What is an electric Hybrid Bike? – Put simply they are an absolute must have if you are looking for a solid all rounder ebike that will perform well on any terrain – perfect for riders who prefer a blend of urban, off road and long adventures.
In this article we explain why these bikes are so popular and provide some helpful advice if you are thinking of buying one.
What is an Electric Hybrid Bike and who are they for?
You should be looking at a Hybrid Electric Bike if you are intending on doing some long days in the saddle and need maximum range on a single charge yet dont want to be restricted to any one type of terrain (within reason).
Generally, electric hybrid bikes are fitted with suspension forks at the front , gravel or semi-slick tyres, and the riding position is similar to that of a mountain bike.
Hybrid Bikes are Great for…
Adventure seekers – I know people who have used them as touring bikes where they have been pushing 70+ miles per day on a single charge carrying 2 x full panniers plus camping equipment, the Hybrid models are excellent for this as they can take riders far and wide accross hills, fields and roads with ease and more importantly comfort.
Commuters – Hybrid Electric bikes are hugely popular with the commuter market as most come ‘ Commuter Ready’ equipped with integrated lights and pannier racks and puncture proof tyres to give extra peace of mind that you wont spend your life on the side of the road on those wet monday mornings.
Seniors – Most Hybrid models have a ‘Step Through’ frame as an option which make it much easier to get on and off, yet provide a comfortable ‘upright’ riding position that may be more suitable for the senior riders. You can read our article on what electric bikes may be a good fit for seniors here<===
So What Makes A Good Electric Hybrid Bike?
Battery & Range
If you are looking for a reliable ebike with longer range, then expect to pay more. The battery is one of the most expensive components on an ebike as this is what determines how long you can ride with assistance before having to charge.
Charging time usually takes anything from 3 to 6 hours depending on manufacturer.
Make sure the battery can be removed from the frame so that is can be charged off the bike. If stored outside in cold or very hot temperatures this is not good for batteries and will deplet the overall life span and effect the range in the long – and short- term.
Quality of Components
So here’s the thing, this is where costs can sky-rocket! the gearset is the group of components used on the bike and usually dictates overall prices of the models in the range.
There are a ton of budget ebikes out there which are made in china that have very cheap and nasty parts sourced from various manufacturers.
Buying a super cheap ebike may be tempting, but after 5 – 6 months the parts will likely fail due to the additional strain on the components due to the extra stress of being powered by a motor.
Good ebikes should have specialised components like the chain which are higher grade steel as a standard one simply would not cope.
This another reason why people who are after reliability will spend more and tend to go for some of the big name manufacturers like Giant, Specialised and Trek because their reputation wont allow them to put sub-prime parts on their bikes.
These brands usually partner with quality brands like Bosch, shimano and Yamaha to name a few for their motors and Shimano as a reputable brand for the gearing systems. You will pay more upfront, however it will be money well spent in the long- term.
If you do the math it can be easier than you think to justify spending a bit extra on the right electric bike and there are now many options to spread the cost monthly making this much easier to obtain the bike you want rather than settling for second best.
This also plays a part when it comes to cost as the average electric bike weighs in around 20+ Kilos and there is a pay – off to be had here. If you want longer range then the battery will be bigger so reducing the weight becomes harder to do even though Manufacturers work hard to use lightweight frame materials where possible. Surprisingly when riding these bikes, they can feel pretty nimble due to the assistance and are generally well balanced so you dont feel the weight at all.
Brands and Manufacturer
Like anything brand names are directly linked to price but as I have already explained, they have a reputation to keep so quality and reliability are high on the list here. If your electric bike will be getting some heavy use I would look at the bigger brands and expect to pay a minimum of £1500 to get something decent with quality components.
Types of Motor
Mid Drive motors tend to be fitted on the higher end Hybrid Electric bikes as they are more powerful than the hub drive motors. They output more torque and can cope better with the steeper hills. Dont get me wrong, there are some very good hub drive motors out there which are perfectly good and fit for purpose, it really depends on how you will be using the bike and how much you are willing to spend.
Most Hybrid Electric bikes can vary in size depending on manufacturer, I am 5’10 and only just managed to fit onto a medium frame ( Giant) so its worth checking the size charts before purchasing, or even better go and try out at the local store. Most models usually have a low- step or ‘Step Through’ option which may be preferable.
===>>Read our review of the Raleigh Centros Tour Low Step Electric Hybrid/ Urban bike here<<===
Due to the intended use of electric Hybrid bikes, most should already come with lights, pannier racks, and mudguards as standard which saves you having to source compatible parts as an afterthought.
Why not just buy an electric mountain bike?
