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Best hybrid bikes: Fantastic fitness bikes for getting around town

Included in this guide:

A Ribble hybrid bike leans against a fence
(Image credit: Ribble)

The best hybrid bikes - or fitness bikes - are based around an upright geometry designed to maximise comfort while limiting the trade-offs for speed and handling. Hybrid bikes also make for some of the best commuter bikes, as they often offer plenty of mounting points for mudguards and racks.

Blending the qualities of the best road bikes with mountain bikes, the best hybrid bikes are fast and comfortable bikes that are perfect for the commute, carrying luggage, and getting around town. Covering the entire pricing spectrum, they are usually specced with flat handlebars and parts that require minimal maintenance but still perform in any riding condition. 

Quite often cyclists get a bit too hung up on things like weight, aerodynamics and bottom bracket stiffness, forgetting that the vast majority of riders use bikes to get from point A to point B, and to get outside for a bit of exercise. If this is what you're looking for, you've come to the right place. We've gathered our picks of the best hybrid bikes you can buy today, so you can leave the car at home and spend more time out on two wheels.

If you're likely to be combining cycling with public transport, you might be better off checking out the best folding bikes, while those who prefer a women's specific fit should take a look at the best women's hybrid bikes as well.

Read on for the best hybrid bikes you can buy today, or head down to the bottom of the page for a rundown of what to look for in a hybrid bike.

A small disclaimer about stock levels

There has been a huge boom in the popularity of cycling due to the pandemic, thanks to the quieter roads, the reduced desire to use public transport, and the fact that exercise has been one of the few permitted reasons to get outside. 

As such there's been a shortage of bikes, which means many of the bikes currently listed will likely be low in stock or temporarily unavailable. At Cyclingnews we've done our best to include as many options that are available to buy right now, but with everything that's going on in the world currently, you may need to be a little patient while stock levels are replenished.

Best hybrid bikes available today

Specialized Turbo Vado SL

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0

The best electric hybrid bike

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: 1x10 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £3,800 / $4,500 / €4,599 / AU$7,500

Lightweight for an e-bike 
130km claimed range 
320Wh battery
Another thing to remember to keep charged

The Turbo Vado SL is the latest addition to Specialized's range of e-bikes. The flat bar hybrid fitness bike tips the scales at a feathery (when it comes to the best electric bikes) 15kg and features the brand's SL 1.1 motor system, which can output up to 240 watts of assistance and 35nm of torque — the max speed will vary depending on where you live. Claimed to last over 100km of riding, a 320Wh battery is integrated into the downtube and is controllable with the Mission Control smartphone app.

The frame itself is made from the brand's E5 Aluminium and features reflective graphics. If you're after an even smoother ride (and more grip), you can swap the 700x42c tyres for 650b wheels shod with 47mm tyres.

For more reasons why you might want to consider one of the best electric bikes for commuting, read our in-depth Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 review.

Vitus Dee 29

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Vitus Dee City Bike

A big-wheeled bike that's ready for adventures

Wheel size: 29in | Gearing: 1x7 | Brakes: Cable actuated discs | Price: £349.99 / $399.99 / €479.99 / AU$599.99

External cable routing with full-length housing for easy maintenance
29in wheels and tyres for smooth sailing over rough surfaces
Limited gear range

With a geometry reminiscent of an old school MTB hardtail, the Vitus Dee 29 is a big-wheeled utility bike that can take you past where the pavement ends. Rolling on 29in wheels, the 2.1in WTB Nano tyres are lightly treaded and tarmac friendly; making for minimal rolling resistance on the pavement, but still offering much-needed grip on soft surfaces.

The frame and fork are made from 6061 T6 aluminium, and feature rack and fender mounts galore. Cables are routed externally with full-length housing for easy maintenance and max lifespan. Shimano's Tourney 1x7 drivetrain cycles through the gears and cable-actuated discs provide plenty of power and braking modulation. 

