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Finding a road worthy, top quality hybrid bike for under 500 bucks
Ah, the hybrid bike. It’s probably the best thing to happen to the cycling industry in 50 years. Nothing targets the casual / commuter rider quite like it.
That’s for good reason. Hybrid bicycles (theoretically) offer a wonderful balance of capability.
- Decathlon RC 120 FB
- Priority Classic Plus – Gotham Edition
- Pure Cycles Original Series Bike
- Framed Rendal
- Bombtrack Outlaw
- Breezer Rader Expert
- Masi Giramondo 700CC Bike
- Raleigh Detour
- Breezer Doppler Cafe+
- Raleigh Venture 2
- Schwinn Discover
- Explore Your Range
Road, grass, trails, what’s your pleasure? The hybrid bike easily handles them all. Right?
While there are some phenomenally great entrants into this category, they’re not all made equal.
The best hybrid bikes under $500 are a good blend of two styles of riding, capable (but not brilliant) at both styles. The worst hybrids out there aren’t really good at any type of riding.
So how does one find a stud in amongst all the duds?
I will be offering eight reviews of some affordable, top quality hybrid bikes below the $500 price point, explaining why each one made the cut, and what kind of riding it’s best suited towards.
Furthermore, I’ll offer a few tips on how to shop for them, and how to better understand hybrids and their various denominations.
Let’s get started!
*After receiving lots of questions, I’ve decided to expand this piece to include reviews of ten bikes. I hope it helps!
How to shop for a hybrid bike
Finding a $500 or under hybrid bike with good features isn’t terribly hard to do. That budget will net you a capable, entry-level ride. However, a lot of people stumble when it comes to finding a good fit.
I’m not talking frame size. What I mean is, people assume that ‘hybrid’ means one-size-fits-all, and anything with that descriptor will be great on pavement, trails, etc.
Unfortunately, that’s wrong!
All hybrid bicycles represent an amalgam of two styles. Traditionally, that means road and mountain, but not always. Hybrids can be a combo of road, cruiser, mountain, or comfort bicycles.
The best way to shop is to pick two terrains you ride the most, and find a hybrid with compatible qualities. If you only ride a single terrain (like pavement commutes, or riding across sand, grass and gravel) you may not need a hybrid at all.
Remember, bike models will lean more towards one riding style than another (a road-centric hybrid is common, for example.)
There are now four distinct sub-categories for hybrid bikes
- the pavement eating Performance Hybrid
- the trail friendly Sport Hybrid
- the well-balanced Dual Sport
- the crowd pleasing Comfort Hybrid
I want to help you identify a few of the best, cheap hybrid bikes for under $500. I’m going to do so by reviewing two models from each of the sub-categories listed above.
Hopefully you’ll find something in this mix that speaks to you!
Performance Hybrids: Road Meets Commute
If you mostly cycle on concrete or pavement, you probably want a performance hybrid bicycle. They’re geared to be most capable on road surfaces.
Despite their pavement prowess, they have wider tires and a more robust frame than a full-on road bike. You can hop off the road onto a light trail or grass with few problems.
The frame geometry is less aggressive than typical road bikes, which is more comfortable. However, a performance hybrid won’t have any suspension parts like many hybrids do.
They are light, agile, fast, and fun to ride.
If you love fixed-gear bikes that enable you to enjoy a more rhythmic pedalling flow, you’ll love this bike. Now, if you also want a bike that’s priced well and has versatility to offer, you’ll definitely want to check out the Pure Cycles Original Series Bike.
- Best for urban cycling
- High-tensile steel frame and fork
- 700 x 28C WTB Thickslick and Pure Cycles tires
- Excellent gear ratio for navigating rough terrain
- It has what’s known as a flip-flop hub that enables you to easily shift from single-speed mode to fixed gear. This is great because single-speed bikes can sometimes be a bit more difficult to ride.
- People have raved about this bike’s gear ratio because it enables you to navigate different conditions, such as climbing and descending steep ground, with ease.
