In as much as I am an ardent mountain biker, I hit the road every once in a while when commuting through town or when doing rounds in my neighborhood. Doing this often called for me having to change my bike every time I hit the trail, and every time I took a ride through town.
Best Bike for Road and Trail Both
It is this dilemma that led to the research on the best bike for road and trail in the market. These results are as a consequence of a panel that I set up to test some bikes in the market over a period of 6 months so as to come up with the best. We categorized our research into some sections that we used to determine the best including Pricing, durability, comfort and the build of the bike among many others. The Schwinn Network Wheel Hybrid was rather impressive taking the first spot for the value it offered.
4 Best Bikes for Both Road and Trail
Schwinn Men’s Network 3.0 Hybrid Bike
Are you looking for a bike that can handle both the road and trail blissfully? This bike came up as the best on the list for some reasons.
The first thing you will notice with the Schwinn 3.0 is the moderately wide tires. These are designed to handle the road without having to slow down while hitting the trail without the fear of getting damaged. The riding position of the bike is ideal for long commutes and comfortable cruises around the neighborhood. Mountain bikes will provide an upright sitting position for the same reasons. Road bikes while offering a more slouched position for speed and aerodynamics which hurts the back if done for long periods of time. The bike is also surprisingly hardy, and it is easy to mistake it for a fully-fledged mountain bike. The fact that it provides great speeds on the road is the only thing that makes you realize that the smart design has a lot of road bike features in it too. The bike is a perfect hybrid if you are looking for the qualities of a cruiser, a mountain bike, and road bike in one without having to compromise too much.
Schwinn GTX 2.0 Men’s Dual Sport Bike
A bike that works for both the road and the trail has to be a hybrid and getting the right one is tricky. The reason for this is because one has to hit a compromise. Those that love speed will not want this reduced considerably. Those that love comfort will want this as much as any other quality. Our second choice did this so well. The Schwinn 700c was not only a strong bike but fun to ride. It was unbelievable that the speed of this bike competed well with road bikes while seated in an upright position. The geometry of the bike is right enough to provide both aspects without losing too much of either. We found out that is one of the reasons that this bike had been featured on FOX, NPR, and CNBC. The bike also comes with brake discs on both wheels for maximum stopping power which is a good thing given that the speeds are pretty impressive. The alloy wheels and the crank combine well to provide off-road features that allow the rider to enjoy the trail at remarkable speeds and comfort. The rugged nature of the bike was one of our favorite things about it.
Fortified City Commuter Single Speed Bike
The fortified Commuter bike landed at number three for some reasons. The bike is designed using a light gauge aluminum frame which accounts for its good speeds on the road. The lightweight feature should not fool you as it handles extremely well off-road with puncture resistant tires that handle gravel, glass to sharp stones very well. The bolts that hold the pieces of the bike together are anti-theft which an added advantage is for the city commuter. Having to park in the city exposes the bike to theft and vandalism. It was interesting to discover that the bike handled very well on the road despite the fact that it was a single gear machine. This also makes it a perfect option for a beginner that has no idea on how to work gears. This bike is one of a kind when it comes to daily commuter needs providing excellent service without asking for too much regarding maintenance and tuning which comes with geared counterparts. The design is also not too shabby thanks to the sleek aluminum frame that is well branded. It provides a comfortable seating position allowing long hours of commute without hurting your back by bending over too much.
Diamondback Trace Complete Dual Sport Bike
The Diamond bike is an impressive bike that provides the qualities of a mountain bike and a road bike in good measure. The only reason this back fell to this position was due to the pricing. This is also for a reason. The Diamondback comes with Shimano parts including the drivetrain and disc brakes which are found in high-performance speed bikes. This means that the Diamondback Trace is aggressive enough to compete with any slim tired speed bike as well a rugged enough to hit the trail against any fully fledged mountain bike. This is aided by the well-set handlebars that allow you to shift your stance according to the speed you require. The drivetrain allows 21-speed gears to function stealthily along with puncture resistant tires and a short crank that provides proper clearance for Off Road use. The bitumen tires are just what you need for traction and speed. The front tire comes with a seat suspension that absorbs any impact that takes place off-road while providing comfort to your back. We found that the bike was a good choice for people that have suffered back pains or are suffering from the same. The dual sports frame provides perfect weight for both situations on and off the road making it one of the hybrids in the market today.
HOW I PICKED THE BEST
Picking the best involved putting together some major aspects of the bikes and balancing them to get the best performer. These aspects include pricing, the drive train, the frame, the tires, saddle, and suspensions. It also took long hours per day to test the bikes on a day to day basis ensuring that the right data is collected. The bike also needed to work for a cross-section of people which is why we also involved beginners and carefully considered their opinion. The best way to collect information is by ensuring that you have a control sample which meant providing a professional and beginner on the same bike and gauging the experience. The research also involved online resources and testimonies as well as correspondence. Comparing these instances proved that the Schwinn 3.0 was the best option we had. The four options also came with Shimano parts which were an added advantage as compared to most of the other competitors well known for quality and value. We found this to be an added benefit besides the value that the bikes provide. I felt that six months was long enough to expose these bikes to rigorous riding to see how they hold up even after this period. It is important to note that city bikes are not in the same categories and is specifically designed for commuting. These hybrids are all about providing the pleasure of on and off-road riding whether the rider is a professional or not.
