Best Hybrid Bikes – Urban Transporters & Countryside Explorers For 2017

In the world of biking, there are two primary types of bicycle from which you can choose: mountain or road bikes. While each of these models is uniquely designed for the terrain on which they travel, what happens if you want something that can do a little bit of both? Well, in that case, you will want to opt for a hybrid.

These bicycles have the best of both worlds, meaning that you can take on more terrain without having to switch bikes in between. That being said, though, don’t expect to race with a hybrid and don’t try to take on rough mountain trails.

Overall, these bicycles are meant for casual riding or commuting with the occasional off-road excursion.

best-hybrid-bikes

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best hybrid bikes on the market today, as well as go over all of the important features and specs that you’ll have to pay attention to when making your decision.

How to Choose Hybrid Bike

Size

No matter what kind of bike you get, size does matter. To accurately gauge whether a bike is a right fit for you, stand with your feet straddling the bicycle. If the seat is crushing your nether region, then it’s too high. If it’s way below your crotch area and you have to stoop to sit down, then it’s too small.

Ideally, you should be able to sit comfortably without having to bend your knees that much. When riding, your leg shouldn’t extend all the way as that can become a problem as you go when your leg locks into place and you wind up doing damage to your knees.

Best Hybrid Bike Sizing Guide

Credit: Evans Cycles

Wheels

For the most part, hybrid bikes will have wheels that measure 700cc, although some models will have 26-inch tires instead. Unless you have a specific need for a particular type of wheel, you won’t really need to pay attention to this.

However, it’s nice to know what these numbers mean when going into the bike shop so you aren’t confused and think that you should have a certain size.

Another thing to know about hybrid bike wheels is that they are wider than road bikes and lighter than mountain bikes. Also, the tread is a bit more toothy to give you better traction on gravel or uneven terrain, and the center of the tire is smooth to help you get the smoothest ride on pavement or asphalt.

Gears

Most hybrid bicycles will come with a slew of gears, but you don’t have to get that many unless you really need or want them. Before deciding on the amount of gears you need, ask yourself what kind of riding you’ll be doing the most.

If you’re biking on smooth streets that don’t have a lot of hills, then you won’t need very many gears as you won’t be shifting very often. However, if you live in an area that has hills and inclines, then you will need something that can change quickly to your benefit.

Frame

This is the central part of the bike, and it will determine how heavy or light your model is as well as how durable it will be overall. Most bikes these days are made of aluminum because it is lightweight yet sturdy, but if you want something a bit more hardcore, then carbon fiber is the way to go.

It’s much more durable than aluminum while still retaining the lightweight qualities. However, because the material is higher end those bikes will cost more, so be aware of that. In some instances, you can find steel frames, but those are usually on older bikes or cheaper models that don’t have extra gears and stuff. Steel also weighs more, so plan accordingly.

Brakes

When looking at the types of brakes you can get, there are two primary methods: rim or disc. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Rim Brakes: these are usually more cost effective than disc brakes and are easier to replace. However, they will wear down your wheel rim and don’t provide the same level of stopping power. Also, you will have to squeeze harder to come to a full stop, especially if you’re braking at higher speeds.

Disc Brakes: these are much better than rim brakes when it comes to stopping power and reliability, but they do cost more and have to be adjusted as the pads wear down. However, replacing a disc is much easier than swapping out a whole rim, which you will eventually have to do with rim brakes.

Overall, we highly recommend disc brakes, but if affordability is crucial for you then rim brakes will be just fine.

Additional Features

While things like the frame and tires are imperative to ensure that you’re getting the right model for your needs, other features can affect your overall comfort and enjoyment of the bicycle. Thus, pay attention to these as well so that you can find a model that works for you.

Handlebars

Do you want to go fast or are you looking to ride casually? The shape of your handlebars can dictate what options you have while riding, so choose accordingly. Some models will arc back to let you sit more upright, whereas others drop down like a racing bike to give you better aerodynamics. Pick a shape that feels good and lets you ride how you want.

