Are hybrid bikes good for long-distance?


Hybrid bikes are quite commonly used in town or to commute, but once you get hooked up to riding a bicycle you might want to increase your mileage with your bike and maybe even start touring. People generally wonder: can you use a hybrid bike for long-distance cycling?

Hybrid bikes are good for long-distance cycling. They offer the advantage of not being too heavy while being stronger than a road bike, perfect for touring. You also have a more upward position than road bikes that people enjoy on long-distance.

Let’s see in this article what distances are achievable on a hybrid bike and the reasons why hybrid bikes are good for long-distance cycling. We’ll also talk about touring with a hybrid bike.

Can you ride a hybrid bike long distance?

You can ride a hybrid bike for long distances. It’s actually quite enjoyable thanks to their comfortable seat, upright handlebars, and sometimes thanks to front suspensions. Hybrid bikes aren’t the fastest but they can definitely do long-distance: they’re perfect for touring.

Yes touring! Just think about it: they are solid bikes with heavier frames than road bikes but much lighter than mountain bikes. This means that they can endure long-distance and fatigue better than road bikes and can be loaded with paniers. Indeed, these types of bikes generally come with threaded frame eyelets which are very handy to mount a rear pannier rack onto your bike.

On average, hybrid bikes weigh about 13kg (29lbs) and have the advantage to be able to handle different types of tires (quite narrow like road bike tires up to quite wide near mountain bike tires). This makes the bike quite versatile in terms of terrain. But it won’t always feel good if you don’t use the appropriate tires for your purpose.

Therefore if you want to ride long-distance on the road, have a think about the tire you put on your bike. Hybrid bikes can accommodate tire widths between 28mm and 50mm. A 28mm tire width would be a good choice to absorb a bit of the road and be quite efficient on the tarmac (not too much friction). For long-distance, I recommend buying Marathon Plus tires as these are almost impossible to puncture – so hassle-free. You can also do a few soft trails and gravels with them but if that’s your normal terrain, then have a think at a more appropriate tire (generally larger width).

How far can you ride with a hybrid bike?

You can ride as far as you want with a hybrid bike. Some people achieve 60mi (100km) in a day, but it is more usual for people to average 50mi (80km) a day when crossing the US. The distance cycled is more a question about your general fitness and endurance than a bike limitation.

Distance is not the limit, only your brain can stop you!

Can you ride 100km on a hybrid bike?

100km (60mi) is definitely achievable on a hybrid bike. This is a distance regularly achieved by people touring on hybrid bikes. Just take your time it’s not a race, it’s just a question of endurance.

I use my hybrid bike mainly for commuting but from time to time I enjoy going on a long-distance ride with it at a slower pace. I generally do long distances on my road bike but I have achieved easily 44mi (70km) with my hybrid. And I do not own a good hybrid bike, it’s just a cheap entry-level bike (quite heavy for a hybrid).

A photo of my hybrid bike

Can you ride 100 miles on a hybrid bike?

100 miles is a long way to go but it can definitely be achieved on a hybrid bike with a good fitness level. You will need to be prepared: water, snacks, refill locations… and don’t forget to take some breaks. It’s not a race. It’s just about endurance.

100 miles on a hybrid bike is all about preparation:

  • building-up the fitness level and endurance to do the mileage
  • planning your route
  • leaving early not to stress out because of the time
  • taking food and water (and planning refill locations)
  • taking regular breaks (or plan some interest points to go visit)
  • get the bike mechanically ready:
    • make sure your tire are the right one for the distance and terrain
    • check the state of your tire
    • check your brakes
    • clean and re-grease the chain
  • take with you a spare inner tube, a hand pump and some tools

Can you use a hybrid bike for touring?

Hybrid bikes are perfect for touring: light and strong at the same time, reliable and versatile enough to handle different types of terrains (from tarmac to light trail and gravel paths). They also include threaded frame eyelets, very handy to mount pannier bags onto the bike.

Hybrid bikes are also good for touring because they are comfortable with their upright position due to the flat handlebars. It won’t be painful on your lower back or shoulders like it can be on a road bike. And you get to better enjoy the scenery. Additionally, it’s a more comfortable position to check out cars around you and stay safe.

Don’t forget to select the right tire for your travel plans: as mentioned earlier in this article, if you are planning to ride on tarmac mainly and hit a few light trails, don’t hesitate to go for a slick 28mm width tire. This will reduce the rolling resistance and make it easier to ride for long distances. You can also decide to favor comfort and shock absorption with a wider tire including some grips, like the Continental ride tour hybrid bicycle tire. This would be better for light trails and sand.

One warning: avoid buying a very cheap hybrid bike from a supermarket if you intend to use it for touring. It won’t be as solid and robust as it should be. The components like derailleur, brakes, tires… will be of low quality and can get damaged much faster, especially if you do lots of mileage. You will probably need to repair the bike more often and it will be a pain (annoying and expensive in the end).

All in all, touring on a hybrid bike is a really good option: you will enjoy the ride thanks to the reliability of the bike, the possibility to add accessories, the upright position, and the cost of ownership of hybrid bikes. They are much cheaper than road bikes and mountain bikes. They are a really good value for money and a great way to start touring.

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