Hybrid Bikes Buyer’s Guide

Searching for a hybrid bike? You’re in the right place. These awesome all-rounders balance the best bits of a road bike and mountain bike, creating a high-performance bike that’s capable of tackling (almost) anything.

If you’re looking for a capable commuter, tourer and leisure bike that’s happy on the road and off it, then a hybrid could be perfect for you.

In our hybrid bike’s buyers guide, we talk you through what makes a hybrid bike special and walk you through the essential information you’ll need when buying one.

What is a Hybrid Bike?

Hybrid bikes feature all the best bits of a road bike and a mountain bike! Most feature relaxed frame geometry and flat handlebars, which provide a comfortable upright riding position that provides extra visibility, essential for riding through traffic. Add to that a sturdy frame, great selection of gears and performance brakes, and it’s easy to see why hybrids are an ideal bike choice for commuters.

Hybrid bikes can be broken into two categories: urban hybrids and leisure hybrids.

Hybrid bikes are hardwearing and built for miles of enjoyment. Urban hybrids are suitable for city commuting, with an upright riding position, lightweight frames, narrow tyres and a wide selection of gears.

Leisure hybrids, are more laid back, focusing on comfort rather than carrying capacity and speed.

What are the benefits of a Hybrid Bike?

Hybrid bikes offer a single solution for many riders. The upright riding position, sturdy frames and high-quality components make them highly capable commuters. When the working week is done, they’re perfect for leisure riding and even light touring.

There’s a wide range of hybrid bikes available, including hybrids that look more like road bikes and those that resemble mountain bikes. A good way to tell the difference is to check the wheel size and the forks. Hybrids with 700cc wheels and rigid forks are better suited to road riding. Those with 26” or 27.5” wheels and suspension forks can cope with some light off-roading on gravel tracks, bridleways and paths.

Even if you have a mountain bike and a road bike in the garage or shed, the benefits of a hybrid bike are so strong, it may be worth trying to find a little more room to squeeze one in.

Suspension forks v rigid forks

Front suspension is pretty much essential on a mountain bike but optional on a hybrid.

Hybrid forks can be made from metal, alloy or carbon, which offer some dampening from the roads, are reliable and simple. However, there are some hybrids that come with suspension front forks that reduce vibrations from any lumps and bumps in the terrain.

If you’re going to be spending most of your time riding on the roads, go for a rigid fork. If you’re planning on riding more off-road routes (such as towpaths or shared used cycle paths, for example) a suspension fork may be more suitable.

Urban riding v leisure riding

If you’re planning on cutting down on your car use and commuting through city streets, you’ll want a hybrid that’s up to the job. Urban hybrids come with high-quality groupsets (gearing), performance brakes and tough frames that will give years of use.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a leisure bike for short trips or light touring, you’ll want a hybrid that’s built for comfort, not a speedy commute.

Before shopping for a new hybrid bike, consider the type of riding you’ll be doing and where you’ll be doing it. These two choices will help you narrow down your search and enable you to set a realistic budget.

When you’ve made these decisions, here are the essential things you need to know before buying your new bike.

Essential hybrid bike features


Flat handlebars fitted to many hybrids make you ride in a more upright position, delivering a more comfortable ride. A more upright riding position gives you greater visibility of the road, essential when commuting.

Remember that components such as the handlebars, seat, stem and more can all be swapped out simply and quickly. So, if you prefer road bars but your bike of choice doesn’t have them, then you can replace them.

Shop now

Gears and groupset

Unless your commute is pan flat, you’ll find yourself changing gears as you’re riding. You’ll find hybrid bikes with a wide range of gears that are suitable for all types of terrain.

The gears are part of what’s called the groupset, which includes all the essential mechanical parts, including the brakes. Brand names you may come across include Shimano and SRAM.

While you get what you pay for with a groupset, even entry-level hybrid bikes at Halfords come with smooth-running gears that will quietly click into place each and every time. It’s because our bike technicians build and set up every new bike we sell over £250, ensuring they’re ready to ride.

What about electric hybrid bikes? Check out our electric hybrid bike buyer’s guide for a detailed rundown of essential specs.

Shop now


Hybrid bike frames borrow elements from both road and mountain bikes. Hybrid bike frames are often made from hardwearing alloy, aluminium or even mild steel, not the lightweight carbon so popular for road bikes.

Metals and alloys can be more durable but can be heavier so factor this into your decision making.

Hybrid bikes are built for racking up the miles comfortably, not quickly so the frames feature a more relaxed geometry.

Wheels and Tyres

Hybrid bike tyres are often slightly thicker than road bike tyres, and thinner than mountain bike tyres.

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 may wish to opt for a more road-style slick tyre for performance on the flat. Those who do a bit of light off-road riding may want an all-purpose tyre, with thicker tread for extra grip

When shopping, check the minimum and maximum tyre size the rim can cope with. Swapping tyres is a standard upgrade that can transform the riding experience, so save some cash in your bike budget for new tyres if you can.

Shop now


You’ll find a selection of brake types on hybrid bikes, including V-brakes and disc brakes. Which is best? It really depends on your budget.

