Road v Hybrid

ZeroMoment
ZeroMoment Posts: 2
edited February 2014 in Road beginners
Hello all,

I needed some advise on buying my first bike. Primarily I would use the bike to commute from home to work which is approx 9 miles round trip.

Initially I thought I would go for a road bike but then today when I was driving my way to work, I saw quite a few people riding hybrid bikes instead of road bikes.

So now I am a bit confused, I have tried a road bike and it feels like I have to lean forward too much all the time, almost a horizontal back. This may not be favourable for me as I need visibility and more control because I would be biking on a non-sagrigated road along with heavy morning/evening traffic and often traffic jams. So I dont think I would be speeding all the time also.

Can anyone give me a sort of guidline on what type of bike would be more suitable for my situation. A hybrid or a road bike?

Apologies if this has been discussed already and please bear with me as I am complete newbie. Thanks.

Edit: Even if I go for hybird, I would go for the one with narrower tyres.

Comments

  • It more depends on the surfacing of where you are going to ride. Gravel and mud paths with lots of rocks, then hybrid.

    Mostly tarmac or well graded gravel then road bike.

    In any case it sounds like the road bike you tried was set up for racing, a very agressive position with the saddle much higher than the handlebars; most people don't ride their road bikes that way, and indeed a saddle pretty much level with the handlebars is a more 'normal' arrangement. I would say my back is more like 45 deg rather than the 90 deg of racers.

    I'm not saying don't get a hybrid, but the fit issues on a road bike can be resolved easily.
  • I've been cycling just over 2 years. I'm in my 40s and pretty damn chubby. I'm basically the shape of Elton John.

    I mainly commute to work (20 mile round journey) and perhaps do a 20 mile jaunt on the weekend. Anything more than 30 miles and I get bored/knackered.

    What I'm trying to say is, on the amateur to expert stakes, I'm pretty low down...

    My purchase history so far has been - cheap hybrid / expensive hybrid / road bike.

    First of all, I got a cheap hybrid (Carrera Subway from Halford for under £200) to do a charity cycle run. I loved the bike, got the cycling bug and decided to upgrade.

    I went for another hybrid because I saw myself as a 'casual' cyclist, and because I'm not young and fit, I thought the upright seating position on a hybrid was the choice for me. So I got a Specialized Sirrus Comp (£800) and started to commute.

    Very enjoyable it was too - but I did find myself getting overtaken a lot by people who appeared to be cycling slower than me :roll: ; so I gave it some thought and looked into getting a road bike. So I've now gone for a Specialized Secteur X3 Triple. A lower spec than the Sirrus Comp I guess, but wow - it's faster. Speed isn't a huge priority for me but it's nice to put my foot down now and feel myself going fast!

    As for the seating position - don't really notice a great deal of difference. I've read reviews that said the Secteur has a fairly upright position, and that seems to be the case.

    Don't know if any of this helps - but maybe some of my decisions are similar to the questions you're asking yourself! I'd say take the plunge and go for a road bike. Certainly don't be put off by worrying about a crouched seating position.
  • Juddlinski wrote:
    I
    Very enjoyable it was too - but I did find myself getting overtaken a lot by people who appeared to be cycling slower than me :roll: ; so I gave it some thought and looked into getting a road bike. So I've now gone for a Specialized Secteur X3 Triple. A lower spec than the Sirrus Comp I guess, but wow - it's faster. Speed isn't a huge priority for me but it's nice to put my foot down now and feel myself going fast!

    Same here really. I thought I was going well on my hybrid until I decided to do a sportive and people were passing me like I was standing still.

    Just yesterday I was out on my road bike and came across a group of mountain bikers on the road, they looked like they were working hard going up the slight incline, whereas me on my road bike just breezed past them without any particular effort, pretty sure I was doing half the work they were doing..
  • Like the previous 2 posters, I bought a hybrid (specialized crosstrail comp disc) first thinking it would be a better bet than a full on road bike for my commute and weekend rides. As a keen runner, I love going cross country and away from roads and towns, so I thought i'd do the same on a bike. To begin with it was brilliant and I found some good back roads and tracks to go on, but as the weather turns nasty, the road becomes more used and in the end, I wasn't ever venturing off road or onto trails. In fact like most people in their SUVs, the most extreme I ever got was going up and down kerbs!

    Last September however, a friend sold me his 3 year old Wilier Mortirolo, and the difference is amazing. First commute on it was 4 minutes quicker than the hybrid and the ride is only 6 miles! i found that now I have the roadie, all I want to do is go further and faster all the time - it's very addictive!

    I would say however, that recently I have changed to 28mm semi slick tyres on the hybrid and that has made it into a good winter bike, and of course the benefit of having disc brakes makes a real difference in the foul weather.

