Hybrid bikes. The great cycling con?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Marx SS, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Marx SS

    Marx SS New Member

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    (not sure if this has been covered previously)

    I’ve just throwing this out here for your opinions.

    From my experience in riding my MTB both offroad (with knobbies) & on road (with slicks), I cannot see the value in hybrid bikes.

    Hybrid bikes are designed to meet the needs of both worlds – road, some offroad & commuting – and normally this results in a compromise, but in execution hybrid bikes seem to have the worse of both worlds. Spindly frames, 27inch wheels with flat bars & generally speaking lower priced groupsets.

    I would feel that in just about every example where a hybrid bike may be recommended, a MTB with a simple tyre swap (to semislicks etc) would suit a broader range of applications & could then expand into heavier MTB going in it’s stride. Also the general construction in Frame/componentry in a majority of MTB’s are of a strudier or heavier standard than hybrids.
    Sure a MTB with slicks against a road bike may struggle on the road with it’s smaller wheel size etc, but I cannot see the advantage here in hybrids. MTB gearing has proven to me to be very flexible.

    What do you think?
     
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  2. tyler_derden

    tyler_derden New Member

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    I think hybrid bikes are not really intended for off-road riding. For most people they are better than "road" bikes because they tend to have fatter tires (translation: fewer flats), beefier frames that can withstand potholes and other road bumps, and a more comfortable upright riding position than road bikes.

    I have a Cannondale H400 that's about 10 years old and still going strong. I have tried off road riding a couple times with it, but the narrow tires have a tendency to sink into loose dirt. I have used it mainly for commuting and it is nearly perfect for that purpose. I rarely have to fix flat tires, I can haul a ton of stuff on it, and it has all the necessary lugs for mounting racks and fenders. It would be a very good touring bike.

    TD
     
  3. Long5686

    Long5686 New Member

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    My observation is that Hybrids offer people a mountain bike riding style (more upright and natural feeling for most people) with the benefits of road bike tires and ride feel. 75% of all bikes sold are mountain bikes but im sure that 98% of riding is done mostly on the streets. It gives people a cheaper and easier alternative to a road bike that can be used easily for commuting and recreation.
     
  4. Bikesoiler

    Bikesoiler New Member

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    Say I want a bike for commuting, with a rack to carry stuff & a good range of gears. Lighter than an MTB (for my budget, don't need suspension) but with wider tires than a road bike (at least 28mm) & a more upright riding position.
    I've described a good hybrid. :)
     
  5. Telegram Sam

    Telegram Sam New Member

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    I have taken up the charge of defending Hybrid's of late...here we go again.
    Bikes are like computers...you figure out what you wan to do before you make the purchase. A Hybrid is a response to customer need more then it is a con...and many of them now deserve the title "flat bar road bike" because they come with high end componentry.
    15 years ago, when the guys at the local bike store were all trading in there funny little hats and tight shorts for muddy baggys and cage pedals, I got a Mountain Bike without thinking at all about application (it was cool). Having ridden a road bike for my formative years, I jumped on it and thought..."man, this thing is comfortable". Then came the slicks and the second set of wheels...the dirt tires have been off it so long they rotted away (I have replaced them now). It did do some things to my riding though, like cut the distance I was doing in half. Regardless of what slicks I used, I was fighting a much higher rolling resistance and weight (turns out your better off with a fat ridge to ride down the middle...slicks were the damn con he says shaking his fist at Tom Ritchey).
    Now, as I am getting back into cycling (took a ten year break to do college and riding old cruisers for a spell), I am looking at bike for a particular goal- I ride the same twenty miles all the time and would like to do it every day at some point after work. It is all road, so I go look at road bikes...which are damn uncomfortable once you've let your youthful physique go. Then I find one with a flat bar- perfect!
    28 c tires...fast as hell yet wide enough to absord a lot of road
    Longer chainstays- I don't have to kick holes in my panniers (although those short ones make the MTB climb like a goat) and its stable at speed
    Full Ultegra...almost top of line shimano stuff (like XT or better)
    Racks, fenders and all that crap if you need it (although rain is perfect for those big-ol MTB tires)
    Gearing- the granny of an MTB and the tall gears of a road bike...means I am always moving and always pedaling
    Rapidfire shifters (god I hate those new road bike shifters...give me downtubes anyday)
    Fact is, it is a better ride for the application. Fortunately, I have a little expendable income and can buy a new bike (my wife says one has to go now though) and this one works well (as the MTB does in the dirt). Anyway- sure, the slicks on the MTB were fun for a bit (a loooong bit) but let's break it down this way-
    On my 20 miler I am riding a 21 lb bike and I can pedal at a pretty good clip on this featherweight. Now, most people would have no trouble keeping up with me, but to do so on a mountain bike, you would exert I would guess a third more energy given rolling resistance and weight-even if it was geared with the tall gears of a road bike, just to keep cadence. That wouldn'e be good enough though, because you would have to pedal harder given the 1800 more rotations your wheel is gonna make.
    So here it is...the proverbeal gauntlet. Find a high end hybrid (Bianchi Axel, Specialized Sirrus comp, Giant Cypress SL) and go ride it on your favorite road...I bet you want one when your done
    My 2 cents and then some
    Cheers
     
