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    Hybrid vs gravel bikes: which is right for you?

    Robert Ferri
    Robert Ferri
    Jun 4, 2024 6 min
    Hybrid vs gravel bikes: which is right for you?

    Hybrid vs gravel bikes: which is the best? Bikes come in all shapes and sizes and that's one of the parts of cycling that makes it so interesting. There’s a bike for every task and many different options from many brands. Here at buycycle, we deal with many different bikes, some of which are often similar to others. 

    We often get asked, “gravel bike vs hybrid bike, which is right for me?” In this article, we will discuss the differences between these two very popular types of bikes and tell you which is best for you!

    Hybrid vs gravel bikes

    What is a gravel bike?

    Hybrid vs gravel bikes
    A gravel bike is designed to be ridden on gravel and multiple terrains.

    A gravel bike is designed to be ridden on gravel and multiple terrains, such as roads and trails. In the past decade, they have become increasingly popular and are the go-to bike for many long-distance cyclists, bikepackers, and multi-terrain riders. 

    They are similar to road bikes with drop bars but have larger tires, a more relaxed geometry, and flared bars. They are perfect for multi-terrain riding and what many people tend to classify as an adventure bike.

    Some great examples of a gravel bike are the Lynskey GR300, the Canyon Grail, and the Ritchey Outback. These can be found on the buycycle website for sale often.

    Read our article about "What is a gravel bike?" to find out all about the secrets of gravel biking.

    What is a hybrid bike?

    Hybrid vs gravel bikes
    A hybrid bike is a cross between two different types of bikes.

    A hybrid bike is a cross between two different types of bikes. For example, it’s often a cross between a road and a mountain bike. Hybrid bikes are very popular as commuting bikes or when someone wants to ride on multiple terrains.

    Hybrid bikes come in many forms, such as flat bar road bikes or mountain bikes with no suspension and slick tires, and much more. They are incredibly cheap and often for many people where they start their cycling journey. 

    Some great examples of hybrid bikes such as the Trek Dual Sport, Pinnacle Cobalt 2, and the GT Transeo. You will also find these on the buycycle website.

    Read our article about "What is a hybrid bike?" to find out more about the specificities of a hybrid bike.

    Gravel bike vs hybrid the differences

    When comparing gravel and hybrid bikes, there are some very clear differences. The best way to tell you about how they compare is to run through what sets them apart from each other.

    Feature/Aspect

    Hybrid Bike

    Gravel Bike

    Primary Purpose

    Commuting, leisurely rides, general use

    Off-road riding, bikepacking, bike touring

    Terrain

    Light mixed terrain, city roads

    Gravel, mixed terrain, trails, dusty paths

    Riding Style

    Upright, comfort-focused

    Aerodynamic, adventure-focused

    Tire Size

    28c to 40c

    35c to 50c

    Tire Type

    Slicker tires with light tread

    Variety, some for rough terrain, often tubeless-ready

    Gear Ratios

    Generally basic gearing, low ratios

    Range from basic to high-end electronic groupsets

    Brakes

    Rim and disc brakes (hydraulic and mechanical)

    Only disc brakes, more often hydraulic

    Geometry

    Relaxed, upright position

    Relaxed but more aerodynamic than hybrids

    Handlebars

    Flat handlebars

    Drop handlebars, flared bars

    Forks

    Often suspension, rarely rigid carbon fiber forks

    Generally rigid carbon fiber forks, rarely with suspension

    Design

    Mix of road and mountain bike features

    Similar to road bikes with larger tires

    Examples

    Trek Dual Sport, Pinnacle Cobalt 2, GT Transeo

    Lynskey GR300, Canyon Grail, Ritchey Outback

    Popularity

    Popular for commuting and starting cycling journey

    Popular for bikepacking and multi-terrain riding

    Price Range

    $150 to $1500

    $500 to $12,000

    Comfort Level

    Higher priority

    Balanced between comfort and performance

    Use Case

    City commuting, casual rides

    Long-distance, adventure, multi-terrain rides

    Performance

    Less performance-focused, more about versatility

    More performance-oriented, capable of handling tough terrain

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    Price

    Hybrid bikes range from around $150 to $1500, while gravel bikes range between $500 and $12,000. The price difference is huge, but gravel bikes can perform better, are lighter, and have more complex components.

    Intended use

    A gravel bike is designed for off-road riding and also adventures such as bikepacking and bike touring. A hybrid is designed for commuting into cities, long leisurely rides, and just as a general bike. 

    Design

    The design of a gravel bike is very different from that of a hybrid bike. A gravel bike looks more like a road bike with larger tires, while a hybrid bike generally looks like a mountain bike with slick tires or a road bike with flat handlebars.

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    We have a huge selection of gravel bikes, mountain bikes, and road bikes ready for purchase on our shop.

    Riding position

    Gravel bikes are made to make the best out of aerodynamics and comfort in the rider's position, while a hybrid bike will be very upright with a relaxed geometry purely focused on comfort. Gravel bikes have a racing design compared to hybrids, being much more down the city, commuter design.

    Handlebars

    Next, we have handlebars. Gravel bikes are generally equipped with a drop handlebar like a road bike, while hybrid bikes are equipped with flat handlebars like mountain bikes. The flat bars add to comfort and control, while the drop bars improve aerodynamics and allow for multiple hand positions. 

    Forks

    Generally, on a gravel bike, you will find rigid carbon fiber forks and very rarely some form of suspension. On a hybrid bike, you often get suspension and very rarely get rigid carbon fiber forks. Gravel bikes are much more performance-based than hybrid bikes

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    You might also wanna check our guides on where to buy a bike and where to sell a bike.

    Tires

    Hybrid bikes have tires from around 28c to 40c, while gravel bikes have tires from around 35c to 50c. Hybrid bikes are much more suited to light mixed terrain compared to gravel bikes, which can be taken on more aggressive trials. 

    You will also find hybrid bikes have slicker tires with very light tread compared to gravel bikes, which often have a bigger range of tires, some of which can handle very rough terrain and are often made tubeless-ready.

    Gearing

    When it comes to gear, you will find gravel bikes to have anything from low-end basic gearing all the way to high-end electronic groupsets. With hybrid bikes, it is generally very basic gearing and often made with very low ratios. 

    Brakes

    Hybrid bikes have a wide variety of brakes, including rim and disc brakes, which come with hydraulic (fluid) and mechanical (cable) options. Mechanical disc brakes are the most common type with hybrid bikes

    With gravel bikes, you only see disc brakes. You will see more hydraulic versions on gravel bikes as they are much better for the kind of riding you can expect to do on a gravel bike. 

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    Are Craigslist bikes or Pinkbike good options to sell/buy a bike? Come and read our articles!

    Should you buy a gravel bike or a hybrid bike?

    If you are looking for a bike for bikepacking adventures, trough roads, and a sporty riding position, then a gravel bike is going to be the best option for you. If you are looking for a bike for commuting, want a bike for general day-to-day riding, popping to the local shops, and maybe the odd commute to work, a  hybrid is the better option. 

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