Really high end Hybrids can be harder to sell, because there not really the best at anything. That's why the entry and midlevel ones sell the most. What are you going to do on a 2000.00 dollar Hybrid, that can not be done on a 650.00 bike ?
I'm a roadie, but I have no snobbery about hybrids. Different bikes serve different purposes. However, I don't own a hybrid because I have more than one bike, and in those circumstances one can choose to specialise.
Having said that, my expedition tourer has flat bars and it would be difficult to come up with a definition of "hybrid" that it didn't fit. And when I was growing up (so long ago that mountain bikes hadn't been invented) virtually everyone who was not on a "racer" was riding something that today would be called a hybrid.
Don't worry about definitions or snobbery. Ride the bike that meets your needs.
To me, hybrid is simply a point somewhere between a skinny tired road bike and a bike made for serious off roading.
Anybody who rides a bike gets two thumbs up and a friendly nod from me. Bike shopping is kind of like car shopping. There are people who want to buy a performance car and then ride it on city streets in traffic at 35 mph. I love my bottom of the line Honda Civic which is reliable and inexpensive although it is a dog. We all want different things from our bikes. Personally, hybrids aren't for me, although I keep saying I should either ride my hybrid or sell it. I much prefer a road bike.
Lots and lots of people bike to work. What do they ride? Mostly hybrids, followed by mountain bikes and some road bikes. Clearly hybrids are VERY popular.
My only caveat when giving people advice on bike purchases is that there are a fair number of posts where people start out with a hybrid and six months later decide they want a road bike. I like to ask people to think about a road bike.
Different strokes for different folks!
I bought a Trek 7.1FX a few years ago for fitness, but gradually added stuff to it (racks, baskets, trunk, powerful headlight etc.) until it became so useful I could ride it every day (commuting, grocery hauling). The only drawback for me is that it is a little nerdy and lacks personality. Since buying the Trek, I have acquired two other bikes, both with much more style and looks (3-speed city bike, vintage 10-speed road bike). Even though it is my least beautiful bike, I still ride the Trek 90-95% of the time.
nothing wrong with owning it, just riding it ... only kidding. get a road bike so you have both! seriously!
Worst of both worlds.
I pass road bikes all the time on my hybrid on the paved trails all over SoCal. I was much fatter when I bought my bike...i was trying to get more fit. Why would I want to pretend I'm some hard core, uncomfortable, bent over refugee from "Breaking Away"? There are definitely more road bikes on the trails, and honestly, I wouldn't mind trying a road bike to go faster, but it is completely unnecessary for the goals I had (losing weight, getting out of the house more often). When I first started riding I did feel like the black sheep because most people have road bikes and all the colorful jerseys and what not, but i realized I didn't need to show anyone what a hard core bicyclist I was.
don't let all that put you off. you can wear what you want.
The fastest I have ever gone on a bike, 51.2 mph, was on a Specialized Sirrus. The fastest I have hit on any of my road bikes is 49.6 mph. It was entirely a function of the hill that I encountered on the Sirrus, and have never ridden again.
The fastest flat land sprint I have ever done hit 41.0 mph (for about a second :D), and was on a flat bar road bike. I have hit 39.4 mph on a drop bar bike, same section of road. I had a tail wind on my peak day with the flat bar.
The longest single day ride I have done on a hybrid was 152 miles. The longest single day ride on a drop bar bike is 136 miles. Both of them were equally uncomfortable by the time I finished. Both were solo rides, and with meals, and stops, and visiting company on the way, 10 hour cycling days are fatiguing no matter what you ride.
There is no magical speed or distance gift given by a road bike.
I get a couple guys telling me about aerodynamics of drop bars, the tighter ratios of a corn cob cassette compared my upright bars and 12-34 cassette and I just tell them I prefer it my way. Ride what you like.
*Drop bars are still more comfortable than flat bars even if you never use the drops IMO.
It's funny, I've been biking for many years, and I've always looked down on hybrids. I think because when they first came out (early 90s), they were pretty bad: mountain bike geometry, road sized wheels, limited tire clearance, and semi knobby tires. Now, as I use my cyclocross bike with flat bars, flat pedals, fenders, etc for riding around town... a hybrid might really do the job better. I'm thinking about heading out to test ride some, but I need some way to announce, "I'm looking at hybrids but I'm not a rookie!" Insecure, I guess.