If you’ve seen hybrid bikes for sale, you’ve probably been impressed with their flexibility. They offer a compromise between specialized road, mountain and other bikes, so you can do a little of everything. However, you may wonder if they are as fast as road bikes. The short answer is that no, they aren’t as quick. There are a few reasons that more specialized bikes can get up to higher speeds.
The drop handlebars on road bikes aren’t just there to look cool. They let the rider assume a lower position on the bike. This is significant because it makes it easier to be more aerodynamic. When trying to reach the highest possible speeds for a bicycle, aerodynamics matters a great deal. Any drag from catching the wind will significantly slow you down.
Lightweight, High Speed
Road bikes are designed for being as quick as possible. Therefore, they tend to be very lightweight. Top-end road bikes use advanced materials to save weight. Additionally, their wheels are generally thin, saving additional weight and reducing friction.
Conversely, hybrid bikes are designed to be highly reliable and carry more weight. For example, you may strap some cargo to a hybrid bike that you wouldn’t on a road bike. Although you can find road bikes for big and tall guys, a lot of larger people prefer the support and comfort of hybrid bikes.
The one situation in which road bikes are beefier than other bikes is their chainrings. These are the cogs beside the pedals. They are larger on road bikes than other bikes to allow the cyclist to rotate the wheels faster at the top end of gearing.
Hybrid bikes, however, are designed to carry more of a load. So, they may need more torque at the lower end of the gearing. Therefore, they have smaller chainrings that let them move greater weights more easily. However, this also means they aren’t able to reach the same speeds.
Generally, road bikes are about five to eight pounds lighter than hybrid bikes. Of course, this depends a little on your budget as expensive road bikes are exceptionally light. This may not sound like a lot, but that kind of weight savings matters in a bike race.
The result of all the speed-enhancing and weight-saving benefits of a road bike could be around two miles per hour faster. Again, this doesn’t seem like a huge amount, but everything matters in a race. Extended over the length of a bike race, that slight edge in speed can make a massive difference.
Of course, road bikes are very specialized and designed simply for going quickly on roads. They are unusable off-road and very poor at carrying weight. They can also be uncomfortable, making them less-ideal bikes for seniors, casual riders and children.
Find Your Ideal Bike
Whether you want a road bike, a hybrid bike or anything else, get your right equipment today. You may be surprised what a world of difference having the right bike for the job can be. If you want to reach maximum speeds, pick up a road bike. If you want to hit the trails, find a mountain bike. If you want a little of everything, get a hybrid.