Last Update January 29th, 2016 Cycling, also known as biking or bicycling, has been a part of everybody’s life for a long period of time, especially before the advent of the automobile, but particularly these days as people become more environmentally conscious. The use of bikes is not only limited to daily commuting, but it also provides plenty of opportunities for sport and recreation. As more and more people opt for cycling, there is a huge demand for different models and brands of bikes that are suitable for their requirements.
With the presence of such an immense selection of bikes, it’s sometimes very confusing for people who have just started cycling to pick out a bike that provides them required speed variations and comfort levels. The majority of these people tend to opt for hybrid bikes, which can not only be used for everyday commuting but also for recreational purposes.
But you’re probably wondering, “What is a hybrid bike?” Hybrid bikes are designed in such a way that they have blended qualities of other specialized bikes. These hybrid bikes can be further categorized as:
All of these subcategories of hybrid bikes have specialized features suited for a particular usage, but they can be also used in different activities ranging from trekking in the wild to riding in your neighborhood.
Hybrid bikes usually come with flat handlebars, which is a unique feature of mountain bikes. There are only a limited number of hybrids that have drop bars. Due to this design of the handlebars, the gear-shifting mechanism used in hybrid bikes is quite similar to that of mountain bikes. Even the brake system used in hybrid bikes is a special one instead of the STI-style integrated brake system in road bikes. The braking system of a hybrid bike can vary from model to model, but in most cases, V-brakes are commonly used. Some of the models are also fitted with mechanical as well as hydraulic-disc brake systems.
The upright handlebars allow you to maintain correct posture while pedaling. Though this position is not suitable for racing, it’s quite comfortable and safe while riding long distances. The other main difference between road bikes and hybrid bikes is the use of larger-volume tires in the latter compared to the former. Hybrid bike designs have a tendency to closely resemble mountain bikes rather than road bikes. The wheel size used in hybrid bikes comes in a 26-inch format, which makes it perfect for off-road usage.
The gear systems used in hybrid bikes are quite versatile and come in different speed variations with both front and back derailleurs. Some of the models have hub gears for low maintenance, while others come with single a speed, which makes them quite simple to use for a beginner.
Some of the features that make hybrid bikes an ideal choice for both beginners and experienced cycling enthusiasts include the following:
The majority of hybrid bikes are designed in such a way that they provide comfort rather than high agility. Those bikes that are intended for providing a maximum level of comfort during biking come fitted with powerful suspension systems along with broad and padded saddles. The combination of these two components allows the bike to absorb the small shocks and bumps of imperfect roads. As mentioned earlier, the handlebars used in these models are higher and set wider apart compared to other bikes. This allows you to have a comfortable fit with the bike, as it provides an upright position that places minimal stress on your lower back.
Hybrid bikes are quite perfect for daily commuting or for recreational rides in the countryside, but if you’re looking for a bike that’s perfect for mountain or sports cycling, then this bike is not meant for you. This bike is basically an elevated commuter bike that’s manufactured using a high-quality aluminum frame, which keeps it light. It’s fitted with tires that are appropriate for cruising rather than achieving high speeds on the road. You can also choose from the different types of hybrid categories mentioned earlier if you want a specific sort of hybrid bike depending upon the type of commuting you want to undertake.
Most hybrid bikes come fitted with brake systems that have great braking qualities. Commuter and City hybrid bikes usually have mechanical disc brakes, which provide great stopping power while maintaining control. Trekking and Cross-Country bikes are fitted with V-brakes, which is one of the unique features of a mountain bike. This brake system is quite good for traveling long distances as well as riding uncertain terrains. V-brakes are generally known as linear pull brakes and are designed to work efficiently in all sorts of weather conditions.
The gearing systems used in different variants of hybrid bikes can range from a single-speed to 30-speed drivetrain. The models with fewer than eight gears are appropriate for use in cities, but if you’re opting for a variant of a hybrid bike for cross-country biking, then you should opt for a multiple-speed drivetrain with the maximum number of speeds. The bikes with 30-speed drivetrains are designed for easy and comfortable riding even while going over hills and for towing a trailer for weekend camping.
The gear-shifting system in hybrid bikes is in the form of grip shifters, which allow you to change gears without taking your hands off the handlebars. This allows you to concentrate on the road rather than fiddle with the gear with only one hand controlling the bike.
Opting for any variant of a hybrid bike is the best choice for a beginner and the person who wants to ride fairly fast but with the required level of comfort. The sum of the benefits of using a hybrid bike is that you can opt for any type of terrain for cycling, as the basic design of these bikes provides a comfortable ride in all situations. The different components of the hybrid bikes, such as multiple-speed drivetrains, broad tires, horizontal flat bars, and adjustable saddles, make hybrid bikes the ultimate choice for both daily commuters and recreational cycling enthusiasts.
If you prefer an explanation in video format, here is an excellent one: