Last Updated: January 2017
Hybrid bikes are designed to be practical. They are sturdy enough to handle rough terrain but ride smooth enough that they can be used in the city. In this article, you will learn all you need to know about choosing the best hybrid bike.
You will also read hybrid bike reviews that discuss some of the best hybrid bikes of 2015, as well as some from earlier years.
What is a Hybrid Bike?
A hybrid bike is called a hybrid because it borrows attributes of road bikes and mountain bikes. It is considered to be a cross between the two, which explains the name. It is also sometimes referred to as a city bike.
The best hybrid bikes are designed for both comfort and speed. They can be designed especially for speed, handle rough terrain, or for riding in the city. You will find that the components chosen for each bike are determined by the manufacturer’s intention for its use.
What Makes a Hybrid Bike Different?
Hybrid bikes are different from mountain bikes and road bikes because they borrow components from each type of bicycle. Unlike other classifications of bicycles, hybrids do not have a standard fit that they follow. You can find hybrids designed for rough terrain, riding across the pavement or city-riding.
Another key difference is the purpose of the bike. Mountain bikes are designed to handle rough terrain while providing comfort, while road bikes are designed especially for pavement and giving the rider speed. Hybrid bikes, on the other hand, are designed for comfort and speed as you go on long trips.
Key Components of a Hybrid Bike
Now that you understand what a hybrid bike is designed for, here are some of the key components of the bike:
- Bottom Bracket
Sizing and Bike Fit
The best beginner hybrid bike will be designed for comfort- provided it fits your body well. To find a good fit, you need to know what each size of the bike means, as well as how tall you are. Beginner hybrid bicycles usually come in extra small, small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes.
When you sit on your bicycle, you should have at least 1-2 inches between the top of the inner part of your leg and the highest tube on the frame of the bike. Additionally, you should only need to slightly bend your leg if you are standing with your foot on the pedal in the position closest to the ground.
If the prior section did not tell you what you need to know when it comes to bike sizing, here is a handy table that will tell you the size of bike you most likely need for your bike. Remember, though, people with longer or shorter inseams than average may need to go up or down a size for the perfect fit.
|Bike Size in Inches||Bike Size|
The “Breaking In” Period of a New Bike
The “breaking in” period of a new hybrid bicycle is very similar to the breaking in period of other bicycles. Basically, you will need about thirty days to break in the bike. This can vary based on usage, but this is a good time frame to take your bike in for its first tune up.
At the end of the breaking in period, your bike should shift and brake a lot smoother than it did originally. However, there may not be a noticeable difference if the bike was assembled by a bike shop, properly tightened and adjusted, and lubed.
Best Bikes for the Money
In the next section, you will find several hybrid reviews that represent some of the best hybrid bikes in their category.
Best Hybrid Bike under $200
When you purchase a hybrid bike under $200, you will want to make sure you are getting the best cheap hybrid bike. Remember, the amount you pay is expected will be reflected by the quality of the bike so you should expect one, if not a few flaws from a hybrid bike under $200. Fortunately, this bike has a great price/quality ratio and really delivers quality.
Men’s Wayfare Hybrid Bike by Schwinn
Its features include:
- Schwinn Derailleur and Shifters
- 7 Speeds
- Steel Frame
- Spring Seat
- Alloy brakes
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Even though the Wayfare Hybrid Bike is marketed as one for men, it can also be ridden by women. It comes in a gender-neutral color with several great features. The steel frame is high-quality, resistant to rust, and comes with a lifetime warranty. Additionally, the forgiveness of steel allows for a very smooth ride.
Another great feature is the hardware of the bike. The brakes and shifters both offer great response times. They operate very smoothly, which is something you would expect of a bike that is higher quality. The seat is also a notable advantage, as the hybrid bicycle comes with a spring-loaded seat that is a lot more comfortable than the seat that comes with other bikes.
One thing to keep in mind before purchasing this hybrid bike under $300 is that it only has 7 gears. While this may be okay for some types of riding, other types may require a higher selection of gears. The different components, such as the derailleurs and shifter are of slightly lower quality, but they also work great. Overall, this is a great bike for the price.
Best Hybrid Bike under $300
RS700 Hybrid Bike by Giordano
Some of its key features include:
- 21 Speeds with Shimano Shifters
- Aluminum Frame
- Aluminum Rims
- Steel Fork
- Flat-Bar Handlebar
- 700C Wheels
One of the best things about this bike is the shifters. The high-quality shifters allow you to switch seamlessly between all 21 gears this bike has to offer. This also makes it great for riding in a wide variety of environments, from rough terrain to city streets.
