15 Best hybrid bikes (aug. 2018) – complete buyer’s guide and reviews

Hybrid bikes attract a wide range of riders since they are so versatile; some people want a bike that can get them to work and withstand pothole-infested roads. Others want a comfortable ride for weekend adventures that may end up on gravel roads or hiking trails. Then, there are those that want a bicycle to do all of that, plus hold work clothes and groceries while taking the hilly route home.

• Drivetrain – The gear selection on your bike is extremely important and should be compatible with your riding style. When we mention drivetrain, we are referring to the gears, front and rear derailleurs (mechanisms that move the chain from one gear to another), the crank arms (arms that connect the pedals to your front gears), and the shifting levers on your handlebars.

• Suspension – If you plan to use your hybrid bike on trails or have rough roads on your commute, consider a bike with suspension. The most common suspension system is on the front fork; this prevents rough surfaces from affecting your handling and promotes the longevity of your arm strength. Some bikes also have suspension in the seat post for added comfort.

• What’s With the Wheel Sizes? Wheels are the most played with component out there. In the hybrid market, you will see an array of choices, but the common sizes are 700c, 29in, and 26in. These three sizes are actually only two. 700c and 29in wheels have the same diameter and can use the same tires. Through branding and the cycling community, they’ve acquired different names.

• Steel – Steel is one of the heaviest materials used in frame building; however, modern steel tubing manufacturers have developed a lighter product of equal strength. While they may be the heaviest, they’re also the most forgiving. Steel frames absorb the road better than aluminum and are more malleable, which means you will bend the frame under stress before snapping it.

• Carbon Fiber – Carbon frames are rare in the hybrid world, but the popular road bike material occasionally makes its way into the market. Most commonly, a bike will have an aluminum frame and a carbon fiber front fork. Carbon fiber is extremely light and strong but also has road-dampening capabilities like steel. Based on the carbon fiber bikes that we’ve tried, we can assure you the performance boost justifies the higher price tag.

The name Shimano will pop up multiple times throughout these reviews. That’s a good thing – they are leaders in the component industry, and many companies use their shifting elements to add reliability and value to their product. The Diverse 3.0’s Shimano 24-speed drivetrain gives peace of mind when shifting up and down over any terrain. If your route to work is hilly or you enjoy seeking out the steepest pitch in town, this is the bike for the job.

Like the Mongoose Banish 2.0, the Marin San Rafael DS2 is a hybrid bicycle that goes off-road with ease. Marin is a respected company out of Marin County, California that has been manufacturing quality bikes for 30 years. They have a pedigree for stellar mountain bikes, and the San Rafael DS2 sees some of that greatness trickle down to its multipurpose, dual-sport design.

What makes the San Rafael DS2 different from Marin’s mountain bikes? It comes equipped with rack and fender mounts for commuting and features a versatile 24-speed Shimano drivetrain that not only handles the low-speed trails but lets you fly on the pavement as well. The frame geometry is also designed for a more upright casual position to relieve stress on the back and arms.

One interesting feature on the Marin is its internal cable routing system. In some ways, internal routing is a plus; it keeps your cables protected from the elements, and it gives the bike a cleaner look. However, after hundreds of miles of use, when it comes time to change the cables, it can be a real pain to do so. Often, it is better to save yourself the hassle and let the bikes shop stress over it. Final Thoughts