What Is a Hybrid Electric Bike? How to Select the Best One?


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Photo courtesy of Moustache

If you’re already familiar with a hybrid bike, then you’ll see that hybrid electric bikes don’t depart much from the former design-wise. The simple addition of a battery and motor is essentially what makes a hybrid electric bike what it is. But as far as types of hybrid e-bikes go, these e-bikes tend to escape a single definition. 

It’s the very label “hybrid” that allows these e-bikes to encompass plenty of e-bike categories. For one, a hybrid bike may be readily connoted as a leisure bike, but it normally incorporates the handlebars of an eMTB and the tires of a road bike (e-bikes that don’t usually prioritize comfort over performance). Even so, a hybrid e-bike that has this normal setup tends to be used for urban riding and cross-city routes. 

We also can’t deny that manufacturers tend to introduce their own versions of hybrid e-bikes, hence, boosting variety. For instance, much like hybrid bikes, you can also see hybrid e-bikes that lean a bit towards being more mountain bike-y, making them an option for light trekking. Hybrid e-bikes provide plenty of opportunities for these twists by virtue of their being a combination of more than one e-bike type. 

What is a hybrid electric bike? A hybrid e-bike is, indeed, all about getting the best benefits from more than one type of e-bike. Being designed this way and providing the said advantages, these e-bikes essentially capture the essence of what it means to be a truly flexible e-bike.

Types of hybrid e-bikes

To illustrate how hybrid e-bikes have a little bit of everything, we only need to look at the types of hybrid e-bikes available. Refer to this list to know each one in more detail.  

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Urban riding hybrid e-bikes

When you mention hybrid e-bikes to the experienced e-bike rider, this is probably the first type that will come to his mind. A cross between city e-bikes and commuter e-bikes, expect these hybrids to bring plenty to the table as far as comfort is concerned. These e-bikes have a tendency to use smoother tires and handlebars that aren’t too thick since they contribute, more or less, to the said factor. 

You’ll find that a lot of models tend to be on the speedy side as well, perfect for smooth commuting and cruising through city bike lanes. If you want an e-bike that does not go pure commuter or city (just a couple of the best bits of both) and like the overall design of hybrid e-bikes, then this might just be your type of e-bike.

Read also: How to select the best city e-bike? – in this article, or this article, or this article. And, How much does a good city e-bike cost? – in this article

Off-road hybrid e-bikes

Any hybrid e-bike that can handle a terrain that is a bit on the rough side could fall under this umbrella term. This could be a road/eMTB hybrid or a hybrid e-bike that is amenable to a bit of light trekking. Basically, any road that departs from the usual smooth ones found in city roads and lanes can be handled by hybrid e-bikes in this category. Examples of these roads are towpaths, park lanes, and even dirt roads. 

Take note that plenty of these off-road hybrid e-bikes can also perform well on city roads (much like eMTBs). And most are designed with durability in mind. So expect them to be a bit more expensive than urban varieties. 

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Photo courtesy of Moustache

Read also: How to select the best road e-bike? – in this article and this article. And, How much does a good road e-bike cost? – in this article.

Recreational hybrid e-bikes

Hybrid e-bikes you can use for relatively short, regular trips for leisure are considered as largely recreational (like riding around your locality, going to the shopping stores or mall, etc.) However, they are actually just as versatile as some off-road hybrid e-bikes because the parts they incorporate let them do some light off-roading, too. 

Do you have opportunities to make regular outdoor trips to nearby nature sites like reserves, lakes, or outdoor camps to unwind? If yes, then these may just prove to be the kind of e-bike you’ve been looking for. 

Read also: How to select the best cruiser e-bike? – in this article. And, How much does a good cruiser e-bike cost? – in this article.

List of some of the best hybrid e-bikes available

Model NameWeightRiding Range
Rad Power Bikes RadCity Step-Thru 365.2 pounds (29.6 kg)30 – 50 miles (50 – 80 km)
Ride1Up 700 series62 pounds (28.1 kg)30 – 50 miles (50 – 80 km)
Trek Allant+ 747.4 pounds (21.5 kg)30 – 120 miles (50 – 190 km)
DŌST KOPE65.2 pounds (29.6 kg)30 – 120 miles (50 – 190 km)
CUBE Town Sport Hybrid One 40053.9 pounds (24.5 kg)40 – 90 miles (65 – 145 km)

Benefits of hybrid electric bikes

Hybrid e-bikes set the bar high when it comes to versatility

Admittedly, labeling an e-bike as “versatile” might prove to be a vague term. But when we’re talking about the versatility pertaining to hybrid e-bikes, we pan in on their ability to perform similar to two (or more) types of e-bikes. 