    My advice would be to get a decent roadie as I kind of regret having spent £850 on the hybrid in the first place, but as the old rule goes, you can never have too many bikes!
    Wilier Zero.7 Chorus
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    edited February 2014
    The best of both worlds may be a cyclocross bike (sometimes refered to as a CX bike). I've never done cyclocross but I've ridden a Specialised Tricross Sport Triple for the last 3 years and been very happy with it. I'm now getting a nice lightweight carbon road bike but I'll be keeping the Tricross as a general purpose bike.

    Cyclocross bikes are very similar to road bikes in that they use drop bars, 700c wheels and they're relatively light. There are a few key differences.
    - They have clearance for bigger tyres and usually come with either all-purpose or nobbly tyres not slicks.
    - They are a little heavier but most of the difference is in the bigger tyres
    - They're now easily available with disk brakes
    - Some (maybe all) have a slightly more upright position than a road bike in standard configuration but you can get a fairly low position if you decide you want one
    - Many cyclocross bikes have an extra set of brake levers on the tops (straight part of the bars) which are perfect for use in traffic while keeping your head up. Road bikes only have levers below the hoods so you can't brake when you've got your hands on the tops. In my experience this second set of brakes gives a little less leverage than the main levers from the drops but better braking than the main levers used from the normal road bike position on the hoods.

    Some cyclocross bikes are proper race bikes but others like the Tricross are actually more aimed at commuting/touring and light offroad than cyclocross competition. These often have mudguard and or rack mounting points should you need them. If you want to use one for commuting then I'd suggest switching the tyres to something like 28mm slicks which will be both fast and comfy (many road bikes can't fit tyres bigger than 25mm).

    I started out using mine for fairly laid back cycling and riding canal paths. Later I dropped the bar position a little and switched to slick 28mm tyres and it became a great quick & comfy bike for the roads. Then as I'd become reasonably fit I started to do sportives and compete in duathlons so I dropped the bar down to typical road bike height, removed the extra brake levers, changed the wheels for some lighter ones and put on 25mm tyres. It's now essentially a road bike and most people wouldn't notice the difference unless they looked carefully and noticed the wider fork clearance and cantilever brakes. I've done 200km sportives and sprint duathlons with no problems although I might be carrying an extra 0.5-1kg compared to a road bike of similar value.

    So, if you're not sure if you want a hybrid or road bike. Get a cyclocross bike. Just a change of tyres makes them the perfect commuting bike in my opinion and some simple tweaking turns it into a road bike later if your priorities change.
    Incidentally pretty much everyone who gets used to drop bars, including myself, would never go back to straight bars. They're just much more comfortable and versatile.
  • Kimble
    Kimble Posts: 53
    buy a decent road bike. it's a not insignificant daily commute and one of the benefits of having a road bike is the multiple positions available to you for your hands and as a result the rest of your body.

    I would go one further and recommend a CX bike such as boardman cx comp (their new entry level one) which gives you several choices of brake position so you have even greater flexibility for using brakes / handlebars. also road bike has narrower handlebars which does mean that you feel a little more confident through any narrow (ish) gaps. Change tyres for a set of continental gatorskin 25mm or 28mm for faster road riding without punctures.

    Finally should you begin to really like cycling you will get bored v quickly with your hybrid while your road / CX bike will take you much further in comfort should you want to stretch your legs a bit...
  • Kimble
    Kimble Posts: 53
    just seen Ai_1's post. very well written. Exactly what he said basically. the CX bike is now my go to bike for just about any situation and keep the original off road tyres in the shed and you can even take it off road. properly off road. it's amazing the abuse they can take if you're so inclined. looking at the Boardman cx comp it's Schwalbe tryago tyres are definitely aimed more towards road use so no change required...
  • lc1981
    lc1981 Posts: 820
    In any case it sounds like the road bike you tried was set up for racing, a very agressive position with the saddle much higher than the handlebars; most people don't ride their road bikes that way, and indeed a saddle pretty much level with the handlebars is a more 'normal' arrangement.

    Really? I rarely see anybody with a saddle level with their handlebars. If I set my bikes up like that, they I would either need something with a huge headtube or I'd have the saddle so low that my knees would be destroyed. That's not to say that different positions aren't possible though, and you can indeed be more upright than some people have their bikes set up to be,
  • An issue I was debating for some time, I invested in a hybrid- Specialized Sirrus Limited Edition-
    basically the Roubaix Carbon Frame with DI2s. It's the perfect combination, I keep up with my group (B) of course adding the proper pedals, and enjoy free- riding with friends and family without the need to be "kitted up"
    It's all about comfort and budget. Invest in a great bike and you will never be looking ahead at the one I should have bought.

