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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Looking for some opinions on whether or not I'll need a hybrid bike for my daily commute. I am dreading making the wrong decision and ending up with an inefficient or poor bike! It will be my first significant bike purchase.

I will be riding to work (about 6 miles each way), but also riding for pleasure. I think I'll want something fairly fast, which makes me lean towards a road bike. However the conditions of the roads here really aren't the best. I imagine that I'll be riding over small cracks on side of the road for stretches. There are also some nicer roads for pleasure riding and I might be able to find an alternative route with nicer roads for my commute. I do not plan on riding offroad at all.

Like I said, I think speed will be important for me. I'd like to be able to get to work fairly quickly. I've read that hybrids can cut 5-7MPH off your average speed. That's a lot to lose when you're talking about riding 14-18MPH in the first place! However I don't want to buy a road bike if it can't tackle small cracks/ruts and an occasional pothole.

EDIT: I should also mention that the terrain around here is very hilly. I will be climbing or descending either a light or steep grade virtually everywhere I go. Another reason why I'm leaning towards a road bike.
 

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I'm not a fan of Hybrids, but they are the right bike for some people.
Every time I see one of my neighbors toodling around or riding to the ice cream parlor on their mountain bikes, I think, dude, ya shoulda gotta hybrid.

A "fitness" bike like the Trex FX or Specialized Sirrus is kinda on the middle ground. The riding position is less upright than a hybrid and have ridged fork instead of the heavy, crappy shocks. Depending on how much you want to spend, the higher end Fitness bikes are much like flat bar road bikes. But I never understood flat bar road bikes.
 

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Not to worry

ducksa said:
I don't want to buy a road bike if it can't tackle small cracks/ruts and an occasional pothole.
If you go heedlessly slamming hard into potholes you can damage any bike wheel or tire, but if you ride with some care, and have appropriate-sized tires, road bikes can handle all normal pavement conditons. Small cracks, etc, are no big deal.

The gentlemen pictured below are racing road bikes on cobblestones -- and they're going fast.
 

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Cylocross?

Oh, I just realized, based on the above picture. You could go with a cylocross bike perhaps?
I believe the LBS here in Massillon has the Entry level Trek Cylcocross for around $750.
They're equipped with a little bigger tyres, thicker gauge rims, spokes, hubs and a fatter fork.

I also noticed that one member had a review for his Cannondale touring2 bike, & recalled that he was able to drop some riders with his touring bike. That's how fast he was on it. Oh, & they're comfortable.
 

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Road Bike

Having once ridden a hybrid, my thought is, over the long run, you'll be happier with a road bike. It's faster, which means more fun, and it puts you in a riding position which is more powerful and streamlined.

Unless the roads you'll be riding on are abysmal, a decent road bike should be able to handle it. Keep in mind that the pros in Europe race over cobblestones in some areas.
 

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Cyclocross

based on the OP's description, I think that would be overkill. Unless his pavement is a real minefield, a road bike would do fine. That picture is not a cyclocross race, it's the Paris-Roubaix road race. Those are road bikes.
 

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This spring I bought my wife a specialized crossroads elite for her birthday as she didn't think she was ready for a road bike. 2 months later she wants a road bike. Do I regret the 400 and change I dropped on the hybrid? Not really, though it will get largly replaced by whatever, road bike she decides to purchase, it will still be used for cinder/grassy trails.
I would never recommend one for a more experience cyclist though as the compromises seem too great. I would rather consider a cyclocross bike if I was looking for a more sturdy versitile bike than your average road bike
just my $.02
 

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il miglior fabbro
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I ride 15 miles one way to work on a road bike, sometimes at great speed over streets that compare favorably to corduroy roads. If you opt for a road bike, I think the key is making sure you also get a sturdy set of wheels with it. I have Kysriums and, so far, they're bomb proof.
 

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Just Riding Along
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IMO, the most important decision is tires. The bike decision follows.

Unless your roads approximate third world conditions, a road bike should be fine. It would probably be better with a wider tire 25c if you're under 160 lbs or 28c if above.

Cross bikes allow (come with) wider tires and can be had dressed at entry level at pretty attractive prices.

Comfy road bikes (higher head tubes, longer chainstays, etc.) offer the performance of a road bike to mortals without the pro racer positioning. However many road bikes limit your tire width choice.

Until you said hills, I'd have recommended a Van Dessell Country Road Bob. Having said the H word, you need a bike with gears, Cannondale offers the Synapse series and Trek offers its Pilot series. Lots of other builders have the same ideas. Or you could get an "Urban" bike like a Trek Soho or Cannondale Road Warrier. Your commute is short. A flat bar bike won't slow you down materially and will save you some money and will handle wider tires.... FWIW, I'm not a fan of Bontrager low spoke count wheels; I'd avoid those like the plague for a commuter.
 

