Somewhere between road bikes and mountain bikes is the hybrid. If you are an occasional leisure cyclist or even regular short distance commuter looking for a versatile bike a hybrid could be the bike for you. Ideal for leisure and fitness cycling low gears allow you to tackle gradients at your own pace and the upright sitting position means that they are comfortable for the occasional as well as the frequent cyclist. The position allows you a clear view of the road ahead and flat bars inspire confidence in traffic, and good bike control.
While not sturdy enough to take on the roots and rocks a mountain biker relishes it will be perfectly happy to trundle down a tow path or round the local park - and they are great around town too.
However even within the genre of hybrid bikes there are choices to be made. Some hybrids owe more to their off-road cousins and have mountain bike style 26inch wheels and fatter tyres, may be even a basic suspension fork. If you think you will spend more time on tow paths and bridleways this is the direction to go in.
Others favour the 700c size wheel commonly found on road bikes, these bikes are the ones to look at if you are intending to stick mainly to tarmac. Some describe themselves as fast hybrids or sports hybrids – these have lighter weight components, gear ratios suitable for the road and a sportier look. They are closer to a race bike in styling but still offer the comfort of an upright position instead of drop bars. Perfect if you are looking for a bike to get fit on or to commute on regularly.
Comfort hybrids on the other hand offer the occasional rider a more relaxed approach. The finishing accessories such as saddles are built with comfort not speed in mind and gear ratios offer a wide selection of easy gears for legs not used to regular pedalling. Some may feature a suspension seat post or suspension forks to smooth out any lumps and bumps in the road for a smooth and luxurious ride.