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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Jen Thomas

Best hybrid bikes that are equally good on tarmac or trails

Avid cyclists will happily tell you about the freedom a bike can bring, and there are more options available than ever before.

A quick scan of any bike website brings up a whole host of choices: e-bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, gravel bikes, folding bikes… where to start? It can be overwhelming, but if you’re a beginner looking to start pedalling or a more seasoned cyclist wanting something different, a hybrid bike could be the one for you.

So what is a hybrid?

They’re a mixture of a road bike and a mountain bike and are suitable for general-purpose riding over various types of terrain.

“Hybrid bikes are the best of both worlds — they’re flexible and fun,” says Alexander Milas, co-founder of the Heavy Metal Truants, a charity cycling group who’ve raised £1.2M for children’s charities. “Many of our riders love these — they’re versatile, reliable, and perfect for people after an entry-level all-rounder or a comfy commuter to get those weekday miles in.”

How do you find the hybrid bike to suit you?

Milas explains, “Go for named brands and don’t skimp on the accessories — buy cheap, buy thrice is the adage, and if you’re planning on city commuting, go for bigger, thicker tyres like Schwalbe — they’ll save you some roadside grief. And don’t forget your helmet!”

If you’re ready to get on your bike, here are some of the best options around for every budget, with a range of men’s, women’s and unisex models.

From the truly Instagrammable to the sturdy beast of a bike that won’t let you down, there’s something for everyone.

Raleigh Willow Hybrid Women’s Bike

If you want to look like you’re starring in a Wes Anderson film (or, let’s be honest, would like something that looks good on social), this is the bike for you.

Raleigh is one of the oldest and most well-known names in cycling, and for good reason. This bike blends style as well as substance and is truly beautiful to look at. It has a retro aesthetic with modern benefits for a safe and stylish ride.

The step-through frame comes in three colours; dusky pink, bronze, and cherry red. It is lightweight, weighing in at 17kg, and is finished with a protective lacquer coating. The wicker basket on the front is perfect for putting shopping in or a small dog (safely, of course) or for real wow-factor add some flowers.

It comes with a Selle Royal saddle and soft grips, 7-speed gears, and colour-coordinated mudguards to keep the rain off. There’s a kickstand and a traditional bell included too, along with the beautiful attention to detail. It comes in a 17” and 19” frame.

Buy now £425.00, Tredz

Cannondale Adventure EQ Hybrid Bike 2023

If you love the step-through style but want something on the sturdier side (or don’t want pink and baskets), the Cannondale may be a better fit.

The frame is designed with comfort in mind, with the aluminium frame and suspension fork combined with 8-speeds and alloy fenders. The pedals are reinforced and can be folded to squeeze into a tight space, and it comes with a rear rack for storage too. There’s a plush saddle for comfort (nobody wants a sore bum after a long commute!) and squishy suspension too to ease any bumps in the road.

Self-powered Dynamo lights add to a feeling of safety and security. It’s one of the pricier bikes on the list, but a worthwhile investment. Sizes are listed as small, medium and large so it’s well worth checking out the size guide before adding to basket.

Buy now £559.00, Evans Cycles

2023 Raleigh Trek Dual Sport 2 Equipped Gen 4 Hybrid Bike

This unisex bike is a true hybrid that will perform well on many surfaces, from tarmac for a commute to light off-road trails at the weekend. It comes with all-terrain tyres too, so is perfect if you’re looking for a bike to improve your fitness.

The Trek Dual Sport 2 puts stability and performance at the top of the list, with a lightweight aluminium frame, and a suspension fork that can handle tough terrains. Complete with 8-speed gears and a sleek black finish, this bike comes in medium, large and extra-large sizes, and so is suitable for heights from 5’4 to 6’3. It also comes equipped with dynamo front and rear lights, mudguards and a rear rack.

Buy now £680.00, Cycles UK

2023 Raleigh Trek FX 2 Disc Hybrid Unisex Bike

One for the tech fans and those who want to ride in all weather, the FX 2 Disc is as sporty as it gets with a hybrid. It has strong disc brakes that can handle even the worst of wet weather, and it comes with 18 speeds. Sporty doesn’t always mean monster wheels, as this comes with semi-skinny tyres that will also allow you to be fast on the road.

