Cycling - Knowledge

Hybrid Bikes: A Quick Guide that You'll Need

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Looking for a versatile bike that can help you maneuver around the city as well as take you on a long refreshing ride on difficult routes? Ever heard about Hybrid bikes?

Often you may have crossed paths with the name hybrid bike while considering riding as a passion. You know of road bikes and are aware of special mountain bikes, but what is a hybrid bike? Well, the name must have helped you gauged something if not all. You see, a typical racer bike comes with many gears but has thin tyres that make it very difficult to ride on off-road trails. A typical mountain bike possesses a very heavy frame and thick flat tyres that make it quite cumbersome to ride on the flat city roads. 

Enter hybrid bikes, jack-of-all-trades kind of a bike which is a perfect fit for a variety of riding styles.

What are Hybrid Cycles or Hybrid Bikes

What is a Hybrid cycle or Hybrid bike?
Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid bikes are a combination of two bike types -  the road bike and mountain bike. These specialized bikes are best suited for general riding as it is built to negotiate varying terrain conditions such as mountains, plains, gravel path, etc. A hybrid bike flaunts features from both, a mountain bike and a road bike. It comes with flat, straight handlebars that allow an upright cycling position while riding just like the mountain bikes.

On the other hand, it also borrows the lighter weight, thinner wheels and smooth tires features from a road bike. Although some hybrid bikes have heavier frames and wider tires than a traditional road bike, most of them employ the similar road bike features.

Now, before we dive deeper into the world of hybrid bikes, let us tell you something fundamental about these hybrid road bikes- they are “like” mountain bikes and road bikes but they are not exactly the mentioned types in the truest sense.

So, we would recommend not to trust them blindly when you are going to encounter the rough and difficult terrains, especially on the mountain. That being said, let us check the stellar features of the hybrid bikes.

Features of Hybrid Bikes

As mentioned earlier, hybrid bikes flaunt the characteristics of mountain bikes and road bikes.

  • Tyres

Beginning with the tyres, hybrid bikes have fairly treaded tyres that are set in an upright position. This tyre position blends well with the conventional riser handlebars.

  • Pedals

Generally, basic hybrid bikes are equipped with platform pedals. While the advanced ones come with toe-clip or clipless pedals.

  • Frame

Hybrid bikes are most popular because of their frames. Built of lightweight aluminium or carbon-fibre, hybrid bikes are comparatively lighter in weight with greater durability.

  • Handlebars

As far as handlebars are concerned, hybrid bikes have handlebars that resemble the flat handlebars of a mountain bike. This structure provides a wider grip area which allows a comfortable upright sitting position– leading to good vision and better control.

  • Suspension

Shock absorber or suspensions lend the hybrid bikes with the ability to endure bumps, jolts, and rough road/trail surfaces.

  • Gearing

Hybrid bikes come in a wide gearing range. These multiple gears allow the rider to power up the hills or zoom faster on the flats and downhills. The gearing set-up of a hybrid bike is more similar to the road bikes than mountain bikes.

  • Accessories

The basic accessories of a hybrid bike include a frame pump, cyclo-computer, tool bag, water bottle, and cage- everything you’ll need to be self-sufficient when riding.

Okay, so the hybrid bikes appear to be a good purchase with quite impressive specifications. But every good side of a commodity has some shortfalls too.

Pros of Hybrid Bikes

What are Features of An Ideal Hybrid Bicycles?
Pros of Hybrid Bikes

To begin with, hybrid bikes are versatile bikes with a mix of both mountain and roads bikes. If you want a good commuter bike which could be occasionally taken off the road and ride into nature trails and parks then the hybrid bikes are your best investment.

  • They exhibit the speed of a road bike with the ruggedness of a mountain cycle- making them an all-terrain bike.
  • An intelligent handle design makes them super comfortable to ride on.
  • They are lighter than mountain bikes but strong enough to take on rough tracks.
  • They are reasonably fast.

Cons of Hybrid Bikes:

While hybrid bikes seem to be flawlessly convenient bikes, there are certain drawbacks that you should be aware of:

  • They are not as sturdy as mountain bikes.
  • They are not as swift as city racer bikes.
  • Carbon-fibre hybrid bikes may be a bit expensive.

