These are the best hybrid bikes you can buy in 2023, as rated by the expert testers at BikeRadar.
Hybrid bikes – also known as fitness bikes or, in some cases, flat-bar road bikes – are some of the most versatile bicycles on the market. They are designed specifically for beginners and recreational riders and are an ideal option for commuting and city riding. They’re also great for less strenuous leisure riding.
If you’re looking for a bike that can be turned to most tasks, a hybrid is a great starting point – chunkier tyres, ample mounts for accessories and a relaxed ride position mean they can confidently tackle almost any terrain, enabling you to get out without any worries about whether your bike is up to the job.
Most bike brands offer hybrid bikes and they are available at all sorts of price points. We’ve included a selection below from these different price categories and we’ve got a separate page with a selection of the best cheap hybrid bikes.
Not sure if a hybrid is the right bike for you? Have a read of our explainer to work out what is the best bike for you and your needs.
Many bike brands offer flat-bar road bikes, which have a similar spec to some of the best road bikes or best gravel bikes, just with flat bars instead of drop bars. We’ve got an explainer of gravel bike vs hybrid bike if you want to know more.
All our recommendations are based on bikes we have tested here at BikeRadar, and you can also check out all of our hybrid bike reviews.
If you are new to the world of bikes, we would recommend you try to test some models to get a feel for what works for you. A good bike shop will often let you try before you buy, and ensure you walk away with a bike that fits you. You can also check out our guide to road bike sizing and our women’s bike size guide.
The best hybrid bikes in 2023 as rated by our expert testers
Canyon Commuter 7
- £1,749 / €1,699 / AU$2,649 as tested
- One of the best thought-out commuter bikes
- Dynamo lights and mudguards
- Gates belt drive
The Canyon Commuter 7 comes with everything you would want from a hybrid bike.
The bike is fully kitted out with mudguards, a rack, a bell and lights powered by a Shimano dynamo hub, so you’ll never get caught out after dark.
Internal cabling keeps cables and tubing out of harm’s way – a smart choice for a bike that will likely be ridden in the winter – and a one-piece bar and stem reduces hassle with bolts, and looks neat too. The Gates belt drive also reduces the need for maintenance.
The bike’s handling is ideal for commuting and the 11-speed rear hub has a wide gear range.
The Commuter 7 weighs 13kg and while some riders might like a lighter build, it’s not excessively heavy.
Cannondale Treadwell EQ
- £800 / $950 / €900 / AU$1,500 at tested
- The neat front rack will carry up to 10kg
- All-weather ready
- Quirky with a fun ride
Cannondale’s Treadwell is a comfortable and practical way to get around. It’s ideal for running errands such as shopping trips thanks to its front rack, which will accept up to 10kg.
There are pannier rack mounts integrated neatly into the bike’s seat clamp, should you need to carry more.
This range-topping EQ model is now an older bike, but the 2021 model is specced almost identically. The simple 1×9 Shimano transmission is ideal for commuter miles and the Tektro hydraulic discs are powerful.
The fat 47mm wide Maxxis DTR-1 tyres keep the ride comfortable and the mudguards that surround them will keep the worst of the weather from splashing back at you.
It’s not one to be rushed, but the Treadwell does offer a genuinely fun riding experience.
Marin Fairfax 2
- £665 / $699 / €779 / AU$999 as tested
- Wide gear range with plenty of low ratios
- Full rack and mudguard mounts
- Effective hydraulic disc brakes
The Marin Fairfax 2 comes well-specced for the price with a wide gear range, 35mm-wide tyres and really good hydraulic disc brakes – impressive for a budget bike. There’s also a wide range of accessory mounts, so you can easily fit mudguards, and front and rear racks.
You get 16 gears and they’re oriented towards the lower end of the range with a 46/30t chainset in place of the more usual 50/34t and an 11-34t cassette, so hills are a cinch. We really enjoyed the comfortable ride on the wide tyres.
Ribble Hybrid AL Leisure
- £1,199 / $1,350 / €1,280 / AU$1,950 as tested
- Comfortable, confidence-inspiring ride
- Quality spec including mudguards and a rack
- Sharp looks with tan highlights
BikeRadar’s sub-editor, Gary Walker, has been riding the Ribble Hybrid AL Leisure as his long-term test bike, and the pair have had a riotous time together.
The bike comes with an 11-speed 1x drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes and 47mm tyres on 650b wheels. The deep British Racing Green finish and faux leather saddle and grips make for smart aesthetics.
Gary’s testing is yet to be concluded, but it’s safe to say he’s got on well with the bike, awarding it a provisional score of 4.5 stars.
Giant Escape 1 Disc
- £699 / $800 as tested
- Ideal for mixed-surface commutes
- Tektro disc brakes for safe all-weather stopping power
- Comfortable and tough 38mm tubeless tyres
The Escape 1 from Giant is a great choice for those who want to be comfortable while commuting, or spend a fair amount of time away from smooth roads.
