So you heard people talking about hybrid bikes. But what exactly is a hybrid bike and why would you want one. I will try to answer this question in this article.
Hybrid bike – is a bicycle that combines in itself the best characteristics of a road bike and a mountain bike. Hybrid bikes are reliable, fast and comfortable, perfect for riding in cities and on cycling paths.
Mountain bike characteristics:
- Upright position for more comfortable riding
- Use of a suspension fork which absorbs small bumps and provides better handling
- Wider tires for better grip and stability
Road bike characteristics:
- Lightweight frames from light alloy materials for better speed
- Lighter components and greater number of gears
Wheels on a hybrid bike are a true combination of what you find on road and mountain bikes. Wheels are wider (almost as wide as on a mountain bike) but the recommended pressure for them is higher, which brings them closer in line with road bikes. Higher pressure in tires reduces rolling resistance which allows going faster. Rims and spokes on hybrid bikes are light (same as on road bikes) as it is assumed that you will not be doing any aggressive off-road riding. Tires are slick or semi-slick, again, for better rolling resistance.
Most hybrid bike frames are made from lightweight aluminum or steel (also called “Cro-Mo”), these are strong and durable materials, with a (relatively) low price. More expensive models have frames made out of carbon, it’s lighter and stiffer but it is hard (sometimes impossible) to service and it is way more expensive.
Flat and wide handlebars are mounted on a short stem, just like on mountain bikes. This allows the rider to sit more up straight and offers a better, more comfortable position for riding compared to a road bike handlebars.
Riding position on a hybrid bike is the same as on a mountain bike. Geometry and design of a hybrid bike allows riders to sit in an upright position, which gives them better control over the bike and decreases the stress in shoulders, back and neck area. This geometry also provides low center of gravity which improves bicycle handling and stability.
Hybrid bike has a wide range of gears to allow the rider to easily climb hills and drive fast on descents. By its gear range hybrid bike is closer to a road bike. Usually a hybrid bike will have a drivetrain with 2 or 3 front chainrings with an 8 or a 9 speed cassette on the back. This allows you to have 16 to 27 possible gear combinations which will come in handy on any stretch of a road.
Cheaper models of hybrid bikes are usually equipped with rim brakes. There’s a lot of discussions when it comes to wich type of brakes is better, rim brakes or disc brakes. It is really hard to tell if you consider all factors. Short answer to this question is hydraulic disk brakes are better, but they are quite expensive. When it comes to choosing between mechanic disk brakes and rim brakes, they are pretty much on the same level. Mechanic disk brakes provide better breaking in wet and muddy conditions. Rim brakes are lightweight, easy to adjust and service and they are cheap.
Classic hybrid bikes usually come equipped with flat pedals. More advanced riders prefer to use clipless pedals with “special” shoes, but this might not be a good idea because of the conditions you are riding in. Riding in city limits and/or on uneven terrain forces you to make frequent stops, clipless pedals in these situations are a nightmare to deal with.
Accesories for hybrid bikes include a bike computer, a pump, a tool bag, a bottle holder, a bottle and a spare tube. This is about everything you need to have with you when riding in the city.
The most famous manufacturers of hybrid bikes are: Cannondale, Specialized, Trek.
Tips for purchasing
A hybrid bike is a good choice for riding around the city. The key to getting a good bike is to find a model with decent components on it. It is the moving parts that will determine how well your bike will function and for how long.
In addition, if you are going to use a hybrid bike for commuting to school or work, take a look at some accessories that can make your trip easier and more convenient, accessories such as headlights, chainlocks, mudguards and cargo racks. They can come pre-installed on some hybrid bicycle models.