I currently have a Trek 3500 Mountain bike which I use for commuting 34km total each day. I did put on thinner tires. My average speed is about 20 - 22 km/hr I'm tired of the leaning forward all the time and was considering getting a "comfort bike" where the handlebars are higher than the seat. This would provide a much more enjoyable view/ride. I'm thinking something like this: http://www.primeauvelo.com/en/cypress-dx-42604-0014040.html

IMHO I am guessing (please correct if I'm wrong) that once you go non-road bike, the differences of hybrids are marginal. I believe most (all?) hybrids have more or less the same top speed, and my question is - would a comfort bike be more or less the same as a hybrid, but a hell of a lot more comfy.

  • 2
    You can increase the height of the handle bars on the MTB using one or more of a stem extension, riser bars or adjustable stem.
    – mattnz
    Jun 20, 2017 at 22:55
  • 3
    In most commuting/non-race cases, the limiting speed on a bike is you, not the bike itself.
    – Batman
    Jun 21, 2017 at 1:39
  • 1
    @Batman or the traffic.
    – Chris H
    Jun 21, 2017 at 6:44

6 Answers 6


I commute on 28 km/day at 22-25 km/h average. I normally use a city bike, where I am not exactly leaning forward but neither sitting at 90 degrees.

enter image description here However, I had to use for an entire week a different model, where I was more "seated":

enter image description here

though at the beginning I was feeling more relaxed, on the long run it was not that comfortable: keeping a decent pace was a struggle (drag and head wind, feet slipping on pedals), and also the steering was far less precise than I wanted, resulting in slower rides.

Maybe see if you can borrow such a (or similar) bike and use it for a week or so, before switching to it.


My experience of comfort bikes isn't good. I find them less comfortable. That's as someone who learnt to ride on a cheap mountain bike (probably too small for me) and then a hybrid. A shorter, higher stem can make a huge difference to your existing bike and is cheap to try, but you'd still have the suspension and I can't see whether that locks out.

I was very happy with a hybrid on a similar length commute to you (with hills). My average speed (including stops for junctions etc.) was similar, but there were very few stretches where the bike was the limit - traffic and hills were.

Your assumption of all hybrids having the same top speed isn't quite right:

  • Some have front suspension. Not enough for mountain biking but enough to steal some of your effort. It can't necessarily be locked out and even if it can its heavy.
  • As sold the tyres vary from nearly slick to nearly mountain. As used there's even more variation. Knobbly tyres slow you down.
  • If you encounter a lot of hills or even just do a lot of stop-start riding, weight makes a difference, and the weight variation in hybrids is a lot.

The upright sitting position of a comfort bike is likely to make it slower - even at the speeds we're talking about air drag is relevant, and it's not a position designed for efficient power transfer.

You're going to need a good test ride on the right sort of roads, ideally measuring your speed, if you're going to get something in the sweet spot between speed and riding position.


I strongly recommend you keep your hybrid bike, since comfort bikes are generally quite heavy/slow. After you get used to a faster bike, especially if you use clip pedals, it is hard to use a comfort bike. Perhaps you could try to have a good bike fit on your hybrid to improve your comfort when cycling.


Not all hybrids are the same. There are some $2500 carbon out there now that will clearly outperform a a $600.

In general a comfy bike is not going to perform better than a similar priced hybrid. And it is not going to be a hell of as lot more comfortable.

I don't recommend a shock as it eats up pedal energy and does not add to comfort in my opinion. Run larger tires (like 35 - 38mm).

In the $650+ range you find a lot of nice hybrid / city / fitness to consider. They are are going to perform better. If you even care about performance.

Or just extend the stem for like $40


Hybrids bikes come in various flavors between being more road-ready or more trail-ready. Take a look at any manufacturer's website and see the various hybrid models they offer and see the difference in components like tires, gear ratios, component materials, and frame geometry. Some hybrids are road-bikes in disguise and while others are just a pair of knobby tires short of a "mountain" bike. You seem to looking for one that is at least 70% road oriented.

Also, Think about what is more important for you when you commute? Speed or comfort? getting to work in record time? or getting to work without any aches or pains?

Just based on aerodynamics alone, it's hard to have both. Riding Hybrid bikes you will still be to leaning forward, decreasing the air resistance and going faster. Riding a comfort bike you will sit straight, increasing the air resistance and thus going slower.


You can also consider changing your handlebars to allow you to sit more upright on your current bike. Something like a northroad style bar brings your hands further back and higher up. I switched to one like this on my commuter bike. http://harriscyclery.net/product/sunlite-north-road-style-handlebar-aluminum-2765.htm

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.