These are the best hybrid bikes that you can buy in 2020, as rated by the expert testers at BikeRadar.
Hybrid bikes are some of the most versatile bicycles on the market, designed specifically for beginners and recreational riders. They are an ideal option for commuting and city riding, as well as leisure riding on the weekends.
A good hybrid will help you tackle almost any terrain, allowing you to get out without any worries about whether your bike is up to the job.
Most bike brands offer hybrids (or fitness bikes) and they are available at all sorts of price points, and we’ve included a selection below from these different price categories.
All our recommendations are based on bikes that we have tested here at BikeRadar.
If you are new to the world of bikes, we would recommend that you try and test some models to get a feel for what works for you. A good bike shop will often let you try before you buy, as well as ensure you walk away with a bike that fits you.
The best hybrid bikes in 2020
Carrera Subway 2: £350
Cube Travel SL: £1,699 / €1,199
Vitus Mach 3 VRX Urban: £900
Voodoo Agwe: £500
Carrera Subway 2
Carrera’s Subway 2 is available exclusively from Halfords. Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
- Powerful hydraulic disc braking
- Ready to accept mudguards or a rack
- 650b wheels allow for a large tyre with lots of cushion
Sold exclusively in Halfords and Cycle Republic stores, the Carrera Subway 2 is a fantastic way to get about, particularly considering its modest price.
It’s been on the scene for multiple years now, and that time has allowed the Subway 2 to mature into a very capable package.
The alloy frame has all the fittings you could need to attach bottles, mudguards and racks and is equipped with 650b wheels, which have large 1.95in tyres that provide additional cushioning and comfort.
Despite the low price, the bike is fitted with hydraulic disc brakes for consistent and reliable stopping power. The remaining components, while budget, perform admirably and add up to a well-considered package perfect for quick city riding.
Cube Travel SL
The Cube Travel SL comes equipped for every eventuality. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media
- Ready to ride in any conditions with mudguards, dynamo lights and internal hub gear
- Maintenance-free belt drive
- Reliable hydraulic Shimano disc brakes
The Cube Travel SL is the perfect bike to get your from A to B with the minimum of fuss. The Cube Travel SL is an unashamedly utilitarian ride designed to transport you and your things wherever they need to go.
The bike comes equipped with a rear rack, mudguards, dynamo hub and lights. A maintenance-free belt drive, internal hub gear and reliable hydraulic Shimano brakes will get you going and slow you down again.
Sorted handling means you’ll be able to just get on and ride. The Cube Travel SL is a dutiful ride that you’ll likely end up taking for granted because it’s just so well-equipped.
Vitus Mach 3 VRX Urban
The Mach 3 VRX Urban from Vitus scored well in our testing. Robert Smith
- Dropped seatstays for added comfort
- Metrea single-ring chainset
- Hydraulic disc brakes for all-weather braking
The Mach 3 VRX Urban is a pretty classic commuting hybrid with flat bars, dropped seatstays for rear-end compliance, mostly internal cable routing, a tapered carbon fork with thru-axles, 1x Metrea gearing and flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes.
The combination of a 42t single chainring with an 11-32 cassette provides a reasonable range of gears, though lower geared bikes are available. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes provide ample power for any eventuality.
While it doesn’t come equipped with them, you can mount mudguards and a rack for all practical needs.
Voodoo’s Agwe is a lot closer to a mountain bike than a road bike. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media
- Simple, single-ring transmission
- Comfortable, easy riding position
- Hydraulic disc brakes for decent all-weather braking
The Agwe is a capable hybrid that’s clearly inspired by Voodoo’s mountain bike models. That’s no bad thing, making it capable of tackling a wide range of terrain with swift and nippy handling.
The Shimano Deore drivetrain provides simple and reliable shifting with enough range to get you up the steepest hills. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes provide ample power for any eventuality.
While it doesn’t come equipped with them, you can mount mudguards (and a rack) for more inclement weather.
Genesis Skyline 30
The Genesis Skyline 30 features mudguards, a pannier rack and dynamo lighting — straight out of the box! Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
- £899 – but discounts available
- Mudguards, dynamo lights and a rack included
- Pleasant handling
Unfortunately, the Skyline disappeared from the Genesis lineup back in 2019. But if you can find the 2018 or 2017 model it’s well worth considering, especially because you’ll likely be able to pick it up with a decent discount.
The bike comes well-equipped straight out of the box, with dynamo lighting, full-length mudguards and a pannier rack all included.
It rides incredibly well and, even at the RRP, represented great value for money.
See the full list of BikeRadar hybrid bike reviews for more individual product information.
What is a hybrid bike?
Hybrid bikes combine the best features from road and mountain bikes, allowing 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.
Flat bars offer an assertive, upright and comfortable position for riding. Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Like a road bike, hybrids will allow you to get around quickly. However, they are typically fitted with durable components that are tough enough for 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 add 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.
Disc brakes offer powerful and consistent stopping power in all conditions. James Huang / Immediate Media
Hybrids are capable machines with various concessions to practicality and comfort that make them a fuss-free bike to live with.
What types of hybrid bike 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, allowing you to get around quickly and efficiently.
Will my tyres puncture?
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but however puncture-resistance 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.
If you do end up with a puncture, we have a complete guide on how to fix a puncture and how to pump up your bike tyre. It’s really not that difficult, we promise!
What gears does my hybrid have?
The vast majority of hybrid bikes use derailleur gears. A derailleur shifts your chain across the cogs at the rear wheel (cassette) and the chainrings on the cranks, providing you with a large gear range to choose from.
This is the kind of drivetrain you’re most likely to encounter on your bike. Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
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 dirt, mud and crud, 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 trousers that are a hazard of the traditional chain.
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.
Less padding might be more if you’re riding longer distances. BikeRadar
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.
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.
Mudguards might not be particularly cool, but neither is being sprayed with muck. Jack Luke / Immediate Media
If mudguards don’t come as standard, any good hybrid will feature mounting points on the frame that allow you to fit them.
There should also be eyelets for fitting racks, allowing you to carry your luggage in panniers rather than using a heavy backpack.
Bike lights are a must for anyone riding after dark. We’d even recommend having lights throughout the day too for extra visibility.
Some hybrid bikes will arrive with lights already fitted. These are normally powered by a dynamo, which draws power from the bike’s riding effort as opposed to batteries.
Lights are essential for keeping you visible and safe. David Caudery / Immediate Media
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.
More advanced options with GPS, such as those by Garmin, will also let you map and track your route.
Secure your bike
Of course, 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 tested locks to find the best one for your needs. Ben Healey / Immediate Media
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 with bicycle insurance.
Finally, if you’re thinking about anything other than a hybrid bike, then why not check out our complete guide to the best bikes for cycle commuting.