If you already love cycling to a weekend farmers' market or cruising your local bike path, a hybrid bike may be the perfect way for you to take your workouts outdoors.
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As the name suggests, hybrids are all about versatility. For most everyday cyclists, they are the best wheels to buy.
What Is a Hybrid Bike?
A hybrid, sometimes called a fitness bike, is a jack-of-all-trades set of wheels you can ride in all sorts of situations (unlike mountain, road and gravel bikes, which are meant specific terrains and types of rides). These all-purpose bikes are great for commuting, running errands, cycling workouts, keeping up with your kids and other non-competitive uses.
Features you'll typically see on hybrid bikes include:
- Disc brakes, which are more reliable in wet weather and offer more control
- Flat handlebars and a more upright position, so you can sit with a straight back
- Tires in the range of 28 to 32 millimeters — wider than a road bike but narrower than a mountain bike
"It's a sidewalk bike that can be used for family, fun and fitness," says Yvette Sanborn, a Trek ambassador and the owner of David's World Cycle in Florida. "Whether you want to roll around town or get in a quick workout, a fitness hybrid does the trick. To reduce your reliance on cars, put a storage basket or bag on the frame. If you want to go farther, faster, try an e-bike hybrid.
Fitness bikes are typically marketed as either unisex or for a specific gender. But the model's fit — determined largely by your height — is more important than its gender label.
How We Chose
We chatted with cyclists and industry experts about their seven favorite hybrids of 2022 — and how to choose the best one for you, based on the following criteria:
- Bike frame and size
1. Best Electric: Trek Allant+ 7
- Electric motor
- Battery requires charging
For task-focused rides, consider the Allant+ 7 from Trek. This unisex electric bike is both powerful and lightweight, so it makes a solid commuter. With a road-smoothing suspension fork, Bosch drive system and a comfy saddle with plenty of airflow, this pick can help you tackle everything on your to-do list.
"The Allant is a great way to go further, faster — never letting anyone see you sweat if you don't want," Sanborn says.
Buy it: TrekBikes.com; Price: $3,749.99
2. Best for Off-Roading: Trek FX Sport Carbon 4
The best hybrid bikes come equipped with all the bells and whistles you need to get in a good workout while still being efficient. Enter the FX Sport Carbon 4, a unisex carbon-fiber Trek fitness bike that's great for group rides and solo workouts, says Garret Seacat, CSCS, a cyclist, coach and certified strength and conditioning specialist.
Its IsoSpeed seat tube smooths out the bumps when riding on dirt and grass. It also has a simple shifting system to give you "the best of the mountain and road bike, all in one," he says.
Buy it: TrekBikes.com; Price: $1,819.99
3. Best Affordable Men's Option: Sixthreezero Pave n' Trail
- Assembly required
This men's 21-speed ride is one of the best hybrid bikes on the less expensive end. With its Vibrazorb front suspension and pressure-alleviating handlebar position, it's designed for riding anywhere you feel like taking it. It also includes a rear rack for baskets and panniers.
"This is a hybrid built for both the trails and the pavement. If one day you want to ride on the street and the next day the trails, this model is perfect," says Dustin Gyger, a cyclist and Sixthreezero's founder and CEO. "I like it because it's very versatile and can take you over varying terrains comfortably."
Buy it: Sixthreezero.com; Price: $599.99
4. Best for Easy Maintenance: Tommaso La Forma
- Upright riding
This speedy unisex fitness bike from Tommaso can tackle any terrain you want to ride, thanks to its lightweight aluminum frame, grippy tires, gel handlebars and a vibration-dampening design. You'll have no trouble at all transitioning from the road (or a paved path) to the trails, says certified personal trainer John Fawkes, CPT.
"Aluminum alloy makes up its über-light frame — the bike weighs 25 pounds," he says. "What's more, it's fast — and an excellent option for both urban areas and trails."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $749.99
5. Best for Limited Mobility: Fuji Absolute 1.9ST
- Easy to mount and dismount
- Upright riding
Never heard of step-through bikes before? Their design lets you more easily step over the frame to mount and dismount, while keeping you in the most upright riding position possible.
"This bike from Fuji is easy to ride up and down hills and puts less stress on the body," says Jessica Mazzucco, CPT, a certified fitness trainer based in New York City.
A unisex model, it's both speedy and durable and works on and off of pavement. It has a lightweight aluminum frame, stable design and handy rack mounts for anything you need to bring with you.
6. Best Women's Cruiser: Sixthreezero EVRYjourney
- Vintage-style cruiser
- Optional features
This women's bike features a step-through aluminum frame, seven speeds and a leather seat for commuting or cruising around town. Plus, its unique design puts riders in an upright, heads-up position that makes it easy to stop and start as you ride.
"If comfort is important, look for a hybrid that provides more of an upright ride to ease tension on your back and shoulders," Gyger says.
The price of this bike varies based on how many riding speeds you want.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $519.99 to $1,000.99
7. Best Basic Pick: Schwinn Discover
- Smooth ride
This zippy unisex bike from Schwinn is ideal for training rides, commuting and cruising.
The Discover is built for comfort and it features easy-to-use breaks, an upright handlebar with an adjustable stem, fenders, a rear gear carrier and 21-speed grip shifters.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $452.01 to $841.74
What to Consider When Shopping for Your New Bike
The most important factor to consider when buying a bike is comfort. If you don't feel happy and relaxed, you just won't ride, plain and simple.
"Must-haves for a hybrid are definitely a comfortable saddle and handgrips," Sanborn says.
When buying online, make sure the company's return policy lets you get in some test rides.
Fit makes a big difference in keeping things comfy and reducing your risk of cycling injuries, Sanborn says. When you start shopping for bikes, you'll notice they typically come in standard sizes like extra-small, small, medium, large and extra-large.
Your height is what determines your bike size. Check out the brand's size chart to find your best fit.
3. Extras and Add-Ons
The best hybrid bikes for the money are those that can help you save cash you'd typically spend on gas or public transit fares. So pay attention to user-friendly features.
Because you might be riding around town for pleasure or to run errands, look for fenders that will help keep you clean and dry, even during rainy weather. Also look for gear racks, which make it easy to attach bags and baskets, Sanborn says.