Road Bike or Hybrid – Which is Right for You?

As our tours continue to evolve, clients ask about the relative merits of the choice between the Trek Hybrid cycle and our new Avanti Giro road bikes.  Both cycles provide awesome riding, so how do you make the decision on which to ride?

Hybrid Bike
Hybrid Bike

Well, we selected the hybrids initially because they were multi-purpose.  They were able to handle the gravel surfaces of the Otago Central Rail Trail and its off-shoots, as well as providing a comfortable ride on the ashphalt surfaces for our road trips.  The primary difference between the two is in the riding stance.  The hybrid cycle allows a more upright sitting position which some riders – especially those who are not regular cyclists – find easier on their neck, shoulders and back.  By being more upright, there is a greater wind resistance which impacts on road speed.  The 38mm tyres provide a stable base on a gravel road where the surface is prone to shift a little, but those same wider tyres have a greater surface area on the road, and therefore will drag more with the increased friction.

By comparison, the road bikes are made to roll faster over the road surface.  Everything about them is made to reduce friction and reduce wind resistance.  The riding stance is more forward

Road Bike
Road Bike

and lower than the hybrid and the grip on the handle bar will alternate between the top of handle bar or a lower position on the drop.  The tyres, normally around 24mm, have a narrower, smoother profile which reduces road drag.  These bikes are also lighter than the hybrid – in our case by approx 4kg – or up to 25%

The most notable difference is around the speed generated.  In general it is realistic to expect a road bike to run approx 20-30% faster than a hybrid.  Of course everything is relative to the energy put in, but an equivalent rider on a Giro 2 could expect to be be approximately 10 – 15 mins ahead of you after an hours riding.

So, to make your decision, firstly consider what riding you currently do and what your preferred riding style is.  If you can handle the slightly lower stance of a road bike and you want to cover the ground a bit quicker – and you know there is a sealed road surface ahead, then try a road bike, just for the sheer joy of an easier ride.  If the surface is gravel, or you have back / neck issues, and you want to spend time looking around, then the hybrid bike may suit you better.

Rest Assured – we do include enough tea and biscuits for everyone, so no matter when you arrive in for lunch, we can still meet your inner needs!