All that rubber means you’ll make light work of towpaths and gravelly bike routes but will pay for it in outright speed when on the road.
Its geometry places you in such a way that you’re very aware of the traffic around you, but it’s not upright enough to detract from the occasional sprinting effort.
Its mix-and-match Shimano gearing will give you every ratio you require, and stopping power is handled by well-modulated Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.
Marin Presidio 1
- £465 / $499 / €599 / AU$899 as tested
- Smart looks, particularly for the price
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- Simple 1×8 drivetrain
The Marin Presidio 1 is a commuter that looks good, rides well and offers exceptional value.
The finish of the aluminium frame is excellent for the price, and you’ll have no problems with fitting a rack or proper mudguards.
Marin has even managed to spec hydraulic disc brakes, so stopping power and control is impressive.
The fairly upright ride position, combined with a short stem, makes the Marin a sharp steer and an entertaining bike to ride.
These bikes didn’t quite make the 4-star rating that qualifies them for our best lists, but they’re still a good choice that might suit your needs.
Genesis Croix de Fer 10 Flat Bar
- £1,000 as tested
- Robust yet characterful frame and fork
- Impressive versatility
- Great ride feel
The Genesis Croix de Fer was one of the first road bikes to be designed to go beyond the tarmac, so it’s actually surprising that Genesis took so long to bring out this flat-handlebar version.
It’s a great bike to ride and is particularly versatile, but the steel frame does make it heavier than most of its competitors.
The upside of the Genesis’ butted steel chassis is the flat-bar Croix de Fer has a lively feel, especially when riding on rough terrain.
Change the stock tyres for some fast road slicks and this Genesis would make a fine urban commuter.
Orbea Carpe 40
- £519 as tested
- Fun, fixie-inspired geometry
- Sharp looks
- Hydraulic disc brakes
The Carpe 40 is almost the ideal commuter, but it’s one that is hampered slightly by some of its component choices.
The frame features a short wheelbase and aggressive angles similar to those used on many fixies, making it especially fun to ride. It stops well too, thanks to Shimano hydraulic discs.
The single chainring and 7-speed rear cassette offer ideal gearing for shorter commutes, but the flexy Orbea-branded chainset is disappointing.
The standard-fit 38mm Kenda tyres are weighty, with unforgivingly stiff sidewalls and steel beads. Swapping these for some quality 35c rubber transformed this bike into what it was supposed to be.
- £500 as tested
- Mudguards and rack as standard
- Fun handling
- Smart looks
It’s difficult to find bikes at this price that arrive equipped with full mudguards, a rear rack and a full Shimano drivetrain. To make that happen, Ridgeback has specced the Speed with V-brakes rather than discs – they’re fine, but won’t match the performance of hydraulic discs, particularly in the wet.
As smooth as it is, the triple chainring at the front and seven gears at the cassette can be considered overkill for what this bike is likely to be used for, and it’s also something of a noisy setup.
The 42mm Vee tyres roll surprisingly well, but their heft can be felt on the hills and they run close enough to occasionally rub on the mudguards.
You’ll need a spanner with you should you need to repair a puncture, but bolted axles are considerably more secure than quick-release items.
This is still a fun bike to ride though, and it looks good to boot.
Hybrid bike buyer’s guide | Everything you need to know about hybrid bikes
What is a hybrid bike?
A hybrid bike combines the best features from road and mountain bikes, enabling you to tackle most of the riding you’ll want to do.
This makes them ideal for beginners looking to get into riding or recreational riders wanting one bike to do it all with the minimum of fuss.
In general, hybrids are fitted with high-volume tyres to improve comfort and traction on varied surfaces. This also helps if you want to tackle rougher terrain such as canal paths and gravel tracks.
Mounts for mudguards, racks and other accessories mean you can prepare your hybrid for any eventuality, whether you plan to carry lots of luggage or ride whatever the weather.
Like a road bike, hybrids will enable you to get around quickly. However, they are typically fitted with durable components that are tough enough for commuting, city riding and the wear and tear of daily use.
Like a mountain bike, hybrids will have more relaxed geometry and flat handlebars, putting you in a comfortable and upright position on the bike. This can be particularly helpful for riding in traffic, affording you a good overview of what is going on around you.
While hybrids fitted with suspension forks (front) are available, we would generally shy away from them on cheaper models. The suspension tends to be low-end and adds significant weight, without major performance improvements.
An increasing number of hybrids are now fitted with disc brakes, which provide consistent stopping power in all conditions.
Hybrids are capable machines with various concessions to practicality and comfort that make them fuss-free bikes to live with.
