Not sure whether to buy a hybrid or road bike

Anonymous1502

Well-Known Member
I have only ever had ridden hybrid bikes and spinning bikes. I want to buy my 1st own bike, I find road bikes very appealing but I have never ridden one. My family is very much against this as they think road bikes are uncomfortable and hard to manoeuvre in traffic.

I am confused and don't know what bicycle to buy as a result. Can anyone offer me some guidance?
 

vickster

Legendary Member
I actually find road bikes much better / easier in traffic because of the much narrower bars compared to the average hybrid/flat bar road bike. Especially when filtering
I also add cross lever/interrupter brakes to my drop bar bikes which I find easier in traffic and also provide a more upright position on the top of the bars vs. the hoods
Many drop bar bikes don’t have a head down arse up racing position.
When, where and how will you be riding. If you’re going to be using one all year round, get one that takes proper full length mudguards so you and the bike don’t get covered in muck on wet, mucky roads :okay:
What’s your budget?
 

SkipdiverJohn

Deplorable Brexiteer
Location
London
Drop bar bikes can be more manoeuvrable in traffic due to them being narrower and therefore able to fit through tighter gaps. However, they do not have such good traffic visibility as the riding position is less upright. For me this is their greatest shortcoming, and I would not use one for traffic jamming on a daily commute.
Comfort depends on what the bike was built for and how it is set up. Racers aren't generally built for comfort. Touring bikes, on the other hand, are specifically designed to eat up the miles with minimal fatigue. Given the crap state of the roads, especially heavily used and frequently dug up urban ones, anything incapable of taking a decent width tyre, say 32mm or more, is not likely to be ideal for commuting.
 

Gunk

Veteran
Location
Oxford
I'd personally buy a proper road/touring bike, I came back to cycling a few years ago and started with a Boardman Team Hybrid, within a year I realised it was limited on longer rides, it was really a commuter bike, a proper road bike is just so much nicer to ride, but depends on what you plan to do.

Or buy a buy a couple of bikes! ^_^
 

Cycleops

Guru
Location
Accra, Ghana
What sort of riding do you do or intend to do?
Road bikes tend to have narrow high pressure tyres which are not going to be very comfortable on city streets. Drop bars will provide you with more hand positions than flat bars where you have just one. Many road bikes won’t have fittings for a rack if you need to catty stuff.
A tourer as suggested above might be a good alternative for you or you could try a gravel/adventure bike, both will have bigger rubber and fittings for a rack. Go and try a few if you can.
 

BrumJim

Forum Stalwart (won't take the hint and leave...)
I've spent over 12 hours on a road bike crossing the country. I can't think of anything else I could have sat on for that long and been more comfortable.

Having just been to visit my family this weekend and was reminded that they comment on stuff they know little about. I would say ignore them. It'll be you riding the bike, not them. Hybrids are great bikes for most people, but do nothing really well. Other bikes do other things much better, but no one bike covers all requirements. As an example:

Long distance good to adequate roads - road bikes (particularly Audax or Sportive-style ones) or touring bikes (rack, nice strong wheels) wind hands-down on this.
Rougher roads, gravel, towpaths, trials, woods - mountain bikes with suspension win in this area, but aren't great for long distance as they sap energy.
Upright bikes (e.g. shopping bikes) are great for use around town with an upright riding position and good luggage provision.
Full suspension.
Going fast in wet and muddy conditions - go for a cyclo cross or a gravel bike.

Hybrid bikes will get you around town better than mountain bikes and road bikes, but not as well as upright bikes. They will get you on longer distances that shoppers, but nothing close to a road bike. Wider tyres will help over potholes, but it will still be rough and you will need enough air to avoid pinch punctures.

10 years ago I bought a road bike. It got used for shopping, commutes on road, canal towpath, through snow and ice, and on 150 mile sportives. I now have a much more sensible bike for bad weather, but the road bike still gets used more often.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Deplorable Brexiteer
Location
London
My main criteria for utility usage are a riding position with good visibility, low bike thief appeal, and a cheap to maintain/cheap to replace drivetrain.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Where does the OP mention utility usage specifically?
If I want to get out on a longer ride out of town for example, I have to negotiate traffic to get away from the traffic!
 

roubaixtuesday

self serving virtue signaller
I have only ever had ridden hybrid bikes and spinning bikes. I want to buy my 1st own bike, I find road bikes very appealing but I have never ridden one. My family is very much against this as they think road bikes are uncomfortable and hard to manoeuvre in traffic.

I am confused and don't know what bicycle to buy as a result. Can anyone offer me some guidance?

Road bikes are fine in traffic. But as others have hinted, what bike depends what you want to use the bike for.

Commuting?
Long rides in the countryside?
On road or off road?
All year round or summer only?

