SEARCHING for the best hybrid bike for you? The style of bike is a great choice for beginners and experienced riders alike, and it’s no wonder it’s the most popular type of bike in the UK.
Fortunately, we’ve put together a list of the best five bikes on the market in 2020 that should suit any budget.
What is a hybrid bike?
Sitting somewhere between road and mountain bikes, hybrids offer the best of both worlds and are perfect for a range of activities – from the daily grind of commuting in a city to a leisurely ride in the countryside at the weekend.
It’s possible to pick one up for as little as £100, and if you’ve ever bought a bike from a run-of-the-mill cycling shop, it was most probably a hybrid.
The telltale signs of a hybrid bike are an upright riding position, flat handlebars and the same-sized wheels (700c) you’d generally find on a road bike.
All of this contributes to overall comfort and a bike's ability to juggle a variety of cycling styles.
What are hybrid bikes good for?
Hybrid bikes are something of a do-it-all bike. Their comfortable, upright riding positioning make them a great choice for road riding – be it short, A-to-B trips and commuting or longer days in the saddle.
But unlike a road bike, which can struggle on rough terrain due to thin, unforgiving tyres, a hybrid bike will also be able to handle the lighter side of off-road riding, such as towpaths, canalside walkways and the gravel tracks found in most UK national parks, forests and green spaces.
How do I choose a hybrid bike?
Picking the best hybrid bike for you will predominantly depend on your budget – hybrid bikes’ can range from £100 to £1,000-plus – but it’s also worth considering the type of riding you plan on doing too.
If it’s going to be used solely for commuting or touring, it is worth looking out for hybrid bikes with pre-installed luggage racks to secure pannier bags to or, failing that, mounting points on the frame for you to attach one to.
While if you plan on exploring the numerous networks of towpaths and gravel tracks in your local area, your checklist should include wide, off-road-style tyres and potentially even front suspension.
Not sure where to start in your search for the best hybrid bike? Below is a selection of the five best ones you can buy in 2020, from perfect entry-level choices to serious investments.
1. Carrera Crossfire 2
- Carrera Crossfire 2, Mens Hybrid Bike – £300 from Halfords – buy here
If you want a bike that can get you from A to B, but also handle some off-road trails (or some big potholes) along the way, then the Crossfire 2 from the Halfords-exclusive brand Carrera might be the one for you.
The design of the bike is similar to that of a mountain bike thanks to front suspension forks, while disc brakes will guarantee great braking, even in wet weather conditions.
Its lightweight aluminium frame and wide ranging gears should keep you out of trouble, even when the gradient starts creeping up. There’s also a women’s specific version too.
2. Specialized Sirrus 1.0
- Specialized Sirrus 1.0, Hybrid Sports Bike – £450 at Evans Cycles – buy here
The American manufacturer’s hybrid model ranges from £450 to £1,300, but the entry-level build is perfect if you're looking for a durable bike to get around town on.
Its aluminium frame gives the bike a lightweight core, while steel forks provide a sturdy ride, even on the toughest of terrains.
Mudguard and luggage rack mounts are also included, making it a bike for all seasons and a perfect commuting bike.
Available in an eye-catching purple, racing green or stealthy black, the Sirrus will certainly turn heads on roads and cycle paths.
3. Giant Escape 2 Disc City
- Giant Escape 2 City Disc 2020, Hybrid Sports Bike – £524.99 from Rutland Cycling – buy here
At £525, the Escape 2 Disc City is where things start to become serious investments this list. But the Taiwanese brand’s workhorse will pay for itself in no time at all.
The lightweight-yet-stable aluminium build makes it a versatile bike whether you’re tackling the city streets or countryside bike paths, and the inclusion of disc brakes is a real plus.
The bike also comes pre-fitted with mudguards and a rear luggage rack, meaning it’s ready to go as soon as you take it out of the box for any challenge, whatever the weather.
4. B’Twin Triban RC500 flat bar disc road bike
- B’Twin Triban RC500, £549.99 from Decathlon – buy here
Decathlon’s in-house bike brand is renowned for offering high quality builds at a low price point, and its hybrid range is no different.
One of the more racier designs on this list, the Triban 520 is a road bike at heart, but has had some flat handlebars, an ergonomic saddle and wider tyres installed to boost comfort.
It also has mounts on the frame for mudguard and pannier racks, while inserts on its lightweight carbon fork blades allow you to carry luggage at the front of the bike too.
A lifetime warranty on the frame comes as standard, while the inclusion of Shimano Sora second-tier components mean you’re getting a lot of bike for your money.
5. Canyon Pathlite AL 6.0
- Pathlite AL 6.0, £949 from Canyon.com – buy here
The German direct-to-consumer brand introduced its ‘fitness’ Roadlite and Pathlite ranges in 2019, and this year’s releases have taken things up a gear.
The Pathlite platform is aimed at those who like the option to take things off-road, with shock-absorbing front suspension, responsive disc brakes and wide, grippy tyres included throughout the range.
The Pathlite AL 6.0 sits in the middle of the pack. The comfortable, lightweight aluminium frame benefits from a sprinkling of high-specification Shimano Deore XT components, a wide-ranging 24-speed gearing and Suntour’s NRX-D fork with 75mm of travel – all without breaking the £1,000 barrier.
What’s more, the bike also comes in a female-specific build – the Pathlite AL 6.0 WMN – which sees a lowering and shortening of the crossbar (making it easier to get on and off and designed to better match the proportions of the female body) and an availability in smaller sizes.
What's the difference between a hybrid and a mountain bike?
There are a couple of main differences between a hybrid bike and a mountain bike.
Firstly, not all hybrid bikes (particularly cheaper ones) will include suspension, while all new mountain bikes will either include front or full (front and rear) suspension).
And when it comes to tyres, those on a hybrid bike generally sit somewhere between those found on a road bike and those found on a mountain bike (between 28c-40c), while they will tend to be a bit smoother than the chunky, tractor tread-style found on off-road only bikes. This helps minimise rolling resistance when ridden on the road.
Are hybrid bikes faster than mountain bikes?
When ridden on the road, a hybrid bike will almost definitely be faster than a mountain bike. The smoother tyres will offer up less drag on tarmac, while a slightly more road-focused positioning makes it easier to go quicker than on a mountain bike.
The tables turn though if attempting to ride down extremely rough, technical off-road trails, where a mountain bike is your best bet…
Enjoyed our roundup of the best hybrid bikes? Then you might enjoy our selection of the best road bikes that money can buy.
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For more active recommendations, check out our dedicated health and fitness section.
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