Both hybrid and road bikes are excellent machines and provide riders with some great riding experiences. But, which one will feed your need for speed the best? The answer to this question is explored below:
Hybrids: The Great Compromise
Hybrids are excellent bikes because they are suited for use in a variety of scenarios. For instance, riders can ride them on the gravel roads that you find on many trails. They also provide a comfortable ride on long distance trips as well.
These bikes are typically outfitted with 38 mm tires, which provides a stable base on gravel roads, which tend to have continuously shifting surfaces. These tires also inhabit a greater surface area on the road and thus will drag more with increased friction.
Hit the Road with Road Bikes
Road bikes are considered to be the Benzes of the bike world. They are built for speed, rather than comfort, and are excellent for riding distances of 10 miles of more. The tires on these types of bikes are usually around 24 mm and have a smoother and narrower profile, which reduces road drag.
The Nitty Gritty: Which One is Fastest?
The main difference between road bikes and hybrids are the riding stances. The hybrids are built to allow for a more upright position, which is excellent for those who don’t ride on a regular basis because they find this to be easier on their back, shoulders, and neck. But, when you are sit upright, there is also a lot more wind resistance– a factor that will diminish your road speed.
Road bikes are specifically designed for speed on roads. From their handlebars to their tires, everything about them was designed to reduce wind and friction. The riding stance on this type of bike is both lower and more forward than that of hybrid. In addition, the grip on the handlebar will alternate between the lower position on the drop and the top of the handlebars.
Other differences that affect the speed include:
The gears on a road bike are designed to make climbing hills, and other strenuous activities, as painless as possible while still maintaining the ability to reach high speeds on the flat and downhill portions of your ride. Alternatively, the gears on hybrids are more suited for flat city riding. However, it’s important to note that the gearing on a hybrid is dependent on the specific model and brand.
Your speed is also dependent on how comfortable you are. The saddle, or seat, on hybrid bicycles tend to win this portion of the debate — for the first ten 10 miles or so. After that, you’ll find that the saddles on road bikes are the cozier of the two. .
The Bottom Line
As you can clearly see, road bikes are indeed faster than hybrids. In fact, you can expect a road bike to run about 25% faster than a hybrid, even though the output of a specific bike is dependent on the energy put in. Still, you can expect a rider with your exact skill level to be about 15 minutes ahead after riding around for a couple of hours.