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Best hybrid bikes 2021: Tackle roads, trails and paths with our pick of the hottest hybrids

Nick Harris-Fry Joseph Delves
27 May 2021

Looking to get fit – or just get to work on time? We round up the best hybrid bikes for commuting and leisure use

Ditch the car, save money and get fit. There are plenty of reasons to buy a bike – and choosing a hybrid design opens up the widest range of possibilities. With flat handlebars, a good spread of gears and slightly chunkier tyres than you’ll find on a road bike, they’re versatile enough to both commute through the city during the week and escape it at weekends.

Yet while all hybrids have certain key features in common, there’s a diverse range of models out there – at a wide spread of prices. Here’s our guide to choosing the perfect hybrid bike.

UPDATE: Bike sales have never been so high, which means that many of the entries on our list are out of stock. We recommend checking back regularly, but, in the meantime, we’ve put together a list of in-stock bikes below:

The best hybrid bikes available to buy right now:

If one or more of these products are not in stock, please let us know via email or on Twitter @expertreviews.

The original article continues below.

How to choose the best hybrid bike for you

The beauty of a hybrid is its versatility, but it’s worth thinking about how you’ll mostly be using it. Long rides or short? On-road, off-road, or a mix of both? The answers should inform your purchasing decision. Don’t go for something light and racy if you mostly want to pootle down bumpy countryside tracks. And while upright riding positions are great for weaving through traffic, they’re slower than more aggressive head-down styles. Ideally, take a few different types of bike for a test ride and see what feels right.

Which features should I look out for?

Frame material: Aluminium is most common, as it’s cheap and quite lightweight; carbon fibre is lighter and can be engineered to give the frame stiffness where it’s needed, while allowing a little more flexibility elsewhere. Steel frames are heaviest but ensure a rock-solid ride.

Tyres: Skinny and slick tyres are fast on smooth tarmac, but slippery and bumpy on gravel or cobbles; unless you’re a real race-head we suggest you go no slimmer than 32c, for a decent degree of grip and cushioning.

Brakes: Disc brakes are increasingly common, and are worth looking out for as they’re more powerful and reliable than calipers, especially in the rain. And extras like racks and mudguards are useful if you want to carry stuff around with you and don’t want a soggy bottom.

How much do I need to spend?

There’s no need to spend a fortune on a hybrid bike. £500 will get you a high-quality bike that you can ride every day, and with regular servicing, it should last indefinitely. If you want to spend more, you’ll mostly be paying for comfort features such as lower weight.

If you’re planning to go north of £1,000, you can expect to find technology pinched from specialist racing machines, or more practical touches like integrated lighting and ultra-durable hub gears. At this price point, though, you’re getting away from the all-rounder market and into more specialist territory – consider whether a dedicated touring bike or road bike might suit you better.

The best hybrid bikes to buy

1. Trek FX 2 Disc: The hybrid bike for ergonomics and a nippy ride

Price: £515 | Buy now from Trek Bicycles

Neither too aggressive nor too slouchy, the Trek FX 2 perfectly pulls off the hybrid balancing act. Reliable disc brakes keep you safe, while wider than average tyres roll smoothly across mixed terrain with plenty of traction. The bike’s contact points (the saddle and grips) have all been custom-designed with support and comfort in mind.

Pitched at a reasonable entry-level price point, the Trek uses solid components that won’t let you down, even with daily use. It also comes with standard fixings for attaching racks and mudguards, along with subtly integrated mounts for lights and a ride computer. Best of all, since Trek is one of the most popular brands on the market, you should have no difficulty finding one to take for a test ride.

Key features – Wheel size: 700 x 35c; Weight: 19.95kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 3 x 8; Extras: None

Buy now from Trek Bicycles

2. Carrera Crossfire 2: Best affordable all-rounder

Price: £350 | Buy Men’s | Women’s from Halfords

Those looking for a budget bike that can handle their morning commute as well as a leisurely ride along a country path will be pleased with the Crossfire 2. It might not look as stylish as some of the other options available, but it’s comfortable and – at under £400 – very good value.

Following the Carrera Crossfire 1, the Crossfire 2 is fitted with mechanical disc brakes and a Suntour MVX front suspension with a 75mm travel for a more comfortable off-road ride. While this suspension can be adjusted to suit the terrain you’re riding on, the lack of a lockout feature means that you won’t reach top speeds when it comes to road cycling, but it’s a small sacrifice for an affordable hybrid such as this.

