Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

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964Cup
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Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby 964Cup » Tue Nov 13, 2012 17:38 pm

OK, we're comparing London commuting, so obviously visibility and braking confidence will make a difference, but why am I faster (top speeds and averages on Strava) on my 2006 Specialized Sirrus Pro than my 2012 Mekk Poggio 2.5 Ultegra?

Data:
I'm 43, 186cm, 80kg, 86cm inside leg. Fit, but new to cycling and still working on leg strength and endurance.
The Mekk is a 56cm, 120 stem, 172.5 crank, FSA energy compact 50-34,105 front,Ultegra rear 12-25, 700c-23 on RS500s, Tektro (I think) rim brakes, 9kg
The Sirrus is a 59cm, 120 stem, 175 crank, FSA gossamer triple 52-42-30, Deore front, Ultegra rear 12-26,700c-28 on AT400s, Juicy 5 discs, 11kg

What should I look at first? I have ordered an 11-28 cassette for the Mekk to get a wider range and faster top gear (and some lighter wheels, but it's already 2kg lighter than the Sirrus); should I go for a longer crank arm? Or is it just technique - I've not ridden drops since I was 10, and am at the moment much more comfortable on flat bars. I do find I ride in the drops almost all the time on the Mekk; I find riding on the hoods I lack braking confidence and the bike feels twitchy. I generally tend to stay in the saddle when climbing on either bike.

I should say that both Wiggle (where I bought the Mekk) and Mekk themselves are sure that a 56 is the right frame for me, but I've not had a bike fit.

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I7 Extreme
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby I7 Extreme » Tue Nov 13, 2012 17:47 pm

prehaps its the fact that your fsa gossamer has 2 more teeth? even though its heavier and has wider tyres?

TakeTurns
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby TakeTurns » Tue Nov 13, 2012 17:55 pm

Have you checked incase the Mekk has a puncture? :roll:

Maybe the Mekk doesn't fit you properly. Or you just need to overcome the confidence issue. Theoretically, you should go faster on the road bike. It would be clearer if you were to ride 50miles without stops. The difference may not be as much as you think though. Hate to say it, but it's not about the bike. *spit*

I live in London too, so I know what the traffic is like. I'd probably go equally fast on a Boris bike as I would on my road bike. It's difficult to maintain high speeds in London, therefore it's inevitably an unfair competition.

nolight
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby nolight » Tue Nov 13, 2012 17:56 pm

Maybe busy London makes average and top speed inaccurate/irrelevant due to start/stop?

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Tue Nov 13, 2012 17:57 pm

FWIW, as a newb to road biking, having spent a couple of months on a hybrid (not commuting), I was MUCH faster immediately on the road bike. The difference was amazing. So I'm following this one with interest.
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Ber Nard
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby Ber Nard » Tue Nov 13, 2012 17:59 pm

Could be ride position. Although the road bike may have the racier position, if you're not comfortable in it you won't be as efficient. Tucking in on the drops may constrict your breathing if you are too low on it for your build. Hard to say any of this is true without seeing you ride the bikes, though.

Could it just be chance? How much data have you collected and are the conditions consistent?

Rob

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smidsy
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby smidsy » Tue Nov 13, 2012 18:30 pm

964Cup wrote:OK, we're comparing London commuting, so obviously visibility and braking confidence will make a difference, but why am I faster.


You answered your own question in your first line.
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Simon Masterson
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby Simon Masterson » Tue Nov 13, 2012 18:43 pm

It sounds like confidence to me, but are you checking this on a computer as you ride?

I can attest to confidence reducing your speed. My favourite bike was once my dad's (and therefore my inner 5 year old thinks it's the coolest bike ever), and I received it in a very decrepit condition. I (unwisely) rode it for several months with brakes that moreorless did not work at all, and therefore did not go as fast as I could have done due to the ridiculous braking distances I had to allow for; it really is as simple as that.... Most of us seem to have some inner sense of self-preservation!

