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How to choose — hybrid vs cyclocross

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How to choose — hybrid vs cyclocross

Old 10-03-20, 05:04 PM
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Don.johnson
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Question How to choose — hybrid vs cyclocross

Hi everyone! I would like to ask this body of experienced experts for some assistance.

My wife and I are planning to start riding again after several years out of the saddle. We are both about 60, and feel like we are starting anew. We would be doing some simple road rides (up to 10 miles) and some “rail trail” rides that are expected to be pretty easy. We want to ride to improve our health and for fun, not for competition—we’ll leave that for the younger crowd.

The question is whether we would want a hybrid (I think so) or a cyclocross. I am not sure I understand the differences, and hope my explanation above is helpful. Once we decide on the style, how would you recommend we find a good bike that is also affordable? Since we are just starting, we don’t need the top tier, and are hoping to find something in the hundreds instead of thousands price range. We certainly don’t want a Walmart bike, but want something we can take to a trail for a fun morning or afternoon.

Someone recommended a Trek DS20, but I have heard there are better companies that are also affordable. Here is your chance to help a new rider and to show your wisdom and recommendations!

Thank you in advance for this discussion and for your patience.

Don
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Old 10-03-20, 05:37 PM
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Hybrid and Cyclocross bike

Top image is of a typical modern Hybrid bike.
Bottom image is of a typical modern Cyclocross bike.

What is a hybrid bike? https://www.bikeradar.com/features/w...a-hybrid-bike/

What is a cyclocross bike? https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/fit...clocross-bike/

Every major (and minor) brand produces these types of bikes. From your post I'd think you would be best served by the Hybrid type as apposed to the Cyclocross bikes.
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Old 10-03-20, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Don.johnson View Post
Once we decide on the style, how would you recommend we find a good bike that is also affordable? Since we are just starting, we don’t need the top tier, and are hoping to find something in the hundreds instead of thousands price range.
Cyclocross is a race; as such, the bikes are expensive. Gravel bikes are similar and come in lower price points but are still priced higher. Hybrid is the way to go for affordabilty and multi-use.
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Old 10-03-20, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
Gravel bikes are similar and come in lower price points but are still priced higher. Hybrid is the way to go for affordabilty and multi-use.
+1

For the riding the OP describes, a hybrid sounds like the best choice. It's definitely a good starting point. I began with one several years ago and transitioned to a gravel bike last year. But I don't think I would've been happy starting with a gravel bike. A few years on the hybrid helped me build up my endurance to longer rides, and to identify what I did and didn't want in a different bike. And if all of my rides were around 10 miles or so, I'd probably still be on a hybrid. (Actually, I think of a gravel bike as a hybrid bike - wider tires and a drop bar. But that's not the typical definition.)
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Old 10-05-20, 12:05 PM
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Thanks for these links, Bob; they were extremely helpful.

Now, to try and track down a good brand and good price....

Don
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Old 10-05-20, 12:06 PM
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Thanks for your comments. After these few posts, I think I am in agreement with you and am now going to focus on the Hybrid.

Now, if finding a brand at a good starter price were so easy....
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Old 10-05-20, 12:08 PM
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Thanks for explanation on Cyclocross...I think I am with you on the Hybrids, and certainly don't need to look at competitive hardware yet (or maybe never!).
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Old 10-05-20, 07:24 PM
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Think of a Cyclocross bike as something that gets ridden as hard and fast as possible for about 45-60 minutes and then washed and put away. It's not designed for long ride comfort but for quick handling, fast acceleration, and easy of carrying while dismounted and running uphill.

A hybrid is a much more versatile machine. Set up properly it can do a short lap to the coffee shop and grab the groceries in the morning and in the afternoon go for a long 20-50 mile ride.

I bet when you said Cyclocross you were thinking of a Gravel bike. Gravel bikes are a new "flavor" of bikes that tend to fit a lot of riders needs. They're kind of "quiver of one" where you can do a little bit of pavement riding, a little bit of off road riding and over longer distance riding they're a bit more comfortable than a hybrid.

