hybrid bike vs comfort bike

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Minotaur, May 10, 2003.

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  1. Minotaur

    Minotaur Guest

    I am getting somewhat close to buying my first bike in 31 yrs .... I am 50, 6 ft tall, a bit
    overweight and more significantly, have some degree of lower back and hamstring problems,
    particularly in the main joint in my butt cheeks. Tight muscles that snap and pop when I stretch.

    I have been looking at bikes, and have an opportunity to rent one for a week before I buy to make
    sure I can physically handle riding again. I am looking at Trek comfort bikes and hybrid bikes, and
    don't know which to rent. The bike shop seems to think comfort is the way to go, but I am not sure.
    If I like what I rent, the rental fee gets applied to the purchase price, and I'd like to iincrease
    my chances of getting it right the first time.

    The difference in appearances is subtle, but I know there must be
    signicant differences in the way they perform. It is my goal to mostly
    ride road, but I might like to occasionally take advantage of the many
    bike paths we have in our local ( Florida ) state and county parks.

    I know the specs are different on both bikes, but if I buy the comfort bike, will I struggle on
    packed or gravel paths in the parks here ?? Will the hybrid be signicantly tougher to ride on the
    streets ?? Any advise, based on your experience, will be greatly appreciated
    - thanks ....

    GR, Tampa FL
     
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  2. TNEWSOME1

    TNEWSOME1 Guest

    So-called "comfort" bikes have 26" wheels and look more like a mountain bike whereas hybrid bikes
    have larger 700c wheels like a road (drop handlebar) bike. I believe, however, that the larger size
    comfort have 700c wheels. A riding buddy (He's about 6'2') of mine has a new Giant front-suspension
    comfort bike with fat (700c x 43 at least) tires and I could've sworn they were 26" until I got a
    closer look. He really likes his new ride! "Minotaur" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I am getting somewhat close to buying my first bike in 31 yrs .... I am 50, 6 ft tall, a bit
    > overweight and more significantly, have some degree of lower back and hamstring problems,
    > particularly in the main joint in my butt cheeks. Tight muscles that snap and pop when I stretch.
    >
    > I have been looking at bikes, and have an opportunity to rent one for a week before I buy to make
    > sure I can physically handle riding again. I am looking at Trek comfort bikes and hybrid bikes,
    > and don't know which to rent. The bike shop seems to think comfort is the way to go, but I am not
    > sure. If I like what I rent, the rental fee gets applied to the purchase price, and I'd like to
    > iincrease my chances of getting it right the first time.
    >
    > The difference in appearances is subtle, but I know there must be
    > signicant differences in the way they perform. It is my goal to mostly
    > ride road, but I might like to occasionally take advantage of the many
    > bike paths we have in our local ( Florida ) state and county parks.
    >
    > I know the specs are different on both bikes, but if I buy the comfort bike, will I struggle on
    > packed or gravel paths in the parks here ?? Will the hybrid be signicantly tougher to ride on the
    > streets ?? Any advise, based on your experience, will be greatly appreciated
    > - thanks ....
    >
    > GR, Tampa FL
     
  3. Bob Garrison

    Bob Garrison Guest

    "Minotaur" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I am getting somewhat close to buying my first bike in 31 yrs .... I am 50, 6 ft tall, a bit
    > overweight and more significantly, have some degree of lower back and hamstring problems,
    > particularly in the main joint in my butt cheeks. Tight muscles that snap and pop when I stretch.
    >
    > I have been looking at bikes, and have an opportunity to rent one for a week before I buy to make
    > sure I can physically handle riding again. I am looking at Trek comfort bikes and hybrid bikes,
    > and don't know which to rent. The bike shop seems to think comfort is the way to go, but I am not
    > sure. If I like what I rent, the rental fee gets applied to the purchase price, and I'd like to
    > iincrease my chances of getting it right the first time.
    >
    > The difference in appearances is subtle, but I know there must be
    > signicant differences in the way they perform. It is my goal to mostly
    > ride road, but I might like to occasionally take advantage of the many
    > bike paths we have in our local ( Florida ) state and county parks.
    >
    > I know the specs are different on both bikes, but if I buy the comfort bike, will I struggle on
    > packed or gravel paths in the parks here ?? Will the hybrid be signicantly tougher to ride on the
    > streets ?? Any advise, based on your experience, will be greatly appreciated
    > - thanks ....
    >
    > GR, Tampa FL

    Comfort bikes are for old farts who will do no more than pedal around the neighborhood in slow
    motion. Hybrids are fine for both gravel and road riding.
     
