A hybrid bike is a “mixed grill” blending of basic bike features from other specialized bikes such as mountain bicycles, touring bicycles and road bicycles. This kind of bike is a blending of the best of many worlds and it offers the user an all-purpose machine that is designed to adapt to various biking uses and conditions.
The hybrid and highly adaptive ability of hybrid bikes make them a choice darling for kids, women, casual bikers, starter bikers and amateur cyclists. Generally, hybrid bikes do borrow key features of other specialized bikes such as lightness of weight, mounting racks, thin wheels and straight sitting postures that are common with most mountain bikes. These features help in enhancing their stability and comfort of usage, hence popularizing them among users and prospective users as well.
Types of hybrid bikes
The market is full of all types of hybrid bikes. These different types are designed on the basis of both the usage and the priority of the features that need to be embedded in a particular type. Below is a list of some of the common and popular types of hybrid bikes.
The commuter bike
This hybrid bike is particularly intended and designed to offer commuters transportation services that cover both short and long distances. The bike comes with a whole host of beautiful features that are designed to offer commuters the much desired comfort and effectiveness of riding.
Among some of the core features embedded in the commuter bike are: back and front lights; pannier racks; complete mudguards; and carrier racks.
The light weight trekking bike
This bike is a hybrid blend that is endowed with all the basic accessory features of touring bicycle. Such features include fenders, lights and pannier racks.
The cross bike
A hybrid cross bike comes embedded with many of the features that resemble those of a sporting bike. It is fitted with flat handlebars designed and intended to give riders a biking position that is a bit more upright compared to that one of a racing bike.
This bike also comes fitted with a greater tire width and tread that enable it to handle rough riding surfaces such as those covered with mud and gravel. However, most of them do not have lights, pannier racks and fenders. This makes them good for use in moderate off-pavement conditions.
The city bike
This hybrid bike has a lot of semblance with the commuter bike and it is more customized to cater for urban commuter needs. It has a lightweight frame, a more upright seating position and strong tires that are designed and fitted to survive common urban road risks such as potholes.It also comes fitted with full fenders that are designed to survive different weather conditions.
Additionally, some city bikes do come with chain guards and front and back lighting to enable it to survive hostile weather conditions as well as night use.
The comfort bike
Comfort hybrid bikes are a trendy upgrade of the old school roadster bikes. However, the modern comfort bike is fitted with derailleur gears, a feature that is not present with the roadster. The bike also has a customized mountain bike frame that gives it an upright seating position and also comes with suspension forks.
Why you should use a hybrid bike
As the name clearly indicates, hybrid bikes attempt to bring to the user the best of all the different worlds of bikes. Below are some of the reasons why you need to start using a hybrid bicycle in preference to specialized bikes.
Great features just as good as any other
One of the great features of a hybrid bike is that it gives users the best of many worlds. These features form a basis for choosing a hybrid bike over mountain or sporting bikes. Below is a list of some of them:
I. Comfortable seats: these are designed to ensure comfort to the rider as they cruise through the roads;
II. Suspension forks;
III. Upright and comfortable sitting position;
IV. Efficient pedaling;
V Lightweight design of the frame;
VI. Wide diameter wheels to ensure long distance cruising;
VII. Smooth tires.
Better and lower prices compared to non hybrid bike options
A wide-spectrum scope of users ranging from commuters to errand runners, and fitness zealots
A wide range of road and surface types to ride on such as gravels
Efficient performance and comfort that is just as good as that of other bikes such as road and racing bikes
Hybrid bikes cut across all age and gender divides with elegant models designed and customized for women and children as well
Key features to look for in a good a hybrid bike
Since hybrid bikes are not charity donations or wedding gifts, it is important for one to consider what specs their chosen model will offer them. Though there is no need to write a voluminous treatise on this subject, it is still necessary for all prospective buyers to have basic knowledge of these specs and features before they commit their money to buy a hybrid bike.
The quality and type of the materials of its frame
Most hybrid bikes are made of aluminum or chromoly steel. This is a worthy feature to consider given that aluminum does not corrode and it is still a much stronger but cheaper option. For those who opt for something higher, we still have good hybrid bikes with carbon-fiber frames.
When it comes to aluminum frames, it is also advisable for you to go for alloys that are easier to shape and mold. The best frame that fits this quality is the aluminum frame 6061 because it has a higher resistance to corrosion compared to other alloys such as aluminum 7075.
The width and tread of tires
Most hybrid bicycles are fitted with tires with a width of between 28mm and 40mm.Wider tires mean that the bike will have a stronger grip on the road surface. However, this will mean that you will have to enjoy lower speeds as you ride.
