Road Bike vs Hybrid Bike: A Small Test

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Uphillfreewheeler asked me what I thought the average speed gain was by switching from my revolution hybrid to the giant propel. I said I thought it would be between 2-4 mph. Well here is a small test. Please note that these are only across very short segments so are not representative of how it would translate to a full ride with undulating terrain. You can see a comparison of that towards the bottom.

First I did a “cruising speed” segment in which I went along at my normal comfortable road speed. It was a flat section that had a small incline towards the end. The inclined section is where the propel really shone.

Second I did a seated hill climb to compare the bikes climbing ability. The propel was an average of 2 mph faster up hill but could probably be much faster if I were to push it.

Third was a small sprint section. It was a totally unfair comparison because the headwind was much stronger this morning when I was on the road bike compared to the afternoon when I tested the hybrid. Again the propel performed much better in the up hill section.

To see how this translates across a larger distance here are the strava links for two very very similar rides.

Road bike: average speed of 17.9 mph across 14.8 miles into a very strong head and cross wind.

Hybrid bike: average speed of 13.5 mph across 17.8 miles. No head wind.


Pawelele Films says:

What kind of bike holder ? Thank you 🙂

roadstar499 says:

was the weight same on both bikes…? If so road bike won hands down…if it was 3 or more pounds lighter then this should be stated…thanks..Ps are wheels same size?

nagy nabil says:

what do u recomend for me ( i have to ride 20 KM per day to my college and i have a hybird one do you recomend to me to buy a road bike better ??!!?? ) will the road bike will be more comfortabel for this distance and thank you for the informative vidoe 😀

Taytoni says:

what would be better for fitness? trying to loose weight!! I currently own a MTB and want to get a road bike. been looking at the Giant Escape 1 Disc. any input would be appreciated

Asslam Putra saputra says:

who is comfortable ?roadbike or hybrid

Jonathan Smith says:

I prefer drop-bars when riding on paved roads. They allow for a more aerodynamic riding position, as well as better body leverage when climbing hills. There’s a reason why almost all race bikes – touring, and track – have drop bars.

Shekx Hesham says:

may i know what is name this app please ??

3Daddicted says:

Thanks for sharing. Which bike app is that and how do you attach your phone to the bike?

abhishek nayak says:

Most comprehensive information out there which removes the guess work. Looking at how much this topic is debated I’m surprised yours is the only video out there with a direct comparison. Also I ride my road bike (cannondale caad8) on absolutely shattered roads in India everyday for commute. All you really need is a good eye to avoid the big potholes and puncture resistant tires(gatorskins). I literally smoke every bike here, even on bad roads. I like hybrids and had initially bought one (Scott sportster 40) but looking at the surprising off- road capability of 25c tires and the increase in speeds, I will take the road bike everyday of the week. It is also more comfortable. I sold my hybrid (at a loss) in no time. For my purposes the road bike does everything the hybrid did, but faster. I still think hybrids are nice but once you get used to a road bike (there is a learning curve if you are not used to this style I wont deny), they are faster , more comfy and can carry loads too. In addition you can join fast group rides for fitness.

workhardprayhard says:

hey what bike mount do you use ?

drewmorg says:

Man you are flying on that Propel, not fair! 🙁 Actually impressive in the last sprint test I expected the Hybrid to lose by a LOT more! Wow. I think 1-2mph loss for all-day comfort is worth it as long as you’re not racing.

I am trying to make the decision to sell my 2016 Giant TCR Advanced SL 2 before moving to Hawaii this month. I am thinking of going for something a little more rugged due to weather and conditions. I am really looking into a flat bar bike… something like the Giant Roam/Cannondale Quick CX or Quick. In your opinion is it better to stay with a solid fork in the front or go with the lower end Suntour forks? I do like to climb and don’t want to have a super soggy unresponsive shock in the front end… you know, coming from high end road bikes I want to still feel some snappy handing etc. Can’t have it all I know. What do you think?

BU982T says:

Wow, I’m so slow. I did a 15 km ride this morning on my hybrid bike and averaged 19.9 kph (max speed was 33.8 kph) and I thought it was perhaps because I’m on a hybrid. Looks like I have a lot of work to do..

Peckham Chanel says:

I just don’t like the riding position of a road bike , I prefer a hybrid

Nathan Burnett says:

looks really fun man

Henrique Emmanuel Gonzalez says:

I already have a hybrid and was planning on getting an “adventure” bike with drop handlebars but decided to purchase a roadie because i can use the hybrid on rough terrain if I choose to go off-road. Would you recommend the Specialized Allez e5 sport as a beginner road bike? thanks.

QuickSmurf says:

Thanks for the video. I decided to go with a hybrid. One that doesn’t have shocks on the forks. I will put some 25mm slicks soon. It’s a light weight all aluminum frame with an ally fork. It has disk brakes too. For me, I don’t like riding bent over the front handle bars. I live in a place where there are lots of mountains in S.C. USA and beautiful views. I like to ride at a comfortable pace not using all of my energy and just behold the beauty etc. Your video was great and provided some good information. I hope people interested in bikes who, like me aren’t able to spend $1000 on a bike, will watch this video.

