Hybrid to Road bike for commute?

by bobcollege   November 21, 2012  

Hi, first post here.

I am currently using a 2011 Specialized Sirrus Comp for my commute to work. I have fitted 23c road tyres instead of the stock 28c tyres. I seem to be underwhelmed by its performance on the road. The commute is only 6 miles each way with a fair few hills along the way, its when I hit these hills I lose a lot of momentum and changing down gears seems to take a lot of energy to get back up to any reasonable speed. Even on the flat sections it seems hard work.

I am wondering whether I would notice any difference using a road bike instead of a hybrid in terms of speed and gearing?

Any help would be appreciated.



7 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Hmmmm, you ask a road biking forum if you should buy a road bike, let me see if I can come up with the right answer.........

In short - yes, absolutely, order today!

The Sirrus is a very decent hybrid and the upright position and MTB controls are very useful in busy traffic but it is never going to be as quick as a proper road bike. Climbing out of the saddle is not easy because of the position of the bars. You may also find that the flat pedals and cheap, heavy wheels are also an obstacle to optimum speed although you may have upgraded these already. A road bike will always be faster than a hybrid but there are some things you could do to make that Sirrus quicker. Firstly, I would flip the stem which will give you a lower and more stretched out position. You may also want to lengthen the stem, upgrade the wheels and switch to SPD pedals, all of which may all speed things up for you but cost money. However, you could save the money you would spend on upgrades and put it towards a road bike. I'd like to think that you'll find a road bike much more fun to ride once you've got used to the new riding position and controls and that you'll go quicker too. You do need to spend at least £800 if you buy new to get something decent and look for a minimum of Shimano Tiagra, SRAM Apex or Campagnolo Veloce gearing/groupset.

There is a caveat to all this which is that hills are always hard work and that even if you were riding Bradley Wiggins's bike you would still have to work hard to get to the top of a hill. You will get better and faster at taking them on but it will take time and effort to do so. However, I'd like to think that the purchase of a road bike would open up a whole new world for you and that you wouldn't just find that commute to be faster and more fun but that you'd be inspired to take the bike out at weekends and and on weekdays to wake up early and set off in the wrong direction an hour before you need to leave for work if the sun is shining just for the fun of it.

Buy yourself a road bike, spend as much as you can afford, £1500 will get you something really fantastic. You will not regret it.

Good luck.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [333 posts]
21st November 2012 - 21:14


Thank you for the reply. I guess asking on a road forum will produce some bias towards road bikes. My original post was made on a mobile phone while I was working on a production line so may have seemed a little vague.

I did have a road bike when I was a kid and loved it and I understand about the hills in that they need hard work whoever you are but I think you answered the question for me about the road bike gearing being more efficient than the hybrids.



posted by bobcollege [3 posts]
21st November 2012 - 22:49


And,,,,,, there is another thing to consider - I use my hybrid for commuting and it does take more effort than my road bike for sure.
However, once I jump on my road bike I sometimes cannot believe the difference in speed, comfort and enjoyment a road bike brings - I see my commuting on a hybrid a big chunk of training and the benefits of this are great. I will say that, especially in this crap weather, the hybrid has the edge due to the tyres, gear spread and upright position going into the city - it will never be as fast as the road bike(s) as I also carry kit with me on the rack/big rucksack however, horses for courses.

When the summer comes (if) then I will commute on the road bikes - a lot less kit then too.

Just my views,


Trikeman. Wink

Grunt, puff, pant and groan goes the old man - but he gets there in the end. ;o)

trikeman's picture

posted by trikeman [390 posts]
22nd November 2012 - 17:08


I'm sure a decent road bike would feel a bit quicker than the Sirrus, but it may not be night-and-day. Wheels are one area where the biggest improvements are felt, so if you opt for a racer, bear in mind that some nice hoops would be a worthwhile investment.

In the end you really just need to ask yourself one question:

"Do I want a road bike?"

(and the correct answer is "Yes") Wink

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2104 posts]
22nd November 2012 - 22:31


I must warn you that even with a road bike hills cause a loss of momentum, shifting down of gears and general distress.

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
22nd November 2012 - 22:55


I know I will lose momentum up a hill with whatever I ride, even a car, laws of gravity and all that Smile

My question was merely whether the gearing would be more efficient than the hybrid, just I went an arse about way of explaining in the thread starter and made it look like I was after a miracle cure for hills which made me seem ready for a Stannah.

When I bought the Sirrus hybrid I was actually looking for a road bike and I was about to get a Triban 3. Might get a road bike and keep both and see which I prefer.

Anyway thanks all for your replies!


posted by bobcollege [3 posts]
22nd November 2012 - 23:53


I would save up and get a road bike for the big stuff. Keep the hybrid for commuting. Generally hybrids have a lower gearing ratio than road bikes hence your working hard to get'back up to speed'. Rather than have the mindset of must get back to 20mph or whatever aim to maintain a certain cadance. Also I would work on your hill technique. Try not to hit in to high a gear. Wee question do you tend to be in your smallesr cog more one of the middle cogs?

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1073 posts]
23rd November 2012 - 14:21