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How to choose a road bike

Go fast, go slow, go anywhere. Ride to the top of that hill. Ride a hundred miles. Ride to Grandma’s. Ride to the store. Ride to work. Don’t take the car. Ride to the beach, the bar, or the barn.

Riding a bike can be five times more efficient than walking: you’ll go farther, faster. So if you can ride, why walk? In fact, riding a bike can take you distances and places normally reached by car. Somewhere to be? Grab your hybrid and make the journey part of the fun. You can stop mid-way for a coffee and a scone, crank it up and sweat a little, or find a gear that lets you cruise. A hybrid, or fitness bike, in its standard form, has the handlebars and control levers of a mountain bike, with the frame, gears, wheels, and brakes of a road bike; hybrids effectively mix sport with utility, giving you the ability to ride where you please.

Road and mountain bikes are designed for riding on different surfaces. You wouldn’t want to take a road bike on steep, technical singletrack, nor would you enjoy riding a mountain bike on a road circuit. Each excels in its particular environment because of specific parts suited to the task, frame designs that change how the bike handles, and geometry that alters your body position. A hybrid bike bridges these two styles by combining on- and off-road functionality in one bike. It’s the bike made for everyone! If you don’t need the speed capabilities of a road bike, or the all-terrain handling of a mountain bike, a versatile hybrid might be the perfect bike for you.

The Path Less Travelled

When your desire takes you off the beaten path, it’s nice to have a bike with a little mountain muscle. Fat tires help maintain traction and stability when off road, and a suspension fork smooths out small bumps in the trail so you can enjoy a longer ride. These cross-terrain bikes are just as stable on your local crushed gravel pathways as they are on city streets, making them great candidates for a one-bike garage. Many models include disc brakes that offer increased braking power and control in wet conditions.

Rolling Relaxation

No sore butts here! With both a suspension fork and seatpost for an extra plush ride, the comfort hybrid makes a weekend ride to the nature center safe and enjoyable. Wide tires with ample tread offer stability on gravel paths, and an adjustable stem lets you put the handlebars within easy reach. A foot-forward pedaling position allows greater visibility while riding and makes it easy to put a food down in stop-and-go situations.

Need for Speed

Fitness hybrids borrow heavily from road bikes to put you in a riding position that helps maintain speed. They also benefit from higher-level, more performance-oriented components and slimmer tires that reduce rolling friction. These are great bikes for joining group rides, completing your first 100-miler, or riding in a charity event. But don’t rule them out for getting around town—most models include commuter-friendly features so you can bike to work with ease.

Hybrids offer tremendous versatility, and it’s easy to improve upon that by outfitting your bike with curated accessories that let you do more on two wheels. So bring your stuff along for the ride. Front and rear racks, baskets, and panniers can hold anything from farmers market produce to your adorable Yorkie, or a change of clothes and lunch for bike-to-work day. A set of fenders will keep your clothes clean in case you get caught in an afternoon shower. Want more data? Cycling computers are useful for tracking your mileage, speed, and ride time. If you get serious, some cyclocomputers include GPS and heart rate monitors to enhance your training.

Finding the bike that’s right for you is easy with guidance from our staff. We’ll help you evaluate your needs and find the ideal hybrid bike. New experiences and fresh air are waiting! Whether you’re just getting back into bike riding or looking to spend more time exercising outdoors, a hybrid can help increase your enjoyment and reach your fitness goals, no matter where you want to ride.