Road Bike -v- Hybrid

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Flinders
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Flinders » 25 Aug 2016, 8:39pm

The utility cyclist wrote:................ 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.


I can't comment on trail riding, I only ride on roads, but I don't think I could cope with flat bars, they look so odd and seem to put riders in such a strange (to me) position, and drop bar riders I know say that flat ones take a bit of getting used to and they wouldn't use them on the road, only on tracks.
I suspect it depends on what you do, where you do it and what you're used to. I learned to ride a bike on drop bars, that's all I know. But one friend prefers the flat bars on her hybrid as she finds the drop bars on her road bike too twitchy. That might be the case for the OP.

Flinders
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Flinders » 25 Aug 2016, 8:42pm

Si wrote: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.


That's about it!
My old dad tells me he used to have something he described as 'half drops' when he was a lad (1930s - 40s I should think). By the description, drop bars with a drop that is shallower top to bottom and which comes out sideways. Ive never seen anything like that.....but it sounds interesting!

Richard D
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Richard D » 25 Aug 2016, 8:53pm

Hybrids are for people who haven't discovered that they should have purchased a road bike, but who will work it out sooner or later.

I know I did. I hate riding mine. I had to use it for about six weeks earlier this year, when returning after an injury and the road bike demanded more flexibility and confidence than I possessed. But - just as happened five years ago when I started cycling - both came back to me within weeks, and now my hybrid returns to its proper place (at the back of my shed, kept just in case my road bike has to be taken out if use for maintenance).

Flinders
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Flinders » 25 Aug 2016, 10:36pm

Richard D wrote:Hybrids are for people who haven't discovered that they should have purchased a road bike, but who will work it out sooner or later.

I know I did. I hate riding mine. I had to use it for about six weeks earlier this year, when returning after an injury and the road bike demanded more flexibility and confidence than I possessed. But - just as happened five years ago when I started cycling - both came back to me within weeks, and now my hybrid returns to its proper place (at the back of my shed, kept just in case my road bike has to be taken out if use for maintenance).

It just depends on the person. Like I said, one of my friends has both and pretty much only rides the hybrid, even on roads. She finds riding the road bike just more scary (her description). I've only ever had a narrow tyre road bike or drop bar tourer so I don't understand that feeling, but I accept that's how it is for her; she has experience of both and is happier with the hybrid even on the road. There's no right and wrong, just what suits each person is different.

andrewk
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby andrewk » 26 Aug 2016, 1:18am

Richard D wrote:Hybrids are for people who haven't discovered that they should have purchased a road bike, but who will work it out sooner or later.
Flinders wrote:I can't comment on trail riding, I only ride on roads, but I don't think I could cope with flat bars, they look so odd and seem to put riders in such a strange (to me) position, and drop bar riders I know say that flat ones take a bit of getting used to and they wouldn't use them on the road, only on tracks.
I suspect it depends on what you do, where you do it and what you're used to. I learned to ride a bike on drop bars, that's all I know..
[/quote]

I find it curious that countries with low and very low cycling participation rates eg.UK, USA & Australia seem to be wedded to drop bars whereas countries with high cycling participation rates favour flat bars eg. Holland, Denmark & Germany. Is this due to cycling being seen as more of a sport in low participation countries rather than as local transportation and leisure in high participation countries? Or is it merely an Anglo Saxon thing?

Back to the OP...Ignore the handlebar shape fetishists, go for whichever you find most comfortable, be they drops, butterfly bars or flat bars. Do insist on test riding candidate bikes, some you might be able to quickly form a view on, others might require an hour's test ride. Bear in mind that you can tailor the handlebars' position through changing stem length, swapping to an adjustable stem or using a stem extension to raise the bars.