- Some people who’ve purchased this bike have complained that its paint flakes easily.
- Others reported that they had to change the bike’s tires regularly, which was a downer. It doesn’t help that some customers received cheaper tires instead of the Thickslicks that were advertised, so be careful when purchasing this bike.
- You’ll love that this bike is designed with minimalism in mind – no clutter in the form of logos makes it slick and timeless.
- It comes in a wide variety of different colors to suit your preferences because who says you can’t have a kick-ass bike that also looks damn good?
The High-tensile steel frame and fork makes this a rugged bike to ride minimalism is the name of the game here. This Pure Cycles bike is fast and light, so you’ll love using it to zip through traffic during your daily commute.
It’s got a tungsten inert gas welded steel frame that’s sure to last you a long time while offering you more comfort during long bike rides.
The WTB Thickslick tires enable you to hit high speeds and they have excellent grip.
This Pure Cycles Original Series Bike will respect your budget as it costs just about $400, which is quite amazing for all its great features.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly bike that’s got some sick features, and you can overlook some of the issues that have come up with this bike, this one’s a solid choice.
This hybrid bike really shines when it comes to your urban commutes, but it has more to offer. Let’s check out why it’s one of the best hybrids.
- Best for urban cycling
- Lefty rigid fork
- 650b wheel size
- Shimano MT200 hydro discs
- This bike offers excellent handling, thanks to its big-volume tires that are on 650b wheels. These can deal with potholes like a boss, as well as other types of uneven terrain.
- This bike is fitted with Shimano MT200 hydro discs that have been said to produce a smoother ride. These disk brakes are also reliable, while providing less noise from the pads, which is a bonus.
- Although it’s versatile, this bike isn’t suitable for long periods of time spent off the beaten track. This is because it doesn’t come with suspension, so that’s something to note if you’re looking for a bike that will be tough enough for off-road adventures on a regular basis.
- It’s got integrated top tube bumpers to protect the bike’s frame, which is a nice touch.
Do you want a comfortable ride or one that’s all about speed? You can choose both, thanks to the bike’s riser handlebar. This means you can adjust your seating position based on what you want.
This is a fantastic feature in a hybrid bike because it makes it very versatile and prevents you from being stuck to one way of cycling. It’s got what’s known as a “lefty pipe” front fork which is basically a steering column. This gives the bike greater rigidity without making it feel too heavy.
This bike is equipped with Shimano Easy Fire EF505 gear shifters that work well with the drivetrain and make it easy to change between the 16 gears on board – just use your thumb and index finger.
The Cannondale Bad Boy 3 is a city bike that you’ll love to use. It’s strong and versatile, and its lefty rigid for is definitely one of its best features. You can expect to pay around $500 for it.
This is a more expensive bike, but if it’s within your means you’ll love the features it has to offer. It’s also a worthwhile investment if you’re interested in e-bikes.
- Best for recreational cycling
- 250 watt hours of battery capacity
- MAHLE ebikemotion X35 250W motor
- Maximum speed: 20 miles per hour
- One of the best features about this bike is that it comes with pedal assist. This means that the motor will give you a boost of power if you need to take the pressure off your pedalling. This can be useful when you’re trying to merge with, or keep up with, traffic.
- It’s got SAVE micro-suspension that absorbs bumps along the way, creating a smoother and more comfortable riding experience.
- You’ll sit in an upright position on this bike, which isn’t only more comfortable but will ensure you remain visible when riding at night.
- Thinking of taking this bike off-road? You might not like how its rear hub motor feels a bit shaky and unstable when navigating uneven terrain.
- You want to be able to carry your phone with you when you’re on the road, and this bike makes it easy to do so. That’s because there’s an Intellimount on the bike’s stem to ensure you can carry any SP Connect-compatible phone case.
- The bike has reflective accents to keep you safe and seen by motorists and other cyclists, whether you’re riding at night or during periods of low visibility.
