Specific "geometry" differences between road & hybrid

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Mike Jacobs, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. Mike Jacobs

    Mike Jacobs New Member

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    I'm considering a new bike and looking for intel from cyclists who have experience with both hybrid and road bikes. For reference, I'm now riding a Trek 7700 stock except for road tires (25) and climbing bars for added reach/lower position. All opinions welcome, of course!

    Is 27 lbs heavy for a large (22.5" frame) road bike?

    Where are the "geometry" differences between road bikes and a hybrid I read about? FYI, I've overlayed pictures of various road bikes and my bike is "generally in line" with the general road bike frame shape and wheel base. Some road bikes are nearly identical, it appears, but there are a LOT of different road bike geometries out there.

    How have you found these geometric differences make a difference on Century rides? Did you miss "sitting up" on the hybrid vs. the more aero position on the hoods?

    FYI my 22.5" (BIG frame) Trek 7700 hybrid with road tires weighs 27 lbs before water, blowout kit and me. I stay comfortably with my weekend group, pulling my share, for 30+ miles averaging 16 mph but generally at 20 or so. I'm always up for 40 miles, too.

    Yet I dropped out of the Snowbird Century (100 mile) at 77 miles this weekend. I have LOTS of excuses, but I feel I should have made it. Love the bike - especially switching to wider tires on rail-trails or levees - and only have room for one!
     
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  2. SEAcarlessTTLE

    SEAcarlessTTLE New Member

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    There are indeed lots of different-style drop-bar bikes out there, and some of them (e.g., touring and cyclocross bikes) tend toward a more upright riding position than racing bikes. (I'm assuming you're not considering the rather specialized position that time trial and triathlon bikes put you in.)

    Seat and head tube angles, fork rake, cockpit length (a function of not only top tube length but also stem and bar setup), bottom bracket height...all of these can affect the riding position, handling, and feel of a bike. You'll probably find some differences between your bike and various road bikes if you take a close look. Numbers aside, trying a road bike is, I think, the best way to get a feel for how they differ.

    Another thing I notice is that the 7700 has a suspension fork, and my first reaction to that is, yuck! I don't like the mushy feel when sprinting and climbing and don't mind if the ride is a bit bumpier with a rigid fork.

    Anyway, I've ridden both a hybrid and a 'cross or light touring bike (Bianchi Volpe). I've only done a few flat centuries (on the 'cross bike with skinny tires), and what I appreciated most was the drop bars. I've gotten comfortable with no fewer than six different hand positions, varying in weight distribution (bum vs. hands), aerodynamics, and control. When my wimpy arms or wrists got tired, I could move them around and ride on the tops. When my bum got a bit achy, I could grab the ends of the drops or rest on top of the hoods and take a little weight off my backside.

    Don't be discouraged... 77 miles is nothing to sniff at, especially if you had some hills along the way---not familiar with Snowbird---but even if not. Hope you enjoyed the ride, and good luck with your next one. The weather's only getting better...
     
  3. Mike Jacobs

    Mike Jacobs New Member

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    Right - just fitness and training for a few Centuries a year.
    Hmmm... I can imagine that the differences really add up. My transposing images isn't really good enough for comparision, is it?
    I can lock/unlock while riding, so it actually works well for variable road conditions - road bike riders all complained about a 25 mile segment with a bad "rash" but when I unlocked the difference was incredible. I took some air out of the seatpost for that, too.
    Haven't really considered drops as a significant amenity for long rides - I'm working on reducing a bit of a gut so a lower position (tried an aerobar) isn't comfortable. Sounds like more motivation to work it off!
    No hills - WIND. 15-25 mph into our face on the way home, but it seemed to pick up more over flat, bare earth with no windbreak. A small flock of sparrows parallel to me could not fly into this wind! It was the last 20 miles grinding through making 10 mph or less that ended me. (Thanks for the encouragement and letting me rant my excuses again).

    THANKS for the feedback. I see two "new" issues for me - the little changes in geometry add up significantly, and the drop position is a benefit on long rides (I thought they were only for speed).
     
  4. SEAcarlessTTLE

    SEAcarlessTTLE New Member

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    Regarding comparing images, yeah, you'll only really notice big differences that way, even with hi-res. images. Comparing the numbers in geometry charts, however, while not quite as intuitive, might be a bit more informative. In either case, you need to be careful to be comparing the appropriately sized frame of each model.

    About drop bars...yeah, not just for racers but a boon for distance riders. Also, don't assume that drop bars will have you bent over uncomfortably. You could have your road bike outfitted (at least initially) flexibly with respect to bar height by getting an angle-adjustable stem and/or making sure not to cut the steerer tube short before settling on stem height. (Height adjustments were kinda easier on older quill stems for threaded headsets, but I digress...) I understand, however, that there are some pretty crappy angle-adjustable stems out there, so maybe do some homework before buying and be prepared to consider it a temporary setup, until you arrive at a happy stem angle.

    p.s. Handy to be able to lock the suspension fork while riding... I admit that didn't occur to me.
     
  5. SEAcarlessTTLE

    SEAcarlessTTLE New Member

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    Ugh...that sounds miserable. Headwinds are what riding buddies are for! :)
     
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