You need a new bike; something that can do it all.
It has to get you to work on weekdays and cruise gravel roads on weekends. It has to be fast and light, yet tough and accommodating for daily use. Yes, such a dream machine does exist, and it is called a hybrid bicycle.
Hybrid bikes come in many shapes and sizes, but they all have one goal in mind – to perform for their rider just as well on city streets as they do on twisting trails. Choosing one, however, is a bit more time consuming than you probably thought due to the abundance of choices out there.
As hybrid bike users ourselves, we wanted to help you navigate your way through all of these choices to make finding one a bit quicker and easier.
What we consider to be the best hybrid bike may not be the right choice for you, but since we will be highlighting the top 15 models currently on the market, you will have no problem choosing one after you’ve cruised through our expert tips in this guide.
Top 15 Hybrid Bikes Comparison – Find Your Favorite
|Picture||Model||Uses||Components||Frame||Rating (1 to 5)|
|Picture||Model||Uses||Components||Frame||Rating (1 to 5)|
|1. Vilano Diverse 3.0 Performance||Commuting, Long Rides, Wet Weather||3X8 Shimano Tourney TX/ Disc Brakes||Aluminum||4.7|
|2. Mongoose Men's Banish 2.0 R4132||Trail, Commuting, Fitness||3X7 Shimano Rear Derailleur/ Disc Brakes||Aluminum/ Front Suspension Fork||4.6|
|3. Tommaso La Forma Lightweight Aluminum||Long Rides Commuting||3x9 Shimano Acera/ V-Brakes||Aluminum/ Carbon Fiber Fork||4.6|
|4. Charge Grater 1 Urban||Commuting, Wet Weather||1X8 Shimano Altus/ Tektro V-Brakes||Aluminum/ Steel Fork||4.5|
|5. Marin San Rafael DS2 LE Sport||Trail, Commuting, Fitness||3X8 Shimano Acera / Disc Brakes||Aluminum/ Suntour Suspension Fork||4.3|
|6. Schwinn Discover Men's||Commuting, Comfort||3X7 Shimano TX-31/ Promax V-Brakes||Aluminum||4.3|
|7. Yukon Trails Xplorer Sport||Commuting, Fitness, Comfort||Electric Motor 7-Speed with Shimano Shifters/ V-Brakes||Steel||4.3|
|8. Vilano C1 Comfort Road Bike Shimano||Comfort, Commuting, Trail||3X7 Shimano Trigger/ V-Brakes||Steel/ 30mm Suspension Fork||4.3|
|9. Diamondback Bicycles Insight 2||Commuting, Fitness, Trail||3X7 Shimano Altus/ Tektro Disc Brakes||Aluminum||4.2|
|10. Northwoods Springdale Women's 700c||Commuting, Comfort||3X7 Shimano Tourney/ V-Brakes||Aluminum||4.1|
|11. Diamondback Bicycles 2016 Trace Sport||Commuting, Fitness, Trail||3X8 Shimano Acera/ Tektro Disc Brakes||Aluminum/ 75mm Travel Fork||4.1|
|12. Kent Avondale Men's||Commuting, Comfort||3X7 Shimano TX35 Revoshift/ V-Brakes with Sure Stop Anti-Lock System||Aluminum||3.9|
|13. Schwinn Men's Wayfarer||Commuting, Comfort||1X7 Schwinn/ V-Brakes||Steel||3.9|
|14. GTM 20"6 Speed Foldable Bicycle||Commuting, Travel, Camping||1X6 Shimano/V-Brakes||Steel Foldable Frame||3.7|
|15. Giordano RS700 Hybrid Bike||Commuting, Fitness, Trail||3X7 Shimano TX35/ V-Brakes||Aluminum/ Steel Fork||3.5|
What You Should Know Before Purchasing a Hybrid Bike
There are a multitude of hybrid bikes available and choosing the best one for your needs can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for as you shop.
In this section, we will give you the rundown on what the different frame materials, components, and sizes mean, and how they correlate with the way you plan to ride.
Choose One Based on How (and Where) You Will Use It
Hybrid bikes attract a wide range of riders since they are so versatile; some people want a bike that can get them to work and withstand pothole-infested roads. Others want a comfortable ride for weekend adventures that may end up on gravel roads or hiking trails. Then, there are those that want a bicycle to do all of that, plus hold work clothes and groceries while taking the hilly route home.
