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/ Recommend me a hybrid bike

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Frankie boy on 11 Jul 2018

Morning all,

I'm contemplating getting a hybrid bike for general cycling, touring and very light off road use.

I don't really want ti spend a fortune, but figured I want something half decent. Ideally around the £300 mark.

Ideally, I would like to have the option of putting slightly off-roady tyres on (for use on muddy tracks etc), but not sure if this has any impact on what rims come with the bike (and fork width).

Also, someone has also said that maybe 26" wheels could become outdated. Would this be an issue?

Any recommendations or ones to avoid?

Post edited at 07:53
TobyA on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Almost certainly the best value for money will be Decathlon or one of the own brands of the big mail order shops (Pinnacle from Evans, Vitus from Chain Reaction/Wiggle etc.). I would go for 29"/700c wheels (standard road bike and many mountain bike wheel size now) and avoid suspension - it will be no good at that price point, heavy and you don't need it for light off road anyway. As you want a flat bar bike you might be able to get hydraulic brakes for that price - if you can, go for it, they are great to have. 

A decent all round tyre, particularly as you get to 30 mm wide and thicker will see you through lots of mild off road with not drama. If you want to ride muddy and rock trails a lot, get a mountain bike, but if you are thinking of canal towpaths, gravel trails, etc. some all round tyres will be fine. My ride to work is half road, half canal tow path (often muddy, currently super dry gravel!) and I have 32 mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres - mainly designed for roads but close to unpuncturable on road and on gravel - and they are great. They don't have much tread, but you don't really need it.

ChrisJD on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

There's a few options in this list:

https://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/hybrid/

 

A lightly used 2nd hand one could also be another option.

jonnie3430 - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Hybrids are still quite rare, so you may have issues getting spares, also second hand bikes will give you far more bang for your buck, so would recommend spending your cash on a second hand mountain bike off eBay or local mountain bike club FB page, fitting slicks if desired, or just using the tyres that come with it.  As for 26 inch wheels being outdated, they aren't current fashion, but will still be the norm for bikes in future.

LastBoyScout on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Your 2 options are probably:

1 - get a hybrid with 29"/700c wheels that will take a decent width cyclocross tyre if you want to push the off-roady bit. Probably not much point going for anything will suspension here - it'll be short travel, heavy and basic.

2 - get a 29er hard tail MTB and put slicks on it for roads. Will come with (relatively) better suspension, at the expense of quality of parts elsewhere. May well be slightly too low geared for you if you're mainly using it on road.

Look out for eBay near to you for good bargains.

TobyA on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to LastBoyScout:

Or

3) A secondhand cyclocross bike! Some advantages over a hybrid - definitely nippier on road and probably off too.

James Malloch - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> Or

> 3) A secondhand cyclocross bike! Some advantages over a hybrid - definitely nippier on road and probably off too.

I've got a Boardman CX comp sitting around which I can provide details on if wanted. I'm 6' 1" so it's a large frame but can take fatter tyres for off-road use as well as panniers etc. 

I've just changed to a flat bar bike so this one is just sitting around unused.

thepodge on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Evans own brand Pinnacle Lithium is where I'd be looking. Wouldn't bother much with second hand in that price bracket, unless you know your stuff which I guess you don't then you're potentially walking into buying a bike full of problems. 

Post edited at 12:54
TobyA on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to James Malloch:

I went from a flat bar ''sports" hybrid to a CX Comp, which I'm also in the process of replacing - I've used it loads over 6 years, it's been brilliant. I'm going for a Boardman gravel bike next. Why did you decide to go for a flat bar after the CX?

Guy Hurst - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Something like the Carrera Subway 1, from Halfords, or a Hoprider, from Decathlon, would fit the bill. They're not exciting, can't really be upgraded much (although fitting Scwalbe Marathon tyres might be a good move) and are unlikely to draw admiring glances. However, they're pretty reliable and are easy to get repaired, or do yourself.

Second hand bikes can be a real bargain, but you need to know what to look for and be prepared to do your own repairs, which is ok if you've got the time and knowledge, or are willing to acquire it.

Post edited at 13:35
Frankie boy on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to James Malloch:

Thanks for the offer, I'm only 5' 5" and short legged so I suspect your frame may be to big.

 

Frankie boy on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Guy Hurst:

Thanks everyone, that's some good information to mull over.

The second hand bike could be an option although I am a bit reluctant with that, as although I'm mechanically pretty savvy, I am a bit wary of what I may end up getting, and I'm certainly not experienced in knowing what to look for when assessing a second hand bike.

Some of the more basic models on the market seem like a good option to me as my head tells me there's less to go wrong and easier to fix on the road side. Not sure I want to start packaging all sorts of kit "just in case" if I ended up going on a long ride.

I think in general, reliability and robustness is probably my main aim.

