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The Best Hybrid Bikes For Commuters

Buying Guides
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Cycling to work used to be reserved for a certain type of person. Predominantly white and male, they’d think nothing of going toe-to-toe with traffic, and saw their journey to the office as a badge of honour to be worn (along with lots of Lycra). This is starting to change though, as more and more people start to see the benefits that come with cycling to work – it’s cheap, mood-boosting and of course great exercise – while cycling infrastructure is improving, meaning cycling is safer.

You can ride to work on whatever bike you want, but if you’re starting from scratch, it’s best to look for a hybrid bike. A cross between a road and mountain bike (hence the name), they’re the most popular type of bike sold, and for good reason: their upright position is less taxing and better for keeping you cool when riding than a road bike, but they tend to be a bit nippier on the asphalt than a suspension-toting mountain bike.

They aren’t just for the commute either – they’re just as much at home on country lanes and canal towpaths, meaning your investment can be used in your leisure time too.

While we’ll focus on hybrid bikes in this article, there are two other styles of bike that make for great commuters – folding bikes and electric bikes. The former comes into its own if you’re looking to combine cycling with another mode of transport on your commute. The latter is ideal if you’re put off by the effort it would take to ride home after a long day. Although they might look like quite an investment, it’s worth remembering that the savings on public transport, petrol or car park charges soon add up – not to mention they’re effectively a gym membership too. That said, it’s worth investigating if your new bike can be bought under a Cycle To Work scheme. The cost will be deducted from your pay packet, normally over 12 months, and you could save as much as 39% on your purchase, which can include all the accessories you need like helmetlocks and lights.

The Best Hybrid Bikes For Commuters

Buying Guides

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Carrera Subway 1

A hybrid bike for all heights

Specifications

RRP: £330
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Gears: 16 (2x8)

Reasons to buy

+
Budget-friendly buy
+
Lifetime frame guarantee

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy feel

The cheapest pick in our round-up, the Subway 1 from Halfords’ in-house brand Carrera comes at a price that’s the minimum you should spend when buying a new hybrid bike. While you can pick them up for less, you want your commuting bike to be able to withstand more than one season of riding to the office without falling apart. The Subway 1 has mechanical disc brakes that will remain sharp even in wet weather. Its 16-speed Shimano Tourney groupset (the cogs and the chain) will give you enough range for any hills in your route, while replacing any parts should be straightforward when it’s time for a service. Finished with wide, 1.95in tyres, the Subway 1 is at home on gravel paths and on smooth roads – handy if tackling the odd pothole on the commute.

Buy men’s from Halfords (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Halfords (opens in new tab) 


Buying Guides

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Giant Escape 2 Disc

Smooth and comfortable ride

Specifications

RRP: £599
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Gears: 16 (2x8)

Reasons to buy

+
Reputable brand
+
Hydraulic disc brakes

Reasons to avoid

-
Pedals are plastic and feel cheap

While a new hybrid bike might look a bit boring when compared to that vintage bike you’ve been eyeing up on eBay, it’ll be a lot more pleasant and comfortable to ride day in, day out in all weather. Take the Giant Escape 2 Disc as a prime example. The frame is made from a lightweight aluminium, making the bike easy to manoeuvre on the go, and its hydraulic disc brakes are reliable. It’s comfortable to ride too, thanks to a vibration dampening seat post, wide tyres and ergonomic grips. Spend an extra £50 on the City edition, and you’ll get mudguards and a pannier rack too.

Buy from Giant (opens in new tab) 


Buying Guides

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Triban RC 500 Flat Bar Disc Road Bike

Great-value hybrid with high-end components

Specifications

RRP: £649.99
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Gears: 18 (2x9)

Reasons to buy

+
High-end Shimano components at mid-range price
+
Can fit panniers, mudguards and wider tyres

Reasons to avoid

-
Mechanical, rather than hydraulic, disc brakes

Hybrid bikes come in a broad range of styles, and the Triban RC 500 is towards the road bike end of the spectrum. Essentially the brand’s touring bike (opens in new tab) but with flat handlebars, it’s a great pick if you want something that will cut quickly through traffic without having to ride on the drops (the curved part of a road bike’s handlebars). The bike’s biggest selling point is its Shimano Sora R3000 groupset, a well-built and robust range complete with 18 gears that is generally found on much more expensive hybrids. And if you’re worried about the cost of your investment, the frame, handlebar and stem come with a lifetime guarantee, providing extra peace of mind.

