When you’re out riding with your buddies do you ever play around to see who has the fastest bike? Of course you have! There’s nothing like a little friendly competition among bikers, especially when everyone in the group has the same type of bike. You know that a road bike is much faster than the bulkier and heavier mountain bike, but how fast are hybrid bikes?
Hybrid bikes take the best of mountain and road bikes and combine them into one! Hybrids take the smooth and thin tires of a mountain bike and combine them with straight handlebars and upright seating of the mountain bike. Meaning, the bike is naturally faster than the mountain and slower than the road bike.
The difference of speeds over long distances between a road and hybrid bike is significant as shown in the video below, but does that mean hybrids are by nature slow bikes?
Different Types of Hybrids
Before saying whether all hybrid bikes are slow or not, it’s important to recognize the different hybrids available. Two of the slower hybrid bicycles are comfort and cruiser models, while they have a vintage look and classic riding feel…they definitely aren’t the speediest of hybrids!
Comfort and cruiser hybrids are made for the joy of riding on paved or unpaved roads, these are not the hybrids built to take on tough terrain or reach high speeds. Since they were never made to accommodate for speed, we won’t hold that against hybrids in general. City hybrids are also made for ease of transportation purposes, and not adventure. Now you must be wondering what hybrid is just a little faster, right?
The cross and trekking bike models are where you will see the performance aspects of hybrids come to life! These are the hybrids that are made to take on tough terrain and give you a little thrill as well. If you want to get some speed on a hybrid, this is definitely your weapon of choice.
How To Make A Hybrid Faster
The best aspect of any bike is the fact that you can make it better with a little customization. However, I will warn you to not make any alterations to your bike unless you know exactly what you’re doing. Luckily, if you’re skilled enough and want to make your hybrid just a bit faster there are several things you can do to achieve this.
- Switch to thinner tires.
- Change the gears to compatible road bike gears.
- Switch out pedals.
Using smooth and thin tires can help a hybrid bike pick up top end speed. In some cases simply changing the style of tire may be just as effective as thicker rubber prevents you from reaching top speeds. Changing of the tires may not have a dramatic effect on your speed, but can help you maintain the bikes top speed longer.
Changing the gears on a hybrid can be difficult, but are directly linked to the top speed of the bike. The amount of teeth on the front and back chain-set tremendously alter the speed of your bike. Be careful when changing these as you could make it more difficult for you to get up hills.
If your hybrid does not already have clip-less pedals, changing them can help increase efficiency when attempting to reach faster speeds. The more efficient the pedaling system, the more likely it is you will reach a higher speed. You can check out our article called How To Take Off Bike Pedals if you want an easy 4 step guide helping you to switch out your pedals.
Final Judgment On Speed
As mentioned earlier, hybrids are much faster than mountain bikes and slower than road bikes over long distances. While comfort and cruiser bikes are not manufactured for speed, the cross and trekking models are lightweight hybrids that bring the speed! While you should never expect to keep up with a biker of equal talent on a road bike, that doesn’t mean a hybrid can’t bring the speed itself.
The top performance hybrids can compete with road bikes over short distances, making them the superior option to their counterpart in almost all scenarios. If you are a better biker than those in your group, it’s possible to take a hybrid and beat them in a short distance race while they ride a road bike.
So the final judgment? Hybrids are most definitely fast!
If after reading this you’re looking for further information about hybrid bikes why not check out our Hybrid Bikes Buyer’s Guide.