It will probably be used mostly on towpaths (I live on one) and cycle paths / tracks etc but maybe a bit of light muddy field stuff.

Neil Williams - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

I'll second Decathlon.  Because all their products are "own brand" and the supply chain is near enough all their own they are incredible value for money (generally, not just on bikes).  At that price point elsewhere you may well get poor quality.

Post edited at 07:23
Neil Williams - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Guy Hurst:

I'd say Schwalbe Marathon Plus.  Not cheap (so far as bike tyres go) and a bit of hassle to fit (they are very tight), but you simply don't get punctures at all, full stop, whatever you ride across.  The best tyre in the world so far as I am concerned.

May not be so good if you are going to go in the mud though.  If you are, look for a slightly knobblier tyre at a similar price point with the same Kevlar reinforcement, I'd imagine Schwalbe do one too.

Post edited at 07:29
Neil Williams - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

> Hybrids are still quite rare, so you may have issues getting spares

Bikes at that sort of price point all use widely available standard components, so that isn't true at all.

Mind you, the idea of road-ising (adding rack and mudguards) a Carrera Subway 1 or similar isn't a bad one, I had one of those like that a while ago and it served the purpose well.

26" wheels aren't going to disappear, there are a lot of 26" wheel bikes still out there.

Post edited at 07:30
TobyA on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I'd say Schwalbe Marathon Plus.  Not cheap (so far as bike tyres go) and a bit of hassle to fit (they are very tight), but you simply don't get punctures at all, full stop, whatever you ride across.  

I did over 10 000 kms on my first pair without a puncture but eventually the sidewalls were beginning to crack so decided just to do a straight replace with another pair. Second ride on the new ones going through Sheffield I puncture. I changed the tube, couldn't feel or see anything in the tyre, so pumped the new tube up and carried on riding to work only for it to go flat again. Eventually found a shard of glass had gone right through the blue protective layer. I had a "discussion" with Chain Reaction after this as they had copied in Schwalbe's "puncture proof" into their product page, and had Schwalbes video of people riding over huge amounts of broken glass. They started with "well, nothing is puncture proof" I actually said I agreed with that, but that's not what they stated on their product page! Eventually they agreed to send me a replacement but a "gesture of good will" rather than saying it was faulty, which I was happy with. I think they took the puncture proof statement off the website though!

Having said that, they are brilliant tyres - but I guess if you are unlucky enough anything can puncture! 

> May not be so good if you are going to go in the mud though.  If you are, look for a slightly knobblier tyre at a similar price point with the same Kevlar reinforcement, I'd imagine Schwalbe do one too.

I've also got a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Tour Plus, they are heavy but have more tread and work well if all you are riding is gravel. They are actually fine on the road too, but obviously do weigh more than the standard version.

 

jonnie3430 - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Bikes at that sort of price point all use widely available standard components, so that isn't true at all.

Sorry for misinterpreting my own life experience from owning a hybrid (bought on the advice of someone with the best of intentions, who had never owned a hybrid, but thought they were a good idea.)

Neil Williams - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

What was non standard on yours?  Unless you buy something like a Dutch one (which is rather specialist and you wouldn’t do by accident) they are normally low end Shimano gear components, Aheadset or regular headsets and traditional cable brakes.  And low end wheels are pretty much wheels and can be rebuilt at a bike shop if necessary.

thepodge on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

Non standard could be something like a quill stem which most shops won't readily stock but in general you can get anything for any bike without much hassle so no idea where their comments came from, hybrid is just a name, the bikes are far from specialist .

thepodge on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

£300 on a new bike and another ~£70 on tyres? For half that my lbs will do tubeless for you and that really is no punctures. 

jonnie3430 - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

650c wheels and tyre clearance that meant it could only run less than 1.1 inch tyres.  Closed your options down so much I'd only ever recommend a mountain bike with skinny tyres, which is a hybrid but with many more matching parts to choose from.

To the op, there are bargains on eBay, but you are right to be wary, fortunately bike geek friends would love this kind of challenge and would be happy to help out.

Neil Williams - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

That's a very unusual bike you had there, 650c wheels are very rare indeed.

Most hybrids have 700c wheels and plenty of clearance (typically having 700 x 32c or 36c tyres or thereabouts - if you want wider than that, you want a mountain bike, not a hybrid).  What exactly was it?

I wouldn't buy a bike that didn't have either 26in or 700c wheels as those are the easily available ones - but don't allow that to put you off an entire class of bikes.

Post edited at 11:56
jonnie3430 - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

I bought a 650c road bike from decathlon not that long ago, so not that rare.

Neil Williams - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

Fair enough.

But anyway, the message seems to be "don't buy a 650c hybrid bike", not "don't buy a hybrid bike".

jonnie3430 - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

No, the message is buy a second hand mountain bike off eBay, and, if you feel the rolling resistance is too much, fit skinny tyres. Don't buy a hybrid, they are a more expensive, poor compromise.