Buy from Decathlon (opens in new tab) 


Buying Guides

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Specialized Sirrus X 3.0

Lightweight commuter made for going fast

Specifications

RRP: £849
Sizes: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL
Gears: 10 (1x10)

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and comfortable build
+
10-speed Shimano gearing provides range with fewer mechanical issues
+
Hydraulic disc brakes

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheaper alternatives available

The Sirrus X is American manufacturer Specialized’s all-terrain hybrid platform, and bikes range from the £499 Sirrus X 2.0 to the £1,299 Sirrus X 4.0. The X 3.0 is the sweet spot in the line, providing you with a bike that is comfortable both on and off the road. Its one-by set-up (where it only has one chainring) is a nod to mountain biking, and makes maintenance that bit easier – one fewer chainring equals less to clean or go wrong. Although it packs only 10 gears, the range is wide enough that you can cruise at speed on the flat, while still having enough in reserve to climb steep ascents.

Buy from Specialized Concept Store (opens in new tab) | £849


Trek FX 2 Disc

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Trek FX 2 Disc

A big-name brand at an appealing price

Specifications

RRP: £600
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Gears: 18 (2x9)

Reasons to buy

+
Established brand
+
Hydraulic disc brakes 

Reasons to avoid

-
Better componentry available for not much more money

The FX fitness bike line-up from the American company Trek ranges from a £475 basic build (opens in new tab) through to a fully featured commuting machine (opens in new tab) that costs just shy of £1,000. The FX 2 Disc is in the middle of the range and is a great-value offering that does the important bits well while leaving room for the likes of pannier racks, kickstands and mudguards which you will get if you upgrade to an equipped edition (opens in new tab). The biggest selling point is its inclusion of hydraulic disc brakes – something of a steal at this price – which offer supreme stopping power in all conditions.

Buy men’s from Trek (opens in new tab) | Buy women’s from Trek (opens in new tab) | £600


Ribble Hybrid AL 2.0

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Ribble Hybrid AL 2.0

Quick delivery will get you commuting in no time

Specifications

RRP: £899
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Gears: 11 (1x11)

Reasons to buy

+
Dispatched within 48 hours
+
Lightweight aluminium frame and carbon fibre fork
+
Great components and finishing kit

Reasons to avoid

-
The inclusion of a rack might not be necessary if not using panniers

At the height of the pandemic, new bikes were like gold dust as everyone saddled up and enjoyed riding on quieter roads. Although the traffic has returned, the cycling industry is still struggling with this backlog, so when a brand guarantees your purchase will be sent within 48 hours, it’s worth taking note. The Hybrid AL 2.0 won’t leave you disappointed, either: a lightweight aluminium frame is paired with a comfort-boosting carbon fibre fork to create a super-smooth commuting rig. Throw in an 11-speed drivetrain from Sram, hydraulic disc brakes and all the extras (rack and mudguards) you’ll ever need for getting to the office and the Hybrid AL is tough to beat.

Buy from Ribble (opens in new tab) 

Charlie Allenby is a journalist with a passion for pedalling. He contributes features and buying advice about cycling, and is participating in RideLondon in 2022 as well as covering it for Coach. 


As Charlie is also training for a triathlon, he has become Coach’s chief whey and casein protein powder tester, trying as many brands as possible.


Charlie’s first book, Bike London (opens in new tab), is out now. He has written for The Guardian (opens in new tab), The Independent (opens in new tab), BikeRadar (opens in new tab) and others.