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Performance Hybrids?

Old 08-31-10, 09:48 AM
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Performance Hybrids?

Hi,

I'm just getting back into cycling after a lengthy absence..... and loving it. This is also my first post so a little background first.

In my younger years as an avid cyclist, I rode a custom built Cinelli road bike which I sold in the late 80's. A few years later, my brother-in-law and I decided to buy a couple of hybrids. Mine was subsequently stolen but he still had his. He's not riding so I'm using it for the time being. Below is a pic of what it looks like. It's not my actual bike, but almost identical.



I ride for exercise about 3 days a week and go on longer distances on the weekends. Most of my friends only ride on the weekends, have road bikes and typically ride distances. Because of this, I was thinking of buying a road bike until it was suggested that a "performance hybrid" may be more suited to my riding. I don't know anything about performance hybrids as compared to regular hybrids..... or how a performance hybrid differs from a road bike.

Another option I may have is to buy the current bike from my brother-in-law (assuming he's prepared to sell) and upgrade it. It has a carbon frame, chromoly forks, Shimano Deore LX gears etc. Tires on it are 26x1.38 with some tread mounted on Wolber AT-18 wheels. It weighs about 24 LBS.

Would appreciate any info and/or thoughts.
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Old 08-31-10, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Fajah
I don't know anything about performance hybrids as compared to regular hybrids..... or how a performance hybrid differs from a road bike.
A hybrid is usually regarded as a mix between a road bike and an MTB but they may have a little touring or other type of bike thrown in too. Generally a performance hybrid is one that approaches a pure road bike. I happen to own a Fuji Absolute 1.0 so that is where I point folks for comparisons because I am familiar with their models. Other brands are similar and just as good. If you compare the Absolute to the Fuji Newest 1.0 and Roubaix 1.0, their entry and mid level road bike lines, you will see that the frames and equipment are fairly similar between the three. The hybrid has a flat handlebar (which most of us hate, btw), wider tires, and gearing more like a MTB. If Fuji were to put drop bars on the Absolute it would resemble the Newest even more except that starting in 2010 (mine is a 2009) they switched it from rim brakes to disks. So it now has that one glaring MTB feature which a roadie would probably shun. If you can get past the disks and want a road like hybrid you could also look at the Marin Lombard with drop bars and disks. And there are plenty of others too.

Why do people think you should get a hybrid? Do you ride some fairly rough trails when you are not chasing the roadies? If you are only going to ride on fairly smooth roads and normally ride with roadies a road bike might be best after all. If you want a bike that is fast on the road and will handle typical compacted limestone/gravel bike trails a performance hybrid can be ideal.

Ken
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Old 09-01-10, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by khutch
A hybrid is usually regarded as a mix between a road bike and an MTB but they may have a little touring or other type of bike thrown in too. Generally a performance hybrid is one that approaches a pure road bike.
I guess like all other products, the choices today are so numerous and it takes time to sort all these things out. Back when I was riding avidly, the choices in bikes were simpler and more distinct.

If you compare the Absolute to the Fuji Newest 1.0 and Roubaix 1.0, their entry and mid level road bike lines, you will see that the frames and equipment are fairly similar between the three. The hybrid has a flat handlebar (which most of us hate, btw), wider tires, and gearing more like a MTB. If Fuji were to put drop bars on the Absolute it would resemble the Newest even more except that starting in 2010 (mine is a 2009) they switched it from rim brakes to disks. So it now has that one glaring MTB feature which a roadie would probably shun. If you can get past the disks and want a road like hybrid you could also look at the Marin Lombard with drop bars and disks. And there are plenty of others too.
This has been enlightening. After looking at all the bikes you've mentioned, I noticed a few things:

1) Generally speaking, I like the Fuji line. They seem to offer good value and are in my price range (should I decide to buy new). I'm going to take a closer look at them next time I'm in a bike store. The Marin Lombard looks very interesting as well.

2) I put each bike up in a browser tab and switched between them. One spec that caught my eye was wheelbase. Looking closer, the numbers look like this:

Marin Lombard - 1032mm
Absolute 1.0 - 1078mm
Newest 1.0 - 1004mm
Roubaix 1.0 - 985mm

My Giant 890i - 997mm

From my motorcycling experience, shorter wheel bases yield a stiff and/or rougher ride but with very precise handling. The reverse happens as the wheel base increases thus, a more forgiving ride with less responsive handling. I guess the same could be true between a road bike and a hybrid. It would also stand to reason that the shorter wheelbase of a road bike would make drop bars necessary in order to obtain a ergonomically proper and aerodynamic riding position.

