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Mountain Bike Or Hybrid Which Should I Buy

By: Alex Bristol

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What’s the difference between a mountain or hybrid bike?

If you’re stuck between going for a mountain bike or a hybrid, then let me help you out. Even the best hybrid bikes may not be enough if what you truly need is a mountain bike. So, how can you tell what’s right for you? You’ve come to the right place. Both mountain bikes and hybrid bikes are a staple in the cycling community for adventurous riders.

If you’re interested in a hybrid or mountain bike, then you’re probably thinking of doing a lot of off terrain and dirt tracks. Both of these bikes are adventure bikes and are more suited to rural areas rather than city life. If you can’t make up your mind between a mountain bike and a hybrid bike, then let’s have a look at the key differences and similarities they have.

There’s more.

Let’s find out what is a hybrid bike used for, and what makes them different from mountain bikes. From commuting to exploring the local dirt track uphill, both of these bikes are a convenient way of getting making the most of the outdoors.

Before you can look up how to choose a hybrid bike for you, I will share with you what are mountain bikes vs hybrid bikes, and how you can decide which one is right for you. You’ll know whether hybrid bikes are the style for you, or if you’re into a different type of cycling.

Stay tuned!

What is a hybrid bike?

I’m not going to talk about everything you need to know about what is a hybrid bike. Hybrid bikes are very popular for their versatility and can bridge the gap between city living and outdoor adventures. Well, it’s a mix of a road bike for road riding, and a mountain bike which is why it’s called a hybrid bike. How much faster is a road bike than a hybrid?

Hybrids give you the benefits of both mountain bikes and road bikes including a mix of features such as a high number of gears, wide tires and capable of navigating off road trails. Road bikes are built for racing, suited to asphalt and roads. They give you a horizontal riding position and narrow tires that sometimes come with the option of locking your feet onto the pedals for more power.

If you’re looking for a bike that does it all, this is it. A hybrid bike is the middle ground, comfortable but fast, suited to both types of terrain due to a good selection of gears and mid width tires. The idea is that you’ll be able to go fast on pavement, but also be able to explore off road trails well due to the gears and the upright riding position.

There are different kinds of hybrid bikes, including trekking bikes, city or commuter bikes, and cruiser bikes.

If you can’t decide whether you want a gravel bike vs hybrid, or you’re a beginner that is unsure where to start, then a hybrid bike is a good option. You can also get electric hybrid bikes. What is a hybrid electric bike?

What is a Mountain bike?

You could say that mountain bikes are pure, off trail adventure bikes. They are made to ride on technical trails and uneven ground such as potholes, rocks, gravel, and branches.

They feature sharp frame geometry, and a more aggressive riding position to climb steep hills and

terrain more efficiently. Mountain bikes will often have a lower gear ration so that cyclists can put more power into every pedal especially when going on difficult terrain.

Mountain bikes also have a strong frame design, knobbed tires with deeper tread, and of course suspension to absorb all the bumps. Although hybrids may incorporate some of these features, for example, front suspension, it won’t be as much as the mountain bike.

Of course, just as there are different types of hybrid bikes, you can also find different styles of mountain bike. These include the standard trail mountain bike, which is overbuilt and made for off terrain. The cross-country style mountain bike is better suited for climbing speed.

Mountain bike or hybrid which should I go for?

Before you can decide whether to go for a hybrid bike or a mountain bike, you need to consider your riding style, where you want to ride, and what your needs are. Both types of bikes have unique features, but it all depends on your preferences. How to size a hybrid bike is a whole other issue.

Main differences between a mountain bike and a hybrid

Here are some key differences you can ignore when deciding on which bike to go for.


Mountain bikes are made to be strong and robust, as they can take quite a lot from rough trails. They tend to weigh a bit more than hybrid bikes simply because they have wider, heavier tires, as well as suspension and a strong frame geometry.

Hybrid bikes are more versatile and are much more lightweight since they’re made for use in the city too. They are easier to maneuver and less bulky.


Mountain bikes need to have a lot of suspension to absorb the bumps from uneven ground. This not only gives you a smoother ride, but helps you to have more control in your bike since it isn’t bouncing around in all directions.

Many hybrid bikes don’t need so much suspension since they aren’t made to ride on very rough terrain. Some hybrids come with front suspension or rear suspension for the sake of comfort when riding on light trails, but this won’t be enough for more extreme off trail.


