If it’s been a while since you’ve been on a bike, you may want to get back on one. Biking is not only one of the best ways to stay fit and boost your cardio, but it’s also an environmentally friendly choice too. Cyclists are some of the fittest athletes on earth and their endurance, VO2 max, and lung capacity are off the charts.
A hybrid bike is also a great option if you’re looking for more casual riding and don’t want to ride the hundreds of miles each week that come from long-distance cycling. Those are still great forms of cardio, but they need a lot of time devoted to them and aren’t always the most comfortable.
The hybrid bike provides you that comfort but still lets you get on the move, and will also have you sitting lower compared to being higher up as you would on a road or mountain bike. The seats are wider, comfortable, and more forgiving than the saddles you would find on other types of bikes.
These bikes are perfect for cruising, quick rides, but can still tackle hills and more intense conditions. The big difference with some hybrid bikes will be the number of available gears. Many standard mountain bikes will have at least 21 different gear options to change the intensity on the fly. A hybrid bike can have a lower amount of gears – but some still offer the traditional 21 gears.
Anyway, if you are planning to buy a hybrid bike for yourself and are extremely confused as to which one to pick then don’t worry, we have got you covered. We have reviewed and compared the top 7 contenders so we can help you to make a sound decision.
Editor’s Choice: Top 7 Hybrid Bikes Under $500 in 2021
|PRODUCT NAME||FRAME TYPE||RATING (1-5)|
|Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1|
(Our Top Pick)
|Vilano Diverse 3.0|
(Best in Budget)
|Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike|
(Best Entry Level)
|Tommaso La Forma||Aluminum||4.2|
|Raleigh Cadent 2||Aluminum||4.2|
|Schwinn Volare 1200||Aluminum||3.9|
Best Overall: Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 Bike
CTY 1.1 is part of Co-op Cycles, CTY series, a range of hybrid bikes best-suited city commuters, recreational riders, and short distance riders.
It’s designed for both the urban paved roads and the semi-rugged terrains; however, it’s not some stripped-down, finicky piece of hardware. Instead, it offers a stable, comfortable ride, yet riding fast, thanks to the narrow wheel and a moderately light aluminum frame.
Speaking of the frame, this bike boasts of 6061 aluminum. The material isn’t any better than other metals, but if you know anything about metals, you understand 6061 aluminum is strong, reliable, and corrosion resistance. It makes CTY 1.1 reliable and rigid enough for extended use.
Riding performance for this bike is equally impressive, with the 24 gear system, Shimano drivetrain, with a mix of Tourney providing you with the power you need, regardless of the cadence. Altogether, the drivetrain for this bike provides an enjoyable riding experience.
Speed doesn’t make sense if you can’t come to an abrupt stop-not the CTY 1.1. The Tektro M300 mechanical disc brakes offer good braking power, letting you stop in a moment’s notice, whether in both wet and dry weather.
Genuinely designed for both men and women, CTY 1.1 easily rolls on various terrains, including gravel, to paved paths. The smooth-rolling performance is a credit to the 700 by 40 Kenda tires. The tires are large enough to “swallow” the bumps, cobblestones, and rugged terrain, thus giving you a smooth riding experience.
CTY 1.1 is also a great option for seniors, thanks to the lowered frame for easy mounting. Sure, it can’t beat the step-thru frames, but it’s the closest you can get to mounting the bike without hoisting your legs high.
- Sturdy 6061 aluminum frame
- Wide puncture-resistant tires for stable riding
- Tektro M300 Mechanical disc brakes for a near-instant stop
- Free tune-up from REI shops
Our Top Pick: Sixthreezero EVRYjourney Men’s Hybrid Bike
This hybrid cruiser is an amazing value that provides comfort but still looks modern and sleek. There are some great options with this bike as it not only comes in three colors (matte black, steele-blue, and brown) but there are different seat color options to give you a more customized look.
The EVERYjourney not only looks good, but it will provide you with the options for getting in a decent workout and ride. There are several options with varying amounts of gears so you can pick the best option for the type of riding you like to do.
If you want a low-key cruising ride there is a one and three gear choice. This is ideal if you live in a flat area and don’t need the extra gears for more intense inclines. There is a 7 gear model to give you more variety and a full 21-gear option which will cover you for all sorts of riding conditions, inclines, and declines. The 21 gear option also makes it possible for this bike to be taken off-road for trail riding and long-distance.
