Hybrid Bicycle Reviews

I think bike riding is one of the best forms of transportation and exercise available; as the cold winter months pass by I stare out my window in eager anticipation of the spring thaw so that I can get out on my bike for the first ride of the season. If you’re like me and you use a bike at every opportunity, you might be torn between whether a road bike or a mountain bike is best for you. That’s probably a fair description of where I fall on the spectrum, but as it turns out there is a third option. A hybrid bike combines some of the best features of a road bike with the best features of a mountain bike.

If you live in an urban environment you don’t always have ready access to the best trails, so you need a bike that’s designed to handle a lot of riding on the pavement. But when the opportunity arises it’s nice to have a bike that you know can comfortably handle some light trail riding as well. If this describes you, you really would be better off with a hybrid bike.

My Top 8 Picks

I’ll be honest, until I started research into replacing my current mountain bike (it’s seen better days), I wasn’t really very familiar with hybrid bikes. I had heard of them – I just didn’t know a lot about them. There are actually a lot of different bikes to choose from in this category, so it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting yourself into. After a lot of research I’ve put together a list of my top choices in this category and below you’ll find some brief reviews of their best features. I hope you find these reviews helpful in making your own purchase decision.

Best Women’s Road Hybrid

Schwinn Wayfarer 700c

If you’re a lady and you’re looking for a bike that’s ideal for basic commuting and mostly road-riding, then the Schwinn Women’s Wayfarer Hybrid is a great choice. It’s a stylish-looking bike with a comfortable padded seat and a handy storage rack over the back tire. When my wife saw this bike she instantly fell in love – it’s been a while since I’ve been able to convince her to ride because she doesn’t like the mountain bike she currently has. This bike combines comfort and practicality and that’s what she really likes; I think that will appeal to a lot of other female riders as well.

7-Speed Shifter

This Schwinn women’s hybrid bike is meant to be a nice commuter bike – it’s not for hard-core trails and it’s not for a lot of up and downhill biking. That’s why it doesn’t have the number of gears you’ll find on some top-class mountain bikes. What it does have is a top quality Schwinn 7-speed shifter that’s ideal for commuting around the neighborhood. The streets around our home are fairly flat and this bike would be ideal for riding there; I think that’s a big reason why it appealed to my wife.

Built for Comfort

What makes this bike ideal for urban environments is that it’s designed with comfort in mind. It has a well-padded, spring-supported seat that makes riding this bike a pleasure, and it’s nice and wide as well for extra support. The other great thing about this bike that helps add to the comfort factor is its upright design, which encourages good posture. If you’re doing a lot of commuting on a bike, it’s ideal to have one that will keep you riding in a comfortable position at all times. >> Full Review

Best Men’s under $300

Schwinn Network 3.0 Hybrid Bicycle

The Schwinn Men’s Network 3.0 700 C is a great choice for men that do a little trail riding but a lot more street riding, and that are also looking for an economical choice. This bike is available for under $300 and it combines the best of both worlds. It has a sturdy construction with its aluminum frame and it’s built to resist some challenging rides. The narrow wheels make it well suited for fast road riding and it’s designed to get you around the city in style.

Shimano Gears and EZ Fire Shifters

What makes this bike ideal for a combination of street and trail riding is that it’s equipped with a Shimano 21-speed derailleur and EZ fire shifters. This type of equipment makes it easy to adjust from trail riding to street riding in a matter of seconds. Of course trails aren’t the only place you can run into some hilly terrain and those 21 gears will come in handy on the streets as well. There’s a parkway near my house that fits this description exactly, with lots of rolling hills – it’s still paved, but having those extra gears would make navigating this parkway a lot easier.

Light Weight and Comfortable

As we’ve already mentioned, this bike has an aluminum frame which makes it quite light weight, and it also has alloy rims which further reduces the overall weight as well. A lightweight bike like this makes for some easy maneuvering and is great for handling those tight corners – all this can come in just as handy on the busy city streets as it does on winding trails. It’s also a quite comfortable bike with a nice padded seat for those long, straight stretches as well. >> Full Review

Best Women’s Recreational Commuter Bike

Northwoods Ladies Springdale 21-Speed

If you’re a lady that likes to mix it up a little bit with some everyday commuting as well as some fun recreational bike trails, then the Northwoods Ladies Springdale 21-speed Hybrid should probably find its way someone near the top of your list. This is a great looking bike that’s also very practical and designed for both city riding and some light trail riding. After all, there isn’t a rule that says you have to have a bike that serves only one purpose, and that’s the whole idea of a hybrid bike.

