What’s A Hybrid Bike?

What's A Hybrid Bike

In this post, I will answer the question of “what’s a hybrid bike?”. A hybrid bike combines elements of a mountain bike, a road bike and a comfort bike. Hybrid bikes give riders the ability to ride over different types of terrain in comfort and with ease. For this reason, they are often used as commuter bikes.

At one end of the hybrid bike scale, you have lightweight bikes that are with thin tyres, resembling a road bike with flat handlebars. These are ideal for riding on smooth roads. But, you also get hybrid bikes with fatter off-road-oriented tyres that are more grippy. You can easily ride these bikes on terrain that you would never consider riding a road bike on.

An element that adds to a hybrid bike’s versatility is the flat handlebars. These are similar to ones found on mountain bikes, and give you a comfortable upright riding position. It is less common, but some hybrid bikes do use round handlebars, similar to the ones you find on road or gravel bikes, that put you in a much lower and racy riding position. Also, some models come with full mudguards and pannier racks or at least have the provisions to allow you to attach them.

Some hybrid bikes feature a basic suspension fork, making the ride more comfortable.

Things To Consider When Buying A Hybrid Bike

Wheel Size

There are hybrid bikes that are biased more towards road use and ones that are more capable off-road. A bike that is primarily designed for road use will have the larger 700c wheel size.
700c is the modern standard size for road bike wheels, and gives you a smoother ride than wheels with smaller diameters, as it rolls over bumps easier and is faster once up to speed.

Hybrid bikes for use on different types of terrain have smaller 27.5” wheels, which is mountain bike wheel standard. 27.5″ wheels give a bike a more nimble feeling and are easier to turn. They are also easier to get rolling, giving them faster acceleration than 700c wheels. This wheel size gives you more grip too, as they are shod with multi-terrain tyres.

Having said all this, there are exceptions to this rule, as you will find some bikes with 700c wheels that are capable for off-road riding.

Suspension

There are hybrid bikes with both rigid forks and suspension forks.

If you buy a hybrid bike with a rigid fork, your ride will be bumpier, but you will see several advantages. You don’t have to worry about any kind of maintenance with a rigid fork, which reduces the cost of ownership over time. The handling of a rigid bike is a little more predictable, as the geometry never changes when riding on rougher terrain.

But, a hybrid bike with a suspension fork will give you a more comfortable riding experience when you are on dirt or gravel trails. Also a bike with suspension is easier to handle and control on the rough stuff.

There are many hybrid bikes on the market that have front suspension, so if you find a bike that you really like that has it, but are not sure if it is necessary, go for that bike anyway, as you will see its benefits the more you ride.

Brakes

On more entry-level hybrid bikes, you will find V-brakes. V-brakes pinch two brake blocks on either side of the wheel to slow it down. These are not as effective as disc brakes, but a well set up V-brake can still give you plenty of stopping power in the right environment.

V-brakes are cable operated and easy to maintain. The other advantage of this type of brake is that you don’t need to fit special brake pads when they wear out, as you can fit pretty much any pad you want. But, in the long term, there is a good chance that you will need to replace or rebuild your wheels.

Disc brakes give you more control over your braking, as they are easy to modulate. They are also far more powerful and safer, as they work consistently in all weather conditions. You will need to buy specific pads for disc brakes, but they don’t wear out as quickly as V-brakes.

Disc brakes are either mechanical or hydraulic. Mechanical disc brakes use a cable pull system, similar to V-brakes, while hydraulic brakes use fluid to transfer the force from the lever to the caliper.

Mechanical disc brakes are better than v-brakes, but they are not as effective as their hydraulic counterparts. Hydraulic brakes are more efficient and powerful, apart from the extra control, the other advantage is that you can brake with just one finger, giving you a better grip on your handlebars. Their closed-system makes hydraulic brakes low maintenance and will need bleeding from time to time, which you can do yourself or take it to a bike shop.

Gearing

When deciding on what hybrid bike to buy, you need to consider the gearing, as there are three different types of gearing found on a hybrid bike:

Single-speed – This is the simplest way a bike is geared and is generally used for casual riding on flat surfaces. You cannot change gears with a single-speed setup, but the gears can be set to be either easier or faster.

Hub gears – Hub gears offer the most reliable drivetrain. These are ideal for people that really don’t want to spend any time tinkering with their bike. They are not as efficient as traditional derailleur gears, but you can change gear while stationary. This is useful when riding around town, as you do not need to remember to brake and change gear when you stop at junctions and traffic lights. You do not get a wide range of gears with a hub setup, so they are more suited to riding in flat areas. Most bikes with hub gears use a regular chain, but it is possible to find bikes that use a rubber belt, which are much quieter.