Cargo Racks

If you like to ride to work or around town it can be nice to have some storage space for your stuff. Whether you like to go grocery shopping on your bicycle or need to bring a change of clothes for work, cargo racks are indispensable. Best of all, you can remove them relatively easily when you want to ride lighter.

Fenders

If you do most of your riding on the streets then it’s imperative that you have fenders to protect you and your clothes from mud and water getting all over you from the tires. Even if you don’t really ride in wet conditions having fenders is better than nothing as you never know what the road can kick up at you.

5 Best Hybrid Bikes - In-depth Reviews

1. Schwinn Discover Men's Hybrid Bike

Schwinn Discover Men's Hybrid Bike

As far as bicycle brands go, none is quite as well-known or respected as Schwinn. While these bikes are not necessarily the top choice for high-performance models, the brand does make a lot of excellent commuter bikes that work well for the casual or steady user.

Overall, if you’re looking for something durable and comfortable, Schwinn is a fantastic choice.

Aluminum Frame

To make sure that you get durability and reliability the Discover Hybrid comes with an aluminum frame. Overall, this makes the bike lightweight and dependable while preventing things like rust and corrosion over time. Aluminum is the choice of professionals, so you will love it on this bike.

Suspension Fork

While most hybrids don’t come with a suspension, some riders swear by it. The reason for having it is to protect yourself in the event of a crash or a bump by giving you better shock absorption through the front wheel. That, coupled with a seat suspension means that you can ride on rougher terrain without feeling each bump and pothole in vivid detail.

SRAM Shifters

To help make sure that you can go from the smooth streets to the steepest hill, the Discovery comes with a high-quality 21-speed SRAM shifter. This model is super easy to use, and you can shift between gears in less than a second, making it the ideal choice for any rider.

Linear Pull Brakes

Stopping is always crucial to ensure proper riding safety, and the brakes that come on this bike are excellent at that. You don’t have to apply too much pressure to come to a full stop, and it won’t damage your rims as much as other models.

Highlighted Features

  • Front suspension fork
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • 21-speed SRAM shifters
  • Comfortable upright handlebars
  • Alloy linear pull brakes
  • Shimano rear derailleur
  • Schwinn lifetime warranty
  • Alloy crank
  • Rear gear carrier
  • Padded saddle
  • Front and rear fenders
  • Suspension seat post
  • 700cc tires

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable design
  • Easy to shift gears
  • Reliable brake pads
  • High-quality shifters
  • Comfortable handlebars
  • Gear rack included
  • Thick padded saddle
  • Suspension to absorb shock

Cons

  • Handlebar grips are not as durable as others
  • Some plastic components are not as strong as others
  • In rare cases, the inner tubes may get damaged easily

Verdict

When comparing Schwinn to other brands, this is the perfect hybrid bicycle because it has all of the comfort and performance that you need. While it may not hold up to heavy duty riding, it’s ideal for the casual commuter who needs something reliable and trustworthy to get from point A to point B.

2. Northwoods Springdale Hybrid Bicycle

Northwoods Springdale Hybrid Bicycle

As you can see, most best hybrid bicycles come in either a men’s or a women’s version. One thing to keep in mind is that even though we may feature one or the other, most of these models are available in both so that you can get the right size for your needs.

Thus, if you like what you see, don’t assume that you can’t get the same results if you need a men’s bike.

Aluminum Frame

To get the best performance out of your ride, you need a frame that is both durable and lightweight. Aluminum fits the bill perfectly, and it won’t rust or corrode like steel or other cheaper materials. That being said, this particular model is not 100% aluminum, so some components are made of steel to be even stronger and hold up better to wear and tear.

21-Speed Shifter

For most hybrid bikes, having sufficient gears means that you can go from smooth city streets to uphill roads with ease. The 21-speed shifter on the Springdale Bike is designed for maximum efficiency, meaning that you can go between speeds in a blink of an eye and get ready for any condition in seconds.

