What to Look for Before Getting a Hybrid Bike?

A hybrid bike is an everyday bicycle that performs exceptionally on different terrains. Its all-purpose nature makes it incredibly popular among commuters.

It allows users to ride in an upright position, and their large wheels combined with low-resistance tires guarantee efficient rides.

Hybrid bikes are incredibly versatile and their utilitarian nature means they can accept all kinds of accessories i.e. a child seat, rack fenders, bike stand and more.

Due to the number of varieties of hybrids bikes, choosing the right one can prove an overwhelming.

This post breaks down important features to look for when shopping for a hybrid bike.

Hybrid bike varieties

There are different kinds of hybrid bikes to choose from. These include:

  • Sports hybrids: Built for optimal performance, these are the most popular variety of hybrid bikes. They offer a great balance of efficiency and comfort, allowing you to climb uphill and downhill with ease. Some models have narrower tires and lighter frame for fast riding. They are a good choice for someone who wants to commute to work, become more fit and cycle leisurely.
  • Cruiser bikes: This is a city hybrid bike designed for style and fun. The parts are simple yet reliable. Highlights include bigger tires, high handlebars, and comfortable saddles. If performance is not a priority for you, a cruiser bike will come handy for riding short distances.
  • Urban hybrids: These have a simpler design and are built for commuting on urban roads. Some come with standard fenders, baskets and racks. They are a good choice if you want reliable performance while commuting in the city.
  • Comfort bikes: They have wide tires, comfortable saddle, and high handlebars, making them a perfect choice for recreational riders. Manufacturers often use front suspension and suspension seatpost to filter vibrations on the road and ensure optimal comfort.
  • Dual sport: This is a great hybrid bike for riders looking for more of the mountain bike feel. Highlights include disc brakes and front suspension. It is ideal for riding in paved roads and off-road trails.


Bicycles come in a variety of gears ranging from 1 to 10+. And with the endless combinations of cogs, chain rings and number of teeth, things can prove quite complicated.

The most important things to consider when deciding on number of gears are terrain and level of fitness. If you’ll climbing hills on rough terrains, more gears will come handy.

Fewer gears will keep your bike light when riding on flat terrain and paved roads.

You can also opt for single speed hybrids with a freewheel mechanism that allows you to coast just like you would with a multiple-gear standard bike.

Brake type

Hybrid bikes come with either rim or disc brakes. Rim brakes feature pads that grip onto wheel rims. They are affordable and easy to maintain. All you have to do is replace the brake pads regularly. On the downside, rim brakes don’t perform very well in rough and muddy conditions. They also have less stopping power and need more finger effort.

Disc brakes have brake pads that grip onto a rotor located on the wheel hub. Hydraulic disc brakes self-adjust to minimize brake pad wear, are strong and require less finger effort. They also offer stronger braking. Mechanical disc brakes require manual adjusting when the brake pads wear. Disc brakes are generally more consistent and reliable in steep or wet conditions. Unfortunately, inspecting the brake pads for wear and replacing them is not is not easy. Servicing hydraulic brakes is pricy.


Another important factor to consider when shopping for a hybrid bike is the level of the seat relative to the handlebars. A seat that is further below the handlebars is more comfortable to ride, and most hybrids are built this way. Seats higher than the handlebars allow for faster speeds, but aren’t as comfortable.

In regards to the shape of the handlebars, there are four main options at your disposal. Drop handlebars are lightweight and allow you to ride in an aerodynamic position, hence a great choice for speed. Their hunched riding position strains the back and the rider tires easily.

Riser handlebars are popular on hybrids, are heavier than drop bars and offer a more comfortable riding position. The upright sitting position gives you a clear vision of the road ahead and makes it easier to steer.

Flat handlebars are heavier than drop bars and offer a more relaxed riding position. And while their upright position makes it easy to steer, it also puts more strain on the hands and wrists.

Moustache bars are incredibly similar to drop-bar handlebars, with the exception being a little drop. They allow for an increased variety of upright positions.

Wheel size

The standard wheel size for hybrid bikes is 700cc. Some models come with the smaller but still efficient 26” wheels. The wheel size of a hybrid shouldn’t concern you much. It’s best to focus on other features like suspension, gears, brakes and fit.

Bike suspension

Most hybrid bikes simply don’t have suspension. This is because it makes the bike heavier and pedaling less efficient. Some hybrids, particularly urban bikes, have front suspension forks. These help absorb shock on the front wheels, thus smoother rides on rough roads.

Frame materials

Most hybrid bikes are made from aluminum because it is light, strong and durable. Steel and carbon fiber are also common options.

While heavier than aluminum, steel offers more strength and flex for increased comfort. Carbon fiber is used for the more expensive models and understandably so. It is stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum.

Some manufacturers offer bikes made from a combination of carbon fiber and steel or aluminum in an effort to bring down the price. Unless you are going for the top of the range, we recommend an aluminum hybrid. It offers a great balance between features and price.


The most important thing to consider when choosing a hybrid bike is the right fit. Hybrids come in a variety of frame sizes, and manufacturers often provide size charts. This is a good starting point when determining the appropriate size. If possible, take your bike for a test ride before making a final decision on whether to purchase.

The Verdict

A hybrid bike is a good choice if you’re looking for an everyday bike that performs well on all types of terrains. The bike is also highly versatile and its utilitarian nature allows you to attach to it all your preferred bike accessories.

However, the many hybrid bike variables on the market today can make it hard for you to choose an ideal bike for you.

In this post, we’ve just outlined the key features to help you easily pick the ideal hybrid bike for your everyday cycling needs. These include the type of hybrid bike, the type of brakes it comes with, gear, handlebars, wheel types, bike suspension, and the bike size.

Above all, you should look at the quality of material used to make the bike to ensure it stands the test of time.