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Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello all, I am a biking newbie.

I want to start commuting (7 miles - city & suburb), and doing 10-30mile rides for fitness. I don't like drop handlebars, so I think that a hybrid bike would be best for me. I have been looking at the Trek 7.2, 7.3, and 7.5 FXs.

My question is this: I don't have much money, and used hybrids seem fairly hard to come by. Used road bikes seem much more common. Can I buy a used road bike and put a mountain bike-like handlebar on it, and is it then essentially a hybrid bike? do I need to replace the stem too? Am I missing something more fundamental that differentiates a hybrid bike from a road bike?

Thanks for the advice,
Carl
post #2 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

You can just do the ol flip up the drop handlebar trick. still see it all the time and it will allow you to check out the rest of the bike.

It's cheap!
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

Like I said, I'm a newbie, so let me clarify.

You mean remove the drop handlebars from the stem, flip them over, and re-attach?
Is this an implicit 'yes' to my question about the difference between hybrids and road bikes?

Thanks again.
post #4 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

I guess you are in USA?? Look at the Giant FCR Road Bikes, Road bits, flat bars and gentel on the back geometry. http://www.giant-bicycle.com/us/030.....asp?range=254 My Felt SR81 is similar.
post #5 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

Dont remove anything.
Just loosen the bolt on the stem, Rotate them toward the saddle and retighten. Try a couple of positions of rotation and see if you can find one thats comfortable.

It's not pretty but not a bad ride really. The brake location may be an issue.

If you like the bike and want that flat bar look then the LBS will set you up with a bar, brakes and posibly a new stem.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lrac6
Like I said, I'm a newbie, so let me clarify.

You mean remove the drop handlebars from the stem, flip them over, and re-attach?
Is this an implicit 'yes' to my question about the difference between hybrids and road bikes?

Thanks again.
post #6 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

Hybrids have a pretty upright geometry. The rider sits more upright than on a mountain bike or a road bike. Many hybrids have a front shock like a mountain bike but the shock isn't as heavy duty and their usefulness is dubious(to me).

Hybrids have lower gearing than a road bike but usually higher than a mountain bike. Hybrids have narrower tires than a mountain bike but wider than a road bike and they are the same diameter as a road bike. You can put fenders and racks on hybrids and use them as commuters and beer run bikes.

The bottom bracket on a hybrid is lower than a mountain bike so it's not recommended to take them off-road where there's a risk of your pedals hitting stuff.

There are road geometry bikes that have flat bar (mtb. style) handlebars. Trek Pilot, Specialized Sirrus, Giant FCR. These are bit more relaxed in their geometry than road bikes with drop bars but are still plenty fast.

You can't simply swap drop handlebars for flat bars as the brake levers and gear shifters for drop bars don't work on a flat bar. Depending upon the stem your bike has, you can flip it to raise the bars up or lower them. Most bikes come from the shop with the stem in the "up" position and people flip them so they can get more aero on the bike.
post #7 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbattle
You can't simply swap drop handlebars for flat bars as the brake levers and gear shifters for drop bars don't work on a flat bar.
That's right ... but, you can put a NITTO "moustache" bars (a bit expensive) or equivalent on your bike instead of a MTB "flat" bar ...


You should be able to use your current ROAD brake/shift levers ... Campagnolo ERGO shifters might be a bit awkward, however.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbattle
There are road geometry bikes that have flat bar (mtb. style) handlebars. Trek Pilot, Specialized Sirrus, Giant FCR. These are bit more relaxed in their geometry than road bikes with drop bars but are still plenty fast.
Hmm... I must have some terminology mixed up. I was just in my LBS and they were showing me the Specialized Sirrus as a hybrid. Also, the bikes that I have been shown as hybrids don't have front shocks. Some have shocks on the seat.

Is my notion of a 'hybrid' mixed up? Some models that I have been considering as hybrids:
Trek 7.? FX
Cannondale Road Warrior
Specialized Sirrus
Giant FCR
post #9 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

I bought a 7.3 Fx yesterday. From what I understand the seating is a bit more upright and comfortable. The tires are slightly thicker than road bikes but thinner than mountain bikes. Depending on what type of terrain you want to cover you have two types of hybrids. My hybrid, the 7.2 FX is leaning towards road and does not have a suspension. I saw a few hybrids with suspensions too. The sales person said those tend to be better for mountain biking activity.
post #10 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

I think a hybrid today was just a "Bike" 20 years ago
post #11 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

With "road bike" at one end of the spectrum, and "mountain bike" at the other end, there is a continum in the middle. Where one draws the line between "road" and "hybrid" and "hybrid" and "mountain" is somewhat arbitraty. Even Specalized is schizophrenic when it comes to the Sirrus. They have it listed under both "road" and "comfort & ergo" (their designation for "hybrid").

It is true that the Sirrus and the flat bar Pilot are essentialy road bikes with flat bars, and depending on who is referring to them, are called "flat bar road bikes" or "hybrids". These models have road bike drive train and road bike tires, and a relaxed geometry that is not much different from the Roubaix or the drop bar Pilot, which everyone calls "road bikes".

