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Old 08-13-09, 12:52 AM   #1
tatfiend 
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What Is A Hybrid Bike

Is there a general consensus of what a hybrid bike is?

Seems to me like the common definition includes the following.

700c wheels.
28mm wide tires minimum
Flat or slight riser bars.
Triple crankset or single if with an IGH rear hub.
Canti, V or Disc brakes
Relatively relaxed geometry frame

Other than the flat bars it sounds like a classic touring bike to me. Normally a mixture of road and MTB technology weighed towards the old no suspension MTB end except for wheel size. It also sounds very much like many bikes now being sold as "commuter bikes".

Opinions wanted:

Can a Hybrid have an internally geared hub?
Can a Hybrid have 26" (559mm) wheels as on most MTBs?
What differentiates it from a Touring bike other than handlebars and maybe a few additional braze-ons on the touring bike frame and fork for racks?
What differentiates it from a "commuter" bike, if anything?

I figure if we are going to have a Hybrid bike forum there should be some agreement of what they are other than "I know one when I see one".
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Old 08-13-09, 01:19 AM   #2
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Hybrid: Something of mixed origin or composition

I like this article from Suite101.com

The hybrid bike was first conceived as a cross between the road bike and the mountain bike. And while it never worked as a mountain bike, and it can't really keep up with a road bike, the hybrid has become an interesting and dynamic design, spawning many sub-categories to satisfy a diversity of riders.

The Hybrid Bicycle Frame

Most hybrid frames are aluminum, making for light, durable, and affordable bikes($350-1600). Some manufacturers soften the aluminum ride characteristics with front suspension or, for a little more money, carbon forks. The geometry is generally lax, with a shallow head and seat tube angle and a relatively long wheelbase. Mounting fixtures for accessories should be plentiful, with bolt points for rear and sometimes front racks, extra water bottles, and fenders.

Hybrid Handlebar Styles

Most hybrids come with flat bars and mountain-bike shifters and brakes. The bars are wide, for maneuverability and control, and the hand-position is high, which lets the rider sit up and have a full, comfortable view of the road and surroundings. Often, the stem (the piece that connects the bars with the fork) will be adjustable.
Wheels and Tires for Hybrid Bicycles

Hybrid bikes can be built around a 26-inch wheel, which is a mountain bike wheel size, or a 700c wheel, which is the road bike size. In either case, the rim is usually designed to take a tire in the one- to one-and-a-half inch range. This is wider than a road bike but narrower than a mountain bike. Tire tread patterns vary from a road-specific smooth tread to a semi-knobby, cyclo-cross style. But most hybrids come with a combo tread, with a solid center ridge to reduce rolling resistance combined with a grooved side pattern for grip on wet roads or gravel. The bike shop will often swap tires at the time of purchase if the buyer prefers as different tread pattern.
Hybrid Bike Drive Trains

Most hybrids have a standard drive train of three chainrings in the front and eight or nine cogs on the rear cassette. Gearing is a compromise of road and mountain, leaning more toward road. Specialty bikes, often toward the higher end price-wise, may have only one or two chainrings or even be single-speed.

The Two Major Hybrid Set-Ups

Hybrid bikes broadly fall into two major groups:

* The Comfort Bike, probably the largest category of hybrid ($300-1000). It has a shock-absorbing fork and seatpost, an adjustable stem, and it is often set up to be ridden in an upright position with a cushy ride. This is good for long rides at moderate speeds on bike trails or flat roads, generally for the recreational rider. It's probably not for those who want to go out and "hammer" or climb long hills on a daily basis. Comfort bikes start aound $350, but it makes sense to kick up a level or two if one intends to ride often, say several times a week.

* The Fitness Bike ($400-1600, $2000-plus for a carbon frame and high-end components). A lower handlebar leans the rider forward into a more aggressive, efficient position, to facilitate more athletic pedaling. There are usually no shock forks or seatpost; the cushy feel of the Comfort Bike gives way to a faster, ergonomic ride. The fitness bike works well on paved and semi-paved bike trails, and it also rolls quite efficiently on the road and climbs decently. Some riders enhance this latter ability by adding mountain-bike bar ends.