Ridgeback Speed hybrid bike 2021

(Image credit: Ridgeback)

Ridgeback Speed

A fully-equipped entry-level hybrid

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: 3x8 | Brakes: V-brake | Price: £649.99 / $694 / €TBC / AU$944

Comfortable and relaxed geometry
Comes complete with mudguards and a rear rack
Doesn't have disc brakes

Ridgeback's hybrid bikes are an excellent gateway into urban cycling for many. They're practical and comfortable, often come with a full set of mudguards and a rear rack already fitted, and can be an excellent choice for someone who just wants to get going the moment it's built.

It features a 3x7 Shimano Tourney drivetrain, Promax V-brakes which, while they're not disc brakes, are very easy to maintain at home, and comes stock with cushy 42mm tyres that will soak up many of the bumps on the road and maintain grip when the weather takes a turn.

As a brand, Ridgeback offers a huge range of hybrid bikes, starting as low as £299 and increasing in price by £50 increments, with only one or two prominent changes to the build. This means that if the Speed isn't quite up to scratch for your needs, it's incredibly easy to find a Ridgeback hybrid bike that has what you need at a price point you're comfortable with.

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Trek FX 3 Disc

A sporty hybrid for fitness and commuting

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: 2x9 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £775 / $899 / €899 / AU$1,299.99

Comfort enhancing IsoZone handlebar
Carbon fork
Hydraulic disc brakes
Slightly dull aesthetics

Coming out of the big red barn in Waterloo Wisconsin, Trek's FX is the brand's best hybrid bike - at least if popularity is the defining factor. The frame is made from Trek's Alpha aluminium and features internal cable routing and mounts galore for luggage and fenders. The FX 3 also sees a carbon fork which sheds quite a few grams over the metal version and improves vibration dampening. The bike also sees a Bontrager IsoZone handlebar which further improves front end comfort.  

Trek has opted for hydraulic flat-mount disc brakes on the FX so braking will always be confident with little to no maintenance required, and turning the gears is a 2x9-speed Shimano Acera drivetrain. Trek offers the FX in two geometries, this version, in particular, sees the more upright and comfort-focused of the two.

(Image credit: Future)

Cube Hyde Race

Hybrid that rides like an XC race bike with slicks

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: 1x8 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £1,199 / $TBC / €TBC / AU$TBC

Gates belt drive for no-mess maintenance
Tubeless tyres
Limited gear range

While we have a hard time classifying an urban bike as a 'race' bike, Cube's Hyde is based around a lightweight, robust aluminium frame and fork. It sees a Gates Belt drive so no need to worry about regular maintenance. Flat-mount Shimano MT200 hydraulic brakes paired with 160mm rotors, mean the Hyde can stop on a dime and should stay that way with little additional attention. 

The Schwalbe Spicer tyres are well armoured to prevent punctures - they are also tubeless. So, should you roll through a patch of broken glass, you won't be left stuck on the side of the road faffing with tyre levers. 

Best hybrid bikes: Tern Eclipse X22

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Tern Eclipse X22

One of the fastest folding bikes you can buy, both to fold and ride

Wheel size: 26in | Gearing: 2x11 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £2,400 / $2,699 / €2,699 / AU$TBC

26in wheels
Clever hinge placement makes the bike surprisingly compact 
Ultegra drivetrain

Not everybody has room to store a stable of bikes, but that doesn't mean that two-wheeled transport is out of reach. Tern's Eclipse X22 finds the right balance between folding capability and riding efficiency. With 26in wheels and tyres, the bike is vastly more energy efficient over long distances than its smaller wheeled folding cousins, but still compacts down to 38 x 90 x 81cm.

The geometry is also considerably more aggressive than many folders, and it boasts a 2x11 Ultegra drivetrain and Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes. 

(Image credit: Ribble)

Ribble Hybrid AL

Owing to Ribble's bike builder, this is the best hybrid bike for those who want a personalised touch

Wheel size: Customisable | Gearing: Customisable | Brakes: Hydraulic Disc | Price: Varies

Bike builder allows personalisation
Great paint job
Lead times vary for customised options

Our favourite thing about Ribble bikes is that its bike builder allows you to customise your ride to meet your exact specifications. Want 650b wheels and tyres instead of 700c? No problem. How about a parcel rack and mudguards? For sure. Do you think that the front derailleur should be put to bed once and for all? No worries, you can have a 1x drivetrain. 