21 Speeds of Fun

This bike is designed to kick it into high gear whenever you need it to. It has a 21-speed Shimano Tourney derailleur that’s capable of quickly shifting gears whenever the moment requires it. This comes in handy when you hit a hilly patch on the road and even more so when you’re hitting the trails. Even if you’re just looking to take a short cut across a field, it’s nice to know you have those kinds of gear shifting capabilities. It’s also great to know that you have Shimano’s reliable, quality workmanship ensuring excellent reaction time.

Convenience Features

While it’s nice to go for a good ride, you may also want to take a few things with you and with its standard rear rack this Northwood bike has your back. It also has a well-padded seat to ensure a comfortable ride no matter what type of terrain you’re riding on. This is great for when you do have to hit the off-road trails, to ensure your ride remains as comfortable as possible. It also has a nice set of fenders which help to keep the mud and dirt off of you even in wet conditions. >> Full Review

Best Men’s Recreational Commuter Bike

Northwoods Men’s Springdale 21-Speed

Not surprisingly, Northwoods also makes a bike that I would class as one of the best recreational commuter bikes for men as well as women. This men’s version also has a lot of the same characteristics that are found on the women’s model, and it’s a nice looking ride to boot. If you’re hoping to join your wife or girlfriend on a nice long bike ride then this bike is ideal. It’s a comfortable ride and it’s designed to make sure you always remain in an upright position, ensuring proper posture.

700C Wheels for Fast Commutes

If you’re wondering at this point what other differences there are between a mountain bike and a hybrid bike – other than the more comfortable seat – then you need look no further than the rims. Mountain bikes have much fatter tires, designed to grip off-road surfaces better. Hybrid bikes like this model are designed for a lot more street-riding, which is why the wheels are much narrower. There are even variations between different hybrid bikes as far as wheel design is concerned and I won’t go into too much depth about that here. Suffice it to say this model’s 700C wheels are ideal for fast commutes and long bike rides.

Don’t Forget the Rack

As with the ladies’ version of this bike, the men’s model also comes with a rear storage rack. Again, this is great for taking extra items with you when you’re heading out on a long bike ride, or even for packing a picnic lunch. If that’s your intention, though, you’ll probably want to make sure it’s nice and secure; it would be a shame to go on a nice, long bike ride only to find that your carefully prepared lunch has been ruined. I’d never really considered a bike with a rear rack before until my wife pointed out the practicality of it and how much easier it is to tie something to a rack than to lug around a backpack while you’re riding.

Best Men’s Aluminum 21 Speed

Schwinn Capitol 700c Hybrid Bike, 18-Inch

When I came across the Schwinn Capitol 700c bike while researching hybrids I immediately fell in love with this model. It’s a great-looking bike with a stylish and practical design, and it’s priced right as well. This really is a true hybrid bike, in that it has plenty of features that make it well suited to street riding as well as some light off-road riding. In fact, I wouldn’t even be uncomfortable riding this bike on intermediate trails with a few more hills thrown in.

Suspension for Comfortable Off-Road or on Road Riding

Most hybrid bikes priced under $300 are made of a solid construction with no type of suspension since they’re not really meant for a lot of off-road riding. This bike is something a little different as it does have a front fork suspension for comfortable riding even when you do hit the trails. That might not be as necessary on the roads, but it’s still a welcome addition when you hit a pothole. That’s especially important at the beginning of the riding season, before the construction crews have had a chance to repair the roads.

Precision Shifting

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to shift gears and listening to an annoying clink as your chain rattles and tries to respond to your commands. That’s the kind of experience I have now with my old mountain bike, but it’s not one you have to worry about if you upgrade to this model. This bike comes with Shimano 21-Speed EZ-Fire shifters for quick and precise gear shifting. It’s also very quiet and smooth. You won’t have to worry about the embarrassing noises your gears will make, like I have to with my current bike.

