Best Hybrid Bicycles
If you are an avid cyclist then you most likely enjoy a variety of different terrains to ride on. Maybe you love the thrill of road bicycling, or maybe the endurance needed for mountain biking, or maybe you enjoy putting in the miles touring, no matter what you enjoy doing most of the time you need a different bicycle for each terrain as each is built to help you perform your best. But that can get quite expensive if you need a different bicycle for each terrain, right? That is where a hybrid bicycle comes into play - it is a single bicycle that is built to handle all terrains, no matter where you feel like biking that day. Check out our expert guide on the best hybrid bikes.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research
Very smooth gearing system
Compact and comfortable frame
Top Ten Hybrid Bikes
1. Tommaso La Forma
Very smooth gearing system
Compact and comfortable frame
Reported instability of steering and handlebars at speeds higher than 15 mph
If you’re looking for a lightweight bike that is easy to handle in a wide range of riding situations, and fairly comfortable to boot, you’ll want to take a closer look at the Tommaso La Forma Hybrid Bike.Read more
This hybrid bike features the standard size wheel rim of 700 centimeters, and the included tires are approximately 32 mm in width.
Gears and Shifting
The gear shifting mechanism on this bike is one of the smoothest and easiest to operate that we’ve seen hands down. There are a total of twenty-seven different gears, and the Shimano Acera Rapid Fire shifting system allows for quick and easy shifting. The drivetrain of this hybrid bike also features an 11/32T cassette and a 48/36/26T crankset for a wide array of gears to use.
The suspension on this bike is minimal but effective. The HCT Carbon fork provides great dampening of road vibrations, and the cushioned seat provides additional support when needed.
Type of Brakes
The brakes featured on this hybrid bike are the Tektro’s RX1 V-Brake. These V-Brakes are relatively tough and rigid due to their forged aluminum construction. They are certainly reliable and will provide a great deal of stopping power when needed.
Overall this hybrid bike performs well in normal riding and at normal speeds provided that the bike has been adjusted properly. It is strongly suggested by the manufacturer that you get a professional to assemble and adjust the bike as needed. There have been reports, however, of slight instability at speeds higher than fifteen miles per hour.
If you need a strong yet lightweight commuter bike that won’t break the bank, the La Forma Hybrid bike from Tommaso is certainly a good choice. We were slightly disappointed at the need for professional assembly and the slight instability at higher speeds. However, all things considered, this is a viable choice at a great price.
2. Raleigh Cadent 2
Mechanical disk brakes
No rear suspension
Sporting an updated braking and shifting system from its predecessor, the Raleigh Cadent 2 offers a wide range of speed options and great stopping power, all in a lightweight and affordable package.Read more
The Cadent 2 offers four-wheel sizes: 15", 17', 19", and 21". The 35c tires are wide enough to provide the traction you need for a comfortable ride.
Raleigh used a Shimano Tourney 24-Speed (8x3) drivetrain for the Cadent 2, allowing it to tackle any terrain. This along with the 35c tires also make it ideal for any sort of weather conditions, even rainy days.
Suspension: Front fork suspension allows for some shock absorption, though no rear or seat suspension means this bike is better used for smooth ground. The 35c tires are wide which does help a little bit as well.
The Tektro mechanical disk braking system is easy to maintain, great for beginners and has great stopping power in all weather conditions. Disk brakes also tend to provide more control than linear-pull brakes, allowing you to stop on a dime if necessary.
You'll get a nice smooth ride in most conditions, and the aluminum frame makes this bike lightweight yet sturdy. The wheels are quick and efficient, while the tires are designed to provide traction in any weather conditions.
The Raleigh Cadent 2 is a lightweight bike with strong breaks and breadth of gear options, making this great for those who prefer pavement or smoother trails.
3. Diamondback Edgewood
Very comfortable to ride
Easy to assemble
Great for the recreational ride
Not really suited for off-road use
If you’re more of a Sunday hybrid bike rider, where casual fun is the name of the game, one of the best bikes out there in our opinion is the Edgewood Hybrid Bike from Diamondback Bicycles.Read more
The wheel rims are a standard 700 cm in size and feature a tire that is somewhat smaller in width and more geared toward road cycling or use on gentle paved trails.
Gears and Shifting
This hybrid bike features Shimano EF-50 8 speed EZ-Fire shifting mechanisms. While most people found the shifting it to be smooth overall, some found that shifting became clunky and cumbersome over time, especially on inclines.
This bike features a 63 mm suspension fork and a minimal amount of suspension in the seat for added comfort. This hybrid bike is clearly designed for riding on smoother surfaces or gentle trails. We wouldn’t recommend that it be used on off-road trails without additional adjustment.