How to Choose Hybrid Bikes

Leading Hybrid Cycles in India
How to Choose Hybrid Bikes

Before splurging on a fancy hybrid bike, try to understand its utility in the real world. Narrow down your options based on questions like:

Are you going to ride it daily? Are you going to use it for commuting? Will you ride it on uneven terrains or hilly areas? Do you want to go by quality or affordability?

Let us suppose you want to use it for mostly for commuting purpose in the city and occasionally use it for recreational rides on off-road trails then opt for a hybrid bike that leans more towards a road bike. But if you are an enthusiast rider who frequently enjoys the mountains or the countryside then choose a balanced hybrid bike with thick tyres.

  • Tyres

Comfort and cruiser bikes usually come with 26-inch tires that give you a comfortable ride even on a rough terrain. 29-inch bikes have a knobby, mountain bike-style tires for riding on dirt roads.

Hybrid and city bikes usually come with 700c road bike tires in different widths and treads and are suitable for all kinds of surfaces.

  • Frame Materials

Trek 7.1 FX,Schwinn Searcher 4
Frame Materials

Bikes are available in a variety of materials. Here’s a comparison of frame material:

Aluminium made hybrid bikes:

Pros - Light, Strong, Economical, Rust/Corrosion Resistant, Good Ride.

Cons - Heavier than Carbon.

Carbon-Fiber and Carbon/Aluminum Mix:

Pros - Lighter, Stronger, Rust/Corrosion Resistant, Smooth Ride.

Cons - Most Expensive

  • Suspension

The main function of a suspension fork on a bike is to absorb the impact of an uneven and rough road surface and ensure a smoother ride. 29-inch bikes are recommended for aggressive and tough riding on and off-road surfaces. Suspension seat posts are an important feature of both comforts as well as hybrid bikes as they absorb the vibrations of a rough terrain. Suspension seat posts are sold separately making it possible for you to add one if you have bought a bike without one.

  • Gearing

Bicycle technology has made changing gears on your bike easy and comfortable with most of the bikes having a simple button-style lever. If you do flat riding you can do with a bike that has lesser gears, or even a single speed gear. Opt for a bike with extra gears if you want to ride up a hill or if you are more adventurous with your riding.

Livingit Tip
If you are between two bike sizes, you can opt for the smaller size.

Now let’s assume that you have a fair idea of your bike’s purpose. So, what to check out next? Of course, the types of hybrid bike. Maybe this will assist you to choose better.

Classification of Hybrid Bikes

According to design, there are five common varieties of the hybrid bike in the market.

1. Cross Bike (Long Trip Hybrid Bike)

Cross bikes are intended for the recreational purpose. They use a road bike frame with flat handle bars. Fitted with 700c wheels with wider tyre width, the cross bike could be for racing or simple leisure tours around the city. These hybrid bikes are ideal for long trips.

2. Commuter Bike

With a self-explanatory name, the commuter bike is best for everyday commute. Common features of commuter bikes are front, rear lights and chain guard.

3. City Bike (Urban Hybrid Bike)

Similar to commuter bikes, a city bike displays mountain bike frame designed with suspension forks, full fenders, front and rear lighting system. It makes urban commuting more efficient with heavy belted tyres that can withstand city road hazards like broken glasses, deep potholes, drainage grates, and jumps off city curbs. Hence, they are also known as urban hybrid bikes.

4. Comfort Bike

Comfort bikes come in enhanced features and often equipped with modern derailleur gears. These gears surpassed the old hub gears with its recent variable-ration transmission and movable chain guide. Typically, comfort bikes have a modified mountain bike anatomy and include features like seat suspension, plush saddles, and suspension forks.

5. All-terrain Hybrid Bike

These hybrids lean more towards mountain bikes with a lower range of mountain bike gears. They can be cruised on almost all surfaces- thanks to a wider set of tyres with rugged treading.They are very strong and slightly heavier than the other bike hybrid types. They boast of excellent brakes (mostly disc brakes) as they are made for incline riding.

Probably by now, you understand what we are talking about. And perhaps curious to know the top hybrid bikes available in India, let’s find out!

Some Popular Hybrid Bike Choices

Evolution in biking engineering has led to the conception of hybrid bikes. With time the conception launched products and now we have a vast pool of choices from various brands.

Here’s a list of the most popular hybrid bikes in India.

