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Upgrade my hybrid or buy a true road bike?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Upgrade my hybrid or buy a true road bike?

Old 05-25-20, 08:15 PM
  #1  
Hikebikerun
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Upgrade my hybrid or buy a true road bike?

So I currently ride a Felt Verza Speed 7 which I got used for $500 a couple years ago (but only started really rising seriously in the past couple months). It has a carbon frame, hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Sora groupset, ergon GP1 grips, and the previous owner put slightly wider 32c tires on it (Would this be considered a “gravel” bike?).

I am starting to ride more now (20-40mile rides 3 times a week) and am planning on doing my first 50mi ride soon. I’d also like to complete a century by this fall. My main gripe with this bike is that it has flat bars and I feel like my torso is acting like a sail in the wind. There are some pretty decent winds on the river trail I ride on and I’m finding myself very uncomfortably tucking waaaay down (even resting my forearms on the bars sometimes) to fight through it.

I just took the dive and bought my first bike shorts and jersey, as well as clipless pedals. I’m wondering if you all think I should just buy a road bike with drop bars or if there is something I can do to “upgrade” my current setup?

My understanding is that to replace the flats with drop bars I would have to buy new shifters and brake levers/lines as well. That plus the cost of replacing the tires with thinner rubber is making me lean toward just buying a dedicated road bike and keeping this for around town, family, and light dirt/gravel rides.

Are there any changes I could make to my current bike to get a more aggressive and streamlined position? Possibly different grips or bar ends that could give me better hand positioning?
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Old 05-26-20, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Hikebikerun View Post
Are there any changes I could make to my current bike to get a more aggressive and streamlined position? Possibly different grips or bar ends that could give me better hand positioning?
Search “multi position bike handle bars”. What comes to my mind is a butterfly type bar. There are many different styles that are still flat bar compatible. Keep in mind there is only so much you can learn on line, so I suggest you research at a local bike shop (LSB). Traditional shopping I believe is essential to obtain the feel.

There are reasons many on this Forum have several bikes. You are experiencing one reason as you evaluate the pro and cons of your current bike, in particular performance. There was a reason you did not pick a suspension forks and knobby tire bike, and at the time you did not want a “road” bike. Additionally, performance is first the rider then the bike. Finding an aerodynamic tuck is as much rider skill as it is equipment. And a flat back “time trial” position is efficient, and has a place.

With all that said, you have rightfully reasoned, there is a potential for diminishing return in over upgrading your current bike,. So, start looking for a road bike. Most importantly, take your bike skills into account with your goals in mind, Depending on the depth of your pockets, it might take you a while. In the mean time, you can experiment with a different handle bar, and learn to work the wrench installing them.

Hope I was helpful, and best of luck training for the century ride.
​​
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Old 05-26-20, 03:24 AM
  #3  
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Sounds like the Felt is a great hybrid, keep as is and pick up a proper roadie. I love commuting on my hybrid but wouldn't do a long ride on it.
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Old 05-26-20, 04:20 AM
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When my only bike was a hybrid, to get additional hand positions and to have a bit more of a lean forward when going into headwinds, I put some inexpensive bar ends on the hybrid flat bars.As long as you don't have twist grip shifting, that is a low cost option.

Mine were as fancy as these that REI sells, but they sell cheaper, simpler ones and there are others on sale online, too.


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Old 05-26-20, 07:00 AM
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Google clip on areo bars.

Combined with lowering the stem will result in a much more aggressive stance, almost full road bike for areo purposes if the reach is still comfortable.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 05-26-20 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 05-26-20, 07:04 AM
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These are butterfly bars .... but definitely, get a road bike for longer road rides. Keep the Verza---looks like a great bike---but different tools for different tasks.
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Old 05-26-20, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
When my only bike was a hybrid, to get additional hand positions and to have a bit more of a lean forward when going into headwinds, I put some inexpensive bar ends on the hybrid flat bars.As long as you don't have twist grip shifting, that is a low cost option.

