Best hybrid bikes reviewed: how to choose the right model for you

How to find the best hybrid bike that suits both your riding and your budget

Riding through countryside
(Image credit: Ribble)

From weekday commuting to weekend exploring, the best hybrid bike will take it all in its stride. On or off road, urban or rural and everything in between, the best hybrid bike is the key to unlocking a wonderfully wide variety of cycling.

What is a hybrid bike?

A hybrid bike is a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike, incorporating the best bits of both to create a machine that is comfortable over multiple terrains and surfaces.

While the best comfort bikes are ideal for gentler-paced leisure riding and best fitness bikes are designed more for workout goals, the best hybrid bikes take their influences from the road and mountain bike genres.

Each of the best hybrid bikes will have its own unique design. The road and off road capability is blended differently depending on model, with some having a stronger speedy road/urban bias, while others will have a greater preference for gravelly lanes and uneven off-road terrain.

What are the features you can expect in the best hybrid bikes?

  • Hybrid bikes generally have tyres that are wider than those of a pure road bike, but narrower than mountain bike tyres. Somewhere around 28-32mm is the norm but the more rugged will go up to 42mm
  • Hybrid bikes nearly always have flat handlebars and a more upright position that allows the rider to sit with a straighter back than on a road bike
  • You'll usually find disc brakes on a hybrid: these provide more powerful stopping and are more reliable in wet weather than rim brakes
  • If you plan to use your hybrid bike for commuting, look for eyelets for mounting pannier racks and mudguards

Best hybrid bikes reviewed

We've featured our favourite hybrid bikes below. Because we know most people are searching for the best hybrid bike for their money, we've included mostly value-orientated models - with one or two more premium options.

This is a side image of the Marin presido hybrid bike

(Image credit: James Stout)

Marin Presidio 2

Best hybrid bike for low maintenance

Material: Aluminium frame and fork
Weight: 11kg
Brakes: Shimano U300 Hydraulic disc brakes
Gearing: Shimano Nexus 7D 7-Speed hub gear
Tyres: Vee Tire Baldy 32mm
Extras: Pannier and mudguard mounts
Reasons to buy
+Beginner-friendly design+Hydraulic disc brakes+Low maintenance with hub gear
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly basic twist shift

The Marin Presidio 2 might be the perfect hybrid bike for the times we live in. It’s billed as a city transit bike, but it’s certainly comfortable for longer rides too. In the event that many of us never return to the office, it’s a fantastic bar hopper and grocery getter.

With slick tyres, flat bars, internal gearing, and disc brakes, the Presidio 2 can do anything a beginner would want. If the bug really bites and you decide to upgrade to a road or mountain bike, the Presidio’s reliable build will mean that it will see years of use as a town/commuter bike.

At this price point, many brands still opt for a chromoly steel frame, which leaves the whole bike feeling sluggish - but Marin has managed to include a lighter, more responsive butted aluminium frame and fork. There are plenty of mounts for mudguards and racks, making it a perfect commuter.

The Shimano Nexus hub is also great; it has seven speeds and a 244% range, which gives enough gears for climbing just about anything and riding at a more than reasonable speed on the flats.

The 700x32mm Vee tyres seem fast enough on blacktop and have yet to puncture despite many trips down gravel paths.

If you just want a “bike” and you want it to do what most people expect a bike to do without you having to preen and polish it, this is the best hybrid bike for you.

A side image of the Triban RC500 hybrid bike

(Image credit: Future)

Triban RC500

Best hybrid bike for urban nippiness

Material: Aluminum frame and carbon fork
Weight: 10.5kg
Brakes: Promax disc brakes (mechanical)
Gearing : Shimano Sora 50/34 chainset with 12-32 cassette
Tyres: 25mm width
Extra info: Pannier and mudguard fittings
Reasons to buy
+Excellent spec for the money+Carbon fork adds comfort+Wide range of gears+Practical with pannier/mudguard mounts
Reasons to avoid
-Brakes didn't impress us

The Triban RC500 is a speedy hybrid bike that's more tarmac than off-road orientated and will suit those riding mostly on the road. The carbon fork supplies phenomenal value and adds an enormous amount of comfort to the ride.

The bike's head tube puts you in an upright position from the off. Out on the roads you're left feeling in control of the bike but also comfortable, with the aluminium frame absorbing a good amount of the road's lumps and bumps.