Well, mountain bikes ( electric or otherwise) are amazing off road, they have further fork travel which allows you to navigate more aggressive off road trails, a wider handlebar and also suspension at the rear to better absorb the bumps and jumps however they are not great if you want to commute into the city for your daily commute in the urban terrain – They dont have pannier racks, lights and will create more ‘drag’ due to the fatter tyres.
They are also designed with torque and power and weight in mind so range is not top of the list with Emtb’s, although some of the high end models come with a great blend of all 3 but at a price.
Of course Im not saying its impossible, its just that Emtb’s are designed specifically for off road use for a reason.
The same as if you wanted to take an urban Electric bike Off Road, there will always be limitations. This is why the Hybrid Electric bike is a great comprimise.
What is an electric hybrid bike – Final Thoughts
So if you were wondering what is an electric hybrid bike I hope this article has provided you with everything you need to know and what to look out for if you are thinking of buying one. I would strongly reccomend this type of Ebike as they are so versatile and more importantly they are just great fun.
===>>Check out our review of the Giant Explore E + 1 Hybrid Bike here<<===
If you already have an electric hybrid bike I would live to hear what your thoughts and experiences have been so please drop me a message below. Alternatively if you need any help or advice then I would be happy to help
11 thoughts on “What is an electric hybrid bike?- The best fun on two wheels”
Hello Dan, I live in Calgary, Canada, a few kilometers away from a lovely trail which follows the Bow River. I regularly go on walks along the trail; it twists and turns and has several challenging hills. It’s when I go on these walks that I usually see people riding electric hybrid bikes. I usually see them pedaling, which makes me wonder how the bike works. Other times I see them lounging on the saddle as the bike does all the work of getting up the hill.
Does the bike take the work these people are doing and “add” on to it?
Hi Erick, the trial down the Bow River sounds lovely. These bikes can in some cases output 350% of the effort you are putting in which is why they are so popular on the steep hills. Dan
I think that your post is very decent. You do a nice job explaining what an electric hybrid bike is, how it works, and most importantly what it is worth checking out in the first place.
However, this is one topic that has been very hit or misses for me. I think that it would help if you made this more interesting for the uninitiated. That said, I think that this article is very unique and original. It is truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen, reviewed, or commented about.
Overall, I love how you economically use your links to inform your audience of the more specific attributes of electric hybrid biking. Pretty darn informative!
Hi, Thanks for your feedback and I appreciate the comments. Agree, the terminology can be confusing if you are not familiar with electric bikes so will keep his in mind. Let me know if you need me to clarify any of the points in this article in the meantime. Dan
I enjoyed reading your article entitled “What is a electric hybrid bike?”. These bikes now are really fantastic and have come a long way over the last 60 years or so. While reading, I was taken back to my teenage years in the UK, when my Dad actually went to work on one of those old fashioned moped bikes. I think, then, they were powered by petrol, not batteries, and one pedaled to start the motor! Progress, indeed.
Thanks for your comments Jenni, It sounds like an old fasioned pedelec your dad used to ride. I agree things have definately moved on! Dan
Thank you so much for this interesting article. We sure could have used electric bikes on our Asia Tour 2009 where we were on our way in the mountains of Pelling, Himalayas, but at that time there were none of these electric hybrid bikes on the market. Next year, we are planning a bike tour through Austria, where we also want to ride the mountains. An electric Hybrid bike would be perfect for this tour. The charging times of 3 to 6 hours are perfect. We could bike during the day and charge it overnight.
Hi Monique, I love Austria and the scenery is breathtaking ,especially on bike. The Hybrid Ebikes are definately what you would want to consider for a trip like this – Go for something with a 500WH battery as this will give you the most range on a single charge The Gian Explore is a great option ( I have one of these) and would be perfect for touring. Would love to hear how you got on. Dan
Yes, I get it that with several cheap e-bike options, it’s tempting to settle down for one of them. But in the long run, it will always be more expensive because we’ll have to constantly be buying parts, or even worse, the whole bike gets wrecked. So buying a good e-bike from the start is the best we can do.
Hey Dan, I live where it is cold (Wisconsin) I have a couple of questions about using this in a cold environment. Can you use this in the wintertime or the fall? Or is this supposed to be used in warmer months? Does the battery hold its charge in cold weather? Any possible method of getting larger tires on it. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks
Hi Dan, Ebike’s can be used all year round however the cold weather does impact the battery range slightly, same issue in very hot weather, but not by much. If you go for models where you can remove the battery overnight then this is best practice. I have used mine all winter and I would say on the really cold days I have seen range reduce by about 5%. You can usually swap out the tires as most models which have disc brakes – have you checked out some of the electric hunting bikes over there? These may be just the ticket as they have larger tires , racks etc and I have heard great reviews about the quietKat – let me know if you want more info on this. Dan