View Full Version : Hybrid Bikes - Any good?

Chesty Morgan
1st Jan 2009, 15:52
It's come to that time in my life where I've decided that I need a bit more exercise than just walking downstairs everyday.

I used to enjoy cycling so I've decided to get myself a bike. I think I've narrowed it down to a hybrid as I'll be using it mostly in the New Forest, on road and off road, but nothing seriously rough.

However, I know absolutely nothing about them as they didn't exist when I were a lad. Are they good for both or useless at everything, jack of all trades and master of none?!

Welcoming any comments or experience good or bad.

Cheers and Happy New Year.

1st Jan 2009, 17:07
I bought a Trek FX7.6 2008 model.
It's got the bike wheels of a road bike but most of the components are more mountain bike orientated. It does have a flat handle bar.

It's pretty pacey and quite comfy.

It could take slightly wider tyres if I wanted to take it on rougher trails.
The tyres are more road orientated for sure.

It's a good bike.

Take your time and go to a reasonable bike shop so you get the right advice and importantly, fit.

I do have a mountain (hard tail) bike that's pretty old but good for bush bashing.

Captain Speedbird
1st Jan 2009, 17:09
Don't get one of those ones with sit-up-and-beg handlebars. Unless you want to look like a pigeon walking when you cycle.

Nothing wrong with a good straight bar rigid frame with road tyres.

Cannnondale Bad Boy or for a good cheap alternative, the Revolution Courier are good examples.

Forget cheap discs and suspension, they are heavy and counterproductive.

Personally for your requirements, I would get a Revolution Courier Classic, and stick fast narrowish cross-country tyres on it.

1st Jan 2009, 18:18
Pay as much as you can afford.....do not get a "Halfords special" whatever you do. I second the advice to find a quality bike shop.

My personal choice would be for a decent quality mountain bike with the super knobbly tyres replaced with something a bit slicker....the shop would advise. You won`t need a full suspension bike for your purposes. Front suspension is almost always required on today`s alloy framed mtbs, as the ride from such a frame tends to be harsh.

1st Jan 2009, 20:48
I do have a mountain (hard tail) bike that's pretty old but good for bush bashing.

Ooer, missus! :p

Saab Dastard
1st Jan 2009, 20:57
I bought a mountain bike a few years ago, and despite the fact that 90% of my cycling is on road rather than rough ground I kept the knobbly tyres.

Reason is, I figure I am doing the cycling for exercise, i.e. burning calories, so the extra rolling resistance is a benefit!

Also, I've never had a puncture, while my wife has had a couple on road tyres.

If you can get hydraulic disc brakes front and back that is ideal, as they are much better in the wet.

Also, get a gel saddle!! :ooh:


1st Jan 2009, 21:05
Or, in Reddo's case, get a saddle, gel!

I don't like getting muddy every time I go out so my bike's got proper old fashioned mudguards which work (difficult to find these days). This means I can also ride it to and from the pub! It's no mountain bike due to the road type tyres but it does very well on woodland tracks and along the canal towpaths. Alloy frame, front suspension, effective lights and a sprung saddle. Luxury!

Pontius Navigator
1st Jan 2009, 22:53
My local bike shop modified my regular road bike with a motor driven rear hub and 24v dry cell battery pack. Gives me 18-20 mph with moderate assistance and 20 miles max which was a b*gger on a 25 mile commute as it is a sod with a flat battery. 8 hr charge at work then gave me a 10 mile run back and 15 miles with no power :(

1st Jan 2009, 23:00

When I were lad we had nought brakes, rusty frame, one pedal, glow worm for lights, string for spokes, adjustable spanner for 'andlebars and lengths of rope for tyres.

Saddle? Luxury!

Captain Speedbird
1st Jan 2009, 23:17
When I were a lad there weren't any suspension forks or rear shocks to plush out your ride.

Nowadays, anything under a grand is going to be like riding a marshmallow if it has suspension. for sure you can upgrade, but that isn't the point. If you get a heavy bike with aggressive tyres, you will think old father thyme has done his worst. Switch to something like my suggestion above and you will rocket up hills like the young buck you once were. The downside is you have to rely on your elbows and knees to do the job of soaking up shocks. It is true though that it seems the art of designing a decent rigid front fork has been forgotten. A nice old curved CroMo fork was miles better than some budget leaden spoinger so often found on sub 500 bikes.

And think of the fun you can have cutting up motorists and pedestrians.

PS Helmets are for gayboys. ;)

1st Jan 2009, 23:21
PS Helmets are for gayboys.