Each of said riders wants the versatility of a hybrid but may be looking for more specific design characteristics of their bike.
- The daily commuter should look for a bike with fenders to protect them from wet roads, and storage racks for work clothes and lunch. Such a bike is usually more adapted for pavement use with slick tires and fewer gears.
- A rider who wants something for all-road fitness may not desire fenders or racks, but needs a lighter bike and possibly a suspension fork with wide knobby tires for heavy trail use.
Components You Can Count On
Most companies produce a sturdy frame you can rely on, so when it comes to deciding what makes one bike better than the other, look at the quality of the components. These pieces include seat, drivetrain, suspension, brakes, wheels, and tires.
- Drivetrain – The gear selection on your bike is extremely important and should be compatible with your riding style. When we mention drivetrain, we are referring to the gears, front and rear derailleurs (mechanisms that move the chain from one gear to another), the crank arms (arms that connect the pedals to your front gears), and the shifting levers on your handlebars.
If you intend to use your bike primarily for flat, city riding, then consider a 1X8 (one gear in front, eight in the back). Most riders don’t need many gears on flat routes, and less gearing simplifies your bike, which can reduce maintenance issues.
If you live in a hilly area or plan to use the bike on trails, it is important to have a wide range of gears to ease the workload on your legs. Look for a bike with 3X7+ (3 in the front, 7 or more in the back) gearing that gives a wide range to tackle steep grades.
Seek options that use big name bicycle component brands such as Shimano or SRAM. These companies dedicate themselves to creating durable and reliable drivetrains that shift smoothly day in and day out. Their craftsmanship trickles down from top-end racing parts to the budget-oriented hybrid.
- Suspension – If you plan to use your hybrid bike on trails or have rough roads on your commute, consider a bike with suspension. The most common suspension system is on the front fork; this prevents rough surfaces from affecting your handling and promotes the longevity of your arm strength. Some bikes also have suspension in the seat post for added comfort.
- Brakes – Being able to pedal smoothly is important, but being able to stop is even more so. The quality of brakes on your bike is nothing to take lightly. Imagine a busy intersection at the bottom of a steep hill. Would you be comfortable with brakes that take a lifetime to slow you down?
- V-Brakes – V-brakes or pull brakes are the most common option on hybrid bikes. They are a tried and true system that’s been around for decades. This type of brake doesn’t have the best stopping power but is easy to use and work on, and if maintained will be sufficient in any situation.
- Disc Brakes – Disc brake systems are a relatively new trend in the cycling community, but they’re taking off like wildfire. By far the most powerful of the braking options, discs give confidence in any setting and are especially helpful for trail use and wet weather riding.
They are more complicated to work on, so if you aren’t experienced with bike maintenance, it is encouraged to get them fixed at a shop.
- Seats and Tires – Comfort while riding is important. If you aren’t comfortable, you aren’t enjoying the ride. A proper seat that fits your seat bones and the right tires for the job can make all the difference.
Don’t look for the most cushioned seat. Look for one that fits your bum well, doesn’t cut off blood circulation, and doesn’t rub in all the wrong places.
Tires should agree with your riding. Narrow, slick tread tires are efficient for city use. Wider, knobbier tires add confidence on the trails. Some tires are slick in the middle with knobs on the side for the best of both worlds. Look for tires with puncture resistant reinforcement to prevent pesky flats on a rainy day.
- What’s With the Wheel Sizes? Wheels are the most played with component out there. In the hybrid market, you will see an array of choices, but the common sizes are 700c, 29in, and 26in. These three sizes are actually only two. 700c and 29in wheels have the same diameter and can use the same tires. Through branding and the cycling community, they’ve acquired different names.
Mountain bikers prefer the term 29in or 29er. Road bikers use 700c.
Tires are interchangeable between these two wheels, but be mindful that 29in wheels are designed for mountain biking and have a wider rim profile than most 700c rims. Therefore, it’s a bad idea to put a 23mm wide road tire on a 29in rim that’s 28mm wide.
Frame Material Matters
What a frame is made of determines its strength and weight. Most frames are built to withstand heavy use, but some materials hold up better than others.
Based on our knowledge and years of experience riding bikes, we have a pretty good idea of what the pros and cons are for each of the different materials.
- Steel – Steel is one of the heaviest materials used in frame building; however, modern steel tubing manufacturers have developed a lighter product of equal strength. While they may be the heaviest, they’re also the most forgiving. Steel frames absorb the road better than aluminum and are more malleable, which means you will bend the frame under stress before snapping it.