One of the key differences between a mountain bike and a hybrid is the tires. On a mountain bike, the tires are wide for a smoother ride and better stability. the tires provide a knobby pattern and deep tread so that they can grip better the uneven tracks.

On a hybrid, the tires are thicker than a road bike but still lighter and thinner than regular mountain bike tires. They can have road tires which is exactly what cyclists need for commuting. This adds to their versatility so you can use them both on smooth ground and uneven surfaces.


The handlebars are a big difference too.

Hybrids often feature flat or dropped handlebar design, depending on the type of hybrid bike. Some types prioritize comfort rather than an aerodynamic handlebar.

With mountain bikes, they will usually feature a flat handlebar design for speed and agility.


As we mentioned before, mountain bikes tend to have a low gear ratio to help you to climb steep hills and difficult terrain easily. They may not have a wide range, but will help you to cycle with less effort when off roading.

Many hybrid bikes can have a single speed or a wide gear ratio to accommodate a variety of situations and terrain. For example, hybrid city bikes may only have one gear as their focus is on speed and urban terrain, whereas trekking hybrid bikes will have more variety.


Mountain bikes are able to handle dirt, gravel, and any unpaved terrain. They’re ideal for weekend rides in the park or family vacations in the outdoors. They can take rough and uneven ground well.

A hybrid bike has a lot more versatility, but also some limitations. These kinds of bikes can handle city rides and asphalt as well as some light gravel and off road. It may not be so good for extremely rough terrain, but is good for both urban and rural terrain.

Your Riding Style

The next question you need to ask yourself is, what will I do with my bike? You need to look at both what kind of terrain you will be riding on, for how long and what occasions.

If what you want is a bike that is suitable for off-road fun and that you can use on weekends for leisure riding or even on a family vacation, then a mountain bike will work best. For the outdoor adventurer, that prefers to cycle on dirt paths and explore nature, the mountain bike will provide better suspension and is more robust for this kind of riding. The mountain bikes may not be as comfortable when it comes to longer rides or daily cycling.

If you’re looking for a bike with versatility that you can use daily for commuting to work, but also for some offroad riding on weekends, then a hybrid bike is best. Using your bike in the city and for errands in town as well as for some leisure cycling in the park, you will need versatility. A trekking hybrid bike is a good idea, especially since they are more comfortable for longer rides and you can also swap out the tires for more appropriate ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use mountain bikes in the city?

You can, however mountain bikes tend to be slower and heavier than hybrid bikes on pavement. Their tires are thick and knobbed, so they don’t grip so well on pavement as they would off terrain. One option you have could be replacing your tires, but since mountain bikes feature an aerodynamic riding position and a low gear ratio, you might find it inconvenient for commuting.

Can you use hybrid bikes on trails?

Yes and no. It depends on the hybrid bike and on the trail. City, commuters and cruisers are not ideal on off trail, but hybrid trekking bikes are better suited. Most hybrids can handle some light dirt bike trails and gravel, but if the trail is more extreme off road, you may find it difficult to maneuver. The suspension on a hybrid is much less than on a mountain bike, so you may not find it as comfortable. There may not be enough gears on the hybrid bike to cope with uphill climbs either, so take this into account when buying your hybrid bike.

Can I go mountain biking with a hybrid?

Not really. Some models of hybrid bikes can be good on off-trail, but a hybrid bike can only handle light to moderate off-road conditions. If you want to do truly off-road riding invest in a mountain bike.

Hybrid bike or Mountain bike

Choosing between a hybrid and mountain bike can be a difficult choice. Both offer many advantages and are good options for the adventurous cyclist. Hybrid and mountain bikes are made to be ridden off trail, but most mountain bikes don’t offer the versatility that a hybrid bike can give you.

The advantage of the mountain bike lies in having flat handlebars, rear suspension fork and wider tires with aggressive tread so you can tackle the off roading. Hybrid bikes are also suitable for mountain biking, but just like road bikes, they can also do road riding.

For most cyclists, the riding situations is key when choosing between a hybrid and mountain bike. For example, hybrid riders want a comfortable ride and high gear ratios since they’ll be going on road rides on gravel paths and paved roads. Mountain bikers can expect to ride on a steep hill so they need a suspension fork or even full suspension for off roading. Most hybrid bikes have drop bars and comfortable seats for short commutes.

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