Am I likely to have trouble with a 'proper' road bike?

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Well-Known Member
Appreciate this may be one most/all of you aren't able or even willing to put an answer on but I'll ask all the same.

Currently I have a hybrid bike. I'd thought about replacing it with a road bike last year but then other things got in the way which delayed it probably until next year or the year after tbh.
My concern is whether I'll likely have too much trouble with a road bike, whether I'll be better off on a road bike or whether I'll be no different with a road bike.

Where I'm coming from is this - occasionally I get discomfort in my elbow due to the fact when I was a kid, I was misdiagnosed & story short I had a dislocated elbow which had gone on too long & needed operating on. Knock on effect of that is I had a portion of the radial head removed which means I can't fully straighten my arm. It's not like I'm locked at right angles. If I hold my arm out you probably wouldn't notice it but if I said look at this now look at that then you'd see it cocks in a few degrees.

For the (nearly) 30 years that have passed since then I've been mostly fine. It gives me very little or even no grief at all.
Cycling though is something I've found that can trouble it. Not always but it can. This weekend gone has been particularly troublesome. 50 mile Friday, 40 mile Sunday & 30 mile today & I'm certainly feeling it - but then I never bike this much in that kind of time frame.

So with me being on a hybrid (Trek FX2) I'm on flat bars. If I make the move to a 'proper road bike' then I'm on drops.

Unfortunately I don't know of anyone where I can say hey can I get a loan of your bike for a while - hence me being here trying to see what others would reckon.

What do you think?


Slippery scientist
It is impossible for us to make any recommendation, however we can offer suggestions. Mine is that one clear difference will be your hand position relative to your arm - on a ‘proper’ road bike with drop handlebars you will tend to hold either the drops or the hoods, both of which put your hand in a ‘fore-and-aft’ position relative to the bike and road. Your current hybrid no doubt has flat bars and your hands sit across the bike. Whether this improves or affects your elbow is impossible to predict.

You could try some bar-ends on your current bike to see if this makes any difference - it’s a cheaper experiment than a new bike.


I think you will be fine on a road bike.

Many newer endurance road bikes have a similar geometry to a hybrid.

Only giving the option of the hoods / drops if you want to change position and go faster.


Cynical idealist
What do you do with a bike? Transport, daily shopping, carting stuff about, toy for weekends. Not many bikes will do all of the above. Most importantly get something that fits correctly and you generally get what you pay for.

All uphill

Still rolling along
Difficult to tell, as you say.

I'm not clear what it is you want to achieve. Comfort? Speed?

Maybe worth buying a secondhand bike to try and get used to. Something like the ten year old Felt i recently bought for £200; it will still take a bit of getting used to after riding a flat bar bike.


Legendary Member
just to add to above, you might benefit from a bike fit to ensure you take as much weight off the arms as you can. A good shop can guide you or recommend someone. Typically this involves shifting your centre of gravity back and having the bars high.

There is also an adjustment period when going to drops, including readjusting your learned memory of where the controls are and building up core strength if you are more aggressively positioned. I also find myself leaning into corners more than steering around them As you do with wider bars.


I've ridden all my life using dropped bars, except for very brief periods of borrowing my daughters mtb for some bad weather commuting.

I've always had the hand positions with flat bars, very similar to riding on the brake hoods with drop bars and this position is how I do the bulk of my riding. I only use the drop position for rapid descents and cornering when greater control is needed.

So I would suggest take some measurements from your hybrid. Distance from the saddle nose to where you hold the bars, the go onto a bike shop and compare with a road bike. If there are largish variations, you will notice the difference, but a few centimeters should be tolerable.


self serving virtue signaller
Would have thought if anything a road bike likely to be better as you have a wider variety of positions available, but impossible to be sure without trying.

Can you borrow from someone to try?

Also +1 to the suggestion of bar ends on your current bike.

Big John

I for one (and I know a few others) never use the drops…

Me neither. I had a fixie a couple of years ago and the frame was a 24"...I'm normally a 25. Riding on the drops just 'felt' right and comfy. On the bikes I ride these days I'm on the hoods or just holding the tops. When I raced not many rode on the drops.


South Wales
I for one (and I know a few others) never use the drops…

I also hardly ever use the drops. I might go into them for a few minutes just to get a different position, but I probably have more rides where I don't go into the drops at all than ones where I spend even a couple of minutes in them.

On Topic - I switched form a hybrid to a road bike a couple of years ago. For the first day or two, the road bike felt incredibly twitchy, and I worried I might have got too good a bike for me, but it only took a few days to get used to it. And I find it generally much more comfortable on the hands and arms than the hybrid was.
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