Best Hybrid Bikes
Almost as fast as a road bike and almost as comfortable and versatile as a mountain bike, a hybrid bicycle offers riders a happy medium between the two.
Leitner Venice · includes 2 listings
With a high range, durable design, and exceptional safety features under its belt, the Leitner Venice lets you tackle roads, paths, and hills with the utmost ease.
Price (RRP) $1,295.00 to $1,545.00
Durable and high-performing
Easily climbs hills
- Wheel Size26"
Features like hydraulic disc brakes, a durable aluminium frame, and a full carbon tapered fork make the Merida Speeder 400 a streamlined, easy to maintain bike that’s well-equipped to tackle a variety of terrains.
Latest review: Fell in love with it from my first test ride! Shows importance for shops to offer test rides.. Pricier than what I intended for my budget for a practical commuter bike. But well worth it! Smooth ride
What is a hybrid bike?
A hybrid bike is something in between a road bike and a mountain bike, utilising features of both to make it be able to tackle all kinds of terrain while being comfortable to ride. These bikes are mainly designed for recreational use and commuting.
You can expect a hybrid bike to:
- have wider tyres than road bikes but narrower tyres than mountain bikes.
- usually have flat handlebars to allow the rider to be in a more upright riding position.
- have disc brakes to provide better stopping power in wet weather, although rim brakes are also found in hybrid bikes.
- have eyelets (if you’re looking for a hybrid commuter bike) to attach pannier racks and mudguards to your bicycle.
It’s a broad category and the term ‘hybrid bike’ can be used rather loosely, as different styles offer different levels of performance and quality depending on what they’re designed for.
- Works as an all-purpose bike, letting you go long distances.
- Suited to a variety of terrain, including dirt trails, pavement, and gravel, making it work as an all-purpose bike.
- Durable, making hybrid bikes good for long distance rides.
- Typically more affordable than both road and mountain bikes.
- Comfortable, thanks to an upright riding position which takes tension out of the neck, shoulders, and back.
- Heavier and not as fast as a road bike.
- Can’t tackle larger obstacles and debris as well as a mountain bike can, making it unsuitable for particularly rough terrain.
Factors to consider when choosing a hybrid bike
The desired material of your bike frame will largely depend on your purposes for your bike, as each material has advantages and drawbacks.
- Aluminium: Aluminium is strong, lightweight, and affordable, which is why it’s commonly found in hybrid bikes, particularly those designed for city riding.
- Carbon fibre: Carbon fibre is durable and lighter than aluminium, but it’s more expensive than both aluminium and steel, making it more prevalent in higher-end bikes.
- Steel: Steel is heavier than aluminium and can rust easily, but is durable and absorbs bumps, making it comfortable to ride.
Hybrid bikes most often have 700c wheels with narrower tyres - this larger wheel helps the bike smoothly roll over bumps and obstacles on the road or trail, letting the rider maintain high speeds on different surfaces.
Some hybrid mountain bikes have smaller wheels which make for a stronger, more lightweight, and easy to manoeuvre bike.
For city commutes, you can avoid more pronounced, knobbly tyres - those are meant for more off-road biking. Urban bikes have smoother tyres with a lighter tread, and are slightly wider than those found on road bikes. You should also look for puncture-resistant tyres to reduce your risk of getting a flat on your way to work.
Commuter bikes usually use tyres in the size range of 700x28 to 700x42 - the first number is the tyre’s diameter while the second is the tyre width in millimeters. Think about the terrain you’re tackling and how comfortable you want to be while you ride - wider tyres generally have more traction and shock absorption.
Many hybrid bikes don’t have any suspension, as they add weight to the vehicle and can make it more difficult to pedal - if you’ll mostly be riding on pavement and smooth surfaces, then you may not need it.
There are however some hybrid bikes with front suspension forks that can help absorb impact on the road, making it more comfortable to ride over bumps and small obstacles on rougher terrain.
What kind of gearing you need depends on what you’re using your bike for. Most hybrid bikes have either double or triple chainrings - the former is useful for quick changes across gears, such as when you want to drop to a low gear to ride up a hill. Double cranksets are generally suited to those tackling different terrains and who do faster endurance riding.
Triple chainrings offer up a range of gears, particularly lower gears, which can be handy for riders commuting over mixed terrain, touring, and climbing hills - particularly if you’re carrying a heavy load.
If you want some extra assistance with commuting or cruising along, then you might want to consider getting an electric hybrid bike. These also have various levels of pedal assist so you can speed along with less effort.
If you’re riding through the city, you’ll need to be able to stop abruptly in traffic, which is why finding a bike with effective and reliable brakes is so important.
The main two options are rim brakes and disc brakes, and although disc brakes are recommended, sometimes high-quality rim brakes perform just as well as lower-end disc brakes.
Rim brakes are lighter, cheaper, and more aerodynamic than disc brakes, and are easier to repair and maintain, however their stopping power isn’t as effective as that of disc brakes.
Disc brakes offer more precise control over braking, better speed modulation, and are reliable in wet weather. They’re heavier than rim brakes, however this gap is fast closing with disc technology developments.
You can choose between 2 types of disc brakes, hydraulic disc brakes and mechanical disc brakes. Hydraulics offer up stronger braking with less pressure applied at the brake lever, but are more pricey than their mechanical counterparts.
All riders should have a well-fitting, ventilated, comfortable helmet that abides by Australian safety standards. It’s generally recommended to spend at least 10% of the cost of your bike on a high-quality helmet.
In addition to bike must-haves (lights, a lock, a bell, and a pump), a commuter might also benefit from the following extras.
- Pannier rack: A pannier rack can be attached to the front or rear of your bike for extra storage. They’re handy if you don’t want to wear a backpack or have a lot of gear to transport.
- Mudguard: When riding in the rain or when there’s water on the road, a mudguard helps keep mud and water from splashing up into your chain and gears, as well as yourself. This makes for a comfortable ride, and keeps all your bike parts cleaner.
- Kickstand: A kickstand allows your bike to be kept upright without leaning against a wall or someone holding it - it’s a piece of metal that can be kicked down from the frame to prop up the bike.
Hybrid bikes can range anywhere from around $250 to $6000 and upwards, although you can get decent quality bikes starting from around $500. You should generally expect to fork out more when you go for features like an aluminium or carbon fibre frame, disc brakes, and suspension.
The bottom line
You don’t really need to worry about getting a dedicated womens hybrid bike or mens hybrid bike - go to a specialty bike store for a bike fit service, and if possible, take a few bikes out for a test ride to see what feels good for you. This will help ensure you go home with a bike that suits your needs and will last you years to come.