Mine were as fancy as these that REI sells, but they sell cheaper, simpler ones and there are others on sale online, too.
This is just what I was looking for! I just bought some on Amazon; I’ll see how much these help before making a decision on the road bike. Thanks!
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Old 05-26-20, 02:17 PM
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You can always try something like this. https://velo-orange.com/products/crazy-bars-1
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Old 05-26-20, 02:24 PM
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Two bike are better than one...........right?

I'd think having bikes that serve a different purpose better than trying to make one do everything. Even if it's two of the same model road bikes with on geared for harder routes with more climbing and the other geared for flatter terrain.
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Old 05-26-20, 02:30 PM
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I hope the butterfly bars help. That said, I set up all my bikes with aero bars, including the road bikes, the track bikes, and the mountain bike that I use for shopping and bad-weather training. I've done 5-hour road rides on the mountain bike and spent at least 40% of the ride down in the aero bars.
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Old 05-26-20, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
I hope the butterfly bars help. That said, I set up all my bikes with aero bars, including the road bikes, the track bikes, and the mountain bike that I use for shopping and bad-weather training. I've done 5-hour road rides on the mountain bike and spent at least 40% of the ride down in the aero bars.
i just got the bar ends posted above, not the butterfly bars. If these are less than stellar I will check out the clip on aero bars and deal with the looks of disgust from hardcore road cyclists! Lol
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Old 05-26-20, 03:05 PM
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Road bike. There are lots of good ones out there.
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Old 05-26-20, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Hikebikerun View Post
I am starting to ride more now (20-40mile rides 3 times a week) and am planning on doing my first 50mi ride soon. I’d also like to complete a century by this fall. My main gripe with this bike is that it has flat bars and I feel like my torso is acting like a sail in the wind. There are some pretty decent winds on the river trail I ride on and I’m finding myself very uncomfortably tucking waaaay down (even resting my forearms on the bars sometimes) to fight through it.
The barends will give you more hand positions, but they are not going to reduce your frontal area into the wind.

You can put clipon aero/tri bars onto a hybrid, and they will help up to a point, but you'll be a bit stuck between down-in-the-tuck-with-no-brakes, and up-in-the-wind-with-control. Before putting too much cash into your hybrid, definitely take a few road bikes out for some test rides and see how they feel.
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Old 06-07-20, 05:50 PM
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Well, I went with the n+1 solution and picked up a new Trek Emonda SL5 today:




Just rode it around the neighborhood; first real ride tomorrow AM!
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Old 06-08-20, 01:12 AM
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Thats a great looking bike! Congrats.
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Old 06-08-20, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Hikebikerun View Post
Well, I went with the n+1 solution and picked up a new Trek Emonda SL5 today:
Just rode it around the neighborhood; first real ride tomorrow AM!
Solid choice for a road bike. What helped you decide, and how does this change your use for the Hybrid?
Interesting to know what you notice as they are two very different bikes. You mentioned hitting head wind, and you now have drops. Use this thread, as It also would be nice to hear what you learned. The different position, “better” 105 group, brake shifters, rim brakes, as well as climbing, and descending.

happy riding.

PS. I bought a hybrid to put on my trainer, but use it to “walk” my dog. The bar end hold the leash.
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Old 06-08-20, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jlmonte View Post
Solid choice for a road bike. What helped you decide, and how does this change your use for the Hybrid?
Interesting to know what you notice as they are two very different bikes. You mentioned hitting head wind, and you now have drops. Use this thread, as It also would be nice to hear what you learned. The different position, “better” 105 group, brake shifters, rim brakes, as well as climbing, and descending.

happy riding.

PS. I bought a hybrid to put on my trainer, but use it to “walk” my dog. The bar end hold the leash.
I was going between looking at used road bikes and browsing new ones online for the last week or so. I was going to look at a used Emonda ALR6 Pro for $1700 but I was concerned about buying used, and also not convinced I really needed the Ultegra groupset and upgraded carbon wheels (it was a bike set up for frit racing).