Key features – Wheel size: 700 x 42c; Weight: 15.4kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 24; Extras: Pannier mounts

Buy Men's from Halfords Buy Women's from Halfords

3. Canyon Commuter 8.0: Best hybrid bike if money is no object

Price: £2,649 | Buy now from Canyon

This top-of-the-line Canyon is expensive by hybrid standards – but it could well be the shape of commuter bikes to come. Its radical design integrates lights, mudguards and rack, with a Shimano Alfine hub system providing 11 gears with no noise or mess from exposed oily components. The front hub houses a high-spec dynamo to power the integrated front and back lights and ensures you’re visible whenever you’re rolling.

Also striking is the one-piece bar and stem: snuggled into the front of the bike, this saves weight and looks great, although it limits the adjustment available. A beautiful Brooks saddle sits on top of a flexible carbon post to insulate your posterior from bumps in the road, and it all rolls along on speedy Schwalbe Kojak tyres. As the name suggests, the Commuter 8.0 is more at home on paved roads than muddy trails, but it’s a fantastic, futuristic ride.

Key features – Wheel size: 700c; Weight: 12kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: Internal 11-speed; Extras: Mudguards, rack, lighting

Buy now from Canyon

4. Specialized Sirrus 1.0: The best hybrid bike for riding around town

Price: £499 | Buy now from Specialized

The Sirrus is a firm favourite in the hybrid market and is a popular choice for commuters. It’s lightweight and has fairly upright geometry, which will ensure comfort on any longer rides. It’s fitted with Shimano components (cassette, derailleur, crankset and shift levers) which, according to Specialized, will “withstand years of daily abuse on the world's pavement”.

At the lower end of Specialized’s Sirrus range, it costs far less than some of the more advanced models – such as the Sirrus 4.0 for £1,400 – and, as such, is a great entry-level choice for the commuting cyclist.

Key features – Wheel size: 700 x 32c; Weight: Unspecified; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 2 x 7 - 14 speed; Extras: Pannier mounts, mudguard mounts

Buy now from Specialized

5. Cannondale Treadwell EQ: The best grocery-getting cruiser

Price: £800 | Buy now from Evans Cycles

Don’t let the Treadwell’s cutesy appearance fool you: this mixte-style bike might be fun to muck about on, but it’s still a very practical commuter or grocery getter. With an easy-to-mount frame, it’s light and extremely capable.

Using wide tyres, super-upright BMX style bars, a single chainring drivetrain, powerful disc brakes and an integrated front basket, it’s happy on everything from Tarmac to gravel. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s also quite nippy, thanks to a geometry that imparts control while not being overly slouchy.

With an integrated sensor on the fork and a phone-mount on its stem, you’ll be able to see this for yourself, as the feature allows you to record your data and keep an eye on progress in real-time.

Also available with an even lower-slung frame for skirt wearers or those who enjoy the extra convenience of a dropped crossbar.

Key features – Wheel size: 650 x 47c; Weight: 12.3kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 1 x 9; Extras: Frame bumpers, wheel sensor, front basket

Buy now from Evans Cycles

6. Triban RC500 Flat Bar: Road bike speed with flat handlebar comfort

Price: £500 | Buy now from Decathlon

Road bikes are fast. But not everyone gets on with the extra stretch necessary to keep hold of their dropped handlebars, or the way they make it hard to continuously cover the brake levers.

The RC500 Flat Bar adapts Triban’s popular road bike to better suit fast commuting or just riders who want maximum speed paired with the security and comfort of a flat-bar.

Borrowed from its racing sibling, the 2 x 9-speed gearing is tailored to making nippy progress, which is aided by a low overall weight and narrow 28c tyres. With a carbon fork, the tubeless-ready wheels are similarly feathery, ensuring the bike is super-efficient over smooth surfaces.

However, with disc brakes and space for mudguards or wider tyres, the RC500 can also be adapted for multi-surface use if needed. Either way, the bike’s wide handlebars and semi-upright position mean it’s equally happy navigating mid-week traffic or racing down country lanes come the weekend.

Key features – Wheel size: 700 x 28c; Weight: 10.7kg; Frame material: Aluminium; Gears: 2 x 9; Extras: Tubeless-ready wheels, bar ends

Buy now from Decathlon

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