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Flat Bar Road Bike vs Hybrid?

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Flat Bar Road Bike vs Hybrid?

Old 07-08-20, 05:38 AM
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littleArnold
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Flat Bar Road Bike vs Hybrid?

flat bar road bike vs hybrid...what are the differences?

So I am seeing a trend toward flat handlebar road bikes that look very similar to hybrids except they have skinnier wheels. I was going try to make my trek fx2 hybrid more toward that kind of bike by putting skinnier tires on them, but ive been told not a good idea with the hybrid.

so I was wondering then what makes a flat handlebar road bike different then a hybrid? advantages/ disadvantages between hybrid and flat bar road bikes?
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Old 07-08-20, 06:03 AM
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If your bike came with 35s, there isn't any reason you couldn't try a nice smooth 32. Probably even a 28 but you would need to know your rim width and check a compatibility chart. I don't think there is a clear distinction between those two bike descriptions. Lots of overlap.
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Old 07-08-20, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
If your bike came with 35s, there isn't any reason you couldn't try a nice smooth 32. Probably even a 28 but you would need to know your rim width and check a compatibility chart. I don't think there is a clear distinction between those two bike descriptions. Lots of overlap.
I was almost going down to a 32 or 28 but a guy at a bike shop I was at told me tires don't come in ranges for rims, its only one size tire for one rim if you want be 100% safe on the road. He said other tire sizes may work for that rim, but they wont be as 100% safe as the 35mm tire I have. He thought if I went as low as a 28 it would not work and was worried about my safety. He said i would have to overinflate tire for it to fit on rim and that is not good for tire, pops easier or could snap out of place.

I talked to a Trek representative and he said maybe 32 for my rim, but no thinner than that.

I think my rim size is 21mm

Last edited by littleArnold; 07-08-20 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 07-08-20, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by littleArnold View Post
I was almost going down to a 32 or 28 but a guy at a bike shop I was at told me tires don't come in ranges for rims, its only one size tire for one rim if you want be 100% safe on the road. He said other tire sizes may work for that rim, but they wont be as 100% safe as the 35mm tire I have. He thought if I went as low as a 28 it would not work and was worried about my safety. He said i would have to overinflate tire for it to fit on rim and that is not good for tire, pops easier or could snap out of place.

I talked to a Trek representative and he said maybe 32 for my rim, but no thinner than that.

I think my rim size is 21mm
My experience runs completely counter to "one rim size = one tire size." I guess your bike could have come with something closer to the narrowest allowable, with more room to go wider. Now that said, there is certainly an acceptable range of tire width to use that would correlate to a rim size. As far as hybrid vs flat bar road, I don't think there are firm definitions, but I would say be more concerned with what you personally want out of the bike performance wise. I see some bikes labeled as hybrids with very light suspension forks, and some with rigid forks, whereas anything I see labeled as flat bar road has a rigid fork. Gearing and rider position is something else to look at. When I think road, I think of something with a road gearing that accommodates higher speeds. Many bikes labeled hybrid are equipped with triple chain rings and lower gearing.

If you are looking at a change in tire to accommodate a better road feel, look at tread and not just tire width. Even for a larger tire width, a good road slick will help out with both rolling resistance and noise reduction. I see people putting tires up to 32 on endurance road bikes, so you aren't far off, and gravel bikes which also double as all-road bikes often use 35, 38 or wider tires with no issues and are able to hang on group rides with roadie friends. Many recreational road cyclists are moving to wider tires for a smoother ride, and see no real speed penalty.
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Old 07-08-20, 02:30 PM
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mcours2006
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https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

Scroll down to the chart near the bottom.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

