What type of bike to buy is a question that almost any beginner cycling enthusiast will ask at some point. If you have been inspired to ride a bike by seeing cyclists glide over traffic, enjoy the park, beach or woodland trails, you may have been seeing a hybrid bike in action.
What is a Hybrid Bike
A hybrid bike is a combination of a mountain bike and a road bike and hence it has features of both bikes. A hybrid bike will usually have flat handlebars, wide cushioned tires, moderate weight frames and maybe a basket rack or the odd fender thrown in.
What are the benefits of a hybrid bike
Since they are a combination of a mountain bike and road bike they have character traits of the two and hence benefits that may be found in one or both bikes. Some of the benefits of a hybrid bike include:
- Versatility – They have wide rites and hence can be ridden on a wide variety of moderately rough surfaces such as trails as well as smooth paved surfaces
- Comfort – They usually come with upright and flat handlebars which means that they are very comfortable as compared to road bikes which require one to adapt a hunched over position that may be uncomfortable over long distances.
- Great Control and Visibility – The upright riding position allows one to turn around and check for traffic and also allows for better control due to the wide and flat handlebars. This makes this bike good for commuting and short jaunts.
- Able to Carry Extra Weight – Unlike your road or mountain bike the hybrid usually comes with mounts for racks and baskets thus allowing you to carry more weight for your commute or for that jaunt on the beach.
Are Hybrid Bikes Good for Long Distance
Hybrid bikes are great for long distance riding because they have many features of road bikes which are usually used for long distance riding.
They come with a moderately heavy frame which makes them easier to ride on steep inclines and also excellent in windy conditions. They also have powerful, grippy tires and powerful brakes which means they are great for touring, long distance commutes and city riding.
It is important to note that if you are looking for a hybrid bike for commuting or touring you should find one with rear and/or front suspension to enhance ride comfort which will enable you to ride farther. Since these are very versatile bikes, they can usually be upgraded and with a few tweaks be made ready for long distance riding.
Still most bikes are ready for long distance riding out of the box as they have all the components you need to go on long tours. However you may have to replace the stock saddle as not all bikes will come with a gel topped saddle which makes for a more comfortable ride.
Are Hybrid Bikes Better for Your Back
Hybrid bikes are better for your back as compared to say the road bike as they come with flat and relatively high handlebars and provide an upright riding position as compared to a road bike. This decreases strain on the lower back as it makes for easy reach.
However, as compared to the mountain bike or comfort bike, they are not so good if you have existing back pain as they will have you leaning forward more which can be uncomfortable and put too much strain on the lower back.
Are Hybrid Bikes Good for Fitness
Since it is a combination of a mountain bike or road bike it can do pretty well in most mountain biking or road biking situations though it will not be excellent in any. The good thing about hybrid bikes is that you can exercise with it on pretty much any terrain.
If you are looking to do cardio as a fitness goal then the hybrid bike will be good as you can go on moderately long distances with it. On the other hand if you are looking for strength training or HIIT fitness exercise you can hit the trails with your hybrid bike and still do very well.
You can also mix it up by taking your bike on the pavement during one week and the following week head for the local trails and do some bunny hopping over rocks and fallen trees for both cardio and strength and endurance fitness goals.
Are Hybrid Bikes Good for Trails
Hybrid bikes are okay on trails even though they are not as good as mountain bikes on rough terrain. They do well on moderately rough terrain such as slightly rocky trails, gravel paths and dirt paths. Still it is not recommended to take a hybrid out onto rough terrain until the necessary upgrades have been made. However, if off-roading for you means riding the local dirt path then by all means go for it as your hybrid will handle it quite well.
Are Hybrid Bikes Harder to Ride
Hybrid bikes are as easy to pedal just like a road bike even as they are as versatile and almost as comfortable as the mountain bike. Since they have upright handlebars and a less aerodynamic riding position riding up steep hills may be harder than on a road bike.
Are Hybrid Bikes Faster than Mountain Bikes?
On average the hybrid bike is up to 3.9% faster than a mountain bike on relatively flat surfaces. On a 5% gradient they hybrid bike is still about 2.9% faster than the mountain bike even at speed increases over 40 kilometers of riding. This means that on speed alone a mountain bike and a road bike are very close on relatively flat surfaces.