Yorktown Cycles carries the above brands of comfort & hybrid bikes. Catalog coming soon!
Buying a Comfort or Hybrid BikeHybrid or Comfort bikes are popular for many reasons. They are a comfortable, approachable, eco-friendly means of getting out with family and friends, running errands, exercising or commuting to work. They don’t pretend to be ultra-fast racers and they aren’t overbuilt tanks for the off-road trails. They are the middle—an excellent combination of comfort, efficiency and fun. Hybrids and Comfort bikes, though technically different, cater to essentially the same market and may be called any number of different names. Don’t worry about it. Read through this buyer’s guide to see what features make hybrids so popular and then come in to ride one yourself. We highly encourage test-rides!
As you look at bikes, you will see the names Hybrid, Comfort and Cruiser (among several others) used. Here is a quick look at what each generally mean, though some bikes may share qualities of all categories. Don’t worry! You need to find a bike that YOU like, not one that fits any particular definition.
Hybrid bikes—Also commonly referred to as “Cross”, these bikes are the combination (or cross, or hybrid) of a road bike’s large diameter wheels and a mountain bike’s comfortable, upright position, flat handlebars and low gearing. It is the larger diameter wheels that make the hybrid the quicker, more efficient choice for riding on the pavement. Within this category, you can find models with wider or skinnier tires, rigid or suspension forks, more or less upright positions and lightweight frames.
Comfort bikes—In most cases they are nearly identical to a hybrid bike, though they use a mountain bike’s smaller diameter, sturdier wheels with generally wider tires. One could also look at them as a mountain bike with smoother, more pavement-oriented tires. The durability of the stronger wheels draws people who have rougher commutes, like to ride on trails or are heavier riders.
Cruiser bikes—Beach bikes, beach cruisers and boardwalk cruisers are all other terms for simple, comfortable bikes designed for casual riding along easy, flat pathways. Most use time-proven coaster brakes and count baskets or a rear rack as their main “feature”.
Frame MaterialsDon’t get bogged down in worry about what your hybrid’s frame is made of--Doing so misses the whole point of buying a comfortable, easy-to-ride bike. You will see frames made from steel, aluminum and possibly carbon fiber, depending on the price range you are looking at. As price rises, so does the quality and lightness of the frame on your bike, but these types of bike are so feature-rich, there are far more cool things to look at than frame material.
Most Hybrid and Comfort bikes come with some form of suspension in the front and rear of the bike. This suspension is what makes the ride so comfy, though it comes in many mechanical forms. Here is a quick primer on Hybrid suspension.
Suspension Forks—Just like mountain bikes or motorcycles, Hybrid/Comfort bikes typically come with a telescopic shock unit on the front wheel. Not as burly and heavy as what you would find on a mountain bike, these suspension forks are designed to smooth out the smaller bumps in the road and keep your upper body comfortable.
Cushy Seats—Wider, thicker seats are commonly found on Hybrid bikes and often include some form of spring assembly underneath the shell. These look like “real” seats and make you think “I could sit on that and be comfortable for a loooong time!”
Suspension Seatposts—Just under the nice saddle, you are likely to find a telescopic shock unit where the rigid seatpost used to be. Working the same as half of the front fork, the suspension post smoothes out the smaller bumps and prevents the jarring force from being transmitted to your butt. Combined with a cushy seat, it provides a very plush feel.
Rear Suspension—Just as a full-suspension mountain bike has a sprung linkage within the frame design, some Comfort bikes may, too. They are not built as heavy or heavy duty as a downhill racer, but designed for the task at hand—to take out smaller bumps effectively.
Carbon fiber—If you are looking at the speedier, nicer end of the Hybrid market, you may find bikes that have carbon fiber forks, frames, handlebars or seatposts. This lightweight material has a good degree of shock damping built into it, even though it has no pivot points, springs or sliding assemblies. The shock “absorbing” effect will be minimal, though still noticeable compared to a racing road bike. Different people want different amounts of suspension. Where and how you ride will also dictate how much you need. On your test rides, just be aware of the options available and try different combinations to find one that suits your needs.