With cycling becoming more popular over the past few years, many people are facing the dilemma of what bike to buy. Obviously, you want to choose the best bike to suit your needs, but will that be a mountain bike or hybrid bike
Knowing what you want to use your bike for is the first question you need to ask yourself. Another consideration is how often you will be using it. Will you be riding to work daily, using well-paved roads and footpaths? Or, will you be going cycling through the countryside using dirt paths? Perhaps, you want a bike that can handle both off-road and paved surfaces well.
Both mountain and hybrid bikes are similar in design, however, they are very different in functionality and weight. Mountain bikes are much heavier than hybrid bikes, so if you need to carry your bike up or down stairs regularly this could be a deal-breaker for you.
This is the best option for casual riders or commuters. It offers the comfortable position of a mountain bike with the lightness of a road bike. This allows you to cover substantial distances comfortably. Often the seat is well padded making it much more comfortable for extended ride periods. With flat handlebars, you are seated upright allowing you to easily see upcoming traffic and navigate quickly. However, you are not as aerodynamic so speeding up can be an issue. The high gear ratio makes it easy to maintain speed once you have it.
Hybrid bikes have a small tire, with a thin tread offering a mechanical grip when riding on smooth surfaces. These tires work in conjunction with powerful disc brakes so you can commute in all weather situations. As an added bonus most hybrid bikes can have mounting systems added for carrying luggage if needed.
If you want to head off into the wilderness or countryside, a mountain bike is the best solution for you. These bikes come with sturdy frames and built in front and back suspension. This helps give you a smoother ride no matter the terrain. The suspension also helps the rider maintain control when travelling through rough or confined areas. The gear ratio on mountain bikes is often lower than hybrids, which helps on steeper sections of terrain.
Mountain bikes also have large, knobbly tires, allowing you to climb and grip rocks and other obstacles when needed. However, due to the large tread pattern, you will experience a loss of traction on hard, smooth surfaces. The hydraulic disc brakes allow you to quickly slow down or stop, which can be a crucial detail when riding off road.
This really depends on your primary and secondary uses for your bike. If you are looking to commute to work and casually ride on bike paths for exercise a hybrid bike is perfect. However, if you are looking to ride casually and head off-road or onto steeper, more challenging bike paths you will need a mountain bike for control, and stability.
Keep in mind that even though a mountain bike can be used for commuting, a hybrid bike is unsuitable for any terrain rougher than gravel. So which is better for your needs? The mountain bike or the hybrid bike? Perhaps you need both to really fit your lifestyle, exercise and cycling needs.