The Hybrid all-rounder is designed for speed and efficiency but with the ability to customise the components, Ribble has used a versatile geometry that allows it to be adapted for your intended use. With rack and fender mounts, front and rear, the bike uses thru-axles and sees dropped seat stays for added levels of compliance. 

You don't have to customise it though, there are well-considered off-the-shelf packages available too.

Best hybrid bikes: Cannondale Quick 4

(Image credit: Cannondale)

Cannondale Quick 4

With reflective detailing, this is the best hybrid bike for the safety conscious

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: 1x9 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £700 / $875 / €899 / AU$TBC

Aluminium frame
Reflective logos
1x drivetrain
Heavy steel fork

With a respectable lightweight aluminium frame, every decal and logo on the Cannondale Quick is reflective, so it lights up a Christmas tree to help you be seen in low light conditions.

The frame itself sees rack and fender mounts throughout, and the read end has flex tuned into the stays to keep you comfortable as you ride — termed SAVE Micro-Suspension. Cannondale has specced a 1x9-speed drivetrain, complete with a wide range 11-42T cassette and a 38T narrow-wide chainrings, not only does this simplify shifting while still provide heaps of gear range but it also makes dropped chains a thing of the past. 

(Image credit: Giant)

Giant ToughRoad SLR 2

The commuter for mountain bikers

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: 2x9 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £1,099 / $1,050 / €1,249 / AU$1,799

Integrated downtube fender
Carbon fork
Room for 50mm tyres
Not the fastest-rolling tyres 

The ToughRoad, as the name suggests, is designed to keep you going regardless of whether you're riding on glass-smooth tarmac, rough gravel or bone-rattling cobblestones. Made from the brand's ALUXX SLR aluminium, the ToughRoad also has a carbon fork to reduce weight and absorb some of the vibrations coming through the front end. To keep your rear end sitting pretty, Giant has opted to use its D-fuse seatpost for improved compliance, and 50C Giant Sycamore tyres for grip, and plenty of damping too.

The flat-bar geometry keeps the rider in a comfortable position that finds the right balance between comfort and pedalling efficiency, and the frame sees heaps of mounts, as well as an integrated fender on the down tube. With a mix of Shimano Acera, Alivio and Altus components, the bike has a 9-speed, 11-36T cassette and 44/28T chainrings. 

Best hybrid bikes: Cannondale Bad Boy Alfine 8

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Cannondale Bad Boy 1

A great combination of low-maintenance and futuristic styling

Wheel size: 650b | Gearing: 1x8 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £1,900 / $2,250 / €2,299 / AU$2,999

Lefty Lightpipe fork
Internally Geared hub
Hydro disc brakes
Gates Belt Drive
Style won't be to everyone's taste
Limited gear range

The most striking feature of the Cannondale Bad Boy is, of course, the Lefty Lightpipe Fork. Borrowing some of the technology from its mountain bike forks, the stanchions only run down the left side of the wheel. The fork uses a double crown making it ultra-stiff for precise steering and has an integrated LED light strip for improved visibility. Blending in with the blacked-out paint job are reflective logos that light up under artificial light, like car headlights. Also borrowed from the brand's mountain bikes is the internal cable routing setup.

The bike rolls on 650b wheels and tyres, the file tread 40mm WTB Byway tyres provide a comfortable ride over rough terrain, but aren't draggy or noisy on the pavement. With hydraulic disc brakes and an internally geared Shimano Alfine belt drive drivetrain, the only maintenance the Bad Boy will require is making sure there is air in the tyres. 

Best hybrid bikes: Cannondale Treadwell

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Cannondale Treadwell 3

Best for those who like to track their rides

Wheel size: 650b | Gearing: 1x7 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £700 / $800 / €TBC / AU$1,099

Integrated technology
Modern urban styling
Limited gear range

Cannondale's Treadwell features a kinked top tube to create standover height and has what the brand classes as an 'easy geometry,' along with a zippy ride quality when compared to other fitness bikes and hybrids. 