An amazing feature by Sixthreezero is the custom-fit option. You can find the right bike based on your height and weight. This hybrid bike also features 2-inch semi-slick wheels which provide a lot of comfort and stability on the roads or wherever you would ride it. It also has standard front and rear brakes so it will provide you with more stopping power than other forms of cruiser bicycles.
- Great customization options
- A modern and sleek look
- Many different gear choices
- Lightweight, so it’s easy to maneuver
Best Budget: Vilano Diverse 3.0 Hybrid Bike
The Vilano Diverse hybrid bike is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a hybrid bike but one that offers more performance. The 3.0 will look more like a traditional mountain bike but is geared towards road use. This hybrid bike has a ton of features and will appeal to the more serious rider.
It starts with the frame and fork which is made of lightweight aluminum making it easy to control and maneuver but still incredibly strong. It features mechanical disc brakes for optimal braking in all kinds of conditions. These types of brakes function just as well in wet and rainy conditions.
The 3.0 features 24 different speeds and performs instant gear changes with its Shimano EF 51 shifters. This is important if you are trail riding or finding yourself on surfaces with varying conditions. This quick shifting will help you better navigate the changing terrains.
The Vilano Diverse has 700c wheels and rims for great performance in many conditions. It also has upright handlebars which help provide comfort and stability during your ride.
This hybrid bike is the ideal choice if you’re looking for weekend off-road adventures or just want to do some daily riding. The 3.0 provides incredible value for under $500 and contains many features and performance capabilities that you would find in bikes that cost at least twice as much.
- Affordability for a true performance bike
- High-quality mechanical disc brakes
- Can be used in various conditions
Best Entry Level: Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike
When you buy a Schwinn bike, you are buying history and ingenuity all in one bike. Schwinn is possibly the most famous bike brand in the world and they reflect this in their hybrid bike: The Discover. This hybrid bike is a true comfort rider but still provides you with an adequate amount of gears for different riding conditions.
The Discover features 28-inch wheels which may seem big but can still accommodate shorter riders. Being a cruiser type of hybrid bike, you can ride this while sitting up pretty straight, but you can still lean forward a little. You will not be bent over forward as you would on a racing bike so this makes it a good option for those with back problems. The handlebars can also be adjusted to make your arm position more comfortable.
With 21 different speeds, the Discover allows you to engage in a more intense ride if you’re looking for that.
The comfortable 700c wheels feature fenders and it also has room on the back for baskets or things you may want to carry – even a child seat. This bike is ideal for seniors looking for a functional and comfortable way to bike, but can still be used by any age.
- Built for true comfort
- Wider, padded seat
- Quick-release front tire
- Can be used by men and women
Tommaso La Forma Aluminum Hybrid Bike
This is an ideal hybrid bike for intense riders yet it is still comfortable and compact. The La Forma is extremely durable but still made of light yet strong aluminum. They pair the compact aluminum frame with an HCT carbon fork. This makes the La Forma very light but also capable of vibration dampening leading to a more comfortable ride.
This is a 27-speed hybrid bike that delivers incredible performance. It does this through its 3 x 9 Shimano Acera Groupset which gives you as many gears as you might need. This will help you navigate an unending amount of road variations and different riding conditions. The rapid gear changes come from the Shimano Acera Rapid-Fire Shifters.
So not only are the gear changes instant, but they are also reliable. There is also an indicator on the top of the shifter so you always will know what gear you’re in.
The hybrid bike aspect of the La Forma comes together because of its compact frame. This allows the rider to be in a more upright position which is more stable and comfortable. It has flat handlebars which also help with this upright geometry. It still allows you to go fast and perform, but you will feel more stable and under control while doing so.
- Lightweight Aluminum compact frame
- Powerful Tektro RX1 Brakes for powerful stopping
- Acera Rapid Shifter gears for different riding conditions
- Can be optimized to your size
Similar to Schwinn, Raleigh is another powerhouse when it comes to the world of bicycles. Their entry into the hybrid bike category is the Cadent. The bicycle is geared more towards the fitness side of things as opposed to the cruisers which offer a more relaxed ride. The Cadent starts with an aluminum frame and an alloy straight blade disc fork. This is used to offer extreme light-weight performance.
To use the hybrid side of things, the Cadent features an alloy riser bar along with Raleigh comfort grips. This allows the rider to sit in a more stable and upright, comfortable position – but still provides great handling and performance.
This hybrid bike offers 24 different gears so you again have a multitude of options for varying conditions and to provide more resistance for a great cardiovascular challenge. Gear shifts are provided by the Shimano Tourney TX800 ez fire shifters.