964Cup
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby 964Cup » Tue Nov 13, 2012 18:49 pm

It's mostly subjective at the moment; I certainly don't have enough data to be authoritative, and the point about traffic is of course well-made. The data I do have (initially Cateye, later Strava on an iPhone) suggests that my average time to and from work on the hybrid is about 5-10% lower (sample of many return trips on the hybrid, five on the Mekk). Visibility, manoueverability and the impossibility (for me) of using SL pedals in town - now ditched for SPDs and the same shoes I wear on the Sirrus - all contribute, of course, but I thought I'd be knocking minutes off, not adding them on. Especially on the way home, which is largely up-hill, including a long (for London) climb at the end.

I suppose I expected to feel like ChrisAOnABike - *much* faster on the road bike - and I don't. Granted, the Sirrus is a top-end fast, light hybrid, and the Mekk is a relatively low-end carbon bike, so perhaps the difference isn't so large, but I just don't feel like the Mekk has transformed my climbing, for instance.

I'm going to carry on with a weight-loss programme for the Mekk (because I can, not because it'll make the slightest difference) but I was thinking about getting a bike fit from CycleFit in Covent Garden before I replace anything with varying sizes. Has anyone had one of these, and if so, did it help?

Incidentally, and I suppose this should be in a different thread, but are rim brakes always this s**t compared to disc, or is it a pads/bedding in/technique issue? I'm sure one reason I'm slower down the hills is because I'm not sure about stopping at the bottom.

Simon Masterson
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby Simon Masterson » Tue Nov 13, 2012 19:17 pm

Rim brakes are generally not as powerful as disc brakes (stating that anecdotally; I have never owned a bike with discs), but they should not be mediocre. You should be able to stop hard on the front brake. I'd have a good look at that. Adjust them first; you should NOT need any of those silly overpriced brake pads that you can buy unless you live in the mountains and are heading down treacherous descents at 60mph. I have inexpensive Tektro brakes with stock pads; they are absolutely fine.

But weight makes a very small difference. Even if you get it down to 7kg, I would not expect it to 'transform' your climbing. Eddy Merckx's tour bikes will have been around the 9kg mark, I would think. ;)

mbthegreat
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby mbthegreat » Tue Nov 13, 2012 19:23 pm

Confidence is going to make a big difference surely? Unfamiliar bike, much narrower tyres etc etc. See if it evens out over time.

Yes, rim brakes are not as brakey as disc brakes, also given it has been rather wet recently rim brakes won't be doing a great deal. You can try swapping to wet weather / just higher quality pads and seeing if that makes a difference

Simon Masterson
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby Simon Masterson » Tue Nov 13, 2012 22:29 pm

mbthegreat wrote:You can try swapping to wet weather / just higher quality pads and seeing if that makes a difference


Again, if my experience is anything to go by this just shouldn't be necessary. My main brakes- as mentioned above - are cheap Tektros; 737s to be precise. I came back sodden on Monday; it really was very wet, and yet I had no problems with my braking at all, and as a former (foolish) user of brakes that moreorless did not work at all, and an owner of a(nother) bicycle with steel rims, I know what bad braking is like! :lol:

964Cup
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby 964Cup » Tue Nov 13, 2012 23:45 pm

Monday was the problem. The rim brakes were juddering and generally horrid in the wet. I ended up spending most of the evening rebuilding the front caliper on the Sirrus so I could avoid using the Mekk today. Unfortunately, despite a complete strip down, piston replacement and fluid change the blasted thing is still sticking, so I get to choose between dodgy rim brakes or a front wheel that moves left under braking. Joy. Still, shiny new brakes await at the office (hopefully).

Clearly the consensus answer to my original question is a) get bigger legs and b) get bigger balls. Much as I expected, then...

