Canadian company Norco’s Indie 2 is the kind of hybrid we used to call an urban mountain bike. Maybe we still should. It has 700C wheels – but these days, so do some mountain bikes. The aluminium frame is sturdy, with an oversize down tube that’s reinforced at the head tube. It’s overkill for an urban bike, although should stop the frame folding in a front-end collision.
The seatstays are curved ("for greater compliance", they say) while the fork, where any springiness would be more noticeable, is straight. However, it is chromoly steel, and frame comfort issues front or rear are moot due to shock-absorbing 37mm tyres. Frame and fork clearances are generous, as is the distance between front hub and chainring centres – you could ﬁt fatter tyres and mudguards and still not have to worry about toe overlap.
There are ﬁttings for mudguards, a kickstand and a rear rack, and the disc calliper won’t get in the way of a rack as Norco have mounted it to the chainstay instead. Stopping power from the Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic brakes is awesome compared to the sidepulls or mini-Vs that many hybrids have. The 24-speed gearing is mainly courtesy of Shimano’s workhorse Alivio groupset.
The rear mech is an upgraded Deore unit, though – a Shadow model. It sticks out 12mm less, the better to avoid knocks, and its cable run is straighter and less friction-prone. The square taper chainset is a trekking one, with bigger rings (28/38/48) to reﬂect the higher speeds on tarmac versus trails. Whether you'll be moving fast is debatable, though.
A tall head tube, riser handlebar and inline seatpost provide a riding position that’s fairly short and upright. You could ﬂip the stem and set it below the steerer washers, but the overall feel is more ‘recreational hybrid’ than ‘sports hybrid’. This is better for looking around in trafﬁc and easing any lower back or hand strain. It’s less good for putting the hammer down when you’re late for work.
For that you’d also want faster tyres than the part-treaded Continental Town Rides found here – Conti Sport Contacts for example. The wheels use bolted skewers so they shouldn’t go walkabout. The Indie 2 is available in ﬁve sizes: 14.5, 16, 18, 20 and 22in. The 20in weighs 12.1kg (26.62lb) and has a head angle of 71.5 degrees and a seat angle of 73.