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Cycling for RVers: What bike should I buy? Part 4, Hybrid bikes

This is the fourth and final entry in this series providing an overview of the different types of bikes. Here are links to the first three discussed:

Each of these bikes has their strengths and weaknesses, and they vary in their suitability for RVers. I believe that, for the majority of RVers, they’re not the best fit. Today, I go over the type of bike that should be at the top of your list: hybrid bikes. Why are they the top choice? Let’s take a look.

(Note: if you like cycling, sign up for my newsletter here. You’ll get great content about all aspects of cycling life, and even learn a thing or two!)

Hybrid bike characteristics

  • Flat handlebars. Hybrid bikes have non-curly handlebars, the type found on road bikes and gravel bikes. This flat profile means that the riding position is upright, which is the most comfortable way to ride—it’s easier on your back and neck. If you’re a bit older, this becomes especially important.
  • Semi-wide tires. Hybrid bike tires are wider than road bike tires and narrower than mountain bike tires. That makes them great for the type of dirt roads and mild off-road trails (like rail trails) that they’re typically ridden on. And they handle paved roads well, too. This makes them excellent all-arounders.
  • Large, comfortable seats. In general, hybrid bike seats are made for comfort more than performance. They usually have more padding than other types of bikes, and work well for the shorter types of rides they’re most often used for.

Hybrid bikes very often have ebike versions. In fact, it’s safe to say that there are as many hybrid ebikes as non-electrics—they’re that popular.

Should RVers buy a hybrid bike?

For the first time in this series, the answer is a big Y-E-S! For the vast majority of RVers, a hybrid bike is the right choice.

The upright riding position means miles of comfort. The wider tires, while being able to handle rougher surfaces, are also more comfortable than narrower road bike tires. And pretty much any model you’re looking at will have an ebike version, which is the strongest trend among the RV crowd right now.

Hybrids are built for the kinds of places RVers like to ride—the kinds of trails typically found in and near RV sites. And since they’re great for roads, they’re perfect for running errands if you use a bike as a car replacement. One hidden advantage of upright riding positions is that you can see more of the traffic around you.

When you begin shopping, it’s good to know that there are a ton of options for buying a hybrid bike. There are many types of frame materials, including steel, aluminum, and carbon. There are lots of choices on component groups, wheels, and other details, providing a huge range of price points. With a bit of digging, you should be able to find the perfect hybrid bike for your needs.

Probably your first decision will be to determine if you want an ebike or non-ebike. In my next column, I’ll go over some of the pros and cons of ebikes to help inform that decision. Until then, happy riding!

Keith Ward, a veteran journalist, writes about cycling, health, and the intersection of the two at thediabeticcyclist.substack.com. His newsletter is all about helping you improve your life through improved diet and exercise.

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Uncle Swags
2 months ago

I have a Cannondale Quick CX 3 which is perfect for me and has worked well as my regular cycling bike. Riding upright also allows you to take in the views which is why you are riding out in nature. I’ve ridden some nice trails in Yellowstone: Lone Geyser, Fountain Flats and trail between Old Faithful to Geyser Basin but stay off the main roads they are for the bison.

Sue
2 months ago

I discovered that cyclocross bikes were my best option both when my husband and I were RVing extensively and also now that we are based in a neighborhood with 100+ miles of multiuse paths. I’d been riding lightweight road bikes for fitness (not racing) all my life but wanted to go off-road, too. I’ve never liked heavier mountain bikes or straight handlebars.

In 2010 a bike shop recommended a Specialized Tricross cyclocross bike for me, and I loved its versatility, good handling, drop handlebars, and relatively light weight. I could ride that thing just about anywhere except deep sand. I guess a cyclocross would most resemble what are now called gravel bikes.

Someone broke into our vehicle in 2016 and stole my first cyclocross bike. I replaced it with a new Specialized CruX Elite cyclocross bike with very lightweight carbon frame, disc brakes, and 32cc tires that can handle lots of different surfaces. I’m 73, and for me, it’s the perfect all-around bike.

Michael Galvin
2 months ago

On the back of our Class C is a folding Bike Friday (unfolded) New World Tourist. Drop handlebars, 1.25″ tires, Shimano shifter/brakes. Folds for airline travel and fitting in small trunks, but rides as a regular bike. I have indeed toured thousands of miles on road and trails in the US and Europe. Another wonderful way to travel! And it’s just fine for riding around when the RV stops.

Thomas D
2 months ago

And now I saw a warning about e- bikes starting on fire.
My dad always said, you’ll never win. Some problem always rears its ugly head!

Donald N Wright
2 months ago

Remember to bring the batteries inside overnight. They can freeze,or be stolen.

tom
2 months ago

Looking hard at the many different ones. Weight, range, and speed are the major items.

John
2 months ago
Reply to  tom

And Price!

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