If you’re a dab hand at mechanics or you’ve got an old bike lying around that you want to put to good use, our guide on how to transform your bike into a super commuter might be for you.
What types of hybrid bikes are available?
Hybrids all sit on a sliding scale between road and mountain bike. Where a certain model sits on that scale will define how well it copes with uneven off-road terrain and how fast you can travel on tarmac in the city.
If you will be riding on rougher terrain, then you will want to look for an option with larger tyres to provide additional cushioning. On higher-end models, you might even want to consider a suspension fork for that extra bit of comfort.
Hybrids designed for city riding will usually be fitted with slick road tyres and components that are much closer to a road bike, enabling you to get around quickly and efficiently.
Will my tyres puncture?
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no matter how puncture-resistant your tyres may claim to be, they will never be completely immune.
That said, hybrid bikes will generally be fitted with sturdy tyres that are pretty puncture-resistant. They are designed to reliably get you from A to B, day-in-day-out. So the likelihood is that you won’t have to worry about punctures at all.
What gears do hybrid bikes have?
The vast majority of hybrid bikes use derailleur gears. A rear derailleur shifts your chain across the cogs at the rear wheel (cassette) and a front derailleur shifts it across the chainrings on the cranks, providing you with a large gear range to choose from.
However, such an external system is relatively exposed to the elements and potential damage.
Internal gear hubs are an alternative. The rear hub contains an internal gearbox providing anything from three to 14 gears, depending on the model.
Despite the expense, there are some definite advantages. The enclosed system is protected from mud and debris, so hub gears tend to require very little maintenance.
Belt drives are sometimes used instead of a chain for gear hubs. Unlike a chain, which requires regular cleaning and lubrication in order to work at its best, a belt drive uses a toothed belt that doesn’t require much maintenance.
Crucially, you can avoid the greasy marks on your clothing that are a hazard of the traditional chain.
If you’re new to riding with gears, our guide on how to change gears on your bike explains everything you need to know.
Will the saddle be comfortable?
Hybrids are created with comfort in mind, so chances are you will get on with the saddle that is fitted on your hybrid. However, bear in mind that saddles are a very personal choice and one size definitely does not fit all.
Contrary to what you might think, lots of padding isn’t necessarily the best thing.
Ideally, when on the bike you should be supported by your sit bones. Excess padding can put pressure on your soft tissue, impeding blood supply and causing numbness – that’s particularly the case the longer you are riding.
The best thing to do is ask for expert advice in your local bike shop. You’ll often be able to try out some different saddles on your bike too, you just need to ask.
Should my hybrid be steel, aluminium or carbon?
The vast majority of hybrid bike frames will be constructed from aluminium. This is an excellent choice, combining a competitive weight with relatively low cost.
Aluminium frames can be made to ride very well at a fraction of the cost of higher-end options and are often paired with a carbon fork for improving vibration absorption at the front.
The most expensive hybrids may come with a carbon frame, which can add further refinements to the ride with increased comfort at a lighter weight.
However, carbon fibre is expensive and does have to be treated with care. Unless you’re sure that you can lock up your bike in a safe and secure location, we’d generally recommend against carbon for an everyday bike that will be used and abused.
Steel frames are not widespread. While the material has many advantages, being incredibly durable (and some might say aesthetically pleasing), it is also comparatively heavy.
Our quick guide to frame materials explains more.
Accessories for hybrid bikes
The versatility of hybrids extends to the number of accessories that are either designed specifically to go with them or that can be added.
A large percentage of hybrid bikes come pre-fitted with mudguards, particularly those aimed at commuters or urban cyclists, who are likely to be using them in all weather conditions, including on wet roads.
If mudguards don’t come as standard, any good hybrid will feature mounting points on the frame that allow you to fit them. Check out our list of the best mudguards to make your bike weather-proof and keep you dry.
There should also be eyelets for fitting racks, allowing you to carry your luggage in panniers rather than using a heavy backpack. Should you prefer to keep things on your back, however, there are many quality commuter-specific backpacks to choose from.
Some hybrid bikes will arrive with lights already fitted. These are normally powered by a dynamo, which draws power from rider input rather than batteries.
Bike computers are also handy. The simplest ones are great for keeping track of the miles you’ve covered and how long your journey has taken.
The best bike computers, such as those by Garmin, will also let you map and track your route.
Secure your bike
Wherever you park your bike, you’ll need a quality lock to deter thieves.
We tested 24 of the most popular bike locks to destruction, so you can secure your bike with the best protection available. We’ve also got tips on how to lock a bike.
It might also be worth insuring your bike so that you are covered if the worst happens and your ride gets stolen. Thankfully, we’ve put together a complete guide of what to look for when buying bicycle insurance.
Finally, if you’re thinking about anything other than a hybrid bike, why not check out our complete guide to the best bikes for cycle commuting.