Some of you may be considering a hybrid bike and would like to know some of the benefits a hybrid offers. Hybrid bikes are becoming more popular on the road and trail and are an alternative to the typical road and mountain bikes that you may be use to. A hybrid bike is one that blends the best characteristics of both road and mountain bikes into a bike that is sturdy, comfortable, fast, and ideal not only for riding on the road, but also the trail.
Features that come from road bikes are lighter rims for faster riding, lighter components and taller gearing for going faster.
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The rims and spokes on hybrids are lighter too like a road bike, since the assumption is that you won’t be doing the rougher off-road riding that mountain biking entails.
Most hybrid bike frames are made of lightweight aluminum or steel (also called “cro-moly”), due to the strength and durability the material offers and their (relatively) low price.
The handlebars on a hybrid are typically flat like a mountain bike, and go straight out from the stem. With a wider grip, usually about shoulder width, these handlebars allow riders to sit upright and offer a better position for vision and control of the bike than the handlebars on a road bike.
Like a mountain bike, a hybrid’s design allows riders to sit upright in a position that gives them the best control of the bike with well placed center of gravity. This posture also reduces strain on the rider’s neck and back.
Hybrids have a wide range of gearing to allow the rider to both climb hills and go fast on flat ground and downhills. Not usually equipped with gears in as low a range as mountain bikes, the hybrid’s gearing setup is more similar to road bikes.
Typically a hybrid bike will have either two or three chain rings in the front as part of the crank assembly, again along the lines of what you’d find on a road bike. In the back you’ll find eight or nine gears in the cassette on the rear wheel, a combination that allows for anywhere from 16 to 27 possible gear combinations, which will account for virtually every need a hybrid rider will have in town or on the bike path.
Basic hybrid bikes come equipped with platform pedals. This is useful if you’re the type of rider who frequently puts your feet down. Other more advanced riders may prefer to use toe clips or even Clipless Pedals that allow the rider to secure his or her cleated shoes to the pedals. But people have different levels of comfort when it comes to being fully attached to the bike given the frequent stops you might encounter while riding in traffic.
Accessories for a hybrid bike include a cyclo-computer, frame pump, tool bag, water bottle and cage. This is useually all you need to be self-sufficient when riding in town.
A hybrid is a good choice for those who commute in-town and also hit the trails. Also, if you’re going to be using a hybrid bike for commuting to work or school, check out some additional accessories such as lights, racks, and locks that can come as built-in features with many models.