With an impressive size range from XS all the way through to XL, it will suit those from 4’6 to 6’6 and comes in four colours; silver, red, navy and grey.

Buy now £559.00, Evans Cycles

Huffy Men's Sienna Hybrid Bike

Retro styling is often saved for women’s bikes, with men going down the ultra-sporty route. If you’ve had a hankering for a vintage style to go with your look, you’ll love the Huffy Sienna and it comes in this year’s hugely popular shade of sage green.

The upright riding position provides comfort for your back and it comes with easy-to-shift 7-speed gears, and a deluxe saddle for comfort. The hybrid bike combines modern tech with vintage style to create a perfect city bike, whether you’re commuting to work or heading to the supermarket.

It’s suitable for riders from 5’4 to 5’11, and comes with front and rear mudguards and a kickstand for practicality.

Buy now £230.00, Amazon

Schwinn Wayfarer Unisex Hybrid Bike

One of the original American bike brands, the Schwinn Wayfarer combines comfort with style for this unisex hybrid bike. It features 7-speed gears with an easy twist-shift mechanism. A retro steel frame ups the fashion stakes and ensures durability, while the spring-adorned saddle enhances your comfort over bumpy ground.

The rear rack carrier is good for storage, making it perfect for transporting small items whether riding across town or going for a tour of the park. Swept-back handlebars add to the vintage style and allow a more comfortable ride. It also comes with full mudguards to protect your clothes whatever the weather. It’s available in black or stand-out lime green, with 16” and 18” frames.

Buy now £249.99, Amazon

Huffy Carom Men’s Gravel Hybrid Bike

This bike is made of sturdy stuff and looks pleasingly chunky. Perfect for country roads, trails, and gravel, it handles varied terrain with speed and ease, and makes itself a great all-rounder, blending mountain bike stability with road bike speed.

It comes with impressively wide-ranging 14-speed Shimano twist shift gears, a light aluminium frame and high grip tyres. For added security, you’ll find dual disc brakes enhancing the power and performance even in wet conditions, with larger tyres measuring 27.5”. This bike is suitable for people 5’6 to 5’11.

Buy now £349.99, Amazon

Apollo Excelle Women’s Hybrid Bike

Another budget entry, this bike is great if you want something closer to a mountain bike in its appearance. It has a sleek metallic styling and a higher frame and crossbar than the sweeping step-throughs that you’ll find in the others in the list.

The hybrid bike has impressive 18-speed gears and a sturdy frame, but the wheels are lightweight enough for road use. Equally, they’ll also stand up to park trails too. This bike is perfect for getting started with a low budget without sacrificing safety or comfort.

It is lauded for its lightweight but still sturdy construction, and is best used for short commutes and running errands. The bike comes in two frame sizes, 14” and 17”, so is also ideal for petite statures.

Buy now £175.00, Halfords

Apollo Café Women’s Hybrid Bike

Want the Instagram aesthetics without breaking the bank? This entry-level bike will set you back almost £200, but still comes with the style and comfort you need if you’re looking to get started.

The step-through frame makes for easy riding and comes as either 16” or 19” with 6-speed gears. The rigid steel forks provide peace of mind and sturdiness and the tyres come with plenty of grip. You can buy a basket for it too, but it’ll cost you extra.

The bike is also suitable for fitting a rear child seat, and this is one make that is perfect for a ride through town or a leisurely ride through the park at the weekend with your little one in tow.

Customers have raved about the bike in the reviews, with many saying they purchased it for a teenage daughter or new mum and it ticked all the boxes.

Buy now £205.00, Halfords

Carrera Parva Women’s Hybrid Bike

With an alloy frame and a higher crossbar, this bike is perfect for adventuring. Weighing in at just 13.5kg, it’s one of the lightest of the bunch, and provides an upright and comfortable riding position with a higher frame for good visibility on the road.

It also comes with a delightfully plush memory foam saddle and has ‘Carrera Puncture Protection’ tyres as standard, with an extra layer of resistant material. The bike offers 2 x 7 gears, giving a large range for all terrains, and has a lifetime frame guarantee.

There’s a whole host of lifetime safety checks too, and they’ll even take the packaging away for you. The smallest size is suitable for people from 4’11, up to 5’10 for the large. A steal at £300.

Buy now £310.00, Halfords

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