Road Bike -v- Hybrid

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
tracy303
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Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby tracy303 » 23 Aug 2016, 5:08pm

Hi All

I currently own a Trek MTB but seem to be doing more road cycling than anything else. Its a good bike for its purpose but road riding, especially hills, are a bit challenging to say the least. I borrowed a Giant Rapid (road bike) from a friend at the weekend and realised that a road bike was so much easier for getting up hills. However, I do still do some track riding so think that I might benefit from a hybrid. That said, I am a bit overwhelmed by the choice available.

My basic requirements are for a light bike, preferably with disk brakes, preferably designed for a female as I am only 5ft 2in, but is capable of doing some fairly light track riding. I was recommended, by a cycle shop, the Giant Liv Thrive 1, which was a fabulous bike to ride, but I am not too sure that it would be any good on gravelly tracks. The lady in the shop said I could could put more knobbly tyres on it, but I have been told since that I am unlikely to get knobbly tyres that would fit a road bike.

Can anyone recommend the perfect bike?

Thanks.

Brucey
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Brucey » 23 Aug 2016, 6:24pm

if you say 'track riding' out of context some (many) people will think you mean in a velodrome. If you say you want to ride unsurfaced roads, trails and bridleways that will make more sense.

If you take the giant liv thrive and fit it with skinny tyres, it will be almost as swift as a flat barred road bike, but almost equally ill-suited to going on unsurfaced roads.

If you fit it with the widest tyres possible (do check, but on a 'Thrive' I think it is about 35mm wide from memory) with some kind of a tread to them, you will get on fine on bridleways, but the bike will be a fair bit slower on the road.

The point is that the performance of the bike on different surfaces is to some extent defined by the tyres you use. You can get wide tyres that run easily, but they will have little or no tread on them; fine on dry gravel, but nearly useless on anything like a slightly muddy trail.

The other point you might like to note is that, on the road, the vast majority of the effort you expend is against air resistance and most of that comes from you, the rider. Dropped handlebars offer more riding positions and more to the point, more aerodynamic riding positions.

For that reason I'd suggest you also look at the Liv Invite models; these have shorter top tubes than the Thrive models, so when you are riding on the tops, you can have a slightly more upright position than with the Thrive model, but you also have drops for getting aero too. An 'invite' is a much more capable bike.

If you were to ask me what the drawbacks of such machines are, I'd say there are two or three drawbacks;

1) IIRC these bikes are either fitted with hydraulic discs or mechanical discs depending on the model. Hydraulic discs are fine until they go wrong; when they do, it is usually simpler (and cheaper in terms of labour cost) to replace the brake complete. Mechanical discs are easier to repair when they go wrong, but vary enormously in how easy they are to adjust as the pads wear.

2) Both Invite and Thrive models have very steep seat angles. You may find that you cannot get the saddle back far enough (not without changing the seat pin for one with more layback), and that any riding position is then throwing your weight onto the handlebars more than is strictly necessary.

3) These bikes have quite stiff frames and forks. They are stiff for two reasons; a) the frames are aluminium and b) they are fitted with disc brakes, which impose greater loads on the fork than rim brakes do. This is not to say that all rim-braked bikes have more flexible, more comfortable frames and forks, but they can do.

BTW the traditional solution to your needs is 'a touring bike'. However most current off-the-peg touring bikes (esp in your size) are somewhat overbuilt. You would be amazed at how many keen lady cyclists have had frames specially built for them, so that they fit right and are not overbuilt. Anyone who is lightly built and less than about 5'-4" will usually benefit from this.

Of current touring bikes, those made by Spa Cycles are pretty good in smaller sizes, so well worth a look. They are working on disc-braked models right now (Colin 531 will tell you all about it) but these are unlikely to ride quite as well under all conditions as the current rim-braked models.

hth

cheers
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irc
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby irc » 23 Aug 2016, 6:50pm

Something like this perhaps worth considering.

