A hybrid electric bike is a nice solution if you need to go to the city or just straight away into an off-road adventure. Here is a guide and some reviews for you.
Hybrid Electric Bike Buyers Guide (Updated for 2019)
If you typically commute by bike or enjoy a ride now and then but feel that you need a bit of pedaling aid, a hybrid electric bike can be of great help. If you’re wondering what is a hybrid e-bike, you’re not alone.
This term causes a bit of confusion into the bicycle world. If we were to think of the definition of a hybrid bike in general, then a hybrid electric bike is a blend between a mountain and road e-bike – an easy-to-ride, all-terrain vehicle perfect for commuters and weekend warriors.
The term might also refer to a combination of motor and pedaling. Since this encompasses pretty much all e-bikes, we tend to believe that who invented this term had the first definition in mind.
|Hybrid E-Bike Advantages||Hybrid E-Bike Disadvantages|
|· Ideal for riding on both asphalted and dirt roads.
· Perfect for daily commuters.
· More suitable for elderly riders than conventional or specialized bikes.
· Cheap daily transport.
· Improved overall health.
|· High upfront investment.
· Heavier than conventional bikes.
· Some hybrid version lack of suspension (such as the Trek Verve+).
· Somehow more appealing to thieves considering the commercial aspect.
What to Consider When Buying A Hybrid Electric Bike
Getting your hands on the best electric hybrid bike doesn’t have to be daunting; check out our quick cheat sheet below to decide what’s important.
Hybrid electric bikes – like all electric bikes, as a matter of fact – fall into one of the two categories below:
- Pedal-assist (pedelec): Perhaps the most common type of electric bikes on the market. These bikes don’t run on their own like scooters do; you will have to actually pedal all the way, while a motor provides assistance and sweat-free rides. Thanks to the motor, the pedaling takes far less effort, making bike riding accessible to a wider range of individuals. Most pedal-assist bikes reach speeds of 15mph, although you can also choose from the so-called speed pedelec bikes that reach top speeds of approximately 30mph.
- Throttle: Far less common than their pedal-assist counterpart due to various country laws and regulations, these e-bikes are a true hybrid between a bike and a motorized two-wheeler. The throttle-operated engine propels the bike forward without any additional pedaling, but you can still pedal to propel the vehicle if you feel like it or if your battery runs out of juice. These e-bikes are typically limited to 28mph, but before getting one, check the local laws to make sure it’s legal to ride one on public roads in your area.
Combining the best of the mountain bike and road bike designs, the hybrid electric bike has softer lines that are more user-friendly than its counterparts. However, you can still choose from diamond-style and step-thru frame styles (such as the Pegasus Premio Evo 10).
There is no real advantage of one over the other, but the step-thru tends to be more comfortable for women and individuals with limited mobility, such as the elderly. Shorter riders might also prefer the step-thru frame.
The hybrid electric bicycle is typically suitable to ride on all terrains, that’s why the quality of its suspension matters. If you want to enjoy rides on uneven, bumpy terrains, you should check the type of suspensions the bike comes with, their travel and overall resistance.
The type of motor can also make or break the deal. You can choose from mid-drive and hub-drive motors (check here to know more about e-bike motors).
Their names are quite intuitive; one is located near the pedals, in the middle of the bike, while the other on the rear wheel.
- Mid-drive motors: Are designed to sense your pedaling cadence and torque, providing more customized assistance. Due to their location at the bike’s center of gravity, they also make the e-bike feel more balanced, while the overall ride experience will feel more natural. However, these motors have more moving parts than the hub motors, tend to break easier and are more expensive.
- Hub-drive motors: Instead of sensing your cadence, they add power to the wheel in response to your cadence. This can make the ride feel ‘forced’ rather than natural. These motors are also harder to install and service, but have fewer parts and tend to last longer. They are also relatively inexpensive, a characteristic that makes them a great choice for riders on a budget.
When you’re riding at over 15mph on a public road, how fast you can brake can make the difference between life and death. It is essential to check the braking efficiency before spending your money, as an e-bike you can’t stop quickly enough is nothing but a hazard.
Tyre Size and Specifications
Hybrid electric bikes need hybrid, all-terrain tires. Like conventional bikes, hybrid e-bikes come in various sizes you should match with your height. For an all-purpose e-bike used by multiple individuals of various heights, standard 26-inch tires are a common choice.
You should also check the tire thickness. As a rule of thumb, the wider the tire, the more cushioning and suspension it will provide (that is why some e-bikes lack of suspension).
Getting to the juice of your hybrid electric bike, you must also consider the battery. Most e-bikes nowadays come with 36V lithium-ion batteries, but not all were created equal.
Various brands utilize various battery chemistries that can influence both run-time and lifespan. Without getting into annoying tech details, the higher-tech (and more expensive) the battery is, the longer it will last.
Run time is determined by the battery’s amp-hour rating that can vary from about 7.5 to 18Ah. Again, the higher, the better.
You should also consider whether the battery is detachable or not. We recommend detachable batteries; they may not look as sleek as frame-integrated ones but are serviceable, easy to reach when charging and can help with the overall weight when carrying it upstairs or mounting it on a bike rack.
Another important thing to consider is the system of gears. Because gears on e-bikes are shifted through electronic gear-shifting mechanisms rather than levers and mechanical cables, you should make sure the control panel is intuitive and easy to use.
When buying a hybrid electric bike, it is also crucial to think about maintenance. The bikes with mid-drive motors and removable batteries are easier to maintain than those with hub motors and frame-integrated batteries, but the latter need fewer maintenance works.
In the end, it’s a matter of choice, priorities, and budget.
Other Important Considerations
Besides all the above, there are a few other things to consider before giving away your hard-earned money.
Hybrid electric bikes are quite different than conventional bikes and specialize e-bikes. To make sure the vehicle you like meets your needs, take it for a test drive. Ride it on the types of terrains you wish to tackle once you buy it, to make sure it meets your needs.
A brand name is not always a guarantee for the quality, but a brand with a good reputation is less likely to disappoint. Famous brands also enjoy better after-sale service, while finding replacement parts is also easier.
Weight and Portability
All hybrid e-bikes are usually heavy, but some are lighter than others. If you have to carry the bike during your commute or up the stairs, investing in a lighter model could be a wiser choice for the long run.
While hybrid e-bikes are generally compatible with all terrains, it could still be a good idea to check the wheels, tares, and specifications before buying. This takes us back to the road test; if possible, take the bike to a test drive before buying it.
Hybrid Electric Bike: Wrapping It All Up
Which is the best hybrid electric bike is ultimately down to you. Think of your needs, such as the purpose of buying a hybrid e-bike. Will you mostly use it for commuting or for weekend rides? What is your budget? Are weight and portability important to you?
The answer to these questions, together with our guide and selection of a good hybrid electric bike range, should help you find the right one.