With BMX inspired flat bars and an aluminium frame, the bike features urban armour bumpers to protect the tubing from dings when you lean your bike against a pole or rack. Cannondale also specs a speed and cadence sensor and an intellimount stem which will securely hold any SP connect compatible phone case, so  you can track your rides through the Cannondale App. 

(Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized Sirrus 2.0

A fast, practical hybrid bike

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: 2x8 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £649 / $787 / €810 / AU$1,240

Comfortable geometry 
Dropped seat stays
Hydraulic disc brakes
Heavy steel fork

Made from Specialized's A1 alloy, the Sirrus 2.0 features internal cable routing and plug-and-play fender and rack mounts front and rear. The dropped chainstays at the rear promote a bit of flex at the seat cluster to take the edge off of square hits which combined the 32C tyres provide for a smooth rider — there is room for 42C rubber should you want the full plush La-Z-Boy treatment.

Hydraulic disc brakes provide for heaps of power and modulation regardless of the weather and should stay that way for years to come. The 2x8 Shimano Acera/Tourney drivetrain with an 11-32 cassette and 46/30T chainrings allows for plenty of range to get you through that hilly commute, without sweating through your shirt. 

Best hybrid bikes: Octane Kode Commuter

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Octane Kode Commuter

The drop bar fitness bike simplified

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: Single Speed | Brakes: Cable actuated disc | Price: £949 / $1,099 / €TBC / AU$1,599

Provisions to add geared drivetrain
Not suitable for hilly areas without upgrading drivetrain

The fewer moving parts a bike has, the fewer things there are to break or push out of alignment and it's this simplicity that we love about the Octane Kode drop bar Commuter. With only one gear there are no derailleur hangers to bend, or shift cables to stretch and the 42Tx14t gear combo has a freewheel so you can coast, though it's definitely best suited to flatter rides. The frame does have provisions for a geared drivetrain if you decide your riding warrants a bit more range down the line.

With five sets of bosses, the bike can be well kitted out and the drop bars provide for a slightly lower riding position while also allowing multiple hand positions. The Octane rims are tubeless-ready, though the 700x40c Kenda Kwick tyres are not, while mechanical disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power.

Orbea Vector 15

(Image credit: Orbea)

Orbea Vector 15

Off-the-shelf ready to roll

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: 2x9 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £1,099 / $1,335 / €1,375 / AU$2,095

Hydraulic disc brakes
Comes fitted with mudguards, a rear rack and dynamo lighting
Internal cable routing makes maintenance tricky

If you need a workhorse that can do pretty much everything you want, from commuting to work to carrying the shopping home, but you can't be bothered to figure out all the additional accessories you need to go with it, then you're in luck. The Orbea Vector 15 is off-the-shelf ready to roll, complete with front and rear mudguards, a rear pannier rack and front and rear dynamo lights. All you need to do is don your helmet, grab your best bike lock and start riding to the office.

What's more, the Vector is built around Orbea's Body Sport Geometry, which prioritises comfort, placing the rider in a relaxed and more upright position so that you can see clearly in traffic and ride for as long as you need to without feeling discomfort.

Marin Larkspur

(Image credit: Marin )

Marin Larkspur 2 2021

And now for something completely different

Wheel size: 650b | Gearing: 1x11 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Price: £1,045 / $1,199 / €1,099 / AU$1,499

Chunky tyres for off-road segments or rough surfaces
Dropper post for traffic stop comfort
Swoopy handlebars for a comfortable upright position
Hydraulic disc brakes
Step-through frame for easy mounting and dismounting
Huge cassette for very low gearing
Not the fastest rolling tyres
No bottle cage on the smallest size

Whether you're looking for something that prioritises comfort and mobility, or you just want something a bit different, take a closer look at the Marin Larkspur. This unique-looking bike takes the step-through concept and turns it into some modernised goofy fun, adding in a dropper post (why? We don't know, but it sure makes it easier to sit in comfort at the traffic lights), as well as chunky 650b x 2.35in tyres. 

