Before you spend any money on your first hybrid bike, you need to read these reviews. Women’s bikes are a little bit different from a guy’s bike, and it is important to recognize what you should be looking for while shopping — especially if you plan on buying your bike online.
What Makes A Lady’s Hybrid Bike Different?
The Women’s hybrid bike typically has several major differences in order to make them more comfortable.
To begin with, distance between the seat and the handlebars are typically shortened slightly. That way, women with long legs and short torsos can still ride comfortably.
In addition, they often have the sloping, “step-through” design that was originally designed to allow monks to ride bikes in their robes (and ladies in their dresses). Today, few women put on a dress to exercise, but the sloping top tube still makes it much easier to get on and off of the bike.
Finally, you will typically find that women’s bikes have slightly wider saddles. This is to accommodate the naturally wider pelvic bones and provides a significantly more comfortable ride.
Oh, and they often come in more creative colors!
Do You Need A Step-Through Frame?
If you are planning on riding in a dress, then you will definitely appreciate having it.
Also, if you are looking at a small or extra-small sized bike, the lower top tube makes a world of difference when getting on the bike, or straddling it at the stoplight.
Not all women’s hybrid bikes have a step-through frame (dropped top tube). So if it’s something you want, be sure to look for it.
If you plan on carrying a step-through frame on a bike rack on your car, you will need to buy a top-tube adapter for it.
Comfort Bikes Vs Fitness Hybrids
This is an important distinction to make. Comfort bikes are designed to be more, well, comfortable. They often have shocks for the front wheel and under the seat to help smooth out bumps in the road. In addition, they are designed to help you sit more upright. This is more comfortable for those of us with back and shoulder pain.
Ideally, you would choose a comfort bike if you were riding for pleasure, such as cruising around your neighborhood riding downtown for Saturday morning brunch.
The fitness hybrid is designed to cater to the athletic crowd. It would appeal to runners who want something to cross train with, for example, and is better able to handle longer rides.
Typically the fitness hybrid is lighter and often it has more narrow wheels. It also leans you slightly forward — like you would be if you were riding a mountain bike — which makes you more aerodynamic, provides better control of the bike, and enables you to engage both your quadriceps and gluteus muscles more efficiently.
The Number 1 Best Women’s Hybrid
I’m going with a fitness hybrid for this pick. And I don’t know whether to be more impressed with this bike, or the price that they are selling it for.
This bike is excellent for the serious fitness enthusiast. Frankly, you could ride it across the country if you wanted. Now, granted, few of us would want to do that, but the quality of this bike — and the incredible ride that it delivers — is truly one-of-a-kind.
But there are a lot of us who have wanted to do a triathlon. Or to ride a fundraising event like the MS150. Or to join the other gals on a once a week nighttime bike ride.
This bike can do all of that with ease.
For the athletic lady looking for a fitness hybrid, you would be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the Clarity 1. It uses the industry-standard 6061 double-butted aluminum frame, making it designed for the long haul. The lifetime warranty only sweetens the deal.
As far as the technical stuff goes, this bike has it where it counts: double wall rims and trigger shifters. I find trigger shifters to be much easier to understand and operate and the double wall rims means that the bike can handle thousands of miles without the wheel “coming out of true” or breaking a spoke.
The overall package is extremely smooth and effortless. Riding this bike is like gliding.
This bike may well be the closest you will ever get to enticing your fat to melt off like butter.
I have nothing bad to say about this ride (except that I wish it was in stock more often. Too dang popular).
The 4 Best Women’s Hybrid Bikes
You can buy a lot of bike for under $500. Especially online. Not all of these bikes listed below cost right at that $500 mark but they are close enough in the “ball-park” for them to make it on my list as an affordable option.
#1 Diamondback Calico
While I love the Clarity reviewed above, the Calico brings an added degree of ruggedness to the conversation.
You can’t help but notice the disc brakes. And for those of us who want added stopping power in all weather conditions, discs are the way to go.Since discs are not as close to the ground as the rims of the wheel, they are less likely to get as wet and therefore offer a safer stop n wet weather.
This bike also has slightly wider tires on it. So if you want to do some fine gravel roads (chat trails) or ride across your office’s back lot on your commute to work, this one is up to the task .