    Good Luck
    Cheers,
    pinacolada
  • Moonbiker
    Moonbiker Posts: 1,706
    I don't see the point of most modern hybrids existing.

    I get the usefullness of thoose from thoose old steel clunker ones they ride in Denmark etc though. Something with old tech so its loads more durable & will carry loads & probably has a 5 speed cassette max that will go forever without any maintenance.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    You really just need to decide what bar type you prefer and how upright you need (want) to be.

    If you want to be really upright then it has to be a hybrid, but if not then it comes back to bar choice as its the only real thing that distinguishes a road bike from a hybrid, as you can get a light/fast hybrid as well as a more rugged road bike.

    Terrain counts for nothing as a road bike with correct tyres is just as good as a hybrid and vice versa.

    Personally I prefer drop bars as they have more holding options and are narrower (for going through gaps). Flat bars will give more control due to their extra width.

    As has been said a CX bike gives easy access to disc brakes on a drop bar bike. Something I also prefer for commuting.

    Some manufacturers are choosing to (more accurately) call them disc brake road bikes now.
    If you do look at ones called CX/cyclocross bikes you might want to avoid 46/36t chainrings and get one with standard compact 50/34t.

    A CX bike will almost certainly come with big tyres that you will need to change and you may not be able to go much thinner than 28mm.
    Budget disc brake road bikes I have seen still have fairly wide tyres (28mm).

    Pretty sure you can put secondary brake levers on any cable road bike brakes.
  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    As someone with road bikes and a hybrid, I would say if you only want a bike for a 9 mile commute round trip, and you want good visibility, ease of use, I would go for a hybrid with mudguards and a rack etc.
  • Best thing I ever did was buy a hybrid and go 700C wheels. I know for a fact that if I hadn't made that move I wouldn't enjoy cycling as much as I do now and would never have bought a road bike or 2.

    Even though I now own 2 road bikes and a singlespeed retro MTB it's probably my hybrid that still gets the most use.

    Just fitted a rack and it really is my workhorse and wouldn't be without it. It also has fat tyres at 37mm but they are ideal for it's use.

    If it was just a case of getting from A-B as quick as possible I'd get a road bike. If it will be used for more I'd get a hybrid.

    On either my road or hybrid it rarely takes me more than 20 minutes to do 5 miles.
  • Moonbiker
    Moonbiker Posts: 1,706
    A Tourer is what you need if carrying any loads imo. If im carrying 20kg in panniers I don't want to only have the option of the sit up & beg postion as no drop bars especially im if battling into a 30mph headwind etc, even if its only a 5 mile trip etc.

    Each to there own I suppose though.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Although I prefer drop bars. For a short round daily commute I would really like one of these.....

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/coo ... e-ec046769

    Looks gorgeous/v high quality in the flesh. Hub gears (so single speed look with no derailleur), lovely blue and chrome finish with hydraulic disc's.

    Maybe need to have plan (slime or sealant/Co2 can?) in place for a rear puncture, but other than that it would be great ;-)
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    edited February 2014
    For that distance I could be tempted by a fast looking Whyte hybrid with discs. I get by perfectly ok on a long commute with bull horns, drops aren't essential.
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    +1
    These often have mudguard and or rack mounting points should you need them. If you want to use one for commuting then I'd suggest switching the tyres to something like 28mm slicks which will be both fast and comfy (many road bikes can't fit tyres bigger than 25mm).

    Whatever style you buy, look for
    No suspension
    good tyre clearance
    rack and mudguard eyelets.
    Everyday gearing.

    Flat bar fitness bikes are good, Audax, winter training syle road bikes, tourers, CX.
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    iPete wrote:
    For that distance I could be tempted by a fast looking Whyte hybrid with discs. I get by perfectly ok on a long commute with bull horns, drops aren't essential.
    They're not essential but most people strongly prefer them once they've given them a try. Flat bars are fine for short cycles but the choice of hand and body positions on a drop bar make it both more comfortable and more effective for longer and/or faster cycling. Off-road I would think the extra leverage available on wide flat bars is useful but it's unnecessary for on-road riding. The one benefit is that you have well positioned brakes when sitting up. As I mentioned earlier, some cyclocross bikes have extra brake levers fitted on the tops so you can have both drop bars and well positioned brakes for traffic at the same time. I'm sure you can retrofit these brakes if they're not stock on the bike you're considering.

    Just found this on RCUK which will give you an overview of Cyclocross bikes.

    If it's within your budget this Canyon looks like a very nice option. It's set-up specifically for commuting and comes with slick 28mm tyres and mudguards. It doesn't have top bar brakes so if you wanted them you'd have to retrofit. There are plenty cheaper CX bikes if this is too expensive. Most use the Tiagra groupset which works well.
  • dj58
    dj58 Posts: 2,217
    I don't know what your budget is, but have a look at the Whyte R7 Stirling (hybrid) and RD7 Suffolk (Road) both disc equipped bikes.
  • Moonbiker
    Moonbiker Posts: 1,706
    Yeah thoose "Suicide levers" are ok for slower speeds.