Scroll down to the chart near the bottom.
That's a handy chart, and right in line with what the shop and Trek told the OP. Apparently the stock wheels are set up with tires which are on the narrowest allowable end of the spectrum. Looks like your options are to either find a relatively smooth set of touring tires at 35mm, or find a set of compatible rims with a smaller internal rim width so you can use narrower rubber.
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Old 07-08-20, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Plainsman View Post
That's a handy chart, and right in line with what the shop and Trek told the OP. Apparently the stock wheels are set up with tires which are on the narrowest allowable end of the spectrum. Looks like your options are to either find a relatively smooth set of touring tires at 35mm, or find a set of compatible rims with a smaller internal rim width so you can use narrower rubber.
Well I am getting different answers...frustrating. I think that one guy at bike shop must of not known what he was talking about.... but he acted so sure of himself... only one tire size for one rim, a rim won't fit a range of tire sizes... but it is completely opposite of what Trek has told me at their stores. He said he was right and what I was told at the Trek Stores was the wrong information, he has been doing this 30+ years he knows more then they do according to him. He was an older man, maybe it was that way with the older bikes but not the newer ones and maybe he is just behind the times??? I talked to a bike mechanic at a Trek Store this time, not a middle man, and apparently the rim can after all handle tires in the range 28 - 40. I don't know if that's the ideal range, or ideal would be no lower than 32??

....ill see it is something I will have to decide. I am sorry so indecisive. I also am contemplating about actually going slightly wider and have this more of an off-road bike ... if I decide to get a road bike or single speed road bike... I don't know my Trek Hybrid is surprising me all the time as far as what it can do off the road. As I am riding it a lot more and my Schwinn Mountain bike less which has much thicker and knobby tires, I am finding the hybrid performs just as good off road as the mountain bike on most the gravel/ dirt paths I go on and at least it feels like the lighter bike wears me down less on the path and feels like it rides faster than the mountain bike on gravel/dirt paths... but I haven't actually timed myself to verify that. I have timed myself on paved surfaces mountain vs hybrid and the hybrid does improve my 20 mile time on paved by about 20-30 minutes easily. I don't ride on anything that really rugged which would actually require a mountain bike...

.... or I might just keep the mountain bike and put 28 or 32 smooth rolling tires on the hybrid to keep it more as my road bike and the mountain bike more as my off-road bike...

decisions , decisions, hard time making decision sometimes.... anyway thanks everyone for their feedback.

Last edited by littleArnold; 07-08-20 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 07-08-20, 09:49 PM
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I bought a 2019 Quick 3 and it ran 100 x 30 tires. It has Sora derailleurs and a 50/34 chainset and 11/34 cogs. The bike has many frame traits of a road bike and the gearing allows it to be fast if I am up to the task. I just changed the tires to a set of WTB 700 x 37's and it has changed the ride considerably to the good and along with the carbon fork blades the vibration felt in my hands are insignificant. I also have a 2020 aloy Topstone and find the 3 to be a little faster on the speed part of the equation but the Topstone feels to be smoother ride and mechanically
For me the Quick 3 is a fun bike and with the longer wheelbase than an average race bike I find it to be very stable. Just my situation and and I hope you find an answer that fits your needs.
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Old 07-09-20, 06:00 AM
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32mm are plenty narrow for road riding - newer road bikes (like my Trek Domane) come with that size tires now. If Trek said 32 mm is fine for your bike, that is perfect for flat bar road riding.

I'm not much of a mountain bike rider, but I would put 32mm on the hybrid for roads and crushed stone/rail trail paths and use the MTB for real live off road/dirt/gravel type stuff.
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Old 07-10-20, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by littleArnold View Post
Well I am getting different answers...frustrating. I think that one guy at bike shop must of not known what he was talking about.... but he acted so sure of himself... only one tire size for one rim, a rim won't fit a range of tire sizes... but it is completely opposite of what Trek has told me at their stores. He said he was right and what I was told at the Trek Stores was the wrong information, he has been doing this 30+ years he knows more then they do according to him. He was an older man, maybe it was that way with the older bikes but not the newer ones and maybe he is just behind the times??? I talked to a bike mechanic at a Trek Store this time, not a middle man, and apparently the rim can after all handle tires in the range 28 - 40. I don't know if that's the ideal range, or ideal would be no lower than 32??