  6. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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  7. ebola

    ebola New Member

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    I'd been commuting for a while on a flat barred road bike, it was definitely a noticable step forward over a mountain bike; at the time I bought it I'd found a propper road bike offputting.

    Recently I've swapped to drop bars which i've got more used to & now prefer but in the interim the hybrid was of great value to me.
     
  8. Daremo

    Daremo New Member

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    As a former bike shop employee for five years, I'll tell you what the deal is ........

    Someone comes into the shop, wants to buy a mountain bike. They don't want the "skinny tired ten speed" they rode as a kid, and they like the idea of the more upright position.

    Here's the truth ........ 95% of them will never see any offroad use. And 50% of them will only get on it twice or three times a year. So you sell the buyer on a bike that they will at least feel comfortable and will want to use at a reasonable price.

    Hybrids are made for the occassional rider who wants comfort and a granny gear for the little upslopes in their neighborhood.

    The first question I always asked after someone said they wanted a mountain bike, "Do you plan on riding any dirt trails?" After that I could tell if they really needed a mtn. bike or not. And almost no time would I upsell them to a road bike, because they would never ride it.

    Needless to say I sold mostly hybrids to adults ........ it was what they needed, and they were always happy with their selections.
     
  9. cydewaze

    cydewaze New Member

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    No, I don't think that'll be going on my next century with me.

    One good hand position = fatigue.

    Kinda liking that F15 though. :cool:
     
  10. BassDave

    BassDave New Member

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    I just picked up an "entry level" Hybrid bike, the TREK 7100, and absolutely LOVE it. I rode 12 miles this past Thursday, and 20 miles [on all gravel, a revamped former railroad], and I could have gone further. Before I got this new hybrid, I had a mountain bike. On the same trail, I was completely worn out after 12 miles, and still had 4 more to go. I would feel fatigue in my shoulders, arms, legs, and be nearly short on breath the last bit of the ride. Now, with this hybrid, 20 miles and I'm still wanting more!!! :D
     
  11. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    I will be trying other positions (Felt Sr81), bar ends and aero bars depending on the conditions, hilly or flat... Also, I have moved the levers/grips closer to the stem, much more comfortable as i am only 15" across the sholders.

    I like the F15 too, but at over 55yrs, the SR is a more practical bike. Just waiting to see what the top level flat bar will be for 2005, hopefully more carbon...
     
  12. Salsa Rider

    Salsa Rider New Member

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    Hybrid bikes are great, but not for the reason you think probably. The reason I think Hybrids are great, tho I will never actually ride one (why is a hybrid like a fat girl??), is that they are great to get non-cyclists into the sport. They are non-intimitating, user friendly, and versatile. 90% of the people out there will walk into a bike store and the 2nd thing out of their mouthes after "I dont want to spend $1000 on a bike" is " I'm not some hard core mtn biker and those curly handle bars are so uncomfortable".


    My wife hadnt ridden 14 yr.s before last year. we bought her a Giant cypress, then this year she was more comfortable with the idea that a nicer bike would make riding more fun, so now she also has a flat handle-bar road bike. She never would have gotten on the road bike to start and was a whole lot more open and less tenitive with the hybrid verus a Mtn bike.