BTW both the Liv Thrive and Pinacle look to be fairly decent allrounders at that price point.
Last edited by andrewk on 26 Aug 2016, 1:26pm, edited 2 times in total.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby The utility cyclist » 26 Aug 2016, 3:00am

andrewk
Could you please change your quotes as you've aligned me with something I haven't said. That quote starting "I can't comment on trail riding..." that is what forum member 'Flinders' has said and was in response to my earlier comment.
thanks

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby The utility cyclist » 26 Aug 2016, 3:16am

Richard D wrote:Hybrids are for people who haven't discovered that they should have purchased a road bike, but who will work it out sooner or later.

I know I did. I hate riding mine. I had to use it for about six weeks earlier this year, when returning after an injury and the road bike demanded more flexibility and confidence than I possessed. But - just as happened five years ago when I started cycling - both came back to me within weeks, and now my hybrid returns to its proper place (at the back of my shed, kept just in case my road bike has to be taken out if use for maintenance).

That's a very narrow minded view-point regarding cycling. It's as if you know what every person who has ridden a bike is thinking?

I started out on a racing bike at around 13 BITD and continue to do so, I started riding a flat bar racing bike that came with mounts for racks/guards in 2001, it had the geo of a racing bike, handled like a race bike in every respect but actually was easier to handle more situations. I then purchased a flat bar 'hybrid' if you will, it does everything I need it to and beats modern 'gravel' bikes and the like into a cocked hat when it comes to flexibility of use yet I'm still able to reach 40+mph on downhill stretches and 30mph on a flat for a brief period. I can switch tyres for proper off road use/cycle up wet grassy banks of 25% no problem, why would one want to go to drop bars when they are so inferior.

People who haven't discovered decent hybrids will continue to deride everyone else who don't fit into the niche of what they think cycling is, can you now see how demeaning, pompous and actually just plain wrong your intial statement is?

Brucey
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Brucey » 26 Aug 2016, 8:56am

The utility cyclist wrote: .... I started riding a flat bar racing bike that came with mounts for racks/guards in 2001, it had the geo of a racing bike, handled like a race bike in every respect but actually was easier to handle more situations.....


I don't quite understand how something could both 'handle the same' and be 'easier to handle' all at the same time, but that aside I would say it is unusual for a frameset that is designed for flat bars to be built 'with race bike geometry'.

If they were mostly built this way then it would be easy to change handlebar shapes without upsetting the steering geometry. However IME this isn't very often the case.

The usual differences are that a modern frame designed for flat bars will tend to have

a) a longer top tube and
b) slightly more trail in the steering geometry

when compared with a frameset built for dropped bars. There are a few framesets that are primarily intended for dropped bar use but are built with high trail and you can change to flat bars on these frames without ending up with something that steers terribly (although it might well leave you with a very short riding position or a long stem). But if you take a low trail frameset (meant for dropped bars) and fit flat bars to it, you can easily end up with rather twitchy steering.

I think the difference in the steering (with handlebar shape) can arise from several possible sources, including

- that the tiller action is different (i.e. how far ahead of the steering axis the hands are placed)
- that the weight distribution is different (i.e. that the load on the front wheel is often less with flat bars in use)
- that the width of the handlebars is different (most flat bars are somewhat wider than most dropped bars, or at least are once you allow for where the hands are often placed on them).

You will note that none of the above things is guaranteed; i.e. they won't definitely occur with every rider/bike that changes handlebar shape. But you can see how you might end up thinking that you 'prefer one handlebar shape' when really you might have a frameset/bike that will only suit you if it is fitted with a particular handlebar shape.

I use flat bars on my MTBs and on my utility bikes; I wouldn't necessarily expect to be comfy all day long on either type of bike and on the road if I can get a lower riding position I'd expect to be a fair bit faster on a longer run because of the improved aerodynamics. With a good dropped bar setup I can choose to sit up and pootle or get on it a bit more if I want to ride fast. If I had a different collection of framesets/bikes, maybe I'd end up with more flat bars and less drops fitted to them (or the other way round), but the geometry of my riding position and my framesets would make fitting flats (or drops) to many of them a pretty dumb idea.