Type of Brakes
This particular hybrid bike features Tektro Linear brakes. These brakes are well known in cycling circles as being very responsive and durable.
This hybrid bike offers a fairly smooth and comfortable ride overall, provided that the terrain isn’t too harsh or difficult. The seat and handlebars may need some fine tune adjustment, but overall most people can ride it fairly easily just out of the box.
Overall this hybrid bike is clearly meant for the easy trails or the Sunday ride about town. The tires, frame and shifting system aren’t really suited for more strenuous activities, but for the person who only rides a few times a week or enjoys the occasional trail ride, this is a great choice.
4. SixThreeZero EVRYjourney
Low center of gravity
Difficult to assemble
SixThreeZero touts the EVRYjourney as a "bike for all occasions," and we'd have to agree with them on that. The women's version of this bike has a low frame and step-through design to accommodate for various heights, and the tires, pedal system, and Shimano gear hub ensure a smooth ride even for long distance.Read more
The women's version of this bike comes in 24" and 26" wheel sizes. The 2" semi-slick tires are designed to ride curves with precision and safety, so you won't have to worry about sliding around sharp turns, or transitioning between pavement and off-road trail.
Gears and Shifting: The Shimano 7-speed hub makes shifting easy and smooth, allowing this bike to be used for longer rides without any jarring.
The one area where this bike is lacking is the suspension system. Without a robust suspension system, the bike doesn't absorb shock very well, so you're likely to feel all of those little bumps and vibrations. The tires somewhat alleviate this, but not to the extent some users would like.
The standard linear-pull brakes are nice and simple, though unlike disc brakes you may not be able to stop in a hurry, so take care when going downhill or at high speeds.
The shifting system and semi-slick tires provide exceptional control over your ride, whether that's a leisurely ride along the beach or rushing to get to work on time. The bike is designed with a low center of gravity, allowing the user to ride in an upright position and prevent excess straining on your back and neck.
Summary: The SixThreeZero ERVYjourney is a comfortable bike with a stylish design and smooth ride, that's made to accommodate those who may feel they are too short or too tall for some other bikes.
5. Schwinn Discover
Great performance on paved roads
Gear shift somewhat uncomfortable to use
Not surprisingly, the Schwinn Brand is considered an American icon in the world of cycling, and with good reason. For over a century, Schwinn bicycles have been known for both quality and innovation. The Discover Hybrid bike is their latest attempt to follow that tradition into the hybrid bike world.Read more
The wheels feature the standard hybrid bike size of 700 ccs, and feature tires that are slightly thinner and best suited for an urban cycling environment. The wheel rims also feature a multiple spoke pattern, which unfortunately did have spokes that broke easily for a number of customers, sometimes puncturing the tires. However, Schwinn was routinely great with customer service, and replacements were relatively easy to obtain.
Gears and Shifting
This hybrid bike features a 21 speed SRAM grip shifter that when used offers a relatively smooth shifting between gears. The one consistent complaint we saw was that the placement of the gear shifting mechanism on the handlebars caused some discomfort because of the need to rotate the hand forward to an unnatural angle for use.
The seat suspension and aluminum forks on the front and rear tires produced great shock distribution through the bike and provided for a fairly comfortable ride overall. While this hybrid bike is not designed for rougher trails, on paved roads it offers great overall suspension.
Type of Brakes
This hybrid bike features linear pull brakes that are fairly durable and offer quick responsiveness once they are properly adjusted. However, evidence indicates that they will most likely need to be adjusted and inspected for wear and tear on a regular basis.
Most found the overall performance of this bike more than adequate for daily commutes through the city, or for use on gentle paved trails. However, for rougher terrain, it really failed to live up to the quality standards usually seen in a Schwinn bicycle.
If you’re looking for a solid and dependable bike to use for your daily commute through the busy city streets, the Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike is certainly a viable option. While we wouldn’t suggest using it on anything but paved roads or smooth trails, for most people it offers great comfort and dependability.
6. Diamondback Clarity 2
Three wheel sizes
Mechanical disk brakes
No front suspension
A significant improvement over the original model, the Diamondback Clarity 2 features a Shimano 24-speed gearing system, mechanical disc brakes, and three wheel sizes.Read more
This bike offers three wheel sizes: 16", 18", and 20". The tires are double-walled for improved durability against punctures and damage. If mountain biking is more your style, the wheels will easily accommodate wider tires for this purpose.
