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Recently hybrid bikes have gained a lot of popularity as they serve as a combination of a road bike and a mountain bike. I’ve been riding one myself to get to work for the last two years. But how fast can they go?
The average speed of a hybrid bike is calculated at 22 km/h across 29 km, given that there is no headwind. An average hybrid bike can go from 19 km/h to up to 28 km/h.
In this essential guide, I’ll look at exactly the kinds of speeds you can expect to get out of a hybrid. I’ll also look at how they compare to road bikes, and what the difference in speed is. There are a few other things that you need to know about, such as what speed to expect if you get a hybrid bike with different amounts of gears. We’ve got you covered on that one too!
What is the Average Speed of a Hybrid Bike?
The average speed of a hybrid bike is 22 km/h while the average speed of a road bike is 29 km/h (Source).
But when compared to mountain bikes, hybrid bikes are faster than them.
So, if you are planning to use a hybrid bike for distances of up to 200 km, you can expect an average speed of up to 18 km/h. Moreover, a semi-professional biker can get up to 20 km/h on a hybrid bike over this distance which makes its speed relatively good.
A hybrid bike contains characteristics of both mountain and road bikes and serves as a great option for the everyday commute.
Many believe that it provides the speed of a road bike and the comfort of a mountain bike. While it is true that it is as comfortable as a mountain bike, there is still a difference between its speed and that of a road bike.
However, comparing it to the speed of a road bike, you can get an average speed of up to 35 km/h over short distances.
So, if you are a professional rider, you might want to opt for a road bike. But if you are looking for something for an everyday commute then a hybrid bike is your best option.
Why Are Hybrid Bikes Not as Fast as Road Bikes?
Generally, hybrid bikes are not as fast as road bikes and this is due to various reasons such as riding position, tire width, and weight.
Hybrid bikes tend to be slower than road bikes because they come with wide tires which ensures safety and more grip.
On the other hand, road bikes tend to be faster because they contain narrower tires. These tires reduce friction which allows you to achieve high speed even with less effort.
Another feature that makes hybrid bikes slower than road bikes is the style and position of the handlebars.
Hybrid bikes contain flat handlebars which ensure a comfortable position and ride but not high speed due to an upright position.
Road bikes, however, are equipped with drop handlebars which require riders to lean forward on the handlebars and ride low. This position is called the aerodynamic riding position which ensures a smooth ride and less air resistance.
Lastly, the style and size of a frame of a bike play an important role in determining its speed. The lighter the weight of the bike, the faster its speed would be. Road bikes typically come with a lighter frame which makes them faster than hybrid bikes. However, instead of changing the frame of your hybrid bike, you can improve its speed by changing the tires.
Can We Use Hybrid Bikes for Long Distances?
Hybrid bikes are a great option for shorter or everyday commutes on the roads. However, covering long distances on a hybrid bike depends on a rider’s comfort level and how physically fit they are.
Road bikes are usually preferred for long distances due to their speed.
But if you are a semi-professional rider or physically really fit then you can easily go up to 80km on a hybrid bike. They are also ideal for off-road biking or hitting trails.
Can We Use a Hybrid Bike as a Road Bike?
Since a hybrid bike contains several features of a road bike, it can be used as one.
As the name suggests, hybrid bikes serve as a cross between road and mountain bikes, so they provide the speed of a road bike and comfort of a mountain bike. But even then, a hybrid bike can’t provide all the specialized functions of a road bike.
However, there are several ways through which you can modify your hybrid bike and use it as a road bike. These modifications include installing a drop handlebar.
This can allow you to cover long distances just like a road bike, but it will still not be as fast as a road bike due to its wide tires.
Do Hybrid Bikes Come with Gears?
Another feature that can help you alter the speed of your hybrid bike is its gears. You can control the speed of your bike if it has multiple gears.
On a bike, the pulleys are like star-shaped cogs and they act as gears. They work in many ways on a bike, but utilizing all their leveraging power makes the real difference (Source).
You can get various gear ratios on your hybrid bike through different chainring and rear gear sizes. These gear ratios then determine the number of times the rear wheel will revolve per pedal stroke. As a result, you can ride your hybrid bike as fast as you want.
Each hybrid bike comes with a different set of gears. They also use their gears differently with varying mechanisms and pulleys depending on the maximum speed they can support. Here are three common models of hybrid bikes that you can find:
A single-speed model works well on flat surfaces and most hybrid bikes are single-speed models. These models contain the simplest gearing option.
The gears can be altered to make the ride easier or faster. However, they can’t be altered according to the different terrains. Although the speed is still limited, these bikes require minimal maintenance.
You just need to put oil in the chain every month and you’re good to go.
Also known as the “internal three-speed” model. This hybrid bike contains multiple pulleys that provide three different speed settings depending on various road situations.
One of the main advantages of this model is that it contains a hub that protects all the gadgetry. So, you don’t need to worry about protecting your gears from bad weather or damage.
The three gears are also easy to operate and just like single-speed bikes, require minimal maintenance. Moreover, just like the single-speed model, these are also ideal for flat surfaces and casual rides.
If you are someone who travels long distances or if your commute has many slopes then the seven-speed model is ideal for you. However, larger gear ranges mean there is no internal hub to stuff them in.
An external component called “derailleur” is used to operate the gears. This component pushes the chain onto different and right gears. This model serves as the simplest option for a derailleur as it requires only one gear shifter.
But despite being the simplest option, derailleur systems still require more care and maintenance than internal systems.
You can achieve more than a seven-speed model by adding a front derailleur and some additional chainrings.
There is also a twenty-one-speed model available which is common for hybrid bikes.
It provides an extensive range of gears that can handle any speed or terrain. Moreover, learning how to shift gears on a hybrid bike is pretty easy.
There are two types of hand controls or shifters. Most models of hybrids come with twist-style shifters which you can rotate while gripping the handlebars. Other models contain trigger shifters that you can operate with your thumb and index finger.
It is an ideal choice for anyone who travels short distances and prefers comfort while also enjoying a good speed.
Though they are not as fast as a road bike, several modifications can help you achieve a similar speed. Moreover, there are various gear options available that can help you achieve your desired speed while also providing a comfortable ride.