The interesting thing is that my Giant has a wheelbase that's closer to today's road bikes as opposed to the hybrids. This is probably why I initially found the riding position to be a somewhat cramped a first. It's better now after making a bunch of adjustments. I also have bar ends which have helped allot so I'm quite comfortable with my Giant's straight bars.

Why do people think you should get a hybrid?
My youngest brother is an avid MTB'er and has a very expensive custom built bike. He deals with a small shop and gets great prices. Based on a recent conversation between him and the owner, it was suggested that a performance hybrid might better suit my needs so this is where the the topic started.

That being said, my friends typically ride on weekends only, and on secondary, nicely paved country roads. During the week, some will occasionally ride to work on for exercise but on MTB's. Since I only want to invest in one bike, I need a bike that can handle today's rougher city roads but allow me to keep up on the longer weekend rides in the country with my buddies on their road bikes. What I have to sort out in my mind is to either:

1) Offer to buy the Giant from my brother-in-law (which would be cheap) and do some upgrades. I figure the total investment (including the price of the bike) would be around $700.

2) If I'm already spending $700, a decent used road bike looks like it would cost between $700-$1000. But is a road bike the right bike for me..... that's the question.

3) Look closer into performance hybrids and buy new.

Based on what you've pointed out Ken, I'm leaning towards performance hybrid.
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Old 09-01-10, 05:37 AM
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The terminology used by bike makers is so vague that I'd forget it and just buy the bike you like.

If you want flat bars, go for some type of hybrid. Otherwise, if you don't want a full on racing machine (and they can be a pain), then consider an Audax bike or a cyclocross bike with slicks.

Last edited by meanwhile; 09-01-10 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 09-01-10, 12:50 PM
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It sounds to me like you don't need a trail oriented hybrid, which is more like a MTB. The terminology is vague but it can be useful as long as you keep in mind that sometimes bikes that were thrown in the "wrong" category for some reason can be interesting and worth consideration. The Lombard could be what you want since it has drop bars for extra hand positions and wind fighting on the road and tires wide enough to deal with most urban streets. It won't handle potholes like a suspended bike but I don't think you would want suspension on the road. I'd give it a careful look if you buy new. If you have an REI near you some of them carry the Lombard. Kona used to make a drop bar version of their Dew model, the Dew Drop. Alas, they have dropped the Dew Drop from their catalog. If you can find an older one in stock at a dealer several people here have loved them.

I don't know that a road bike would be unworkable for you. They come with narrow rims, as does the Absolute, but their rims can probably take at least 32 mm tires if they will clear the frame. I am running 32's on my Absolute and its 14 mm (internal) rims without any issues and it appears to have enough frame clearance for at least 38 mm tires, but it is a hybrid, not a road bike so you would want to check that on any road bike you buy because you will probably want something in the 28 - 38 mm width for you commute. I am currently putting 18 mm (internal) rims on my Fuji so that it will gracefully take up to 38's but the manufacturer of the new wheelset claims the rims are ideal for 23 mm tires too so I wonder why Fuji and other performance hybrid makers don't go that way right out of the box. Perhaps some do....

If you like "your" present bike then upgrading it is a reasonable way to go too. I don't know what other upgrades you plan but you should consider some premium touring tires in a suitable width for the rims. They should be efficient for road riding and tough enough for urban living. Trouble is, I don't know how available they are in the 26 inch size. Mr. meanwhile is a big Schwalbe fan (as are many others) and he might have a suggestion from their line for that wheel size and a mix of commuting and road running.

Ken
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Old 09-01-10, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by khutch
If you like "your" present bike then upgrading it is a reasonable way to go too. I don't know what other upgrades you plan but you should consider some premium touring tires in a suitable width for the rims. They should be efficient for road riding and tough enough for urban living. Trouble is, I don't know how available they are in the 26 inch size. Mr. meanwhile is a big Schwalbe fan (as are many others) and he might have a suggestion from their line for that wheel size and a mix of commuting and road running.

