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Upgrading from hybrid to road bike

Old 07-23-21, 02:55 PM
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donm1967
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Upgrading from hybrid to road bike

Hey all,
I've been riding my 2009 Cannondale quick 4 for a long time. I ride a mix of street and limestone trail, hence why I chose the hybrid back then. I added inner bar ends for diff hand positions.
Since 2 L4-L5 disc surgeries I feel the best I have in many years (50+ yo now). I started riding more/longer 2 years ago. My typical weekday ride (3x per week) is 12-18 miles, with a 25-30 mi ride on the weekend. My longest ride is 40 mi.
I'm at the point now where I think I'm ready to upgrade to a road bike. Looking to spend no more than $2K
Some novice questions:
- Does bike weight and gearing make that a big difference in speed ? I.e. will I really be faster on a road bike, or is it more a matter of my conditioning? I'm not looking to set any speed records, but it would be nice to get a little faster and get some more distance.
- Given my back history, I don't want a really aggressive posture, so I'm thinking fitness/flatbar road bike or endurance road bike. Again, is there really a huge difference? I will likely seldom ride in drops.
- Gravel bike - is it just a road bike with different tires? i.e. could I put road tires on a gravel bike and it's essentially a road bike?
I know there are a lot of variables in components that factor into my questions, I'm just looking for some general advice here.

Thanks, Don
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Old 07-23-21, 03:07 PM
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The big difference will be less wind resistance with drop bars.

Going from a flat bar hybrid to a flatbar road bike may not give you the significant gains you want. Gearing and weight have some influence but I’d take less wind resistance.

Obviously, you’ll need to determine the height of bars you need to be comfortable. If you can set up your hybrid on a trainer you can safety experiment with a lower position.

John
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Old 07-23-21, 03:31 PM
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Thanks. I actually did modify my bars to get a little lower. I rotated them some to angled back more vs up, and I flipped the stem to get a little lower. At first I could feel tightness in upper hamstrings, but now it feels fine.
Just eyeballing it I'd say the bars are about 1-2" lower than the seat.
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Old 07-23-21, 03:59 PM
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Get a gravel bike that comes with gravel semi knobbies. Panaracer Gravel Kings are my current favorite tire. They typically roll pretty well on pavement. Trouble is theres very little inventory anywhere. I read stories of folks ordering bikes and expecting delivery in 8 mos, I love my Cannondale Topstone, makes for a nice road bike when needed.
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Old 07-23-21, 04:14 PM
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Just for the sake of versatility and riding comfort, I'd look into the "All-Road" or "Road Plus" category of bike. Kinda gravel / kinda road, spec'd with 650B wheels and wide, comfortable tires, they can also fit 700c wheels, since they have disc brakes. The positioning and geometry isn't as aggressive as a road racing bike, but they aren't over-built for taking on gnarly singletrack or carrying heavy bikepacking loads.

The obvious one that comes to mind is the Black Mountain Cycles Road +. At $815 for the frameset, some judicious parts picking might get you in for under $2K. Others to consider are the Surly Midnight Special, or the All-City Super Professional Apex.

Enjoy your search!
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Old 07-23-21, 04:30 PM
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I would start with determining how you plan to ride. If you plan to ride trails and roads you will face compromises in a bike. For example....you can ride a cyclo-cross bike on the road but it will not be a road bike and vice versa. Which is why I have both types of bike. If you want a road bike that is more comfortable for longer distances than a "race" bike, something like a Cannondale Synapse would work. Other makes have similar models.
Everyone is going to tell you to make sure the bike fits. And, that is critical. On a slightly different topic, if your choice is between a carbon fiber frame and an aluminum frame you will find that for the same price the Aluminum will likely come with higher end components and/or wheels. I have a CAAD 12 and I will put it up against any CF bike at the same price. My CAAD 12 came with Shimano 105 and Mavic Aksium wheels for $1350. And, it weighs 17 lb 10 oz. I am 90% a road rider so if I had to have just one bike I'd keep my CAAD 12 and just get a trail oriented wheelset. But, that's just me. You need to decide who you are. Good luck.
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Old 07-23-21, 04:48 PM
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You may not see much of a speed increase due to weight. However you will find you'll have more energy at the end of your normal routes and simply want to ride further or more often.

My new bike is not quite 5 lbs lighter than my previous bike, but I have found myself asking where those hills are that use to give me trouble. Then I'd realize I just climbed them a mile back.

I don't know what to say about your back. If you've been riding more upright then back issues or not, getting aero takes some getting use to. Maybe over the course of six or so decent rides.