Kim Patrick Garcia says:

a have this bmx it’s old and gunky .i repainted it replaced all the stock parts with new ones.can i put a suspension fork on my bmx?i want something new,something fresh.out of the box ..well,if you agree that i can replace it or it will work.i’ll do the vid.i have a hybrid and road bike too.

Dylan says:

Cheap hybrid or cheap road bike?

Cristian Ciupitu says:

You should include more details about the setup in the video’s description: tires, rims, hubs etc.


Anyone know the name of the app he’s using?

Dqmusic08 says:

Thanks for the Video I looked At The Trek DS1 but thinking about a Road Bike as well I hit trails about twice a month but I want the Road Bike speed… Any Advise?

Matthew McDonald says:

i love going down that road past the linskill center :]

James says:

Did you consider other bikes other than the Giant propel. Im looking at the TCR advanced or supersix. The propel looks interesting but im not sure if going aero would make a significant difference.

gixxerboy555 says:

So…if I wanna go for long and fast rides…;the road bike is the way to go?I’ll be much faster with a road-bike?

Sixa says:

hey. im 17, so not got the funds get to put £1000+ into a bike yet.
i currently use a 13.9Kg carrera vengeance mtb with slick tyres.
i am considering saving up to maybe like £500-£700 to put into a road bike come May (my birtyday).. will i find much of a difference going from a mtb to a road bike from a £300 mtb to £500-700 road bike?

Larry Poorman says:

What does each bike weigh?

BOSS Plays says:

I ride almost every day, sometimes far too. my budget isn’t that big but I could stretch to a road bike. which bike would you say is best? I usually only ride on roads but is a road bike worth the price?

tysswe1 says:

You can go a whole lot faster on a hybrid than that. You are not using all the gears it seems. And it also depends on who is sitting on the bike. I would say that road bikes are slightly faster and more smooth on the road, and if you are concerned about the comfort, then they offer it as long as you are on quality roads without hills and bumps.

Hybrids/Mt bikes on the other hand may be a little bit “harder” for some people to handle, because the demand a little more effort, even if its not really noticeable. They however are way better when you are demanded to make sharper fast turns, go over hills, and even some roads that are low quality.

3432 eriador says:

I have a £200 carrera hybrid ltd edition and a £2000 trek road bike. honuestly i prefer my carera, the trek is incredible for long journeys and is faster and lighter, but the carrera is an all rounder and i can take it anywhere, it is very fast as well and feels more stable.

Wounded Knee says:

you can park in either direction over there? madness!

Fabio Romano says:

Wondering if your hybrid bike is a full-on upright position, or are you still somewhat sloped downward? I find most “hybrids” still have a bit of an aggressive stance, unlike a dutch-style upright.

Jooeffoh says:

They would both have to be using the same gearing and tyres to make it a good comparison. I once hit 43mph on a flat, smooth road on my old felt hybrid. The funny thing was that it was a 40mph zone and I was passing the cars veeery slowy. Was a great day though, with zero wind.

Jesse Heath says:

Speed is not everything. Comfort , practicality and durability are also important considerations
A good Urban or Hybrid bike can be a tough, low maintenance, relatively fast bike that can do lot of mileage and provide years
of dependable use with little stress on the back.

pbassred says:

What are the different tyres between the bikes? Tires with a tread pattern eat energy. Smooth tires glide. When I changed from the stock tires on my Trek hybrid to Shwalbe marathon plus I got 3-4 KPH – ON THE SAME BIKE. The same thing happened on my cycle-cross bike.

petoz2 says:

I got a trek 7.9 fx I can keep up with dudes on road bikes for a couple of miles but ya they burn me even older dudes.

Gary Butt says:

I didn’t see one pot hole where do you live

Rick Chandler says:

I’ve been a road cyclist for 15 years and just got a hybrid (Trek 8.4 DS) a couple days ago. I can really see myself riding the hybrid a lot since I can explore more on it and don’t worry as much about dinging it as I do my carbon fiber roadie. It’s not as fast by any stretch, but the older I get the less important that is.

N diggadee says:

Great video had a road bike and now on a hybrid. Road bike is faster but the comfort for me is better on a hybrid but I’m not a endurance rider just ride about locally with a big comfy gel seat

ᔕtᗩᖇᒪᓮᘐᖺt & ᙢᗢᗢאᒪᓮᘐᖺt says:

I just prefer my MTB… front shocks and 261.90 slicks tyres. I can hit 37mph on the flat don’t know if that’s fast or not? once going down a steep hill I hit 62mph was kind of frightening throughout…

Rata 4 U says:

I should have bought a road bike and ignored the idiots saying “it’s all about the engine” – evidently it’s not. Road bikes are on average 5 kph faster with the same effort. Geometry and cyclist position makes so much difference. I love my Cannondale BadBoy but that extra 5 kph is too huge to ignore.

SaltKing98 says:

are people seriously comparing average speed when riding in the city, its not worth it

JasonSPD says:

What bikes were used? Because I think the answer is simply that hybrid bikes are generally heavier than road bikes. The tires are thicker and heavier for hybrids too to give more comfort.

Garlet says:

Aerodinamic position makes the diference.

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