Niche Hybrids

Within these two major groups, there are many permutations and adaptations. Some come from the manufacturer, some are pieced together by the user. These include:

* The Commuter Bike. This can be a comfort bike or a fitness hybrid, adapted for commuting with the addition of fenders, racks, lights, and so on. Some commuters use disk brakes, which improve performance in the rainy conditions that are unavoidable when the bike is used as the primary vehicle. Most commuters opt for clipless pedals and compatible shoes to maximize pedaling efficiency.

* The City Bike. It can look like a commuter bike with muscles, meaning a beefier frame and wheels designed to take multiple hits from curbs, recessed manhole covers, and pot holes. City bikes often have a nondescript paint job so as not to attract the attention of thieves. The top tube may be wrapped in electrical tape (after-market) to protect it when locked to parking meters or street signs. It may have fenders, racks, and flat pedals.

* One-Bys and Single Speeds. Commuters who don't have to face hills will sometimes ride a one-by-, which means there is only one chain ring, making the bike a one-by-eight or a one-by-nine, and so on. Reducing the front drive components makes shifting simpler and maintenance less complicated. Single Speeds are just that - the bike has one gear; this is usually the province of more experienced cyclists. Most major manufacturers offer a single speed model or two, though in many urban bike cultures it's hipper to build one's own.

* Euro-bikes. This is the Amsterdam-type commuter or city bike, an upright style with fenders, skirts, lacquer paint job, and so on. While these bikes can be very chic looking and are fine for noodling down to the market, their upright, rear-weighted riding position generally makes them less than ideal for serious daily duty.
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Old 08-13-09, 02:56 AM   #3
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That kinda sums it up sixty fiver, Good post
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Old 08-13-09, 09:55 AM   #4
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Interesting.

Using those criteria, then. Would you consider this, a hybrid? I look at it as a rigid mtb commuter.
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Old 08-13-09, 10:02 AM   #5
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Interesting.

Using those criteria, then. Would you consider this, a hybrid? I look at it as a rigid mtb commuter.
With out Question it is in the Hybrid category
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Old 08-13-09, 10:42 AM   #6
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Doesn't matter to me what people call it (hybrid, fitness bike, commuter, et.c) I like my Kona Dew Plus and would buy another in a second. While not a substitute for my road or mountain bikes, it is the most versatile (and possibly most fun) bike I have ever owned - all for $550.

Let's face it, there is a lot of "gray" in the (bike) world.
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Old 08-13-09, 11:00 AM   #7
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That kinda sums it up sixty fiver, Good post
It seemed about as concise a description as I could find and also like to see the word used in a broader literal sense... my fixed gear, drop bar mtb is a hybrid but does not fit the the market description.
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Old 08-13-09, 11:05 AM   #8
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I remember trying to figure out what a hybrid is when I was looking to buy my first bike in decades a few years ago and getting confused. When I quit riding after college, there were 10 speeds, three speeds and the Stingrays most of us had as kids. When I looked again the 10 speed was now 27 or 30 speeds, three speeds were gone, and mountain bikes had entered the picture. I could relate to all of those, but the hybrid was a lot harder to describe.
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Old 08-13-09, 11:24 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
It seemed about as concise a description as I could find and also like to see the word used in a broader literal sense... my fixed gear, drop bar mtb is a hybrid but does not fit the the market description.
The market picks up on things after the public creates it. The hybrid existed long before the Market coined the term. The BMX has the same kind of history. The BMX is born out of junkyard bike parts and evolved into the BMX and it was all done through marketing but it existed in many forms long before there was a BMX culture
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Old 08-13-09, 11:54 AM   #10
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Starting out the opposite way

