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If you know you will be riding exclusively on roads, you should look at rigid-frame hybrids (which don't have suspension) that take 700c wheels. If you think you are going to be riding up hills, you should look at hybrids that are lighter in weight, perhaps with a carbon fork. However, if you are planning to carry heavy loads on your bike, want to fit panniers for carrying luggage, or have a bike seat for a child, then you might want to prioritise a sturdier frame (which is likely to mean a heavier bike).
If you want to explore away from the tarmac, on less well-maintained roads, gravel or rutted farm tracks, there are hybrid bikes that come with suitable gearing, bigger tyres or front suspension that will make these types of journeys more enjoyable. However, if your main goal is to be riding off-road, you may also want to look at bikes that are designed specifically for this purpose, such as the best entry-level gravel bikes or mountain bikes.
Many people choose a hybrid bike for exercise, and for many different reasons. While, say, a road bike is likely to give better performance for purely road cycling, a hybrid might offer a more comfortable riding position or more versatility in terms of the conditions it can be ridden in.
Many of the big bike manufacturers have a specific range of hybrid bikes that are dedicated to fitness and have features to support this, such as sensors for tracking metrics or mounts for cycling computers or phones. Fitness hybrids tend to come with 700c wheels, thinner tyres and lighter frames with rigid forks. Just like a road bike, as your riding develops, you will be able to customise your hybrid to improve its performance by upgrading to the best road bike wheels or the best road bike pedals and best cycling shoes.
While a road bike will provide a more efficient platform for long distance riding with a more aerodynamic position and better power transfer, a hybrid bike can still be a great option for covering long distances, especially if comfort is more of a priority than speed.
Hybrid designs also take into account riding in a range of different conditions and will often have fittings for fenders to protect you from the rain, and better fixing points for lights and reflectors for when riding in low light. Many hybrids come with - or can be fitted with - pannier racks to allow for bags to be attached to the bike, which is ideal for bringing food, layers and waterproof clothing for longer journeys.
Many hybrid bikes will be suitable for some trail riding but it depends on the particular focus of the bike. Some hybrids are very road-oriented, with stiff frames and thin tyres, and are better described as 'flat-bar road bikes', and will be no more suited to trails than a regular road bike.
Also, if you are looking to regularly ride more aggressive, technical trails, you would be much better off looking at a bike specific to the discipline, such as the best entry-level gravel bikes or mountain bikes.
Hybrids also tend to offer a more relaxed, upright riding position, so while you might not get as much performance out of a road-orientated hybrid, it can be safer and would be a more gradual introduction to the discipline of road cycling.
The versatility of hybrids also means that you could buy a bike that gives you the opportunity to venture off-road, while still being more suitable for the tarmac than, say, a mountain bike. If you are not sure what type of cycling discipline you are going to end up enjoying more, it gives you an opportunity to experiment without having to buy a specialist bike straight away.
The joke among cyclists is the ideal number of bikes in your shed is N+1: whatever you have plus one more. And the truth is that the best bike for the type of ride you are embarking upon is always going to be one designed specifically for that discipline. If you are riding on roads, you need the best road bikes; if you are riding gravel, you need the best gravel bikes.
A mix of mountain, road, and touring designs, hybrid bikes mash up specific features to create do-it-all bikes with a wide range of uses. The right type of hybrid bike largely depends on how you plan to use the bike.
If you're a strong cyclist or you only ride flat terrain, you won't need as many low gears to power up a hill so you can get away with fewer gears, which will keep your bike light. Some hybrid bikes have only one speed, and are aptly named single-speed bikes. These bikes have a freewheel mechanism in the rear hub that allows you to coast just like you would on a standard bike with multiple gears.
No Suspension: Many hybrid bikes do not include any suspension at all. Suspension forks add weight and can make pedaling less efficient, so most people who ride on paved bike paths and smooth streets will forego it.
When looking at a bike, compare the level of the seat and the handlebars. Generally speaking, the farther the seat is below the handlebars, the more comfortable the ride. Most hybrid bikes are set up this way. Seats that are higher than the handlebars, on the other hand, will allow you to ride in a more aerodynamic position and apply more power to the pedals. This lets you go faster, but it may not be as comfortable.
No matter which hybrid bike you choose, make sure it fits you. Bikes are sold in a variety of frame sizes, so this is a good starting point. Many manufacturers have size charts that list a height range for each bike size.
While the best comfort bikes are ideal for gentler-paced leisure riding and best fitness bikes are designed more for workout goals, the best hybrid bikes take their influences from the road and mountain bike genres.
\nEach of the best hybrid bikes will have its own unique design. The road and off road capability is blended differently depending on model, with some having a stronger speedy road/urban bias, while others will have a greater preference for gravelly lanes and uneven off-road terrain. If you're unsure what bike is best for your riding then read our article explaining the difference between mountain bikes and hybrid bikes.
Yes and no! The most important thing about getting the best hybrid bike for you is fit. Many brands will offer women's hybrid bikes which will come in smaller sizes, including narrower handlebars and women's-specific saddles. Check out the full range of the best women's hybrid bikes on our dedicated page to help you decide.
The best hybrid bike for someone else might not be the best hybrid bike for you. Think about the sort of riding you're going to be doing. Would you be better suited buying a hybrid bike that is more similar to a road bike, or one that is more similar to a mountain bike? 59ce067264