Commuter (Hybrid) Bikes

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Commuter or hybrid bikes are a mix between the high performance road bike and the rugged design of a mountain bike. Theyíre perfect for family outings, neighbourhood rides, and small-scale commutes. We find out more about this eco-friendly transportation.


The Basics

  • Hybrid bikes are designed for comfort and efficient pedaling

  • They’re usually made of a lightweight material such as aluminum, steel or carbon-fiber composites.

  • The right size bike frame is crucial to your riding comfort, no matter what type of bike you buy. Your ideal frame size is measured as length from your crotch area to the floor multiplied by 0.65.

  • A well-padded seat with small grooves down the middle provides more comfort and extra blood flow. Wider seats are also more comfortable.

  • Smooth, lightweight wheels travel easier over pavement but also result in less pedaling power.

  • For the most reliable braking, choose disc brakes over traditional rim brakes, though they cost more. Disc brakes work better in wet weather and don’t wear out the wheel as rim brakes do.

Other Considerations

  • Buying used is always a good way to save some money, but check the bike well:

    • Examine for any hairline cracks in the frame where the tubes of the frame join.

    • Check that the prongs that rotate the chain are still vertical and have a good point; if they’ve become rounded then they’re quite worn.

    • If the bike has rim brakes look to see that the wheel hasn’t been worn out otherwise you’ll need to replace them.

  • After riding your new bike for about a month (depending how often you’re riding), take it back in to the bike shop to have any necessary adjustments made.

  • Keep the chain and gears clean.

  • Again, depending on how much you ride, a yearly tune-up isn’t a bad idea.

  • Don’t forget to use your head. Ride the streets according to traffic rules, assume cars don’t always see you, and wear a helmet!


Along with a couple of other riders we took turns on all four hybrid/commuter bikes on a 40km ride to see which one went the distance:

  • Fuji: $450
  • Marin: $620
  • Trek: $870
  • Specialized: $950

Ride Test

  • We were all big on a forward position compared to an upright one, as it gave us more control and power – especially on the grueling uphill climbs!

  • The Marin was comfortable to ride and got a few votes.

  • The Specialized gave us a clean, smooth ride with enough power to get us there faster.


We liked riding the forward-position bikes compared to the upright bikes, but that’s a personal preference. Our top choices go to the more economical Marin, and the more expensive Specialized.


   Buy It

Check out bikes and accessories at:

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