Now that I'm riding a more proper size road bike I find that I want to be lower and more aero. I'm 63 now and can't even touch my toes. If I strain a little I might can get my hands halfway down my shins. So the things other old people say about being too stiff to ride aero is bunk as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 07-23-21, 05:17 PM
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donm1967 Because of hand issues, two years ago I converted my 1997 Nishiki Blazer MTB to drop-bars like my road bikes. I also had inboard bar ends to approximate more of an on-the-hoods position, so when I did convert there was no real gain in speed since, like you I rarely ride in the drops.

However, before the conversion I also had clip-on aero bars, and when I was stretched out forward with my hands together, my speed went up 2-3 mph, and the effects of head winds were even less.

But just going from inboard bar-ends on a straight bar to on-the-hoods of a drop bar really made no difference in speed.

Also tires made a huge difference. I mostly ride roads as I commuted for 28 years. Smooth, supple tires, 700x28 on my old roadie, 700x35 on my newer commuter and 26x1.75 on the converted MTB make for faster cruising on pavement. My 2015 Charge Plug came with Kenda Small Block 8 micro-knobbies, which were supple, but completely smooth road tires boosted my cruising 1-2mph. When I went from tough, 26x1.5s to softer 26x1.85s on the MTB I also gained 1 to 1.5 mph, although the cushiness makes them feel slower due to less road chatter, and that was before the drop bar conversion.

Although it rolls effortlessly, my MTB/commuter/SUV is much heavier than my other three bikes and my average speed is about 1.5 to 2mph slower than my lightest bike, my 1984 Nishiki International road bike. However, since I ride pavement in the city and had mostly commuted, the differences in speed are evened out by stoplights, stop signs and cross traffic.

I very recently bought a 2007 Dahon Boardwalk folding bike with 20x1.5 supple-ish tires. I swapped the straight bar for bull-horn bars that replicate riding on the hoods, and "upped" the gearing. It weighs the same as my 2015 Charge Plug commuter and the average speeds have been similar as well, which I find pretty amazing.

When I converted my MTB to drops, it was not my only bike, and I used mostly used parts and did the work myself. It came out to about $80. But if you have to pay a shop to do it, it may cost more than the bike is worth.
https://www.bikeforums.net/general-c...converted.html

But if you have been riding a lot, and at your age, and especially after back surgery...reward yourself with a new bike! (Or a new-to-you used bike.)

Ride as many as you can in person...it will become apparent which one or one(s) work for you. When I bought my Charge Plug in 2015 I ran all over town comparing bikes and chose the one that "spoke to me". I am still thrilled with it.

I think if you had to choose between weight, speed and comfort...choose comfort. You'll ride happier, longer and more often.

Sorry for rambling...that's what I do.

Good luck!
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Old 07-23-21, 07:03 PM
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Thanks all for the great replies.
I plan on keeping my hybrid for the trail (I'm fortunate to be able to ride from my house 1 mi to the awesome Des Plaines River trail in Lake Co, IL) and add the road bike for pure street riding.
Next year we'll be moving to San Diego and I'll lose my favorite trail Another reason why I'm starting to lean toward a road bike vs a gravel bike. From what I've seen so far there don't seem to be many great, long limestone type trails in SD so I assume I'll mostly be riding on the road. At this point I'm not sure that I can even find a new bike this year, so I'll be checking for used bikes too.

Don
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Old 07-23-21, 07:11 PM
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I rode a Cannondale Quick Carbon 1 for a couple of years, added the bar ends too. Upgraded to a Synapse this year and it is the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. I originally went with the hybrid due to lower back issues that I had years before riding a road bike with a more aero position. Look at the endurance geometry bikes; you ride more aero than a hybrid but not as bent over as a racing bike. No lower back pain while riding now. Many of the senior riders in our group have endurance bikes from all of the major makers and we all enjoy riding them.