Derailleur – Most hybrid bikes change gear with a derailleur. These systems give you a much wider range of gears. You will need more gears if you are using your hybrid bike as a commuter, for fitness, to cover some distance, or for hilly terrain. Derailleur systems require more attention and care than the internal systems do, but gives you a more versatile and useful bike.

If you are thinking about buying a hybrid bike, you need to realise that they are suited to someone that rides a mix of different types of terrain.


A hybrid will never be as fast as a dedicated road bike, but it will be much more comfortable and give you more versatility. Also, you wouldn’t want to take a hybrid on rough mountain bike trails, but they are great for mild off-road use.

Recommended Hybrid Bikes

Cube Travel EXC Touring Bike

What's A Hybrid Bike? - cube travel

Frame And Fork

The frame is made from Cube’s Superlite aluminium, and the tubes are double-butted. This means that it is a very stiff frame, which makes it a very efficient ride while being strong. Also, aluminium does not corrode, so it will have longevity and durability.


The rigid aluminium fork is solid and constructed in a way that gives you accurate and predictable handling. It also allows plenty of space for tyres up to 2.15″ wide while featuring eyelets for mounting low rider racks for extra load carrying capacity. This makes for a versatile touring bike for long weekend rides and touring. If you are planning on using your bike for bike packing, you may want to look elsewhere though.


The gear cables are internally routed to give the bike a more clean look while protecting them from damage. The brake cables are externally routed, but this makes it easier to replace and maintain them.

Geometry

The geometry of the Cube Travel comes from the mountain bike world, but with comfort in mind. This is designed to be a very stable bike, so don’t expect it to be nimble when it comes to tight corners. But the stability and riding position is perfectly fine for long off-road rides.

Components

The Cube Travel EXC comes with a Shimano Alfine 8-speed internally geared rear hub with a Gates belt drive chainset and sprocket. This means that it gives you a good range of gears with easy maintenance.


It also comes with all the main accessories for touring or commuting, including mudguards, lights a rear pannier and a kickstand. The Travel EXC is also ready for front low rider panniers for even more load-carrying capacity.

Features

  • Frame: Aluminium Superlite Urban Double Butted
  • Fork: Aluminium Rigid
  • Headset: FSA Orbit Z, Semi-Integrated 1 1/8″
  • Stem: Cube Performance Stem Pro, 31.8mm
  • Handlebar: Cube Rise Trail Bar, 680mm
  • Grips: Natural Fit Comfort
  • Shifters: Shimano Alfine SL-S7000
  • Front Derailleur: N/A
  • Rear Derailleur: N/A
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-MT200, hydraulic disc brakes, 160/160mm rotors
  • Crankset: Gates S150 CDN, 46T, 170mm
  • Bottom Bracket: Thun Zumba
  • Cassette: Gates Rear Sprocket CDN, 22T
  • Chain: Gates CDN, 113T
  • Wheelset: Front Hub: Shimano DH-3D37, Hub Dynamo, QR, Centerlock; Rear Hub: Shimano Alfine SG-S7001, 8-Speed; Rims: Cube EX21, 32H, Disc, Tubeless Ready
  • Tyres:  Schwalbe Marathon Mondial, Kevlar, 37-622 (700x35c)
  • Saddle: Natural Fit Sequence+
  • Seatpost: Cube Performance Post, 27.2mm
  • Lights: Front: Busch&Müller Lumotec IQ-XS N Plus; Rear: Busch&Müller Toplight 2C
  • Kickstand: CUBEstand Pro, Adjustable
  • Mudguards: ACID 45
  • Bell: Knog Oi
  • Carrier: ACID Semi-Integrated Carrier, ACID RILink Adapter Compatible
  • Weight: 13.9kg

Summary

Cube Travel is a great hybrid bike that has the versatility to be used for touring or commuting. The integrated stand, standard components and comfortable frame setup will make your life easier in town, while the bike’s true MTB soul will stand up immediately at the first use.

Cannondale Bad Boy 3

What's A Hybrid Bike- cannonade bad boy 3

Frame And Fork

The Cannondale Bad Boy 3 is a unique hybrid bike, thanks to its ‘lefty’ fork. The fork isn’t really a fork at all, but a single steering column, with the front wheel being held just on the left-hand side. Bizarrely, Cannondale claims that this design provides better rigidity than a standard fork while saving weight. Not only does the ‘lefty’ fork function well, but it makes the Bad Boy 3 look cool setting it apart from other hybrid bikes on the market.

This bike doesn’t have suspension, but it does feature WTB Byway tyres on its 27.5” wheels. These have a high volume, which makes the ride more comfortable, but they also have low rolling resistance and provide plenty of grip in the corners. 