    Didn't realize they still did them.
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    edited February 2014
    Moonbiker wrote:
    Yeah thoose "Suicide levers" are ok for slower speeds.

    Didn't realize they still did them.
    The "suicide lever" nickname name referred to the old top bar levers provided by providing an extension from the hood lever that could be reached from the tops. I had them on a bike when I was a kid - they weren't rigid or confidence inspiring and the nickname fits. The secondary levers on modern CX bikes are very different. They're a completely separate lever mechanism similar to a normal flat bar brake but sharing the same cable as the main levers and they work well. I don't think the old nickname still applies.
    However I still wouldn't use them at high speeds simply because the tops are not the most stable place to be for high speed braking. I don't see this as an issue since you won't be on the tops at high speed anyway.
  • On a normal road bike you are only really going to be on the tops when climbing, hence little need for brakes there. I suspect CX might be different hence them being fitted on the Boardmans.
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    On a normal road bike you are only really going to be on the tops when climbing, hence little need for brakes there. I suspect CX might be different hence them being fitted on the Boardmans.
    I don't know exactly where the top brakes come into play in cyclocross racing (haven't tried it) but they're excellent for beginners and commuters who'll spend more time starting and stopping in urban areas and sitting upright for better view and visibility. I only took them off my bike because I needed the space on the tops to attach clip-on aero extensions. They were on the bike for the first 2 years or more that I rode it. I didn't use them much out in the countryside but they were very useful around town.
  • Moonbiker wrote:
    Yeah thoose "Suicide levers" are ok for slower speeds.

    Didn't realize they still did them.

    Those aren't suicide levers! Suicide levers were useless bendy arms crudely tacked on to your regular levers; no good whatsoever for stopping. Dreadful things!
  • Moonbiker
    Moonbiker Posts: 1,706
    How do the brake cables attach to too different pairs of brakes?

    Split in two?
  • Kimble
    Kimble Posts: 53
    The normal brake cable routes directly through the bar top brakes that don't interfere with the cable when not in use. instead they they use a basic but effective hinge action to effectively increase the length of the outer cable cover which in turn applies a pull effect to the inner cable, applying braking pressure.

    after my embarrasing attempt at explanation above, I'll let it to the more engineering minded peeps to describe further.

    I removed these levers from my Boardman CX after a very short while (for a cleaner look and a more direct braking line) and replaced them with barrel adjusters that (I think) came from my BB7 brake kit that I upgraded to at the same time. I have to admit I missed having bar top brakes in my first CX race as the tops seemed an obvious place to minimise pressure on hands for repeated bumps but I got over it for subsequent races and just kept on the hoods / drops.
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Kimble wrote:
    The normal brake cable routes directly through the bar top brakes that don't interfere with the cable when not in use. instead they they use a basic but effective hinge action to effectively increase the length of the outer cable cover which in turn applies a pull effect to the inner cable, applying braking pressure.

    after my embarrasing attempt at explanation above, I'll let it to the more engineering minded peeps to describe further....
    That explanation is about spot on.

    Works just as Kimble describes so there's no splitting or loss of integrity in the cable.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Bar top levers = pointless marketing gimmick IMO. Have never been in a situation riding a CX bike where they would be of any use - too narrow to give you control offroad and if your bar/lever position is correct then there's no need for them - they just clutter the handlebars and make braking mushier.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Monty Dog wrote:
    Bar top levers = pointless marketing gimmick IMO. Have never been in a situation riding a CX bike where they would be of any use - too narrow to give you control offroad and if your bar/lever position is correct then there's no need for them - they just clutter the handlebars and make braking mushier.
    Are you talking about road riding (i.e. continuous riding on open roads) or commuting in situations where you may be sharing roads and especially junctions with a lot of traffic, both motorised and pedestrian?
    You are in a much better position on the tops than the hoods for looking around and also for being seen. The poorer view on the hoods/drops is probably a big contributor to many people using flat bars in urban areas. If you want/need to be on the tops approaching and departing from busy junctions then you want to have brakes there. I don't believe there's any question they are an advantage in this situation. On the other hand for general riding on open roads they don't serve much purpose which is why I took mine off.
    With regards making braking "mushier", I don't believe there's much impact. Not enough to be a problem anyway. When I removed mine I replaced all my cables and outers and had everything nice an clean and lubricated - Yes it was a bit crisper and more positive but it was not a dramatic change and I reckon it had as much or more to do with the cable maintenance than the removal of the brakes.