- Aluminum – We love that aluminum is so light and strong; it’s the go-to material when you’re looking for a balance between cost and strength. Aluminum frames are stiffer than steel, and in return pick up more road vibration; they can, however, be countered with a good seat, tires, and handlebar grips.
- Carbon Fiber – Carbon frames are rare in the hybrid world, but the popular road bike material occasionally makes its way into the market. Most commonly, a bike will have an aluminum frame and a carbon fiber front fork. Carbon fiber is extremely light and strong but also has road-dampening capabilities like steel. Based on the carbon fiber bikes that we’ve tried, we can assure you the performance boost justifies the higher price tag.
The Perfect Fit
If your goal is to purchase the best hybrid bike to meet your daily (or occasional) needs, then you need it to fit properly. There are many people out there riding bikes way too small and others who opt for something that is just too large; this can be uncomfortable and inhibit you from getting everything out of your new ride.
The most thorough and educational way to understand your sizing is to visit a local bike shop. There they can measure you on a special bike-fitting system.
For those that don’t have the time or extra dough, these are some general guidelines to follow.
- Extra Small: 4’10” – 5’1” tall → frame size 47-49cm or 13-14in
- Small: 5’1” – 5’5” tall → frame size 50-52cm or 15-16in
- Medium: 5’5”- 5’9” tall → frame size 53-54cm or 17-18in
- Large: 5’9”- 6’0” tall → frame size 55-57cm or 19-20in
- Extra Large: 6’0”- 6’3” tall→ frame size 58-61cm or 21-22in
Budgeting and Upgrades to Consider
The hybrid category comes with a wide range of pricing, which means – in general – you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t find a good value bicycle and add upgrades for an extra boost in performance and comfort.
If you come across that sweet deal you can’t pass up, consider using the money saved on upgrades like the seat, wheels, tires, fenders, or even handlebar grips. The more pride and comfort you feel with your bike, the more you’ll want to ride it.
15 Best Hybrid Bikes Reviews
1. Vilano Diverse 3.0 – Best Hybrid Bike for Men
The Vilano Diverse 3.0 takes the top spot on our list because of its amazing value. It has all the great features of a bike double the cost, without any of the drawbacks you see in other budget minded builds. On top of that, it is said to hold up amazingly well over time.
The name Shimano will pop up multiple times throughout these reviews. That’s a good thing – they are leaders in the component industry, and many companies use their shifting elements to add reliability and value to their product. The Diverse 3.0’s Shimano 24-speed drivetrain gives peace of mind when shifting up and down over any terrain. If your route to work is hilly or you enjoy seeking out the steepest pitch in town, this is the bike for the job.
A lightweight aluminum frame with disc brakes establishes a sporty feel – instilling confidence through turns and quick decision situations. Rough roads and gravel are easily tamed with 35mm tires. Take whichever adventurous route you desire; terrain won’t be an issue.
If the performance isn’t enough to convince you, perhaps the looks will. A simple black design is carried throughout the bike, with minimal branding for a clean aesthetic. The Diverse 3.0 looks stealthy, and you will feel cunning as you take the single-track shortcut to avoid road traffic.
Before you jump into ordering one, there are a few things to consider. The bike will need some fine-tuning as you piece it together out of the box. It’s recommended that buyers take it to a bike shop to be built; this will guarantee you get the most out of your new bike.
The Diverse 3.0 also has no suspension. If you plan to ride heavily on trails and rough roads, there may be better options, though the disc brakes and wide tires will get the job done for ambitious riders.
If the Vilano Diverse 3.0 is too road-oriented for your liking, the Mongoose Banish 2.0 undeniably leans toward the mountain bike end of the hybrid spectrum. The Banish 2.0 pulls out all the stops, making it one of the most shred-worthy bikes on the list.
Disc brakes give you enough confidence to take the trail you thought could never be tamed. If you happen to find yourself in over your head, the stopping power is there to save the day.
A suspension fork guides the front wheel over large bumps and makes certain no trail gets the best of you. Logs will feel like twigs as you roll over anything in your way if you pair the bike with 29in wheels. A smile on your face is inescapable with every mile you are on this bike.