A great feature for beginners is that this bike has a step-through frame which makes it easier to get on and jump off the bike.
If you’re on the short side, then you’ll also love this feature.
This bike’s fork is made of carbon fiber that’s shock-absorbent.
You’ll love its handlebars that are in the same style as those of mountain bikes.
The bike’s drive unit is the 250W MAHLE ebikemotion X35 drive unit that has no drag when you turn the e-bike motor off.
Not only that, but it’s both silent yet powerful.
So it does have quite a hefty price tag, but for all its excellent features it’s definitely worth it.
The first thing about this bike that’ll grab your attention is its beautiful brass-colored frame. As for its performance, you’re in for a treat. Let’s see what it has to offer you.
- Best for adventure cycling, touring, and riding on gravel
- Chromoly frame with bottle mounts
- TRP Spyre-C Dual Piston Mechanical Disc
- Front and rear rack included
- It’s got a cassette with an 11-36T gear range. This makes it much easier for you to ride over uneven terrain.
- You don’t want your brakes to make you feel wobbly when riding in wet conditions, so you’ll love that the TRP Spyre-C dual-piston mechanical disc brakes are reliable and consistent whenever you need to stop.
- One of the things you might not like about this bike is that it has an integrated headset so if your headset cup becomes damaged this will mean that it’ll also ruin the bike’s frame. If you’re a cyclist who wants an internal/external headset that you can replace, this could be a bit of a dealbreaker for you.
- Some people who have purchased this bike have reported that its rotors are very weak and flimsy.
- You know you need to stay hydrated when you’re riding, right? You’ll never forget your water supply again, thanks to the bike’s three mounting locations.
- The bike’s also equipped with racks to help you to carry all your gear: there’s a Tubus Tara lowrider rack in front and a Tubus Cargo rear rack so you won’t be short on storage.
This bike’s got a chromoly frame that’s been designed geometrically so that it makes for a more comfortable ride. While it might not be the lightest it will still provide you with an enjoyable ride.
The 11-36T gear range will make rides uphill and on uneven terrain a breeze. And with the equipped Tubus Tara lowrider rack upfront and Tubus Cargo rear rack you’ll be able to carry whatever you need.
If you want a racing bike that’s tough enough for long bike rides, you’ll love this one and find its storage options highly valuable when you want to make a day of your cycling.
It’s also a must if you want a bike that’s versatile enough for a variety of terrain, whether tar roads or gravel paths.
This bike by Bombtrack has a stunning matte teal frame that will set you apart from the crowd but it really makes our list for how it’s packed with everything you need to zip around town, such as wide handlebars and big tyres.
Here’s what you need to know about it.
- Best for city commutes
- 650b tires
- Wide 47c tires
- Hydraulic Shimano brakes
- This Bombtrack bike has hydraulic brakes and an oil-free Gates carbon belt that together ensure a more silent experience.
- Whether you need to navigate tight turns in the road or hit the gravel path, this bike’s 47c tires are nice and wide to achieve those tasks and more with ease.
- While you might love its fat tires, the drawback of them is that they make riding this bike feel a little less agile when you take it on city roads.
- This also means that you won’t achieve the same level of speed you might be used to with other bikes.
- Just because this bike’s meant for your daily commutes, it doesn’t mean it misses out on some nice features. For example, it has some in-built storage in the form of a nifty front rack. This means you can easily carry items on your way home, such as boxes of takeaways so that you don’t have to worry about cooking dinner.
It’s been built with a durable chromoly frame that’s been designed with fender mounts and a tapered head tube. These help the bike to be more responsive.
When you want to navigate through tough terrain, you’ll love doing so with this Bombtrack bike because it has 650b tires that take low pressure in their stride.
It’s equipped with quality hydraulic Shimano brakes on the front and rear so you’ll feel more confident when you have to hit the brakes hard.
If you’re looking for a bike that’s unique and challenges the norms, then this Bombtrack bike was made for you.
There you have it! The best hybrid bikes you can find on the market, in a variety of styles and prices to fit your lifestyle and cycling needs.
Note: Due to COVID-19 some of the bikes below might not be in stock.
Best Hybrid Bikes Under $500 for Men
- Pros: Beautiful frame, high-quality components, lightweight
- Cons: Not a flashy bike (but that may be a pro for you)
The attractive and balanced Motobecane Cafe Latte is a fine example of what a truly good and impressive performance hybrid bicycle offers and is truly the best hybrid bike under $500 in my opinion. This is a classic example of a performance hybrid.
Frame: A strong and lightweight aluminum frame, triple butted for strength. The fork is made from butted chromoly steel, which adds rigidity.
Components: Shifting is about what you’d expect at this price point. With Altus / Tourney derailleurs paired to Shimano Altus shifters, you have a good gearing range, giving you 24 gears to choose from in total.
The derailleurs will work really nicely if tuned up properly; if you’re not bike savvy, I’d make sure you get a shop to do it.
The wheels are really good quality for the price, with double-walled alloy rims and Shimano hubs paired up to 700c hybrid tires. They’re wider than typical road tires, but still slick enough to make the ride responsive and fun. One of the nice features of the Cafe Latte are the tight v-brakes. They’re quite snappy when tuned up right.
It’s worth noting that Motobecane is a fully online presence. Their bikes are never flashy or covered in stickers, but their bicycles often out-perform the big names.
For a bike that’s around or under $500, this is one of the best hybrid bikes in the performance hybrid category. If you’re hoping for something attractive, fast, snappy and versatile on pavement, give it a look.
- Pros: Great brand, successful lineage, modern design, no-nonsense
- Cons: None really other than lower tier componentry
Vilano has become a popular brand recently, with considerable success. Their aluminum-framed performance hybrid, the Diverse, is a durable, cheap, performance hybrid cycle that checks all the boxes. Like most performance models, this one is built primarily for road use.
Frame: It features a hydroformed aluminum frame (6061) and alloy aero forks.
Components: Shimano Tourney derailleurs and EF integrated shifters make ripping through your gears a joy. You’ve got 24 speeds to work with, and a crankset with 28-38-48T.
The wheels are Vilano double wall alloys, and they’re paired up to Kenda KwikTrax tires, which have a thickness of 35C.
That’s obviously wider than typical road bikes, and they have some bite to them; they’re certainly enough to handle a rip through the park. Still, they’re definitely suited to urban / pavement riding.
On hills or flats you’ll fly with this bike. The linear pull V-brakes are effective and simple to maintain, if tuned up correctly.
The entire package is slickly put together and lovely to behold.
Vilano’s Diverse is the latest in a successful series of performance frames. It’s a good hybrid bike for well below the $500 mark.
Sport Hybrids: trail, grass, and road ready
Earlier on, I mentioned the sport hybrid category. This is a fairly new subset in the hybrid world, but they’re becoming popular, fast!
Why? They boast a smart combination of mountain and road competencies, and they manage to do both jobs fairly well.
That said, the sport hybrid is probably more at home on the trails than on pavement. Think of them as ‘mountain bike lite’.
They’re usually outfitted with beefy tires, strong brakes, lots of clearance and a hardtail frame. They feature front shocks with a good amount of travel. That all being said, the frame is usually a bit less aggressive (and more comfortable) than full on mountain bikes, so they make fine commuters.
- Pros: Excellent brand, distinctive look, lockout fork, men’s and women’s style frames
- Cons: None worth noting
The popular Fuji Traverse is an affordable, fun, and stylish sport hybrid bike that can take you from road to trail and back again. While not as capable as a purpose-built mountain bicycle, it can hold its own on rougher terrain.
Frame: The bike has a butted aluminum frame, with a curved downtube that gives the bike a dramatic look. It has an SR Suntour front fork with around 50mm of travel.
Components: The derailleurs are Shimano Tourney, and the EZ-Fire shifters mean you can fly through the gears, especially downshifting. With 21 speeds, you have a good range for flats or for hills.