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Old 10-05-20, 09:14 PM
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Surly Cross Check!!
Does about anything. One of the few bikes you can buy that you’ll never regret having bought......
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Old 10-05-20, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by gorillimo View Post
Surly Cross Check!!
Does about anything. One of the few bikes you can buy that you’ll never regret having bought......
That's a cool looking bike!
I'm guessing the angle of the handlebars helps ward off the hand numbness that flat bars can sometimes cause on longer rides.
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Old 10-05-20, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Don.johnson View Post
Thanks for your comments. After these few posts, I think I am in agreement with you and am now going to focus on the Hybrid.

Now, if finding a brand at a good starter price were so easy....
What do you consider a good starter price? For my parents a few years ago Raleigh had the best bike in my opinion for a really good hybrid but its msrp was 1100; I bought two for my parents and the only thing I changed was the stem to this one
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
which was a simple job. Major pluses was 1x11 speed with hydraulic disc brakes. Although I don't have a particular affinity to any 1x system I do think that older, less experienced adults who want to ride recreationally should be a real target audience.
Having sold bikes to people for years who hardly rode through their 30s-50s and wanted to get back into it for fitness discovering that bikes had 21-27 speeds instead of 10 was daunting to many. A 1x11 system means only 2 levers at one hand, one lever makes it easier to go up hills and the other lever helps you go faster. Hydraulic brakes are a bonus as they really are low maintenance and stop well.
Unfortunately the Raleigh was dinscontinued but I'm sure there are plenty like it but unfortunately expect to pay a similar price though I believe it to be worth it.
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Old 10-06-20, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by AU Tiger View Post
That's a cool looking bike!
I'm guessing the angle of the handlebars helps ward off the hand numbness that flat bars can sometimes cause on longer rides.
Yes. There’s multiple hand positions on the bar. Very useable. It had Relatively straight mountain bike risers on it when I got it. Was pretty uncomfortable.
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Old 10-06-20, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
What do you consider a good starter price?
Russ, I am hoping to find something in the 300-500 range. I am certainly not looking for a new bike (this is becoming like car shopping - why pay extra for the "brand new" feature when last year's features are fine?), and don't think I would notice the difference between a Messingschlager stem and a cherry stem.

As I noted originally, I am looking for something recreational and as one of my fitness options. I believe that some of these fine-tuning topics or customizations would be lost on my wife and me. I am sure that a Hufffy is not a good choice, but likewise neither is a bike that consumes so much of my salary.

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Old 10-06-20, 08:10 AM
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Then in the past my bike of choice would have been a trek 7100 which is a nice, reliable bike and can probably be found used readily.
Other modern options are
the Giant Cypress
https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/cypress-dx-2021

Cannondale Adventure 2
https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bik...ku=c32200m10sm
Unfortunately a lot of brands have switched to more pure fitness bikes which can be great if you want a little more speed with mostly comfort but if you want just a comfortable rail trail cruiser, bike path rider and general comfort bike you want a real hybrid.
Due to the general increase of pricing both of these are in the upper 500 range and in any other year you could probably buy them on sale about now or work out a deal on a pair to get the price down. This year you'll be looking for a shop that has the 2021 versions on the way. If your wife wants a drop bar which I ran into a lot, the Cannondale has that. What separates these is the suspension fork, as many on here will tell you, they don't do a lot, but they still in my experience for this style bike, reduce arm fatigue from vibrations coming through the fork. They will make the bike more comfortable and is one reason I'd recommend these two.
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Old 10-06-20, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Thanks, Russ; I will start to look into these. I welcome any other suggestions from others, too, as I am a true neophyte here.
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Old 10-06-20, 08:36 AM
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A used diamond frame hybrid in the $250-500 range would be a great bike for this purpose. This (link) is an example of something that I think is priced appropriately and that would ride nicely. In general, I'd look for things like a traditional diamond frame, a rigid fork (no suspension), and a multi-speed drivetrain (not a single speed or fixed gear).

