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Best hybrid bikes 2023: Take on tarmac, trails and beyond

Need to commute to the office or want to explore at the weekend? We round up the best hybrid bikes for commuting and leisure use

If you’re looking to swap the car or public transport for something healthier, a hybrid is almost certainly the style of bike you’re after. Comfortable and versatile, the best hybrid bikes are able to take on terrain from tarmac and canal paths to light off-road sections. Generally upright and comfortable, they will have a broad enough spread of gears to carry you and your kit up steep hills. Fittings for racks and mudguards also mean they’re both practical and adaptable.

However, while all hybrids have certain features in common, there are many different styles to pick from – along with an equally wide variety of different price points. With that in mind, here’s our guide to choosing the best hybrid bike.

Best hybrid bikes: At a glance

How to choose the best hybrid bike for you

As they’re so versatile, it’s hard to go wrong when picking a hybrid. Still, it helps to ask a few critical questions about how you’ll use it. Will most rides be long or short? Are you quite sporty, or do you enjoy taking in the scenery at a sedate pace? Where will you ride, on-road, off-road, or a mix of both?

Match your answers to the bike’s features. Longer and faster rides will benefit from a light bike with slick tyres. Alternatively, off-road expeditions require chunkier and heavier tyres for better grip. Upright bikes are easy on your back and great for safely navigating traffic, but can be slower compared to those with lower handlebars. If you can, try a few different styles and see what feels best.

Which features should I look out for?

Frame material: Aluminium is ubiquitous as it’s affordable and lightweight. Carbon fibre is lighter and can be engineered into complex shapes to fine-tune the ride of the bicycle. However, it’s very expensive. Traditional steel frames are heaviest, but tend to be comfortable and will last decades.

Tyres: Thin tyres with minimal tread are speedy on smooth tarmac but slippery and bumpy on gravel or cobbles. The rougher the terrain, the wider and grippier you need your tyres to be. Look out for models with extra puncture protection too.

Brakes: Disc brakes are best as they’re more powerful and reliable than other styles, especially in the rain. They’ll also help your rims last longer. However, they’re heavier and more expensive.

Extras: After a week or two of riding in the rain or carrying a backpack, you’ll wish your bike had mudguards and a rack. If these aren’t included on your bike, you may want to factor in their cost too.

How much do I need to spend?

Hybrid bikes are intended as practical daily rides, so you don’t need to spend crazy money. £400-500 will get you a high-quality machine that will withstand everyday use and, with conscientious servicing, should last indefinitely. As you spend more, you’ll find increasingly robust parts, more features, exotic frame materials, and lower overall weights.

Once you hit around £1,000, you can expect to see technology borrowed from specialist racing bikes. These bikes can be exceptionally fast. Alternatively, you may find more practical touches like in-built lighting and ultra-durable hub gears. If you have an even bigger budget, then consider whether specialist touring or road bikes might fit the bill.

READ NEXT: Best road bike

The best hybrid bikes you can buy in 2023

1. Trek FX 2 Disc: Best all-round hybrid

Price when reviewed: £549 | Check price at Evans CyclesNot too sedate but equally unlikely to put your back out, the Trek FX 2 is nippy without being obnoxious. Designed predominantly for road use, it’s still capable of the occasional trip away from the tarmac.

That said, its moderately slick 35c tyres and low weight means it’s perfectly balanced for medium distance commutes. A notch or two above the entry-level, its big selling point is its superbly reliable and powerful Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. Adding confidence when stopping, they will also cut down overall maintenance.

Other mechanical parts on the bike are pretty traditional. Its 3×9-speed gearing means you have an enormous range of gears to pick from but it is slightly more fiddly than the single-chainring drivetrains, which are increasingly popular.

Still, with very comfortable grips and saddle, this latest version of the long-running FX range is likely to be a hit with the vast majority of riders.

Key features – Wheel size: 700 x 35c; Weight: 11.7kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 3 x 9; Extras: N/A

Check price at Evans Cycles

2. Decathlon Riverside 500: Best entry-level hybrid

Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at DecathlonThis is the cheapest bike on our list, and one of very few at this price point we’d be happy to recommend. Sold by European outdoors chain Decathlon, the Riverside 500 represents exceptional value for money.

But it’s not just low cost that sets it apart. The bike’s design is great too. This is manifest in features like the kinked top tube on its lightweight aluminium frame. Putting more space between it and your delicate bits, this makes hopping on and off easy and increases rider confidence.

The Riverside’s parts list also scores a series of hits. These include powerful and low maintenance disc brakes, simple and sequential 9-speed gearing, plus a suspension fork and wide semi-slick tyres for multi-surface escapades.