Neil Williams - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

I suppose it depends what you mean by "hybrid".  There seem to be two distinct types of bike that take that title for some reason.  They both have MTB-like features, but one is a hybrid MTB-road bike, and one is a hybrid MTB-traditional city bike.

If you mean a skinny-wheeled, straight-bar faux-MTB, I would be inclined to agree - buy a cheapish used MTB (not a bargain basement heavyweight one from a supermarket) and customise it.  Or if you want a really quick one, buy a road bike of some kind and fit straight bars.

If you mean what was more traditionally called a hybrid but sometimes known as a city bike, i.e. a well-equipped "sit up" type bike with comfort features, mudguards, quality puncture resistant tyres, possibly "sit up and beg" handlebars though not all do, a luggage rack, possibly fixed LED lighting etc, those are still good value purchased as that because you get a lot of pre-installed equipment and they tend to be quite well designed.  I've only ever seen these with 700c or 26" wheels, these days almost always 700c.

From the OP's use-case I kind of figured he meant the latter.

Post edited at 14:41
Diddy - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

I like my Carrera Crossfire2., that my fit you needs.

Neil Williams - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Diddy:

Much as Halfords gets laughed at, I've had a couple of Carrera bikes in the past and they generally seem pretty decent in their price range.

FWIW, a couple of examples of the two types I meant - note I don't specifically recommend these, they're just examples...

Hybrid "city bike" type (this one bizarrely has different sized wheels!):

https://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/hybrid-bikes/raleigh-pioneer-trail-mens-hybrid-bike-17-19-21-23-frames

Hybrid "road"/"fast MTB" type:

https://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/hybrid-bikes/boardman-mtx-8-6-hybrid-bike-black

These are very different types of bike but both are sold as hybrids.

Post edited at 15:30
mbh - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I'd say Schwalbe Marathon Plus.  Not cheap (so far as bike tyres go) and a bit of hassle to fit (they are very tight), but you simply don't get punctures at all, full stop, whatever you ride across.  The best tyre in the world so far as I am concerned.

Can't speak for other tyres but I bought two of those for my wife's hybrid after she had had repeated punctures that had damaged her confidence. They are difficult to fit, but seem bomb proof. No punctures since, with much riding on flattish but sometimes gravelly and stony trails.

Jamming Dodger on 12 Jul 2018

My work horse ticks all the boxes I needed it to when I bought it:

Aluminium frame (so it’s still rideable after a crash)

Disk brakes (invaluable on commutes)

700c wheels (they roll better than 26”)

Flat bars (to maintain good visibility when riding with a rucksack)

In the end I got a Trek Valencia. It’s a solid little bike. I’ve swapped out certain bits for my own needs. The original bars got binned straight away as they were awful. 

It has Specialized Infinity tyres on it. No puncture yet (touchwood) but I know if I do get one I won’t be sat on the roadside crying with frustration trying to get them off and on again. 

It’s a bike that’s good for a decent length commute but not so dear to me I bother to clean it up after a deluge. 

Post edited at 19:50
Frankie boy on 17 Jul 2018
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

Thanks again all for the replies, that is definitely plenty to think about. I guess other things I'd not thought about are things like whether the bike has lugs on the back triangle so it can take a rack etc. Some hybrid bikes I've seen only have a single set of 9 gears. To me, that means less to go wrong but I'd that enough gears? I do think that sommat like a 21 speed is probably way too many gears for me, some of them I would never use.

I might have a look at eBay locally and maybe persuade my mate to come have a look with me, but will also see what deals the shops have in. On question I do have though, is that other than showing purchase receipts etc, I'd there any sensible way to define whether a bike on there is legit or was nabbed from some poor soul last week?

thepodge on 17 Jul 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

Not really no, there is a stolen bike register website but its not got everything on. 

Neil Williams - on 17 Jul 2018
In reply to Frankie boy:

I've tended to find that with a 21 geared bike (as my tourer is) I use 1-7 in the middle front cog, then stick it up to the big front cog if I want to go fast.  My Dutch hybrid only has 7 hub gears anyway.  The main thing is that there is adequate range both to go as fast as you want to and a suitable "granny gear" for going up steep stuff.

Almost nobody will use all 21 day to day.

Post edited at 12:49
Jamming Dodger on 19:00 Tue
In reply to Frankie boy:

Mine has a triple and 8 speed cassette. Massively overgeared. But that’s just how it came. Lots of braze ons if pannier racks and heavy duty guards are your thing. 

Cant comment on the “is it nicked” side. Other than if someone spent over, say, £400 on a hybrid then the ad will come across ike they half know what they’re selling. Wording like “racing bike” and “has lots of gears!” would raise little red flags for me. Or maybe that’s just me (?). I’m sure someone else will have better advice than that!


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