All that’s great, but what about something that’s easy to ride through town for work? The Banish 2.0 is more than capable. A lightweight frame makes it easy to cruise city streets and lug up flights of stairs to your office – you will love this bike so much that locking it outside will feel like an injustice.
The Shimano 21-speed drivetrain, no surprise, shifts effortlessly after daily use. Moreover, the large gear selection makes hauling items easy if you decide to mount a rear rack to hold your daily belongings.
Large, knobby tires aren’t ideal if you plan to do most of your riding on pavement, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to swap them out for slicker tread if that’s the case. A highly recommended tire is the Continental Gatorskin. In a 32mm size, the puncture resistant design can still tackle off-road riding and greatly reduce your risk of a flat.
Perhaps one of the biggest perks of this bike for some is that it’s easy to build out of the box and needs little to no fine tuning. In fact, the only thing we could find to complain about was that the seat wasn’t all that comfortable, which is an easy upgrade.
Tommaso is a company based out of Denver, Colorado, and the mountainous region where the La Forma is tested shines through in its design. If you are looking for a bike that will tackle any hill in your area or can get you to work quickly when you’re running late, the Tommaso La Forma is a bike you have to consider.
This bike looks fast, and that’s because it is. A 27-speed full Shimano drivetrain keeps you dancing up the hills and churning down flat roads. You won’t need to worry about needing an extra gear when the going gets tough; there will be another one to keep you pedaling.
The La Forma also comes with a carbon fiber fork – the only bike on the list with this feature. Not only does the carbon fiber lighten up an already featherweight aluminum frame, but it also dampens road vibrations felt by the rider; this adds comfort to what would otherwise be a stiff ride.
Another feature that adds to the comfort of the bike is its WTB brand seat. WTB is a highly rated seat manufacturer, and it is clear Tommaso had top quality comfort in mind with their seat choice.
Tommaso’s error was making this bike too much like a road bike. The wide range gearing and flat handlebars certainly add to the bike’s versatility, but consider upgrading to wider tires if you plan to hit the gravel or encounter some nasty potholes on your commute. The 32mm puncture-resistant Kenda tires are a bonus for city riding but don’t have a wide enough footprint when the trail gets rough.
It also lacks disc brakes. While the V-brakes are more than adequate, we feel disc brakes could have been the cherry on top for the La Forma. After all, it’s one of the fastest bikes on the list, so you’re going to be using those brakes a lot.
If you are worried about being too hard on this bike by taking it off-road, don’t be. It can handle it, and if it doesn’t, Tommaso has a lifetime warranty. Be sure to take it to a shop to be professionally fine-tuned when purchased though. Otherwise your warranty could be void.
When it comes to city bikes, Charge has things figured out. The British company’s bikes can be found on every corner of London. So, if you plan using your hybrid primarily for around town trips, look no further.
The Charge Grater 1 is designed for everyday commuters, in any weather. The Grater 1 has an aluminum frame with a steel fork to absorb the road and hold strong through all the abusive streets you turn down. Add to that one of the most comfortable seats on the list, and you have yourself a comfy ride without the added weight of the suspension.
A 1×8 gear setup is limiting to those looking for a bike to tackle hilly or off-road terrain, but it’s a huge advantage in the city. Not only does the simplistic drivetrain reduce weight, it reduces maintenance headaches that some of the heavily geared bikes have. Less moving parts means less chance of failure.
The Charge Grater 1 looks mean and wants to keep you nice and clean. Fenders come standard with the bike, which is a huge plus for those living in rainy regions. Staying dry is important when heading to the office or going out to meet friends.
In addition to its water-repelling capabilities, the Grater 1 comes with a rust-proof chain, so you can relax about leaving it locked up in the rain.
Aside from the limited gearing, we were unimpressed with the handlebar grips. They are abrasive and a day’s worth of riding can leave your hands torn up. Plan to swap them out if you will be using the bike daily. The Grater 1 is supposed to be tearing up the streets, not your palms.
Handlebar grips are a cheap and easy upgrade that shouldn’t deter you from this bike. We recommend buying a set of OUTERDO handlebar grips. They are cheap, come in a variety of colors, and the soft rubber with non-abrasive padding prevents your palms from getting ripped up.
Like the Mongoose Banish 2.0, the Marin San Rafael DS2 is a hybrid bicycle that goes off-road with ease. Marin is a respected company out of Marin County, California that has been manufacturing quality bikes for 30 years. They have a pedigree for stellar mountain bikes, and the San Rafael DS2 sees some of that greatness trickle down to its multipurpose, dual-sport design.
