Buying Guide: Get The Best Hybrid Bike For Beginners (Good for commuting!)

If you’re an avid biker, you should consider getting yourself a hybrid bike. As you probably know, hybrid bikes combine the designs and features of mountain, touring, and road bikes to create a bike that can do it all.

However, if you’re unfamiliar with hybrid bicycles, you may have a hard time buying the right bike for your needs and desires. After all, the right hybrid bicycle will depend on how you intend to use the bicycle as well as how often you plan to go riding. Here is a hybrid bike buying guide that should help you make your purchase.

Top 10 Best Hybrid Bikes For The Money (2017 - 2018)

BIKESOUR RATINGBUY AT:
Cannondale Quick 7 Bike - 2017 (4.9 / 5)REI
Tommaso La Forma Lightweight Aluminum Hybrid Bike (4.7 / 5)Amazon
Fortified Theft-Resistant 8 Speed Disc-Brake City Commuter Bike (4.7 / 5)Amazon
Marin San Anselmo DS2 LE Women's Sport Hybrid Bike - 2017 Performance Exclusive (4.7 / 5)Performance Bicycle
Marin San Rafael DS2 LE Sport Hybrid Bike - 2017 Performance Exclusive (4.7 / 5)Performance Bicycle
sixthreezero EVRYjourney Men's 26-Inch 7-Speed Hybrid Cruiser Bicycle (4.6 / 5)Amazon, WalMart
Fuji Traverse 1.8 LE Sport Hybrid Bike -- 2017 Performance Exclusive (4.6 / 5)Performance Bicycle
Giordano G7 Women's Hybrid Bike, 700c (4.5 / 5)Amazon, Jet.com
Diamondback Bicycles Insight Hybrid Bike (4.2 / 5)Amazon, Performance Bicycle, REI
Vilano Women's Hybrid Bike 700c Retro City Commuter (4.2 / 5)Amazon, Jet.com, WalMart

What is a Hybrid Bike?

Based on the name, chances are you already have a good idea of what a hybrid bike is. In general, a hybrid bike refers to a mix of a mountain bike and a road bike. The result of combining the features and designs of mountain and road bikes is a bicycle that is ideal for general-purpose riding. You can ride a hybrid bike over many different types of terrain. Unsurprisingly, hybrid bicycles are popular among those who like to use a bike to commute.

Features/Components to Look For

As stated above, the ideal hybrid bike for you will depend on your needs and desires. Therefore, before you start shopping for a hybrid bicycle, you should ask yourself a few questions. The answers to these questions will help you figure out your priorities when it comes to a hybrid bike. The questions that you should contemplate are as follows:

  • Where do you intend to ride the bike?
  • Is affordability or top quality your priority?
  • Will you lock your hybrid bike on the street or road?
  • Do you prefer simple and practical designs or high-tech gadgets?
  • What budget do you have for a hybrid bike?
  • What type of riding will you use the hybrid bike for?

For most people, the last question is the best way to figure out which type of bike is the best choice. A hybrid bike is ideal if you want to exercise, go on leisurely rides on beautiful days, go on outings with loved ones, commute to and from work, and do errands. Hybrid bikes are both lightweight and very easy to keep in good condition. As you can imagine, many people find a hybrid bike to be ideal. Here is some information about the components and features that you should look for in a hybrid bike.

Wheel Size

700c: For most hybrid bikes, 700c is the standard size wheel. If you’re buying a hybrid bike, you shouldn’t worry too much about the wheel size. You should simply focus on getting a hybrid model that accommodates your riding style well.

26 inches: Where are some hybrid bike models that feature 26 inch wheels. These wheels are smaller than 700c wheels, which are standard.

Gears

There are many different gears for bikes. Gears range from one to more than 27. Number of teeth, chain rings, and cogs are just a few ways in which gears can differ from each other. As a result, choosing the right gears can be a very complex task. When it comes to the ideal gears for your hybrid bike, you should consider the terrain you plan on riding on as well as your fitness level.

For example, if you will be riding on many hills and you have a difficult time climbing, you should get a hybrid bike that has more gears than normal. On the other hand, if you ride on terrain that is flat or if you are a good cyclist, you won’t need a hybrid bike with as many low gears. Therefore, you will be able to get a bike that has fewer gears. The advantage of getting a bike with fewer gears is that it will keep your bicycle light. There are some hybrid bikes on the market that have just one speed. These hybrid bikes are referred to as single-speed bikes. These single-speed bikes feature a freewheel mechanism. This mechanism will allow you to coast as if you were riding a bike that has more than one gear.

Bike Suspension

  • No suspension: Many models of hybrid bikes don’t feature a suspension at all. Suspension forks often add weight to a bike and make it more difficult for the rider to pedal efficiently. Therefore, if you ride on smooth streets and paved bike paths, you shouldn’t get a hybrid bike with suspension forks.
  • Front suspension: There are a few hybrid bikes that have front suspension forks. The purpose of these front suspensions forks is to absorb any impacts sustained by the front wheel. If you plan on riding on rougher streets, you should get a bike with a front suspension.