Tourney is an entry level product, so you should expect to do some occasional adjustment to keep it in fighting trim. It’s standard issue for the price point. The chainring is also Tourney, and features 48/38/28T gearing.
The Vera EOS tires are wide at 38C, but they’re not super ‘knobby’, so you won’t have too much friction when pedalling. The wheels are Vera Terra, a bit heavier than I’d like, but for the price tag they’re fine.
A nice feature: the bike features 160mm Tektro mechanical disc brakes, which offer you a bit more stopping power, precision and control.
I ride a sport hybrid bicycle and they’re a blast. This is one of the top hybrid bike choices for $500 or less, especially if your commute takes you off-road fairly often.
The Traverse comes in both a unisex and a women’s frame, with identical performance.
- Pros: Can ride in upright position, preload adjustment forks, light in weight
- Cons: Upper end of price point
The San Rafael DS1 bike by Marin has a true men’s hybrid design, and it’s paired with an upright riding position. There’s a lot to like here as an affordable hybrid bike under $500.
Marin is an established, competent brand, which is probably why they’re able to put together such a nice ride at a reasonable price.
Frame: The bike largely consists of alloy components, making it superior to many of its competitors. The frame itself is triple butted aluminum, saving you a lot in weight.
Components: The wheels are Marin brand double walled alloys, paired to hefty 40C tires with a moderate tread. You could easily upgrade both the size and the tread of these tires to tackle rougher trails, but they’re pretty beefy as is.
The forks offer moderate travel of 63mm. There’s no quick-change hydraulic lockout, but they do have preload adjustment, meaning you can set the stiffness. It’s a nice feature to use if you feel like a bit more control on pavement, or a bit more shock absorption on trails.
The bike uses a Shimano Tourney derailleur setup, with a total of 21 speeds to switch between. The brakes are mechanical caliper disc brakes, and they do an excellent job in wet or dry conditions.
The fac that you can ride in upright position, long adjustable seatpost and ability to ride on some trails make this one a real winner in my books. It’s only a little under $500, but this men’s hybrid bicycle is worth every bit of that price tag.
Dual Sport: wide range of uses
OK, so now I want to take a look at a dual sport style hybrid. These have been showing up all over the place lately, and like the sport hybrid they have broad appeal.
The hype makes sense! They are fun, comfortable and compelling to ride.
If I had one word to describe how a dual sport bicycle rides, I’d say ‘smooth’. They’re a nice intermediate spot between the road-hungry performance and the trail-friendly sport hybrid, offering a little of each world with a very broad range of riding capabilities.
Most dual sports have a comfortable, upright riding position, with wide riser bars and a light and snappy frame. They can hop off the road for a quick trail jaunt, and yet you won’t notice the frictional drag of heavy tires and unnecessary components.
Dual sports sometimes have front forks, but not always.
- Pros: Beautiful architecture, great tires, very agile for a sport hybrid
- Cons: Bicycle is a generalist
The Diamondback Trace is a great example of this genre, and also one of the better men’s hybrid bikes in the roughly $500 price range. Even though it’s near the edge of the budget, I wanted to feature it because it is so well-rounded.
Frame: First off, this is a gorgeous bike. The 6061 aluminum alloy frame features a slightly curved top tube with oversized tubing. The front fork is a bladed high tension steel. The steel is intentional; it’s designed (in dual sport style) to minimize vibrations and keep your ride smooth and precise. The effect is a very responsive and agile ride. And it’s pretty fast too!
Components: It has 21 speeds, with an Altus rear derailleur and a 48/38/28T chainring, along with EZ-Fire shifters. These derailleurs and shifters are fine at this price point, and they’ll serve well if you get them set up right.
It sports a pair of 700c Weinmann double walled alloy rims, and the bike rolls on 40c Innova tires, which, despite their width, actually do very well on pavement due to a moderate tread pattern.