If you post your location, we may be able to look at your local Craigslist ads to suggest options that might work for you.
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Old 10-06-20, 12:21 PM
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Sure! I appreciate the assistance here...I am in Sussex Country, northwest corner of NJ.

I would be interested in anything north of Morristown, NJ as a point of reference...

Thanks again!
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Old 10-09-20, 10:11 AM
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Are there any other thoughts for good brands I should check that won't break the bank?
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Old 10-09-20, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Don.johnson View Post
Sure! I appreciate the assistance here...I am in Sussex Country, northwest corner of NJ.

I would be interested in anything north of Morristown, NJ as a point of reference...
I don't know how close some of these are to you, but...

https://newjersey.craigslist.org/bik...211121136.html
https://newjersey.craigslist.org/bik...207176271.html
https://newjersey.craigslist.org/bik...210505287.html
https://newjersey.craigslist.org/bik...195147414.html

It seems like "New Jersey" has one Craigslist site? I'm not that familiar with your area, but perhaps some of those are close to you. Or you could try the NYC CL site and see if several are on your side of town.
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Old 10-10-20, 06:21 PM
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Thank you for these links, hokiefyd! I will look at them more closely, and keep my eye on craigslist there.
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Old 11-08-20, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Don.johnson View Post
Are there any other thoughts for good brands I should check that won't break the bank?
I think Trek and Giant have bikes cheaper than Specialized and Cannondale.

I just rode a gravel bike (a bit similar to cyclocross) today and had almost forgotten how drop bars can be a bit annoying. I mean I've ridden flat bars for years but for whatever reason, almost missed riding a drop bar bike. So I bought a cheap CCM Sutherland on clearance and modified it make it more comfortable for me. I replaced the 52/42T crankset with a 46/30T so it would be way easier to climb hills in my area. (That's 30T at the front with the largest cog in the back being 28T.) I replaced the saddle with a WTB Volt with 142mm width (smaller than the 160mm saddle it had). (Actually, I had ripped that from my mountain bike to replace it with the Speed. The Speed is more comfortable on the mountain bike but the Volt for whatever reason works well on the gravel bike.) I replaced the non-adjustable seatpost with an adjustable one I had laying around. I also installed Dimension drop bars which I find more comfortable in the drops (there's a straight part for your hands). (That one was taken off my touring bike to replaced it with short reach Dimension bars.) And also installed a shorter stem which I previously had on my touring bike.

So, what's the verdict? It's true you have 3 positions on drop bars. And that can be comfortable for longer distances. In my case, I intend to use this bike for when I want to go at either ends of the city (like for shopping or the ecocenter). In any case, I found for city riding, it doesn't always seem as safe as a hybrid because you can't easily turn your head to see that well. (You can but it's not as comfortable as on a flat-bar bike. I also have a mirror on my helmet but you still have a blind spot believe it or not.)

Hybrid bikes are also way cheaper than road bikes. And even though people can insist to me that disc brakes are really superior, my gravel bike has disc brakes. And yes it's a department store bicycle with mechanical disc brakes. However, I've read sometimes mechanical disc brakes aren't better than V-brakes. Since my gravel bike disc brakes are just as good in my opinion as a V-brake bike, I think my brakes are probably good. Today I braked over and over again trying to do the "bed-in" for the disc brakes. Overall, I wasn't totally impressed with the force required to apply to the brake levers nor the odd sound they make.

In other words, I'd have no large hesitation getting something like the Giant Escape or Trek FX 1. (The Escape has larger tires.) The Specialized Sirrus looks pretty nice for tire clearance though (just judging from Youtube videos). If you feel the need to change grip shifters to rapid-fire shifters and regular two-finger brake levers, I'd go ahead and do it.

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Old 11-08-20, 05:07 PM
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This is my Jamis Coda
Not a Surly but set up similar to yours
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Old 11-10-20, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 257 roberts View Post

This is my Jamis Coda
Not a Surly but set up similar to yours
it’s a great general purpose setup! Gotten to really appreciate all arounder bikes. Lighter build then most hybrids. Still enough for trail riding. Better on the roads. Comfortable position. I’m not racing, I don’t need to ride like one.
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