 

Geometry

The geometry of the Cannondale Bad Boy 3 gives you an upright riding position for comfort and visibility when riding in urban environments. However, it is also suitable for off-road riding at weekends.

Hybrid bikes are commonly used for fast urban commuting, so they have to be comfortable. The Bad Boy 3 allows you to adjust your seating position to suit your preferences, either for comfort or for speed. You do this by adjusting the height of the handlebars up to 25mm.

Components

The Bad Boy 3 benefits from a 16-speed Shimano drivetrain with an Altus rear derailleur and Tourney front derailleur. The Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes provide instant stopping power and are easy to modulate.

The Shimano Easy Fire EF505 gear shifters fitted to the Bad Boy 3 compliments the 2×8 Shimano drivetrain. Together, they provide quick and easy shifting between the 16 gears using just a thumb and forefinger while leaving optimal space for the integrated brake levers.

 

Features

FRAMESmartForm C1 Alloy OPI, integrated Urban Armor bumper, BSA threaded BB, 1-1/8″ headtube, sliding dropout
FORKLefty LightPipe rigid, integrated SuperNova LED lightstrip, USB rechargeable battery, 1-1/8″ steerer
HEADSETFSA Cartridge Bearing
  
BOTTOM BRACKETThun Zumba
CHAINGates Carbon Drive, CDX Centertrack, 113T
CRANKGates S150, Gates Belt Drive CDX sprocket 46T
FRONT DERAILLEURN/A
CASSETTEGates rear sprocket, 22T
REAR DERAILLEURN/A
SHIFTERSShimano Alfine Rapidfire, 8-speed
BRAKE LEVERSShimano MT400 hydraulic disc
BRAKESShimano MT400 hydraulic disc, 160/160mm RT26 rotors
GRIPSFabric Silicone Cell
HANDLEBARCannondale Riser, 6061 Alloy, 18mm rise, 8deg back, 4deg up, 720mm
STEM Bad Boy Si, integrated sandwich stem, 65mm
SADDLEFabric Scoop Radius Elite, cro-mo rails
SEATPOSTLightSkin w/ integrated rear LED light, 31.6, USB Rechargeable
FRONT HUBLefty 50 front
REAR HUBShimano Alfine 8-speed internal rear
RIMS Cannondale, double wall w/eyelets, 32h
SPOKESStainless Steel, 14g
WHEEL SIZE27.5 (650b) X 40C
TYRESWTB Byway, 650b x 40c

Summary

The Cannondale Bad Boy 3 is at the higher end of the budget, but you will have a unique looking hybrid bike with quality components.

Whyte Portobello V2 Hybrid

What's A Hybrid Bike - Whyte portobello

Frame And Fork

The Whyte Portobello V2 hybrid bike looks really cool, but those curved, hydroformed T6 alloy tubes, a skinny seatpost make for a comfortable ride. The fork is made from 6061 Alloy, has internal cable routing. It also has a post mount with single eyelets for mudguards.

Geometry

The Whyte Portobello V2’s geometry is heavily influenced by mountain bikes, and you will notice this with how it handles corners with ease.

The short, stem keeps helps with its nimble handling to adjust your course quickly, keeping you out of trouble.

Components

The Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are quality items. They have great feeling and are easy to modulate and bring you to a safe stop.

The massive 650b  (27.5″)x 47c tyres smooth out bumps in the road. They have a deep profile that makes them the same rolling diameter as 700c x 28c tyres but the extra air volume make them super comfortable and pinch puncture resistant.

Features

COLOURMatt Bronze with Copper & Burnt OrangeCASSETTEShimano Deore CS-M4100, 11-42, 10 Speed
FRAME6061 Alloy, Hydro Formed T6 Aluminium, Multi Butted, Tapered Head Tube, Internal Cable Routing with BBX and Custom Whyte Dropouts, Chain Stay Kick Stand MountCHAINSunrace, 10 Speed
FORKWhyte Straight Bladed 6061 Alloy, Alloy Tapered Steerer, Internal Cable Routing, 12mm Thru Axle, Post Mount with Single Eyelets for MudguardsCRANKSET2pcs Alloy, Narrow/Wide 42T Chainring with Guard, 10 Speed
REAR SHOCKN/ABOTTOM BRACKETSealed Cartridge Bearings, 68mm
HEADSETFSA No. 42, Integrated Road, 1 1/2″ Lower and 1 1/8″ Upper Sealed Cartridge BearingsSEATPOSTWhyte 6061 Alloy, 20mm Offset, 27.2mm x S/M/L 350mm, XL 400mm, 2 Bolt Clamp
REAR HUBAlloy, Cup & Cone, Double Seal, 32 HoleSADDLEWhyte Custom
FRONT HUBAlloy, Double Sealed Cartridge Bearings, 12mm x 100mm Through Axle, 32 HoleHANDLEBARWhyte 6061 Alloy, 20mm Rise, 31.8mm, 620mm Wide
SPOKES2.0mm, PG, Black Stainless, Brass NipplesSTEMWhyte Alloy, S 45mm, M/L/XL 60mm
RIMSWhyte Disc Road Plus 650b, Low Profile, 25mm Wide, Tubeless Compatible, 32 Hole Rear and 28 Hole FrontGRIPSWhyte Custom Dual Density Lock-on
TYREWTB Horizon 650b x 47c, Tan Wall, Road PlusBRAKES FRONTShimano MT200, Hydraulic, 160mm Rotor, Internal Routing
SHIFT LEVERSShimano Deore SL-M4100, 10 SpeedBRAKES REARShimano MT200, Hydraulic, 160mm Rotor, Internal Routing
FRONT MECHN/ABRAKE LEVERSShimano MT200
REAR MECHShimano Deore RD-M4120-SGS, Shadow Plus, 10 Speed

