Road or hybrid?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by JuneHawk, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. JuneHawk

    JuneHawk New Member

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    I am a (newish) runner looking to get into cycling seriously. I have done quite a bit of spinning and I love it but no real outdoor cycling. I'm trying to decide what type of bike would be best for me. I don't want to get anything too expensive right now since I am only testing the waters but I do want something that will be efficient. I don't know whether to get a road bike or a hybrid. I know I do not need need a mountain bike so that's not even an option. I live in South Florida and will be doing most of my riding on the road but I do want something that is comfortable enough that I will actually get out there and cycle. Right now I'm more concerned with actually getting into the habit of cycling and not so much with race performance so I need to keep that in mind when choosing a bike. However, if all goes well, I'd love to do a duathlon and maybe even a half century late next year.

    I'm also just under 5'2" so size is also an issue. Any thoughts? I know that you guys aren't psychic but maybe you can help throw some light into the road vs hybrid issue?
     
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  2. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    I sometimes wonder if I wouldn't ride a little more if I had a more comfortable bike. I have mainly road bikes. However, you do tend to appreciate the greater performance once you get on it. The scenery goes by faster.

    Have you considered something like a cruiser? I commuted on one for a season. They are simple and easy to fix. In S.F. you don't need gears so much. You could try it for $125 or so, then sell it if you hated it. Besides the more comfortable position, the thing about them is the saddle is wide enough that you don't need special, padded shorts, the chain won't stain long pants, and you don't need special pedals, which usually means special shoes. You also have fenders and an enclosed, waterproof brake for when it rains, and you also have cheap, simple, easy-to-replace sprockets....the front wheel can really splash the chain full of gritty water or simply kick up sand into the chain even when it's dry.

    The downside is it's slow, and your legs won't get as much training as if you had a bike with foot retention that let you pull up on the pedals, such as clipless pedals or clips & straps. I also changed out the pullback handlebar for a straighter MTB bar which put more weight over the front wheel and made it handle better, but some like the laid back position.

    There are gently rolling hills where I live, (plus it's the windy city) and I had to get stronger in order to cope with them, but since doing so, a singlespeed or a cruiser is plenty good enough.

    I hear cycling pros train on singlespeeds or fixed gears. I like to do group rides but if I was riding just for fitness I would probably have just a singlespeed. The performance is a little lower but not much.

    You don't really need the suspension fork on a hybrid. If you were to get a singlespeed, it would be easy to go between a road or an upright configuration just by changing bars and stem and maybe brake levers. So if you wind up hating the road configuration, you can change to hybrid or vice versa.
     
  3. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Seeing as you are a runner that is looking to get into cycling who may get into a duathon in the future you may be better off getting a road bike. Although there are hybrids available that offer a good level of performance that would be worth looking into.Cannondale | Recreation & Urban
    The link above is of a good hybrid bike that would allow you to also mount fenders and racks if you ever have the need. I only supplied the above link as a reference. Mostly all the major manufactures offer similar bikes. I would recommend that you avoid suspension forks if you plan on riding on the road only. Good luck and hopefully you get a bike that works out well for you.
     
  4. Crazymike

    Crazymike New Member

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    Runners convert very well to cycling.
    So, how soon is your plan for the Duathalon? You see, if you want to enter a race by next year, maybe forego the hybrid and get used to the road bike.
    It is my experience that runners riding with a club are happiest with a road bike.
    However if money is no object go ahead and by a hybrid but do not expect to be competitive in a duathalon on a hybrid.
     
  5. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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  6. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    P.S. Don't forget to do a few online fit calculators. That's the most important factor to liking the bike you get.
     
  7. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    +1
     
  8. rawhite1969

    rawhite1969 New Member

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    I switched from running to cycling last fall. Started on a CX/Road bike, which I rode for about 6 months and even with a fitting was never comfortable. Am now riding a hybrid on which I'm riding faster, further and more often. It simply fits my body better and make it more enjoyable.