The lightweight aluminum frame and disc brakes inspire confidence while you throw the bike around on a trail. Gluing the bike to the terrain are beefy Schwalbe dual sport treaded tires. If you’ve heard of Schwalbe from the auto industry, then you know they produce high-quality rubber to keep you rolling.
The San Rafael DS2 also has a fantastic front suspension fork with a lockout feature. The locking capability allows riders to stiffen the bike while riding on the road or climbing hills. You can then release the suspension to absorb all the bumps on the way back down.
What makes the San Rafael DS2 different from Marin’s mountain bikes? It comes equipped with rack and fender mounts for commuting and features a versatile 24-speed Shimano drivetrain that not only handles the low-speed trails but lets you fly on the pavement as well. The frame geometry is also designed for a more upright casual position to relieve stress on the back and arms.
One interesting feature on the Marin is its internal cable routing system. In some ways, internal routing is a plus; it keeps your cables protected from the elements, and it gives the bike a cleaner look. However, after hundreds of miles of use, when it comes time to change the cables, it can be a real pain to do so. Often, it is better to save yourself the hassle and let the bikes shop stress over it.
The Schwinn Discover has everything that makes the hybrid genre great; however, the execution is not quite there compared to those in the top five, dropping this bike down a few spots on the list.
The Discover comes with everything from fenders and racks, to fork and seat suspension. Where it falls flat is in the quality of its parts. Schwinn is the manufacturer for most of the components on this bike. That’s great for them, but not so great for the consumer. The only parts that aren’t labeled Schwinn are the rear derailleur and handlebar shifters. Shimano makes those, so there’s something you can count on.
Schwinn has been a household name for decades. However, when a manufacturer makes everything from the frame, brakes, seat, wheels, and even tires, there are bound to be corners cut. Unfortunately, that is evident with the Discover.
The suspension system in the seat post is more of a gimmick than anything else. It goes up and down, but not smoothly, which can add a ripple effect while going over a big bump. We also heard multiple horror stories of wheel failures and pedals falling off after heavy use.
We are being critical here because this really is a good bike for the price point. If you don’t plan to use it daily or are open to upgrading parts after purchase, it’s actually a great choice. We just recommend taking it to a shop for fine-tuning out of the box.
There are aspects to love about this bike, like the classic look. With all its added features, there’s a lot going on with the Discover, yet Schwinn was able to produce a simple looking build.
All of the extra components add weight to the aluminum frame, and it’s not our first choice for the fitness-minded rider. A casual trip around town or through the park – in a sundress or slacks and tie – is right where this bike seems most at home.
The Yukon Trails Xplorer stands out from the rest of the list for one intriguing reason: it has an electric motor. We were hesitant to include a bike with any sort of assist at first, but the 350W motor is well executed and has a logical purpose.
For those in need of some extra muscle, or often carry a lot of gear on the bike, the Xplorer is a solid option. The electric motor can be used as a pedal assist for those that want to keep pedaling, but need an extra push to get up steep hills. It also functions as a grip throttle for a pedal-free boost to ease your final few miles home.
A fully charges battery can keep you going for about 31 miles at 15 mph on flat ground. So, if you don’t feel like pedaling at all for a day, the bike will have you covered.
The Xplorer also comes equipped with fenders, racks, and battery-operated lights. The lights are a huge bonus for those who commute in the early morning or stay at the office late.
We weren’t surprised at how heavy the bike was, but for an aluminum frame with front suspension, all the bells and whistles, and an electric motor, it’s really not as hefty as it could be. With the 7-speed Shimano drivetrain, it’s easy to pedal around without feeling like you’re on a motorcycle.
Disc brakes would have made a world of difference with this bike. With the Xplorer being such a heavy package and having added power from the motor, V-brakes just don’t provide enough stopping power. Think of it like an 18-wheeler or a train; the faster and heavier the object, the harder it is to stop.
The bike is delivered in well-executed packaging for shipping protection. Thankfully, it also comes mostly assembled aside from the front wheel, handlebars, and seat. The downfall in assembly is the instructions. Yukon Trails does a poor job of explaining all the motors functions, which is a newer concept to most users.
If the Vilano Diverse 3.0 is for the fitness-minded commuter, their C1 model is for the comfort biased. Like the Diverse, the C1 is a great value build that will meet your performance needs.