Linear Pull Brakes

To help you stay safe as you ride this particular model comes with linear pull brakes. While these are not as ideal as disc brakes they do provide excellent stopping power and won’t wear down your rim as much as other models. Also, it doesn’t require a ton of effort to come to a complete stop.

Rear Rack

As you ride, it is sometimes nice to carry some extra supplies with you such as groceries or clothes for work. The Springdale makes it easy to add saddle bags to your bike with this rear rack that comes fully installed.

Highlighted Features

  • Sturdy aluminum frame
  • Upright handlebars for better positioning
  • 21-speed shifter
  • Shimano rear derailleur
  • Alloy rims and fenders
  • Quick release seat
  • 700cc tires
  • Rear gear rack
  • Thick padded seat for comfort

Pros

  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Strong and lightweight
  • Alloy components
  • Easy to shift gears
  • Ideal for casual riding
  • Upright position for better comfort
  • Bring supplies with you
  • Excellent stopping power
  • Comfortable seating position

Cons

  • Heavier than other models
  • Some components are not as durable as others
  • Parts of the frame are steel, not aluminum

Verdict

When comparing this bike to others, you will notice that it is a bit heavier and more cumbersome. That being said, this particular model is ideal for casual riders who like to go around town on a regular basis, but it’s not necessarily ideal for hardcore riding or commuting.

3. Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Hybrid Bike

Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Hybrid Bike

If you want high-performance results from your best hybrid bike, then you will want to check out this Diamondback Insight 1.

This model has complete performance written all over it, meaning that it can handle anything you throw at it and still ride strong. Let’s see what this bike can do for you.

Aluminum Alloy Frame

While most hybrids come with a standard aluminum frame, the Insight 1 is made from an alloy metal that makes the whole thing stronger while staying as lightweight as possible. Thus, if you want to get more bang for your buck, this is a fantastic place to start.

Shimano 21-Speed Shifter

When it comes to shifting gears, Shimano has the best results out of any other brand. Most of the hybrids we’ve seen have this type of shifter, but its inclusion here further cements the high-performance status of the Diamondback.

Linear Pull Brakes

If you want to be able to stop on a dime, then these brakes will help you do so. Less pressure is required than other models, and the brakes will keep your bike in working condition for longer. Also, their position on the handlebars is comfortable and accessible without getting in the way.

Various Sizes Available

If you like the features that come with this bike you may be wondering if it comes in your size. Fortunately, the Insight has many different options from which to choose to ensure that you can benefit from its performance no matter how big you are.

Highlighted Features

  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • Steel front fork for better steering
  • Shimano 21-speed shifter
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • 700 cc tires
  • Upright handlebars for better positioning
  • Works on hard or soft terrain
  • Easy to mount rack or fenders
  • Linear pull brakes

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight design
  • Stable frame for better performance
  • Easy to shift gears
  • Excellent stopping power
  • Available in various sizes
  • Ideal for most terrain
  • Thick padded handlebars for comfort
  • Upright positioning

Cons

  • Does not include kickstand, gear rack, or fenders
  • Not ideal for rough terrain in most cases
  • On rare occasions, the tires may deflate easily

Verdict

Overall, we really like the benefits that you get from the Diamondback Insight, but we don’t like that it doesn’t come with extra features like a gear rack or fenders. Most hybrid bikers like having these accessories installed already, so the fact that you have to buy them separately and attach them yourself is a bit of a turn-off.

4. Sixthreezero Explore Your Range Bicycle

Sixthreezero Explore Your Range Bicycle

So far we’ve seen hybrid bicycles that allow you to tackle most terrain by letting you shift as much as necessary to tackle hills and straightaways with equal ease.

However, if you are riding on mostly flat surfaces, then it doesn’t make sense to have a bicycle with that many gears as you won’t wind up using most of them anyway.

Thus, if that is the case for you then check out the Explore Your Range from sixthreezero.

Aluminum Frame

As with most top rated hybrid bikes, you get a solid aluminum frame to ensure both a lightweight feel as well as durable handling. As far as frames go, this one is fairly standard and will provide excellent results as you ride.

