Not long ago, hybrid bikes were largely defined as a mix between a road and mountain bikes; machines with flat handlebars, user-friendly gears and brakes, larger/faster wheels and the lighter, close-coupled frames of road bikes.
Today a hybrid is quite likely to include elements that used to belong to "city bikes" or even to cruisers - think fatter tires, many tread variations, a more upright riding position, fenders, racks, lights, even kickstands.
"Commuter" is probably the most common element in all hybrid bike DNA, but the emphasis on the other elements can vary quite widely.
- Do you want a commuter/mountain bike?
- A commuter/road bike?
- A commuter/mountain and road?
- A commuter bike with just a little off-road capability?
Because hybrids are all about compromises, the challenge is to find the mix of bike DNA that best suits the kind of riding you do most often.
This will almost certainly be commuting with a fair bit of leisure riding on off-road terrain that is not too challenging.
And because it's increasingly difficult to find a single bike that can truthfully be called the "best hybrid bike", here's a list of hybrids each of which offers a slightly different emphasis in style and suggested use.
Tommaso bikes have an excellent reputation, and we think the La Forma is the best value hybrid bike under $1000. In fact, it's priced well under that mark but offers build quality that you would expect to find in machines costing twice as much.
It is an excellent commuter bike but is quite at home in serious off-road terrain.
It is a genuine lightweight hybrid bike that weighs in at just 25 lbs., thanks to Its 6061 alloy aluminium frame and equally lightweight High-modulus Carbon fiber fork , which does a good job of absorbing road shock.
The drivetrain is a complete Shimano Acera system - shifters, crankset, derailleurs and cassette, giving 27 gears (3x9). Owners have only praise for the smooth-shifting gears.
The double-walled wheels (significantly stronger than single-walled) have Migda alloy rims and are fitted with 700c x 35c Kenda K-189 tires with PRC anti-puncture and K-Shield.
Tommaso La Forma - Best Value Hybrid
Assembly can be a problem and professional assembly is strongly recommended unless you are an experienced bike assembler - or have a friend who is. The frame is fitted with prepared attachment points for accessories.
Smooth-shifting gears come in for a lot of praise from owners.
If you live or ride in a hilly area and need a reliable commuter bike with a wide range of gears, the Tommaso La Forma is worth really serious consideration.
The Invincible Fortified 8 Speed is the most city-oriented of the machines reviewed here. The "hybrid" part comes in its 8-speed Shimano geartrain; users report it is perfect for hilly cities!
Naturally, a major selling point for this bike is its anti-theft design, but there are many other benefits to consider.
To protect the bike and components, Fortified has designed in special anti-theft bolts to protect the seat, handlebars, water bottle holder and the stem.
Wheels are protected by what Invincible calls Delta Fort Knox locking hub nuts.
The downside of this protection, however, that you need a special tool to remove the front wheel.
The frame is rust-resistant lightweight 6061 aluminium, while
Invincible Fortified 8-speed Hybrid
Brakes are Tektro disc front and back, while the tires are 700c x 32 mm puncture-resistant units.
Overall weight of the bike is 26 lbs. (substantially less than typical steel-framed city bikes), and maximum carrying weight limit is 270 lbs.
The waterproof saddle will be a boon for anyone who has to leave the bike outdoors during bad weather.
The frame is available in three sizes: Small (5’ 2“-5’ 6“), Medium (5’ 7"-5’ 1“) and Large (6’ 0“-6’ 4“).
The bike is delivered 80% assembled, and Fortified suggests that you should have no problem putting it together with the help of their good instruction manual. Alternatively, of course, you can order Amazon bike assembly.
Online, Fortified has a large number of very high ratings from verified buyers, who also love the customer service.
A final option to consider is to buy Fortified’s Purchase Theft Protection. Essentially, the company is so confident about the strength of its anti-theft system it will replace free of charge a stolen bike or any stolen components.
(If you're thinking of a machine with a little more road racing in its heritage, take a look at the Raleigh Cadent 3 (below).)
If you're looking for a hybrid with a lot more road bike in its DNA, the Raleigh Cadent 3 (part of the Raleigh Urban Fitness range) fits the bill perfectly, with its quality components that will quickly get you up to speed and flat handlebars that give you an upright riding position you'll be able to hold all day.
Priced at the upper end of the city bike price range, it will handle your commute with ease but also has the potential to allow you a good fitness workout.
The Shimano geartrain (Acera and Claris) offers 27 gears (3x9) to help you get up to speed - or get up the hills.
Wheel rims are double wall
Raleigh Cadent 3 Hybrid
for added strength, tires are Kenda KwickTendril 700 x 35c, both wheels are fitted with quick release and hydraulic disc brakes. While the tire is wider than the standard road bike, the tread is optimized for smooth surfaces rather than off-road trails.
The frame is butted 6061 aluminium tubing that together with the carbon fork keeps the overall weight down to 26 lbs.
The frame is also fitted with rack and fender mounts.
(If you'd prefer something more trail oriented, take another look at the value offered by the Tommaso La Forma.)
This is an extremely interesting and adaptable bike, make by a company whose major focus is cruiser bikes.
The EVRYjourney is available in four different gear and component configurations. The one reviewed here is the 21-speed option (obviously the most expensive), but it is also available as single speed, 3-speed and 7-speed.
Part city bike and part cruiser, it is available in only one frame size, but the clever foot-forward design is such that the bike will fit most people .
Its aluminium frame and substantial redesign make it much lighter than the traditional cruiser.
Because the EVRYjourney has a low center of gravity, the bike is easy to mount and dismount, keeps the rider's
Sixthreezero EVRYjourney 21-speed hybrid
back upright, maintains proper leg extension and reduces fatigue. It's designed to allow riders of anyheight between 5' 4" and 6' 4" to pedal comfortably but still put both feet flat on the ground when the bike is stopped. The low top tube helps to make handling extremely easy.
The two-inch tires allow the EVRYjourney hybrid to handle commuting and lightweight off-road and trail riding, while the Shimano Tourney derailleur and friction shifters will help you handle steep hills without too much effort.
There's a front V-Brake, and rear coaster brake.
Fenders are built in, and there is an optional basket available.
Given its beach cruiser ancestry, it is no surprise to find an emphasis on stylish color schemes and also comfort in the form of a foam-filled, extra-wide saddle.
The maximum carrying weight is 300 lbs.
There are an amazing number of very positive reviews of this bike online - and very few negative ones.
However, some buyers report that assembly can be a problem, and the assembly instructions are problematical, so it might be wise to either opt for full assembly when ordering, or get your local bike shop to do the job for you.
You can find more information to help you choose the right machine in this guide to the Best Hybrid Bikes