25 Feb Hybrid Bicycle Review
If you're shopping for a new bike, it is likely that you have heard or read about hybrid bikes. Hybrid bikes are designed to incorporate the best features from road bikes and mountain bikes, thus resulting in a bike that is capable of achieving high speeds on asphalt and handling packed dirt paths.
Hybrid bikes tend to have an upright frame allowing the rider to achieve a more comfortable riding position. A short, low frame can handle more weight and absorb the average amount punishment from, potholes, curbs, etc., that you may encounter during a ride to work or the grocery store. Hybrid bikes also have slightly larger tires that road bikes for better Traction and stability on dirt bike paths or grass. However, like a road bike, hybrids tend to have lighter rims and taller gearing for faster riding on pavement.
Most reviews of hybrid bikes reveal that the wheels on a hybrid are a marriage of the heavy duty mountain bike wheel and the lightweight high-speed road bike wheel. Wider tires are good for stability and durability during a ride on a slightly rocky packed dirt bike path, but a higher recommended air pressure, similar to a road bike wheel, allows for speed on roads and asphalt paths by reducing rolling resistance. The rims and spokes on hybrids are lighter, also like a road bike. Because of this feature it is important that you do not purchase a hybrid if you plan on doing a lot of rough off-road riding. Reviews of hybrid bikes have shown that the lightweight rims and spokes can not handle large rocks and big drops like a true mountain bike.
Frames on most hybrid bike frames are made of lightweight aluminum or steel (also called "cro-moly"). These materials allow for both speed and durability while still being very affordable. The handlebars on a hybrid are typically flat like a mountain bike, and go straight out from the stem. They also have a wider grip, allowing riders to sit upright and offer a better position for vision and control, and perhaps most importantly, comfort. In this position the rider has an ideal center of gravity and the least amount of neck and back strain possible.
Hybrids take gear design cues from both mountain and road bikes. Most reviews of hybrid bikes claim that they not only allow the rider to both climb hills easily, but also go fast on flat or downhill sections. However, a lack of very low gears does not allow for the power that many mountain bikes offer for powering through loose or rocky terrain. Typically a hybrid bike will have either two or three chain rings in the front, much like the crank assembly on a road bike. In the back there are eight or nine gears in the cassette. The combination of the two sets of gears allows for 16 all the way up to 27 possible gear combinations. You will find that these gears are more than sufficient for conquering almost any challenge you will find commuting to work or enjoying a weekend ride on a countryside bike path.