Hi I’m hugh. As a keen cyclist I and regular cycling commuter I will be adding posts to this blog every week. The main topics will be around commuting to work on a bicycle. To kick off I have put together and overview of my favourite type of commuter bike the hybrid.
If you just need a bike to travel to and from work, with some recreational rides on the weekends, then a hybrid bike is just perfect for you. It is affordable and great to travel on all types of terrains without any problem.
But how do you buy a hybrid bike that is a complete value for your money? If this is what you are now wondering, then continue reading to discover your answer.
What is a hybrid bike?
A hybrid bike is a kind of combination of a mountain bike and a standard bike, taking the best of both these types, resulting in a machine that is suitable for all types of terrains. Hybrid bikes have a tall head tube and a short top tube to offer an upright and relaxed riding position that will not hurt your shoulders and neck and is thus very comfortable.
As compared to the road bikes, the hybrid bikes have tires that can be of varying width, from 28 mm to 42 mm. This, together with ensuring comfort, also allows you a better grip when the roads are wet. So, hybrid bikes ensure complete comfort, great riding, and full safety.
What types are available?
What someone might find to be a perfect hybrid bike might not suit your needs. Depending on the kind of ride you are interested in, you shall end up getting one that is closer to a mountain bike or more similar to a road bike.
If you plan to ride mostly on cycle paths and roads then the road-oriented hybrid bike is ideal for you. These bikes usually will have those fork and frame that you will find in a sportive road bike, but it has a flat bar handlebar that offers you a more upright position. The tires of such bikes are also slick and not too wide, thus allowing you to travel easily and fast.
This kind of hybrid bike also comes with gearing that is suitable for flat roads. Towards its bottom ends the gearing are also good for commuting some fierce hills, but if you are carrying some extra pounds with you, then it can be a little difficult.
If, however, you are a commuter who plans to ride on bridleways and rough cycle paths then you need a bike that is made for the terrain. This type of hybrid bike will have a suspension fork that is good for rutted and rough surfaces. Such bikes also have little wider tires with a little tread, allowing better grip.
These bikes have easier gearing compared to the road-oriented ones. So, you might not be able to travel with equally great speed, but climbing that steep surface certainly will become a lot easier.
Most hybrid bikes are made of either of these three materials – aluminum, carbon, or steel.
The least common one is steel, which though can ensure you a comfortable traveling experience, but it makes the bike heavy and can be difficult to drag over the hills. Nonetheless, steel bikes are aesthetically attractive, and if you just plan to travel down to the shops then this can be a good choice.
Aluminum is quite a popular choice, and most of the hybrid bikes are made of this material. If you use the aluminum bikes the right way then you surely will enjoy a comfortable ride, and the bike will last you for a very long time.
Lastly, carbon is a material that is used to design the costlier and the best hybrid bikes. If you want to save your commute time then this is a great option for you.
Some hybrid bikes are also made with a carbon fork and aluminum frame. This help in offering a better job on rough roads, while lowering the cost.
The different components
As far as gearing is concerned, the more you pay the better you get. If you are ready to invest a good amount then you can get the best hybrid bikes with great quality groupsets, ensuring least efforts required to shift between gears, yet great quality shifting.
If, however, you just need a bike for commuting to and from work then shift quality need not be given much importance. Those residing in hilly areas can opt for a bike that has 32-tooth sprocket at its back that makes it easier for you to travel up steep gradients.
You also the have the option to choose between rim brakes and disc brakes. Rim brakes are less expensive and are preferred for braking on road bikes mostly. They are easy to maintain, adjust, and are lighter compared to disc brakes.
Even though disc brakes have always been used on mountain bikes, but they are now used in the road bikes as well, and are great for hybrid bikes. Compared to the rim ones, disc brakes are slightly costlier, but they offer better braking power and better performance on dry as well as wet conditions.
What features should you look for?
It is true that the components and frame decided how great a ride you will enjoy, but there are some other features that help decide how good your bike will be for daily use.
If you need to carry lots of heavy items while going to work, then taking a rucksack along can be difficult, as it will often stick into your back. It will be better if you opt for a pair of panniers so that your bike takes the load and not you.
The best hybrid bikes must have eyelets in their frame where you can keep a pannier rack. You can buy adaptor clips that can allow you to take pannier racks even without eyelets, but these will not hold your rack as firmly.
Try to search for a hybrid bike that has enough clearance between the tire and the frame so that you can fit mudguards, and also eyelets so that you can fit those with better coverage, instead of the flimsy clip ones. This idea certainly might not sound to be interesting, but when you commute on wet roads, you will be more than happy.
Now that you know everything about hybrid bikes, finding the best for your needs is certainly going to be a lot simpler. So, get a bike for yourself, and enjoy a great ride.