Best hybrid bikes under 500
2022 update: Best hybrid bikes for under 500
We talk a lot about road bikes, a little less about mountain bikes and not at all about hybrids. Although the latter are more common than others when it comes to everyday use of a bicycle on a global scale. Sometimes hybrids with a rigid fork are called fitness bikes, as if to say that they will help you keep fit, but will not be enough for serious sports and training.
The Best hybrid bikes under 500 combines the characteristics of a road, mountain and city bike. Traditionally, a hybrid is a lightweight version of a familiar mountain bike, which is also designed for riding on the highway. Distinctive design features:
- Lightweight and high frame, which is not typical for mountain bikes
- Suspension forks with a stroke of 50-60 mm are installed on them.
- Designed with disc brakes
We talk a lot about road bikes, a little less about mountain bikes and not at all about hybrids. Although the latter are more common than others when it comes to everyday use of a bicycle on a global scale. Sometimes hybrids with a rigid fork are called fitness bikes, as if to say that they will help you keep fit, but will not be enough for serious sports and training. We also have such devices, although there are no clear canons for them.
It is quite easy to distinguish a mountain bike from others - it has a suspension fork with a travel of at least 100 mm, powerful brakes, a rear shock absorber and the most common (usual for many due to the prevalence of MTB) transmission. When we talk about a road bike, we also have a good idea of thin wheels, bent handlebars and road groupset with obscure non-MTB shifters on the handlebars. Gravel bikes... it's a bit trickier here, as they look like road bikes from afar and are almost indistinguishable from cyclocrosses up close. Nevertheless, they are also well distinguishable, and we wrote how to distinguish them in a separate article, where we noted the features of cyclocrosses, gravels and road bikes separately.
Things get a lot more complicated when it comes to hybrid bikes. On the one hand, they stand out from the crowd, and on the other hand, they are confusing, since it is not clear what they refer to at all. And there will be no clear answer here.
So what is a hybrid bike?
Installing a flat (MTB) handlebar on a road bike turns the latter into a hybrid. Of course, a flat steering wheel implies the installation of MTB shifters. In general, a road handlebar can be put on an MTB bike, and we will also get a hybrid. The most interesting thing is that this is not the fruit of my fantasies, but bicycles actually put on the market. Hybridity also means maximum utility, which is reflected in the many mounts that carry fenders, footpegs, built-in locks, lighting, panniers, racks and bottles. Lighting, by the way, is often accompanied by a hub dynamo.
In general, at this stage, give a clear answer to the question “What should a hybrid bike look like?” quite difficult, since there are so many variations. It is likely that you will find a road bike with a hub dynamo, a planetary transmission and a bent handlebar, and it will already be a hybrid. However, let's talk about the transmission a little lower. In any case, there is no prerequisite under which a bicycle is called a hybrid. Although the radical change of the steering wheel already brings the bike to the term “hybrid”: Hybrid.
Frame and fork
The frames of hybrid bicycles are often made of aluminum, as it has good strength at a relatively low weight. Carbon models are less common - such bikes are still not focused on the minimum weight, but they often have rack mounts.
With forks, there are more options and you can often find shock absorbers, although their presence on such a bike is very controversial. After all, the geometry of the hybrid often already implies a rather soft and relaxed ride. If you think that a rigid fork is too stiff, then you should just ride such a bike - you will be very surprised. Well, okay, if it's a road bike with a straight handlebar, then yes, it will be tough. On the other hand, installing a suspension fork on it will completely destroy all its geometric advantages. I even admit that a ride on a highway with a cushioned fork can become uncomfortable somewhere.
In addition, the presence of a soft fork increases the weight (by 1.5-2 kilograms), complicates the design, reducing its reliability, and increases the cost of maintaining the bike. So... Don't be afraid of the rigid fork, it's designed to be comfortable to ride. If you put wide enough tires, it will be nice to ride on primers, but for high-speed descents along rocky paths, you already need a shock-absorbing fork - this is not a matter of comfort, but grip.
Note that I'm talking about factory made hybrids and then jumping to a road bike with suspension forks. It turns out that there are no restrictions in the materials and forms of the frame. There will be more to come.
The most familiar transmission with a large number of stars in the back and front is most often found on hybrid bikes. It is very simple in its design and easy to maintain or adjust. However, hybrid bike manufacturers put special guards around the chainrings and chainrings, but don't think they care so much about the irons.
Everything is done so that the rider does not get dirty. Hybrid bikes also use planetary transmissions. They differ in that they have only one star in front and behind, which visually greatly unload the structure. The entire shift mechanism, in this case, is located in the bottom bracket or rear hub. The latter option is used more often. Moreover, the number of gears sometimes reaches 11, which is accompanied by a corresponding price tag. The chain, by the way, is not always used on hybrid bicycles. There are transmissions on a belt drive, which are distinguished by quiet operation and the absence of dirty lubricant on external elements. The solution is very practical and convenient, but it is used quite rarely, as it costs more and finding spare parts is not always easy. Belt drive is used only with planetary gears or without them at all, that is, provided that the bike has only one gear.