three make for fairly well-defined categories.
* Fitness bikes tend to have rigid forks and 700c tires in the 28mm to 35mm range, and as such they are more road-oriented than the others. (ex: Giant Escape, Specialized Sirrus)
* Trail bikes tend to have suspension forks and wider 700c tires in the 35mm to 45mm range. (ex: Giant Roam, Specialized Crosstrail)
* Comfort bikes tend to have more upright seating, wider tires (700c or 26”) in the 38mm+ range, and may or may not have suspension forks. (ex: Giant Cypress, Specialized Crossroads)

Several responses have called it a marketing ploy, and I suppose there may be some truth that that. But in my mind, the narrowing of the “hybrid” category is actually helpful to consumers because it allows them to comparison shop more easily by focusing just on the type of bike which suits their primary purpose. Of course fitness bikes are ridden on trails, trail bikes can be ridden on roads, and hopefully all bikes are comfortable to their riders. So we could legitimately question the naming of the categories. But in my opinion, it’s helpful to have these categories, whatever the names are.

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Old 03-29-17, 01:21 PM
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Old 03-29-17, 11:47 PM
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It is a blurry category. Most of the fitness bikes I see in catalogs look like an early 1990s rigid mountain bike with flat bars or very slight riser bars at or below saddle height, and with more contemporary tweaks: straight rather than curved forks; better shifters; more gears.

But some online catalogs seem to be blurring the line more between that type of sporty hybrid and upright comfort hybrids, and calling it a fitness bike.
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Old 03-30-17, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
A marketing department targeting a new market segment.
Yes, this is the only distinction.
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Old 03-30-17, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by zoom26 View Post
I think personally, a fitness bike is a hybrid with wide/r tires at least 700x35c, upright position, and rigid fork. A bike that wouldn't be too aggressive yet not too sluggish, usually with a mountain bike drivetrain. At least that's what I noticed with the Trek FX(Fitness) line. For me it is a great way to get into cycling especially if you can't ride a road bike (usually back or neck issues)
Perhaps you should have said "my fitness bike.." I got very fit riding a bike just like the one you described but was often passed by much fitter people on racers with narrow tires and road drive trains. Personally I think "Any" bicycle is a fitness bike if you ride it hard enough.
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Old 03-30-17, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
As a followup for the OP, I would probably call your Specialized Crosstrail a "hybrid", simply because of the suspension fork and the 38mm diamond-file tread tires. I think a Cirrus fits better with my own definition of a "fitness" bike. The Cirrus has 32mm smooth tread tires and a rigid fork.

The Crossroads seems to be going where Trek is with the Verve -- ditching the suspension fork for high-volume 45mm tires. The intent is the same -- comfort. This is more of a "traditional" hybrid to me (is that an oxymoron?). The Crosstrail is more like Trek's Dual Sport line of bikes.

It's all grey area with few defined lines. I'm just glad we have the choice that we do in the marketplace, regardless of how the manufacturer organizes everything on its website!
I think that's a pretty accurate way to describe a very nebulous concept. It's all just marketing as you say, gossamer fog that looks pretty. I have a Crosstrail and a Sirrus. A little more comfort with the front suspension, a little more versatility with the front suspension lockout and the little more agressive tires on the Crosstrail. A little more speed and fast response built into the Sirrus. But only subtle differences, nothing very dramatic.
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Old 03-30-17, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by coominya View Post
Perhaps you should have said "my fitness bike.." I got very fit riding a bike just like the one you described but was often passed by much fitter people on racers with narrow tires and road drive trains. Personally I think "Any" bicycle is a fitness bike if you ride it hard enough.
Probably lol, but yeah "any" bicycle could be used for "fitness" just like any bicycle could be used for "commuting" I guess? It could be a label for bikes to be easier categorized too when looking for one?
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Old 03-30-17, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
"Fitness bike" is a terms that is designed to make one get out their wallet and part with money. Period.
Opinion. Not fact.
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