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Hybrid or Road

9968 Views 11 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  FrostByte
Haven't had a bicycle in ages but want to get back into it.

I'm debating on what to get. I will be doing mostly street riding but there are some real rough areas in my commute where I will be in the rough dirt.

Can a road bike handle a small distance (.5 mile) of rough dirt or will I need a hybrid bike?
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To play it safe I would go hybrid, you cant avoid that .5 mile of dirt at all? If you could I would def go road bike.
You could also consider a cross bike or even a 29er mtn bike with semi slicks on it. A true road bike sucks on any type of rough/off road terrain. If you could avoid it then a road bike would be a good way to go. Lots and lots of options out there too. Are you just gonna be using it to commute or would it be ridden for other purposes too?
I regularly ride a trail that is 90% paved. The rest is packed mud and gravel (the Schuylkill River Trail in Philly). There is a street route that allows road bikes to get past the unpaved section (the towpath in Manayunk).

I got a hybrid mainly for use on this trail. I dislike the street section, as do some road bikers. Every time I take the tow path, I see at least one road bike with a flat tire.

A hybrid will not be as good as a road bike on pavement (heavier, and more rolling friction from the tires), nor as a off road bike on rough terrain (not as rugged), but they can do both very comfortably. I have not felt the urge to switch rides since I got my hybrid.
Dear Mr Sandberg

you need to get a Cannondale Bad Boy.

I don't have one but I want one too. I'm hoping that some Philanthropist will call me soon saying they are gifting me with one but so far the phone has not rung... (or rang as the case may be) for so long, I have contacted the phone company to see if it still works.

Why do I think you need the Bad Boy:

I had an awesome road bike but it got totaled and I was nearly killed.

then I had a no frills mountain bike. chrome molly frame, no suspension but it worked great for like 15 years then I sold it.

I really liked the mountain bike so I went for a better mouse trap and got an Iron Horse Maverick 3.0. this bike had an aluminum frame and front suspension. This was a good bike too. In fact I bought one for my dad as well who wanted to get back into biking (at 80!)

these bikes were good but frankly overkill for the majority of the riding that we did. I took mine off road like once in 2 years. On the road, they are stable and comfortable mainly due to the large tires, but kinetic energy is not transfered all that well.. you loose energy with the shocks and fat tires. the fastest I ever had that bike going was 42klms / h whereas the road bike went 62klms on a stretch (these are peaks). transporting the bikes was another thing too. so next we investigated folding bikes and bought three "Swiss Bikes" (Montague). Yes they folded and they were ok as well but besides being more expensive than comparable bikes, folding them and trying to stack them in a car or truck was like putting a puzzle together. I recall another guy pulling up with a 4 bike trailer hitch rack, hanging up his 4 bikes and gone by the time I got one bike into position to be able to accommodate the others. So shortly after our stint with the folders, they were gone too. I think they are more like a gadget than a well thought out bike. The frames were built in Taiwan, and the lower bearing on one of the bikes was never right from day one - made a frustrating clicking sound. I was nearly about to change it when they sold.

My brother also bought a Strida. This is a neat bike if you are in the city and planning to hop onto streetcars etc. Strida folds in seconds, weighs about 20L and takes up much less space. If you want a folding bike, I would recommend that over the folding mountain bikes. The FMBs are said to be portable, but in reality they are too heavy to carry and too large to carry onto a crowded subway etc.

Which bring me to Bad Boy (Ultra). This is a hybrid bike, has a single front shock that you can lock out. there are several versions, BB, (center pull brakes) BB "Disk" (disk brakes) and BB Ultra Disks and the shock.

It has great reviews all round but cost from 1000-1500 which is a lot of money to me, especially being as that I would have to buy one for my wife too, we usually buy bikes in pairs.

If anyone wants to donate a bike or two for a tax receipt, I need a "large" and she needs a "medium".

Meanwhile we are bike-less in the City. I was pondering buying a pair of used Renegade MB's that are for sale near us -- that would be taking us back to like 15 years ago.

there, I just saved you 20 years and the experience of trying everything.

so thats why YOU need a Bad Boy!

Note to Cannondale, I hope you will send me a commission or a pair of Bad Boys L & M for the good PR ;~)

best M/
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Hybrid vs. Road

I was in the same predicament this time last year and decided to buy a hybrid (Marin Muirwoods).

Happy with my decision, but find that I am on the 'road' 90% of the time. Have spent the last few months researching/debating whether or not to get a road bike, still havent decided.

But one thing I did do that made a nice difference is buy 26x1.25 tires to replace the standard 1.5 tires it came with. These new tires also have some kevlar in them that makes it more durable.

And by the way, I had 3 flats with the larger tires
Haven't had a bicycle in ages but want to get back into it.

I'm debating on what to get. I will be doing mostly street riding but there are some real rough areas in my commute where I will be in the rough dirt.

Can a road bike handle a small distance (.5 mile) of rough dirt or will I need a hybrid bike?
Depending on your budget, you might also consider a cyclocross bike, which would come with wider, more heavily treaded tires that are far more capable on dirt sections, and far more comfortable on rough sections (even paved). You might also look at more of a touring set-up, like a Trek 520, or Jamis Aurora. These bikes also come with wider tires (although not as knobby as typical 'cross tires) which, in combination with their longer chainstays and more relaxed geometry, make them more stable over rough terrain. They usually have a little longer steering head for a more upright riding position. They also tend to be designed for durability, but they will weigh more and you will lose some top speed and gain some rolling resistance. I ride a hybrid myself (Kona phd) and really like it, but I've put wider tires on it to make it a little more comfy. Hybrids are more amenable to this as they tend to have cantilever/V brakes which allow more clearance for wider tires. Good luck.
I'd also recommend a cross bike, they are pretty much a road bike that has been tweaked to be able to handle riding off road.
I ride in similar terrain, but can't resist the occasional off road excursion. I have a Specialized "Crosstrail", rides good on pavement and does ok off road. I am going to go to drop bars so I can get down out of the wind better and the flat bars give my wrists fits. I can keep up with the road bikes, have more trouble keepin up off road, probably the smooth tires, but I don't ride that much on the dirt.
Overall, I would recommend the hybrid, I absolutely love mine. It cost about $700 and it can be modified to more road or more dirt, depending on where your interests lie.
Good luck with your choice.
I am also a new rider, but have progressed from a Trek FX 7.3, to the 7.6. The 7.6 is a really great hybrid/road bike. But, not so much for road conditions as my own "need for speed," I traded to a Madone 4.5--and glad I did. Road conditions, if rough, favor the hybrid. Speed and different hand positions favor the road bike. My riding is all road/paved trail so I chose the road bike. I have a mountain bike for off road (which is a rare ride).
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