Sporting a 24-speed Shimano drivetrain, the Clarity 2 is able to shift gears intuitively without fuss or jarring.
This bike does lack a front suspension, so while riding on flat terrain or pavement will be smooth, this bike may not perform as well on rocky paths or in forested areas.
The Clarity 2 uses a mechanical disk system for the brakes, rather than the linear-pull style seen in most Diamondback bikes. This allows for more precise control, which is paramount when coasting downhill and slowing down.
This bike performs very well on pavement and smooth trails, though the lack of a front suspension may not make this ideal for more forested areas.
If you want a bike that will perform well on smooth terrain and can stop on a dime, the Diamondback Clarity 2 is definitely one to consider. While the suspension on this bike is underwhelming, it's still a great choice as a casual or commuter bike.
7. Giordano G7
Smooth shifting mechanism
Great for taller individuals
Should be assembled by a professional
The Giordano G7 Hybrid bike is a great choice for a general all around the town type of bicycle, especially if you’re a larger person who needs a bike that stands a bit taller than the rest. Fairly comfortable to ride and very easy to use, this is one hybrid bike that is a joy to use.Read more
The wheel size on this hybrid bike matches the standard 700cc and measures approximately 29 inches in diameter. The tires themselves are of medium thickness overall, slightly more substantial than a road tire, but not reaching the level of a mountain bike tire. Overall they provide great traction and support when navigating through city streets or open trails.
Gears and Shifting
This hybrid bike features a twenty-one gear system that features a Shimano shift mechanism and derailleurs that offer a very smooth transition from one sprocket to the next.
This hybrid bike offers a moderate amount of suspension, both in the seat and front suspension for added comfort and control overall.
Type of Brakes
The brakes on this bike are of a linear pull design. They exhibit fantastic stopping power when needed and are fairly easy to adjust when necessary.
This hybrid bike performs remarkably well in both street and easy trail conditions. The Shimano shifting system allows for a maximum amount of flexibility and once adjusted properly, the frame and handlebars offer a great deal of stability and comfort. The only real complaint we had was that assembly and adjustments are probably best left to a professional due to their somewhat complicated nature.
If you don’t mind having your bike assembled by a professional bike shop, the Giordano G7 Hybrid Bike is a fantastic choice overall. Lightweight and responsive, it easily handles both the urban environment and open trails.
8. Raleigh Detour 2
Durable alloy brakes
21-speed Shimano drivetrain
No rear suspension
The Raleigh Detour 2 is made to be the perfect mix of form and function; the step-through design and low bar allow for an upright riding position, and the lightweight aluminum frame and narrower tires make this bike both easy to control and comfortable for long rides.Read more
The wheels come in three sizing options: 15", 17", and 19". The 35c Kenda tires are made to provide a smooth ride on both pavement and off-road trails.
Using a Shimano EZ Fire 21-speed shifting system, the Raleigh Detour 2 offers a breadth of speed options while being able to shift between them smoothly and effortlessly.
The one area where this bike (along with most other Raleigh hybrid models) is lacking a bit is the suspension. The front fork suspension is very good, but without any rear or stem suspension, forested areas or rocky trails made lend to a bumpy ride.
The ProMax alloy V-brakes are made to allow ideal control over momentum and are durable thanks to their aluminum construction. They offer great stopping power at a moment's notice.
This bike performs best on pavement and off-road paths, with the front suspension and lightweight construction providing a comfortable ride while being able to move and stop quickly.
While this isn't a significant update from its predecessor, the Raleigh Detour 2 is a solidly built bike that will do you well with smooth paths and long rides. The aluminum frame and alloy braking system are made to be durable and require little maintenance.
9. Diamondback Wildwood
Easy to assemble
With an affordable price point and four wheel sizes, the Diamondback Wildwood is an accessible bike for most everyone and performs well on both pavement and off-road trails.Read more
This bike comes in four wheel sizes: 15", 17", 19", and 21". Diamondback used Kenda Comfort tires for the Wildwood bikes, which offer ideal traction for both pavement and off-road trails.
Using a Shimano 21-speed drivetrain and SRAM Twist MRX shifters, the gear system is made to be high-quality, responsive, and fast. This allows for optimal control over shifting without any jarring.
This is a comfort bike, which are made to prioritize good suspension systems for a smooth ride. The Diamondback Wildwood uses a 44mm fork suspension in both the front and rear to absorb shock, so you'll have a smooth and comfortable ride regardless of bumps or vibrations. The seatpost also offers a suspension system for comfort.
The Wildwood features linear-pull breaks, more commonly known as V-Brakes. Based on user reports V-Brakes allow them more control over the bike, especially when coasting or slowing down.
