What is a Hybrid Bike?

Friday, February 11, 2022

The hybrid bike is incredibly versatile, which is what makes it such a great choice for general-purpose rides. Whether you intend to ride for fitness, transportation, or fun, it’s the go-to bike for many people. But what exactly is a hybrid bike and what sort of riding is it best suited to? Read on for the full lowdown

A hybrid bike is exactly as it sounds – a mix of two bikes. More specifically, a mountain and a road bike. But unlike those two highly-specialised bikes, it’s very much a jack of all trades rather than a master of one. The hybrid is highly efficient when it comes to riding on the road yet is capable enough to tackle off-road terrains such as towpaths, bridleways, and forest trails.

It’s this versatility that makes the hybrid an ideal choice for cycle commuters and leisure riders who place a premium on comfort. Then of course there’s the electric hybrid bike that delivers an extra push of power to each pedal stroke at the press of a button. Ideal for the daily commuter who wants to arrive at work/class sweat-free or novice riders who need the extra assistance to flatten any hills that come their way.

The anatomy of a hybrid bike

Given the all-terrain versatility of the hybrid bike, they include all of the essential features that you need to ride on the road and explore beyond the pavement.


The most notable feature of any hybrid bike is the flat handlebars that you would normally expect to see on mountain bikes. In direct contrast to the drop bars that you’d typically find on a road bike. Flat handlebars provide a more upright riding position that many will find more comfortable and potentially safer, particularly when riding in traffic.

Wide Tyre Clearance

With multi-terrain riding in mind, there’s clearance for wider tyres. Typically run at lower pressures than pure tarmac tyres they absorb shock for enhanced comfort and traction, particularly when riding off-road. Though slower on the road, these tyres really come into their own on mixed terrain rides. To increase this off-road versatility yet further, there’s also the option to fit smaller diameter 650b wheels. The extra cushioning that 650b tyres provide leads to unbeatable comfort and control when riding off the beaten track. However, it should be noted that they won’t be quite as efficient on the road, so it’s worth bearing this in mind.

Disc Brakes

Disc brakes have now established themselves as the number one choice for multi-terrain bikes. Their peerless braking power delivers more consistent all-weather braking control. Disc brakes aren’t affected by a drop off in performance that other brake types suffer from when conditions are wet.


Whether you’re riding on the road or off it, having all of the gears you need is essential. This is why hybrid bikes offer versatile gearing, with 1 or 2 chainrings at the front and wide-ranging gears at the rear. Delivering all the gears that the rider needs to get uphill or down.

Suspension Forks

Some models of hybrid bikes (like the Ribble Hybrid AL Trail) will also include front suspension to soak up the bumps from rough roads and when riding off-road.

Wet Weather Protection

While mudguards may not be essential, they are certainly beneficial, especially if you intend to commute to work/class daily. Integrated mudguard mounts enable full coverage mudguards to be fitted to keep you dry and fend off the dirt no matter what the commute sends your way.

Luggage Carrying

Similarly to mudguards, having a pannier rack fitted is by no means a necessity. It is, however, a handy capability for any bike to offer. Ribble hybrid bikes are either equipped with a rack or include mounts to accept them. Perfect for carrying a change of clothes for work, a laptop, picnic or even doing a little grocery shopping.

Comfortably Padded Saddles

Hybrid bikes are equipped with saddles that feature extra padding for maximum comfort in the upright riding position. Providing the highest level of comfort and support on mixed terrain rides.

Click here to view the complete range of Ribble Hybrid bikes.

In summary

Whatever your ride requirements, it’s important to note that the hybrid bike is neither as off-road capable as a pure mountain bike. Nor is it as fast as a thoroughbred road bike on the road. What it does offer, however, is the ability to explore the city streets or take a tour of the countryside, in style and comfort.

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