Pros

Sold by Evans - a national chain. They should be able to order one in your size to check fit before buying.

Low gears for using on tracks.

Tyres supplied - 38mm wide are a suitable width for mixed use on road and track.

Decent components.

Cons -

Disc brakes. Though many people like them. Not a biggie.

No rack or mudguards but can have the fitted.

https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-li ... e-EV244096

tracy303
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby tracy303 » 24 Aug 2016, 9:57am

if you say 'track riding' out of context some (many) people will think you mean in a velodrome. If you say you want to ride unsurfaced roads, trails and bridleways that will make more sense.

If you take the giant liv thrive and fit it with skinny tyres, it will be almost as swift as a flat barred road bike, but almost equally ill-suited to going on unsurfaced roads.

If you fit it with the widest tyres possible (do check, but on a 'Thrive' I think it is about 35mm wide from memory) with some kind of a tread to them, you will get on fine on bridleways, but the bike will be a fair bit slower on the road.

The point is that the performance of the bike on different surfaces is to some extent defined by the tyres you use. You can get wide tyres that run easily, but they will have little or no tread on them; fine on dry gravel, but nearly useless on anything like a slightly muddy trail.

The other point you might like to note is that, on the road, the vast majority of the effort you expend is against air resistance and most of that comes from you, the rider. Dropped handlebars offer more riding positions and more to the point, more aerodynamic riding positions.

For that reason I'd suggest you also look at the Liv Invite models; these have shorter top tubes than the Thrive models, so when you are riding on the tops, you can have a slightly more upright position than with the Thrive model, but you also have drops for getting aero too. An 'invite' is a much more capable bike.


Wow, thank you for all your advice. Yes, you are quite right, by track riding I did mean, unsurfaced roads, trails and bridleways. I also note your comments about the Thrive that it would be possible for put slightly bigger tyres with some tread, so albeit I would be a bit slower on the roads, I think I could still benefit more than I do current on my Trek MTB. The fact that the Thrive is considerably lighter would give me a significant advantage I would think.

The one reason that I was trying to avoid dropped handlebars is because I have a little bit of arthritis in my left thumb. My Trek has really upright handlebars which is brilliant in a lot of respects because I can, most of the time, simply rest my left hand on the handlebar without putting pressure on the base of my thumb. However, I am currently borrowing a friend's Giant Rapid (a man's bike which is really far too big for me anyway), but I noticed that because I was automatically forced to lean forwards, I was having to put a lot more pressure on my thumb joint, so I really need to make sure that whatever bike I get avoids this issue. Therefore, as you say, the Liv Thrive and Invite models may not be ideal because you have already said that they tend to push all your weight forwards, which probably would not be ideal for me. I did try out the Thrive briefly in a shop and did not notice this issue, but I think I would need to take it for a longer ride to really see what the effect was.

I am now more confused than ever those over rim -v- disc brakes. I was reading a different article on here last night and most people are saying that disc brakes are not necessarily the best. The reason I was looking at disc brakes was because I often find, even after just having my bike serviced, that the pads get stuck on the rim. I do not always notice this immediately, so I end up riding a bike with the brakes semi-on and end up working far harder than I should have been. I just assumed that disc brakes would avoid this issue, but I may have been over simplifying things and it is probably that I should be looking after my rim brakes better.

I did have a look at the Spa Cycles but I think they may be a little out of my price range. I was hoping to keep the bill under £700.

Thank you so much for all your advice.

Tracy

tracy303
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby tracy303 » 24 Aug 2016, 10:03am

Pros

Sold by Evans - a national chain. They should be able to order one in your size to check fit before buying.

Low gears for using on tracks.

Tyres supplied - 38mm wide are a suitable width for mixed use on road and track.

Decent components.

Cons -

Disc brakes. Though many people like them. Not a biggie.

No rack or mudguards but can have the fitted.


