The following article presents information about the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid bikes and gives advice on how to choose a proper hybrid bike considering individual riding needs.
People believe that a “hybrid bike” is perfect for commuting, road biking and even off-road rides. However, if we look at cycling sports events or tourism, we will see a different picture – hybrid bikes are rarely used in these fields, because they seem to be universal and suitable for nothing at the same time.
For example, let us look at a multi-tool. It has a variety of features: it can be lightweight, it can be compact, but the truth is that competitive mechanics do not use multi-tools for their daily job. The reason they do not use them is that targeted tools are more comfortable than multi-tools when solving specific tasks. The same concerns hybrid bikes.
Default Hybrid Bike Specifications
A hybrid bike usually has narrower tires than a mountain bike. Perhaps, riders might think they will ride faster and easier on roads. That is a contentious issue. Hybrid bike’s geometry is designed to keep riders sitting position quite upright. Such a position is more comfortable but it causes a significant wind resistance when riding faster than 20 km/h. Moreover, hybrid bikes are heavier. Usually their weight is 13 – 15 kg, and this is a big disadvantage, because heavy weight reduces speed and provides no maneuverability.
If you are planning to ride fast, it is better to choose a light and aerodynamic bike. The examples of such bikes are “cyclocross” or “gravel” type bikes. The following types of bikes have drop bars, which help to fight the wind resistance. Besides, these bikes possess perfect aerodynamic qualities and wide tires providing comfortable riding.
Hybrid Bike Geometry
Hybrid bike’s geometry provides upright riding position supporting a rider’s seating to get a greater pressure. This would cause pain in the seating area when riding on uneven surfaces. On the contrary, mountain bikes have a longer distance between the steering wheel and the seat making a rider to lean towards handlebars. In this way, the rider’s weight is distributed more evenly between arms and seat. Such position is believed to be healthier because rider’s arms can self-absorb better than seat or backbone. Also, when the weight is distributed evenly, handling is more accurate because of grip that front wheel gets.
Touring With Hybrid Bikes
Talking about touring, when there is no need to go very fast or conquer technical off-road sections, choosing the hybrid bike might be a good decision. Also, why not to choose a road bike? Road bikes are faster, their geometry is similar to mountain bikes, and they have drop bars providing possibilities to change a seat on several positions when riding for long distances.
Is a Hybrid Bike Actually Better Than Any Other Bicycle Type?
In our opinion, hybrid bikes are better than town commuters only. Hybrid bike’s playground is the city. Often cities do not have very good infrastructure and leveled pavements. Hybrids will definitely handle such surfaces better. Because of upright position, it is comfortable for a person to get/ to ride to job or a mall. Moreover, upright position provides a wider vision field. One more advantage of the hybrid bike is possibility to fit mudguards and a rack on the bike.
In conclusion, we recommend considering certain points before buying a hybrid bike, including the type of pavement you will be riding more often, the distances you will be facing, the speed you would like to ride and the sitting position you prefer most. If you decide to buy a hybrid one bike, consider its weight, because hybrids’ weight is 9 – 16 kg, that makes really a great sense. As a rule, lighter bicycles have better components made of better materials. And lighter bikes are always better! Riding lighter bikes will bring you more comfort and pleasure.