Cycling is a great sport that can help you get fit, meet new people, and get you into nature exploring. When it comes to bikes, there are a lot of different types to ride, such as off-road mountain bikes, which have the ability to take you down rough trails, and you have sleek aerodynamic road bikes ready to take you as fast as possible on smooth tarmac.
A question our readers often ask us is what is the difference between a Cruiser and a Hybrid bike. In this article, we’ll answer that question by telling you about Cruiser and Hybrid bikes, what kind of riding they are designed to do, their typical components, and their pros and cons.
A hybrid bike is very interesting because they come in many shapes and sizes. They are exactly what they say in the name. A hybrid is a mix between different types of bikes. Although you will see many types of hybrids, the two main types you will see are;
A flat bar road bike is a mix between a road bike and a mountain bike. You have the tires and frame of a road bike with a mountain bike’s flat handlebars, brakes, and shifters. These are excellent bikes for road riding and are heavily used in commuting.
Then you have the slick tire mountain bike. This has the frame and handlebars of a mountain bike but is equipped with large slick tires for riding on multiple terrains. Slick tire mountain bikes can even come with suspension. They are ideal for mixed terrain riding and very comfortable to ride.
Typically hybrid bikes are fairly heavy bikes and not made for racing or competitive riding, but that’s not what they are designed to do. They are designed to be functional bikes and help you with daily life tasks.
Hybrid bikes are designed for a lot of different kinds of riding. It could be long days out on the bike with family and friends at a relaxed pace, or they could be used for commuting or getting around a town and a city easily. They are made to provide the most comfort possible and, with lots of gears, make riding easy for the cyclist on multiple terrains.
Typically you will have an aluminum or steel frame with a relaxed geometry. It will be designed for comfort and strength over everything.
On a Hybrid bike, the gearing will have lots of options, and it will have the ability to get up steep hills with heavy loads and also get downhill fast.
The wheels will be mountain bike or road bike wheels, and they will come with either skinny road tires or slick mountain bike tires.
Related: Best Hybrid Bike Tires
You will get various special features on hybrid bikes, such as racks, suspension systems, and fenders. Some will even have lighting.
Like with many bikes, hybrid bikes have advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what you can expect to find:
With Frank W.Schwinn being one of the pioneers of the cruiser bike, it comes from an incredible heritage. A cruiser bike, also referred to as a beach bike, is designed purely for comfort and style. Cruiser bikes come in many different designs and are built to stand out and offer style like no other bikes.
If you are not worried about functionality and just love riding bikes slowly and taking in the scenery, then the Cruiser bike is perfect for you. It’s made for long rides out on the beachfront, meeting up with friends, or making new ones.
A cruiser bike will have a steel or an aluminum frame designed to look great and be extremely comfortable.
Generally, on cruiser bikes, you will have a single-speed gearing system which is going to make going uphills and downhills more challenging.
Typically they use a slightly smaller wheel than a road or hybrid bike, and these will be equipped with large comfort tires. The tires will be capable of multiple terrains but only light off-road.
You will get a variety of special features on the cruiser bikes, such as fenders, racks, and lighting. Cruiser bikes usually also come with a kickstand, read our article to find the best bike kickstand for your cruiser.
Like with many bikes, cruiser bikes have advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what you can expect:
What is Best for me – a Hybrid bike or a Cruiser bike?
If you need a bike that is going to be functional, then a hybrid bike will be better for you. They are better at getting uphill, they can carry heavy weight, and generally, they will help you with anything from commuting, shopping, going on light trails, and days out with the family pulling a bike buggy.
If you want a bike just for show and rides out by the beach or in your local park, then a cruiser bike could be for you. They look fantastic, are fun and comfortable to ride, and are designed to go slow on flat terrain.
Are you a heavy rider looking to get fit from cycling? Check out our list of the best bikes for overweight riders.
Both cruiser bikes and hybrid bikes are generally a lot of fun to ride and will add a lot of value to your bike collection. In our opinion, the hybrid bike is made for functional ability, and the cruiser bike is made for fun.