Kross Stella 26 Pink Steel Unisex Hybrid Cycle

Urban Hybrid Bike
Kross Stella 26 Pink

This pretty pink hybrid comes with 18 Inches frame size, single speed gear, V brake, and 26 inches of tyre size in single wall allo rims wheel. It has front fork with a U-shaped mudguard, and rise SLR handlebar. The stem is steel-made in black and steel crankset in 42T Crank.
Price: Rs. 6,299

Longhorn Ciclo 100 700X32C 21 Speed LHCC732CBKBL Hybrid Cycle (Black)

Long Trip Hybrid Bikes
Longhorn Ciclo 100

Aluminium built, the Longhorn Ciclo offers 21 gear speed, front fork, V brake, and threadless NECO headsets. Its frame size is 18 inch and tyre size is 27 inch.

Infinite Mixway-(Hb)27speed-F(19) 700x35 Aluminium Unisex Hybrid Cycle

common varieties of hybrid bikes
Infinite Mixway

This is a unisex hybrid bike with medium frame size, 26 inches tyre sized, and 24 top speed. The handlebars and stem are made of infinite aluminum. Front and rear derailleurs are Shimano- FD-TX51, and TX800 respectively. Rise handlebar and double wall rims for V-brake with aluminum hubs with Shimano EZ-fire plus ST-EF40 shifters are some other features of the bike.
Price: Rs. 29,999

Goldie Ariana Sr Steel Women's Hybrid Cycle

Comfort Hybrid Bikes
Goldie Ariana

Specially crafted for women, the Goldie Ariana features single gear speed in L inches frame size. The tire size is 26 inches with steel rise handlebars, U-shaped mudguard, fork front, and drum brakes. The frame is steel made and the bubblegum pink adds a nice feminine touch to the body.
Price: Rs. 8200

Cosmic Trium 27.5 Inch Mtb Bicycle 21 Speed Hybrid Cycle (Black:Blue)

All-terrain hybrid bikes
Cosmic Trium

If the Goldie Ariana is suitable for women the Cosmic Trium is ideal for male riders. It is made of steel with fork front. The brakes are disc type and the gear offers 21 top speed. The tyre size is 28 inches while frame size is 17 inches. You can choose between the two color- black and blue.
Price: Rs. 14,999

Kross Imphel Hybrid 700c White KS-700MSIMPWT Hybrid Cycle (White)

Pros of Hybrid Bikes
Kross Imphel Hybrid

Steel-made, this hybrid has an 18.5-inch frame size with fork front and V brake. 21-speed gear and 28-inch tyre size with four bolt adjustable are Kross Imphel’s other features.

Other popular hybrid bikes across the globe-

Cons of Hybrid Cycles
Cannondale Quick 3

Cannondale Quick 3
This is an updated and re-launched hybrid bike which is light in weight and is smooth and easy to ride. The bike comes in eight different models ranging from Quick 1 - Quick 8, having different features and components. The new Quick 3 comes with a super light aluminum frame, carbon composite forks, powerful hydraulic disc brakes, and 2x9 speed gearing.

Trek Zektor 2
This all-black, sleek, light but an aggressive aluminum bike is suited for urban riding. The bike comes with 2x8 11-32 Shimano Claris gearing for a varied terrain, 32 mm tires and reflective sidewalls for all-weather conditions. Other features include rack and mudguard mounts, internal cable routing, and Tektro M285 hydraulic disc brakes for increased stopping power.

Ghost Square Cross 3
This hybrid bike has Tektro ACC hydraulic disc brakes which aid in handling it with ease and has good stopping power on rough terrain. Other features include its aluminum alloy frames, a Shimano triple crank, Acera 9-speed rear derailleur, and a 60 mm-travel front suspension fork.

Breezer Liberty 3R
This low-maintenance but high-value commuter bike has a lightweight aluminum frame along with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano Altus components on a 27-speed drivetrain. You can increase its all-weather functioning by buying fenders and a rear rack.