Disc brakes are increasingly popular, providing superb stopping power with minimal maintenance. There are two types of disc brakes, hydraulic brakes and mechanical brakes. Hydraulic brakes use fluid to transfer stopping power from the lever, mechanical disc brakes use cables. Hydraulic disc brakes feel smoother and more progressive at the lever and on the road.

V-brakes are tried and tested technology that will perform well, but like all brakes, you’ll need to regularly service them to keep them working properly (something we can help with at Halfords!)

The more expensive your bike, the better the brakes with disc brakes appearing as standard on most top-of-the-range hybrids.

Shop now

Panniers and Accessories

If you're going to be using your hybrid for commuting, you’ll want to carry some essentials such as a laptop or a spare set of clothes. Sure, you can sling on a backpack, but a set of panniers make carrying luggage safer and simpler. When selecting a hybrid, check it’s got the mounting points required to fit a pannier rack (or buy a bike with one already in place).

Mudguards stop water, gunk and junk from the road from flying up and hitting you and anyone behind you, so they’re an ideal addon to an urban commuter. Again, you’ll need to buy a hybrid with the fittings in place or buy a bike with mudguards already in place.

Other essential extras include a bottle cage or two, a pump and a lock. Factor these into your decision-making process and ask for help from a Halfords technician if you need it.

Shop now

The best Hybrid Bikes:

Here’s a selection of great bikes for sale at Halfords. Every bike we sell over £250 is built and set-up by our trained technicians, so buy with confidence.


Voodoo Marasa

  • Lightweight alloy frame
  • Dependable Shimano 2x9 Altus gears
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
Shop now

Carrera Crossfire 2

  • Lightweight aluminium frame
  • 24-speed Shimano gears
  • Tektro mechanical disc brakes
  • Aluminium Suntour suspension fork
Shop now

If you're planning on commuting to work on your new hybrid bike, then Carrera hybrid bikes should be at the top of your list. Designed to offer the best of both worlds while remaining lightweight and efficient, Carrera hybrids are great value for money, ensuring you get a great quality hybrid bike without breaking the bank. 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
Shop now

Boardman bikes are the best of the best, with their range of hybrids tipping more towards road bikes than off-roaders. Using the innovations from their incredible road machines, Boardman hybrids feature lightweight frames, comfortable handlebars and quality hardware.

Pendleton Somerby

  • Alloy step-through frame
  • 7 speed shimano Acera gears
  • Alloy V-brakes
Shop now

Pendleton hybrid bikes match city-centre style with exceptional performance, all at an amazing price. These classic bikes have all been given 21st-century updates, including performance brakes and gear sets, as well as suspension seats. There’s plenty of space for panniers, mudguards or baskets, some of which are included as standard. It’s no surprise that the Pendleton Somerby is one of our best sellers.

Which size bike do I need?

Riding the right sized bike ensures you’ll be comfortable and safe while cycling. Before you start shopping, check out our online size guide. All you'll need is your height and we'll be able to give you an instant estimate on the frame size that's right for you.

This should provide a basic breakdown of suitable frame sizes, but for the best results, drop in to your local Halfords where a technician can help you find a bike that fits.

Want to know more about sizing take a look at our helpful guide here.

What if I’m in-between frame sizes?

You might find that you’re offered two different frame sizes when using our online calculator or size guide. Don’t worry, it’s pretty normal and simply means you’re between sizes, and both the larger and smaller frames could be suitable.

So how do you narrow it down to find the best sized frame for you? Well, the key measurement is ‘reach’. This is basically how long the bike feels when you’re in the riding position. Your reach is influenced by your upper body length (also known as your ‘trunk length or sitting height).

If your trunk length is longer than average, then we’d recommend the larger of the two sizes that you’ve been given. If your trunk length is shorter than average, then go for the smaller of the two sizes instead.

If you’re still unsure what size bike frame is right for you, or need a helping hand, then nothing beats actually trying the bike out in person. Simply pop into your local Halfords store and we’ll be happy to help find you the right size bike for your next journey!

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 will provide pedal assistance when in a selected mode. You can use them for the whole of your ride or flick it on when you're cycling uphill or want to go faster.

The motor in an e-bike won't propel you along without pedalling, but it will provide a power boost to make things easier when you're working hard. It’s great if you don't fancy turning up to the office soaked in sweat!

You can learn more about e-bikes in our electric hybrid bike’s buyer’s guide, including how you can arrange a no-obligation test ride!

What's the difference between hybrid and electric bikes?

A hybrid bike describes a specific type of bike that is a mixture of the best parts of a road bike and a mountain bike. Electric bikes are fitted with batteries that the rider can switch on when needed to add some extra power to a pedal stroke. However, to comply with UK law they can only offer pedal assistance.

You can buy mechanical hybrid bikes and electric hybrid bikes.

Ready to shop for a hybrid bike?

A hybrid bike describes a specific type of bike that is a mixture of the best parts of a road bike and a mountain bike. Electric bikes are fitted with batteries that the rider can switch on when needed to add some extra power to a pedal stroke. However, to comply with UK law they can only offer pedal assistance.

Shop Hybrid Bikes

Don’t forget that all bikes bought from Halfords worth £350 and over get a full bike build and safety check completely free of charge. For any bike under £350, one of our expert technicians will fully build and safety check the bike for only £10!

CycleCare Services