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After riding a hybrid bike for the last few years, I just got a used Cannondale SuperX road bike (CX to be accurate). I expected the change in geometry to be uncomfortable for a while, but what I didn’t expect was the drastic difference in handling. Two major notes so far.

One, it seems to be incredibly agile. And while that should be a good thing, I’ve found it dangerous having been used to my hybrid and driving in shoulders. A tiny movement to dodge a sunken manhole becomes a scramble to get out of the road.

Two, standing is way too unnatural. Feels like the bike is trying to go towards the pedalling leg. Not sure if the light weight has anything to do with it.

My questions are these; 1, will I get used to the road bike with time or is this something I have to consciously work towards? 2, is flipping between the hybrid and road bike a bad idea?

If it means anything, I’m pretty much a casual rider. I just did my first 100km this past summer on the hybrid.

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    I think this question although good is actually quite subject to discussion rather than an answer. What seems like riding a raging bull to OP will be perfectly stable to others. – Dan K Dec 3 '20 at 6:34
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    Where on the bars are you holding? I wonder if you're holding the tops because they're flat like your other bike, whereas the hoods position is probably better. – Criggie Dec 3 '20 at 6:59
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    Just as an anecdote, I went from riding my racing bike occasionally to riding my commuter bike (with a pannier on the back) daily. The first time I got back on my racing bike after ~6 months, I could barely control it—and I've had that bike for 20 years! I got back in the groove after a few minutes. You'll find that your new bike needs very little steering input, and you can mostly steer it with your hips, not hands. – Adam Rice Dec 3 '20 at 15:22
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    There's a slight possibility the headset is damaged. I once accidentally overtightened my headset creating a sort of flat spot on the bearing, meaning the steering had a slight preference for pointing straight-on and making handling "difficult". – Mr_Thyroid Dec 3 '20 at 18:45
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    This is a great question, and not so subjective as it may seems: road (and cyclo-cross) bikes are fundamentally different with respect to hybrid bikes (as well as wrt to mtb, cruisers and so on). There is already a good answer, maybe someone can dig in giving a good introduction to forks rake/offset. – EarlGrey Dec 4 '20 at 8:34
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Your bike is not really a road bike, it is a cyclocross bike (CX, not XC). Although they look similar and use the same type of handlebars, they serve different purposes.

Cyclocross bikes are made for 1-hour races in very twisty off-road courses. They need to be able to make very short turns and do not have to be very stable. They also do not have to be very comfortable for long rides. That is a difference with respect to gravel bikes. They are similar, but often more stable and used for longer rides often on narrower trails or roads.

  1. You will get used to the bike better for sure, but the inherent qualities of the bike are permanent. But you will become more confident in controling it.

  2. Using multiple types of bikes is a very good idea. A cyclocross bike can be a good universal main bike for many people. However, an endurance road bike made to be more comfortable on longer road rides might serve your personal purposes better.

  • Thanks Vladimir. I was in search of a true road bike but this was the best deal I could find after months. Figured they were similar enough and I can just use it for now. Live and learn I guess. Any idea how much trouble I’m in for longer road rides? Would it be better to keep searching and get a true road before spring or will the CX be manageable? – Sam Dec 3 '20 at 11:41
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    @Sam Many people do fine on CX bikes even on longer road rides. They can be great commuter bikes too. It is important to have a bike that fits you. CX vs. road is less important. You may consider changing your stem length or height to get a better fit, that influences the handling too even if not that much. Just ride for some time and see. Be sure to get acquainted with all the handlebar positions they offer. Most of the time you should ride on the hoods. – Vladimir F Dec 3 '20 at 11:51
  • Thank you. I’ll give it a go in the mean time. – Sam Dec 3 '20 at 11:59
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    There is not an intrinsic handling difference between a CX bike and a road bike. CX bikes tend to be fast steering, but many road bikes are the same, – Argenti Apparatus Dec 3 '20 at 12:03
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    Getting more bikes is always better. – John Hunt Dec 3 '20 at 15:14
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Is the stem very short? I find that a long (15cm) stem is results in quite acceptable, gentle, though not highly and quickly responsive, steering. If I were riding urban downhill, or downhill mountain biking through a forest, I would want a really short stem but if just riding around on a road bike I would prefer a longer stem in any event. The bike comes with a long-enough stem but the previous owner of your used bike may have swapped for a too short (8/7cm or less?) stem for fit related reasons.

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