    And that is why Hybrids are great. They allow people to get into/back into the sport.
     
  13. gearshift

    gearshift New Member

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    I like the hybrid concept. Simple and most likely answer is that the hybrid allows for multiple surfaces. It's versatile. The big disadvantage for me is that the tires don't really allow for good speed.
     
  14. p38lightning

    p38lightning New Member

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    Many of those who have responded have made a good case for the hybrid EG:ride position, comfort, easier to ride, etc. I think that the hybrid's great strong point is it's appeal to the casual rider, the transportation rider, the Sunday rider out for a little fun in the sun.

    Many of us are true bicycle enthusiasts, and so the more singular in purpose mounts are more compatable with our type of riding. Lots of us own several bikes, HECK a Colnago for the road, a Moots for off road, no expense spared know what I mean?

    The casual rider probably owns one bike, and the fact that it is modest in price, and is multi role in configuration is exactly what that individual wants.

    The one thing that I am sure of, is that when I see a hybrid rider on my bike route going the other way, that rider has as big a smile on his or her face as I have on mine!
     
  15. cd667

    cd667 New Member

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    An interesting point, but I reckon that totally non-suspension bikes have advantages especially for new riders and that's (sadly) a dying thing on MTBs.

    Unfortunately, with cheaper MTBs you nowadays seem to be stuck with hardtails at the least, unless you want an utter pig of a bike or know exactly what you're after. Suspension forks on a lot of cheap bikes are quite frankly dead weight.

    There only seem to be a couple of decent quality non suspension bikes left - look at the new(old?) Kona, Ridgeback and Cannondale for examples. These are exactly what lots of people really need and what made MTBs as popular as they are today - bombproof and accessible to non cyclists, but at the same time lightweight and fun to ride.

    Problem is they're simply too expensive for many people that don't know if they will make riding a part of their life.

    Just my $.02.
     
  16. John Picton

    John Picton New Member

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    Did a 305km route in a day on my Trek in June. Finished stronger and less fatigued than many of the guys on their road bikes thanks to its front suspension, slightly wider tyres and suspension seat post. Kept up with them most of the time too.

    The hybrids have nowhere near the acceleration of the road bikes, and lose a few mph on the flats, but for an efficient, comfortable ride they are great.

    I'm buying a new road bike this month, but will still use the hybrid for all my commuting as it can take all the crap the city can throw at it, with the added benefits of road bike like performance on the straights home.
     
  17. gearshift

    gearshift New Member

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    I should look into getting a new hybrid with some newer technology as from the sounds of your experience, speed really is not compromised that much with a decent hybrid bike.
     
  18. jtfleming

    jtfleming New Member

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    All my kids have hybrids, or mild off road bikes. They beat the #!%^ out of their bikes. No complaints, a little rust, and they smile alot...works for me. I had one, but didn't like the flat bar. I got a sport street bike in the mid-range.
     
  19. Olasnah

    Olasnah New Member

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    I bought a Giant Cypress in september of '03, and like one of the other visitors stated, I rode it once or twice at first, but this year, after watching the Tour, I became motivated to get the bike out and ride some, this time for exercise and fun. I got hooked on cycling itself and I am now riding 20 miles every day, BUT the bike, to me, has reached its design limits. I find myself wanting to have other options for where to place my hands, and I can feel the resistance to the road in the wider/knobby tires of the Cypress. The gears are not sufficient enough for me either. Added to that, I can feel the cheapness of the components, this compared to road bikes I've tested is as different as night/day. I've learned this much in less than a month. I have a FELT F70 on order from my LBS, can't wait for it.

    I guess the moral of the story is that if you want a hybrid, you should do so only if you plan for some casual riding around. If you are wanting exercise in the form of anything but a daily constitutional, look for a road bike.
     
  20. keydates

    keydates New Member

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    Hybrids are for those who are just getting into or returning from cycling. The flat handlebars are especially good for those with back/neck problems, and the (typically) thin tires don't cause you to lose too much speed from a road bike. They are also much cheaper than most new road bikes.

    Of course, as others have said, anybody who really wants to get competitive or do more than just recreational riding will want a road bike.
     
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