A hybrid bike is one of the most versatile bikes you can buy. This versatility comes from a comfortable upright riding position, grippy tires, and the ability to carry loads. Their design allows you to have an efficient ride on paved roads while some are also great for light off-road riding.
But their versatility also makes them exceptionally cost-effective, meaning you can get a lot for your money. In this post, I am going to give you the details on the best hybrid bikes under $500.
Top 10 Hybrid Bikes For Under $1000
1. Pure Cycles Original Series Bike
Pure cycles build bikes that are cool and affordable for people all over the world. The Original Series bike is a lightweight and fast single-speed bike. Single-speed bikes are fun to ride, simple to maintain, and reliable as there are fewer moving parts.
The Pure Cycles Original Series bike features 700c wheels shod with slick tires. This means that it is ideal for those that want a fast bike for riding on paved surfaces.
You will love how smooth and quiet this bike rides, along with its cool minimalist look. Many owners are drawn to Original Series by it aesthetics and the eyelets for mounting racks to carry loads.
2. Schwinn Network 7 Women’s Hybrid Bike
The Schwinn Network 7 is designed specifically for women, with its step-through frame. This well priced hybrid bike is made to be extremely comfortable when riding around the streets. The ride is very smooth thanks to its 700c alloy rims, and its 7 speed Shimano TX-31 drivetrain offers precise and accurate gear shifting.
Stopping power is provided by Promax cable operated v-brakes. These brakes have levers with great feeling, and the brake pads grip the wheels well when stopping. This combination gives you predictable and safe braking in urban environments.
The Network 7’s Comfort is enhanced with the soft padded saddle with a geometric design. It also features an adjustable handlebar stem. This stem allows you to alter your riding position, ensuring that you get a customized fit for your riding.
The Schwinn Network 7’s frame is made from steel. Steel is heavier than the aluminum you will find in most bike frames. However, this frame is rugged and durable, perfect for modern-day city riding.
3. Trek FX1
Trek is a big name in the bike world and is well renowned for its quality. The FX 1 is a bike that sits somewhere between a road bike and a mountain bike. The balance between the two types of bike makes the FX 1 ideal for someone that wants a bike for fitness, commuting, or just for fun.
The FX1 is safe, versatile, and affordable, thanks to the details Trek has included in this bike. The first thing to note is the lightweight alloy frame that will accept up to 300lbs of weight. It also has provisions for racks, so you will be able to haul hefty loads from A to B.
Other ways Trek has made the FX1 a versatile hybrid bike, is to make it super easy to accessorize with lights, a kickstand, and mudguards. If you want to monitor your fitness, the FX1 features the DuoTrap S.
This integrates a Bluetooth/Ant+ sensor into the frame, which will log your routes and track your fitness by linking to your phone using an app.
An extra bonus is that Trek gives your new FX1 a lifetime warranty, which is supported by a wide-reaching network of bike shops.
The components you will find on the FX1 are pretty good for a bike at this price. For example, the Shimano 21 speed drivetrain shifts gear smoothy while being reliable.
4. Felt Verza Speed 50
Felt makes higher-end bikes of all types, but with the Verza Speed 50, they have produced a great hybrid bike for under $500.
The frame of the Verza Speed 50 is made from F-Lite PG aluminum, which is very light. The triple-butted and hydro-formed construction gives the bike a traditional and classy look while being strong and durable.
One of the things that adds to the aesthetic of this bike is the internal cable routing, as it gives it a smoother look while protecting the cables from damage.
The Verza Speed 50 has been upgraded for 2020 with a triple chainring crankset. This means it has more gears than its predecessor and gives you a better riding experience, especially when it comes to climbing hills.
Braking comes from Tektro v-brakes connected to Shimano levers to make your speed control safe and reliable.
5. Norco VFR 3
The Norco VFR 3 is a great alternative to the Felt Verza Speed 50. It is similarly priced and is designed for a similar purpose by combining the performance of a road bike with an upright riding position.