  4. Paul

    Paul Guest

    The term comfort bike (or hybrid for that matter) isn't necessarily set in stone and the type of
    bike that one manufacturer chooses to call 'comfort' may be different to anothers.

    I ride something described by Dawes (the manufacturer) as a 'Comfort Mountain Bike', it's
    essentially a mountain bike albeit with a suspension seatpost (now replaced with a rigid 'cus it was
    rubbish), a 'comfort saddle and an adjustable stem. It's a robust bike that's perfectly useable for
    commuting and moderate off-road.

    I'd be the first to admit that I'm no expert cyclist and not exactly young but then I'm no old fart
    who just poottles around in slo-mo either. I do several thousand miles of mixed road, tracks, trails
    and rough country lanes a year and am pretty serious about my cycling (in a recreational,
    non-competitive sense). In fact the comfort mtb was recommended to me by the guy at the cycle shop
    (a competitive mtber himself) as being much more robust and suited to the type of riding I wanted to
    do than a 'hybrid' bike from the same manufacturer which was a much more road bike with semi-slicks
    for tracks (and also had a suspension seatpost, comfort saddle and adjustable stem).

    I think that the point I'm trying to make here is that not everything that is labelled 'comfort'
    is just a step up from an invalid carriage and that comfort bikes can be serious bits of kit
    (although they can be junk too). A lot has to do with what a given manufacturer decides a given
    label is to mean.

    As far as the original poster is concerned I'd say that it's not really a case of deciding to buy
    a hybrid over a comfort bike but more a case deciding what type of riding is to be done and then
    trying out a variety of suitable bikes and choosing the one that actually feel the best. That
    said, if the intention is to definately buy a Trek bike and get into riding tracks for any length
    of time then I'd go with the hybrid as the Trek definition of 'Comfort Bike' is quite different
    for my Dawes.

    Something else that might be worth thinking about is that an upright riding position (and the Trek
    Navigators give a very upright riding position) is that although it initially seems very comfortable
    over moderate distances nearly 100% of your body weight is supported by the saddle and if you ride
    for any length of time you might find that this starts to be rather more uncomfortable than a more
    angled riding position where weight is spread between the saddle and bars. Equally if you ride bumpy
    surfaces an upright positon (even with a sus. post) means that all of the bumps end up going through
    the saddle rather than being spread across saddle and bars and an angled position with bent elbows
    may well stress the back less. If you have serious concerns about your back why not just check
    things out with a doctor first?

    I hope that there's something useful in all this waffle, just to confuse things further Trek also do
    a 'Cruiser' range which they list along side their Comfort and Hybrid bikes (although it look like a
    Trek Hybrid to me)

    Good luck with your purchase and I hope that you enjoy your cycling - it's great.

    Kind Regards, Paul.
     
  5. Grl

    Grl Guest

    What a crock.

    You should consider getting at least a clue before you post.

    --

    - GRL

    " It's good to want things. "

    - Steve Barr (philosopher, poet, humorist, graphic artist, Visual Basic programmer) "Bob Garrison"
    <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Minotaur" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > I am getting somewhat close to buying my first bike in 31 yrs .... I am 50, 6 ft tall, a bit
    > > overweight and more significantly, have some degree of lower back and hamstring problems,
    > > particularly in the main joint in my butt cheeks. Tight muscles that snap and pop when I
    > > stretch.
    > >
    > > I have been looking at bikes, and have an opportunity to rent one for a week before I buy to
    > > make sure I can physically handle riding again. I am looking at Trek comfort bikes and hybrid
    > > bikes, and don't know which to rent. The bike shop seems to think comfort is the way to go, but
    > > I am not sure. If I like what I rent, the rental fee gets applied to the purchase price, and
    > > I'd like to iincrease my chances of getting it right the first time.
    > >
    > > The difference in appearances is subtle, but I know there must be
    > > signicant differences in the way they perform. It is my goal to mostly
    > > ride road, but I might like to occasionally take advantage of the many
    > > bike paths we have in our local ( Florida ) state and county parks.
    > >
    > > I know the specs are different on both bikes, but if I buy the comfort bike, will I struggle on
    > > packed or gravel paths in the parks here ?? Will the hybrid be signicantly tougher to ride on
    > > the streets ?? Any advise, based on your experience, will be greatly appreciated
    > > - thanks ....
    > >
    > > GR, Tampa FL
    >
    > Comfort bikes are for old farts who will do no more than pedal around the neighborhood in slow
    > motion. Hybrids are fine for both gravel and road riding.
     