Seven-Speed Shifter

As we mentioned, you don’t always have to have a plethora of speeds and gears if you’re riding on mostly flat terrain. This bike is built for city traveling, meaning that it’s much easier to maneuver and shift gears than other bikes that have three times as many.

Rear Gear Rack

When biking through the city, it’s nice to have a gear rack so that you can store extra supplies on your ride without having to carry a backpack or anything. Whether picking up some food or bringing stuff to your friend’s house for a party, this bike has you covered.

High-Quality Saddle

For most riders, the seat is the most important part of the bike as it can do the most damage if it’s not comfortable. Fortunately, the saddle on this ride is both well padded and expertly stitched so that it will last a long time and provide excellent support.

Highlighted Features

  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Quality stitched saddle with faux leather
  • Upright positioning for better comfort
  • Linear pull brakes
  • Rear gear rack included
  • Seven-speed Shimano Shifter
  • 700cc tires
  • Upright position while riding
  • Ideal for leisure or long distance
  • Full fenders

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight design
  • Easy to shift gears
  • Ideal for city riding
  • Comfortable and casual
  • Store gear on the back
  • Thick padded saddle

Cons

  • Not ideal for uphill riding
  • Some components are not as durable as others
  • Can be hard to put together for some users

Verdict

If you are looking for something casual and effortless to ride around the city, then this is the bike for you. It’s not quite as versatile as some of the other models we’ve seen, but it’s perfect for what it’s designed to do, which is be a weekend commuter.

5. Schwinn Discover Women's Hybrid Bike

Schwinn Discover Women's Hybrid Bike

As you have probably noticed, this is the same bike we saw above in our best hybrid bikes list; only this is the women’s version instead of the men’s. Overall, the performance and styling are the same, but the size and shape are a bit different to accommodate the physiology of a woman.

Thus, if you are looking for something sleeker and more comfortable, this is the bike to get.

Aluminum Frame

To ensure the best results while riding, you need a framework that will be as reliable and durable as possible. Aluminum is by far the most ubiquitous material for this purpose, and it works incredibly well for this bike.

Suspension Fork

For most riders, having extra suspension is crucial to ensure that you can have a smoother ride regardless of the roughness of the terrain. This particular model has a suspension fork on the front tire as well as one on the seat so that you get better results each time you head out.

21-Speed SRAM Shifter

Whether you want to tackle steep hills or flat streets this bike is built to take it all with a high-quality SRAM shifter and 21 gears from which to choose. This is more than enough to make any ride as smooth as possible without overloading you with options.

Linear Pull Brakes

To get the best stopping power, you need high-quality brakes, and this bike has them in spades. Use less force than with other models and do less damage to your rims overall. These brakes are the gold standard in the industry.

Highlighted Features

  • Durable aluminum frame
  • 21-speed SRAM shifter
  • Shimano rear derailleur
  • Linear pull brakes
  • Front suspension fork
  • Thick padded saddle
  • Upright position while riding
  • Rear gear rack
  • Fenders included
  • Alloy crankset
  • Swept-back handlebar with grip

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight design
  • Easy to shift gears
  • Front suspension to absorb shock
  • Comfortable seating and position
  • Excellent stopping power
  • Carry extra gear easily

Cons

  • Can be difficult to assemble for some users
  • Some components are not as durable as others
  • Handlebars may not be as far back as they should

Verdict

We’ve already covered how Schwinn is the perfect brand for hybrid bikes as these are designed for casual commuting and street riding. Unless you’re trying to race or get a hardcore mountain bike, this is the perfect hybrid.

Final Verdict

After looking through each of these bikes, it seems like the best model you can find is the Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bicycle (men’s or women’s). This particular model is the most well built and easy to use machine for any rider, meaning that it’s perfect for both casual and hardcore commuters.

The frame and tires are excellent, and it comes with the best features and quality you can find with a hybrid model.

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About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle for bike advice. I take it personally when someone I know buys a new bike without consulting me first!

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