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Old 07-23-21, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by donm1967 View Post
Hey all,
I've been riding my 2009 Cannondale quick 4 for a long time. I ride a mix of street and limestone trail, hence why I chose the hybrid back then. I added inner bar ends for diff hand positions.
Since 2 L4-L5 disc surgeries I feel the best I have in many years (50+ yo now). I started riding more/longer 2 years ago. My typical weekday ride (3x per week) is 12-18 miles, with a 25-30 mi ride on the weekend. My longest ride is 40 mi.
I'm at the point now where I think I'm ready to upgrade to a road bike. Looking to spend no more than $2K
Some novice questions:
- Does bike weight and gearing make that a big difference in speed ? I.e. will I really be faster on a road bike, or is it more a matter of my conditioning? I'm not looking to set any speed records, but it would be nice to get a little faster and get some more distance.
- Given my back history, I don't want a really aggressive posture, so I'm thinking fitness/flatbar road bike or endurance road bike. Again, is there really a huge difference? I will likely seldom ride in drops.
- Gravel bike - is it just a road bike with different tires? i.e. could I put road tires on a gravel bike and it's essentially a road bike?
I know there are a lot of variables in components that factor into my questions, I'm just looking for some general advice here.

Thanks, Don
geo will help the most on road bike. you'll find distance being next thing. faster? maybe not much but you will find more energy and ride farther maybe a bit faster. too many factors here.

I would seriously suggest a road bike that fits 32/35c tires and tubeless. or even a gravel bike, there are some serious supple plus size tires out that are amazing comfortable!

you will always miss your flatbar hybrid, so I would suggest if able to do an N+1.... errand bike plus higher end road, enjoy the road bike.

Last edited by Metieval; 07-24-21 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 07-23-21, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by donm1967 View Post
At this point I'm not sure that I can even find a new bike this year, so I'll be checking for used bikes too.
Check out The Pro’s Closet. Several used road bikes there at the moment.
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Old 07-23-21, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by donm1967 View Post
I'm not looking to set any speed records, but it would be nice to get a little faster and get some more distance.
In the fall of 2016 I "resumed" cycling a 20+ year hiatus (extending from my late teens) and bought a hybrid (Trek FX 2). By spring 2017 I had bought an endurance road bike (Cannondale Synapse). In my experience, the upgrade from a hybrid to a $2,000 road bike will almost certainly net you a speed and distance improvement regardless of fitness because (1) better aerodynamics and (2) better wheels and tires. This presumes that your hybrid has wire bead tires and hopefully your new road bike will (a) fit you well and (b) have folding bead tires with less rolling resistance. Good luck with the bike purchase and the upcoming move to San Diego.
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Old 07-24-21, 07:33 AM
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Like an earlier poster, I also had a hybrid, a Cannondale Quick2 with disc. I wanted a road bike but not one with a overly-aggressive geometry that would be faster but not very comfortable for me. After lots of research/reading, I bought a Cannondale Synapse, which is an endurance bike. It came with a 105 groupset which worked great but after 2 seasons, last Winter it was upgraded to an Ultegra Di2 groupset. I remain very happy with this bike and have never regretted the decision to buy it. Here’s a photo taken prior to the Di2 upgrade.

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Old 07-28-21, 01:31 PM
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Hey all,
I've been researching, and searching, and there isn't much available. There are a few possible options I'm considering (that I might actually be able to get this year):
1) Canyon Endurace AL disc 7.0
2) Specialized Diverge Elite E5

Yes I know they are different types of bikes. If desired I can put road tires on a gravel bike, or gravel tires on a road bike (Endurace can fit 32mm).

Some considerations:
- I've read the Endurace has a little more aggressive geometry for an endurance bike.
- Diverge has a mix of GRX 400/600 components, and CS-HG50 cassette. Endurace is all 105.
- 46/30x10 vs 52/36x11

Not sure how much of an impact the gearing will be. I don't plan on racing, nor excessive downhill speed.
Comparing both I think the Endurace offers more bang for the buck. On the other hand, for my first drop bar bike maybe the stability and more relaxed position of the Diverge would be better.
I won't be able to try either one before buying (Diverge would ship from another state). The nice thing about Canyon is I have 30 days to return.

Thoughts?
thx, Don

Last edited by donm1967; 07-28-21 at 01:37 PM. Reason: update
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Old 07-28-21, 03:49 PM
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Road bikes with a low stack that allow a race fit or aggressive fit are still endurance bikes. Yes the Canyon is a little lower stack but not near what my Tarmac is.

Personally I'd go with the one that has a local dealer that you can take it back too for adjustment, service and someone you can see eye to eye in the event a warranty issue comes up. All new bikes need to have a inspection and adjustment check after the first 300 to 500 miles. Usually if you bought it from a local shop, that is free. Though inexpensive even if you didn't buy their bike.