Just because it has a focus on comfort doesn't mean the RC500 is slow to respond. We were impressed by the bike's fast acceleration and how well it holds its speed. Newer riders will certainly be impressed by its turn of pace.

It's a great price for a great bike; the mechanical disc brakes are OK, but worth a hydraulic upgrade if you see a good deal. There's a compact 50/34 chainset boasting a rear cassette replete with a wide spread of gears that will see you up and over most hills, without sacrificing flat speed.

The tyres warrant a special mention, having proven their robustness over the course of commutes (and many more shards of glass). The tyres and the wheels (another Decathlon in-house product) form a fine partnership and can even be set up tubeless should you want the extra security.

If you are looking for the best hybrid bike at this sort of price point, and are after plenty of versatility and dependability then look no further than the Triban RC500 flat bar.

Ribble Hybrid AL e in the image is side on and demonstrates how subtle the electric addition is on the bike

(Image credit: ribble)

Ribble Hybrid AL e

Best fully loaded e-commuter hybrid bike

Material: Aluminium frame and carbon fork
Weight: 13.1kg
Brakes: Shimano Hydraulic disc
Gearing: SRAM NX 1x
Wheels: Mavic Aksium Elite Disc 650b
Tyres: 35mm
Extras: Ribble Alloy rack and SKS P45mm mudguards
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Delivered ready to ride+Choose your own specification via BikeBuilder+Carbon fork helps absorb road buzz
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller wheels not everyone's choice

We test rode the electric version of the Ribble Hybrid AL - the Ribble Hybrid AL e - and loved it so much we gave it a Cycling Weekly Editor's Choice Award as it's one of the best hybrid bike's we've seen. 

Offering a smooth level of assistance from the Ebikemotion system, coupled with decent range and a fully loaded spec the Ribble Hybrid AL e can handle the daily commute as well as anything. But being both capable and rewarding, it's certainly not restricted to A to B rides and could take you on many adventures.

The aluminium frame features elegantly shaped tubing profiles including pencil-thin, dropped seatstays for added compliance and a distinctive dropped driveside chainstay design.

Ribble has specced a full carbon fork on the Hybrid AL e to help keep weight down whilst still retaining a good level of steering stiffness and much needed vibration damping.

The Ribble Hybrid AL e is really quite a joy to ride in most respects. It has an engaging handling feel and a build quality that turn it into a bike you look forward to riding rather than a dead and dreary commuter.

At this price point you get a fully loaded electric bike with a superb frame, quality motor system and really decent parts the Ribble Hybrid AL e certainly offers almost unbeatable value when compared to its rivals.

Giant Escape 1 Disc is side on in this image, revealing a chrome like finish frame and fork

Giant Escape

Best sporty all-rounder hybrid bike

Material : Aluminum frame, carbon fork
Weight: Around 11kg, dependent on spec
Brakes: Hydraulic disc
Gearing: Shimano Altus/Alivio 30/46 with 11-36
Tyre width: 36mm
Extras: Pannier and mudguard mounts
Reasons to buy
+Internal cable routing keeps things neat+Triple crankset gives lots of gears+Effective brakes
Reasons to avoid
-A bit heavy

The Giant Escape 1 has a butted aluminium frame (Giant calls it ALUXX) with tons of stand-over clearance - an ideal bonus if you're commuting in jeans - and a composite fork. The tyres are wide and this model can go off-road, but this is a bike designed mostly with tarmac in mind.

This would be a great hybrid bike for anyone looking to start leisure riding or wanting to get to work in comfort.

The Shimano Altus gearing is excellent. As with most Shimano products, it has proven itself bombproof, and its shifting didn't miss a beat. It's a triple setup, which means you'll have the use of three rings at the front (in a 26/36/48 guise paired with a nine speed cassette on the back) which makes winching yourself up any hills relatively painless.

Giant has gone for integrated cables, a smart move as it reduces damage over time and thus maintenance. The brakes offer super speedy stopping and there's a huge choice of gears.

Features such as a riser stem allow for an upright and comfortable position.

There are a handful of Giant Escape Disc Sport Hybrids to choose from with the Escape 1 the range topper, although it can be a little harder to track down than the lower priced Escape 2 and 3.

