The bicycle has been a renowned commuter tool for ages. The ability to transport yourself down the side of a mountain, over dirt and hills, or ride through stuffy city streets makes the bicycle a legendary vehicle in the world of navigation and travel. There are different types of bikes that exist for different purposes, and usually, their build isn’t equipped to be utilized for other forms of riding.
There are two major types of bicycles that exist: mountain bikes and road bikes.
A mountain bike is meant for off-roading and usually consists of thick tires, multiple gears, powerful brakes, front or full suspension, and a light frame but they tend to be heavy do to their components. Mountain bikes are perfect for riding on rough terrain and are built to be durable.
Road bikes are uniquely different from mountain bikes. Their purpose is to be used on smooth, paved ground. Many people use road bikes for racing. Most newer frames are made from carbon fiber and they tend to be lightweight and are built for speed and ease of navigation control. Their frames are much thinner and have no suspension with thin tires that sport very few spokes. This horizontal riding posture makes these bicycles aerodynamic but road bikes don’t have as many gears as mountain bikes, making them harder to use on steep hills and on unpaved roads.
The newest development in bicycle builds are hybrid bikes, and they are taking over the cyclist scene. They are a combination of mountain bikes, road bikes, and have some features of touring bikes making them versatile riding tools for any cyclist. In essence, a hybrid bike is a multipurpose bike, it can be used on different terrain and can handle different uses. Its adaptability makes it a great selection for anyone from the rookie cyclists or avid mountain rider to the daily bike messenger.
What makes hybrid bikes so appealing is their combination of features. The handlebars are usually flat and straight like that of mountain bikes. They are designed to have the same upright seating as mountain bikes also, allowing for the rider to have straighter posture.
Hybrid bikes are made with a thinner frame and light materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber which makes these bikes similar to a road bike. The wheels are usually the same as road bikes, usually about 700cc. Occasionally they will have slightly thicker mountain bike wheels at 26 inches, but they don’t operate as ruggedly as they do on mountain bike frames. These wheels make riding off-road easier than a road bike, but make city riding easier than a heavy mountain bike.
The brakes you’d see on a hybrid bike are also similar to a mountain bike, using the traditional disk brake or V-brake. The speed controls are located near the handlebars, usually containing between eight and eleven gear switches for multifunctional riding.
Hybrid bikes are perfect for city commuters. These bikes are built for tough terrain, making them excellent for streets that are in need of repair or are having work done to them. They’re also excellent recreational sports bikes and are useful for off-road riding.
Hybrid bikes are an excellent choice for someone who is torn between the different kinds of bikes available. These bicycles are multifaceted and generally affordable price range, making them accessible to riders on a budget.
How to Choose the Perfect Hybrid Bicycle
When you’re deciding on what kind of hybrid bike would be best for you and what you’ll use it for, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Making sure your bike fits your body is important for your skeletal health. Making sure your bike frame suits your height will ensure your knees are preserved when you’re cycling. Going to a store that sells hybrid bicycles and testing different frames will help you find the correct hybrid bicycle for you.
Most hybrid bicycles come in one of three frame materials.
The most common used material in hybrid bikes is aluminum. The material is supportive, durable, light and affordable. Aluminum frames equipped with front suspension will help with shock absorption making this type of frame suitable for riding over potholes and drain grates, which is a common facet of city living. Aluminum frames aren’t shocked free, but advancements in road construction have helped tone this issue down.
Another common material used for hybrid bike frames is steel. This material is heavier than aluminum but offers a sturdy bicycle frame that is aesthetically pleasing. This tough material can take a beating but allows for a smooth and pleasantly comfortable ride. If you’re fine with the slightly higher weight, this frame is perfect for city riding.
Carbon fiber is by far the most lightweight of available frame types, but tends to be the most costly. These frames are rust resistant, they offer an incredibly smooth ride and are incredibly durable. These are the bike frames intended for avid cycling enthusiasts as they are expensive, but they are well worth the price.
Hybrid bikes usually do not have any suspension because of the way they’re built. There are some that have front end suspension, such as the aluminum framed bicycles that do not have a lot of shock absorption. The included suspension forks are for urban riding and help with curb jumps, potholes, debris and other obstructions you may find out on the road. If you’re using a hybrid bike for city riding, it might be worth it to look for hybrid bicycles with some front end suspension for a smooth ride.
There are two main types of brakes available for a hybrid bike: rim brakes and disc brakes.
Rim brakes have easy to monitor pads that grip to the wheel rims. They’re easy to replace and they’re affordable. Compared to disc brakes, they gradually cause wear on the wheel rim which leads to having to replace the wheel. They’re not as useful in adverse weather and aren’t suggest for riding in the rain. They require forceful pressure to the brake lever, and do not stop as quickly as disc brakes.
Disc brakes are either hydraulic or mechanical. The hydraulic disc brakes offer strong breaking that don’t require aggressive use of the levers to come to a full stop. They’re self-adjusting which minimizes brake pad wear. Mechanical disc brakes need manual adjusting, but they offer the same stopping power as hydraulic breaks. Both these types of brakes are suitable for most weather conditions and perform wonderfully in steep terrain.
Whether you’re taking a ride to your favorite restaurant, going on a weekend hiking trip or supporting your local charity in a bike race, hybrid bikes are excellent choices for rides of all skill levels. Taking the time to search for the right bike for you can make a world of difference in your cycling life. If you’re interested in the benefits of a hybrid bike, test one out today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eva Allen is a passionate cyclist, author, and blogger. She is very passionate about writing on different types of women’s bikes, accessories, health, fitness and more. She regularly writes on sportsly.net