I'm sure that's correct. What colour do you wear?

1st Jan 2009, 23:21
When I were a lad there weren't any saddles other than the Brooks hard leather one . . .


1st Jan 2009, 23:24
Aye. We had Brooks frames but no leather left. Mother cooked that fer'us tea!

Chesty Morgan
2nd Jan 2009, 00:19
Thanks all for the replies.

I was considering just going back to the good old mountain bike, it's what I used to ride. The trouble is, and I'm probably wrong, that I've always thought that suspension on a bike was just a bit of a gimmick and not necessary, never had 'em when I was a lad. Even the base models all seem to have it these days and I thought that dosh could be better spent elsewhere.

Never liked road bikes, couldn't get into the right position over my beer gut.

I've also had a bit of a rethink after my first post and although I wont be leaping off cliffs and riding down the side of a quarry (those were the days and the scars to prove it!) it is probably going to get a bit of a hammering off road as I don't like to slow down.

Disc brakes would be nice but they all seem to come with front suspension at least, so unless 700 quid could buy marshmallowless suspension looks like I'll have to forget about that.

So I think I want a mountain bike, without suspension, with disc brakes that's quick and easy on the road, all in one package, not from Halfords.

Or should I just go to the pub?!

2nd Jan 2009, 01:39
Whatever steed you choose, don't forget to investigate the 'ride to work' scheme.

2nd Jan 2009, 09:08
Personally I just bought a Scott Sub 10 (http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Scott-Sub-10-2009-Hybrid-Sports-Bike_19500.htm) through the Cycle to Work scheme. :O

And Chesty - disk brakes but no front or rear suspension.


Captain Speedbird
2nd Jan 2009, 09:35
If you are venturing into town, ironically front shocks are useful. You can carefully hop kerbs without them, but wheels can buckle if you aren't careful.

Jumping lights by hopping kerbs, nipping along the pavement and running the green man is a survival strategy. Just ask the poor sod who was smudged by the rear wheels of a garbage truck. Not pretty. And all he was doing was sitting in a queue at lights.

Also, while we are in advice mode, looking like a lollipop man and with lights that would do justice to a landing 747 makes motorists and pedestrians alike get very aggressive. Low profile is the way to go.

If you return to cycling, prepare to become one of 'them'.

Tight lycra by all means but please, no helmet unless you are descending a col.

2nd Jan 2009, 11:06
Why no helmet?

A helmet saved me from more serious injury when I hit some gravel on a sealed road.
I know of a kid who is now permanently deaf in one ear because he hit his head after a tumble off his bike.

Looking cool's got nothing to do with it. You only have one brain and while you may be a good rider, there's a car driver out there who just won't see you.

Gloves (not too expensive) but if you do come off, you won't rip all the skin off your hands and a lid, IMHO are essential.

I can't afford to lose my medical.

Captain Speedbird
2nd Jan 2009, 11:14
Well each to their own I suppose. I wear gloves, but even shooting the 'pink fluffy bunny*' I leave the armour to the kids. Condoms too. Lifes too short.

(*basically chucking your bike off the side of Ben Aigin and following it down)

2nd Jan 2009, 13:48

Slightly misleading statement about shock absorbers - the rear shock absorbers absorb some of the energy that the cyclist exerts through the pedals, thus meaning the cyclist/bike is less efficient.

The effect of the front shock is negligible.

2nd Jan 2009, 13:59
I think they should bring back full size "adult" versions of the Chopper - complete with the gearstick on the frame between your legs.
Throw in a bit of card and a peg for the wheels - and you feel like a member of CHiPs (the blonde one - not the other one with teeth that are too white):E

2nd Jan 2009, 15:25
I had a bike once. So did the rest of the squadron. Don't recall much lycra...

2nd Jan 2009, 15:26
I notice the bike seat suggestion must've hit a nerve

:ooh: :ok:

Isn't that the purpose of said "seat"? ;)

Saab Dastard
2nd Jan 2009, 16:21
I also recommend clear wrap-around glasses (like sunglasses but clear) for protecting your eyes from dust, wind etc.

I've just come in from an 18-mile ride in the cold, and they really help to stop the eyes from streaming in the cold wind.

I use them at night also - it's only in the rain I can't wear them.


Captain Speedbird
2nd Jan 2009, 17:47
Talking of hitting nerves, forget these softy seats, very heavy and poor for weight transfer, you need a sliver of a thing that leaves your prostate like a frisbee after a decent ride. You know that its been a good ride good when you can't have a pee for 24 hrs. That thing Dr Dawg proposed might do it for some, but it looks a bit too uncomfortable even for me.