Sounds like a good description, we started out buying hardtail MTB's but found we don't really get out on much mountain trails as the wife isn't comfortable "bouncing" down mountain sides! So we are very slowly turning our MTB's in to "Hybrids", more road capable tires, bar extensions, suspension seat posts, etc. for riding a lot of "rail-trail" and MUP's and starting a bit of "road touring" (not long distance as of yet). Want to keep enough MTB to handle a dirt trail now and then as our area's "main trail" (Pikes Peak Greenway Trail) is a combo of concrete, asphalt, (some fairly bumpy!!!) and dirt from hard to sandy in conditon so the Hybrid concept works well, plus I haul a homemade utility trailer for getting food, ect. when the old *** of car we have does it's normal and decides not to run. So for us Hybrids make a lot more sense than a pure MTB or ROAD bike.
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Old 08-13-09, 12:01 PM   #11
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The market picks up on things after the public creates it. The hybrid existed long before the Market coined the term. The BMX has the same kind of history. The BMX is born out of junkyard bike parts and evolved into the BMX and it was all done through marketing but it existed in many forms long before there was a BMX culture
The same is true for the MTB. The original MTBs were mostly stripped Schwinn cruisers that were quickly modified for improved braking. Then they added derailleurs so that the bikes could climb too. Frank Berto's book "The Birth of Dirt" if I remember the title correctly covers the early history very well IMO.
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Old 08-13-09, 12:09 PM   #12
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The same is true for the MTB. The original MTBs were mostly stripped Schwinn cruisers that were quickly modified for improved braking. Then they added derailleurs so that the bikes could climb too. Frank Berto's book "The Birth of Dirt" if I remember the title correctly covers the early history very well IMO.

Clunkerz...

I think my 96 Marin San Rafael is a "classic" hybrid...
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Old 08-13-09, 12:33 PM   #13
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Can a Hybrid have an internally geared hub?

My opinion leans toward no, but is not hardover that way.

Can a Hybrid have 26" (559mm) wheels as on most MTBs?

Certainly.

What differentiates it from a Touring bike other than handlebars and maybe a few additional braze-ons on the touring bike frame and fork for racks?

Not sure. I'm not familiar with what makes a touring bike a touring bike to offer an opinion.

My definition of a hybrid is as follows:

Start with a hardtail mountain bike configuration. Add a fixed suspension fork. Lose the knobby tires and add something with less rolling resistance. Maybe had some mounting lugs and braze-ons for racks, fenders & water bottles. Flat handlebar can remain, or other configurations may be used (various other upright bars, trekking bars, or even drop bars) according to use.

OR

Start from a road bike, preferably with a steel frame. Add wider tires to make them more forgiving on rough surfaces. Add a MTB-geared triple chain ring. Add more room for fenders and add lugs & braze-ons. Change out handlebars to suit (as above).

I think the point of a hybrid is to have a fairly rugged bike (steel frame, wide tires) that is not necessarily weight optimized but does have fixed suspension. To me a hybrid bike is optimized for the variety of surfaces found in suburban and urban riding, while still trying to maintain speeds near to that of a road bike.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 08-14-09, 04:05 AM   #14
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Can a Hybrid have an internally geared hub?

My opinion leans toward no, but is not hardover that way.

Can a Hybrid have 26" (559mm) wheels as on most MTBs?

Certainly.

What differentiates it from a Touring bike other than handlebars and maybe a few additional braze-ons on the touring bike frame and fork for racks?

Not sure. I'm not familiar with what makes a touring bike a touring bike to offer an opinion.

My definition of a hybrid is as follows:

Start with a hardtail mountain bike configuration. Add a fixed suspension fork. Lose the knobby tires and add something with less rolling resistance. Maybe had some mounting lugs and braze-ons for racks, fenders & water bottles. Flat handlebar can remain, or other configurations may be used (various other upright bars, trekking bars, or even drop bars) according to use.

OR

Start from a road bike, preferably with a steel frame. Add wider tires to make them more forgiving on rough surfaces. Add a MTB-geared triple chain ring. Add more room for fenders and add lugs & braze-ons. Change out handlebars to suit (as above).

I think the point of a hybrid is to have a fairly rugged bike (steel frame, wide tires) that is not necessarily weight optimized but does have fixed suspension. To me a hybrid bike is optimized for the variety of surfaces found in suburban and urban riding, while still trying to maintain speeds near to that of a road bike.
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/soho/soho/

You might be intersted in this Bike. It is belt drive with an 8 speed internal hub

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Old 08-14-09, 04:53 AM   #15
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Here's a couple more:

http://konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=drfine

http://www.brodiebikes.com/2009/bikes/ocho.php
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Old 08-14-09, 09:23 AM   #16
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If it could be defined, it wouldn't be a hybrid. A hybrid is like many Americans...a mutt.
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Old 08-15-09, 06:17 PM   #17
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If it could be defined, it wouldn't be a hybrid. A hybrid is like many Americans...a mutt.
Muts have been some of the best dogs ever born
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