The Larkspur is at home on paved roads and gravel paths alike, cushioning the blows from uneven surfaces and leaving you to float over potholes without a care. The swooped handlebars put the rider in an upright position that makes it possible to see further ahead in traffic, the step-through frame makes mounting and dismounting a breeze, and extremely low gearing will make hill-climbing light work for most. It also makes the Larkspur a solid option for anyone with mobility or joint issues.

What to look for in a hybrid bike

Chances are, if you're on the lookout for a hybrid, you may be about to buy your first bike as an adult. If that's the case, there's a lot of choice out there and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options. To make life easier for you, we've listed some of the key considerations for choosing the right hybrid bike for your needs.

What is a hybrid bike?

A hybrid bike, as per the definition of the word hybrid; "a thing made by combining two different elements" is a combination of road and mountain bikes. 

For example, flat handlebars are usually seen as a defining feature of a hybrid or fitness bike. This is not only because the wide stance makes for manageable steering and an upright riding position, but also because hybrids typically see a longer reach than a traditional road bike.

The wheels are typically 700c in size - the same as road bikes - with slick or semi-slick tyres that are somewhere between the two when it comes to the width. The handlebars are more akin to a mountain bike style, being flat in shape, as opposed to the drop bar shape found on a road bike. The geometry sits in the middle of the two, putting you in a fast position, but still one that's upright enough to remain comfortable and safe in traffic. 

Are disc brakes worth it on a hybrid bike?

There is no question; disc brakes provide better performance than rim brakes. They offer superior power and modulation, and performance is much less affected by wet weather. Depending on the price, hybrid bikes will either come with hydraulic or cable-actuated discs. While they cost a bit more, hydraulic discs require less maintenance and less force at the lever to achieve more braking power, because more leverage can be engineered into the system. 

What gearing do I need?

When we talk about gearing, what we're really referring to is the bike's drivetrain.

The three main drivetrain choices for hybrid bikes come down to belt drive/internally geared, 1x (one by) or 2x (two-by). Belt drive and internally geared drivetrains package all of the gears inside the rear hub, meaning they require very little maintenance, and all the shifting is done with a single lever. The downside is they are anything but light and the total gear range is usually less broad than a derailleur-geared system. 

1x and 2x systems are the traditional chain and derailleur-operated drivetrains, with the difference being the number of chainrings at the front. 

A 1x drivetrain can offer the same, or even a wider gear range than a 2x system, and will feature a clutched rear derailleur and a narrow-wide chainring which will prevent your chain from falling off. Shifting is operated with a single lever. The downside is they are a bit more expensive, and sometimes the jumps between the gears can be pretty big.

A 2x drivetrain is by far the most budget, and will generally offer the widest spread of gears, but with extra components comes extra maintenance, it can also complicate shifting for beginners. 

Some bikes even offer a 3x system, but these are few and far between nowadays as the need for the smallest inner chainring was replaced by larger cassettes (the sprocket at the back) offering the same low gears. 

Should I get one with a suspension fork?

Lots of hybrid bikes come with suspension forks and we believe that these should largely be avoided. Not only are they heavier and more expensive than a rigid fork, but they are often very cheap and don't provide much in the way of efficient shock absorption. Low-end forks like this usually ride like a bouncy mess, and over time are likely to seize anyway. If you are worried about riding comfort, prioritise a bike with lots of tyre clearance, and possibly 650b wheels and tyres. 

Mildred is a Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews who loves all forms of cycling from long-distance audax to daily errand-running by bike. She does almost everything on two wheels, including moving house, and started out her cycling career working in a bike shop. For the past five years she's volunteered at The Bristol Bike Project as a mechanic and session coordinator, and now sits on its board of directors. Since then she's gone on to write for a multitude of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. She's dedicated to providing more coverage of women's specific cycling tech, elevating under-represented voices in the sport, and making cycling more accessible overall. 

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 75kg

Rides: Liv Devote, Genesis Equilibrium Disc 20, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Whyte Victoria, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike