How to choose a bike? The most compromise of two-wheelers - buying a hybrid

Choosing a “hybrid bike”. This name can be misleading today. In fact, these bicycles have no electric motor - nothing to do with the auto industry. A hybrid is, in simple terms, an attempt to combine the qualities of road and mountain models in one bike. Moderately fast and light, but quite adapted to good (forest-park) off-road and most often equipped with front shock absorption.

Choosing a hybrid bike

Critics, however, will say that hybrids have absorbed first of all disadvantages: they say, it's still heavier and slower than a road bike, and it's impossible to drive it really off-road. This is all nit-picking. You need to clearly understand the purpose of the bike and its habitat. A hybrid will be almost ideal in a city with its curbs and uneven paving slabs, it will roll very briskly along the bike path and easily “swallow” light gravel or a country road even on a long bike trip anywhere. At the same time, it does not weigh 15 kg, it does not have “toothy” tires useless on the asphalt. In general, take a closer look.

Default Choosing a “hybrid bike”

This time we deliberately did not determine the price ceiling, wishing to objectively show all possible options. When choosing, decide on the budget yourself, keep in mind that the hybrid is a more specific model in comparison with the ubiquitous mountaineers. In the case of bicycles, specificity means an additional burden on the wallet.

We also leave out of brackets such an important parameter as the size of the frame. Should I be reminded that when choosing a product for personal use, be it big or sneakers, you need to choose the one that suits you? Unfortunately, there is no universal formula here, different manufacturers label their frames differently, as if they were pants from a Chinese website. In order not to play the guessing game, consult the seller about the sizes.

"Frame material". We're talking about aluminum bicycles because this material has proven itself in their manufacture for decades. It is light (which is important for a hybrid), strong and tough (which is important for rolling), does not corrode. At the same time, it is not as expensive as carbon. You can find carbon models of hybrids from large manufacturers, but given the cost, such options cannot be called common in our latitudes.

The "wheel diameter" is 28 inches and not an inch less. The road standard, which in itself indicates the speed, road orientation of the bike. But do not be alarmed: hybrids are equipped with much wider tires with a tread sufficient to be effective on light off-road conditions.

And a hybrid is an adult bike, so we also forget the "Teenage" option.

Female or not female?

In the case of bicycles, this is how the question should be asked. The fact is that, as such, the concept of "men's bicycle" has not taken root in everyday life. Bicycles are unisex, although it must be admitted that manufacturers are making efforts to tailor their products specifically for a female audience.

As a rule, this means a change in the geometry of the frame: it is shortened and beveled. As for the length, it can always be compensated for by offsetting a different size. Always keep this option in mind: there are not so many frame sizes, you may not be sure that you will immediately find yourself in a comfortable fit. Most likely, you will have to make a small adjustment by adjusting the vertical and horizontal position of the saddle, as well as the position of the handlebars in the same planes. If you want the handlebars to be higher or lower, closer or further - this can be done, and this must be done so as not to experience discomfort during every bike ride.

Therefore, a women's bicycle is bought precisely because of the frame, more specifically, because of the beveled upper tube. Indeed, this option may be more convenient not only for women, but also for men who have problems with stretching. If it matters to you, choose this option. And it will be much easier to choose further: there are less than 300 female hybrids on sale. 

Number of stars in the system and in the cassette

The system is chainring. Their number can be any in the range from one to three, and do not rush to conclude that the more, the better.

The system is chainring.

Three stars today are generally not used at all in advanced and professional bikes in any discipline. Three stars (in hybrids the combination of 48–38–28 is most often found) is a huge range of gears, which will not be in demand to a very large extent. Many amateurs, choosing their first bike, strive to ensure that there are more stars, and then they are very reluctant to use switching: either it is not necessary, or it is scary, or it works poorly.

But bicycles with 24 speeds are easier to advertise than bicycles with 16. The market lives by its own rules. 

Attachment manufacturers (Cassette Freewheel for Shimano SRAM) continue to produce the most budgetary series with 3-star systems. There is nothing wrong with that, if you are sure that this is exactly what you need. If you are not so sure, then keep in mind also that the extra chainring, if it is useless, is the extra weight and finer tuning of the front derailleur, which should be effective over a wider range. And note also that bikes with two stars in front are generally of a higher tier. True, this also applies to the price, such is the paradox.

But one star ahead is already a bold step that should be well thought out. Still, with one star, there may be a deficit in gear ratios on a variety of terrain, it is important not to go too far.

By the way, there are about 140 hybrids with two stars in front in the Catalog, with three - five times more.

The cassette is the rear set of stars, and here the situation is the opposite. The more there are, the higher the class of equipment we deal with. The pragmatic option most often used by advanced cyclists is two stars in the front and as much as possible in the back. The cassette does not provide the huge gear range that the three-star system does, but it does saturate the smaller range. As a result, you can switch to "a little", providing the most comfortable application of effort for yourself. Eleven speeds in the rear is very solid, 8-10 is good, and for an entry-level bike, seven is enough.

At the same time, let us recall the conditional ranking of attachments from the most budgetary to the most expensive: Tournament - Altus - Acera - Alivio - Deore. Do I definitely need to choose what is cooler and more expensive? Inexpensive switches are also creators to work. Yes, it will be harder for them under load, yes, the risk of loosening and disturbance increases, but everything is fixable, the main thing is not to be afraid. Expensive bike parts perform very well in almost all road and weather conditions, but they also need maintenance. In short, it all comes down to budget.

Bike brakes

The choice is also very simple and depends on the preferences in skiing. Rim brakes or disc brakes? Both types are reliable, each with pros and cons.

Rim brakes or disc brakes

The question is where and in what weather you intend to ride most of the time. No one is immune from rain, but it's one thing to happily go to the fields in a storm to see the clouds go gloomy overhead, and quite another to ride in dry and clear weather, relying on comfort.

Technically, rim brakes have been developing for decades, and engineers have reached a certain level of excellence. The rim brake today is efficient enough to operate in rain or slush while being cheaper and easier to maintain. For urban conditions, the potential of rim brakes will be more than enough.

Discs, in particular disc hydraulics, have become widespread relatively recently. There are no questions about reliability for them. In bad weather on a muddy road, the discs may perform better. Plus, the hydraulics have a magical response to the movement of the brake lever. But the cost of the entire system will be more expensive and more difficult to maintain. So decide what are excess benefits for you, and what you really need.

The mechanical disc brake is an intermediate (hybrid, if you will) option. There is a brake disc, but the pads in motion are not driven by a special fluid, but by a cable - the same as in the rim brake mechanism. Mechanical disc brakes are not as efficient as hydraulics, but they are much cheaper and simpler.

The industry is relying on disc brakes, and rim bicycles are getting smaller. However, it is too early to say that the rims have outlived theirs. How many times has progress returned to the seemingly well-forgotten old times, striving upward along a bizarre spiral.