You get the ability to comfortably ride through unpaved roads and even negotiate hills while being able to enjoy a smooth ride on paved roads. You also get to experience the almost perfect marriage of a city e-bike and commuter e-bike with a hybrid.

And again, these possibilities are all thanks to the noteworthy off-road rides its models can pull off with the help of the all-terrain tires it incorporates, for one. 

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Photo courtesy of Decathlon

They can support all riders

Regardless of your age (assuming you are old enough to ride a standard e-bike), gender, or general standing in life, you can count on a hybrid e-bike to accommodate you. It’s an everyday e-bike fit for everyone, in short. 

Should you be having a hard time deciding on the kind of e-bike you want to get, the safer route is almost always with a hybrid e-bike due to this fact alone. 

Fulfills specific needs you might find lacking in standard e-bike types

Many people consider hybrid e-bikes as a compromise, an e-bike that tries to make up for certain features lacking in specific types of e-bikes. This notion is true to a certain extent because you can immediately see it in how manufacturers design hybrids. 

Should you want a more comfortable ride, you can always opt for curved handlebars, thus, you start leaning more towards a commuter e-bike. In the process, you can easily get the benefits of other e-bike types as well (like using fatter, road-e-bike-worthy tires). 

Read also: How to select the best e-trike? – in this article. And, How much does a good e-trike cost? – in this article.

They are very cost-effective, too

Especially if you find yourself fitting perfectly with a specific hybrid e-bike setup or design.  Normally, you’ll have to purchase an e-bike to fulfill a specific purpose, and you have a plethora of categories you can choose from for this. And, most of the time, riders usually end up buying two or more types just to make up for their desire for various kinds of e-bike experiences or fulfill specific riding purposes. 

Additionally, you might also not want to have to limit yourself to a specific type of e-bike. You probably think that it’s just not worth your budget, too, considering the general costliness of e-bikes. Hybrid e-bikes could very well save you from your dilemma by offering multiple setups and designs derived from most major e-bike categories. 

Read also: Why are e-bikes so expensive? – in this article. And, will e-bikes become cheaper? If they do, when? – in this article.

How to select the best hybrid electric bike

While we already hinted that selecting your hybrid e-bike should be mainly about fulfilling your purposes, it won’t hurt to learn more about the other important factors you should be mindful of. That said, are you really sure that hybrid e-bikes are the ones for you? 

Many e-bike enthusiasts and experts call hybrid e-bikes “jacks-of-all-trades” because of their flexible design. However, the way they spread their features out in order to impart that same flexibility does take a toll on their ability to contend with the e-bike disciplines they are emulating. 

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This fact is especially true if you consider how hybrid e-bikes often fail in comparison to “pure” eMTBs if you are aiming for the ultimate off-road e-bike. The same goes for road electric bikes; chances are, they’ll be faster than most hybrid models. In the end, it all comes down to the fact that you can’t have everything. 

That said, hybrids are definitely best suited for riders who have a fairly wide and random mixture of terrains they want to ride on. If you have a relatively haphazard riding habit (e.g. riding all the way from your town or city to numerous outdoor locales), hybrids should be right up your alley. The same goes for riders who want to go on the regular commute yet still want the best of what city riding is all about. 

Read also: Best city e-bikes for women, reviewed and compared – in this article. And, Best folding e-bikes for women, reviewed and compared – in this article.

Think hybrids are still the best suited for you after considering this? If yes, then you should start minding other important factors such as battery and motor. These two will always be top priorities in any e-bike-buying decision you make. 

As for more hybrid-specific considerations, focus on getting a hybrid that suits the kind of ride you want. For this, you’ll have to pay attention to the terrain the model supports (not all hybrid e-bikes offer off-road riding, after all), parts incorporated (like the thickness and width of the tires or type of suspension fork used), comfort (especially if you are opting for a city/commuter), and safety features. 

Lastly, don’t forget about the price. In hybrid e-bikes, costs often hinge a lot on the quality of the battery, motor, warranty, and materials used. 

Find the battery setup you need for your rides

Why? Because the battery is the heart of any type of e-bike. It determines range, which you might not want to end up with the shorter side of if you will be relying a lot on motor assistance. Understandably, hybrid e-bikes fulfill numerous purposes and cater to different kinds of riding habits. With these facts considered, you’ll definitely want to check the riding ranges of the hybrids you consider.

A lot of models actually include a second battery pack, especially models with all-terrain capabilities since they anticipate lengthy riding sessions every time. With doubled battery capacity, you won’t have to worry too much about running out of juice while on the road. 

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If you really want to make the most out of the battery, think about the average range you will cover every time you take your hybrid out for a ride. Of course, you also have to look at the way you ride. If you prefer to pedal more, then you probably won’t need that much range, assuming you won’t mind the added weight you’ll have to power through. 