Please expand on this.
 

rivers

How far can I go?
Location
Bristol
I'm personally a fan of a road bike over a hybrid. But I tend to favour long days out on the bike in the countryside. I have used my road bike for everything from 10-15 miles commutes/leisure rides with the wife to 210 mile ride across the UK on the solstice (gutted it's been cancelled this year), to 4 days of bikepacking through Devon and Cornwall. If you are paying attention to the roads, you won't have an issue with visibility on a road bike, and I have maneuvered my bike through Bristol and Bath traffic with ease. A road bike combined with a saddle that works for you, should have no issue with comfort. Most road bikes now will also take 28 to 30 mm tyres, which you can run at lower pressures for comfort.
But it depends on what type of riding you want to do. If strictly roads, road bike. If you want to tackle things like gravel and tow paths, gravel bikes are a good option, which tend to look like a road bike (dropped handlebars), can accommodate wider tyres, and have a slightly more relaxed position.
 
OP
OP
A

Anonymous1502

Well-Known Member
I actually find road bikes much better / easier in traffic because of the much narrower bars compared to the average hybrid/flat bar road bike. Especially when filtering
I also add cross lever/interrupter brakes to my drop bar bikes which I find easier in traffic and also provide a more upright position on the top of the bars vs. the hoods
Many drop bar bikes don’t have a head down arse up racing position.
When, where and how will you be riding. If you’re going to be using one all year round, get one that takes proper full length mudguards so you and the bike don’t get covered in muck on wet, mucky roads :okay:
What’s your budget?
My budget is £700 max I want to strictly cycle in the city for fun. I am tired of renting city bikes/Boris bikes because they are super heavy.
 
OP
OP
A

Anonymous1502

Well-Known Member
What sort of riding do you do or intend to do?
Road bikes tend to have narrow high pressure tyres which are not going to be very comfortable on city streets. Drop bars will provide you with more hand positions than flat bars where you have just one. Many road bikes won’t have fittings for a rack if you need to catty stuff.
A tourer as suggested above might be a good alternative for you or you could try a gravel/adventure bike, both will have bigger rubber and fittings for a rack. Go and try a few if you can.
I will be cycling in London and Edinburgh there are cycling paths and the roads are quite good. I won’t be carrying anything except a water bottle in my back pack so storage is not a requirement. I would ideally cycle for 4 hours at a time.
 
OP
OP
A

Anonymous1502

Well-Known Member
I've spent over 12 hours on a road bike crossing the country. I can't think of anything else I could have sat on for that long and been more comfortable.

Having just been to visit my family this weekend and was reminded that they comment on stuff they know little about. I would say ignore them. It'll be you riding the bike, not them. Hybrids are great bikes for most people, but do nothing really well. Other bikes do other things much better, but no one bike covers all requirements. As an example:

Long distance good to adequate roads - road bikes (particularly Audax or Sportive-style ones) or touring bikes (rack, nice strong wheels) wind hands-down on this.
Rougher roads, gravel, towpaths, trials, woods - mountain bikes with suspension win in this area, but aren't great for long distance as they sap energy.
Upright bikes (e.g. shopping bikes) are great for use around town with an upright riding position and good luggage provision.
Full suspension.
Going fast in wet and muddy conditions - go for a cyclo cross or a gravel bike.

Hybrid bikes will get you around town better than mountain bikes and road bikes, but not as well as upright bikes. They will get you on longer distances that shoppers, but nothing close to a road bike. Wider tyres will help over potholes, but it will still be rough and you will need enough air to avoid pinch punctures.

10 years ago I bought a road bike. It got used for shopping, commutes on road, canal towpath, through snow and ice, and on 150 mile sportives. I now have a much more sensible bike for bad weather, but the road bike still gets used more often.

I will be cycling in London and Edinburgh so I will only cycle on roads or cycling paths I won’t be using the bike to carry shopping I only need a water bottle in a small backpack. I prefer walking to get groceries.
 
OP
OP
A

Anonymous1502

Well-Known Member
Road bikes are fine in traffic. But as others have hinted, what bike depends what you want to use the bike for.

Commuting?
Long rides in the countryside?
On road or off road?
All year round or summer only?

Please expand on this.
On road in city to cycle for fun and go for 4 hour journeys. I will be using it during the summer and during the winter it depends whether there will be snow or not and whether it is dark outside. Probably won’t be using it much during the winter.
 

BrumJim

Forum Stalwart (won't take the hint and leave...)
I will be cycling in London and Edinburgh so I will only cycle on roads or cycling paths I won’t be using the bike to carry shopping I only need a water bottle in a small backpack. I prefer walking to get groceries.
Get the bike that you want to get.

A hybrid will do the job quite happily. If you get a road bike you might be tempted to start riding longer and faster. You might end up doing a sportive of 50 miles or so, then some twit will persuade you that 100 miles is well within your capabilities. You will join Strava, start thinking about your diet admiring your diminishing belly in the mirror, start talking to very fit people about training. Your heart rate will fall and life expectancy will improve. You will visit places and meet people that you would never have been to or met before. Some will remain friends. You will take an interest in cycling as a sport, and will be able to name more than a handful of professional cyclists. You will wear lycra and buy upgrades for your bike. Women will find you more attractive (or men). Your deliveries will have Haribo in them, and your christmas presents will feature bikes on them.

So go for a hybrid!
 
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