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Best hybrid bikes: Fantastic fitness bikes for getting around town

Best Hybrid Bikes
(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. 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 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.

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 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 quiet roads, the reduced desire to use public transport, and the fact that exercise has been one of the few accepted 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

Best hybrid bikes: Vitus Dee 29

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Vitus Dee

Vitus Dee 29 is a big wheeled bike that's ready for adventures

Wheel size: 29in | Gearing: 7-speed | Brakes: Cable actuated discs

Mounting bosses
External cable routing with full length housing
29in wheels and tyres

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

Gears: 3x8 | Brakes: V-brake | Claimed weight: TBC

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 42c 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

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: Future)

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's 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: Specialized Turbo Vado SL

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Specialized Turbo Vado SL

The best electric hybrid bike

Wheel size: 700c | Gearing: 10-speed | Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Lightweight for an eBike 
130km claimed range 
320Wh battery

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 (for an e-bike) 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 App.

The frame itself is made from the brand's E5 Aluminium and features reflective graphics. The Turbo Vado SL 4.0 doesn't get the future shock treatment, however, if you're after a smoother ride (and more grip) Specialized say you can swap the 700x42C tyres for 650b wheels shod with 47mm tyres.

Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5 review

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: 11-speed | Brakes: Hydraulic disc

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

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.

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

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: Giant)

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. 

Best hybrid bikes: Cannondale Bad Boy Alfine 8

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Cannondale Bad Boy Alfine 8

A great combination of low-maintenance and futuristic styling

Wheel size: 650b | Gearing: 8-speed internal | Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Lefty Lightpipe fork
Internally Geared hub
Hydro disc brakes

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

Best for those who like to track their rides

Wheel size: 650b | Gearing: 9-speed | Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Integrated technology
Modern urban styling

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: 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. 

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

Provisions to add geared 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.

Best hybrid bikes: Bombtrack Arise Geared

(Image credit: Courtesty)

Bombtrack Arise Geared

The perfect companion for those looking to take the fun route

Wheel size: 700C | Gearing: 11-speed | Brakes: Hydraulic disc

Front rack included 
Dropped top tube on smaller sizes to maximise standover height 
Thru-axles front and rear

Bombtrack calls the Arise Geared a modern grocery getter and forward-thinking explorer. The bike comes stock with a sturdy Bombtrack Deck front rack, and the frame and fork are made from 4130 double-butted CroMo, with thru-axles front and rear. 

The brand has opted for flat bars,hydraulic disc brakes and 160mm rotors, meaning when you grab and handful of lever they will work with minimal or no upkeep. A Microshift clutched rear derailleur wrangles the chain, and a 10-speed 11-42T cassette means you can take the fun route to the grocery store — you know the one with a single track. 700C tyres mean the bike will be efficient over long distances, and the 40C Kenda Flintridge tyres roll well and stand up to plenty of abuse; they are tubeless-ready too. 

(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)

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.