The Equivocator
2nd Jan 2009, 18:53

I ride 'off road' to work on canal paths and a cycle way, with a little grass thrown in. I used to use a mountain bike, with discs and knobbly tyres, which was fine. I then put some road tyres on it, but kept the wheels- slight improvement. Not fast enough though, so bought myself a Trek Hybrid which is brilliant- huge improvement taking about fifteen minutes of my ride to work, certainly some attributable to the bike. On the road, it's really quick and much easier in traffic than my racing bike.

I think you'd be fine with a hybrid or a simple mountain bike, do use a quality shop though (sorry to be patronizing!) for sound advice!

One last thing, if you get disk brakes be careful first time out. I ended up on my arse bouncing off the pavement edge. They don't half stop ya!

Have fun anyway...

2nd Jan 2009, 19:10
Just looked up pictures of these "Trek Hybrid" bikes because I thought I was missing out on something.

Although my bike was made by another company, it looks almost identical in style, but with mudguards and a rear rack. It's the most comfortable and practical bike I've ever owned, so I agree with all the good comments made about them.

BTW, the sprung saddle stem fitted to mine as standard gives good comfort for my worn out lower spine without absorbing any pedalled energy, unlike the rear sprung framed bikes. My son has a triangulated rear suspension on his off-road bike - if you pedal really hard you can feel your energy being sapped by the damper unit as the suspension compresses. Hence some bikes having a lever device to lock up the damper.

2nd Jan 2009, 20:16
Not sure about your frisbeed prostate glands, though, Sir. Reminds me of that time I opted for the muddy track and ended with a nasty infection and a "flat" for about a week. The perils of riding someone else's "bike" hey?

All this veiled speech.... Prostate gland? Opted for the "Muddy track"? Nasty infection? From someone else's bike? :eek:

Yeeugh, if that's what the seat looked like, I'm not surprised.

Captain Speedbird
2nd Jan 2009, 23:08
A cyclists prostate like a pancake is no joke, just ask Dr Roger Minkow. I am most grateful to him. God only knows what happens to female fleshy bits after a damn good battering. Maybe Ms Snail can enlighten us.

Anyway, I'm interested to learn more about Dr Dawgs missus 'Dark Intruder' or whatever it was. (Batteries not included).

2nd Jan 2009, 23:39
Maybe Ms Snail can enlighten us

Have you met my husband Checkboard? :E

3rd Jan 2009, 02:48
I'm a road bike guy all the way. I also have a mountain bike that I use for riding on the extensive network of unpaved roads here in southern Quebec. A couple of years ago I figured I was too old for the road bike... so I got a hybrid. It's OK for puttering around type cycling or when I want a route that includes paved and unpaved roads. But for unpaved roads only, the mountain bike is unbeatable, and for paved roads, nothing like a good road bike.

Mine was custom fitted to me. It's 14 years old. Last summer I took it out for the first time in years and then couldn't bring myself to go back to the hybrid after that. It is still so well fitted after so many years, that it's like wearing your favourite pair of jeans. The bike literally disappears from under me, it's as if it's an extension of my body. My typical rides are in the 40-60 mile range with the odd ride out to 75 miles. I have a couple of short training circuits that I use when I am pressed for time. You can really MOVE on this thing; 40+ mph downhill is not unheard of. My lifetime record is 50 mph down a mountain pass... that was exhilarating!

So by all means a hybrid to get you started. But if you really get the bug like I did, you will want more, and a good custom road bike is hard to beat if you have good local roads. Another good bet would be a mountain bike with set of road wheels to swap depending on terrain.

Loose rivets
3rd Jan 2009, 06:29
a previous thread.


6th Jan 2009, 13:07
There's actually no such thing as a true hybrid that mixes the best of both worlds (mtb, road); but merely one type of bike with a few features of the other style. By this I mean there are the smaller mountain bike frames with slick tyres (26" wheels though) and (sometimes) road bike chain sets, or the larger road bike type frames with chunkier tyres (although on 700cc wheels), mtb gearing and flat bars.

Therefore, if the majority of your riding is on the road, I'd suggest getting a road bike type hybrid, whereas if you're doing more 'off road' (like canal tow path) stuff, try an mtb type hybrid.

