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Hybrid Bikes

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Less rugged than a mountain bike and more comfortable than a road bike, hybrids combine durability and comfort. A hybrid bike is an excellent selection for pleasure, fitness and/or commutes under ten miles.

Hybrid bike frames come with a low "standover" height, which make them easier to mount and dismount than other bikes. A long wheelbase makes for a stable, smooth ride. The medium-width tires, which are knobbier than a road bike and less knobby than a mountain bike, allow you to ride on the road, canal paths, or light off-road bike trails.

Hybrid bike handlebars are straight or longhorn-type. This can be more comfortable for some riders that find the hunched-over position of drop handlebars uncomfortable since that leaned-over position puts more strain on the back and neck than an upright position. However, hybrid bike handlebars do not offer the multiple hand positions that the drop handlebars offer, and they shift more weight to the bicycle seat, which can be uncomfortable on longer rides.

Hybrid frames are made of high-tensile steel, chromoloy steel, aluminum, or composites. Hi-tensile steel is strong and affordable but is heavier than other materials and rusts if scratched. Chromoly steel is affordable and lightweight but will rust and is more expensive than the high-tensile steel. Aluminum is light, durable, affordable, and corrosion resistant but more expensive than high-tensile steel. Other materials, such as carbon fiber or composites, are light, durable, and corrosion resistant but are the most expensive frame-material choice. If you ride the bike as recommended, any of the frame materials should serve you well.

Most hybrids are sold with a traditional rigid front fork and seat post, but some now come with suspension stems to reduce vibrations. If a comfortable ride is especially important to you, look for a hybrid with a suspension system.

Hybrid bikes come with a variety of gearing choices. If your rides will be confined to flat areas, a bike with seven or eight gears will be sufficient. If you will be riding in hilly areas, or if you plan

to pull a trailer, you may want 24 or 27 gears.

Because hybrids are very popular and competitively priced, manufacturers cut corners on some equipment. Equipment that may have to be upgraded are tires, seats, and/or pedals.

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