  6. "Minotaur" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I am getting somewhat close to buying my first bike in 31 yrs .... I am 50, 6 ft tall, a bit
    > overweight and more significantly, have some degree of lower back and hamstring problems,
    > particularly in the main joint in my butt cheeks. Tight muscles that snap and pop when I stretch.

    Chances are the bike with the handlebars that are higher in relationship to the seat is the one
    you'll find more comfortable. Of course make sure the seat is the right height on each bike before
    you compare handlebar heights.

    >
    > I have been looking at bikes, and have an opportunity to rent one for a week before I buy to make
    > sure I can physically handle riding again. I am looking at Trek comfort bikes and hybrid bikes,
    > and don't know which to rent. The bike shop seems to think comfort is the way to go, but I am not
    > sure. If I like what I rent, the rental fee gets applied to the purchase price, and I'd like to
    > iincrease my chances of getting it right the first time.
    >
    > The difference in appearances is subtle, but I know there must be
    > signicant differences in the way they perform. It is my goal to mostly
    > ride road, but I might like to occasionally take advantage of the many
    > bike paths we have in our local ( Florida ) state and county parks.

    Don't get knobby tires, make sure they are slicks (or minimal tread). (Even if the bike you want
    comes with tires you don't like, you should be able to get them changed). Tires make a big
    difference in the way a bike feels. Don't be afraid to experiment, even after you have your bike. I
    think the most versatile tires that are comfortable, fast on the street and can handle hard pack and
    mild gravel would be about 32mm wide slicks filled to around 70-80 psi. In general wider and lower
    pressure is more comfortable cushion wise but slower, harder and narrower is faster and more
    comfortable pedaling effort wise.

    >
    > I know the specs are different on both bikes, but if I buy the comfort bike, will I struggle on
    > packed or gravel paths in the parks here ??

    Hard packed dirt is no challenge for even a road bike with narrow tires. Gravel on the other hand
    depending how deep it is and how big might require wide tires (still shouldn't require knobbys).

    > Will the hybrid be signicantly tougher to ride on the streets

    The main thing that makes it hard to ride on streets are knobby tires. When you start to ride above
    16-18 mph being more upright makes it harder too, but given that you have lower back problems and
    that you're just starting I would still look for having the handlebars on the high side.

    > ?? Any advise, based on your experience, will be greatly appreciated
    > - thanks ....

    Another issue is suspension. Personally I find it is valuable in offroad conditions where you want
    to maximize speed over rough terrain. You can ride pretty rough terrain on a road bike with no
    suspension and narrow tires. Given the conditions and riding style you presented I would rather have
    better quality componants for a given price than suspension.

    >
    > GR, Tampa FL
     
  7. Paul

    Paul Guest

    Me?

    Paul.
     
  8. Grl

    Grl Guest

    A little follow on to the previous post. I put on Ritchey "Tom Slicks", the
    1.4" flavor with normal tubes (85 psi) from Performance, to replace the Bontrager Select Inverts
    (1.95") with "thorn-resistant" (thick and heavy) tubes (75 psi) I had been using for about a year,
    yesterday. Went for a 22 mile ride on the rail trail expecting the same speed with less
    effort/more speed with same effort.

    Did not notice either of those. What I did notice was the much smoother ride, especially over road
    imperfections. It was extremely obvious and quite pleasantly surprising. I would not have guessed
    that a skinnier tire at higher pressure would give a nicer ride. Guess it must be the lower weight
    on the new set up. It began to rain (deluge, actually) 8 miles from home so I got to test the Tom
    Slicks in the rain and they did just swell other than kicking up a lot of road grime on my backside
    and on the bike. (I WILL be getting those Planet Bike fenders geeky look or not.)

    - GRL

    "It's good to want things."

