For most cyclists, the ability to take your bike anywhere you want to go is a huge benefit. While road bikes are standard for those who enjoy speed and racing, they lack certain levels of comfort and flexibility for the rider’s lifestyle. While a hybrid is more of a cross between a mountain bike and a touring bike, there are ways to convert your road bike to the comfort and flexibility that goes along with hybrids.
Can A Road Bike Be Converted Into A Hybrid? Absolutely! One of the main attractions to cycling is how customizable the sport is to the rider. If you have a bike you love, you can easily pick up some new accessories to increase your comfort as well as transition the road bike into a hybrid.
While converting your favorite road bike into a hybrid may not be the most affordable option, it is excellent for those who are looking to customize their riding experience. Let’s talk about how you can convert to a hybrid, and if it is the right choice for you.
Any bike lends itself to being customized by the rider. For those who enjoy road bikes, they are looking for the speed that comes with that and typically are not willing to budge. This is where a hybrid bike comes into play. Not only are they retaining the benefits of road bikes and touring bikes, but they are also getting the benefit of a mountain bike, which allows you to ride in various terrains.
Converting your road bike into a hybrid can be done in many ways. Buying a few pieces is a great way to start, but completely replacing most parts of your bike is not an uncommon practice. Adding upgrades to your bike such as new tires, a new braking system, and a new suspension are all easy installations that you can do with some instruction. Adding in new derailleurs and cranksets are also simple ways to start converting your road bike into a hybrid.
Why Would You Want a Hybrid Bike?
While road bikes are perfect for those on flat terrain or paved paths, they do not perform as well on trails or more rugged terrain. Hybrid bikes give the benefits of both a road bike and a mountain bike. Hybrid bikes act more like a touring bike, which is a relative of your average road bike. They are better suited for riding long distances, and they also have additional benefits such as panniers and mudguards for some slight off-roading.
Ultimately, a hybrid bike gives you more flexibility as a rider. You are not limited to riding only on the road. You can venture out into local trails and still be able to ride in designated green lanes. You are also going to have a more comfortable ride with a hybrid bike.
What Makes a Hybrid Bike Different?
The frame and suspension are both exciting factors when it comes to deciding what bike would fit you the best. Most hybrid bikes are made of aluminum or carbon fiber to make sure they are strong enough for use but are not too heavy to move if needed. Hybrids also use a light derailleur, which is often covered since they can be damaged due to their structure. This allows for the controls and the brake to be easily accessible on the bars.
Hybrid bikes tend to have a larger wheel in both size and width. This makes sure that the tires can grip whatever surface you are riding on. If you are primarily riding on pavement, you can still get tires that are a little smaller but will grip the terrain just as well. Most hybrids will use the same kind of brakes that you would see on a regular mountain bike. This keeps them dry to make sure they will be able to grip the tire to stop you when you need to stop.
What Kind of Hybrid are You Trying to Create?
Another question you may find yourself asking is, what kind of hybrid bike are you trying to create? For some, a sport hybrid gives them what they love about their road bike, but it also has the ability to perform on different terrain like a mountain bike. They are often lighter in weight, which makes them appeal to those who are still looking to use it as a sport.
Hybrid comfort bikes are great for those who want a little bit of both worlds but are mainly looking to get a comfortable ride out of their new bike. This is the perfect bike for those who are looking to enjoy a quick trip, and it offers the ability not only to ride where the cyclist chooses to go, but this type can be more substantial.
What Items Do You Need to Convert a Hybrid Bike?
Knowing what goes into making a hybrid bike is the first step. While many bikes are the same, there are a few details that set them apart. Although wheels are something that you can upgrade to increase the comfort of your bike, they are reliant on the kind of terrain you are riding on. If you plan on mostly riding on pavement, upgrading to a larger wheel may not be the best option for you. Many hybrid bikes are meant to grip all different types of terrain.
You can also change the gearing of your bike based on where you are riding and even your level of fitness. If you are planning to ride mostly on trails in any area where you are going to have hills, upgrading your road bike to a new gearing is going to not only help you ride more comfortably, but you will also be able to go more places. For those who are looking to ride on flat ground, a single-shift or a simple gear is the best option.
The suspension is another item that you can add to your bike. A lot of hybrid bikes leave the suspension off to make them lighter, but a suspension can make your ride smoother on trails or other rough terrains.
When it comes to brakes, hybrids often use hydraulic or mechanical. Disk and v-brakes are commonly used since they rest higher on the wheel. This keeps them dry and makes sure that you are able to stop when you want to. Rim brakes are still popular since they are not only more affordable, but they tend to be more comfortable on the rider.
Is It Cheaper Just to Buy a New Hybrid?
If you are considering making the switch to a hybrid, make sure that you are pricing out your options. Unless you have a current road bike that you are dedicated to, it may be more affordable to buy a new hybrid. Not only are you not having to purchase a lot of extra items that may or may not suit your needs, but you could also end up spending double the cost of a new hybrid bike.
Something else to consider is the age of the bike you are trying to convert. Some older bikes may have compatibility issues with newer pieces. Finding older pieces to fit may not only be time-consuming, but it also may cost you double what it would usually. Unless you have worked on bikes in the past, you may be looking to a mechanic to get your bike in gear. This adds additional labor costs.