The tires that come included with this bike are also a great feature. They are thicker than those found on road bikes, which allows them to handle potholes, debris-littered streets, and even rocky trails with ease. The front wheel also comes with a quick-release lever that allows you to easily store the bike for travel.
Now, for the downsides to this bike. One of the biggest complaints is the noise of the brakes, though after breaking the bike in and a proper lubing this should not be much of an issue. The brakes do respond very quickly, however. You may also need a seat for this bike, as the one that is included does not have much padding.
The final thing to note is that the instructions that come with the assembly of the hybrid bike are not clear. This means that you should probably have it assembled at your local bike shop unless you have previous experience with bike assembly.
Best Hybrid Bike under $500
Trace Complete Dual by Diamondback Bicycles
Some of the features of this great bike include:
- Aluminum Frame
- Alloy Fork
- Shimano Acera Derailleurs
- Shimano Rapidfire Shifter
- 8 Speeds
- Innova DualSport 700x40C Tires
The first notable feature of this bike is the frame. It is aluminum, making it very lightweight. It is made durable by the alloy fork and butting where necessary. The tires are also great. They are wider, to allow the bike to handle rough terrain. However, they are also light enough that you can easily zoom across
The tires are also great. They are wider, to allow the bike to handle rough terrain. However, they are also light enough that you can easily zoom across the pavement.
The quality of the components, including the derailleur, shifter, crankset, and other components are also incredible. The majority of these parts are made by the Shimano company, who is well known for their great bicycle parts. They offer great response and work very well together. Additionally, the bike is very easy to assemble.
There are two things to note before buying this bike. First, it does not come with a kickstand. This means that if you do not want to lean it against things, you will need to invest in one. You may also want to invest in a seat, as the one that comes with the bike is uncomfortable for long rides.
Best Hybrid Bike under $700
Crosstown 7 Speed Folding Hybrid by Montague
Its features include:
- Folds for easy storage
- 7 Speeds
- “Octagon” allows for easy adjustment of the handlebars
- Easy Release Wheels
- Shimano Shifter and Derailleur
- Aluminum Tubing
- Performance Gel Seat
- Rear Racks and Optional Fenders
- 27 Pounds
The great thing about this bike is that it offers the convenience of being foldable, without sacrificing reliability. It folds easily and features easy release wheels so that it can be stored anywhere. When you do unfold it, its full size is comfortable and functional.
The shifter and derailleur shift easily so that it can easily handle hills. The tires are also durable, meaning that it can handle potholes, pebbly or rocky paths, and debris-filled streets. Finally, the performance gel seat is very comfortable. It is much higher quality than comes included with other bikes in the same price range.
While the main parts of the bike are great, a few of the extra features could use some work. First, while the easy-release fenders are an innovative idea, they do not protect from splashing very well. Additionally, the Clik Wheel Release system is not attached as securely as it could be.
Best Hybrid Bike under $1,000
Fillmore 8 Speed Hybrid Bicycle by Swobo
Some of the features of this great bike include:
- Chromoly welded frame and fork by Swobo
- Shimano Gears and Derailleurs
- 8 Speeds
- Puncture-Resistant Tires
- Aluminum Fenders
- Integrated Bell
This hybrid bicycle provides a very smooth ride, whether you have to handle rough terrain or are commuting across pavements. The frame is made of Chromoly, which is noted for its low weight and durability. This makes it very speed, but also very strong. It has a more comfortable ride that aluminum.
Another notable advantage of choosing this bike is the tires, which are puncture-resistant. This means that if the roads in your town are full of potholes or debris, you will still be able to ride smoothly. Additionally, there is a switch-lever bell integrated into the handlebar.
Finally, this hybrid bike under $1,000 offers great gears and brakes. Much of the hardware is Shimano, which means quality parts. They transition very smoothly and have a very quick response time.
There are two things to take into consideration before purchasing this bike. First, the aluminum fenders do not work as well as you would expect to protect from splashing. The second thing to consider is the assembly of the wheels. If you do get a flat, it can be very difficult to change the tire without special equipment.
Wrapping It Up
Whether you are new to hybrid bikes or are an expert who is looking to upgrade to a more expensive bike, hopefully, this information has been helpful to you.
Those who needed help choosing the right size for their hybrid bike or deciding which components can be upgrades should have found this information useful. Additionally, if you did not know what a good bike look like in your target price range, this should have been helpful as well