Its frame is made from X6 aluminum, with a double-butted construction, to give you a fast and comfortable ride. The geometry of the VFR 3 gives it a long wheelbase, making it stable, while the upright riding position allows you to see everything that is going on around you.
Just like the Felt Verza Speed 50, the cables are internally routed, to give the bike a sleek look and to reduce cable rattle for a quiet ride.
There are several versions of the VFR at different price points. The VFR 3 is more of an entry-level bike, but there is a version with a step-through frame, designed for women.
Like all quality hybrid bikes, the Norco VFR 3 has provisions for fitting a rack, making it ideal for someone that wants to get somewhere quickly while carrying loads.
6. Giant Cypress
The Giant Cypress is a versatile hybrid bike for riders that want a smooth and comfortable riding experience.
It features a lightweight ALUXX aluminum frame with a rigid fork. This bike smooths out the ride on bumpy surfaces with its integrated suspension seat post, which is fitted with a well-padded saddle with an elastomer to make it extra comfy.
The upright riding position means you have an unrestricted view of the road, but you can also adjust the handlebar position up and down, or forwards and backward to get the perfect riding position for you.
The handlebars are also fitted with ergonomic grips, so your hands are comfortable while getting good feedback from the road.
As this bike is biased towards road riding, it is fitted with 700c wheels, but the Giant P-X3 multi-surface tires are also suitable for riding light off-road use. The mechanical alloy rim brakes are reliable and effective while being easy to maintain.
The Shimano Revo and Tourney drivetrain components are proven to be reliable and give you a wide range of gears. But the rear cassette has an extra-large 42T gear to make it easier to ride up steeper hills.
7. Roadmaster 26 Granite Peak
The Roadmaster 26 Granite Peak is the perfect hybrid bike for beginners and for people that have a tight budget. Even though this bike is lower down in this price range, it still performs well and will suit many different rider’s needs.
It features a strong aluminum frame and durable steel handlebars. Gear changing is done by twisting the SRAM shifters integrated into the handlebar grips.
These shifters are reliable and precise, meaning that you will be in the correct gear for the terrain you are riding quickly.
The 26” wheel size is dated, but it gives the Roadmaster 26 Granite Peak nimble handling, while the strong construction makes the wheels durable.
The other advantage of the 26” wheel size, is that it makes it easy to change direction quickly, which is useful in busy urban environments. Braking comes courtesy of V-brakes, which are simple but effective.
These characteristics make the Roadmaster 26 Granite Peak, a fun, well priced, and rugged bike for inexperienced riders.
8. Priority Classic Plus
The Priority Classic Plus is made for people that want a bike that they don’t have to do too much maintenance. The features this bike has makes it easy for people to enjoy riding and commuting without having to worry about getting dirty hands when it goes wrong.
The aluminum frame is light and rustproof, which is essential for people that use their bikes in all weather conditions.
Priority have made the Classic Plus comfortable, by fitting it with a well thought out saddle and swept back handlebars, to give you the perfect riding position.
An internal 3 speed Shimano Nexus hub gives you plenty of gears for most recreational cycling, as long as you don’t have to climb up too many steep hills. Selecting gear is done by twisting a portion of the handlebar grip, which has a quick and efficient action.
You will notice that the Classic Plus doesn’t use a traditional chain, but a rubber belt. The advantages of a belt driven bike, is that they are virtually silent and don’t require lubricating.
Bikes that use hubs for their gearing are virtually maintenance free, as the hubs last many years without needing a service.
Braking is taken care of by the pedal brake. All you need to do to stop, is pedal backwards, which is instinctive and effective.
9. Vitus Dee VR
The Vitus Dee VR is a 7-speed bike with the excellent Shimano Tourney drivetrain, that has been proven on many occasion to be quick-shifting and reliable. This makes the Dee VR a great option for commuters and having fun on.
Riders benefit from the stiff and lightweight 6061-T6 aluminum frame. These are characteristics that improve pedaling efficiency. The fork is made from the same material, which gives the bike its predictable handling.