Brake Type

There are some hybrid bikes that feature rim brakes, which have pads that are intended to grip on to the rims of the wheel. Some of the advantages of rim brakes in comparison to disc brakes is that the former is more economical. You will have no problem figuring out when to replace the pads because you will be able to observe the wear. It is also fairly easy to replace pads. The disadvantage of rim brakes is that they wear out the wheel rim. Eventually, you will need to replace the wheel. Rim brakes have less stopping power and are not as effective in muddy or wet conditions. If you want to brake aggressively, you will need to put more effort on the levers to do so.

Disc brakes have brake pads that work by gripping onto the brake rotor, which is installed on the wheel hub. There are two types of disc brakes: hydraulic disc brakes and mechanical disc brakes. The former disc brakes will allow you to enjoy stronger and more progressive braking without as much finger effort. Hydraulic disc brakes also adjust on their own to accommodate brake pad wear. On the other hand as mechanical disc brakes wear, they need to be adjusted manually. The main advantages of disc brakes is that they offer consistent braking no matter the conditions. Also, it is far cheaper to buy a new worn rotor than an entirely new wheel. In wet and steep terrain, you will enjoy superior performance and less finger strain. The disadvantages of disc brakes is that it is difficult to replace or even inspect the pads. If you want to service hydraulic brakes, you can expect to spend more money.

Bike Frame Materials

Most hybrid bikes are made out of aluminum. However, carbon fiber and steel are common materials for hybrid bike frames. The materials you choose for your hybrid bike’s frame should depend on your priorities.

  • Aluminum – This type of material is a solid choice because it is stiff, light, affordable, and strong. However, bikes with aluminum frames are often described as feeling rough and harsh on bad roads. However, newer techniques for constructions have helped these bikes absorb shock better.
  • Steel – This type of material is heavier than aluminum. However, steel offers more flexibility and strength. Therefore, you can expect to enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride if you get a bike with a steel frame.
  • Carbon fiber – This type of material is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum. However, carbon fiber is the most expensive of the three most popular materials for hybrid bikes. Therefore, you can expect carbon fiber to be most commonly used for high-end bikes. Some hybrid bikes have carbon fiber seat posts or forks to keep the price affordable while still allowing the user to enjoy the benefits of such a good material

Handlebar Shape

Another thing you should consider when buying a hybrid bike is the handlebar. More specifically, you should compare the handlebars with the seat’s level. The more farther below the seat is in comparison to the handlebars, the more comfortable the bike’s ride will be. The vast majority of hybrid bikes have a seat that is far below the handlebars. However, if you want to be able to apply greater pressure to the pedals and ride in a aerodynamic position, you should get a hybrid bike with the seats above the handlebars. You will sacrifice comfort to go faster.

Here are a few basic styles of handlebars on hybrid bikes:

  • Drop bar – This type of handlebar is usually found on road bikes and sometimes hybrid bikes. These handlebars are aerodynamic and lightweight. Therefore, if you want to go fast, drop bars are your best choice. Drop bars feature multiple hand and riding positions. The main disadvantage of drop bars is that you will need to ride the bike in a lower and hunched over position. Therefore, drop bars may not be the best choice for your back.
  • Flat bar – Flat bars are incredibly common for hybrid bikes. This type of handlebar is heavier than drop-bar handlebars. However, flat bars will allow you to sit up in a position that is more relaxed. You will have an easier time seeing potential hazards and the road. The upright position will limit strain on your shoulders, hands, and wrists.
  • Riser bar – Riser bars are also frequently featured on hybrid bikes. This type of handle bar extends upward and towards the user. Riser bars will allow you to have good control of the bike while riding and steering. You will also be able to sit upright and have good vision of the road ahead.
  • Mustache bar – Mustache bars are similar to drop bars. However, mustache bars have a much smaller drop. You can enjoy many different hand positions with a mustache bar. You will have an easier time sitting upright with a mustache bars than with drop bars. This type of handlebar is usually found on hybrid bikes and road bikes.

Other Things to Consider

The main thing that you should consider is whether you truly need a hybrid bike at all. There is a good amount of variation between models. Therefore, you will have no problem finding a hybrid model that fits your preferences. However, before you start searching for a hybrid bike, you should make sure that you truly need such a bike.

Hybrid bikes are best for people who want to ride long distances, exercise to get in good shape, climb hills, and do all this while remaining comfortable. Many riders find hybrid bikes comfortable because they allow for easy climbing, lightness, and nimble handling. Hybrid bikes are referred to as the jack-of-all-trades bicycle.

In conclusion, buying a hybrid bike does not have to be difficult as long as you take the time to figure out what you want. Make a list of all the features that you would like to have and all the features that you can’t live with out and narrow down your search to hybrid bikes that accommodate your needs and desires.

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