The Pinnacle looks like it could be a good bike for me. My only concern is that it seems to suggest it is more leaning towards MTB but the weight is pretty good at 11.4kg. That would certainly be considerably lighter that my current bike. The price point certainly seems good. I am not too sure about the colour scheme, but hey, that is not a major consideration.

I can easily fit a rack and mudguards.

Thank you.

Tracy

belgiangoth
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby belgiangoth » 24 Aug 2016, 11:35pm

I agree with brucey, but in less words.
I would recommend the drop bar option, it will be more comfortable.
If you want to ride canal paths etc then you may want wider tyres. Worth noting that I know lots of people who ride paths and trails on 25mm rubber, so depending on you, you may not need 35mm tyres (but they will still seem small compared with mtb tyres).
Go to a shop and try a 5-10 mile loop on a tourer and a "cyclocross"* bike, compare with the road bike and the hybrid.

*: chances are it will not be a cross bike, but a lighter tourer marked as being a bit faster.
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The utility cyclist
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby The utility cyclist » 25 Aug 2016, 12:56am

A point on tyre clearance of the Giant Liv Thrive, I'd suggest there's plenty of scope for larger tyres than the 28mm fitted.
I'd also say from a tracks and trails handling POV you'll want a flat bar not a drop bar bike. That doesn't mean compromise on the road/tarmac either.
Westbrook cycles have an XS ladies Live Thrive which is recommended for your height and is on sale.
https://www.westbrookcycles.co.uk/giant ... 16-p290506
Image Attachments
live thrive front.JPG
liv thrive tyre space.JPG

Vorpal
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Vorpal » 25 Aug 2016, 9:09am

tracy303 wrote:The one reason that I was trying to avoid dropped handlebars is because I have a little bit of arthritis in my left thumb. My Trek has really upright handlebars which is brilliant in a lot of respects because I can, most of the time, simply rest my left hand on the handlebar without putting pressure on the base of my thumb. However, I am currently borrowing a friend's Giant Rapid (a man's bike which is really far too big for me anyway), but I noticed that because I was automatically forced to lean forwards, I was having to put a lot more pressure on my thumb joint, so I really need to make sure that whatever bike I get avoids this issue.

I am now more confused than ever those over rim -v- disc brakes. I was reading a different article on here last night and most people are saying that disc brakes are not necessarily the best. The reason I was looking at disc brakes was because I often find, even after just having my bike serviced, that the pads get stuck on the rim. I do not always notice this immediately, so I end up riding a bike with the brakes semi-on and end up working far harder than I should have been. I just assumed that disc brakes would avoid this issue, but I may have been over simplifying things and it is probably that I should be looking after my rim brakes better.

I would encourage you to try some bikes with drop handlebars. I have arthritis in the base of my thumbs, and I find the position to be much more comfortable on the hoods (my hands on the tops of the shifters/brake levers) than anyplace on flat handlebars. The reason for that is that on the hoods, my hands are in a more natural position. Even with some weight on my hands, there is no pressure on the base of my thumbs.

You might also consider some other alternatives, such as butterfly/trekking bars, north road, Jones H bar, or another handlebar that will put your hand in a more natural position. The normal position on flat bars will always have the potential to put pressure on the base of your thumb.

IMO, the biggest advantage of hydraulic disc brakes is not that they are better; as you say, the important thing for good braking is correct set-up and regular maintenance. However, what they are, is much easier to use. That is, it requires less squeezing strength to get the same braking with hydraulic disc brakes than any cable brakes, which is a big advantage with arthritis, especially after a long and/or hard ride.
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Flinders
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Flinders » 25 Aug 2016, 12:23pm

The reason I was looking at disc brakes was because I often find, even after just having my bike serviced, that the pads get stuck on the rim.


Why is that? is it because mud gets in-between on your off-road riding?