The Carrera Subway is pictured side on, showing its slightly dropped cross bar and mechanical disc brakes

Carrera Subway 1

The best hybrid bike on a budget

Material: Aluminium frame, steel fork,
Weight: 14kg (approx)
Brakes: Mechanical disc
Gearing: Shimano Tourney 48/38/28T chainring with 12-32t
Tyres: 1.95"
Extras: Mudguard and pannier mounts
Reasons to buy
+Wide tyres good for varied terrain+Disc brakes good in the wet
Reasons to avoid
-Frame not that comfortable

For around £300, we reckon this bike from Carrera represents good value for money, and with mudguard and pannier racks it's a versatile option. If you're planning on cruising around town, riding to parks, to beaches or to other recreation spots, you can't really go wrong with this.

There are three Carrera Subway bikes in the range: a men's and women's-specific Subway 1 and a male/unisex Subway 2.

All three share the same lightweight aluminium frame, with the women's frame getting a subtle frame geometry tweak with a dropped top tube. 

We reviewed the women's Subway 1 and rode it on a mix of road and trail-like terrain.

Admittedly, it's not quite as comfortable as some other options out there, but a slight decrease of tyre pressure helped soften the buzz enough to take the Carrera Subway 1 off road, and it coped pretty well.

It's nimble enough to navigate tight slow corners, while being predictable to give a rider handling confidence, especially when descending at a reasonable speed or, when riding slowly in traffic.

The mechanic disc brakes were top notch and we actually struggled to tell the difference performance-wise compared to hydraulic ones.

The Carrera Subway 1 is a good bike that will get you out rolling and enjoying the world on two wheels. With its mudguard and pannier rack mounts, it also offers a good deal of opportunity to be reasonably versatile.

Best hybrid bikes Priority Bicycles Continuum Onyx shown side on reveals it's stealth all black design.

Priority Bicycles Continuum Onyx

Best hybrid bike with a unique mix of features

Material: Aluminum frame and fork
Weight: 30.29lb/13.74kg
Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes
Gearing: 50T front with a Nuvinci CVT Rear Hub
Tyres: WTB 700x32
Extras: Mudguard and pannier mounts
Reasons to buy
+Incudes fenders and front and rear dynamo lights
Reasons to avoid
-High weight for its price

The Priority Bicycles Continuum Onyx includes front and rear lights, fenders, and uses a Gates Carbon belt drive system with a continuously variable rear hub. It's unlike most anything on the market and offers the advantage of reduced maintenance and no chance of grease on your clothes.

If you want a bike that feels at home in the urban jungle the Priority Continuum Onyx might be the perfect solution.

Both the frame and the fork are made from aluminium - a material common at this price point. It's light but stiff and easy to work with.

But what's really unique is the continuously variable NuVinci N380 CVT drivetrain. What you get is roughly the same gear range as a common 7-speed chain driven bike but without distinct gears. Shifting happens with a grip shift and there is a smooth progression from easy to difficult. 

It has a carbon belt instead of a chain and all the shifting components live in the rear hub. The system is silent and requires no real maintenance, which is why it suits a commuting bike so well.

With the Priority Continuum Onyx there is no real point of comparison on the market. It's possible to get other hybrid bikes in the same price range with a focus on different features. It's also possible to find cheaper bikes but if you want something with this unique mix of features, this is it. There's simply nothing else out there that's quite the same.

Specialized Sirrus 1.0,shown side on in the image, is one of the few bikes still using rim brakes.

Specialized Sirrus

A hybrid bike that's popular for good reason

Material: Aluminum frame and steel fork
Weight: Around 12kg - or lower for higher specs
Brakes: V-brake
Gearing: Shimano Altus/Tourney 7spd, 46/30 chainrings with 12-32t
Tyres: 32mm
Extras: Mudguard and pannier mounts
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable ride on the road+Practical with pannier/mudguard mounts
Reasons to avoid
-There are faster options out there

Everything about the Specialized Sirrus works without a fuss. The frame comes equipped with mounts for mudguards and panniers, and we were particularly impressed by the Shimano Altus shifting. The only thing that lets this bike down is that it's hard to ride quickly when you're in a rush, due to the incredibly upright position and sluggish tyres.

If you've got a few colleagues who cycle into work, we can almost guarantee that at least one of them will be on a Specialized Sirrus, one of the most popular hybrid bikes on the market.

Perfect for commuting, this is a road-ready hybrid that will feel light and fast on tarmac when compared with models that come with suspension or wide tyres.

The latest Sirrus, made from Specialized's A1 aluminium tubing, is 0.5kg lighter compared to when we reviewed it.

V-brakes keep the weight down, but won't be as effective in all weather conditions as disc brakes. However, that's just the entry-level Sirrus 1.0. From the Sirrus 2.0 up to the range-topping 4.0 all have disc brakes.

