Hybrid Bikes Buyers Guide + Video

It's likely that you'll have heard the term hybrid bike before, but you may not be aware all of the features and benefits that come with owning these popular crossover bikes. Our guide will get you up to scratch on all things hybrid, so you'll be able to choose a bike that potentially outperforms a road bike or mountain bike that you may have looked at first!

What is a hybrid bike?

Usually, bikes fall into two distinct categories:

Road bikes

Road bikes are the lightweight bikes with thin tyres, compact handlebars and high seat posts that you'll see ridden by both professionals at races like the Tour de France, or by enthusiasts on country roads.

Mountain bikes

Mountain bikes on the other hand are the bikes with thicker frames, thicker tyres and straight handlebars that you'll see being ridden across muddy fields or down rough trails.

Hybird bikes take elements from both camps, resulting in a bike that offers the best of both worlds.

What's so good about hybrid bikes?

The best thing about hybrid bikes is that you'll be able to enjoy rides on multiple surfaces and in different conditions. Whether it's leisure rides on a cycle path, the commute, or an adventure across light trails, then a hybrid bike will be able to cover you for them all.

Which features are important on a hybrid bike?

Handlebars

Whereas road bike handlebars are designed for speed, body positioning and gear changes, flat mountain bike handlebars make for a more comfortable position if you're sitting upright (most common on cross-country rides and commutes). Many hybrid bikes will feature the more comfortable flat handlebar style, but remember that if you fancy switching to a curved style for road ride then you can always swap your flat handlebars out!

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Frame

This one is key for hybrid bikes, as they'll likely borrow elements from both road and mountain bikes. Despite looking slender, hybrid bike frames are often reinforced in certain places or can even be made from mild steel as opposed to the aluminium and carbon fibre you'll see on road bikes. You'll need to consider the different weight of these materials depending on how much you'll be cycling on and off road, with aluminium and carbon lighter, but sometimes a bit more expensive.

The other aspect of hybrid bike frames is comfort. Most of the time, hybrid bikes features geometry that is designed for more relaxed riding, but with seat and handlebar posts that can be tweaked to increase performance on certain rides.

Protect your frame through all weather terrians with our Frame Protection

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Wheels and tyres

Hybrid bike tyres are often a halfway-point between thin road tyres and the thicker tyres you'll see on mountain bikes. If you're planning on riding on grass, trails or just a muddy country road, then you'll need to consider the tread on your hybrid tyre. Commuters who spend most of their time in cycle lanes however may wish to opt for a more road-style slick tyre for performance on the flat.

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Brakes

Road bikes often use V-brakes that sit on the frame of the wheels, squeezing the wheel itself to provide stopping power, but mountain bikes may have disc brakes for optimal stopping performance on hillsides and tight turns. Your hybrid bike can have either of the two, or even more complex brakes like fluid-based SRAM systems, so think about how much stopping power you'll need on different kinds of ride. If you're going to be commuting or taking it easy on country rides at the weekend, then standard V-brakes will be more than sufficient.

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Forks and suspension

There are a few choices when it comes to forks (the part of the frame that holds the front wheels) and suspension systems; rigid, front suspension or full suspension. Suspension absorbs bumps and uneven terrain, so if you're planning on taking your hybrid on more adventurous rides, then it may be worth opting for additional suspension rather than a rigid front fork that connects straight to the wheel axle.

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Panniers and accessories

If you're going to be using your hybrid for commuting through the week then thrashing around a field at the weekend, you'll want to consider how many add-ons to add to your frame. Things like panniers and racks are ideal for the trip to work, with things like laptops and your change of clothes stored out of the rain, but they'll weigh you down on Sunday morning's hill climb.

You'll also need to factor in things like water bottle cages and pump holders, which are essentials on the weekend ride but just another thing to worry about when your bike is parked up outside the office. If you're buying a blank bike with the idea of adding on or taking off accessories depending on your ride style, check how many eyelets are available on the frame for things like racks, mudguards and baskets.

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The best hybrid bikes

Voodo Marasa

  • Lightweight 7005 alloy frame
  • 27 speed shimano Altus gears
  • Tektro HD-M285 hydraulic disc brakes
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If you're thinking of a hybrid bike that is closer to a mountain bike for those muddy thrashes around the countryside, then you can't go wrong with a Voodoo hybrid bike. Voodoo are known for creating top-end mountain bikes, so their hybrid range incorporates a lot of the features that make their MTB range so popular. The Agwe and Marasa models are great hybrids from Voodoo.


Carrera Crossfire 2

  • Lightweight aluminium frame
  • 24 speed shimano gears
  • Tektro mechanical disc brakes
  • Aluminium Suntour suspension fork
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If you're planning on commuting to work on your new hybrid bike, then Carrera hybrid bikes are great starting point. Designed to offer the best of both worlds while remaining lightweight and efficient, Carrera hybrids also offer a lot of value for money so you don't need to break the bank to get a solid hybrid bike. Check out the Parva and Crossfire models.


Boardman HYB 8.6

  • Lightweight 7005 alloy frame
  • Carbon bladed forks
  • 18 speed shimano Acera gears
  • Tektro hydraulic brakes
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For the best of the best when it comes to hybrids that are closer to road bikes, then Boardman hybrid bikes are definitely worth checking out. Taking cues from the performance road bikes that Boardman are famous for creating, you can expect lightweight frames, comfortable handlebars and the quality hardware like brakes and gear sets you'd expect on a road bike


Pendleton Somerby

  • Alloy step-through frame
  • 7 speed shimano Acera gears
  • Alloy V-brakes
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If you're looking for a ladies bike that not only bring the best elements from road and mountain bikes together, but also adds some true style, then check out Pendleton hybrid bikes. These classics have all been given 21st century updates, including performance brakes and gear sets, as well as suspension seats and plenty of space for panniers, mudguards or baskets, some of which are included as standard. The Somerby is one of our best sellers.


What is an electric hybrid bike?

An electric hybrid bike is a hybrid with all of the great features of an e-bike. Electric hybrids feature an additional battery and motor that kicks in when more strain is put on the pedals, i.e. when you're cycling uphill or trying to go faster in a higher gear. It won't propel you along, but will give you a power boost to make things easier when you're working hard - great if you don't fancy turning up to the office soaked in sweat!

How much should I spend on a hybrid bike?

This one comes down to how much you care about the additional features and build materials of your bike. If you want a carbon frame, performance disc brakes and a gear set that will make your ride feel very smooth, then splash the cash. If you want a bike that will get you to work without the frills, then pay a few hundred quid and you'll be well catered for.

With these tips for buying the best hybrid bike, you should now be armed with the information needed to get the best hybrid bike for you!

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Don't forget that if you buy a hybrid bike from Halfords, we'll happily build it for free and even service it each year to keep you riding safely! With CycleCare, you can build a service plan that suits you and your bike.

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