Hybrid bikes pull in riders with their ease of use, comfort, and stability.
To meet different needs, these bikes have branched out into many subcategories. The sheer number of types and brands might feel overwhelming at first for first-timers.
To help you navigate through all the extra choices and land the best entry level hybrid bike for 2018, Just Not Sports wrote this article with some bike reviews, a buying guide and everything I think will come in handy when you choose yourself the first bike.
Let’s dive in the find out.
What’s a hybrid bike exactly?
There is no exact definition of a hybrid bike. Even the broadest one leaves out a lot of exceptions.
At one end of the spectrum there are flat-bar road bikes.
They bear a striking resemblance to road bikes as they are lightweight and with thin tires, except for the flat bar. These bikes are great for city streets and other less challenging roads.
A hybrid bike is highly versatile. If it has fat tires and deep treads, you can count on how well it grips and cushions on forest roads or canal towpaths. It can handle single tracks as well as difficult ones.
Hybrid bikes also have other features that contribute to their versatility. They usually have mudguard fork and mounts on the frame for a rack. Water bottles can be placed between the two mounts.
Some models have mounts for a front rack and sometimes frame mounts for lacks.
If the hybrid bikes are intended to be sold in Europe, they will probably come with all aforementioned equipment by default so that they can be used straight out of the shop.
What size of hybrid bike do you need?
Riding bike is one of the best ways to stay healthy but all who take up this hobby can stay with it for long.
The reason might not always the lack of patience. Sometimes it is because of some people skipping a vital step when they choose the bike in the first place.
Whether you have neck or shoulder pain or your hands decide to give up, all of these symptoms come down to the improperly fit bike.
There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to choosing a bike. Even two people have a similar height and weight, their leg length, arms, and torso are not the same. This is why it is important to have a bike that fits you to reduce numbness and avoid injuries.
Measuring Hybrid Bicycles
As with other bikes, those belong to the hybrid variety are usually measured by frame size. This measurement is the distance from the crank to the seat tube, in inches. Hybrid bike’s sizing is usually a bit smaller than its road bike counterpart, just like a mountain bike.
To have a bike that fits you, you need to know your own inseam measurements and height. Between the two, the inseam plays a more important part.
However, knowing the size is not enough to land the most suitable bike.
You still need a few test rides to decide. I know some bike shops allow you to take a loaner with a similar size home to experience yourself.
Hybrid bike size chart
|Feet (Inches)||Feet (Centimetres)||Frame Size (inches)||Frame Size (cm)|
|4’10” – 5’2″||148cm – 158cm||13″ – 14″||33 – 37|
|5’2″” – 5’6″”||158cm – 168cm||15″ – 16″||38 – 42|
|5’6″ – 5′ 10″||168cm – 178cm||17″ – 18″||43 – 47|
|5’10” – 6’1″||178cm – 185cm||19″ – 20″||48 – 52|
|6’1″ – 6’4″||185cm – 193cm||21″ – 22″||53 – 57|
|6’4″ – 6’6″||193cm – 198cm||23″ – 24″||58 – 61|
Types of hybrid bikes
Mountain bike-influenced hybrids
As the name indicates, this hybrid resemble mountain bikes in many levels. Some of them have fat tires that can grip well, disc brakes, and wide handlebars.
These bikes are durable machines and if you add suspension travel and more gripping power to the tires, you will have a typical hardtail mountain bike.
Road-bike influenced hybrids
This hybrid has gone far from mountain bike’s influence and embraced road bike’s style. Some of the hybrids you encounter may resemble road bike so much that without the flat bar, no one can tell the two apart.
The hybrid in this category features gearing of road bikes, thin tires with more shallow treads, and lightweight frame. Off road is out of the question for these bikes but asphalt will not be a problem.
Cruiser and lifestyle hybrids
Lifestyle and cruiser have little in common with other hybrid bikes. They do not usually take inspiration from mountain or road bikes but are under a heavy influence of fashion and style.
However, they have other benefits.
These bikes are relatively easier to maintain as they have basic brake systems and low maintenance hub gears.
They are great for leisure rides as the frames are usually comfortable and they have back handles.
Utility hybrids might be the most versatile bike model you have ever seen.
They can handle off-road difficulty, have the speed of on-road variety, and a fair amount of comfort of a cruiser.
These hybrids are open to adjustment to suit users’ needs. Some other accessories include mudguard mounts and rack mounts.
To cope with a wide range of terrain, utility hybrids have versatile tires, their brakes are decent and they provide a comfortable riding position.
Hybrid bike buying guide
The first thing you should consider when buying a hybrid bike is the tires.