....ill see it is something I will have to decide. I am sorry so indecisive. I also am contemplating about actually going slightly wider and have this more of an off-road bike ... if I decide to get a road bike or single speed road bike... I don't know my Trek Hybrid is surprising me all the time as far as what it can do off the road. As I am riding it a lot more and my Schwinn Mountain bike less which has much thicker and knobby tires, I am finding the hybrid performs just as good off road as the mountain bike on most the gravel/ dirt paths I go on and at least it feels like the lighter bike wears me down less on the path and feels like it rides faster than the mountain bike on gravel/dirt paths... but I haven't actually timed myself to verify that. I have timed myself on paved surfaces mountain vs hybrid and the hybrid does improve my 20 mile time on paved by about 20-30 minutes easily. I don't ride on anything that really rugged which would actually require a mountain bike...

.... or I might just keep the mountain bike and put 28 or 32 smooth rolling tires on the hybrid to keep it more as my road bike and the mountain bike more as my off-road bike...

decisions , decisions, hard time making decision sometimes.... anyway thanks everyone for their feedback.
Don't go to that store again.
its absurd to claim only 1 size tire can fit a specific rim.
Some tires expand beyond the stated width. Some tires run narrower than the stated width.

I have 2 road bikes with the same rims and both run 28mm tires. One tire brand and model measures out right at 28mm. The other tire brand and model measures out at 31mm.
Both are perfectly safe to use.
One of those wheelsets used to be on my gravel bike and held 40mm tires. Thousands and thousands of miles without an issue.

This isnt just my experience, its all over the place- modern aluminum road rims conaistently handle all sorts of tire widths from 25mm to 45mm without issue.
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Old 07-11-20, 11:43 PM
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I'm an older rider and really prefer a more upright position, find myself spending most of my riding on the flats and not in the drops on my Giant OCR 3 road bike;
Is there a thread pointing out the steps to swapping drops for flat bar? I'd imagine the whole cockpit would have to be changed.
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Old 07-12-20, 01:24 PM
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I concur with the others here, the guy at your bike shop is mistaken or there is a miscommunication. Tires that are 32 mm will fit just fine. I would even argue that 28's would be fine on those rims.

If you want to make it more flat road bike like, you should think about the tire you are going to put on it. If you put on another H2 Bontrager, you won't feel much difference. A supple tire or less heavy tire will make the bike feel better. Something like a Continental 5000 that is 290 grams would be a nice choice. I personally run Rene Herse tires because they are supple but they come at a cost of less flat protection.

Good luck with what ever you decide.
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Old 07-12-20, 04:33 PM
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Maybe the guy knew your rim already had a tire width near the minimum and just tried to simplify the explanation which is done too often unfortunately.

Until you know the internal width of your rim, I wouldn't hazard a guess as to how narrow you can go. Many of the Bontrager rims I've seen have the internal width written on the rim in ISO format. IE. A 29'er AT650 has an ISO labeled size of 622 x 20. 622 being the BSD which all tires for it must match. And 20 is the internal width in millimetres.

You don't want your tire width to be too close the same as the rim otherwise you get into territory that might not be safe for all types of riding and expected stress.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:55 AM
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I have a 2020 Specialized Sirrus X 4.0 Hybrid flat/riser bar bike that came with 38mm all-road tires that I bought earlier this year and rode for about 3 months stock and then decided to switch the tires down to a narrower size to make the bike feel more like a road bike since I am riding 99% on the road. The bike came with wheels that are 700C disc, double-wall alloy, 22mm depth, 21mm internal width, 32h. I took the bike to my LBS and they said absolutely no problem to switch to a narrower tire with the same wheels and I chose 25mm Continental Gatorskins and it worked perfectly. The bike now feels lighter and more nimble on the road, but I still have the comfortable hybrid flat/riser bar feel that I am enjoying.
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