“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” – H.G. Wells
This has been my mantra for my entire adult life. I believe in the vast left-wing conspiracy perpetrated by 99 percent of the scientific community that global warming is very real and will kill us all. I have kids and want them to have a planet to live on when they’re older. Part of my fight against global warming is riding a bicycle instead of driving. So, my main mode of transportation has been a bicycle for large chunks of my life.
What I’m trying to tell you is that I’m a credible source when it comes to bicycles. I’ve ridden a bike or two in my life. And, living in an area where bicycle theft is the main industry, I’ve had to buy an unfair share of bikes. Here is a guide for choosing the best ride for your needs as well as my top ten best hybrid bikes.
Which Gender Do You Identify with?
In my experience, it doesn’t seem to make a difference, but bicycle manufacturers insist that you identify with one of the binary genders and then ride a bike that is labeled as male or female. I think it’s all a conspiracy to get guys to hit their nuts on the frame as they get on and off their hybrid bikes. In this review, I am mainly reviewing men’s bikes because I’m a dude, but I’ll also include links to the female equivalents when possible.
Why a Hybrid Bike?
If we’ve learned anything from the Prius, it’s that hybrids are better for the environment. But seriously, hybrids are the lovechild of mountain and road bikes. They work on all sorts of terrain. They also usually have:
- Larger tires than road bikes for comfort on uneven ground
- Flat handlebars
- Frame mounting points that let you attach pannier racks, child seats, fenders, kegs, and more
- Linear-pull brakes
- An upright riding position
Most hybrid bikes use the classic derailleur gear system, which features a series of cogs, cranks, chains, and other bike parts that are beyond my comprehension. There are also internal hub gears and belt drive systems.
What to Look for in a Hybrid Bike
Whether you want to use your hybrid bike for commuting or just going on an annoyingly-slow ride with your family on one Sunday a year until you get a flat and forget about your bike forever, there are a number of things you should consider when buying a hybrid: what terrain you want to ride your bike on, what you want to carry with you, and how long your trips will be.
Pannier racks are a must if you want to carry a lot of stuff, such as groceries, laptops, or other bikes, which is incredibly important if you are a bike thief. Choose a hybrid with a front suspension fork if you plan on riding on unpaved paths, back roads, or roads that look like Swiss cheese. If you plan on riding on smooth surfaces for long distances, then you want narrow tires, a more aggressive riding position, and a lightweight frame. This’ll get you movin’.
These tips should start you in your search. If you prefer not to do your own research and just want me to do everything for you, then please check out the top 10 best hybrid bikes listed below. These bikes have a perfect balance of comfort, affordability, and accessories:
- Aluminum frame with suspension fork
- Shimano 21-speed rear derailleur
- Padded comfort seat with suspension
The Schwinn Network 3.0 has a strong, low-crossbar 18” frame. Aside from the affordable price tag, users appreciate that it is size adjustable, lightweight, and fast. Most importantly, the ride is unbelievably comfortable, even when you go off road. The weak spot with this model is the derailleur. I would recommend upgrading the derailleur at your local bike shop if you would like to make your ride even smoother.
- 21-speed SRAM grip shifters
- Built-in rear rack
- Front and rear fenders to ensure you do not get a racing stripe on your back when riding in the rain
If you cheated and looked ahead, you’ll notice that the top six bikes on this list are all Schwinns. That’s because Schwinn is the standard in the bike industry. It is the most trusted and oldest name when it comes to American bikes. Like all other Schwinns, the Discover comes with a Lifetime Warranty for as long as you own your bike. This includes replacing the frame and other parts that fail due to defects in the workmanship.
- Aluminum fitness frame with rigid fork
- 21-speed EZ Fire shifters and rear derailleur from Shimano
- Alloy wheels with high-profile rims
The Volare has the look and feel (it weighs about 26 pounds) of a bike three times its price. It has exceptional brakes, wheels, and tires. The tires are quite small so you probably should not buy this if you plan on going off road a lot and are not into masochism.
- Versatile riding thanks to the suspension fork and aluminum dual sport frame
- 21-speed trigger shifters so you can feel like you are going “pew pew pew” while cycling
- Disc brakes for super stopping power
One of the tricky things about buying a bike off Amazon or anywhere online is that it does not come completely assembled. Fortunately, most bikes, including the GTX 2.0 come mostly assembled, and when you buy from Amazon, you can have a local mechanic assemble your bike for free (on eligible models.) For the most part, I avoid messing with my bike. I leave it to the pros, but most people are able to assemble this in half an hour.
- Suspension comfort seat to keep your dumper in great shape
- Pick your favorite riding position with the adjustable handlebar step
- 21-speed Shimano EZ-Fire shifters and rear derailleur
Are you the kind of person who enjoys the finer things in life? Then choose the Mr. Moneybags option. Sure, the Siro really isn’t that expensive of a bicycle, but it’s the priciest on our list…and well worth it. The only known issue is with the spindle. This part has been unreliable.
- 7-speed shifters
- Comes with rack and fenders
- Steel retro urban style frame with spring seat
The Wayfarer is the bargain basement bicycle deal and the most affordable option on our list. The only common problem is the rear derailleur, which seems to be a trend with Schwinn.
- 21-speed Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
- Quick release clamp allows you to carry your seat with you so ne’er-do-wells can’t take off with it
- Linear pull brakes
The Northwoods Springdale is our highest rated non-Schwinn bike. If you only have $200 and do not want to buy a Schwinn, then this is an okay option. I just recommend that you not try to assemble it yourself. Also, if you want a bike for daily riding, this is not the bike for you. This is best for when you want to tool around every once in a while. It’s not meant for people who are training for the Tour de France or who want to bike 50 miles to work.
- 21-speed EZ-Fire shifters with the infamous Shimano rear derailleur
- Suspension fork and seat that make it feel like you’re riding on a cloud
- Rear and front alloy V brakes
The Capital is a great ride. The only reasons it isn’t rated higher is because the saddle is uncomfortable, and you’ll probably have to pay to have some blowhard put it together for you.
- Designed for average Joes between 5’7” and 6’2” tall
- Aluminum frame with a rigid steel fork
- 21 speeds for indecisive people
Giordano takes inspiration from Italy’s rich cycling history to create a bike with the finest materials from China. I talk trash, but the RS700 is actually a pretty decent bike. It’s got flashy looks that allow you to trick people who don’t know better into thinking you’re riding a $1,000 bike. The biggest complaint is that the wheels are painted, and when the brakes press on them, they squeal like Ned Beatty in Deliverance.
10. Critical Cycles Dutch Style Step-Thru 1-Speed Hybrid Bicycle (Considered Unisex)
- Step-thru design allows men to ride what is essentially a women’s bike without feeling weird about it
- Comes with all the tools you need for assembly
- Has fenders so you don’t ruin your life when it rains
Critical Cycles Dutch Style is great because it won’t destroy your nuts (if you have them). However, there are several problems with it. First of all, you need an advanced degree in engineering to assemble it. Secondly, the light it comes with is basically useless.
What’s your favorite bike? Share your opinions with us below.