This bike does best on smooth terrains such as bike paths or pavement, and the suspension system provides a comfortable ride.
If you don't mind something that's a little heavier than most comfort bikes, Diamondback's Wildwood is a comfortable option that has great suspension and is easy to assemble in about half an hour.
10. Fortified City Commuter
Tough bike overall
Fairly comfortable to ride
Buying replacement parts can be difficult
If your commute takes you through some tough weather and tougher riding conditions, you’ll definitely want to consider taking a second look at the Fortified City Commuter Hybrid Bike. Designed to be tough and agile, this bike is the answer for those who love to bike year round.Read more
The wheels are a standard 700 cm in diameter and are approximately 32 mm in width. They are made from a puncture resistant material and feature a unique set of mounting bolts and screws, which make theft somewhat unlikely.
Gears and Shifting
There are only eight gears on this bike, which is somewhat less than what is commonly seen on these types of bikes, but the Shimano Altus Trigger Thumb shift chain makes for a fairly smooth operation overall.
This hybrid bike offers a good deal of suspension and support for the average rider about the city including front suspension, and a fairly substantial seat shock absorber.
Type of Brakes
This hybrid bike features Tektro MD-280 Mechanical Disc brakes that are fairly responsive and can easily stop the bike on a moment’s notice.
When it comes to navigating city streets that are full of potholes, busy cars, and inattentive pedestrians, this particular hybrid bike does very well. However, there were two main complaints that we saw that may make an avid cyclist think twice before getting it. One, it has quite a few proprietary parts, which makes finding replacements when needed a bit of a hassle. Second, the bike itself is fairly heavy, making it somewhat difficult to carry. If you regularly attach your bike to city mass transportation or need to carry your bike up or down stairs, you may want to consider other options.
This hybrid bike from Fortified is tough, nimble, and very responsive to the needs of the commuter cyclist. While we would have liked to see a lighter bike overall and less specialized equipment, if you’re braving the city streets this is certainly a viable choice
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When it comes to cycling, the size of the wheel rims and the overall thickness of the tires can play an important part in how comfortable the bike is to use, and the efficiency and speed of the ride overall. Simply put, wider and larger tires and rims often mean a more cushioned and comfortable ride if perhaps a slightly slower one. A thinner tire, but one that has a larger diameter for the rim will often help the rider to cover more distance at a faster rate. In comparison, a thicker tire will often provide more traction overall and allow for a more nuanced ride.
For the most part, hybrid bike tires range in the same sizes seen in most street bikes when it comes to wheel diameter but tend to be slightly thicker or wider when it comes to the size of the rim itself. The idea is to marry the best of both worlds – street biking and mountain biking to make a bicycle that is both comfortable and versatile.
Most hybrid bikes have the ability to shift between gears. The number of gears can vary widely, usually somewhere between one and twenty-seven gears, although there have been some with more than even that. The best hybrid bikes, not surprisingly are designed with a few basic ideas in mind when it comes to gear shifting. First, it needs to be easy to do. Most people who make use of a hybrid travel through a wide range of riding environments, so having a gear that shifts easily, often with a single hand is a great way to reduce the amount of stress overall while riding. Secondly, the actual shifting of the gears should be smooth overall. The last thing you need is to have a jarring sensation in your knees or hips because the shifting mechanism of your hybrid bike is malfunctioning.
Thankfully, many of the gear mechanisms presented here in these hybrid bikes have been designed for both ease of use and smooth operation. After all, these hybrid bikes are meant to be a good choice for many different environments and riding styles.
For the most part, the suspension systems on hybrid bikes are divided into two main categories. These bikes either have no suspension or front suspension. Depending on your riding style, there are advantages to both of them. As expected, a bicycle with front suspension will often provide a bit more cushioning and protection against the jarring motion that can sometimes happen during a bike ride. However, they can make the bike a bit heavier overall. And while those hybrid bikes created without suspension are lighter and can often travel somewhat faster, they aren’t as always as comfortable as they could be.
And finally, it’s important to take a look at the overall riding performance of the hybrid bike. This can be a difficult characteristic to quantify, since how well a bicycle performs depends on a great number of factors including construction, the condition of the bike, the rider, and of course the riding environment. However, by taking into account all the previously listed factors, as well as the overall hybrid bike construction, we can safely determine what the overall riding conditions could potentially be like for the average consumer.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Another factor to consider when purchasing a hybrid bike is the type and frequency of your riding habits. How often you ride, and the reason you ride, can dictate the style of hybrid bike that is going to be best suited for your needs overall. For example, if you only see yourself riding around town to run your weekend errands, or to go on the occasional ride through a park, a hybrid that is a bit more sturdy and designed for comfort would probably be a better choice for you. Of course, if you’re going to be using your hybrid bike for your daily commute, or if you’re thinking about hitting the off-road trails with more frequency, a bike that is lighter in weight and more responsive might be the best way to go.