Summary

The Whyte Portobello V2 Hybrid bike looks fantastic, and is perfect for commuting and for riding off-road routes thanks to the geometry and the choice of wheels and tyres.

Trek FX 3

Frame And Fork

The frame material is lightweight aluminum, but it also has a carbon fork. A carbon fork adds a little more lightness, but it also makes the front of the bike more responsive. 

Geometry

The geometry of the Trek FX3 is close to a mountain bike. So you will get a very comfortable ride in an upright position on a. multitude of terrain types.

Components

The Trek FX3 sits at the top of Trek’s range of commuter bikes. This means that it is a flat-bar hybrid with all the mounts and provisions for panniers and mudguards.

The Shimano MT201 hydraulic disc brakes have 160mm rotor for extra stopping power, while the 18-speed Shimano drivetrain will help you fly up steep hills. To reduce fatigue on your hands and forearms, the FX3 comes with Bontrager Satellite Plus IsoZone handlebars, which reduce vibrations.

Features

COLOURMatt Bronze with Copper & Burnt OrangeCASSETTEShimano Deore CS-M4100, 11-42, 10 Speed
FRAME6061 Alloy, Hydro Formed T6 Aluminium, Multi Butted, Tapered Head Tube, Internal Cable Routing with BBX and Custom Whyte Dropouts, Chain Stay Kick Stand MountCHAINSunrace, 10 Speed
FORKWhyte Straight Bladed 6061 Alloy, Alloy Tapered Steerer, Internal Cable Routing, 12mm Thru Axle, Post Mount with Single Eyelets for MudguardsCRANKSET2pcs Alloy, Narrow/Wide 42T Chainring with Guard, 10 Speed
REAR SHOCKN/ABOTTOM BRACKETSealed Cartridge Bearings, 68mm
HEADSETFSA No. 42, Integrated Road, 1 1/2″ Lower and 1 1/8″ Upper Sealed Cartridge BearingsSEATPOSTWhyte 6061 Alloy, 20mm Offset, 27.2mm x S/M/L 350mm, XL 400mm, 2 Bolt Clamp
REAR HUBAlloy, Cup & Cone, Double Seal, 32 HoleSADDLEWhyte Custom
FRONT HUBAlloy, Double Sealed Cartridge Bearings, 12mm x 100mm Through Axle, 32 HoleHANDLEBARWhyte 6061 Alloy, 20mm Rise, 31.8mm, 620mm Wide
SPOKES2.0mm, PG, Black Stainless, Brass NipplesSTEMWhyte Alloy, S 45mm, M/L/XL 60mm
RIMSWhyte Disc Road Plus 650b, Low Profile, 25mm Wide, Tubeless Compatible, 32 Hole Rear and 28 Hole FrontGRIPSWhyte Custom Dual Density Lock-on
TYREWTB Horizon 650b x 47c, Tan Wall, Road PlusBRAKES FRONTShimano MT200, Hydraulic, 160mm Rotor, Internal Routing
SHIFT LEVERSShimano Deore SL-M4100, 10 SpeedBRAKES REARShimano MT200, Hydraulic, 160mm Rotor, Internal Routing
FRONT MECHN/ABRAKE LEVERSShimano MT200
REAR MECHShimano Deore RD-M4120-SGS, Shadow Plus, 10 Speed

Summary

Trek has designed the FX3 for commuters or for people that want to improve their fitness while having fun. This is a great-looking bike that offers versatility, comfort, and quality components.

What's A Hybrid Bike? - Answered

As you can tell, the name of the game for a hybrid bike is versatility. They are the type of bike that will allow you to ride pretty much anywhere, as long as you are not expecting to ride on technical mountain bike trails. If you have any thoughts or questions, please leave them in the comments section below.

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