They are both nice bikes.
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Old 07-29-21, 06:49 AM
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The 105 group set is really nice. I prefer buying from a local shop.
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Old 07-29-21, 08:55 AM
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I'll offer that 46/30T is a more sensible crankset for multi-use.
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Old 07-29-21, 10:12 AM
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I'd love to buy local, but there really is nothing near me. A shop in another state is willing to ship the diverge to me.
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Old 07-31-21, 07:34 PM
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A different perspective:

Like you I started with a hybrid and “upgraded” to a road bike (2016 Trek Domane 2.0 aluminum frame) to go faster and longer. After a couple of years riding that aluminum frame with skinny high pressure tires I started running into physical problems. Numbness, nerve pinches, neck issues, my body could not adapt! That vibration or road chatter was HORRIFIC and was literally shaking me apart. Had a C6-7 neck fusion to fix the worst of it.

Ive converted to gravel (or an all-road) bike with wider 40mm low pressure tubeless tires on a steel frame, carbon fork. Jamis Renegade. Life is MUCH better. Roads are much more comfortable over long distances. I even got into gravel riding, that’s another story.

So my advice is if you have to choose comfort over speed, choose comfort. I’m not racing or keeping pace with other roadies. My body isn’t getting any younger and vibration will kill you.
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Old 07-31-21, 10:54 PM
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If you have a shop nearby, go test ride a road bike. I have a pretty sporty hybrid (cross / gravel frame, 28c tires, not big wide cruiser tires) and it was still a night and day feeling difference for speed and comfort even on a low end Domane (only one they had in my size for a test ride was an ALR 3). Ended up getting an SL 5. I imagine something sportier like an Emonda / Allez would be even faster.

https://minimotors.sg/
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Old 08-01-21, 05:56 AM
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Great thread. I'm in the same boat and think I'm ready for more of a road bike. I'll be hanging on to my Traverse but want some more speed for those all paved (99% MUP) days. I have some back/shoulder issues and am hoping I will be OK.
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Old 08-02-21, 08:06 AM
  #23  
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I'm still hunting for a bike
- Endurace - Canyon pushed their dates out again. Grail is another option, but dates even further out, and I don't care for the color.
- Diverge - shop sold it. I found another shop that has one, won't ship it, but I could arrange for FedEx to pick it up. Sounds like a hassle. And once bought it's mine, would be hard to return if any problem. Also the 10 speed cassette bothers me (bottom end GRX 400), most other all road/gravel bikes at the same price have 11 sp.
- Newly added to my list - Giant Content AR 1. Can also take wider tires. They had one in stock ready to ship to my local store. I was going to pull the trigger and now it's gone.
- A shop not far from me has a Giant Defy, but it's more than I wanted to spend for my first drop bar bike.
So the searching/waiting continues.

MrWasabi - How upright are you on your hybrid? I rotated my bars to reduce the rise, adding inside bar ends, and flipped the stem to get into a lower riding position. You may want to try the same to see how it feels with your back/shoulder. One change at a time so you ease into it.
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Old 08-08-21, 02:45 PM
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I finally found a bike - Giant Defy Advanced 2. A little more than I wanted to spend, but it's a nice bike - CF and Shimano 105. I only had to drive 50 min to get it. I also tried a Giant Revolt in the same size at a closer shop but I felt more stretched out on it, and it has grx400.
The Defy can take up to 35mm tires, but for now I'm thinking of getting 28mm road tires and using my hybrid for trails.
I did a short 10 miles on it and really didn't notice a major difference in speed. But I think I need time to adjust to the different position (and more conditioning). I also plan on getting a fitting.
Thanks to all for the advice.

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Old 08-08-21, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by donm1967 View Post
I finally found a bike - Giant Defy Advanced 2. A little more than I wanted to spend, but it's a nice bike - CF and Shimano 105. I only had to drive 50 min to get it.
Congratulations!

Originally Posted by donm1967 View Post
I did a short 10 miles on it and really didn't notice a major difference in speed. But I think I need time to adjust to the different position (and more conditioning). I also plan on getting a fitting.
That will come once you get used to the bike and got your position thereon dialed in.

I don't think I got a full bike fit when I bought my first road bike, but the REI mechanic spent nearly an hour measuring various parts of my body and adjusting (and readjusting) both a size 54 and a size 56 model of the same bike for me to try; I ended up ordering a size 54 based on further discussions with her. As I rode more frequently and for longer distances, I adjusted various settings to adjust my fit over time. I think this was not something that could have been done in one or two bike fitting sessions when I first ordered my bike, because it took my body some time to get used to riding a road bike. Please note that I am not advocating either for or against a full bike fit; I just want to point out that bike fitting is a journey not a destination, especially when it comes to one's first road bike.
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