Other Factors to Consider
In truth, there are quite a few different types of braking systems that are well suited for use on a hybrid bike, and each has its relative advantages and disadvantages. For the most part braking systems on hybrid bikes can be divided into a number of different types. The first, and perhaps the most common is referred to as disc brakes. These brakes use the application of friction and pressure from two discs on the rims of the tires to slow the bike down. Disc brakes are predictable and offer great braking power regardless of the conditions. However, they do wear through relatively quickly with frequent use and needs to be replaced regularly as part of your hybrid bike maintenance plan. The second type of brake often seen on hybrid bikes is often called direct pull brakes, or V-brakes after the Shimatrademarkark version used in many cases. Instead of applying direct pressure as disc brakes do, the direct pull brakes use a series of levers and cables to squeeze the brake pads onto the bike rim to prevent movement. The nice thing about V-brakes versus discs brakes is that since there is really no significant room between the tire and the v-brake pad, they can be used in poor and mucky conditions, where disc brakes may jam up from time to time. On the flip side, they can be a bit more complicated to adjust.
One of the great advantages of a hybrid bike is that it is specifically designed to be a great ride in a wide range of environments. It can easily handle the city street as well as an occasional ride through a park, or even an easy off-road mountain trail. However, you can still make the ride even more enjoyable by purchasing a hybrid bike that is more geared to the specific environment that you expect to encounter on a regular basis.
If you see yourself traveling through a more urban environment, where the terrain is somewhat uniform a hybrid bike that has front end suspension or a frame that flexes easily might be a good choice to help deal with the potential stress on your joints from dealing with curbs, concrete, and the occasional quick stop. Also, a lighter frame might make it easier to carry the bike onto buses, or up flights of stairs when needed.
However, if you see more off-roading in your future, you might want to consider a hybrid bike that allows for slightly wider tires, and a frame that offers a nice balance between stiffness and flex is a great overall choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What exactly is a hybrid bike?
As the name implies, a hybrid bike is a bicycle that is designed to be used in both street cycling and off-road environments. It is designed for the person who wants or needs to use their bicycle in a wide range of environments including the urban street, a recreational park or even a few mountain trails. In a real sense, a hybrid bike is the “jack of all trades” in the cycling world. While it won’t meet the specialized needs often found in those who are competitive racers or mountain bikers, for the average person a hybrid bike is more than enough.
q: How do I know what size frame I need for my hybrid bike?
Choosing the correct size frame for a hybrid bike isn’t that much different from choosing a frame for a normal bike, or even a mountain bike. Essentially, you’ll need to compare your height with the frame measurements and find one that will allow you to pedal, mount and dismount comfortably. The general rule of thumb is that when you straddle the bike, there should be about an inch between the top bar of the frame at its highest point and you. So, if you stand 5’10” tall, for example, you’ll probably want a bike frame that is at least 19 inches tall or a large bike frame.
q: Why should I buy a hybrid bike versus a regular street bike?
While a hybrid bike may look very similar to the average street bike, there are a few differences that might make it a better choice for your overall needs as a cyclist. Street bikes or road bikes as they are sometimes called are designed specifically for use in a primarily urban environment, and they are often not designed for the cyclist’s comfort, but rather for speed and durability. Think of it this way, a street or road bike is often used by a bicycle messenger, who needs to get their package to the destination quickly and with minimum effort. Those bikes rarely look like something that would be a good choice for a leisurely ride through the country.
Hybrid bicycles, on the other hand, are often designed for ease of use, comfort, and versatility. The handlebars are often placed in a way to promote a more comfortable posture, the bike often has been suspension overall, and the wheel rims can accommodate wider, more shock absorbing tires. They also often feature a more user-friendly gearing system and braking system as well.
Is a hybrid bike the best choice in all riding situations? Of course, it isn’t. However, for most people, it is certainly a great option overall.
q: Can anyone use a Hybrid bike?
Cycling is one of those sports that can truly be enjoyed by nearly everyone. Not only that, there are plenty of versatile hybrid bikes out there to choose from, and they can provide hours of enjoyment or practical transportation as needed. If you’re looking for the best hybrid bike for your needs, you might want to start your search with an example from this list. And as always, happy riding!