Tires can make or break your trips with a hybrid bike. They play an important part in deciding what kind of terrain the bike can handle.
Hybrid bikes usually come with a 700cc wheel base, no matter the rim size is. These 700cc tires are designed for town and city streets, including sidewalk and small bumps. It can handle uphill and support acceleration.
The frame is the skeleton of a bike. It also determines whether the bike fits each rider or not.
Bikes’ frames used to be made from steel as they are strong and durable. However, an obvious downside of this material is its weight.
Bikes nowadays are mostly made from carbon or aluminum. The former material made a better bike frame as it is more lightweight, but a carbon frame will set you back more than an aluminum counterpart.
If you wish the best of the best when it comes to bikes, you can never go wrong with carbon. However, aluminum is not as bad as it is also rust resistant and durable.
Here is what most people do not know:
Buying a bike is somewhat like buying a pair of shoes. It must be a perfect fit or it will hurt you. Even if the bike is of top range, if it is uncomfortable, it is not for you. Not to mention riding a bike like that is dangerous.
Riding a bike is a great way to keep fit. As with other healthy habits, you need encouragement at first to keep up with it. Riding an unfit bike is the fastest way to defeat your desire. A bike too big is often wobbly while one too small is uncomfortable.
Bike fitting requires professional assistance for the best result but you can always do it yourself. Ensure that your feet are on the ground and you can stand just over the seat tube. Next, sit on the bike and put your feet on the saddles, if you can reach the saddles comfortably, the bike will probably fit you.
Hybrid and city bikes are often equipped with a padded seat and sometimes suspension seat posts, not the thin ones you usually see on racing bikes. With them, you can avoid the shock when you accidentally hit something. You know, the one that goes to your mouth via your spine.
Note: If you have to raise the seat over the maximum level, the bike might be too small for you. Using it is not safe.
No matter how great a bike looks, always test by taking it to a ride to see if you are comfortable sitting on it. Buying blind and you will regret it later.
Many hybrid bikes come at the price of $400 and up. That much money is worth considering carefully.
Comfort and suspension
To add more comfort to riding a bike, front suspension forks are usually added.
They absorb the shock and impact of hitting a pothole or riding on a bumpy road. They support keeping your hands firmly on the handlebars in these incidents.
The front suspension forks make sure that the bike takes most of the impact, not your arms, to give you a smooth ride.
Gearing is another important part of picking a suitable bike.
If you live somewhere hilly and most of your time with the bike will be spent going uphill and downhill, so you will need more gears than a person living in a flatter area.
Many modern models are accompanied by 16 up to 30 gears. If commuting is what you after, the number is not that important.
On the other hand, for someone who is traveling long distances, the number and specific feature of the gears should be taken into consideration. No matter what you choose, the gears must be of good quality and serve a purpose.
For example, for climbing mountains, the super low climbing gearing is what you must have. For those who mostly cover city streets, a single gear bike is the best option.
This bike is perfect if you have to pedal mostly.
You can use it for running some errands, going out for a picnic or go to work if the distance is close. The thing I want you to remember is you should know exactly how the gears work before purchasing them.
This is what keeps you safe on the road. All of the cool features will come at a waste if you cannot brake properly. Choosing a brake system is not rocket science but at least you have to know exactly what you want.
Most hybrid bikes come with a linear braking system by default.
This one works well on most terrain but if you intend to do something more extreme or cover slippery or muddy roads, I highly recommend switching to disc brakes.
Whatever you use, disc brake or a linear braking system, make sure it does its job well.
Best Entry Level Hybrid Bikes 2018 Reviews
Tommaso La Forma Lightweight Aluminum Hybrid Bike – best hybrid bike under $1000
One of the best and most versatile models under one thousand dollars, this bike has almost everything a typical commuter wants and more.
Here are what I love about this bike:
Whatever you need, this bike can meet them. It can handle country trails and paths as well as long commuting distance. I have used it on rugged trails out in nature and on city streets, this bike never lets me down once.
It can cover a wide array of terrains and paths for those who love to explore.
While it cannot be compared to some other bikes that designed for specific areas, beginners will surely have a good time with this bike, thanks for its versatility.
It has an HCT fork to reduce vibration when you travel through bumpy roads. This feature gives you a smoother ride and a more comfortable experience.
Some other highlights include top-notch tires, Tektro brakes, and a modern shifting system. The Tektro brakes are easy to maintain even for people with limited knowledge on bikes or brakes.
This bike is not only praised practical features, but it is also a beauty to look at. The high gloss paint greatly improves the appearance of the bike and it is also corrosion resistant.
The Tommaso La Forma makes a durable and trustworthy commuting companion for both regular commuters and seasoned cyclists.