The ride position is upright and comfortable, while its ability to ride on most terrain doesn’t make it too slow when used on the road. Cheap and nicely balanced, it’s a great multi-purpose introduction to cycling.

Key features – Wheel size: 700 x 38c; Weight: 14.1kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 1 x 9; Extras: Suspension fork

Check price at Decathlon

3. Giant Escape 2 Disc: Best hybrid for all-round value

Price when reviewed: £599 | Check price at TredzThis nippy hybrid squeezes hydraulic disc brakes, a light frame, and wide, puncture-resistant tyres into a neat and budget-friendly package.

Upright to ride and with a broad range of gears, it’s eminently easy to get along with. Based around an aluminium frame and fork, both are lighter and better finished than you’d expect given the price, while the brand’s D-fuse seatpost further boosts the bike’s ability to smooth out bumps.

Equipped with all the standard mounting points for racks and mudguards, the Escape is a bike ready to be adapted as you see fit. This extends to the tyres – with 38c models fitted as standard, it will also take treads up to 45c if you fancy heading off-road.

Made by the appropriately huge Giant bicycle corporation, its buying power means the Escape benefits from competitive pricing relative to its rivals.

Key features – Wheel size: 700 x 38c; Weight: Unlisted; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 7 x 3; Extras: N/A

Check price at Tredz

4. Specialized Sirrus 1.0: Best hybrid for zippy handling

Price when reviewed: £375 | Check price at Evans CyclesThe Sirrus has long been a favourite in the hybrid market and is a popular choice for commuters. It’s simple, lightweight, and has reasonably upright geometry. At the same time, it’s quick enough that you won’t feel as if you’re wasting effort on longer rides.

Like many bikes, it’s been subject to a degree of price inflation in recent years. At this entry-level price point, this has seen the latest Sirrus swap from Shimano to Microshift for its gearing.

It now also occupies a spot in the market where it’s competing with disc brake-equipped bikes. So how come it’s still on our list? For one thing, it’s still in stock.

Less facetiously, it has an excellent aluminium frame going for it. Plus, Specialized’s own Body Geometry grips and saddle are likely to prove comfortable. Its tyres are also relatively puncture-resistant, while its road-going manners are pleasing too. All in, it does just enough for it to warrant your consideration.

Key features – Wheel size: 700 x 32c; Weight: 12.3kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 2 x 7; Extras: N/A

Check price at Evans Cycles

5. Kona Dew: Best hybrid for radical riding

Price when reviewed: £450 | Check price at Winstanleys Bikes The Kona Dew is a bike that’ll happily take you to work – but would rather bunk off and play. Its smaller than average 650b wheels are solid and manoeuvrable yet come fitted with broad tyres capable of rolling quickly over any surface. They’re spun up to speed by wide-ratio 2 x 8-speed gearing and stopped by respectable cable-operated disc brakes.

Low-slung, somewhat upright, and employing a short stem, the Dew’s design owes a substantial debt to modern mountain-bike geometry while also taking cues from the bikepacking genre. Comfy to sit on all day, this also means there are plenty of extra mounting points for luggage of all kinds.

Ride it into town, or escape into the hills. Its lightweight aluminium frame looks rad done up with matte paint, perfectly matching the equally cool tan-wall tyres. All in, it’s a bike that’s pretty, practical, and a ton of fun.

Key features – Wheel size: 650 x 47c; Weight: 14.8 kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 2 x 8; Extras: N/A

Check price at Winstanleys Bikes

6. Boardman URB 8.6: Best value hub-gear hybrid

Price when reviewed: £600 | Check price at HalfordsThis futuristic-looking hub-gear hybrid packs in a few excellent features at a very attractive price point. Key to this is the URB 8.6’s use of Shimano’s brilliant Nexus 3-speed hub. Of course, three gears might not seem like a lot, but each is widely spaced enough that hills shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The system is also incredibly durable, a fact proved by its use on rental schemes worldwide. Its use also cuts down the number of components, keeping the bike light as well as low maintenance, all reasons why it’s a hit with us

Equally low maintenance are the bike’s powerful Tektro HD-R310 disc brakes. Hydraulic rather than cable-operated, they’re great to see given the cost. Looking very mean in its all-black livery, the bike also rolls on fast 32c Vittoria Zaffiro tyres. Combined with low overall weight, this makes the URB 8.6 seriously rapid on smoother surfaces.

Key features – Wheel size: 700 x 32c; Weight: 11kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 3; Extras: Hub gearing

Check price at Halfords

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