Hybrid Vs. Road Bikes--At One Price Level Do You Just Get A Road Bike?



Crankykentucky

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Oct 6, 2012
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Hello, I realize this is probably an old topic. But, I wanted to get some feedback from more people with experience in the biking world. I have been set on buying a so-called hybrid bike for a while and acquired a Giant Escape a few months ago. The Excape kind of convinced me that I want to continue in my riding time and even aim for some higher mileage runs in the future.

I have been fascinated by my research and I have visited several local bike shops in the area, having even been pro-fitted by one dealer. A few days ago, I talked with a very knowledgable Cannondale dealer who also carries a host of other bike lines, This guy is primarily into road cycling himself, but understands the draw of a hybrid. While we were talking about different bikes, he said that at a $1,500 price point he recommends customers just get a road bike. This fascinated me and his main reasons were value and riding position. He likes the Giant's Defy.He also likes the Cannondale road bikes since he rides a full carbon model.

My riding needs are 99 percent road with an occasional pothole or city street defect. I have been looking at the Specialized Sirrus Pro and Comp, while the Limited is probably out of my price range. Likewise, I have been looking at the Cannondale Quick carbon bikes, which are great but expensive. One dealer told me to get a Sirrus Comp or Pro and upgrade the wheels. I would assume his advice would carry over to the Cannondale Quick, although I don't know very much about the wheels on that model. This dealer said the hybrids are better at this price level than the comparable road bikes.

Do you all have any thoughts or experiences to offer from your own shopping or research? I would like to get a bike that I can grow into, not something that is a bargain.

Fred
 
FWIW. Before you pony up for a Road bike, IMO, you need to decide what YOU think the maximum tire size is that you will want to use + whether or not you will ever want to mount fenders on the bike ...

MOST so-called Road bikes are really de-tuned (in most cases) Race bikes (of course, some bikes are almost exactly the same as what Pro riders ride ... others ARE the same!).

As far as riding position goes, the Drop handlebars found on so-called Road bikes can be fit on almost any bicycle that you can imagine (the realistic exception would probably be a Recumbent ... but, I suppose that someone might consider mounting a pair of Drop handlebas ghetto-style just to prove me wrong on that point).

Here (just to bore some people) are a few non-Road bikes (pictured in various states of assembly) which normally have been assembled with a Flat bar ...



A 700c Hybrid w/ CX fork -- frame has clearance for 700x52 tire (29er), the particular CycloCross fork only has clearance for a 700x42+ tire (and, does not have fender mounting eyelets, so it will probably be changed for a "touring" fork which will then give the bike capable of handling 700x52 tires on the front & rear).



A 26er Hardtail w/ 700c wheels & Road fork -- long reach Tektro Road calipers installed on both frame & fork



A 26er Hardtail with Drop Bars & Road crank.



A 90s vintage "Sport" bike (the successor to "touring" bikes & predecessor to Hybrids with inexpensive suspension forks) with Drop bars installed -- the frame & fork have clearance for 700x52 (29er) tires shown with skinny tires (to state what may be all too obbvious, while you can mount skinny tires on a bike which can accept "fat" tires, you cannot mount "fat" tires on a bike which is only capable of handling 700x28-or-smaller tires).

In other words, if you were inclined, you can simply modify your current Giant Escape by installing Drop bars + a pair of Campagnolo shifters ... for under $200/£125/[COLOR= rgb(102, 102, 102)] €[/COLOR]155.

  • Campagnolo shifters can be mated to many Shimano drivetrains with either minor or 'no' effort
  • if you get another bike in the future, the the Campagnolo shifters can migrate to it if you choose & nothing will be lost

Heck, you may find that you hate using Drop handlebars ...

But, if you like Drop handlebars then you would probably want to modify your Giant at some point in the future ... so, nothing lost by making the modification to your Giant, first (at least, IMO) ... of course, save your Flat bar + shifters in case you want to convert the bike back to its "original" state.

OF COURSE, if you have money to burn OR you just feel the need for another bike (nothing wrong with THAT!!) then a popular alternative worth considering might be gentrified (i.e., with water bottle bosses and/or fender mounting eyelets) CycloCross bike or a Flat bar variant (which can be converted in a manner shown above) like the JAMIS CODA line of bikes.

REDLINE CyclcoCross bikes are worth looking at, IMO, and would probably be 'my' choice.
 
If you know you're committed to pursuing this, you might want to simply skip past the pure entry-level bikes and ride something you'll want to hang onto for a few years. That bike would have an upgraded aluminum frame, such a the low-number Scott Speedsters, the Trek 2-series, or an entry level carbon frame like the Trek Madone 3-series. Component-wise, you'd probably be looking at Shimano 105 or the new 10-speed Tiagra, or SRAM Apex or Rival. The price range we're looking at is about $1200-1800, depending on how deep you want to go. Every major brand has very good models at this level.
 

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