An example; I've long hankered after a rigid MTB type machine but with dropped handlebars. Of the twenty or so MTBs that I've owned (and experimented with as more road-based touring machines with slick tyres etc) only a couple of them have had a geometry that is really in any way suited to having dropped bars fitted. The rest all have had top tubes that are simply too long, so drops can't be sensibly fitted at all, or only with a stem that is very short, thus giving insufficient tiller (for the weight distribution/trail).

So people get very excited about handlebar shape but IMHO it is about as relevant as arguing about whether apples or cherries are a better fruit to have in a dessert; there is a nutritional difference there for sure (and that can be important) but some folk will prefer one to another regardless and furthermore each will work differently when used in combination with other things.

cheers
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Mick F
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Mick F » 26 Aug 2016, 8:57am

Brucey wrote: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

+1

The variations are seemingly infinite, not just "symmetrically", but you can have either hand in any of the positions. I frequently have one hand on a drop, the other on a top for instance.

It's not just hand-holds that make the difference, but the body and arm positions too.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Vorpal » 26 Aug 2016, 9:03am

The utility cyclist wrote: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.

I assure you that there is definitiely more pressure on the base of my thumbs using flat bars than drops, especially when braking. If I ride on flats for any length of time, especially on a rough surface, it gets even worse. So does braking for long periods, like a long downhill. I have sometimes been to the point where I had to stop and rest, only because the base of my thumbs hurt so much, I couldn't use the brakes anymore (60 miles off road on rough surfaces w/o suspension). Suspension helps considerably, but drops are better.
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andrewk
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby andrewk » 26 Aug 2016, 9:33am

The utility cyclist wrote:andrewk
Could you please change your quotes as you've aligned me with something I haven't said. That quote starting "I can't comment on trail riding..." that is what forum member 'Flinders' has said and was in response to my earlier comment.
thanks


Done, sorry, my mistake.

geocycle
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby geocycle » 26 Aug 2016, 1:03pm

Personally I prefer flats for touring and commuting. I like bar ends to give extra positions and for out of the saddle use, but find the ergonomics of braking much better on flat bars. Contrary to a view expressed above I think a lot of folk who have bought 'road' bikes recently would have actually been much better with hybrids or a german/dutch style tourer. Horses for courses I suppose. Aesthetically drop bar bikes look much better!

andrewk
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby andrewk » 26 Aug 2016, 1:39pm

geocycle wrote:Personally I prefer flats for touring and commuting. I like bar ends to give extra positions and for out of the saddle use, but find the ergonomics of braking much better on flat bars. Contrary to a view expressed above I think a lot of folk who have bought 'road' bikes recently would have actually been much better with hybrids or a german/dutch style tourer. Horses for courses I suppose. Aesthetically drop bar bikes look much better!


Aesthetically drop bar bikes definitely do look much better...IMO nothing comes close to some of the old Mercian narrow tube, lugged frame bikes. There was an artistry to bicycle design in those days which seems to be generally absent now. However amongst contemporary offerings some of the Van Nicholas bicycles are very pretty.

nirakaro
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby nirakaro » 26 Aug 2016, 2:45pm

Brucey wrote: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.

Wow, I'm impressed - I like my drops, but I only find four positions on the top section. Can you be specific Brucey?

Brucey
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Re: Road Bike -v- Hybrid

Postby Brucey » 26 Aug 2016, 4:27pm

here are a few
Image

in addition to which there are various knuckle grips, thumb hooks, palm rests, wrist rests, and grips with turned wrists eg

Image

-each of which has multiple variants.

De Vlaeminck's position above at first looks awkward but is both aero and allows the arms to do little work (provided you have the saddle setback correct for your level of effort) . Because the elbows are flexed, and pedalling Is vigorous enough to keep much load off the saddle, the bike can 'float' better over rough surfaces. De Valeminck was a master at riding classics such as Paris Roubaix, where being able to ride swiftly and comfortably over the roughest surfaces was a priority.

cheers
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