The Cadent has mechanical disc brakes so you get that great stopping power regardless of the conditions you are riding in. This hybrid bike features bigger tires than usual with Kenda Kwick tendril tires that measure in at 700x35mm. These tires offer the perfect combination of performance, stability, and comfort.
What makes the Cadent a “fitness bike” is that it combines being lightweight and nimble like a road bike, but provides sturdy and stable handling like a mountain bike.
This is the ideal bike if you’re looking for low impact exercise and want to ride it through your city, park bike paths, or even your commute. This bike is better suited to roads and pavements than trails, so you need to keep that in mind.
- Sporty looks
- Double-wall wheels
- Super durable Aluminum frame
- Fender mounts for a rear rack
Schwinn Volare 1200 Hybrid Road Bike
Schwinn Volare 1200 bike was designed to provide the rider experience of speed of a road bike and the strength of a mountain bike. This affordable hybrid bike enables the rider to commute to typical destinations swiftly and efficiently.
The aluminum frame and top notch rims provide lightweight stability and assistance that is mandatory to handle unforeseen obstacles while riding on the roads or mountains.
It will most likely take you less than an hour to have the bike assembled as some parts were already pre-assembled upon opening. The strength of the lightweight frame makes the bike not only fast but sturdy also.
The Schwinn Volare Men’s 700C hybrid bike can adapt to suit several riding positions. The flat-bar-styled handlebars are exquisite and provides superb handling, also the padded seat brings styled and luxury. Either way, the bike tends to handle rather well on rough terrain and vice versa.
What truly makes the bike stand out from other hybrids on the market is quite honestly its price. The Schwinn has all the essential features for your typical commute to college, work or a simple ride through the park and that’s what makes it a great bargain.
If you want a good source of cardiovascular exercise and want to travel throughout your town with speed and comfort at an affordable price then its the right choice to go with the Schwinn Volare 1200.
- Aluminum frame and a sturdy fork
- Alloy Aero liner for brakes
- Shimano EZ-Fire shifters
- High quality rims and alloy wheels
What is better – Mountain Bike or Hybrid Bike?
A lot of this will depend on your riding goals. If you are looking to ride on trails and terrain that is very rugged and unforgiving, you want a mountain bike that is made from high-strength components that will hold up to the punishment.
This is not to say a hybrid bike doesn’t work on trails. If you’re looking for occasional off-road riding, a hybrid bike can still provide you this as they do take features found on traditional mountain bikes.
If you are looking for general riding, commuting or exercise – a hybrid bike would be your best bet. They will be less rugged than a mountain bike, lighter, and better suited for roads, parkways, and bike paths. A mountain bike will have more aggressive treads on their tired meant for unstable terrain, and you don’t necessarily need tires of this sort of if you’re just looking to cruise around your city.
A hybrid bike – and its tires – will be better suited to these surfaces, but you get the best of both worlds as they still have some characteristics of a mountain bike.
Are Hybrid Bikes Good for Fitness?
Cycling is an easy way to boost your cardiovascular health, strengthen your legs, and even your core at the same time. Any form of biking whether it be stationary, hybrid bikes, or traditional will be the best option if you suffer from any knee or joint pain. Running and recreational sports can be a good option to boost your fitness, however, they are not ideal on the joints. The constant pounding on the pavement can lead to issues like:
- Shin splints
- Achilles tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress fractures
- Runner’s knee
That’s just a few of the issues you can face from running. With biking, you don’t have to worry about suffering from these conditions. This brings us to hybrid bikes – a hybrid bike is a combination of different features from more specialized road bikes, touring bikes, and mountain bikes.
A hybrid bike will be a great way to get a low-impact cardio workout especially if you’re not looking for a more intense – and possibly dangerous – off-road mountain bike ride.
If you’re not looking for a specific type of cycling (be it mountain, racing, or road bikes) the hybrid bike is the ideal choice. They take the best characteristics of all those bikes and put them together in a more comfortable combination. They lend themselves well to people who are looking for variety in their riding.
One day you may feel like a low-key cruise through the park, the next day you might feel like a more adventurous trail ride.
This list of the 7 best hybrid bikes under $500 gives you plenty of options for a bike that can give you variety, or a simple cruiser if you’d rather keep your rides more on the less intense side.
With whatever hybrid bike you choose, you will improve your health, cardiovascular fitness, and making things friendly for the environment while doing so.