Hybrids you’ll be using mostly for commutes arguably don’t need too much range, assuming you’ll always be traveling fairly short distances on a day-to-day basis. As far as charging time goes, on the other hand, the quicker the better. But if the battery is capacious enough, you won’t need to mind charging time too much. 

Read also: What is the difference between e-bike batteries? – in this article. And, How far can e-bikes go? What is the e-bike range? – in this article.

Make sure you won’t fall short on speed

When it comes to determining the speed of an e-bike, you have to pay attention to both the motor used and the tires. The former is solely an electric bike factor while the latter is a standard determinant of speed in bikes (besides how rigid the fork is).

Thinner tires often mean you’ll be breezing much faster, making them very much recommended for riders who want a constantly speedy commute. With these tires, you won’t have to rely too much on motor assists, too. 

Of course, you’ll have to be aware of the heavier weight as well. But oftentimes, brands already take it into consideration when assigning the top speeds to their models. Oftentimes, you get hybrids that reach the average 20mph with the help of the motor alone. 

Read also: What is the difference between a regular e-bike and a speed e-bike? – in this article. And, is it legal to derestrict electric bicycle speed? – in this article.

At best, mid-mounted motors are always preferred over others because they provide the best torque and deliver the best in terms of electric bike performance. 500W and 750W varieties help you achieve top cruising speeds often with minimal pedaling needed. 

Capitalize on a hybrid e-bike’s dynamic compatibility with plenty of terrains

If you’re the kind of rider who likes to discover where the day will take you and won’t mind investing unlimited hours of riding, you can’t really miss out on this outstanding ability of hybrids. That said, the surfaces you ride through regularly should ultimately determine the model you choose. 

Any departure from pavement should mean you should start limiting your choices to hybrids that can handle off-road riding well. Understandably, there are too many varieties of roads nowadays that it can be exasperating to even begin to think about them. What’s good is that hybrid e-bikes can handle most light trails, from crushed limestone to light gravel. 

Go all the way in comfort

Because hybrid e-bikes don’t hold back in delivering them. Commuter/city varieties are the benchmarks as far as this factor is concerned, though. You’ll see this in the way that manufacturers position their handlebars so you’ll always be in an upright position while riding (the most comfortable position to take). 

Certain models even don’t skimp on other components that heighten comfort like adjustable seat posts and wider saddles – so much so that they can begin contending with even the best e-bike cruisers out there. 

Comfort also extends to how the e-bike reacts to the surfaces it is riding on. So if you’ll be doing plenty of off-roading, you may want to consider choosing models with a front suspension fork that will absorb any bumps you encounter while traveling on more rugged roads or most gravel trails. 

Read also: Here is why e-bikes are really cool – in this article. And, How to select the best city e-bike? – in this article.

Wider tires will also help a lot in maintaining traction control so you can brake and steer. These factors also contribute to safety, which shall be discussed next. 

Favor hybrids that deliver the whole nine yards in safety accessories

Whether you’re riding through the city or on outdoor trails, safety should always be one of your top priorities. And you can’t go wrong with models that take the initiative to boost it. From paint accents and integrated lights to reflective tires and headlight design, these components are basically lifesavers. 

Easy E-Biking - Modmo Saigon city e-bike, helping to make electric biking practical and fun
Photo courtesy of Modmo

Hybrid e-bikes that are equally flexible in safety will always be a step higher than those that aren’t. After all, you’ll never know what you’ll encounter during long trips or when traversing through traffic in the city especially at night. 

Always aim to keep everything well within your budget

You already know what to look for in a hybrid e-bike, assuming you read this entire section. Now, do your best to find the right model that will be able to deliver them to you without breaking the bank. 

Contrarily, it won’t do to be too stingy as well. For many hybrid users, these e-bikes tend to become their main bikes because of how versatile they are. Try to find the balance as you consider your options.

And, finally, who doesn’t love long warranty coverages? It’s always worth picking models that have these because it gives you peace of mind that you won’t be throwing your money away once an essential part breaks down. The warranty also serves as a gauge of how much confidence a specific brand has in its creation. Don’t overlook it. 

A few words in conclusion

Sure, hybrid e-bikes might not topple high-end city, road, commuter e-bikes, or eMTBs out there when it comes to what each one is best at. Nonetheless, it would simply be wrong to label hybrids as average. 

It’s their sheer flexibility that forms the basis of their strength. And you’ll probably find yourself agreeing as well once you stumble upon a hybrid model that just hits the sweet spot once you ride it – when everything aligns and you discover that what you’ve been looking for – have been missing – is in a hybrid e-bike all along. 

Read also: Ever considered offering e-bike as a gift? Or gifting one to yourself? Check out our suggestions – in this e-bike gift guide.

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