So the commuter is going to love this one.(It also has attachments pre-drilled for if you want to add a rack or a child carrier to the back)
The trigger shifters are always fun and the aluminum frame keeps it from rusting, so this is a bike that can be in the family for the next 20 years.
The Calico is basically everything that the Clarity is, with wider tires and a disc brake. Frankly, for folks who will be riding mostly on roads and trails, the Clarity is going to make you plenty happy.
But if you are the type that buys all of your cars with AWD since you never know what life will bring…. this Calico model is going to let you blend effortlessly into every situation.
#2 Diamondback Vital 2
This is the best comfort hybrid bike for women that I have seen online. It has everything you are looking for : lighter weight design (should be right around 30 pounds ), upright positioning, cushy seat and front and rear shocks.
Basically, it’s comfy and durable.
I like that it uses reinforced wheels. Even if it has been a long time since you worked out, you can be reassured that the wheels will hold up to the added stress. But, more importantly, it isn’t going to fold a wheel the first time you go over a pothole… like most bikes you would bike at your local department store will do.
I really, really like the saddle on this bike. I know it seems petty, but I’ve had universally good success with putting customers on a dual density foam saddle like this one. They are just quite comfy, and you find yourself wanting to ride because it is the most comfortable seat in the house.
The shocks under both the seat and the handlebars, plus the bikes upright position, means that you can ride in ultimate comfort. This is going to be the perfect bike for those of you suffering back or neck pain.
Like the others on this list you have 21 total gears possible, with plenty of low gears for hill climbing, and enough high gears to keep you cruising through the city at a nice clip.
This hybrid is built to last, and long after you’ve gotten back in shape, made some fun family memories and handed this bike down to your grandkids, it is still going to be riding strong.
#3 Schwinn Community
The Schwinn Community bike is definitely more of a comfort bike. You can see the rear shock underneath the seat and the shock on the front fork designed to help smooth the ride.
However, I love how Schwinn has “toughened” this design with the idea of catering to regular commuters. This is something that you don’t often see. The bike comes equipped with both fenders and a rear rack for carrying items.
Suddenly, you have a reason to ride to the market.
The adjustable handlebar means that you can better customize your fit and is especially handy for people with short reach or those trying to work around back problems.
I do have a couple of caveats with this ride. To begin with, it’s heavy. Almost 50 pounds . Solid, yes. And great for cruising around the block or the 3 miles down to the grocery store or coffee shop. But, regardless, it’s heavier than most in its class.
The other downside is that the wheels are single-walled aluminum. If you are over 200 pounds, the wheels simply will not hold up well.
Which is a pity, because I love all of the extras they include with this bike (and it’s color!)
Best 2 Women’s Hybrid Bikes Around $300
As we near the $300 mark, it begins much more difficult to find a bike that is going to be worth spending the money on.
These bikes are going to be great for riding around the block, and cruising downtown on Saturday nights. If you are going to be an everyday rider kind of person, than you probably want to stick with the Vital 2 above.
#1 Vilano C1 Comfort Hybridd
Vilano Bikes typically makes road bikes. However, they do have an often-overlooked hybrid line. And I actually like what the C1 has to offer.
It isn’t anything fancy, but you have the front shocks, and good gearing. It’s going to get you around without requiring a lot of maintenance.
The thumb shifters are easy to use. The 700 x 38 tires are great for cruising on and you’re going to love that it can handle both paved streets and gravel roads.
Probably the best part is that Vilano has a proactive Warranty department. So if you run into a problem, they are really anxious to help make it right.
Compared to other bikes of this quality, this is a better package, at a better price.
#2 Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike
The thing that annoys me about Schwinn’s is how heavy they are.
I mean, they used to be some of the lightest bikes on the market, and now a bike like this weighs nearly 50 pounds.
In fact, if it was lighter, it would win this competition hands-down. It has a higher-quality Suntour front fork. And the Shifters and gears are higher-quality. Plus, you’ve got to love the functionality of that rear rack. I mean, think of all the eggs and milk and butter and fruit you could strap on the back!
Altogether, it is a great package. Extremely high quality. Just heavier than I would hope.
It’s going to be ideal for the lady who wants to ride around their town in shorter jaunts.