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Best hybrid bikes: our favourite fitness bikes for getting around town

Best Hybrid Bikes
(Image credit: Ribble)

Hybrid bikes or fitness bikes are based around an upright geometry designed to maximise comfort while limiting the trade-offs for speed and handling. Blending road and mountain bikes, the best hybrid bikes take the best of both sides to create fast, comfortable, bikes that are perfect for the commute, carrying luggage, and getting around town.

Quite often cyclists get a bit too hung up on things like FTP, 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.

Covering the entire pricing spectrum, hybrids are usually specced with flat bars and parts that require minimal maintenance but still perform in any riding condition. 

Read on for our picks of the best hybrid bikes you can buy today, or head down to the bottom of the page for a rundown of key things to know when shopping for a hybrid bike.

Best hybrid bikes

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Specialized Sirrus 2.0

A fast, practical hybrid bike

Gears: 2x8 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Claimed weight: TBC

Comfortable geometry 
Rack and fender mounts 
Dropped seat stays
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. 

(Image credit: Courtesy)

BMC Alpenchallenge 01 One

Rides like a road bike, looks like a hybrid from the future

Gears: Gates belt drive / Shimano Alfine 11-speed | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Claimed weight: 10.89kg

Integrated fenders
Carbon fork
Gates belt drive
Retail price is on the expensive side in this category

BMC's Alpenchallenge is anything but budget-friendly but it's also one of the coolest hybrid bikes money can buy. With a lightweight aluminium frame and carbon fork, BMC say the Alpenchallenge borrowed tube shapes from the brand’s aero and endurance models to provide a zippy ride quality.

The Gates Belt drive transmission is completely maintenance-free while offering light enough gearing to get you up and over rolling terrain. Fenders come stock on this model and are neatly integrated into the frame, hydraulic Shimano MT50 brakes allow for controlled braking in all weather conditions. Plus, the Sand paint job looks wicked, but doesn't stick out like a sore thumb when locked up next to other bikes in the rack.

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Giant ToughRoad SLR 2

The commuter for mountain bikers

Gears: 2x9 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Claimed weight: 10.89kg

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 glassy-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 nasty vibration coming through the front end. To keep your rear end sitting pretty, Giant has opted to use its D-fuse seatpost for ultimate compliance, and 50C Giant Sycamore tires 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. 

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Trek FX 3

With mounts for racks front and rear, this is the best hybrid bike for those with lots of luggage

Gears: 2x9 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Claimed weight: 11.7kg

Mounts for rack and fenders front and rear
IsoZone handlebar
Carbon fork

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: Courtesy)

Cannondale Quick 4

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

Gears: 1x9 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Claimed weight: 11.6kg

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: Courtesy)

Ribble Hybrid AL

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

Gears: Varies | Brakes: Hydraulic Disc | Claimed weight: TBC

Bike builder allows personalisation
Great paint job

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.

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Kona Dew Deluxe

Tough and versatile hybrid with 650b wheels

Gears: 1x12 | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Claimed weight: TBC

650b wheels and tyres
1x12 SRAM Eagle drivetrain will make climbing easier
A low top gear will slow you down on flatter terrain

Kona isn't typically a brand you expect to find making hybrid bikes; however, the Dew plays to the brand’s strengths of offering well-specced, serviceable and fun to ride bikes. With 650b wheels and tyres, it can tackle even the roughest road surface, while the fenders - complete with mud flaps - will keep your clothes mostly grit and road spray free. 

Based around an aluminium frame and fork, the Dew has an SRAM Eagle SX 12-speed drivetrain, complete with an 11-50T rear block and 38T narrow-wide chainring, perfect if your commute has a categorised climb along the way. When you get over the top of said climb, the Tektro hydraulic disc will prevent you from hitting lightspeed on the descent. 

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Cube Hyde Race

Hybrid that rides like an XC race bike with slicks

Gears: Gates belt drive / Shimano Alfine 8-speed | Brakes: Hydraulic disc | Claimed weight: TBC

Gates belt drive
Stealthy paint job
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 Marathon 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. 

Hybrid bikes explained

1. Flat bar vs drop bars

Flat bars 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. With this, a drop bar will not only create a more aggressive position but also also vastly speed up the handling characteristics.

2. Disc brakes

There is no question; disc brakes provide better performance than rim brakes. They offer superior power and modulation, and performance is not 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 little to no maintenance and less force at the lever to achieve more braking power, because more leverage can be engineered into the system. 

3. Belt drive, 1x or 2x

The three main drivetrain choices for hybrid bikes come down to belt drive/internally geared, 1x or 2x. Belt drive and internally gears 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.

1x and 2x the traditional chain and derailleur-operated drivetrains, with the difference being the number of gears 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 narrow-wide chainrings which prevents 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, but can complicate shifting for beginners and end in a greasy mess should the chain come unstuck.

4. Suspension or rigid

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.