The steel frame and 30mm travel suspension fork create an extremely smooth ride that gobbles up all the bumps in your way. It also boasts a comfort relief seat and relaxed frame geometry. The C1 is like riding on a cloud.
These features, of course, add weight to the bike, but the weight makes this rig feel tank-like. We had no problem going from smooth pavement to chunky gravel on a whim.
The bike also comes with 26in wheels. Most on the list have 29in, or 700c wheels that produce more speed. The 26in model with wide tires has slower straight-line speed, but excellent handling in tight turns.
With a 21-speed Shimano drivetrain, you feel confident tackling any steep grade on or off-road. Moreover, the gears work great out of the box with little to no fine-tuning.
Though it is plenty capable, we almost cringe at the idea of taking this bike off-road and dinging up the paint job. A beautiful blue frame – with light brown grips and seat – fashions a classy look that is sure to turn heads. With a nice rack set up, you can cruise to work in style and comfort.
One fault of Vilano is skimping on pedals. All the other components are quality for the price point, but the pedals are junk plastic that feel like they could break with one strong pedal stroke. It’s an affordable upgrade and nothing to stress over, but if they were of better quality, it would be hard to find any qualms with this comfort hybrid.
Avoid the stress of a pedal breaking mid-ride by upgrading to something like the Race Face Chester pedals. The nylon and steel construction is lightweight, provides excellent grip, and most importantly – can take a beating.
As a company, Diamondback has been trying to break away from their big-box retailer persona. They have recently invested a lot of time and money into racing performance bikes and now sponsor many professional road and mountain bike teams.
That effort has had a noticeable effect on their budget bikes down the line. The Insight 2 is a fine example of this. The bike is lightweight, fast, and comes with a great cluster of components for the price point.
Not only does it boast a full Shimano drivetrain (featuring derailleurs and shifters, as well as crank arms and gears), Diamondback doubled down with Tektro disc brakes. Tektro is the top manufacturer in the brake business.
The Kenda tires are another bonus on this bike. They are slightly narrow for all-road use. If gravel is on your agenda, you may consider a wider set. Regardless, Kenda tires are excellent, and flats won’t be at the forefront of your mind every time you hop on the bike.
Of course, there are a few things that didn’t work out with the Insight 2. The seat is rubbish, and many of our testers complained about stiffness when coupled with the aluminum frame. Expect to upgrade for added comfort. Our team highly suggests something like the WTB Volt Race seat. WTB knows what your backside needs and you won’t regret getting a quality saddle under you.
We also recommend getting the bike shipped directly to a shop for assembly. While the drivetrain, wheels, and brakes are high-quality, Diamondback doesn’t waste time ensuring they are fine-tuned before shipping – that’s up to the customer.
If we could add anything to the Insight 2, it would be a suspension fork. As mentioned, the ride can be stiff with an all-aluminum frame. The Insight 2 handles any road surface, but you may not be willing to go there if you’re getting jolted around.
10. Northwoods Springdale Women’s 700c – Best Hybrid Bike for Women
We hadn’t heard of Northwoods before researching for this review. It was later discovered Northwoods is a subsidiary of Kent, who has another bike on the list. Regardless, they have created something noteworthy with their Springdale hybrid.
The Springdale is an aluminum-framed bike with front suspension, racks, fenders, and a nice classic look. At first glance, it could be taken for a beach cruiser.
Luckily, it doesn’t behave like one. The Springdale is a bit heavy for an aluminum bike, but most of that weight stems from the accessories you would likely add on later anyways. The frame itself is actually sporty with its wide tubing for added stiffness when pedaling and turning.
The Shimano drivetrain works smoothly as to be expected. With 21-speeds there will always be a gear available. The V-brakes function decently. They are somewhat noisy, but after breaking them in, they slow you down and offer good stopping power for a pull system.
Comfort is the Springdale’s big draw. The bike is designed around an upright riding position to prevent back and shoulder pain during longer jaunts around town. A cushioned seat makes up for road vibrations from the aluminum frame, and wide tires produce a comfortable ride through any terrain. Paired with the front suspension, off-road riding is surprisingly easy for a bike of its weight.
Issues begin to arise over long term use. While the bike has a lot of perks and a sleek look, it is one of the lower budget models on the list. The Shimano pieces are the only parts with any established quality. The wheels, pedals, cranks, and handlebars are all budget-minded components, and that fact becomes clear after a few hundred miles.
There have been many reports of failed bearings and worn out moving pieces that need to be replaced. We recommend getting the bike to a shop out of the box for fine-tuning so that said pieces can be adjusted properly to extend their lifespan.
Diamondback makes the list again with another quality build in the Trace Sport. If the Insight 2 leaned more towards a road bike, the Trace Sport definitely veers towards a mountain bike.
The Suntour front suspension fork is a great feature on this bike. It absorbs every bump in its way and doesn’t feel heavy or cumbersome like other fork suspensions on the list.
Tektro again makes an appearance with this Diamondback and gives riders amazing stopping power with soundly engineered disc brakes.
45c Kenda tires grace the 29in wheels, and we love them. The wide layout renders plenty of ground contact, which offers a huge bid of confidence to its handling off-road. The 29in wheels roll over anything without a problem and produce exceptional road speed, even with the wide tires.
The Trace Sport’s ride quality on trails is very similar to that of the Marin San Rafael DS2. Given that they take a similar chunk out of your wallet, we expected outstanding performance and the Diamondback didn’t disappoint.
So, why is the Diamondback Trace Sport so far down the list if it’s comparable to the Marin San Rafael DS2 ranked number five? It comes down to the fact that there are a few upgrades that can’t be ignored with this bike – for starters, the seat.
Again, Diamondback chose a stiff seat that left our butts uncomfortable. Fortunately, the suspension and plush tires help where Diamondback’s other model – the Insight 2 – floundered. Be sure to check out our recommended upgrade in the Insight 2’s review.
It’s also heavier than the Marin bike. If you plan to add racks or fenders, the weight can really add up and leave you with a tank. Though that’s not always a bad thing, the Trace Sport is fitness minded, so we are being critical of its performance.
Assembly is a bit more complicated with this bike, and it may need a trip to the bike shop before riding for the mechanically challenged.
At first glance, the Kent Avondale doesn’t appear to be anything special – just another generic hybrid bike. It’s not until you are forced to abruptly stop that you’ll be thankful you’re on an Avondale.
Kent created a unique Sure Stop braking system that is literally a lifesaver. The aluminum V-brakes are connected to a single brake lever on the handlebars. When you apply the brakes, the rear is engaged first, and the front brake is smoothly applied second. This design prevents riders from grabbing too much front brake in an emergency situation and ending up over the handlebars.
It’s quite genius, and we’re surprised the single lever system hasn’t been utilized in more recreational bikes, especially for children. The one downside is getting used to a single lever after coming from a standard braking system, but at least you don’t have to worry about going over the bars!
Outside the brake system, this bike is a pretty standard hybrid. It has a 21-speed Shimano drivetrain attached to an aluminum frame with decent wheels and tires to tackle rough roads.
The wheels have bolt on hubs instead of quick release levers; this is a nice feature for commuters when locking up around town as the fear of returning from lunch to a bike with no wheels is greatly reduced.
Where the Avondale starts having problems is in important comfort elements like the seat, handlebars, and pedals.
The seat is chunky and uncomfortable, which can ruin your casual ride on a sunny day. The bulkiness may cause troublesome rubbing, and it’s not well cushioned for a seat with so much padding.
The handlebars are supposed to be adjustable, but it is very difficult to move the stem. If a company advertises adjustability, we’d expect to be able to make easy changes; this is something you should mention to a mechanic if you take it in for fine-tuning. They may know how to loosen the adjustable pieces and then retighten it for you.
The pedals, like many on the list, have a hard time holding up to heavy use; this isn’t a huge negative, but it’s never fun breaking a pedal in the middle of a long ride. We suggest upgrading them right away and give a great recommendation in the Vilano C1 review.
If you are looking for a bike with a retro look, like steel frames from the 70’s, then the Schwinn Wayfarer is a great modern day option. In fact, it may be one of the cleanest, simplest builds on the list.
Like the Charge Grater 1, the Wayfarer comes with a one-by drivetrain: one gear in the front, seven gears in the back; this could reduce a lot of potential maintenance problems, but the Schwinn brand rear derailleur leads us to believe you’ll still find some issues down the road.
Another component that fails in comparison to the Grater 1 is the Wayfarer’s bulky seat. It has spring suspension under the shell of the saddle, which seems great in theory, but the heft of the padding makes it unnoticeable, and you end up focusing on how many places are being rubbed downstairs.
A rear rack, fenders, and chain guard come standard with the bike; this is a huge plus given the cost. Not only that, but they look great with the build. They were designed for this bike and aren’t generic pieces – slapped on to boost the price tag.
During our research, we discovered that problems with damage from shipping and poor packaging were not uncommon. We didn’t experience this problem. Unfortunately, this problem isn’t new to our list, but Schwinn’s lifetime warranty guarantees replacement of broken or failed parts without much hassle. So, if you love this bike, it’s probably worth the risk of waiting on a damaged part.
The warranty is a nice touch and gives confidence to buyers that are hesitant, due to the quality of the components. However, our view of the Wayfarer is based on the fact it’s a heavy steel bike with only seven gears to choose from. Many riders will find themselves struggling to get around on difficult terrain.
Many people bike to work but take the bus or train for a portion of their commute. Not everyone is up for a 15 mile trip in the morning. Hauling your bike around while changing modes of transportation can be a real drag, but not with the GTM Foldable 20in Hybrid.
The GTM Foldable is ideal for daily travel. Just fold it up and carry it on the train or up stairs with ease. The folding system works great; open up a few levers, and the bike collapses into a compact configuration that’s easy to store and haul around.
The frame is extremely sturdy, giving riders peace of mind. The general fold-up design has many points of potential weakness, but GTM covers their bases with a very stable design.
The sturdiness of the steel frame comes at the expense of weight, which is a big factor for a bike you plan to carry around. The GTM Foldable weighs in at 34 pounds; it’s not even close to the heaviest on the list, but we expected lighter given the circumstances.
If there is something you should immediately upgrade on this bike, it’s the brakes. They are terrible. Compared to a bike with disc brakes, this system feels like it has no stopping power whatsoever. An emergency braking situation may end in the emergency room.
Be cautious of ordering this bike if it involves long distance shipping. Many customers have complained about terrible packaging and damaged parts before even putting the bike together. We didn’t have this problem but may have gotten lucky; this is, unfortunately, a decisive factor in why the GTM Foldable barely made the list. If it were just the brakes, that would be an easy upgrade. Risking the possibility of replacing a bunch of parts before getting to ride leaves us feeling nervous.
The Giordano RS700 makes the list because it truly is a sturdy bike. The looks may lead you to think otherwise. So, in a way, you could call this a sleeper: a bike that outshines its appearance.
A steel fork comes with the aluminum frame and provides comfort on bumpy roads. It’s heavy, but built to last and offers great value for its low cost. There are a few other bikes on the list that went with the steel fork/ aluminum frame option, and we really enjoy the ride quality it produces.
The 21-speed Shimano drivetrain comes equipped with plenty of gears. You may have to use that baby gear going up a hill on this thing due to its weight. However, for such a low price tag, the Shimano drivetrain alone makes this thing a steal.
The brakes are a different story. They slow you down, but the whole block will know you’ve arrived. Put simply; they are loud. The wheels are painted and Giordano puzzlingly used rims with no brake track; this not only affects the performance but is also the reason for all the racket.
Unlike some of the beautiful bikes on this list, the Giordano comes with an abundance of decals. Not only are they overdone and gaudy, but poorly applied as well. We’ve heard complaints of bubbling and peeling right out of the box. It’s a shame when looks overshadow an otherwise decent bike.
The RS700 is another bike that should be taken in for fine-tuning before heavy riding. While there, maybe you can work out a deal on a wheel upgrade. Something with a functioning brake track, perhaps. A wheel upgrade would not only replace one of the weaker performing components but allow the brakes to work to their full potential as well.
Time to Start Riding
After reading through our reviews, we hope you now have an idea of what constitutes the best hybrid bike for you. There are many different options out there, but these fifteen machines cover all the bases, provide great value, and most have men’s and women’s configurations to choose from.
It’s important to know where you will be riding the bike most, and what features you can and can’t live without. Is a rack a necessity? Do you only need a few gears for getting around town? Are you mechanically inclined and comfortable with buying something that needs fine-tuning out of the box?
Gravitate towards something that includes all the important factors for you and remember, if there are one or two things that don’t meet your criteria, you can always upgrade where it’s needed. For example, we love the Vilano Diverse 3.0 but will need to purchase a rack and fenders to ride it as a daily commuter.
We hope there are clear options on the list that can’t be passed up. The road awaits.