When people ask “how to improve hybrid bike” their main goal is to make the bike faster. You can improve your hybrid bike by making it lighter, focusing on the geometry, and using the best hybrid bike mods.
While it does sound straightforward, it’s a little bit more complex. With so many different ways to make your bike lighter and alter the geometry, it can be challenging for beginner cyclists to decide what path they’re going to take.
There’s no need to worry though. We’re here to help provide you with the essential tips you need to learn how to improve hybrid bikes!
Tips on How to Improve Hybrid Bike
The main things that you need to focus on are making the bike lighter, altering the geometry, and using some hybrid bike mods. We’ve broken down these three main goals into helpful tips that will help anyone learn how to improve a hybrid bike.
1. Shorten the Handlebars
When you’re shortening the handlebars, you’re essentially altering the geometry of the bike. While you could go for entirely new handlebars, you can shorten the length if you prefer the feel of a flat bar.
Shortening the length of the handlebar will help improve the efficiency of the seating position. Ideally, it would be best if you used your shoulders as a guide for the handlebar’s length.
If your hands align with your shoulders, then the handlebar is at the perfect length. You should move all the shifters, brakes, and grips inwards!
Once they’re in the proper position, cut off all the excess to help improve the overall aerodynamics of the bike.
A shorter handlebar will help decrease the level of air resistance that you encounter and will improve hybrid bike performance.
2. Add Bar Ends
After shortening the handlebars, you might find yourself with only a few restricted hand positions available. You’ll only be able to hold the handlebars in a few different ways.
However, one of the best ways you can improve the hand positions is by adding bar ends. Bar ends will give you more space and a variety of different positions to hold the bike.
The advantage of having multiple different hand positions is that you’re less likely to suffer from fatigue. If your hands don’t get tired, you’ll be able to cycle faster for longer periods.
Aside from helping improve the performance, bar ends can also help you put a unique touch on the look of the hybrid bike. Not only will we teach you how to improve hybrid bike performance, but we’re also helping you improve the bike’s overall look!
3. Lower Handlebars
One of the easiest ways you can improve hybrid bike performance is by lowering the handlebars. It might sound straightforward, but it makes a significant difference.
When the handlebars are in a lower position, it forces the cyclist to lean forward instead of sitting upright. By leaning forwards, you reduce the level of air resistance you experience.
A standard hybrid bike encourages cyclists to sit upright, and as a result, they encounter a lot more air resistance. While you’ll be able to go a bit faster by lowering the handlebars, you’ll also have to deal with a more uncomfortable seating position. It can take a while for you to get used to leaning forwards.
4. Switch to Narrow Smooth Tread Tires
Hybrid bikes are designed for both off-road and paved terrains. To help provide more stability and grip, hybrid bikes use wider tires.
While they manage to provide more stability, hybrid bike tires also face higher resistance because a more significant portion of the tire is in contact with the ground.
Instead of 32mm or 35mm wide tires, ask your local bike shop if they have 28mm wide tires. You might even be able to get the tires for free if you ask them to change them when you make the purchase.
If you only plan on riding the hybrid bike on the pavement, you can even choose to go with 25mm wide tires. Aside from switching to more narrow tire options, the air pressure will also have a role to play.
When you’re riding purely on the pavement, and are looking to increase your speed, inflate your tires to between 80 – 100 psi. The pressure is optimal for road tires and will help significantly decrease rolling resistance.
Many people might tell you that changing the tires isn’t going to make a significant difference, but that’s not the case. Investing in slicker tires is a great way that most cycling enthusiasts will recommend when learning how to improve hybrid bikes.
5. Check the Brakes
The main purpose of bikes isn’t to help you go faster. It’s to help ensure that you can slow down effectively and come to a stop when necessary.
However, that doesn’t mean that brakes can’t hinder you from going faster. If there’s a fault in your brakes, it can significantly decrease pedaling efficiency.
Over time it’s possible for your brakes to move out of position and start making contact with the tires. That’ll make it more difficult for you to pedal faster because the tires will be facing more resistance.
If you feel like your hybrid bike is becoming harder to pedal and isn’t as fast as before, checking the brakes is a good idea. When the brakes are working effectively, you’ll effectively improve hybrid bike performance.
6. Adjust the Gears
Hybrid bikes feature standard gears characterized by a larger chainring on the front and a 28T or 30T variation on the back.
The resulting combination is one in which pacing is incredibly challenging, and it’s even more challenging to find the right gear.
When you’re looking to go faster, the change in gears is so jarring in a hybrid bike. It can have a significant impact on pedaling efficiency. That’s primarily because hybrid bikes tend to have a wide gear ratio which helps with cycling uphill and off-road terrains.
On the other hand, compact gears tend to have 50T-34T on the front while 11T-34T on the back. It’s the ideal combination for managing pacing on flat and hilly terrains.
Even though it’s a more expensive upgrade if you want to commit to increasing the speed. Adjusting the gearing and getting a new shifter system can have a significant impact.
