How To Choose A Hybrid Bike

Last Updated on November 8, 2021

Ready to buy your first hybrid bike?

There are so many kinds of hybrid bikes, both regular and electric hybrid bikes, but hybrid bikes are worth a look at. Are you thinking about getting one? Before you look up the best hybrid bikes, you need to know how to choose the right hybrid bike for you.

If you love cycling but haven’t committed to a road bike or a mountain bike, then maybe a hybrid bike is for you. With the versatility of hybrid bikes, there If you can’t make up your mind between a trekking hybrid bike or a city hybrid bike, then let me help you.

Listen up.

First, you’re going to have to decide what kind of cycling you will do. Hybrid bikes are used for a variety of cycling, from commuting to exploring the local dirt track uphill, they’re a convenient way of getting to and from work. If you want the best of both worlds, then hybrid bikes are perfect.

I know choosing a bike for you is complicated, so I will be taking you through what is a hybrid bike used for and how you can pick the right one for you. You’ll know whether hybrid bikes are the style for you, or if you’re into a different type of cycling.

Read on, you won’t regret it.

 

How to choose a hybrid bike for you

There are different types of hybrid bikes but you might be thinking, what is a hybrid bike? The type of hybrid bike you choose will impact what you do with it. For example, if you go for a cruiser bike, then it wouldn’t be a good idea to use it in rural terrain. Here’s an idea of the types of hybrid bikes you can choose from.

Types of hybrid bikes

There can be a large variety of hybrids, but they more or less fit into these four categories

Trekking hybrid bikes

Trekking bikes are also known as fitness bikes. They are easily recognized by the flat handlebars and aggressive, sports-style geometry. They are made to be ridden in a more aerodynamic position. Gravel bikes are a good option too. What is a gravel bike vs hybrid?

Within this category, there are three sub-types:

Relaxed, upright geometry- these trekking bikes are ideal for family trips. You’ll find these hybrids have wider tires so you can ride smoothly on rough surfaces such as light gravel and dirt roads. The relaxed geometry also makes them more comfortable for a longer and smooth ride.

Aggressive geometry– These kinds of trekking bikes are better for picking up speed and staying fit. They will often have narrow tires for paved roads or light gravel. They’re good for family days out, but the riding position is more aerodynamic. Maybe a mountain bike would work for you too. Mountain bike or hybrid which should I buy?

50/50 geometry- is a mix between the two above categories. These are the most versatile trekking bike and are good for a large variety of terrain. They can come with various tire width and an aerodynamic position, they’re perfect for people who want to ride both on city roads and on rough terrain.

City hybrid bikes

City bikes can be quite similar to commuter bikes, but they use 26″ wheels and wider tires. Aside from this, they often overlap. They’re ideal for commuting and running errands in the city, but not so good on dirt paths. Some city bikes are electric hybrids. What is a hybrid electric bike?

Commuter hybrid bikes

Commuter bikes are also urban bikes, designed to be used in the city and for commuting to and from work. You can also use it for going to the grocery store, or riding around the neighborhood.

They have a more relaxed geometry and are more comfortable than trekking bikes. It’s perfect for paved roads and light off-road terrain. Both commuter bikes and city bikes are ideal for commuting and riding in the city or urban surroundings.

They will often come with extras such as mudguards, rack, basket or pannier, and lights.

Cruiser/comfort hybrid bikes

These hybrid comfort bikes are the most comfortable. They offer an upright riding position with large cushioned saddles and a step-through frame, especially for women with a smaller bike size.

Cruiser style bikes have a lightweight frame and wider tires making them ideal for cruising at the beach or leisurely rides in the neighborhood. They sometimes feature cool accessories such as pannier bags and bells or lights. They’re pretty comfortable for short distances, but are not the most practical for longer rides.

Here are a few questions to help you find out which type of hybrid bike is right for you.

Where do you plan on riding

The first thing you need to ask yourself is what kind of cycling you will be doing. Will you be using your bike mostly in town, or would you like to bring it with you for family vacation in rural dirt paths?

Off terrain

If you’re planning on mostly riding off terrain, or on dirt paths, nature reserves and family trips in rural areas, then the best hybrid bike for you would be trekking bikes. Those with wider tires and rough treads are better suited to light off terrain. They’re the closest to mountain bikes, but still, give you the flexibility of being used as fitness bikes and on paved roads too.

If you prefer to do leisurely riding but also with some light off terrain or loose ground such as the beach or around the neighborhood, then a cruiser bike could work for you. Cruisers are also good for bike paths and paved roads, with a bit of light terrain, but nothing too rough.