Just as the width of tires is an important feature, tread is also key feature. Tread ensures that the bike can safely and quickly ride on different road surfaces ranging from smooth tarmac to graveled surfaces.
The types of wheels
The choice of wheels is another vital consideration for a hybrid bike. Most of the wheels fitted on hybrid bikes are passed down from either road bikes or mountain bikes. A good hybrid will come fitted with 26-inch wheels or 700c wheels.
The 700c wheels are well suited for speed and sport-like rides while the 26-inch ones are more suited for heavy-duty performance similar to that of mountain bikes.
Suspension are a good feature to look for in a hybrid bike. They are a great feature because they will help you to navigate through bumpy city roads without having to suffer unnecessary back pains.
This may have to cost you a few extra coins, but it is all worth it. Some bikes may come fitted with suspension while others come without them. When a bike comes without suspension you can still purchase suspension seat posts.
Type of handlebars
Handlebars are important components not just of hybrid bikes but also every other type of bicycle. A great many of non professional riders are more inclined towards flat handle bars because they offer greater comfort. This means that they can also lean forward as they ride.
However, there are also some hybrid bikes that have raised handlebars designed to offer comfort as one rides so as to avoid leaning forward.
A stable braking system
Brakes are a part of the basic safety features of any bike. Without a stable braking system every biker is virtually signing up for a life-risking adventure that will endanger both his life and the lives of other road users.
It is therefore with the above consideration in mind that a great many of hybrid bikes come fitted with either hub or direct-pull braking systems. These two options are ideal for city biking and they give stable you total control on sloppy terrains as well as effective and abrupt braking that works well in different weather conditions including rainy ones.
Gears are the determining force and factor that empowers any bike with the ability to cruise faster. In simple terms, they are the backbone of the bike’s speed level which in turn determines how effective the bike will perform in different terrains.
The type of terrain that your bicycle will be riding on will greatly determine the number and strength of the gears that will go with it. For instance, if you intend to use your bike on flat surfaces then you may just need to go for an 8-speed gear system.
If however you find that you will be riding through hilly landscapes, you may consider going for speeds of between 14 and 30 gears respectively. This will give you mastery while navigating through hilly terrains and also save you a lot of energy and effort as you ride.
Within the clear choice to make between fewer and more gears lies a clear cost implication. If you choose to settle for 8 gears and below then you will have to spend less on their maintenance while more gears will mean that you part with more cash in order to maintain them.
They may not be the bread-and –butter features of a great hybrid bike but they are an option that should not be ignored. In case you don’t want to drag yourself into a whole work of modifications, check for these following accessories:
- Built-in lights
- Pannier racks
- Lock mounts
These may seem to add more weight but their overall advantages grossly outweigh any trade-off involved.
The chain is an integral part of any bike’s mobility and function. If the chain type and system are weak and ineffective, you may as well end up with a bad choice of a hybrid bike.
You need to make sure that the chain is stable so that you don’t need to keep soiling your clothes and hands trying to fix a loose chain that keeps coming off every time.
Get the right size
This may sound too obvious but it is an important feature. You cut your coat according to your size and hence you need to make sure that after all the other considerations have been put in place you get a bike size that fits you. It should not be too big or too small either, but just the right size.
One of the main reasons behind this feature is that many hybrid bikes are made in such a manner that they mostly support upright sitting positions.
Prices of a hybrid bike
As we hinted earlier on, most hybrid bikes are pocket-friendly facilities.
How to maintain a hybrid bike
Anything you don’t maintain you will soon lose it. Bicycle maintenance is an integral part of your responsibility as a bike owner.
Since a bike is a multi-faceted combination of moving parts, it is vital that all these parts be kept clean so that their exposure to mud and debris does not unnecessarily wear them. Keep your bike clean by cleaning it as often as it needs to be washed and in the right manner.
Keep the bolts and nuts properly tightened
All bikes are joined by a whole load of bolts and nuts. It is important to make sure that all nuts and bolts are tight enough to avoid falling off as well as making sure that they are not too tight. This will act as a sure safeguard against unnecessary wear and tear and also eliminate unnecessary safety risk.
Lubrication and oiling
Make sure that all the bolts, chain, joints and all other parts that need to be oiled and lubricated are lubricated and oiled on time and in the right manner, using the right lubricants and oils.
Visit the bike shop
After you have done your own routine home maintenance, it is also important that you allow the experts have their own contribution at least twice per year. This will be able to expose complex issues that may not be too obvious to you as an end user.