7. Upgrade Chain
Loss in quality in the chain can have a significant impact on the overall speed of the bike. When the quality deteriorates, you lose close to 5% of the power output through drivetrain loss. If there’s a significant loss in quality, then the value of drivetrain loss can be more consequential.
You can resolve the issue by upgrading to a better quality chain. Shimano makes some of the best bicycle chains on the market. They’ll help significantly increase the pedaling efficiency and help minimize any potential power loss.
Before you purchase a bike chain, however, it’s essential to do some research. Every bike chain is designed to be compatible with certain gears, and some require specific bike components.
While it might seem like an insignificant upgrade, it’s essential to remember that the bike chain is primarily what helps the bike function.
If you’re not looking to replace the chain with a better model, you can instantly improve the condition by lubricating it properly. Proper lubrication will help ensure that your chain lasts longer and remains smooth.
It’s an easy and accessible way for beginners to learn how to improve hybrid bike!
8. Remove Non-essential Accessories
A lot of people like fitting multiple accessories on their bikes because they can be quite helpful. However, what you’re also adding to the bike while installing multiple accessories is weight.
Reducing the bike’s weight may not impact the top speed on a flat road, but it makes you faster on hill climbs. On top of that, a lighter bike will also have faster acceleration than a heavy one. You’ll be able to reach top speed with more ease.
That doesn’t mean you remove every single accessory that’s present on your bike. Accessories like a mirror or a bike computer can be helpful for helping improve hybrid bike performance.
Just get rid of all the accessories that add needless amounts of extra weight. These include any cages and other unnecessary accessories that add weight.
9. Use Clipless Pedals
When you’re riding your bike using clipless pedals, you’ll have the opportunity to use your energy more efficiently. You’ll be able to significantly improve hybrid bike performance with clipless pedals
If you’re using standard pedals, it’s straightforward to lose efficiency because the shoes can slip on them. When the shoes slip consistently, it becomes challenging to maintain a steady rate of pedaling.
Clipless pedals might seem a bit over the top. You essentially have to clip your shoes into the pedal, and the mechanism ensures that your foot remains in the ideal position.
While it might be uncomfortable at the start, the more you practice, the greater speeds you’ll be able to reach.
10. Wear Cycling Gear
There’s a reason why people that are serious about cycling invest in proper gear that helps improve their performance. It might look silly to non-cyclists, but the proper clothing has an impact.
Buying padded shorts along with cycling gloves is essential towards maximizing how far you can ride. If you’re not comfortable wearing the bike shorts, you can put them on and wear gym shorts on top of them.
If you’re wondering how to improve hybrid bike performance, then getting the correct cycling gear will be very helpful. It won’t directly impact the bike, but it’ll significantly improve overall performance.
11. Do Proper Maintenance
One key aspect that many cyclists tend to forget when looking at improving hybrid bike performance is maintenance. Bicycle maintenance can seem tedious, which is why many people avoid it altogether.
However, don’t make the same mistake as every cyclist that neglects their bike. Proper maintenance is essential if you want to ensure that your bike remains in the best shape possible.
It doesn’t mean that you clean your bike once a week and you’re good. Proper cycling maintenance involves lubricating the chain, cleaning the cassette and the cranks, checking if the brakes are functioning, and much more.
If you’re unfamiliar with bicycle maintenance, then even the very basics can seem daunting. However, anyone can learn how to use a bike pump or how to tighten a bike chain by investing a little bit of effort.
12. Lockout the Suspension
A majority of hybrid bikes feature a suspension. If yours has one, you should lock it out if possible and invest in a solid seat post.
The suspension on hybrid bikes is designed to accommodate for any potential bumps that the cyclist might encounter. However, because the suspension is adjusting up and down, it can cause the bicycle to lose efficiency.
With a locked-out front suspension, however, all the energy from the bike expends towards going forward. Many pro cyclists will tell you to lock out the suspension when you ask how to improve a hybrid bike.
When it comes to how to improve a hybrid bike, there are many different techniques that you can apply. You’re loaded with 12 of these tips already; all that’s left to do is unleash them on your hybrid bike.
Even though there are several different techniques available, they all fall under the three main aspects. These aspects are weight reduction, geometry changes, and good hybrid bike mods. Finding the balance between these three will help you build the ultimate hybrid bike!
You can check how fast your hybrid bike will go after implementing these improvements!
FAQs – How to Improve Hybrid Bike
Q1. How long does it take to improve a hybrid bike?
Ans. That depends on the nature of the improvement. If you’re looking to shed a little extra weight, then that’s an improvement you can make on the fly. However, if you want to change up the suspension, that’s going to take a little bit more time!
Q2. Why improve my hybrid bike and not buy a new one?
Ans. One of the main reasons why should you look to improve your hybrid bike is that it’s much more budget-friendly than getting a completely new bike. On top of that, the more you ride a bike, the more attachment you start to feel!
Q3. How can I make sure every customization I make fits properly?
Ans. If you’re not handy with bicycle maintenance and repair, it’s going to be difficult for you to handle all the customizations on your own. After you’re done with the installation, take the bicycle to your local maintenance and repair store for a check.