The large 700c wheels with their WTB Nano tires have a low rolling resistance, but lots of grip for urban riding. These wheels are equipped with 160mm mechanical disc brakes that will keep you safe and in control in all weather conditions.
When it comes to practicality, the Vitus Dee VR has mounts for mudguards and rack, at both the front and the back of the bike. Therefore, you will be able to carry the things you need for your day with you.
10. Norco Yorkville
The Norco Yorkville has several features that give the rider the most comfortable ride possible. It has the traditional upright riding position, but the handlebar stem’s height and angle can be adjusted to the rider’s personal preference.
The seat stay is shaped to absorb vibrations and to give efficient power transfer to the pedals too. Another way Norco makes the Yorkville comfortable is with its suspension seat post and ergonomic grips.
Comfort isn’t the only thing that Yorkville riders love about their bikes, as it is also extremely easy to pedal. One of the ways it makes life easier is with its lightweight 7005 aluminum frame.
There is also a step-through version specifically designed for women. The Shimano gearing provides predictable and reliable shifting time after time to allow you to ride stress-free.
See also: Best Hybrid Bikes Under $1000
How To Choose A Hybrid Bike
The versatility of hybrid bikes makes them ideal for most riding, as long as you don’t want to ride hardcore mountain bike trails or enter road bike races. But, some hybrid bikes are more suitable for certain types of riding.
The things that define what a hybrid bike is best suited to, are the components. Here is an overview of what to look out for.
Wheels and Tires
Hybrid bikes generally have 27.5” or 29” wheels (29” wheels are also known as 700c), but occasionally you will find a bike with a 26” wheel size.
26” is an older mountain bike wheel size and getting rarer, but it does give the bike nimble handling while making it easy to change direction. 29” wheels roll over bumps easier giving a smoother ride, but they also have a faster top speed.
The 27.5” wheel size hits a sweet spot for many riders and is often used on hybrid bikes that have good capability off-road.
Bikes that are optimized for road riding will have tires with very little tread. This gives them low rolling resistance, so they are easier to get going and ride fast. Bike with tires featuring deeper tread will be more capable on dirt tracks, as they will have more grip.
Hybrid bikes are sometimes fitted with suspension forks. These will soak up some of the bumps and vibrations from the surface you are riding on. Suspension forks make a hybrid bike more comfortable and capable off-road.
City bikes that are made for comfort, sometimes have a suspension seat post. These soak up some of the shock right under you and give you a very comfortable ride.
When it comes to stopping a hybrid bike, you have v-brakes, disc brakes, and pedal brakes. V-brakes work by brake blocks being squeezed on to the rim of the wheels. These are mechanically actuated via a cable between the caliber and the lever.
Mechanical disc brakes work in the same way, but instead of pinching the wheel, the pads grip a separate disc attached to the wheel to slow it down.
Higher-end disc brakes are hydraulically actuated. Hydraulic disc brakes are more powerful and give you more control, as they are easy to modulate.
Pedal brakes work by pedaling backward. These are very low maintenance and keep your bike simple.
How your a hybrid bike is geared, will be a large factor in which one you choose.
Single-speed – Single-speed is the simplest way to gear a bike. As the name suggests, you only have one gear, so these are not ideal if you ride in a hilly area.
Hub gears – Hub gears are very reliable and require very little maintenance. One of the other advantages of hub gears is that you can change gears while stationary, which is great for riding around town. However, you don’t get a wide range of gears, making them more suited to relatively flat terrain.
Derailleur – Most modern bikes use a derailleur to change gear and gives you a wide range of gears. Derailleur systems require more maintenance, but they make your bike much more versatile and useful.
As you can see, for $500 you can get quite a lot for your money. There are hybrid bikes within this price bracket produced by big-name brands and smaller cool niche brands like Pure cycles and Priority.
Your choice will be down to personal preference, but you can’t really go wrong with the options listed here.
See also: Best Hybrid Bikes Under $1000
Tom Fortune has been reviewing cycling products for several years from his home in the French Alps. As the owner of mtb-threads.com, he mainly reviews mountain bike products but also reviews road cycling products independently.