If you are new to Hybrid biking or if you have been biking for years, it can still be difficult to decide which type of Hybrid bikes is for you. But fear not, you have come to the right place for Hybrid biking advice!
There are many different lifestyle factors to consider. Do you plan on using the bike for getting to work? For fitness and weight loss? For leisure? What is your current fitness level? Do you have any health problems? Do you have storage limitations either at home or at your destination? With this guide, you will be able to choose the best solution for your Hybrid biking needs.
Many different types of Hybrid bike are available ranging from pure comfort bikes all the way down to semi-race ready touring bikes. Here are a range of hybrid bikes from the most comfortable to the most sporty:
Recumbent bikes are interesting in that they allow the rider to sit in in a position where their legs are positioned in front of them instead of behind them unlike a conventional hybrid bicycle, where the legs are underneath the seat of the rider. Components can be shared with mountain, hybrid, or road bikes depending on use, although handlebars and steering systems are usually quite different. The unique seating position reduces the strain on the lower back as well as shoulders, wrists, and arms since the driver is not leaning on the handlebars to maintain balance.
Some also believe that the recumbent riding position, which allows the legs to be at about the same level as the heart, allows better endurance and faster riding in many riding situations. There are also safety benefits – the rider is close to the road and at less of a risk of incurring a serious fall injury. There are also a few negatives to riding a recumbent bike. While straight-aways, declines, and slight inclines are typically faster on a recumbent, steep hill climbs are more difficult, as is maintaining balance and start- and stop-riding is also difficult because it is sometimes difficult to place your feet when stopped.
Cruiser bicycles are the most comfortable amongst the commuter and hybrid bicycles. Their upright position is more natural and ideal for users with back pain and the saddle is wide and well padded for longer rides. Also, the tires are thicker to help absorb bumps, cracks, and potholes on roads. Cruisers are ideal for areas with dedicated bike paths, lanes, and less busy streets and are perfect for relaxed beach communities. You will often see surfers at the beach riding on their cruisers with a surfboard hanging from their free hand. They are the easiest to operate since they are single speed and have coaster brakes instead of hand grip brakes. You most likely had coaster brakes on your first bike as a child – you just pedal backwards to stop.
Folding bicycles are ideal for urban settings since they offer the size and all of the features of a regular sized bike in a collapsible package. Once you get to your destination, you can lower the handlebars and saddle, fold it in half and lock the halves together and you have a lightweight and small frame for easy handling. You can easily tuck this under your desk, next to your seat on the metro or bus, or into the taxi or your car at the end of the day. It is also easy to store in a small condo with limited storage space. The features on folding bikes are more limited when compared to typical hybrid bikes but you can still have hand grip brakes and a ten speed shifter.
Standard hybrid bicycles have the most features and are a nice blend between mountain bikes, road bikes, and comfort bikes. The frames are typically thicker than road bikes to handle added stresses from curbs, potholes, and cracks but narrower than mountain bikes to reduce the overall weight of the frame for nimble handling. Tires again are thicker than road bike tires but thinner and less knobby than mountain bike tires. Different types of tires can be purchased for different uses – you would want slender tires with a smooth surface for road riding or wider tires with ridges for light offroad riding. Most of the less expensive hybrids have solid front forks but some of the moderate and high end hybrids have front suspension forks to help dampen shock from damaged pavement.
Touring Bikes are the fastest of the hybrid bicycles. While they have frames that are similar to standard hybrid bicycles, their components are more similar to those on road bikes. The tires are narrower and the handlebars are mounted lower for a more streamlined posture and better high speed stability. The seat is smaller and more lightweight as are most of the components.
Touring bikes are ideal for rapid commuters or for recreational users who use their bikes for fitness in addition to commuting. They are often used as a more comfortable alternative to road bikes at a lesser cost.
I hope that this guide on Hybrid bicycling has been helpful.
For more information on these different types of Hybrid bikes and for questions on Hybrid bicycling in general, please visit my site at Hybrid bike.
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