    Steve Barr (philosopher, poet, humorist, chemist, Visual Basic programmer)
    "GRL" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Comfort bikes will have fatter tires (usually 2" or so street tires on 26" rims) and bigger seats
    > (fitted with a spring) than hybrid/fitness (as CR calls them) bikes. The handlebars will also
    > likely be more turned up and
    you
    > ride quite upright. This is often more comfortable for people with some lower back pain. Some
    > brands fit front shocks which adds weight. A comfort will bike will usually weigh more (2 to 8
    > lbs. or so). You can hack away a good deal of that weight difference by mounting more narrow tires
    > on the rims and a lighter saddle. Put a flatter aluminum handlebar on and you essentially end up
    > with a hybrid bike.
    >
    > I think the key thing is that the comfort bike will give you a more comfy ride than the hybrid so
    > you are more likely to use it, but the hybrid will

    > go faster for the same effort. Either will be fine for use on bike paths. Again, if you buy the
    > comfort, it's pretty easy (and cheap) to fit
    narrower
    > tires and a flatter handlebar (etc.) later on it you want some more speed
    as
    > you progress. I bought a comfort a few years ago, have been very happy
    with
    > it and am doing the tire change thing now for exactly that reason.
    >
    >
    > - GRL
    >
    > "It's good to want things."
    >
    > Steve Barr (philosopher, poet, humorist, chemist, Visual Basic programmer)
    > "Minotaur" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > I am getting somewhat close to buying my first bike in 31 yrs .... I am 50, 6 ft tall, a bit
    > > overweight and more significantly, have some degree of lower back and hamstring problems,
    > > particularly in the main joint in my butt cheeks. Tight muscles that snap and pop when I
    > > stretch.
    > >
    > > I have been looking at bikes, and have an opportunity to rent one for a week before I buy to
    > > make sure I can physically handle riding again. I am looking at Trek comfort bikes and hybrid
    > > bikes, and don't know which to rent. The bike shop seems to think comfort is the way to go, but
    > > I am not sure. If I like what I rent, the rental fee gets applied to the purchase price, and
    > > I'd like to iincrease my chances of getting it right the first time.
    > >
    > > The difference in appearances is subtle, but I know there must be
    > > signicant differences in the way they perform. It is my goal to mostly
    > > ride road, but I might like to occasionally take advantage of the many
    > > bike paths we have in our local ( Florida ) state and county parks.
    > >
    > > I know the specs are different on both bikes, but if I buy the comfort bike, will I struggle on
    > > packed or gravel paths in the parks here ?? Will the hybrid be signicantly tougher to ride on
    > > the streets ?? Any advise, based on your experience, will be greatly appreciated
    > > - thanks ....
    > >
    > > GR, Tampa FL
     
  9. Grl

    Grl Guest

    No! Your post makes good sense.

    I was trying to reply to the guy who claimed comfort bikes are just for "old farts" who use them to
    putter around the neighborhood, but the server posted the message as a reply to your post instead.

    I regret that that error occurred.

    - GRL

    "It's good to want things."

    Steve Barr (philosopher, poet, humorist, chemist, Visual Basic programmer)
    "Paul" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Me?
    >
    > Paul.
     
  10. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 10 May 2003 04:39:28 -0700, [email protected] (Minotaur) wrote:

    >I know the specs are different on both bikes, but if I buy the comfort bike, will I struggle on
    >packed or gravel paths in the parks here ?? Will the hybrid be signicantly tougher to ride on the
    >streets ??

    Both bikes will be adequate for the stated purpose, the tyres will make much more difference than
    the small detail differences in bike design, I reckon - as OOTSB says. The thing to do is buy the
    bike which feels more comfortable. For hard-packed trails riding and especially for riding on the
    road, I think suspension is a liability. It adds to the weight and the price without improving the
    ride. So get a good quality reasonably light bike which fits.

    If you have issues with back / ligaments / whatever the absolute best thing is to ride as many bikes
    as you can until you find the one which fits. I'm a shade over 6' tall myself, and I have the
    ultimate comfort bike: a recumbent. But I also have several upright bikes, and they are all good to
    ride, none of them triggering the lumbar pain to which I've been prone since my mid teens. Don't
    focus on the label - "comfort" bikes can be every bit as uncomfortable as - what? "discomfort"
    bikes? if they don't fit right. There's a handy bike fit tool at http://www.wrenchscience.com which
    I have used to good effect before now.

    I have a 2000 model Claud Butler Ravana which springs unbidden to mind at this point - cheap, basic,
    light, well made - and did I mention cheap? I bought is used, 3 months old with hardly a mark on it,
    for under £150 UK (trust me, at that price you count the wheels). It's been my hack bike ever since,
    used for towing the kids on the trail-a-bike, shopping and leisure rides on trails. Today I took
    part in a challenge ride, a relay team 5k run, 20k bike, 5k run. The bike was my department, it was
    mainly offroad, very hard packed and very rutted trails, and my old Claud Butler and I moved our
    team up over thirty places in the order, completing 20k in 43 minutes. That is what I call a damned
    good bike.