For long distance which requires you to pedal repeatedly for hours, the lightweight frame makes sure that you do not have to put in extra effort to carry the weight of the bike as well.
The gears offer support for both commuters and people who need more exercise to stay healthy.
While other hybrid bikes tend to lean toward either city streets or off-road riding, this Tommaso La Forma is a decent choice for both categories.
It can beat some mountain bikes on rugged terrains but after a switch, you can ride it to navigate through city streets as well.
The only criticism I have is that the bike loses some of its stability when it reaches top speed. Other than that, this bike is perfect for beginners.
- Lightweight frame.
- Good-quality parts.
- A decent range of gears for different terrains.
- Have pre-drill holes for adding accessories later.
- Can be unstable at high speed.
- Need expert assistance for assembling the bike.
Sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women’s Step-Through Hybrid Cruiser Bicycle (24-Inch and 26-Inch) – The best under $500
Just Not Sports love the feeling this bike gives me so much that I want to take it with me on every outing I go on.
The shifting is smooth and quick. All I have to do is to move the crank with one hand and the bike will change to different gears right away.
This bike is not the heaviest one I have ever had but this can deter some beginners. I have handled some super heavy road bikes so this is not a problem for me. In fact, for what it can do, the bike is actually lighter than I think.
The assembly is quick and easy. Everything you need is already on the bike so what you want to do is to loosen a few things, put the accessories on, and tighten them back together.
The seat was a bit trickier than other parts but I found a tutorial on YouTube so no problem here.
I want to ride a beautiful bike so the appearance concerned me at first. However, when I took the bike out under the sun, the thing I thought was a cream color brightened up and turned out to be pale yellow.
The orange rim pops and adds a nice touch to the whole bike.
You think this bike has been good enough already? here is the kicker:
The customer support from the manufacturer is excellent.
Even though I did not buy directly from them, they offer me so much help that the experience with them can only be described as mind-blowing.
The aluminum frame is definitely lighter than its carbon counterpart, but not as light as some of you might expect.
The bike comes with multiple gears so you can take it to flat terrains as well as more challenging paths or roads.
I feel completely comfortable on this bike but I have to warn you, the frame is for people with longer legs. So if you have an eye on this bike, a test ride is advisable.
I highly regard the cruiser handlebars over some other hybrid bars I have used.
The step-through frame is a nice addition to a bike that already has so many good features. If you are as chunky as I am, you will love it too.
I want a rear bike rack on my bike but I have to pay extra for one. I would be nice if this bike has one included.
- Gear changing is fluid
- A wide range of gears for many terrains.
- Quick and easy assembly.
- Excellent customer service.
- Might be a bit heavy for some riders.
- The frame is more suitable for longer legs.
Windsor Rover 2.0 Hybrid 700c Comfort Bike Shimano 21 Speed with Suspension Fork, Flat Bars and Comfort Seat – Best hybrid bike under $300
If ease of use and a reasonable price are what you after, the Windsor Rover 2.0 hybrid bike fits the bill. I have to admit that at this price range, what it can do is impressive.
The bike frame is from aluminum so you can count on its durability and strength. The bike is easy to use and offers swift and fluid gear change.
The experience you have with it is as comfortable as anyone can expect as long as you choose the right size, of course.
The handlebar, saddles, and stem combine to great effect giving you comfort on the road.
The Suntour suspension forks absorb vibration and shock well, so you can ride through bumpy road without a problem.
The pull V brakes offer good stop whenever you need and its wide range of colors can please different needs.
The only downside I notice is that this bike is not for anyone above 6 ft high.
- The aluminum frame is of high quality
- The gears can be shifted quickly and smoothly.
- The handlebar can be adjusted
- Suntour suspension for smoother ride.
- Riders who are more than 6 ft in height might have a hard time finding a good fit with this bike.
Critical Cycles Beaumont-7 Seven Speed Lady’s Urban City Commuter Bike – The best under $200
Just Not Sports is an experienced biker and always do my own maintenance.
Just Not Sports know well how to fix some minor problems with my bike. I hope this credential will give you a good reason to believe what I said here is legit and truthful.
Some other users complain about how confusing the instructions are but it did not happen to me.
Here is what truly happened.
Assembling the bike for the first time was quick and easy. It took me about 30 minutes but if you are a new rider, it can be a little longer.
It guided me well through every step of the way and was straightforward. I recommend buying bike lube and have it at where you can reach when you put this bike together.
The instructions tell you to have lube and I can confirm that it makes the job so much easier.
The bike has a step-through steel frame for durability and support rider to gain an upright position.