Best Women’s under $300

Schwinn Women’s Siro 700c Hybrid

You might think that it would be difficult to find a quality hybrid bicycle for under $300, but that’s not the case. The Schwinn Women’s Siro 700c is available for under $300, but it doesn’t sacrifice quality for price. This is a great bike with some fantastic features that will appeal to novice and intermediate riders alike. I always like to get my wife’s opinion when it comes to ladies bikes as I’m not the one that would be riding them; she agreed that not only did this bike look great, it also had the features that she’s looking for.

One Sharp Looking Ride

Everything about this bike is appealing to the eye – from its sleek design to its elegant contours, it will definitely turn some heads. While I’m sure this bike is available in other colors I really loved the light green color, which seems to remind me of the sea for some reason – you certainly wouldn’t look out of place riding this bike along the seashore while on vacation. Everything from the handlebars to the seat looks well-proportioned and fits the overall design of the bike. Let’s face it, you want a bike that’s mechanically sound, but you also want something that looks good as well, and this bike fits the profile.

Fine Construction

Off course, you wouldn’t buy a bike simply because it looks great, but not to worry – this is a precision-crafted machine with some great parts as well. It has a Shimano derailleur with EZ-Fire shifter for quick gear changes and it has lightweight and strong alloy rims as well. It’s actually quite impressive that this bike retails for under $300 considering all of these quality parts that come with it. These are without a doubt entry-level Shimano parts, but this is not a company that produces poor workmanship on any of the products in their line, so you know that you can rely on their parts inclusion as a good indication of the bike’s quality.

Best Women’s Street/Trail Combo

Schwinn Women’s GTX-1 700C Dual Sport Bicycle

The Schwinn Women’s GTX-1 700C is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a bike that can handle a fair bit of trail riding along with a lot of street riding. My niece is an avid bike enthusiast, and while she was over one weekend I showed her this bike and she was quite impressed. She has a bike that’s much more expensive than this, but she actually told me that she wished she’d seen this before she purchased her current bike, as she may have made a different decision.

Quality Suspension and Quick Shifting

What makes this bike ideal for some intermediate trail riding as well as street riding is its fantastic suspension and great gear-shifting equipment. It has a Schwinn suspension fork which is designed to cushion the blow of all the bumps on your road as you go. This is a nice feature that you won’t find on a lot of hybrid bikes, which aren’t really designed for any real off-roading. It also has a Shimano 21-speed derailleur with SRAM grip-shift shifters for effective gear-shifting in any situation. When it comes to gears and brakes, Shimano and SRAM are the biggest and best names in cycling.

Best Women’s Dutch Style

Critical Cycles Urban Commuter Road Bicycle

If you’re not familiar with the Dutch style of bicycle, it’s essentially a style of bike that’s designed almost exclusively for urban commuting. It’s a very practical design that ensures upright riding and good posture and is best suited for a leisurely pace. I remember as a kid that my mother had one of these bikes and she simply loved it. She always described it as the most comfortable bike she’d ever owned and was constantly trying to get me to go for bike rides with her.

City Tires and Fenders

When I say that this Critical Cycles Dutch Style Step-Thru 7-Speed is designed almost exclusively for urban riding I’m not exaggerating. Even the tires on this bike are designed with street conditions in mind. They have a smooth, rounded tread which is great for deflecting water as you ride, helping to minimize splash. It also has a great set of fenders that will help to keep you clean and keep the mud off your clothing. One of the most frustrating things about city riding is trying to avoid puddles on a rainy day; this bike will at least give you a fighting chance.

Other Conveniences

The convenience features don’t end with fenders and wheels, though; this bike also has a great rear rack for taking some items along with you on your ride. It’s perfect for a trip to the market and gives you a place to tie your purchases for the ride back home. When you’re riding in urban environments you’re bound to run into some traffic and you want to make sure that drivers can see you properly, so they’ve also included a headlight. It’s great for making you visible in rainy conditions and for night riding as well.

Don’t Limit Yourself

The whole purpose of a bike is to get you outside and riding. It’s a great form of exercise, but it’s also a good way to get around as well. A hybrid bike is wonderful for either purpose and probably much better suited than a mountain bike for the streets. As you’ve likely noticed from the bikes we’ve looked at, there’s a whole range of different options in the hybrid category. There are some that are great for off-roading as well as street riding and others that are meant primarily for street riding alone. Whatever your reason for looking for a bike, there’s a good chance that there’s a hybrid bike that’s ideal for your needs.

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