If you’ve only got $500 to spend, this is a great hybrid bicycle with an inspiring ride quality. It’s especially suited to the trip to work. If you’re looking for a commuter, I’d probably rank the dual sport as a great category to look into in general.
- Pros: Great value for price, good looking as heck, nice components (such as aluminum frame) strong brand
- Cons: Upper limit of price range
Raleigh is a widely recognized brand and rare in this price range, since they’ve been trending high-end expensive in recent years. They don’t worry about flash or shine, but instead offer bicycles with quality components and minimal brand marks. I like that.
Their Cadent 2 bike is a really good bet. The frame is simple, modern, effective and rugged. The components are well chosen, and the whole package is very cohesive.
I’d classify this as a dual sport hybrid bicycle, favouring performance. Either way, it’s rugged enough to handle a range of riding surfaces, and therefore it’s perfect as a commuter.
Frame: It has a full aluminum alloy frame to ensure it’s light in weight and very nimble. I just love the lines, it seems to hug the wheels. The whole thing weighs about 26 pounds.
It’s lacking in suspension components, but wide-ish tires and a comfy, neutral riding position make this a pleasant pedaling experience.
Components: The drivetrain is standard for this tier, featuring EF500 components, and a set of Tourney EZ-Fire shifters. In total you’ve got 24 speeds to play with.
The brakes are good-looking and effective mechanical discs. The wheels are full alloy, double-walled Weinmann rims paired up to a set of 35C Zilent Vee tires. I actually really like the tread pattern for rainy conditions, and they could certainly tackle grass or gravel pathways.
If you want a cheap brand name hybrid bicycle with the potential to last for many years, the Raleigh Cadent 2 is a good candidate.
(There’s a female version of this bike which is functionally identical, called the Alysa 2.)
Comfort Hybrids: A laid back, enjoyable ride
For many riders (commuters included), comfort is a necessity. It should be noted that comfort in a bicycle almost always comes at the cost of performance, because a more laid back riding position gives you less mechanical advantage.
Many people get caught up in gimmicky ‘comfort features’, like a heavily padded seat, swept back handlebars and useless shocks. In my opinion, one of the key contributors to rider comfort is frame geometry.
A properly designed comfort hybrid has a chair-like, upright seating position. This not only improves your ability to see and react, it keeps you feeling stable and comfortable.
Because their emphasis is on an enjoyable ride rather than performance, comfort hybrids tend to be the least expensive of the bunch. There’s little point in putting fancy componentry on a bike that won’t realize any performance advantage from them.
- Pros: Classic looks, good braking system, fantastic price
- Cons: Very upright ride, not suited to rougher trails
The super comfy sixthreezero Explore Your Range may have a quirky name, but it’s beautiful. It’s a new brand that I admire for its good looks, smooth ride, and peerless comfort. I hope they keep renewing it!
It’s one of the best, cheap hybrid bikes for comfortable rideability. At far below $500, it is eminently affordable, but it’s also a step above what you’ll find in department stores.
Frame: You get a 6061 aluminum frame, which turns what might have been a heavy clunker of a bike into a manageable option. Compared to the others on this list, you’ll notice that the frame is shaped a bit differently.
It is designed with a classic architecture and an upright riding position in mind. This bike is perfect for park rides, relaxed cruising and weekend fun. It turns heads.
Components: For shifters, it has a standard Shimano twist-shift configuration, paired to a base level rear derailleur. You can choose between either a 7 speed derailleur or (my favourite) a 3-speed Nexus hub. I’d recommend that you get it built professionally.
The wheels are double walled aluminum alloy, and they spin well enough. The tires are Kenda Cross 38c, with a moderate tread suited to pavement, grass, hard sand and light trails.
The linear pull ‘V’ brakes are actually quite precise; when adjusted correctly you can really stop on a dime.
As for comfort, despite the lack of suspension components, this bike rides as smooth as butter. It’s a real treat to cruise around on.
The Wildwood is a cheap hybrid bike with excellent reviews, and it’s a great choice for a casual rider or occasional commuter.