The front and rear brakes can keep you safe on the road as they work perfectly well for me.
Whenever I am on this bike, I feel in control and can accelerate quickly thanks to the Shimano 7-speed drivetrain and shifters.
The price is a plus. For what I can do, you have to pay a minimum amount of money compare to hybrid bikes with similar features.
The Wanda 700x35C tires really make me feel like floating on the road, that is how good the bike is.
As I said, I like beautiful bikes and this one meets that requirement. It comes at a wide range of colors to choose from and most of them are gorgeous to look at.
For all of these features and the price, there is no wonder this bike is one of the best entry level hybrid bikes in 2018.
- Upright handlebars.
- Come at a wide range of sizes and colors.
- Reasonable price.
- The frame might be too heavy for some.
How to ride a hybrid bike right
The most important thing to remember when riding a hybrid bike is to maintain a proper posture.
When you are on the bike, don’t pedal with your heel or your toes. The right part of the foot to use is the ball.
The fitting comes a long way here because a bike that fits you will help you keep the right posture. You do not want to raise the seat too high so that you have hunch over to reach the handlebar or crane your neck to be able to see.
In other words, finding a good fit and you will get in the posture right away.
Get to know different hybrid bike parts
Best hybrid bike tires sizes
Many hybrid bikes model another type of bike so they usually take the tires as well. If the hybrid takes inspiration from a road bike, the tires would be about 28 mm in width, plus space for a mudguard.
Those resemble mountain bikes often have tires that are up to 44mm.
Best hybrid bike helmet
The helmet you wear should fit you like a just gloves. They come in small, medium, and large. Some even have extended sizes.
The size of your head can be measured by wrapping a tape measure or a piece a ribbon wrapping around 1 inch above your eyebrows.
Match your head size with helmet measurement to find a good fit.
If yours falls between sizes, you can either wear s size smaller or put on a cap before wearing the helmet.
Here is another trick:
If you have difficulty finding a small enough one, children helmets can be good options.
Best hybrid bike saddle
Wide Cruiser Saddle
If you want a bike for casual outings, opt for wide cruiser saddles. Wide and have a short nose, they can be found on a cruiser and some other types of hybrid bikes.
For fast rides and exercises, medium and narrow saddles are the best choices. They are common on mountain bikes and hybrid bikes.
In short, wide saddles are for leisure riding. It means if you only want to go shopping or ride the bike to work, this option is the best. For more demanding purposes, choose either narrow or medium saddles.
Best hybrid bike wheels
Hybrid and mountain bikes usually have a 700cc wheel which can absorb minor bumps. Road bikes take a bit smaller. The rim of hybrid bikes is designed for wide tires. The frame and forks also accommodate bigger wheels and fenders.
Best hybrid bike pedals
Always think about what kind of terrains you want to cover before you choose a pair of pedals. Do you want to ride your bike on the roads or mountains?
Clipless pedals offer the best efficiency while you will have the ease of pedaling platform pedals.
Please bear in mind that if you land a pair of clipless pedals, remember to make sure that the shoes you wear, cleats and pedals can work well with each other.
Best hybrid bike lights
There are four types of light for hybrid bikes including rear blinker, a versatile light that can accompany you day and night; front and rear light sets, for low light only, headlights, also for low light of, and enthusiast lights for recreational purpose.
Depend on your particular needs, choose yourself one of the above lights.
How to change hybrid bike tires/How to remove hybrid bike tires?
As with other types of bikes, the first step is to loosen the wheel. If your bike has a lever, it will make the whole thing a lot easier. If yours comes with a bolt, you need pliers to do this job.
Find the tensioner on the brake that allows you to release the tension.
Loosen the chain and when it is on a side of the sprocket, pull the wheel out.
Let all the air of the old tire and remove the nut at the valve system and pull the tire out.
With the new tube, inflate it a bit until you feel you can easily handle it.
Put the tire into the rim and the new nut on the valve stem.
Reinstall the wheel and put back the brake and the chain.
How to fit a hybrid bike?
The most common test to fit a hybrid bike is for you to stand over the bike and then lift it up. If you see 2 or 3 inches of clearance stand, the bike is your size.
However, I find this test is not as accurate as people believe. Sometimes I was sold bikes too small for me because of this test.
So my best advice for you is to try different sizes along with this test.
How to shift gears on a hybrid bike/how to change gears on a hybrid bike?
Most hybrid and mountain bikes with flat bars, riders shift gears by using their thumb to switch a set of paddles.
Others have grip shifters that come in the form of a dial. You turn the dial to the gear you want.
So that is all of my experience with hybrid bikes. If you have any question regarding this or any story or knowledge to share, feel free the comment below.