How Much Would A Road Bike Improve My Performance



joesstagerjob

Member
Jul 3, 2015
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I've lost about 60 lbs since starting cycling in March. I'm a fairly competitive person but I've been out of shape for a long time. When I was shopping for bikes, I intended to use it more for 3-4 mile trips around my local area, grocery store, etc. I found that I love it though, and I'm actually working on training for a Tri.

I bought a Specialized Crossroads Sport. A comfort/hybrid bike. I added a cadence meter in the last week and I try to keep at 80 rpm, but I've found that my comfortable natural pace is around 72 rpm. I ride between 15 and 20 miles a session for about 85 miles a week. I average about 14 mph but that's counting not pausing Strava for stops at intersections and lights and that always kills the time.

I'm looking ahead to my first Tri this fall. I still have a huge amount of weight to lose, easily another 75-80 lbs I can lose. I know that weight loss will increase my avg speed and it will couple well with my increased endurance and leg strength. I think I am doing pretty well for someone weighing over 300 lbs.

My question is this, all other things being equal, what sort of performance gains, if any, could I expect if I moved from this Hybrid/Comfort bike to a low end road cycle?

Any other tips, opinions or thoughts would be welcome as well.
 

shadowsupernature

New Member
Jun 10, 2015
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The move to a road style bike can help you improve your speed on the flats and downhills if you use the drops in the bars and practice keeping your body low for aerodynamic advantage. If you buy a road bike and ride on the tops all the time, you won't see much advantage and you might actually lose speed because the comfort features you like are missing.
 

blastguardgear

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May 9, 2015
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Looking at the specs, it says it has an adjustable stem, so you could tilt it down to get a bit closer to road bike fit. You could also put slightly skinnier, higher pressure tires on for slightly less rolling resistance. Equipment changes will make a miniscule difference compared to losing weight & gaining fitness. On the order of .1 % equipment, 99.9% engine.
 

tarverten

New Member
May 26, 2015
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You will go faster with less effort on a road bike (You will notice this more on a carbon fibre frame). They are designed for speed and efficiency, built with power transfer in mind. Hybrids like your Crossroads tend to be less aero and often come with heavier components for riding not limited to the road.
 

thepieeatingjay

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Feb 22, 2015
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I had a similar hybrid a few years back when I bought my first road bike (which was an entry level Trek 1.5). I found right around a 10% difference on a couple of courses that I road where I was living at the time. I had a 10 mile route which I rode in 40 minutes on the hybrid and did it on the Trek just under 36. On a little longer course, I took 70 minutes on the hybrid and 62 and some seconds on the road bike. My effort was pretty comparable, and they were close in time so I was in about the same condition. Was there any placebo effect making me push harder? Maybe. But I think you'd get 1-2 mph improvement over the Specialized.
 
May 9, 2015
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my son dropped from 330 lbs to 260 lbs and then got a road bike.
We do a 5 mile "sprint" together at lunch everyday...he picked up about 1.5 mph on his speed with the switch to the road bike....he still has a bit too much belly to ride the drops, so that is on the hoods.
 

NJAgent020

Member
Apr 3, 2015
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thepieeatingjay said:
I had a similar hybrid a few years back when I bought my first road bike (which was an entry level Trek 1.5). I found right around a 10% difference on a couple of courses that I road where I was living at the time. I had a 10 mile route which I rode in 40 minutes on the hybrid and did it on the Trek just under 36. On a little longer course, I took 70 minutes on the hybrid and 62 and some seconds on the road bike. My effort was pretty comparable, and they were close in time so I was in about the same condition. Was there any placebo effect making me push harder? Maybe. But I think you'd get 1-2 mph improvement over the Specialized.
 

NJAgent020

Member
Apr 3, 2015
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I agree... With similar fitness I am about 2mph faster on my road bike...but I find its more comfortable on longer rides. I still have a lot to learn technique wise and i just started clipping in, so there's potential for more improvement. But overall I think I went from about 13-14 mph on the 7.3 fx hybrid to 15-16 mph on the Cannondale synapse.

But for me its not a numbers game. The Cannondale is more fun to ride over long distances and responds much better. The hybrid is now my work horse bike. My synapse is my escape bike.
 

Corzhens

Well-Known Member
May 26, 2015
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I cannot say much about this topic because I couldn't understand all of the lingo I read here. But my idea of this thread is about a road bike which is an ordinary bike against the mountain bike. Well, the road bikes I know are the racers, those with thin tires and slender bodies where the cyclists normally use for road tours (I see much of them during weekends in the direction of Antipolo, that hilly town that is now a city.) Please correct me if I am wrong in this notion.
 

John Dennett

New Member
Jul 4, 2015
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Tyres make more of a difference than anything else. Switching from heavy city tyres to a narrow slick will get you 80% of the performance of a road bike at a fraction of the cost. A road bike will generally be lighter and more aerodynamic than a hybrid, but the difference isn't really noticeable unless you're a very strong cyclist capable of high speeds. For ordinary riders with modest power outputs, rolling resistance dominates all other sources of drag.

Your Crossroads Sport has 700c wheels, giving you an excellent choice of fast tyres. Something like the Schwalbe Durano will give you a massive performance increase without a big loss in puncture protection, even if you choose a larger size like 32c for comfort reasons.

As has been mentioned by BlastGuardGear, dropping your stem height to get the handlebars lower will give a significant aerodynamic improvement, which will help increase your top speed if you're going full gas.
 

HIPCHIP

New Member
Apr 11, 2009
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I went from walking to a mountain bike. Started reading up on road bikes and tried several. Most felt the same but then I tried a friends bike and it was night and day. Looked around and had to try several bikes before I found one that felt the same. Then had a "Bike Fit"!!! It was even better. Took the measurements off my new road bike and transferred them to my mountain bike and mountain bike felt completely different. So try several different bikes in your price range and make sure you get a professional fit as the difference is amazing. Just a fit on your current bike may be enough, but there are so many different types of bikes out there that trying many will tell you if you need to change.
 

ZXD22

Active Member
Mar 21, 2015
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The improvements will be big as you save a lot of energy on a road bike than on a mountain bike on the road. The skinny tires put less surface area on the ground which makes for less friction. Less friction means less effort to put into the ride and that adds miles and speed my friend.
 

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