They make a male-frame version of this bike, in black.
- Pros: Affordable price tag, elegant looks, comfortable suspension, bike rack and fenders included
- Cons: Components are basic
Often, a rider simply wants something that’s affordable, simple to set up and operate, and comfortable to ride.
The always-popular Schwinn Discover checks all those boxes. It’s perfect for a day at the beach, a trip through the park, or an easy daily commute.
Frame: Despite the low price tag, this bike impresses with an alloy frame and an integrated bike rack. That’s handy and useful for fetching groceries and such.
Components: The wheels are an attractive set of moderate V rims paired up to fairly wide tires with a bit of tread. There is a suspension fork, but that’s more for softening bumps than for handling off-road riding.
The gears are controlled by SRAM grip shifters, and base level derailleurs. The drivetrain is very effective, but basic. Still, you have 21 speeds at your disposal, and when tuned properly they behave well enough.
The riding position is very upright, comfortable and elegant. It definitely has a cruiser-type feel to the ride, though not quite as low slung.
I love the extras. An included bike rack, front and rear fenders, suspension seatpost and adjustable handlebars are so nice to have. The reasonable price tag is a factor too.
Available in both mens and ladies frames, the Schwinn Discover is an inexpensive comfort hybrid that’s perfect for casual riders.
Price and Realism:
For many people, $500 is a lot to spend on a bicycle. The truth is, I personally wouldn’t dip much lower than that. Once you get too low in price, manufacturers have to start making deep compromises with components and frame quality. A good, affordable hybrid bike has a nice balance of decent components.
Even at the limits of our $500 budget, you’ll still be looking at base level shifters and derailleurs. The cheaper the shifter, the rougher and less precise your gear shifting will be, and you’ll be required to adjust your drivetrain more often.
I always recommend that a rider think carefully and realistically about their riding needs. Ask yourself questions. Will you be riding primarily in the city, for example?
If you think you’ll be out on it every day, budget for a pricier bike. It’s not worth tearing your hair out just to save a few bucks.
If you’re a casual rider, and you don’t plan to put your bicycle through its paces too often, a cheap hybrid bike for under $500 bucks will probably make you quite happy, depending on the model and brand.
If you’re still confused on how to find the perfect hybrid bike for you, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of the most important features to look for when choosing your new hybrid bike.
Purchasing a new bike is not an easy task, nor a cheap one, so you want to be certain that you’re getting the best option out there.
You can choose between aluminum, steel, and carbon for your hybrid bike frame. Aluminum is a common option due to its lightweight and sturdy base, while being affordable. The shock absorption is not the best, but newer models do offer better absorption than older aluminum hybrid bikes.
Steel is another viable option, although it is heavier. It’s strong and offers you a comfortable ride no matter how old the bike is.
Finally, carbon is much lighter and stronger than both aluminum and steel, but it does come with a hefty price tag. For a hybrid bike under $500, you’ll be looking at getting an aluminum or steel frame rather than one made from carbon.
A handlebar higher than the seat is more comfortable for the rider, and this is how the majority of hybrid bikes are set up. However, opting for a frame with the seat higher than the handlebars will offer you a more aerodynamic position to make you ride faster.
However, this won’t be as comfortable. Unless you’re planning on racing along the pavements on your hybrid bike, we recommend having the handlebars higher than the seat to keep you as comfortable as possible.
Suspension on a bike can help you have a nicer, more pleasant ride due to not being able to feel every bump in the terrain underneath you. Some hybrid bikes include a front suspension fork which can help to absorb some shock from the front wheel.
However, many hybrid bikes will actually come with no suspension to avoid the additional weight that comes with a suspension fork. This weight can make pedaling less efficient and slow you down, which is why many people who only ride on smooth terrain will go without it.
There are two types of brakes that you could opt for with a hybrid bike – rim brakes or disc brakes. Rim brakes are commonly found on hybrid bikes and grip onto the wheel rims. They’re cheap, easy to replace, and show wear obviously.