Ken
I happen to like the Giant for the same reasons I originally bought it almost 20 years ago. If mine hadn't been stolen, I would not be considering a new bike. So if I end up keeping this one, the immediate upgrades would be tires and seat. There's actually quite a bit of choice for 26" tires in Toronto at a wide variety of prices. I was thinking something along the lines of these ( to keep up with my road bike riding friends ):

https://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...34374302693841

The wheels need some truing although they're not too bad.

Next would probably be pedals (another decision making process), and a rear cassette change. The bike weighs 24 lbs right now and I would like to try and reduce that if I could over time but it's not critical at the moment.

It's taken a bit of time to get the "this" Giant set up the way I like it and I'm enjoying it as is. Probably because I'm so happy that I'm back riding. I'm not investing any money into it right now because knowing brother-in-law (although we're very close), he's either going to want it back for no reason other to keep it in his garage and continue smacking it with his car...... or ask me for some stupid price to buy it. This particular model comes up on Craigslist occasionally and asking prices are between $150-$200.
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Old 09-01-10, 07:51 PM
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That tire is mentioned fairly regularly here and in a favorable light. I think it is wide enough to handle commuting challenges while still being fast and efficient on the road. It sounds like you really like the Giant. You would not be the first here to stick with an old classic.

Ken
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Old 09-01-10, 09:22 PM
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I think the most glaring differences between your 890i and the typical performance hybrid on the market is that the latter has 700c rims and a steeper head tube angle.

Since you presently have something to ride, I'd spend some time deciding whether a road bike or a performance hybrid would be best. Look around and take some test rides. The audax and cyclocross bikes mentioned by meanwhile would also be worth considering if you want to combine a sporty ride with drop bars and the ability to mount a slightly wider tire.
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Old 09-02-10, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by khutch
That tire is mentioned fairly regularly here and in a favorable light. I think it is wide enough to handle commuting challenges while still being fast and efficient on the road.
That's good to know.

It sounds like you really like the Giant. You would not be the first here to stick with an old classic.

Ken
I do like it, but I also appreciate today's technology and designs and want to learn about all of it. It's part of the fun for me. You've given me some great information Ken. Thanks so much.
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Old 09-02-10, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by desertdork
I think the most glaring differences between your 890i and the typical performance hybrid on the market is that the latter has 700c rims and a steeper head tube angle.

Since you presently have something to ride, I'd spend some time deciding whether a road bike or a performance hybrid would be best. Look around and take some test rides. The audax and cyclocross bikes mentioned by meanwhile would also be worth considering if you want to combine a sporty ride with drop bars and the ability to mount a slightly wider tire.
I'm going to be riding this bike for rest of the season at the very least so I have lots of time to get educated, visit the stores, and try different types of bikes out. However, I also have my eye out for deals. The Toronto Bike Show is coming up in October:

https://www.bicycleshowtoronto.com/fallshow.html

By then I should have all the info I need should a good deal arise on a new bike. This thread has opened my eyes to some options I hadn't considered.
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Old 09-02-10, 06:40 AM
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My opinion for what it's worth ---- is twofold.

1. Buy the bike you are now riding - and leave it as is! This bike works for now, will become your "mountainbike" for use as a commuter, run around, MUP, beater, bike. DO NOT PUT ANY MORE MONEY IN THIS BIKE unless something wears out - even then only replace as "functional." Even tires.

2. Get your roadbike, especially if you can get a good price, and buy the one you want and can afford. This bike will now become the bike of choice when you want to keep up with your roadbike friends.

You get everything you want - and still have everything functional.
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Old 09-02-10, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer
My opinion for what it's worth ---- is twofold.

1. Buy the bike you are now riding - and leave it as is! This bike works for now, will become your "mountainbike" for use as a commuter, run around, MUP, beater, bike. DO NOT PUT ANY MORE MONEY IN THIS BIKE unless something wears out - even then only replace as "functional." Even tires.

2. Get your roadbike, especially if you can get a good price, and buy the one you want and can afford. This bike will now become the bike of choice when you want to keep up with your roadbike friends.

