The Perfect Hybrid Bikes
Hybrid bikes are some of the most versatile bicycles on the market, designed specifically for beginners and recreational riders. They are an ideal option for commuting and city riding, as well as leisure riding on the weekends. A good hybrid will help you tackle almost any terrain, allowing you to get out without any worries about whether your bike is up to the job. Most bike brands offer hybrids (or fitness bikes) and they are available at all sorts of price points, and we’ve included a selection below from these different price categories.
All our recommendations are based on bikes that we have tested here at BikeRadar. If you are new to the world of bikes, we would recommend that you try and test some models to get a feel for what works for you. A good bike shop will often let you try before you buy, as well as ensure you walk away with a bike that fits you.
The best hybrid bikes in 2020
- Cannondale Treadwell EQ: £799
- Carrera Subway 2: £350
- Cube Travel SL: £1,699 / €1,199
- Vitus Mach 3 VRX Urban: £900
- Voodoo Agwe: £500
Canyon Commuter 7
- £1,749 / $1,699 / AU$2,649 as tested
- One of the best thought-out commuter bikes
- Dynamo lights and mudguards
- Gates belt drive
The Canyon Commuter 7 Hybrid Bike comes with everything you would want from a hybrid bike. The bike is fully kitted out with mudguards, a rack, a bell and lights powered by a Shimano dynamo hub, so you’ll never get caught out.
The bike is well considered too. Internal cabling keeps cables and tubing out of harm’s way – a smart choice for a bike that will likely be ridden in the winter – and a one-piece bar and stem reduces hassles with bolts and looks neat too. The Gates belt drive also reduces the need for maintenance and you’ll get no oily marks on your clothing.
When it comes to the ride, the Commuter 7 doesn’t disappoint either. The handling is ideal for commuting and the 11-speed rear hub has a wide gear range. The Commuter 7 weighs 13kg and while some riders might like a lighter build, it’s not excessively heavy.
Cannondale Treadwell EQ
- £849 as tested
- The neat front rack will carry up to 10kg
- All-weather ready
- Quirky with a fun ride
Cannondale’s Treadwell Hybrid Bike is a particularly comfortable and practical way to get around. It’s ideal for running errands such as shopping trips thanks to its front rack, which will accept up to 10kgThere are pannier rack mounts integrated neatly into the bike’s seat clamp, should you need to carry more.
This range-topping EQ model is now last year’s bike, but the 2021 model is specced almost identically. The simple 1×9 Shimano transmission is ideal for commuter miles and the Tektro hydraulic discs are powerful.The fat 47mm wide Maxxis DTR-1 tyres keep the ride comfortable and the mudguards that surround them will keep the worst of the weather from splashing back at you.
Cannondale has integrated a sensor at the front wheel that tracks speed and distance, which can then communicate with a free app co-developed with Garmin. Use a compatible SP Connect case and you’ll even be able to mount your phone at the stem where it can be used as a bike computer. It’s not one to be rushed, but the Treadwell does offer a genuinely fun riding experience.
Carrera Subway 2
- £350 as tested
- Powerful hydraulic disc braking
- Ready to accept mudguards or a rack
- 650b wheels allow for a large tyre with lots of cushioning
Sold exclusively in Halfords and Cycle Republic stores, the Carrera Subway 2 Hybrid Bike is a fantastic way to get about, particularly considering its modest price.
This particular model has recently been replaced, so you’ll have to pick one up second hand, but we’re soon to test the latest version of this bike which actually has a very similar spec and look to the bike you see here. You can read more about the latest Carrera Subway in our 2020 Carrera range overview.
It’s been on the scene for multiple years now, and that time has allowed the Subway 2 to mature into a very capable package. The alloy frame has all the fittings you could want to attach bottles, mudguards and racks, and is equipped with 650b wheels, which have large 1.95in tyres that provide additional cushioning and comfort.
Despite the low price, the bike is fitted with hydraulic disc brakes for consistent and reliable stopping power. The remaining components, while budget, perform admirably and add up to a well-considered package that’s perfect for quick city riding.