In town, it's mainly a matter of personal choice, especially around riding position. The width of the tyres, and their level of inflation has the most effect on the level of comfort on the majority road surfaces, with the exception of the most vicious potholes, although front suspension can make the journey more pleasant, especially on the wrists. If it's adjustable, setting it up nice and hard means your effort won't be spent merely making the bike bob up and down; although a rear shock is absolutely unnecessary, and unless you spend lots of money, energy sapping.

The only thing to really aviod is cable operated disk brakes, as they're utterly useless - less effective than well set up v-brakes, even in the dry. Hydraulic disks are great, but a cable from the brake lever cannot transmit enough force to stop the wheel from where the disk is positioned (viz-a-viz its pivot / rotation point) as it can when the brake block is on the rim - well away from the point of rotation.

6th Jan 2009, 13:22
You could always get one of these indoor trainers and it cleans your arse as well! :sad:


6th Jan 2009, 13:39
do not get a "Halfords special" whatever you do

This is me worried now. Our cycle to work scheme only lets you buy from Halfords. Surely they can source good bikes as well as duff ones? Took mine in for service over Christmas and was shown the items needing repaired or replaced, total cost over 200 squids, so I'm looking at a hybrid too.

Lifes too short.

be even shorter without a helmet, but it's your funeral! :}

Captain Speedbird
6th Jan 2009, 13:47
The only thing to really avoid is cable operated disk brakes, as they're utterly useless - less effective than well set up v-brakes, even in the dry.

I really like Avid BB7 (http://www.sram.com/en/avid/mechanicaldiscbrakes/bb7.php) cable disc brakes. Good cable disc brakes are a very acceptable alternative to hydraulic. Light and reliable with good stopping power. You need decent cables to get the best out of them though. Budget OEM ones are indeed rubbish. As are budget anything when it comes to bikes.

For road use though I'd always prefer to use rim brakes for lightness.

Very disappointed not to get any fish puns out of my last post though.

6th Jan 2009, 14:00
This is me worried now. Our cycle to work scheme only lets you buy from Halfords. Surely they can source good bikes as well as duff ones? Took mine in for service over Christmas and was shown the items needing repaired or replaced, total cost over 200 squids, so I'm looking at a hybrid too.

I bought mine through the same scheme via Halfords. if they do not stock it they will buy it in for you, if the stockists they use can get hold of it. Phone Halford Business Services on 08450 778850 to order and have your voucher number available.

cockney steve
6th Jan 2009, 15:10
The "local bike" is a bit of a Dog, but calling her "hybrid" is going a bit far.

Capt. Speedbird,-i guess her judgement was to kipper plaice.

hat, coat.

6th Jan 2009, 17:00
I've had a Cinelli Supercorsa for some decades and it has influenced my taste on handling.

When shopping for a commuter bike, I tried out a number of bikes. A number entered torsional headset flutter at 40 km/h:eek:

Then I came upon the Marin Lucas Valley which is not bad as a road bike and makes a good commuter. It has carbon fibre forks and seat stays which make for quite a nice ride.

In Toronto an Air Zound horn is mandatory for being heard through closed car windows and mobile against ear:( -- it is also very useful on paths for alerting from a long distance dog walkers and those who jog or ride abreast at leasurely pace -- many of whom are wearing earphones:\ I start with a short medium volume beep, beep.

If that fails to get attention, the full blast always works:E

A properly worn helmet can save your medical, as well as your life. One saved my child from a serious head injury when a motorist ran a stop sign and I've had one sudden fall on black ice where I came close to scraping my helmet on the pavement:ok:

Saab Dastard
6th Jan 2009, 17:40
Re: cycle helmets -

A good mate of mine was knocked off his bike by a car, fortunately at quite a low speed.

He didn't realise that his head had actually hit the ground ('cos of the cuts and bruises elsewhere on his body) until he took his helmet off later , revealing a 2" square piece missing from the side of the helmet, and the styrene interior crushed.

I don't think that it would have been terribly good for his skull if he hadn't had the helmet.

Made me glad that I always wear my helmet! :ok:


6th Jan 2009, 22:30
What a joy this thread is! ...... to read it, secure in the knowledge that one will never ride any kind of pedal bicycle again.

Straight Up Again
7th Jan 2009, 01:14
I'm amazed that helmets are still optional!

It's law down here in Oz that you have to wear them, and I would wear one anyway (as well as the afore mentioned gloves and glasses) even if it were not mandated.

I have skinny tyres on my mountain bike for riding to work (1 1/4 inch wide), and knobbly mud pluggers for the odd weekend on the mud (2 1/2 inch wide), and you can really notice the difference when you change over. I'd look at how rough your main routes will be, and get the thinnest tyres that will stand up to it.

