Question: I own a hybrid bike but ride tours where everyone else has a road bike. I’ve never had a problem keeping up because I train hard during the week. But I wonder — if my average speed on a typical ride is 17 mph, how much would it increase if I got a road bike? — Pat F.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: I hate to hedge, but the answer is: It depends!
The main factors are what tires you have on the hybrid, the comparative weight of the two bikes and, most important, your position on the two bikes.
Wide hybrid tires with a pronounced tread roll slower than typical 700x23C or 25C road tires, so you’ll gain some speed there.
A good road bike will save you as much as 5-8 pounds over your hybrid (maybe even more, if you buy a top-end model). This weight advantage is most evident on climbs, so you should be a faster climber.
If your hybrid has a flat handlebar that causes you to sit upright, a road bike’s lower, more aerodynamic position will help you cut through the wind for faster speed on the flats and descents.
It’s impossible to be certain of the combined effect on your average speed. An educated guess would be as much as 2 mph faster, assuming you are as fit and your road bike position is on the money.
But I can make one guarantee: You’ll have more fun riding in a group with a road bike.
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Marc Massaro says
I also ride and train on a hybrid. Early 9os Trek 720, 700×35 tires, dont ride at 90 degrees upright, thry to get as low as possible for the hybrid, been tweaking seat position, handlebar height, grip poistion to get low.
Your reply makes perfect sense, thank you.
My question is regarding your last statement…why would riding a road bike wih the group be more fun if a rider is keeping up well and enjoiying the ride?
Road Bike Rider says
Thanks for your comment.
If you are able to keep up in a group ride with flat bars and are enjoying yourself, then great!
But in general on longer and faster rides, the additional hand positions and aero tuck you can get with drop bars can make it challenging to stay on with a fast group ride if you are the only flat bar rider.
Hi Marc, my only concern with riding a flat bar in a group/peleton is the higher risk of the bar hooking another rider. With drop bars this is less likely if you end up to close to each other.
I train on a rigid “MTB”; MTB in quotations as it’s ridden exclusively on the road, 26″ wheels, steel frame, flat bar, no suspension. Yeah, it ain’t a dedicated ‘road’ bike but it 90’s hardtail construction puts its frame geometry closer to that of many road bikes than modern MTB’s or even some hybrids for that matter. I’d converted it to a 1x and other than the chain ring having to be bit smaller than I’d like, its overall gear ratio doesn’t totally suck when talking road racing, or the kind of mano y mano contests I find myself getting involved with on a regular basis where I normally train. Be it individuals or Cat 1/2 teams (some pros too on occasion!) pushing tempo or better in pace lines, my ‘hybrid’ is able to hang, even pulling some of the time. That said however and why I’m even responding, there’s no doubt a decent dedicated road bike would easily outperform any hybrid (certainly mine) given exact or very similar rider power output profiles. Odd as that may sound, that’s the challenge and thrill I get out of riding, go figure. Still, I’m very likely to invest in a genuine road machine (Canyon?) and really get real. So, in a way too wordy response to the OP, suffice to say, “When in Rome…”, at least if being dropped is a primary concern.
-Blame it on the caffeine
I have a giant fastroad slr 1 . FlatbarWas thinking of getting giant fastroad advanced 1 full carbon. Would it be easier to ride as I not great cyclist as have numerous back surgery. That’s why can’t manage drops
I have a road bike and a MTB that I’ve modified with a road gear set and skinny although not road tires. I’m definitely a little slower on the latter but not by much and it’s way more comfortable and enjoyable. The only bummer is that, on organized centuries and things many road bike riders are downright rude to me. People are so fragile! 😂
HI guys, I am new to biking (just started in March), and I’m currently training for a triathlon. I ride a Schwinn Suburban ATX 21-speed Hybrid Bike, and I’m wondering if I should upgrade to a road bike for training. I can currently average about 13-16 mph for 16-25 miles, but can’t really go much faster when trying to do intervals (probably max out at 19 mph for 8 min). Can you guys also give me options to choose from when I buy a newer bike (preferably under $700)? Thanks!