We found the geometry very relaxed, enabling an upright position. This is great for seeing in traffic but if you were late for work and needed to press on you might find it a bit too laid-back.

However, if you make sure you leave in good time the Sirrus supplies a comfortable ride, if not the fastest.

Do I need a women's-specific model to get the best hybrid bike for me?

Yes and no! The most important thing about getting the best hybrid bike for you is fit. Many brands will offer women's hybrid bikes which will come in smaller sizes, including narrower handlebars and women's-specific saddles. Check out the full range of the best women's hybrid bikes on our dedicated page to help you decide.

Are there different types of hybrid?

The best hybrid bike for someone else might not be the best hybrid bike for you. Think about the sort of riding you're going to be doing. Would you be better suited buying a hybrid bike that is more similar to a road bike, or one that is more similar to a mountain bike?

If you are thinking of riding your bike to work check out our top tips for commuting to work by bike page for all you need to know.

If you're doing most of your riding on roads and cycle paths, then the best option is to go for a more road-orientated hybrid. Quite often, these will feature the same frame and fork as found on the manufacturer's sportive road bike, but with a flat bar handlebar for a more upright position. The tyres will also be slick, and not super wide, allowing you to ride fast and keep up with traffic.

This type of hybrid bike will normally also come with gearing that reflects its road origins, mainly designed for relatively fast riding over flat roads. At its bottom end, the gearing should also be easy enough to tackle some pretty fierce hills. But, if you're carrying extra pounds in your panniers (or around your middle), then you may struggle a little.

However, if you are going to be riding on rough cycle paths and bridleways, then it's better to go for one that will be able to cope with the terrain.

The main difference with this type of hybrid is that it will come with a suspension fork, which will improve comfort when riding over rough, rutted surfaces. These bikes will also come with slightly wider tyres, usually with a bit of tread on too to give a little more grip.

With regard to gearing, it will generally have slightly easier gearing than its more road-orientated brethren.

Although you won't be able to hit quite the same top speeds, having a big sprocket at the back and a tiny ring at the front should help you get better at climbing hills, our video on how to ride faster up short, steep hills could help here,  especially at the end of your commute, even on a Friday evening at the end of a long, tiring week.

Compared to road bikes, all hybrids will come with wider tyres. The width will vary, but it will generally be something between 28c and 42c. Not only will this help to improve comfort, ironing out any rough surfaces, but will also add to the level of grip when the roads are wet

The more varied the terrain you plan to ride on is, the wider you'll want your tyres. If you're sticking mainly to the road, opt for the lower volume end.

The best hybrid bike geometry

The best hybrid bike frame will generally have a fairly relaxed geometry. This means a short top tube and tall head tube to give a relaxed and upright riding position that should be nice and comfortable, and help you avoid cycling neck pain.

Many of the best hybrid bikes also feature a top tube that is sloped downwards from the front of the bike towards the back, which will increase standover clearance and should make it a little bit easier to get on and off whatever you are wearing.

This is an image of a woman's commuting by hybrid bike. She has a lock on her handle bars and a purple rucksack on her back

Hybrid bikes usually give a comfortable, upright position. Another feature common to all of the best hybrid bikes is that they come with flat handlebars. This is in contrast to the dropped bars found on standard road bikes.

This, again, results in a more upright riding position. The flat bars will feature mountain bike-style shift and brake lever which are easier to reach for less experienced riders.

Does it matter what material a hybrid bike is made from?

The majority of hybrid bikes - like most bikes - use one of three materials: steel, aluminium, or carbon.

The least used of the three is steel, which although it is able to give a comfortable ride, generally makes a heavy bike. Think: tough to haul over the hills. Often, though, steel finds itself on the more stylish bikes. It can be a good choice if you're looking for a bike to pootle down to the shops on summer days.

If you're wondering should your next bike be carbon, aluminium, steel or titanium it's worth knowing that either steel or aluminium is the material used on the majority of the best hybrid bikes. From budget options right up to more serious machines costing four figures, most will feature either a steel or aluminium frame. The better of the two generally will be Aluminium, providing a light and comfortable ride, while standing up to plenty of abuse through years of use.

The third material, carbon, is more common on road bikes and higher-end mountain bikes, but It's starting to turn up on the best hybrid bikes. It's an incredibly versatile material, so a good choice if you're wanting to drop the overall bike weight, add compliance, or even stiffen it up.