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ducksa said:
Like I said, I think speed will be important for me. I'd like to be able to get to work fairly quickly. I've read that hybrids can cut 5-7MPH off your average speed. That's a lot to lose when you're talking about riding 14-18MPH in the first place!
That seems pretty much impossible. I've never met a bike that would take someone from 14-18 MPH on down to 9-11 MPH... even a weight pig of a mountain bike with huge fat off-road tires ridden on-road wouldn't quite do that (though the loud road buzz from the knobbies might drive you insane...)

I'd question the validity of the source that told you that. About the only thing that can take 5-7 MPH off a typical road rider's speed is a hill or a pretty vicious headwind. A different style of bike won't do it... well, okay, maybe this one :lol: :







However I don't want to buy a road bike if it can't tackle small cracks/ruts and an occasional pothole.

EDIT: I should also mention that the terrain around here is very hilly. I will be climbing or descending either a light or steep grade virtually everywhere I go. Another reason why I'm leaning towards a road bike.
Sounds like you need a bike that can

1) Take wide tires (many road bikes can't, due to too-tight frame/fork clearances)
2) Has low gearing (many road bikes don't, at least not stock)

... while still being pretty fast.

Given that, I'd look around at the following:

1- Road bikes that come with triple chainrings and have clearance for at least 32C-width tires (not a ton of bikes like this, but perhaps some nice folks can suggest a few?)

2- Commuter/touring bikes (also known as/related to 'country bikes', 'all-arounders', 'cross bikes), like the Surly LHT (Long Haul Trucker), Surly Crosscheck, Rivendell Bleriot, etc. Bikes like these should give you what you want without slowing you down a ton. Be aware that not all of them use the traditional 700C road bike wheel size, though that's not really a big deal.


Oh, and it might be helpful if you told folks how much you wanted to spend. Good luck. :thumbsup:


.
 

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As mentioned above, take a look at a fitness bike. Its 1/2 way between hybrid and road bike. I'd say I lose 1-2mph over my road bike on my fitness (commuter) bike. Flat bars are great for getting around obstacles/traffic/etc and hopping curbs.
 

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As mentioned earlier, wheels and tires matter more than the bike frame. I ride a hybrid to work and it is fine. With similarly equipped tires and wheels a hybrid may be 1 mile an hour slower than a road bike at similar efforts-there will be more of a difference if you go with stock 35mm tires on a hybrid vs 23mm on a road bike, but really I'd just get what you like.
 

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Road Bike

My wife has a hybrid which occasionally I ride. It is a completely different riding experience compared to a road bike - and not very satisfying. The size and set up of both our bikes is similar enough that fit is not the issue. Eventually you will want a road bike, might as well get it now.
 

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Back in the day

In high school I wanted a bike and settled on a hybrid since my friend had one. It was 6 miles just to go around the block and going to someones house typically meant throwing your bike over barbed wire and riding past cows running over field rats. We would go on fire trails, gravel, timber stand roads, you name it. The next day we would go out for a 50 mile roundtrip to the next town. Heavy and slow, but so much fun.

Now I only ride road bikes and they are much faster. And I love the drop bars. But next week I get my cyclocross frame and I can't wait. On a road bike you are constantly paying attention to what the road looks like and always worried about flats. Maybe you wouldn't be able to ride on uneven sidewalk with a road bike. I've taken the raod bike on "walking" trails and you can do it. But with a cyclocross or hybrid bike you do it with ease.

If I only could have one bike it would be a cheap cyclocross bike. I'd purchase an extra wheelset and cogs and put road tires on them. Then I'd have something for commuting or offroad use and have something for the road.

But lets be realistic. My advise to you is:
1) Get bike
2) Ride
3) Have fun
 

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ducksa said:
Can anyone give me their thoughts on this Gavin bike? What makes it so cheap? Does it have the triple gearing or whatever that is good for hills?

http://roadbikes.gavinbikes.com/2009-DURUS-Aluminium-Road-Racing-Bike--Shimano-STI-p100.html

The company seems a bit sketchy, but I'm just not sure!
The cost is low, because it is a cheap bike. In every way. It has low end, heavy components all around.

"tripple" refers to how many chanrings are on the crank. the bike linked has two, both rather large, which may make some big hills tough for a new rider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
But aren't the Shimano 2200 components comparable to Sora? That's what I've been reading, but I have no idea if it is true. The Giant hybrid bike I am looking at is nearly $100 more and uses an Altus derailler which is supposed to be a step below Sora. It does have the triple crank though, which is great. As I've mentioned, there are TONS of hills around here.

I'm so confused :(
 

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ducksa said:
But aren't the Shimano 2200 components comparable to Sora? That's what I've been reading, but I have no idea if it is true. The Giant hybrid bike I am looking at is nearly $100 more and uses an Altus derailler which is supposed to be a step below Sora. It does have the triple crank though, which is great. As I've mentioned, there are TONS of hills around here.

I'm so confused :(
2200 falls a step below Sora.
 
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