You get everything you want - and still have everything functional.
I appreciate your opinion and it's definitely something to think about. This is assuming that I can buy the bike I'm riding now.
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Old 09-03-10, 04:41 PM
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I have a Fuji Absolute 2.0 and commute about 36 miles/day a couple times a week. Once I get a light, I'll start doing longer distance night rides. Overall I'm extremely pleased with my 2.0. I have a 2010 model that has disc brakes, but I honestly prefer these over rim brakes for what the purpose the bike is used. I ride exclusively on paved bike paths/lanes and enjoy every bit of it on the Fuji.
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Old 09-06-10, 05:27 AM
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I think performance of hybrid is better than electric. When it comes to carbon and sulfur emissions, hybrid are indeed good initiatives to reduce these harmful substances in the air.
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Old 09-06-10, 08:43 AM
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From my motorcycling experience, shorter wheel bases yield a stiff and/or rougher ride but with very precise handling. The reverse happens as the wheel base increases thus, a more forgiving ride with less responsive handling.
100% correct.

I guess the same could be true between a road bike and a hybrid. It would also stand to reason that the shorter wheelbase of a road bike would make drop bars necessary in order to obtain a ergonomically proper and aerodynamic riding position.
Not correct. If there weren't other reasons for fitting drops then racing bikes could simply be fitted with flat bars and long stems. And the riding position on an aggressive racer is, regrettably, far from "ergonomic" - these bikes are designed to get the rider in the fastest position that his body can reasonably be expected to tolerate without immediate injury. They are literally a pain in the neck!

Last edited by meanwhile; 09-06-10 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 09-06-10, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by meanwhile
100% correct.
Generally speaking yes, but "100% correct" based soley on length is somewhat of a stretch. Frame material, design, and overall geometry play a part also. So, not always a 100% slam dunk. But I know that you knew that, especially considering your profinity for percentages and such.
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Old 09-07-10, 03:43 AM
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You sound like you might want a cyclocross bike, as was mentioned earlier.
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Old 09-07-10, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by cs1
You sound like you might want a cyclocross bike, as was mentioned earlier.
Right now, my goal is to put some miles on, get back into riding shape, and educate myself. In addition to the great info provided in this thread, I've been gathering all sorts of info from this Forum in general. If I was just joining my friends on the weekends to ride, there would be no question that a pure road bike would be my first choice. However, I've been putting on allot of "city miles" and for the most part, the roads are brutal. I work from home so commuting doesn't play any part of it and I have no interest on anything remotely considered "off road".

That being said, there are attributes of a road bike that I would want combined with some level of "insulation" from the bumps and jolts one would experience riding on city roads.
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Old 09-07-10, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Talldog
From my motorcycling experience, shorter wheel bases yield a stiff and/or rougher ride but with very precise handling. The reverse happens as the wheel base increases thus, a more forgiving ride with less responsive handling.
Generally speaking yes, but "100% correct" based soley on length is somewhat of a stretch. Frame material, design, and overall geometry play a part also. So, not always a 100% slam dunk. But I know that you knew that, especially considering your profinity for percentages and such.
No, you're being silly again (which is what normally happens when people try to score because they perceive they have been humiliated.) The guy was 100% correct in that all these factors work as he said. He didn't say that they were the ONLY factors that could have an effect, in which case you would have a point.
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Old 09-07-10, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Fajah
Originally Posted by CS1
You sound like you might want a cyclocross bike, as was mentioned earlier.
Right now, my goal is to put some miles on, get back into riding shape, and educate myself. In addition to the great info provided in this thread, I've been gathering all sorts of info from this Forum in general. If I was just joining my friends on the weekends to ride, there would be no question that a pure road bike would be my first choice. However, I've been putting on allot of "city miles" and for the most part, the roads are brutal. I work from home so commuting doesn't play any part of it and I have no interest on anything remotely considered "off road".

That being said, there are attributes of a road bike that I would want combined with some level of "insulation" from the bumps and jolts one would experience riding on city roads.
CS1 is right; a cyclocross bike gives most of the advantages of both bike types as long as you're ok with drops. A crosser would have no problem in keeping up with a road bike in any except in something like a criterion race where razor sharp handling is crucial, but with the right tyres "insulates" well enough for off roading. Crossers often ridden by professionals as road racing bikes when they're riding on less manicured stages.
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Old 09-07-10, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by meanwhile
No, you're being silly again (which is what normally happens when people try to score because they perceive they have been humiliated.) The guy was 100% correct in that all these factors work as he said. He didn't say that they were the ONLY factors that could have an effect, in which case you would have a point.
But it is fun being silly .... you of all people should realize that.


Originally Posted by meanwhile
He didn't say that they were the ONLY factors that could have an effect, in which case you would have a point.
... LOL. The horror.
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