Paved roads and asphalt

If you live in a town or city, and are tired of using public transport, then have you considered using a hybrid bike? Whether that’s for commuting, or doing errands in the city, if you know you will be needing a bike mostly for smooth roads of asphalt, paved roads and bike paths, not off road at all, then a commuter or city bike would work for you. If you plan mostly on using it for leisure, even a cruiser bike would suit you.

person riding a mountain bike

How often do you want to ride?

Hybrid bikes suit all kinds of riders, but a key deciding factor to consider is how long do your ride for. Do you plan on using your bike everyday or are you only an occasional rider?

Occasional, short amount of time

If you plan on using your bike only occasionally, for leisure or errands, and for short amounts of time, then cruiser bikes are best.

If you plan on doing off road, but for a short amount of time, then trekking bikes with aggressive geometry can be used without an issue.

Longer hours or long distance

If you know you need a bike for the daily commute and for daily use, to and form work, then a commuter bike is the one that can best handle the usage. City bikes are also good for frequent rides in the city.

For off terrain long distance riding, I recommend trekking bikes with more relaxed geometry as they are much more comfortable, and can handle the distance well.

What is your budget?

No matter your needs, budget is a strong limiting factor for some. With hybrid bikes, you can get a wide range of prices, from $200 for a hybrid bike in a chain store, or over $1000 for a good quality hybrid bicycle.

The balance is always between going for a cheap bike that risks breaking down and save money, or investing in a quality bike but that can cost a lot of money.

Affordable

If you’re on a limited budget, there are a few options that you have.

You can choose to go for a second hand bike to save money, or go for a cheap bike in a department chain store, but this option usually results in low quality bikes that are simply not worth it.

The best option for you is to go for a cruiser bike, as these are the least expensive. They have less gears and low end components, but since they’re not made to be used for long-distance they work well. You can expect to pay $500 for a hybrid bike that does medium to long-distance trips, but they will be better quality than cheaper bikes.

It’s a good idea to invest some of your budget in accessories such as a bike helmet and cycling clothes.

Top quality

If you want to go for higher quality, with less limit on your budget, then you can select any of these hybrid bikes that suit you, though I would recommend going for a commuter bike for urban surroundings or a trekking bike for rural. You also need to make sure you buy the right bike size for you. How to size a hybrid bike?

Whatever your budget, there are a few key components that you need to ensure are of top quality.

Brakes

On cheaper bikes, rim brakes are used. They are lighter and easy to maintain but their stopping power is not optimum in bad weather.

Disc brakes have better stopping power, but they are heavier and more expensive.

If you’re on a budget, don’t go for a bike with disc brakes, since it means that for the lower price they have reduced the quality of other components.

Suspension

Not all hybrid bikes come with suspension forks, but those tend to be more comfortable as they absorb all the bumps on the road. They’re especially important if you do a lot of off-trail.

Of course, the front suspension on a hybrid bike is never as good as the suspension on a mountain bike, and may add unwanted weight.

Another component is to have a suspended seatpost to improve your comfort. However, this won’t be found on cheaper hybrid bikes.

Gearing

This is particularly important, since it will make your life easier when it comes to climbing hills or riding faster downhill. Having a wider gear section will allow you to choose the gear that most suits you.

However, gears won’t be necessary if you plan on riding on flat terrain, cruise beaches, or commuting in the city. In that case, a hybrid bike with a single-speed gear or a narrow gear selection will save you money and make the bike lighter. How much faster is a road bike than a hybrid?

What kind of riding style do you have?

Finally, the riding style is a primary way of selecting the right hybrid bike.

Maintaining fitness level and family trips plus light terrain

If this is your primary goal, then a trekking hybrid bike is perfect for you. They’re great on rough roads.

Commuting, groceries, errands

For commuting to and from work or school, and for grocery runs in town or city riding, then a commuter bike is best for you.

Commuting, cruising in the city

Also for commuting, or riding in the city rather than using public transport, then a city bike is more versatile than a commuter and good for urban surroundings.

Cruising around beach and neighborhoods, paved roads and bike paths

For leisure riding, and casual rides in a variety of light terrain and urban or city roads, then a cruiser style bike or comfort bikes prioritizes comfort above all else, and is good for an occasional ride.

 

Final Thoughts

Choosing a hybrid bike can seem like a challenge when they are so versatile and there are many options available. However you can find exactly what you need and select one from other hybrid bikes that can suit you best. Hybrid bicycles also come in different frame materials such as carbon fiber, so you’ll need to decide based on your budget or preferences.

It helps if you know what kind of terrain you’ll be riding, for example if you prefer to ride longer distances and steep hills you’ll need more gears, for urban riding, the right bike will have fewer gears or even a fixed gear.

Then you can decide if you will buy a new hybrid bike or a cheap bike, depending on your budget, if you want mechanical disc brakes or a suspension fork. Different hybrid bikes offer different things, so it’s up to you to prioritize what you need,

What is your favorite hybrid bike?

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