finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
ivory42
Posts: 4
Joined: 11 Jun 2019, 9:19pm

finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby ivory42 » 11 Jun 2019, 9:27pm

I'd be very grateful for opinions. For about 25 years I've been riding various cheap hybrids, most recently a Claud Butler classic, generally for 6 mile town commutes, but I've increasingly been cycling out in the countryside. This is something I'm going to do more and more of, and I'd like something that goes faster. Like many, I'm going the cycle to work route, which sets the budget. I want something that I can still commute on (rack and mudflaps) but which will zip along much quicker than I've been used to. Am I better off with a road bike like a Specialized Allez or Giant Contend, or a designated tourer like a Ridgeback Adventure Tour, which appeals more to me aesthetically? Very grateful for thoughts, and other suggestions. Many thanks!

Brucey
Posts: 33815
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby Brucey » 11 Jun 2019, 10:06pm

IMHO you can square this circle best by having two bikes; one for the commute and another for the weekend use. That way you are not wearing your nice bike to atoms in the daily grind and it isn't so likely to get nicked or pranged either.

This also allows you to have each bike optimised for its intended purpose; for example you can have puncture proof tyres on the commuting bike and something a good deal more lively on the weekender.

cheers
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531colin
Posts: 12380
Joined: 4 Dec 2009, 6:56pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby 531colin » 11 Jun 2019, 10:20pm

What will your weekend rides be?
On clean tarmac a road bike is faster, but they are less suitable for the occasional track/towpath etc.
If you are young, fit and strong the gearing and riding position of a road bike might well suit.....for the rest of us, the more relaxed position and lower gearing of a tourer are blessings. These days there are so many slightly different designations of bikes that my head spins.....

ivory42
Posts: 4
Joined: 11 Jun 2019, 9:19pm

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby ivory42 » 11 Jun 2019, 10:46pm

Thanks for those replies. I'm deep in my 50s and used to an upright position so I think a tourer's 'blessings' might be more suitable... Grateful for any recommendations.

Jamesh
Posts: 352
Joined: 2 Jan 2017, 5:56pm

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby Jamesh » 11 Jun 2019, 11:03pm

Budget?

Adventure flat white?

Roux 150 / 250?

Genesis equilibrium, cdf, cd tour....

Gravel bike - Raleigh Mustang, Kona rove, Cannondale topslate

Endurance road bike

Cannondale synapse, spez Roubaix

Just to give a scatter gun range.....

Cheers James

mattsccm
Posts: 2563
Joined: 28 Nov 2009, 9:44pm

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby mattsccm » 12 Jun 2019, 6:49am

Maybe something with a "gravel" label? look at the more roady end of the species. Very roughly a half way house between your hybrid and something like the Allez.
Evans do this sort of thing nicely or even Planet X to name two.

sylvestermorgan
Posts: 18
Joined: 11 Nov 2018, 9:23pm

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby sylvestermorgan » 12 Jun 2019, 8:32am

As others have said, sounds like you’re describing a gravel bike, which have something called a “more relaxed geometry”, which in English means that the top tube is shorter so you have a more upright/less extreme riding position, and a wider range of gears on the cassetee (11-32 is common), meaning that you can ride up walls (well almost!). They also have wider tyres (30mm or so) and disc brakes (so good in the wet). They also allow you to strap on mud guards, so very practical. I have a Specialized Diverge with a 9 speed Sora drivetrain, which is somewhat quicker than my old hybrid. My one regret is not shopping for a gravel bike with a better drivetrain – a £1000 should get you a 10 speed Tiagra. A couple of things that I noticed when I left behind my hybrid – the shift from 3 rings down to 2 confused me for a while, but I’m used to it now as well as not being able to see what gear I’m in – I have to look down at the cassette now.

ivory42
Posts: 4
Joined: 11 Jun 2019, 9:19pm

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby ivory42 » 12 Jun 2019, 9:30am

That's really helpful. Many thank for those. I'm finding my way through all these categories and specs. I don't know how long it will take to adjust to drop rather than flat handlebars. And yes, the gearing too.
I think I'm heading towards the Triban RC 520, which seems more road than gravel.

slowster
Posts: 643
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby slowster » 12 Jun 2019, 9:32am

I would suggest you look at the following bikes on Spa Cycles' website. I think Spa do not do Cycle to Work (or not the most widely used of the schemes), but the different types of bikes may help you get a better understanding and feel for what you want, and to identify similar bikes available under the C2W scheme that might suit you.

Steel Tourer

Steel Audax

The tourer will be a bit heavier, more suitable for lugging heavy loads if you decide you want to use panniers for touring (or shopping), and capable of taking wider tyres which makes it more suitable for including some tracks and bridleways in your rides.

The audax is essentially a fast tourer. It's a bit lighter (not least due to the carbon fork), and although it has eyes to mount a rear rack, it would be suited more to lighly laden touring (B&Bs etc.), and the side pull brakes limit the tyre width to (I think) 25mm, i.e. racing tyre width. It's a road bike and not really suited to including any off road tracks in your rides.

The audax will feel sprightlier and have that zip to which you refer, but ultimately what makes either bike go fast is the engine (you) which does not change with the bike. Put the same narrow tyres on the tourer and stick a rack and loaded saddlebag on both bikes, and the differences between them will be less marked when riding.

Sylverstermorgan has mentioned gravel bikes, and for comparison here are links to what are effectively Spa's two gravel bikes:

The Elan is very much in the mould of the modern idea of a gravel bike (titanium, carbon fork, disc brakes), but has a fairly tall head tube to allow the handlebars to be relatively high (not all gravel bikes will be like that). Sylvestermorgan mentions 30mm tyres, but that is narrow for a gravel bike: 32mm is the size you would expect an ordinary road touring bike to take. A gravel bike or touring bike intended for off road use with discs ought to be able to take much wider tyres than that, e.g. 35mm minimum and more like 40mm-45mm, and also have clearance for mudguards as well with those tyres.

The Wayfarer is not marketed as a gravel bike, but as a touring bike which is more suited to off road riding than the standard tourer linked above. It has disc brakes and clearances for 47mm tyres with mudguards, and is also capable of loaded touring with rear and front panniers. Being steel it weighs more than the Elan. That weight difference will probably be more pronounced in use, because the Elan is the sort of bike which encourages you to take a more minimal approach to carrying kit with you, whereas someone on a Wayfarer is more likely to have a saddlebag (or even a pannier or two) on the back.

sylvestermorgan
Posts: 18
Joined: 11 Nov 2018, 9:23pm

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby sylvestermorgan » 12 Jun 2019, 12:11pm

Yes, Slowster is right, you can have much wider wheels on a gravel bike than my factory fit 30mm. One thing to bear in mind is your intended use - if you do indeed fancy going touring and hence strapping on a pannier rack and bags then the length of the chainstays become important. The reason being that you need to be able to clear your heels of the pannier bags as you pedal. Touring bikes are definitely designed with this in mind, but i haven't really considered it for a gravel bike (may or may not be okay). Maybe others on here might know whether gravel bikes can handle panniers??

ivory42
Posts: 4
Joined: 11 Jun 2019, 9:19pm

Re: finally upgrading from clunky hybrid

Postby ivory42 » 13 Jun 2019, 7:36am

As I said, I'm going for the Triban RC520, which seems to be versatile enough for my needs. I wonder how long it's going to take to get used to gear shifting on drop handlebars... But thank you for your thoughts. I'm really impressed at the generosity and collegiality of seasoned cyclists.