There is a lot to consider when learning about hybrid bikes. There are many different styles, models and brands. You can read our review of Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike. I have done a tremendous amount of urban/city commuting on a bike, and hybrids are great for Going Green Go Cycling. I’ve had road bikes, cruisers and mountain bikes, but I truly recommend a hybrid bike.
Hybrid bikes are the Swiss Army knife of bicycles. They are ‘ok/good’ at every type of riding but not great. If a majority of your riding is casual, get a cruiser. If it is long distance on paved roads, get a road bike. If you are off terrain, definitely a mountain bike. A hybrid bike can do all of these within reason and for a short duration.
Another attribute I really liked about my different hybrid bike, is that they are beefier than road bikes for the curbs and potholes, and faster/easier to ride on pavement than mountain bikes.
hybrid bike don’t really fall into the category of road or mountain bikes. They’re kind of a hybrid bike.
They’re in between and the reason you might want to get one of these bikes is if you are someone who does some riding on the street, maybe some light off-road riding, like hike and bike trails and that sort of thing.
You want a bike that’s going to be able to do a little bit of all of that.
So a hybrid bike is a good option for that.
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Selecting the Right Hybrid Bike for You
Some of the characteristics of a hybrid bike is that they will have tires that are wider than what you would find on a road bike but generally narrower than what you would find on a mountain bike. They may have some tread on them to give you some traction and some mulch or loose soil. They may or may not have suspension.
Some hybrid bike have a suspension fork in front to soak up some bumps.
Some have a suspension seat post to soak up some bumps coming from the rear wheel. But again that may not be the case with every hybrid bike out there.
They’re generally a little wider than a mountain bike and a little heavier than a road bike and again they’re not going to be the best at anything, but they’re sort of a jack-of-all-trades type bike.
Renting a bike
If you have the opportunity to rent a bike on your vacation or while at home, you will get a better idea of what you are looking for. Test out a few models to see what you like.
Budget for your bike
First thing you might want to consider is your budget. When you go out, just have something in mind of what you can afford. So you even know where to start looking in and what section of the bike shop should I even start looking.
How will you ride your hybrid bike
The second thing you might want to think on is how do I plan on riding my hybrid bike.
- Am I going to put a lot of miles on it, a lot of road miles?
- Will I use it around town as a city commuter?
- Will I want to use my bike to grocery shop and/or to commute to work?
- Am I going to be a road rider/maybe light MTB trails, mountain bike trails, bike paths, etc.?
A lot of that is going to determine what style hybrid bike that you want to get. So the style would probably be one of the next things you would want to think of.
The other is hybrid bike fit. You got to find out what hybrid bike fits you. If it doesn’t fit you, you’re not going to like riding it. The other is if you like riding the bike, so test ride as many as possible. I can’t stress that enough. Go to as many bike shops as you can, borrow hybrid bike, whatever you got to do; but ride as many of them as you can.
You can find one that you really, really like riding because if you like riding it, you’re going to ride it a whole lot more and that’s a pretty key factor. Then you can start going in the other details about the hybrid bike.
Suspension or no suspension
A big thing to consider is whether they have suspension or not suspension. Of course it’s going to lighten up the bike some if you do not have a suspension. If you live in a really rough area and you have a lot of potholes, curve hopping, things like that or if you’re going to be off-roading.
I prefer a suspension type that you can lock out for road rides and one that you can set a preload adjuster on too so that when you’re riding, you’re not always just putting all your energy into those front forks but when you hit that pothole, it’s not hard. But a lot of bikes don’t need it.
The braking is pretty important. An older style are called V brakes, like modulated linear pull. Now the big thing is – and I agree – are disk brakes. Of course this tendency if you get in the mud or you ride in the snow or anything like that, dirt and debris can build up. It’s closer to the road. They get wetter.
I hear a lot of people say how much better just stopping in the rain but I don’t find any trouble with the linear pull brakes in the rain and they might squeak but you still get great stopping power. But disk brakes will build up with a snowy mud that’s for sure where V-brakes brakes don’t.
Tire size can be a huge factor on how fast you want to go and how they perform in various conditions. Most hybrids nowadays are going to come with 700c series. Some are as a city commuter which I think is an ideal city commuter. Hybrids are great bikes to be a city commuter. Usually they are equipped with 26 inch by 1.6 tire on it, semi slick so you get some speed on the road and some grip doing some bike paths and stuff like that.
Drive terrain is also going to be really important thing to consider. The crank, front chain rings, rear derailleur, front derailleur and rear cog set. Hybrid bike are not designed to be fast bikes, they aren’t meant to be. Typically you will have three front chain ring with two rear gears. And a decent front and rear derailleur.
Your brake levers are pretty standard. The gear shifts are called twist grip shifters or you got index shift. There are so many variables out there now in the hybrid world. You really got to factor in what your riding style is going to be and start going from there and start looking at bikes that are going to fit your riding style and how much you enjoy it.
Then in budget too, you also got to factor in extras which a lot of people tend to leave out and probably even other things like suspension seat post. I love a suspension seat post and I’ve had bikes that don’t have them and they are ok but I prefer a suspension seat post.
Are you going to want a Speedometer? I particularly don’t care for one. For me, lights are more important so I allocate more money to great bicycle lights.
Probably going to want a saddle bag, basket or some kind of storage to carry certain items.
You may want a rack.
You may want a pump.
Carry your spare tube, lock.
Highly recommend a Awesome Bike Lock or you probably won’t have your bike too long especially if you get a nice one.
Water bottle, water bottle cage, you got to buy a helmet and all these accessories start adding up pretty quick too.
So if you just buy a new bike, you don’t have any accessories but you want to upgrade your bicycle, you got to kind of factor those into your budget or just do without until you can afford them
Hybrid bike summary
This is has been an overview.
It’s a really quick one on what you might look for in going out for a new hybrid.
I would recommend:
First, your budget, and not just for the bike but also factor in component upgrades and accessories.
What is your predicted riding style you know that you’re going to be using your hybrid for.
Next, “Does it fit you?” and are you comfortable RIDING it (gotta test ride them). If you are not comfortable you will not ride it as much, and definitely not enjoy it when you are riding.
Last, “Do you like it?” It can be the best bike in the world and if you don’t like it, you’re just not going to want to ride it as much.
So I know some people probably have better ideas and things that you could probably add to this.
This is not promoting any particular brand or model.
Just trying to throw some tips out there for buying a new hybrid and so hopefully you’ve learned a little bit about hybrid bikes and it helps you pick out a good hybrid bike for you.
A great option, and one we recommend, are the Diamondback Bicycles Insight 1, and Diamondback Bicycles Insight 2.