What makes a road bike more comfortable than a hybrid?

Fabian62 Posts: 7
edited December 2008 in Road beginners
I often read that road bikes are much more comfortable than hybrids - especially over longer distance - but why is this?

Is it purely because you can use various hand positions on a road or are there other reasons? Presumably using bar ends on a hybrid would also allow a variety of hand positions so this can't be the only reason a road bike is more comfortable?



  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    I ride a converted mtb for commuting and touring and have long bar ends. I hate it, whilst the bar ends offer some extra positioning, if you need to cover the brakes then you are restricted to the main flat bar, and my wrists feel twisted inwards which eventually starts to ache. The natural position for my wrists is in line with the side of my body, not across it as the flat bar requires. On the hoods of my road bike I am comfy for hours, I also have at least two further positions, and in strong winds I can easily adopt a more aero position. I am just waiting for sufficient funds to buy a proper tourer.
  • topdude
    topdude Posts: 1,557
    Comfort is a relative term, if you usualy ride a hybrid and swap over to a road bike it will feel quicker, lighter, and more responsive. It will also feel hard, unstable, hurt your hands shoulders and bottom and shake your fillings out :wink:
    If you usualy ride a road bike and swap over to a hybrid it will feel heavy, stodgy and unresponsive. It will also feel soft and comfy and well insulated from the bumps in the road and not hurt your bottom :wink:
    This is all to be taken with a pinch of salt of course :D

    But seriously a hybrid that is well set up for you will be quite comfy for shorter distance rides but possibly a bit tiring for longer distances. A well set up road bike can be comfy for longer distances once you are used to the riding position, saddle and bars.

    If you realy want to be comfortable get a car :wink:
    He is not the messiah, he is a very naughty boy !!
  • coasti
    coasti Posts: 17
    I've been thinking about the same issue, as I have a road bike fitted with shorted flat bars + bar ends covered with bar tape. I went with this setup, as I use my bike around town, and feel this is safer than drops in traffic.

    But I want to do my first sportive this spring (80 miles in Dumfries).

    I am wondering if I should try drop bars (which I have never used before), for added comfort. Are drops a must for sportive (I'm thinking more about the comfort rather than speed, just finishing as a first timer will be my priority) ?

    Any advise ?? Cheers
  • bice
    bice Posts: 772
    I use both a flat bar commuter and a drop bar road bike. I converted the commuter to flat bar because I found 1970s narrow drops (on a small woman's bike, though I'm a 5.8 bloke) too twitchy for London traffic.

    But I was reluctant to do so.

    I find I pull on the drops much more and ride in a more athletic fashion. This is good for upper body muscles, and probably legs for positioning.

    I suspect drops are a cure for man boobs (though i don't really have these I do notice a certain tightening up). Of course, the flats I have are pretty athletic anyway, being a bit further away than the old drops and fitted to a (very old) road bike. So the position is more forward and less upright than on a hybrid.

    Another thing I have noticed is that when I am going flat out - and I went 40mph downhill in Pembrokeshire last week - I use the drops, in part to get at the brakes, but mainly to stabilise the bike. For distance and speed, they are much more comfortable than flats (for me).