Hybrid Bike Guide

Words by Mark

udpated on 25/03/22


What is a Hybrid bike?

Hybrid bikes combine the fast rolling 700C wheels of road bikes with the handling qualities of a mountain bike. They are a great option for a multi-purpose bicycle, allowing for easy commuting or fitness training and the potential to explore some light trails like bridleways and byways.

Hybrid bikes are often built with frame details that allow for carrying luggage and fitting mudguards, so they are perfect for short journeys that don't require much specialist cycling equipment.


Are there different types of Hybrid bike?

Although many hybrid bikes have more in common with each other than the variations between other bicycle categories, they can be split into two main groups.

'Traditional' Bikes

These bikes have traditionally styled frames that are instantly recognisable, sometimes including a step-through top tube for easy mounting. Rider position is nice and upright and these bikes are great for short trips and urban commuting. However, they don't offer the handling and speed that some other hybrid bikes can.

Sport and Leisure Bikes

Sport and leisure hybrid bikes are very similar to flat-bar road bikes, with a few details setting them apart; many have wider tyres and some will include mountain bike inspired suspension elements for riding on rougher ground. Rider position, while still being more upright than a road bike, is sportier and less upright than a traditional hybrid bike, so you can travel faster. These bikes provide nippier handling and greater rollover speed than traditionally styled bikes, so make good options for those looking to build fitness or get to work as efficiently as possible.

Electric Hybrid Bikes

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Hybrid electric-bikes, sometimes called are just like standard hybrid bikes. They're suitable for riding on the roads, and can also cope with off-road use, such as canal paths and bridleways. Some have a front fork with a little suspension to absorb the bump when riding over rough ground, and others have a rigid fork. Some models come fully equipped with mudguards, pannier racks and even in-built lights and a lock. Your position on the bike can range from very upright, to a sportier position, depending on your comfort and preference.

What type of Hybrid bike should I buy?

Short trips and urban riding

If you want to cycle like the Dutch - short, urban trips that don't require any cycling clothing or extra equipment - traditionally designed bikes are ideal. They provide great visibility for the rider with an upright position and are very reliable. Many will have hub-gears to reduce maintenance, but don't expect to pick up much speed (although that's not what these bikes are built for).

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Mixed terrain and multi-purpose riding

If you're looking for a bike that will commute, tackle light trails and perhaps help to improve your fitness, more performance-oriented sporty hybrid with some front suspension would be perfect. Most hybrids of this type will include some mudguard eyelets and rack mounts, so carrying extra luggage is no problem either.

Longer commutes, road riding and fitness

Hybrid bikes that blur into the flat-bar road bike category are one of the quickest ways from reaching A to B in comfort and confidence. Many will have similar design elements to road bikes like speed-focused gearing and narrower tyres, but still offer the versatility of the hybrid category. High-end options may use disc brakes and use frame materials like carbon fibre for nimble handling and weight reduction.


What should I look for when buying a Hybrid bike?


Similar to other categories of bicycle, the most popular frame material for hybrid bikes is aluminium as it provides a balance between strength, lightness and value. Some more traditional styles of hybrid may use steel frames, especially if they are high-end handmade bikes. Premium carbon fibre framed hybrid bikes are also available, offering greater comfort, better handling and are also more lightweight than their aluminium counterparts - albeit at a higher price point.

Gears and Drivetrain

Hybrid bike gearing tends to focus on usability and longevity. For example, bikes focused on urban riding and short journeys may use hub gears or even be single-speed to reduce maintenance. For hybrid bikes that have a wider range of purposes, mountain bike gearing is popular and a wide range of ratios that allows for comfortable climbing is common. However, due to the extra moving parts and cables, a little more maintenance may be required.


Bikes focussed on leisure riding tend to use V-brakes, which are a reliable, tried and tested option in the cycling industry. However, for more advanced models and hybrid bikes that are focused on road riding, disc brakes may be used. They perform better in wet conditions and are self adjusting when the brake pads begin to wear.


Wheels and Tyres

Most hybrid bikes will use the same 700C wheels found on road bikes. The difference, however, is the tyres used. Due to the mixed terrain hybrids may be exposed to, wider tyres offer better grip on loose trails and provide extra comfort when speed is not a priority. High-end models that focus on quick, urban riding may use narrow tyres to reduce rolling resistance. Of course, you can change your bike tyre to match different types of terrain or weather conditions. For example, many commuters use a set of �winter tyres� through the colder months, which offer extra grip and durability.

Versatility and Details

If you want to use your hybrid for a variety of reasons and destinations, it is important to consider the details. For example, you might want to ride to work regardless of the weather, so mudguards are useful for keeping dry. Alternatively, you may want to load up some panniers with your weekly grocery shop. Look for details like rack bosses and mudguard mounts which give some flexibility to your riding style.

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Find your nearest Rutland Cycling store

You can browse the entire Hybrid Bike range online, or you can get your hands on it in your nearest Rutland Cycling store.