Inventory for the bike shops was low online, I was looking at Specialized Tarmac, Trek Domane, Giant Defy or TCR, and other similar bikes in the $1400-2000 range but most were out of stock. I decided to just visit the three shops nearest to me to see quart they had left; I looked at a BMC Roadmachine 02 THREE but $3200 for a 105 groupset seemed unreasonable.

I found the Emonda SL5 on sale for $1679 at the Trek store and jumped on it.

As for the hybrid, I will probably being experimenting with taking it on more gravel and “adventure” routes... maybe even try out bike packing (I am a big backpacker already).


I just took the Emonda on a quick 32mi ride in BY FAR the windiest conditions I’ve ever ridden in. It was really bad... I probably would’ve gotten frustrated and turned around after 5-10 miles on the hybrid. All I can say is.... WOW. What an enormous difference!! I averaged a full mph FASTER than my best average on this same route with NO wind on the hybrid. Even better, it just felt effortless and what would’ve been mentally draining before was totally tolerable.

First thoughts:

I spent almost half the ride in the drops and it was fairly comfortable. Just a slight amount of lower back discomfort towards the end but I imagine I will get used to the position, and stretching/core work will likely help. The hood position is totally comfortable, no complaints there and even without the drops it is more aero than the hybrid.

The 105 groupset is just miles ahead of the Sora on the hybrid. I was amazed at the stark difference... much quicker, smoother, and quieter. I got used to the shifters being integrated into the brake lever quickly and it feels very intuitive.

I am completely satisfied with the rim brakes. These things stop FAST, they honestly feel better than the disc brakes on my hybrid. I did some practice high speed stops and I am 100% confident and glad I chose this over the SL5 disc version which was $800 more. I am not planning on riding this much in the rain so I don’t see that being a factor.

Descents felt more controlled... the steering is responsive but also feels less “squirrely” than the hybrid. Climbing felt effortless in comparison. Everything felt faster.

This may have been the first ride where I didn’t get passed... just one guy snuck in behind me for a stretch and then peeled off at an intersection and yelled “thanks for the pole!”

Overall I just couldn’t be happier. I love this bike!
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Old 06-08-20, 02:03 PM
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Congrats! Ride it in good health!
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Old 06-09-20, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Hikebikerun View Post
I was going between looking at used road bikes and browsing new ones online for the last week or so. ...I decided to just visit the three shops nearest to me to see quart they had left; I looked at a BMC Roadmachine 02 THREE but $3200 for a 105 groupset seemed unreasonable.

I found the Emonda SL5 on sale for $1679 at the Trek store and jumped on it.

As for the hybrid, I will probably being experimenting with taking it on more gravel and “adventure” routes... maybe even try out bike packing (I am a big backpacker already).


All I can say is.... WOW. What an enormous difference!! I averaged a full mph FASTER than my best average on this same route with NO wind on the hybrid. Even better, it just felt effortless and what would’ve been mentally draining before was totally tolerable.

.
When minimum wage was $3.75, I bought my first brand new bike for $500 and haggled a pair of Vittoria shoes to close the deal. I could tell you everything limiting me with the old used bike I needed to replace. I then had nothing but praise for my brand new bike.

Today’s $13.00 (California’s wage} would be around a $1700 bike. I’m impressed by your research and appreciation for your new machine. It’s a good amount of money, and good on you to experience the difference in performance. Enjoy 🚴🏼‍♂️

BTW, you may want to check out the touring forum.
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Old 06-09-20, 10:22 AM
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Congrats, I have the same pedals PD-EH500 love em, easy to clip in or use regular shoes
Originally Posted by Hikebikerun View Post
Well, I went with the n+1 solution and picked up a new Trek Emonda SL5 today:




Just rode it around the neighborhood; first real ride tomorrow AM!
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