There is a large number of hybrids, like the Trek 7.x or 7x00 series or the Specialized Crossroads series that are one step away from road bikes. These hybrids have a broad gear ratio that pretty much covers the range of both mountain bikes and road bikes (but with big gaps between individual gears compared to either a road bike or a mountain bike), and tires that are the same diameter (700c) as road bike tires, but wider (35 or 38 mm, compared to 23 or 25 mm for a "true road bike"). They use mountain bike derailleurs to be able to cover the wide range of gearing. Some of these have suspension forks and suspension seat posts, and others do not. These are clearly "hybrids", but are still closer to the road bike than they are to the mountain bike.

There is another group of hybrids, like the Trek Navigator series or the Specialized Expedition series that are a step closer to a mountain bike. These have a lower gear range than the other hybrids, but are still slightly higher at the upper end than are mountain bikes. The tires are the same diameter (26") as the mountain bikes, but narrower (1.95" compared to 2.2" for a mountain bike). They generally have suspension forks and seatposts, but they do not have a rear suspension, and the fork is much lighter than that of a mountain bike. These, too, are clearly hybrids, but they are closer to a hard-tail mountain bike than they are to a road bike.
post #12 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lrac6
My question is this: I don't have much money, and used hybrids seem fairly hard to come by. Used road bikes seem much more common. Can I buy a used road bike and put a mountain bike-like handlebar on it, and is it then essentially a hybrid bike? do I need to replace the stem too? Am I missing something more fundamental that differentiates a hybrid bike from a road bike?
Carl
There are some problems with using road bikes as commuters, since they usually don't have eyelets for fenders and racks. There are some solutions to the fender problem, like p-clips so one can mount full fenders, but you have to search around to find them, and they all add cost. Half fenders, like SKS Race Blades, aren't good enough for commuting in my opinion.

Tire clearence is another problem, especially with fenders mounted. You are lucky if you find a road bike that can accommodate both full fenders and 25 mm tires. Personally I find that +28 mm tires are best for commuting, but YMMV.

The above problems may not be a problem for you, depending of riding style and climate etc, (I know several people who commute on road bikes without fenders).

You can't use STI /Ergopower brifters on a flat bar, so if you want to convert a road bike to a hybrid you need new gear shifters and brake levers. This pretty much restricts you to using old 8 or 9 speed bikes with Shimano components if you want to use click-shifters and avoid to much hassle.

I would choose some SRAM Attack Trigger shifters (Shimano compatible), since they are cheap and has a good reputation, but Shimanos SL-R-440 trigger shifters are good too. (Some Shimano trigger shifters seems only to work with specific Shimano front derailleurs, so read the instructions first.)

Brake levers. I strongly suspect that Shimano R440 Brake Levers works with ordinary race brakes. Cylocross brake levers should work too. There are several options, but read up upon it before buying.

You probably need new cable housing, or be able to to trim the existing cablehousing. A cable cutter like Park Tools is very nice to have for this job, but a dremel-like device can be used too.

The cheapest handlebar solution is (as mentionend elsewhere) just to turn the drop bar into bullhorns. (new bar tape required).
If the handlebar is to thin for the trigger-shifters, you can make some shims of an old beer can or similar.

Another solution is to get a quill-stem adaptor and then buy a threadless MTB stem and handlebar, this way you also get an easy way to raise the handlebar height. Get a digital caliper to measure the old stem diameter before buying anything. When getting a threadless stem, remember they are measured center-to-center.

Whether it is worth it or not to convert a road bike depends. You have to make a good deal on the road bike, and do all the work yourself. Watch costs like a hawk, since these bike projects always seems to get much more expensive than planned. New tires, chain, cassette and saddle, it all add up. Don't forget that tools cost money too.

I am actually starting my own conversion project tomorrow since I need a spare bike. It will probably a road bike -> hybrid conversion.

--
Regards
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

Thanks RickF - that cleared things up for me immensely. I think that what I really want is a flat bar road bike or a hybrid that is closer to the road bike spectrum.

One question about tires - if I buy a bike with 700c wheels and wider tires (mid-high 30s) - would that wheel be compatable with the narrower (mid 20s) tires if I wanted to swap them out?

Now that I understand more of the bike terminology I can resume my search for an affordable bike... It sounds like buying a used road bike and converting it to a flat-bar road bike might not save me much $$, seeing as I'd have to swap out the handlebar, shifters, and brake levers...
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

Wow, thanks for the info interested. I think the conversion project is way over my head in terms of knowledge and free time.

I think I'll keep up the hunt for used hybrids instead of making my own
post #15 of 19

Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lrac6
One question about tires - if I buy a bike with 700c wheels and wider tires (mid-high 30s) - would that wheel be compatable with the narrower (mid 20s) tires if I wanted to swap them out?
It all depends on the wheel. Sheldon Brown has a table that shows the rim size versus tire size compatibility: http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

According to the Performance web site, 16mm rims can take tires from 18 to 35mm, and 20mm rims can take tires from 23 to 44mm. The chart on Sheldon Brown's site is more conservative.

Bottom line is that if the bike came with 38mm tires, you can probably go down to 32mm without a problem, but to go to 28mm might require different rims.
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