Bianchi Strada
This flat-bar endurance bike comes with a cyclo-cross frame is made for fitness riding and commuting long distances. Other features include double-butted chromoly tubing, Shimano Claris 2x8 11-32T, Vittoria Randonneur 28c tires and Tektro CR720 cantilever brakes.

common varieties of hybrid bikes
GT Grade Flatbar Elite

GT Grade Flatbar Elite
This hybrid all-season bike is good for long commutes. Its Grade carbon fork absorbs road vibrations, bumps, and potholes, and its Tektro mechanical brakes are good for speed braking. Other features include a hydroformed aluminum frame, flat bars, 700x28 Kenda Kwest tires and Shimano Claris eight-speed triple crank set. The bike is available in sizes 48-60, and in models Comp, Elite and Expert.

Felt Verza Speed 30
This 25-pound aluminum bike has Shimano Sora 9-speed and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. This bike is ideal for fast commuting and for meeting your fitness goals and comes in seven varied component levels. It has two women’s versions; the Verza Speed 40 and the Verza Speed 50.

Fuji Absolute 1.3 Disc
This is a 24-pound lightweight and alloy-framed lifestyle bike is suitable for commuting, or rail trail fitness riding, and has rack and fender mounts as added features. Its main features include a 50/34T crank set with an 11-32T, 9-speed cassette and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.

Raleigh Cadent 4
This lightweight, cherry-red colored bike is good for the city as well as country riding. The bike has an aluminum frame, carbon fork along with fender and rack mounts. Other features include an 11-42 11-speed cog set, a SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.

Diamondback Trace ST
This dual sports bike is good for both, trail riding and light mountain riding. Its features include its aluminum alloy frame, steel fork, Tektro disc brakes, and a 3x7 speed Shimano grip shifters and Shimano TZ31 7-speed 14-34T cog set that support you during mountain riding.

Urban Hybrid Bike
Specialized Roll Elite

Specialized Roll Elite
This aluminum-framed bike is suitable for trail riding, cross-town commuting, beach riding as well as uphill riding. The bike comes with an aluminum fork, a Sunrace 8-speed 11-34t cassette, 48/38/28T chainring, fender/rack mounts, upswept handlebars and Tektro mechanical disc brakes. The model is available in multiple iterations and also has step-through versions.

Giant ToughRoad SLR 1
This lightweight aluminum-framed bike that supports rugged riding is good for touring and commuting. Its features include an alloy fork, 10-speed drivetrain, Shimano M395 hydraulic disc brakes, front and rear racks, D-Fuse seat post to handle trail bumps and Giant SX-2 double wall rimmed wheels along with 700c anti-puncture tires.

Marin San Rafael DS4
This is a lightweight aluminum hybrid suitable for mixed terrain riding, especially for off-road riding by not compromising on speed and stability on the road. Its features include hybrid tires, disc brakes, a suspension fork, rack and fender mounts, increased tire clearance, a Shimano FC-T521 10-speed and a 48/36/26 crank set.

Pinarello Mercurio T2
This lightweight, sleek, versatile carbon fiber hybrid bike is a perfect combination of an entry-level bike as well as a city bike. Its main features include an asymmetric frame design, drop bars, and Shimano Sora components.

Jamis Allegro Comp
This is a lightweight fast-riding fitness bike with aluminum frame and fork. It has an adjustable threadless steering system which makes it possible to adjust the handlebar height during a ride. Other features include Vittoria Randonneur 700x32c tires, Tektro Novela mechanical disc brakes, and a 48/38/28 Shimano FC-TY501 crank set. Women’s versions of the bike are available, too.

Comfort Hybrid Bikes
Schwinn Vantage

Schwinn Vantage F1
This bike is apt for long fitness riding as well as commuting. Its seat has a special elastomer that adds 15mm of rear suspension to absorb the vibrations of rough roads. The bike comes with a Shimano 3x9 speed drivetrain, Kenda tires and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.

Norco VFR 3
This fitness bike is suitable for paved trails and bike lanes. The bike’s features include a double-butted alloy frame, carbon fork, a Shimano CS-HG200 11-32T 9-speed cassette and Tektro flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes.

These days many cyclists are investing in hybrid bikes taking into account their sheer versatility. You can do long distance cycling, trail riding, uphill riding, or even everyday commuting with a hybrid bike. The advantages of hybrid bikes which include their lightweight frame, all-terrain tires, enabling an upright riding position, affordability and superior comfort, making them an irresistible buy for cycling enthusiasts. They also promote health along with utility.

With all the hybrid bike types as discussed above surely, you should be spoilt for choice by now!