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Buckled_Rims
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby Buckled_Rims » Wed Nov 14, 2012 00:29 am

Acceleration and braking. My old MTB was almost as fast as my CAAD9 on a 15 mile commute circuit, simply due to braking. The big test is simply try a 60 mile ride in the countryside then give us your feedback. In town/city is a nightmare for roadies like myself!
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ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Wed Nov 14, 2012 01:20 am

964Cup wrote:I suppose I expected to feel like ChrisAOnABike - *much* faster on the road bike - and I don't. Granted, the Sirrus is a top-end fast, light hybrid, and the Mekk is a relatively low-end carbon bike, so perhaps the difference isn't so large, but I just don't feel like the Mekk has transformed my climbing, for instance.

Yes, but I went from a heavyish hybrid with a girl's saddle that I always felt uncomfortable on, with fairly knobbly tyres, and gears that always irritated me (because although they are indexed, I had to keep going two clicks one way and one click back to change one cog), and pedals with toe clips that I was always worried about falling off using (since I actually did fall off at 0mph on the 2nd trip out)....

... to a brand new carbon road bike with Tiagra everything where I could change gear simply with the power of my mind, slick tyres, that I could accelerate from nought to at least 10 mph in zero time...

My Richmond Park lap time went from about 30 minutes to about 25 minutes almost immediately. Or so I imagine, since I have no actual hard data to prove it, since I didn't record anything very accurately before I got the road bike, whereas now I record every trip with Strava.

You get my point? I'm sure part of it is my imagination, although hopefully not all of it. From what you say, the difference between your bikes is smaller than mine, so there probably is a real difference.

Bottom line, I think you need more data. :)

FWIW, I've taken about two minutes off my Richmond Park lap time since getting the road bike :)
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mbthegreat
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby mbthegreat » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:39 pm

Simon Masterson wrote:
mbthegreat wrote:You can try swapping to wet weather / just higher quality pads and seeing if that makes a difference


Again, if my experience is anything to go by this just shouldn't be necessary. My main brakes- as mentioned above - are cheap Tektros; 737s to be precise. I came back sodden on Monday; it really was very wet, and yet I had no problems with my braking at all, and as a former (foolish) user of brakes that moreorless did not work at all, and an owner of a(nother) bicycle with steel rims, I know what bad braking is like! :lol:


Think I would have to disagree. I also have Tektro calipers, and in the wet I was getting very little braking. Swapped the front only for Koolstop Salmons and while the wet still reduced braking I can stop a lot quicker than with the stock pads.

DesB3rd
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby DesB3rd » Thu Nov 15, 2012 15:16 pm

Braking should only be a confidence issue; I can't think of a single scenario in my stop-start urban commute which would benefit from my being able to endo to a halt, virtually all stop-go situations (lights, junctions, standing traffic) rely on working the 2mph creep & applying a load of foresight rather than a point-&-squirt technique.

The OP states he's unhappy on the hoods, if that points to being generally ill at ease with the relatively less stable drop bars then in the cut & thrust of urban traffic a lot of opportunities will be bening missed.

Bordersroadie
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby Bordersroadie » Thu Nov 15, 2012 15:38 pm

Wider tyres have lower rolling resistance given identical psi.

thescouselander
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby thescouselander » Thu Nov 15, 2012 22:29 pm

My money is on the crank arm length. I can't explain why but longer crank arms seem to suit me better and I seem to be able to ride a bit faster with them. Could be the same for the op - I notice the new bike has shorter crank arms.

964Cup
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Re: Why am I faster on my hybrid than my road bike?

Postby 964Cup » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:07 am

Yes, I wonder about the crank arms too. I expect a proper bike fit will highlight that. I did reindex the gears (mostly to eliminate rubbing in the front mech) and raise the saddle and stem a bit; that seemed to help, but may have been subjective. I need to get the hybrid fixed, then I can get enough Strava data to see how it compares on segments with empty bus lanes.

@DesB3rd: My issue with the hoods isn't stability (although it is taking time to get used to the general twitchiness of the roadie) it's lack of brake force. It would be nice if all my braking was gentle and anticipated, but that'll only happen when London drivers learn what nearside mirrors are for, and London pedestrians acquire some survival instincts.


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