    So it has straight bars, 21 speed thumb index gears, 26" wheels (good choice - you can get
    everything from slick city tyres to real mud-plugging gnarlies for a 26" wheel), a rack and SKS
    chromoplastic mudguards (removed for the event), solid cromoly unicrown fork. Nothing special about
    it at all, costs nothing to run, very reliable and gets me around. I do have a suspension seat post,
    which is why I ca sit down right now :)

    Sorry, I know I'm waffling but there is a point: a reasonable quality non-suspension bike will do
    most things adequately and some things much better than you'd think.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  11. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    Bob Garrison wrote:
    >
    > They [comfort bikes] are proper bikes for pussies!

    Actually pussies [1] prefer recumbent bicycles, since an upright saddle only provides room enough to
    sit on, while a recumbent seat has enough space for sleeping.

    [1] Felis Sylvestris Catus, a.k.a. Pillow-Denters

    Tom Sherman - Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  12. Bob Garrison

    Bob Garrison Guest

    "Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Bob Garrison wrote:
    > >
    > > They [comfort bikes] are proper bikes for pussies!
    >
    > Actually pussies [1] prefer recumbent bicycles, since an upright saddle only provides room enough
    > to sit on, while a recumbent seat has enough space for sleeping.
    >
    > [1] Felis Sylvestris Catus, a.k.a. Pillow-Denters
    >
    > Tom Sherman - Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)

    Or they can use two uprights: http://www.cats.alpha.pl/funny/biker.jpg
     
  13. Bernie

    Bernie Guest

    Bob Garrison wrote:

    > "Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > Bob Garrison wrote:
    > > >
    > > > They [comfort bikes] are proper bikes for pussies!
    > >
    > > Actually pussies [1] prefer recumbent bicycles, since an upright saddle only provides room
    > > enough to sit on, while a recumbent seat has enough space for sleeping.
    > >
    > > [1] Felis Sylvestris Catus, a.k.a. Pillow-Denters
    > >
    > > Tom Sherman - Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
    >
    > Or they can use two uprights: http://www.cats.alpha.pl/funny/biker.jpg

    Damn cats just have no respect! :p
     
  14. Melisa Johns

    Melisa Johns Guest

    Why not a touring bike or also know as "an all around bike". At least 700x35 tires, maybe larger.
    Ride the largest frame you can fit on with the handlebars the same height as the seat.

    "Minotaur" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I am getting somewhat close to buying my first bike in 31 yrs .... I am 50, 6 ft tall, a bit
    > overweight and more significantly, have some degree of lower back and hamstring problems,
    > particularly in the main joint in my butt cheeks. Tight muscles that snap and pop when I stretch.
    >
    > I have been looking at bikes, and have an opportunity to rent one for a week before I buy to make
    > sure I can physically handle riding again. I am looking at Trek comfort bikes and hybrid bikes,
    > and don't know which to rent. The bike shop seems to think comfort is the way to go, but I am not
    > sure. If I like what I rent, the rental fee gets applied to the purchase price, and I'd like to
    > iincrease my chances of getting it right the first time.
    >
    > The difference in appearances is subtle, but I know there must be
    > signicant differences in the way they perform. It is my goal to mostly
    > ride road, but I might like to occasionally take advantage of the many
    > bike paths we have in our local ( Florida ) state and county parks.
    >
    > I know the specs are different on both bikes, but if I buy the comfort bike, will I struggle on
    > packed or gravel paths in the parks here ?? Will the hybrid be signicantly tougher to ride on the
    > streets ?? Any advise, based on your experience, will be greatly appreciated
    > - thanks ....
    >
    > GR, Tampa FL
     
  15. Bernie

    Bernie Guest

    Bernie wrote:

    > Bob Garrison wrote:
    >
    > > "Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > >
    > > > Bob Garrison wrote:
    > > > >
    > > > > They [comfort bikes] are proper bikes for pussies!
    > > >
    > > > Actually pussies [1] prefer recumbent bicycles, since an upright saddle only provides room
    > > > enough to sit on, while a recumbent seat has enough space for sleeping.
    > > >
    > > > [1] Felis Sylvestris Catus, a.k.a. Pillow-Denters
    > > >
    > > > Tom Sherman - Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
    > >
    > > Or they can use two uprights: http://www.cats.alpha.pl/funny/biker.jpg
    >
    > Damn cats just have no respect! :p

    And OTOH, this is evidence that those skinny saddles are really comfortable
     
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