    I'd suggest you try riding both before making the investment. You'll always have to put money into the bike for components that fit you better so factor that in.

    The best type of bike is the one that you enjoy riding. :)
     
  9. Crazymike

    Crazymike New Member

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    Road bikes, are as different from each other as they are different from a hybrid or a mountain bike.
    A cannondale will ride and feel different from a Trek or from a Cervelo or Pinnarello etc.etc.... That is why there are so many models to choose from.
    I suppose the same can be said for hybrids and mtb's.
    However, If you want to be competitive in a road bike race(or duathalon) I still suggest that you look into road bikes. However, if possible try a few different models.
    If you are in contact with a person that rides a hybrid in a race, I guess you would need to know their success rate? Ask are they competing against others in the race that are on hybrids?
     
  10. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    Look into Cyclocross bikes as well. They will give you good pavement performance, yet have a bit more durability on rough road surfaces (should you encounter them), and also leave you the option to still hit the dirt. Most have some provisions for fenders should you desire to add them.

    I ended up with a Cyclocross bike after a bunch of research this spring, and I am loving it. 90% of my miles are paved roads (up here in Ohio the roads get punished in the winter) and the performance has been impressive. The bike is stiff and fast on nice pavement and handles the rough stuff well. Love that I can still do some dirt as well. Most also have interrupter brakes on the horizontal portion of the bars which is a nice feature for general use.
     
  11. billydonn

    billydonn New Member

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    Count me in the road bike camp. For longer rides you benefit from the extra hand positions that are available with drop bars. I'm guessing wind is a factor in your area too, so if you can get used to riding in the drops (lower part of handlebars) you will benefit a lot from that position.

    One other option is a cyclocross bike, which is basically a road bike that can take fatter tires. This is a big help if there are bumps or rough pavement involved, or an occasional surprise section of dirt or gravel around. And the ride is a bit smoother with 28 or 32mm tires.

    And +1 on the careful fit.
     
  12. TKOS

    TKOS New Member

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    I'd have to say the cyclocross option as well, is a great idea. The Kona Jake the Snake is very popular. I have a few friends riding it and they can keep up in group rides. Plus it allows you to add fenders and racks later on for use as a commuter bike. Or heck, even for racing in a few cyclocross events (they can be a blast).

    Chances are if you don't want to spend too much now, you may wish to in the future. So picking something now that is more multipurpose may be a good idea. If you get big time into Du's or even Tri's you may want an aero TT style bike, so it isn't a bad idea to have a decent all around bike for casual rides, group rides, or even bad weather rides.
     
  13. Johnrobinson

    Johnrobinson New Member

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    I have to say for sure go for a road bike. I have had both, and I think for what you say you are going to do, don't consider anything but a roadbike. I bought a hybrid because I just did not know any better. I was intimadated by the drop bars, and they just looked uncomfortable. To the contrary, you actually get more hand positions with drop bars. I have found that there is no comparison for long comfort such as centuries. Want to go faster, again go with the road bike. I can go on and on, but take it from me. Do not buy a hybrid if you are thinking about a road bike, you will end up upgrading the more you get into it, so save yourself the hassle of upgrading later, and get what you really want. A good roadbike. Make sure you get set up with a good fit as well.
     
  14. TKOS

    TKOS New Member

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    The really nice thing though about the true cyclocross bike is that it has the extra set of brake levers. That allows you the ultimate amount of hand positions. It is nice to truly "sit up" on a bike when in town, especially when you are new and uncomfortable.
     
  15. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    X2. Having come from a mountain bike I end up using the interrupter levers all the time, especially in more relaxed riding or when on the dirt, as the control is a bit more predictable. These will be a great benefit for those not used to riding in the drops as well.
     
  16. BeginnerCycling

    BeginnerCycling New Member

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    I also agree that, given your purposes, a road or cyclocross bike would probably be best. Try one out at a local bike shop to be sure it's o.k. for you.
     
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