I had to upgrade my rear tyre to a puncture resistant one (two punctures in the first week of cycling to work). This has a thicker band under the tread, or you can buy rubber tape that goes around the inside of the tyre.

I can also recommend some good shorts, they don't make you go quicker, but really help with comfort. They don't have to be lycra, mine look like normal cargo shorts (mountain bike shorts, or often called shy shorts), but have mesh inner shorts with all the same padding etc as the lycra ones (much more comfortable, and helps relieve any chafing), or on cold days wear the lycra ones under a tracksuit.

Captain Speedbird
7th Jan 2009, 07:44
What country is associated with cycling more than any other? China, Netherlands?

If you cycle through the streets of its capital city will you be the only person wearing a helmet?

Cycle helmets are another aspect of the creeping malaise of our age.
We'll be having bicycle licenses next.

7th Jan 2009, 08:38
I thought China was better known for recycling.... :}:}

7th Jan 2009, 09:48
Yes, old bikes go through the recycled cycle cycle.

Captain Speedbird
7th Jan 2009, 10:43
What a joy this thread is! ...... to read it, secure in the knowledge that one will never ride any kind of pedal bicycle again.

I have this image of Davaar on a penny farthing, no brakes, and feet off the pedals rattling down the 'rest and be thankful'. Nothing but a school bunnet that blew off half way down......

7th Jan 2009, 15:38
If you cycle to work - what do you do when you get there? By this I mean, what is your normal routine, do you have the full changing room / showers available, or just a quick shirt change, or only a squirt with a bit of extra deodorant etc. Does your work place have lockers for helmets and gear etc?:confused:

7th Jan 2009, 16:50
My last employer runs quite a fair sized business out of his basement; so, kept the bike in his garage locked to something solid.

At another, I simply took the bike up the freight elevator and tucked it into a corner until told not to do that. The building management did not offer spaces to keep bikes; so, locked bike to lamppost at intersection of two major streets at corner. Very heavy Abloy lock and custom made hoisting sling was left secured to lamppost overnight. Building security made nasty noises, but reminded by registered letter that lamppost on city property and that any person who cut the cable would be facing criminal charges:E

Had phone numbers on sling in case city needed to service lamppost.

Where suits and ties required, I kept them at work and had shirts laundered nearby.

With business casual, I take shirt and pants in pannier. On warmer days, I use a fleece camping towel to freshen up while changing.

7th Jan 2009, 17:12
[QUOTE]I have this image of Davaar [/QUOTE

Great Scot!! Are your spies everywhere??

Wait till I learn how to post the picture of me in the Lighter-than-air Flying Machine.

7th Jan 2009, 17:55
Wait till I learn how to post the picture of me in the Lighter-than-air Flying Machine. You are, then, an afficionado of the Montgolfier's sir? Far better than those fraudsters touting their heavier than air machines.

Impossible claims sir, they'll never get off the ground. I have it on the authority of Lord Kelvin of the Royal Society himself.

Straight Up Again
7th Jan 2009, 23:09
What country is associated with cycling more than any other? China, Netherlands?

If you cycle through the streets of its capital city will you be the only person wearing a helmet?

Cycle helmets are another aspect of the creeping malaise of our age.
We'll be having bicycle licenses next.

I wonder if there are any statistics around for number of accidents involving cyclists (% of total cyclists), and how severe those injuries were for different countries?

Frankly, in Melbourne, I wouldn't be without a helmet. I know I can ride well enough, but can the taxi driver in the side street drive well enough? If I get taken out at 25 kmh (average speed on the way to work according to the cycle computer), I'd rather have a helmet on. Given the behaviour of some cyclists a licence may not be a bad idea (bloody couriers).

Though, according to this page Bike riding helmets: public health research studies, facts (http://www.cycle-helmets.com/helmet_statistics.html) mandatory helmet laws in Western Aus was followed by an increas in the number of injuries.

Bicycle helmet laws in England (http://www.cycle-helmets.com/england_helmets.html)
Some experts reckon the overall effect on the health of a nation is negative if cycle helmets are mandatory, as a lot less people will be cycling, yet the number of accidents doesn't seem to change significantly.

I would have thought that the nanny state would have made them mandatory by now, generally the UK seems to be worse than Aus for this sort of behaviour (unless it's lightened up since I left several years ago).

Vaguely back on topic: my work has full showers and change rooms in my building, so I'm lucky enough to be able to cycle to work then shower. I generally leave my wash kit and trousers at work, and just take clean undies/tshirt each day.