There are also quite a few hybrids on the market that combine an aluminium frame with a carbon fork. This helps to keep the cost down through the use of aluminium for the frame, while the carbon fork will do a better job of soaking up judder from rough roads.

What components should I expect on the best hybrid bike?

It might be a bit of a cliché, but you will generally get what you pay for when it comes to gearing. Pay more and the best hybrid bikes will come with higher quality groupsets. You'll gain better quality shifting and less effort needed to shift between gears.

Our Buyer's Guide to road bike groupsets will explain the hierarchies in more detail for you.

Depending on use, gearing range might be more important than shift quality. If you live in a hilly area, then it's worth looking for a bike with a 32-tooth sprocket at the back. A big sprocket paired with a small front chainring will let you winch your way up steep gradients.

There are lots of hybrid bikes that offer a triple chainset. This is good if you want some seriously easy gears but it's not always the best answer. The gear range is often not that much more than just two rings at the front. Moreover, it can be harder to find the perfect gear if you want to get into a rhythm on a long flat road or steady climb.

Most of the best hybrid bikes - and that increasingly includes the more value-orientated ones - use disc brakes. Rim brakes use two pads to grip the rim of the wheel, while disc brakes grip a rotor attached to the hub of the wheel.

Hybird bikes with disc brakes, like the one in the image, might be more expensive, but offer more consistent braking in all conditions

Although disc brakes have been used on mountain bikes for years, it's a more recent addition to road bikes, although they are pretty commonplace now and a perfect match for the best hybrid bikes.

Although discs supply more predictable braking in the wet, the stopping power of mechanical discs is not always greater than rim brakes in the dry. 

Additionally, the rim brake system is lighter than the mechanical disc system. 

Expect the superior hydraulic options to come with a bigger price tag.

Another advantage of disc brakes is longevity of your wheels. The rim-braking surface wears down over time. Moving it to a disposable rotor saves having to replace more expensive wheels.

Another thing to keep an eye on is the saddle that comes with the bike. Check that it suits the sort of riding that you're going to be doing. Also consider the clothing that you're going to be doing it in.

If you're riding more than a couple of miles then we highly recommend you invest in the best cycling shorts as get a pair of padded cycling shorts will vastly improve your comfort in the saddle.

As is the case with most bikes, you're likely to have even the best hybrid bike sold either without pedals or in some cases, you might find plasticky black flat pedals included. If it's the latter, the first thing you should do to your new hybrid bike is take these off and throw them in the bin. Seriously. Invest in a more suitable pair. Check out  our guide to clipless pedal systems and the best models reviewed

The best options for commuting and urban riding are off-road pedals such as Shimano's SPD system. These are easy, even for beginners, to get in and out of. The recessed cleat makes walking easy and since it's an off-road design it's less susceptible to mud.

Are there any other features that I should look for on the best hybrid bike?

If you're having to carry large or heavy items into work, then it can be uncomfortable to carry a backpack. A better option is to invest in a pair of panniers. Panniers will move the weight from you to the bike. Have a look at our guide to panniers and pannier racks to help you decide.

All of the best hybrid bikes should come with eyelets in the frame for pannier racks. It is possible to buy adaptor clips that will let you use a pannier rack without having the eyelets. The problem is these won't hold the rack quite as securely as if the frame is specifically designed for the purpose.

If you are pondering the question regarding whether you really need mudguards? The answer is yes!

Look for a hybrid bike that has plenty of clearance between the frame and the tyre. The clearance will be important for fitting mudguards. Even better will be a frame with eyelets so you can fit ones with better coverage, rather than flimsy clip-on ones.

It might seem a shame to spoil the look of your new bike in such a way, but you'll certainly appreciate it when cycling on wet roads.

Where to buy the best hybrid bike

best hybrid bike shopping can be done on line using a tablet like the one in the image.

(Image credit: carballo - Fotolia)

The vast majority of major bike manufacturers create hybrid bikes. Specialized bikes, Trek bikes, Giant bikes and Boardman bikes are all examples of brands who offer flat-bar multi terrain hybrid bikes within their collections.

You can buy bikes online, but it might not be the best choice. As a result of being new to the cycling world you might be unfamiliar with the right bike fit for you. A good shop will make sure you leave the shop with the perfect fitting hybrid bike.

Look for a retailer that will fit the bike for you and allow test rides. Some also offer money back guarantees after 30 days in case you change your mind.

Stefan Abram
Stefan Abram

Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.

Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.

Height: 177cm

Weight: 67–69kg