However, they’re less effective in wet conditions and can wear the wheel rim out so that this will need to be replaced. They’re also harder to use and don’t offer as much stopping power, which can be dangerous in certain situations.
Disc brakes, on the other hand, are installed onto the wheel hub through a brake rotor. You can either opt for hydraulic disc brakes or mechanical disc brakes.
Hydraulic disc brakes offer stronger braking power so that you don’t have to hit the brakes so hard. They also adjust themselves to avoid being worn out too quickly. Mechanical disc brakes need to be manually adjusted to keep up with their wear, but they’re still a respectable option for hybrid bikes.
Disc brakes offer better performance than rim brakes in wet conditions, more sensitive to touch, and it’s cheaper to replace the brake rotor than the whole wheel. Hydraulic disc brakes are more expensive to service, but they’re often the best option.
The standard wheel size for most hybrid bikes is 700c, which will be suitable for the majority of riders. When it comes to hybrid bikes, the wheel size isn’t always that important to focus on, as you should find the type of bike that suits your riding style the best.
Gears are important to consider before committing to a purchase, as the number of gears you have should be determined by your fitness level and the terrain you’ll be using the hybrid on. A terrain with lots of hills will require more gears, while flat terrain won’t need that many gears.
If you’re going to remain primarily on flat terrain, or are a professional cyclist, you won’t need the lower set of gears required to get up hills. This means you can opt for a lighter bike that has fewer gears.
However, if you’re going to be riding up lots of hills, you’ll need more gears which will add to the weight of your bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a hybrid bike good for?
Hybrid bikes were traditionally created to offer the rider the best of both worlds from road bikes and mountain bikes. They have large seats to keep the rider comfortable and are good for casually riding on bike paths or for commuting. However, they’re not as lightweight as road bikes.
They can also be used on trails, although they shouldn’t be used on rough mountain bike terrain. They’re better than road bikes to ride on bumpy surfaces, although they’re not as effective as mountain bikes for this.
Hybrid bikes either come with front suspension or none at all, either allowing some cushioning or none. No matter whether it has suspension or not, it won’t have anywhere near as much as a mountain bike would offer.
Are hybrid bikes worth it?
Yes, hybrid bikes are worth it for people who want the benefits from both a road bike and a mountain bike, but don’t want to purchase two separate bikes. Hybrid bikes can be ridden both on pavements and easy trails depending on how you’re feeling that day.
If you’re just starting out in cycling and don’t know which type of bike to opt for, you can choose a hybrid bike to dabble in both suburban and trail riding. Hybrid bikes can be ridden very long distances which is ideal for both on-road and off-road commuting.
Should I get a mountain or hybrid bike?
This depends on whether you’re planning on primarily riding on trails or want to ride on pavements as well. Mountain bikes are no good for commuting or riding around the city, so a hybrid would be better if you wanted to use it for more than just mountain biking.
Mountain bikes are heavier and larger than hybrid bikes which make them inconvenient for people who want a lightweight bike to run errands with.
A hybrid bike would be ideal for people who want a road bike that can occasionally be used off-road. A mountain bike would be the better option for people who enjoy trail riding and seeing the sights rather than using it to get from A to B.
Are hybrid bikes good for exercise?
Hybrid bikes are good for exercising as they’re heavier than road bikes and therefore can give you a better workout. You can use hybrid bikes off-road which is often a better workout due to the uneven terrain.
While a fat tire bike or mountain bike are heavier and therefore will give you a better leg workout, a hybrid is still a good option for getting your workout in. You’ll also be able to ride a hybrid bike for longer distances to train your endurance.
Are hybrid bikes faster than mountain bikes?
When riding on pavement, hybrid bikes are faster as they are lighter. However, riding downhill will give mountain bikes the edge as the heavier materials allow gravity to pull it further down the slope quicker. The type of riding you enjoy will determine the faster bike between a mountain and a hybrid bike.
Thank you for reading! Good luck.