Cube Travel SL
- £1,699 as tested
- Ready to ride in any conditions with mudguards, dynamo lights and internal hub gear
- Maintenance-free belt drive
- Reliable hydraulic Shimano disc brakes
The Cube Travel SL is the perfect Hybrid bike to get you from A to B with the minimum of fuss. It’s an unashamedly utilitarian ride designed to transport you and your things wherever they need to go. The bike comes equipped with a rear rack, mudguards, dynamo hub and lights. A maintenance-free belt drive, internal hub gear and reliable hydraulic Shimano brakes will get you going and slow you down again.
Sorted handling means you’ll be able to just get on and ride. The Cube Travel SL is a dutiful ride that you’ll likely end up taking for granted because it’s just so well-equipped.
Giant Escape 1 Disc
- £699 as tested
- Ideal for mixed surface commutes
- Tektro disc brakes for safe all-weather stopping power
- Comfortable and tough 38mm tubeless tyres
The Escape 1 Hybrid Bike from Giant is a great choice for those who want to be comfortable while commuting or spend a fair amount of time off of smooth roads.
All that rubber means you’ll make light work of towpaths and gravelly bike routes but will pay for it in outright speed when on the road.
Its geometry places you in such a way that you’re very aware of the traffic around you, but it’s not upright enough to detract from the occasional sprinting effort.
Its mix and match Shimano gearing will give you every ratio you require, and stopping power is handled by well-modulated Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.
Marin Presidio 1
- £465 as tested
- Smart looks, particularly for the price
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- Simple 1×8 drivetrain
The Marin Presidio 1 Hybrid Bike is a commuter that looks good, rides well and offers exceptional value. The finish of the aluminium frame is excellent for the price, and you’ll have no problems with fitting a rack or proper mudguards. Marin has even managed to spec hydraulic disc brakes, so stopping power and control is impressive.
The fairly upright ride position combined with a short stem makes the Marin a sharp steer and an entertaining bike to ride. The gears are smooth and especially simple to operate thanks to the single chainring at the front, which is paired with an 8-speed (11-34) cassette. The tough wheelset and 32mm tyres favour durability over outright speed but also provide a lot of comfort.
Genesis Croix de Fer 10 Flat Bar
- £1,000 as tested
- Robust yet characterful frame and fork
- Impressive versatility
- Great ride feel
The Genesis Croix de Fer was one of the first road bikes to be designed to go beyond the tarmac, so it’s actually surprising that Genesis took so long to bring out this flat handlebar version.
It’s a great bike to ride and is particularly versatile but the steel frame does make it heavier than most of its competitors.The upside of the Genesis’ butted steel chassis is the flat-bar Croix de Fer has a lively feel, especially when riding on rough terrain.
Change the stock tyres for some fast road slicks and this Genesis would make a fine urban commuter.
Orbea Carpe 40
- £519 as tested
- Fun, fixie-inspired geometry
- Sharp looks
- Hydraulic disc brakes
The Carpe 40 is almost the ideal commuter, but it’s one that is hampered slightly by some of its component choices. The frame features a short wheelbase and aggressive angles similar to that used on many fixies, making it especially fun to ride. It stops well too, thanks to Shimano hydraulic discs.
The single chainring and 7-speed rear cassette offer ideal gearing for shorter commutes, but the flexy Orbea-branded chainset is disappointing. The standard-fit 38mm Kenda tyres are weighty, with unforgivingly stiff sidewalls and steel beads. Swapping these for some quality 35c rubber transformed this bike into what it was supposed to be.
- £500 as tested
- Mudguards and rack as standard
- Fun handling
- Smart looks
It’s difficult to find bikes at this price that arrive equipped with full mudguards, a rear rack and a full Shimano drivetrain. To make that happen, Ridgeback has specced the Speed with v-brakes rather than discs – they’re fine, but won’t match the performance of hydraulic discs, particularly in the wet.
As smooth as it is, the triple chainring at the front and seven gears at the cassette can be considered overkill for what this bike is likely to be used for, and it’s also something of a noisy setup.The 42mm Vee tyres roll surprisingly well but their heft can be felt on the hills and they run close enough to occasionally rub on the mudguards.
You’ll need a spanner with you should you need to repair a puncture, but bolted axles are considerably more secure than quick-release items. This is still a fun bike to ride though, and it looks good to boot.