If not, there seems to me to be something very wrong indeed there. Rim brakes ought not to do that unless they are being obstructed by something, or aren't properly set up / tightened up. In Ye Olde Days before modern cables and blocks they used to need regular adjustment - I used to adjust mine about once a week when I commuted years ago and wear out a block at least once a year. These days, they are far more efficient at actual braking, and I often never have to touch them for months except to lubricate the pivots etc..

As a small rider (5') I've never had the slightest problem with rim brake power. I have drop bars but my brakes are set up with both traditional levers and crosstop levers, so I can brake as hard as I like in any hand position. I've always had plenty of brake power more than I needed. The crosstops are especially fierce, and need little force to use, and very little movement, not like the old extension bars used to be, where you could literally snap one off trying to brake if you were a heavy or fast rider, and all they'd do was slow you down a bit unless you used the full travel.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby The utility cyclist » 25 Aug 2016, 2:32pm

I'd have to disagree with the 'natural' position with respect to drop bars, how is it natural exactly? Having had two bad wrist injuries I can't say that riding a flat bar commuter/utility bike for 15 years has had any impact on my thumbs or creating additional pressure, certainly no more than my drop bar bikes.
There are in reality more options for hand positions on flat bar bikes then there are drop bars where there are only really two hand positions for those not racing, on the hoods and on the tops either side of the stem.
With bar ends and a set of good grips you have four hand positions that you can go to as well as being able to change how upright you are, you also have more control on a flat bar bike than you do drops, especially important for riding off road even if just on light trails and firm tracks.

The Liv thrive seems to fit everything the OP wants, light, room for wider tyres should they be required, mudguard/rack mounts, is also available in a ladies frame and sizing that meets her needs and is more than suitable for light off road as well as being a good tarmac option.

Brucey
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Brucey » 25 Aug 2016, 3:43pm

The utility cyclist wrote:...There are in reality more options for hand positions on flat bar bikes then there are drop bars where there are only really two hand positions for those not racing, on the hoods and on the tops either side of the stem....


I don't think so, not at all.

cheers
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Si
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Si » 25 Aug 2016, 4:17pm

Well, I can't use the drops on dropped bars (unless they are mounted really high) but I can find three positions that are sufficiently different to ease the bit that was aching in the other positions. Or even four if I do the silly thing with wrists on the bars holding the STI cables....wouldn't recommend it. Or five if with non-aero levers.

Likewise, on a flat bar with L bar ends I can find at least four positions.

After years of using both and seeing other people set up their bars to make things as uncomfortable as possible, my conclusion is: there is no universal answer - you just gotta try all the alternatives and go for the one that works for you personally....just like finding a saddle that works for you.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby The utility cyclist » 25 Aug 2016, 8:16pm

Brucey wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:...There are in reality more options for hand positions on flat bar bikes then there are drop bars where there are only really two hand positions for those not racing, on the hoods and on the tops either side of the stem....


I don't think so, not at all.

cheers

Do explain?
There are only two hand postions for the vast majority of non racing cyclists on drop bars as pointed out above.
You think so but aren't sure?
Do you think there is only one hand position on a flat bar with the bar ends as I've described above, please explain more clearly as your response contains no details.

Brucey
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Brucey » 25 Aug 2016, 8:29pm

well I regularly use at least half a dozen positions on the top section of the bars alone, and I know of others that I don't use. That's the whole point of dropped bars.

cheers
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Flinders
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Flinders » 25 Aug 2016, 8:33pm

On my drop bars I can have my hands in two different positions on the hoods (on the top of the hoods with the wrists up, or with my wrists more level and flat to the sides further back), on the straight bit of the drops, on the curved bit of the drops, and in a couple of positions (wrists down or flat) on the straight parts either side of the stem......
I have even been known to ride with my forearms on the bars, not my hands (though only for short distances of course!).
Plenty of choice there.
I've never had straight bars, people always look a bit awkward on them to me, but if it suits them, that's great. But I can't see how there can be a bigger range of hand positions on a straight bar.