Detailed review of our selections
Schwinn Men’s Network 3.0 Hybrid Bike
|Price||This is a reasonably priced bike when compared to the other three options. The fact that you get a lightweight bike with Shimano features at this price makes it quite a bargain. It is also a good price for a good compromise between a mountain and speed bike.|
|Frame||You get a sturdy aluminum frame with a Schwinn suspension fork for shock absorption. These features allow you to hit trails without feeling the effects of the same on your back or feet. The frame is also a good recipe for longevity and non-corrosiveness.|
|Tires||Tough tires with allow rims that provide extra strength for rough riding. They are also quick release for convenience purposes when repairing the bike. The tires are also punctured resistant treading on uneven ground without the danger of giving in.|
|Comfort||The bike comes with a padded saddle for extra comfort and shock absorption. This combined with an excellent suspension and wide tires make it ideal for the open trail. This is also improved by the swept back handlebars that provide a comfortable upright position for long periods of riding.|
|Drive Train||The bike has a 21-speed rear gear derailleur combined with Shimano shifters for increased tensile strength reliability when on the road. The combination allows the rider to spend more time riding and less worrying about the drive train.|
|Versatility||A bike is a perfect option when it comes to riding on the road and the trail without losing any of its aspects on either track. It also holds well together on both tracks providing maximum comfort for the rider over extended periods of time.|
Schwinn GTX 2.0 Men’s Dual Sport Bike
|Price||This is the cheapest bike on our list. The pricing is just right for the Shimano parts and a dual frame coupled with alloy wheels. It is possibly the best value for money in the list.|
|Frame||You get a dual sports frame with a suspension fork for comfort and versatility while riding. The aluminum frame ensures that your bike lasts and is corrosive free. The aluminum frame provides lightweight features for speed and maneuverability.|
|Tires||Alloy wheels with multi-purpose wheels provide decent traction and strength on any trail without having to repair punctures now and then. The alloy wheel provides extra strength taking in any form of impact while riding.|
|Comfort||A padded saddle and suspension fork enable the rider to spend extended periods of time on the bike without developing any backaches or tiring quickly. The gears also make cycling easier on most gradients saving the much-needed energy. The handlebars are also lifted to the level of the seat offering an upright sitting position for the rider.|
|Drive Train||Nothing beats the Shimano alloy crank and Shimano derailleur drive train providing high-end gear shifts and longevity. You are assured that you have the best in stock parts for your bike despite the fact that the bike is a hybrid. The disc brakes provide good stopping power that comes in handy thanks to the high speeds when on the road.|
|Versatality||This is a great bike when it comes to riding both on and off the road. The shift is so smooth that you enjoy as much comfort on the trail as on the road.|
Fortified City Commuter Single Speed Bike
|Price||The bike is also reasonably priced but a bit on the higher side for a single gear bike. This is the reason why it comes in third on our list.|
|Frame||The non-corrosive aluminum free is not only lightweight but sturdy enough to withstand any impact on the bike. The lightweight feature aids in providing the much-needed speed for the bike while on the road. The custom security bolts ensure that your bike is safe from burglars making it an ideal bike to use in the city where it is constantly exposed.|
|Tires||The tires are puncture resistant allowing you long periods of use on rough trails. They also provide ample traction on and off the road for riding convenience.|
|Comfort||This is a smooth rider thanks to a padded saddle and a lightweight frame.|
|Drive Train||The drive train comes with a single gear which is perfect for novice riders.|
|Versatility||The bike rides smoothly both on and off the road making it one of the best on both tracks.|
Diamondback Trace Complete Dual Sport Bike
|Price||This is our most expensive option but for a reason. It comes with high-end Shimano stock parts and both front and rear brakes among many other features. The pricing still puts it fourth.|
|Frame||You get an aluminum frame with a steel fork for extra strength and comfort. The aluminum frame is corrosive free for longevity. It is also lightweight for the purpose of speed when on the road. This is where the disc brakes come in handy.|
|Tires||Kenda bitumen tires provide excellent comfort and traction both on and off the road with a strong indisposition when it comes to rough terrain. The alloy wheel also provides extra strength with the lightweight feature for speed. The disc brake said in providing ample stopping power to the road monster and additional safety for the rider both in and out of the city.|
|Comfort||The dual frame and steel fork alongside a padded saddle are ideal for providing comfort during long hours of riding.|
|Drive Train||The high-end hybrid comes with a 21 speed Shimano drive train for shallow and steep grades. The derailleur works perfectly with smooth transitions between gears.|
|Versatility||This is a perfect all weather, all road bike if you are looking for something that will beat all odds despite the fact that it costs slightly more.|
How to choose the best bike for road and trail
Below are a number of features that we considered when picking the best road and trail bikes for you. These are valuable areas of considerations for both novice and professional riders before making a choice.
This was the first thing we considered before making this list. There are quite some trail and road bikes that cost an arm and a leg, and so we opted for bikes that are affordable as well as reasonably priced. We went for bikes that are within the budget of most riders. Most hybrids that cost less than this may be a thorough compromise of one of the aspects of the bike. This is to mean that they may incline more to road bikes or mountain bikes or in the worst-case scenario not be as good as either. We found that bikes that were more expensive than this were a bit overrated due to branding or the kind of frame used. The right value of the bike needed to provide the right qualities for the bike to qualify as one of the best. Buying a very cheap bike will not work for you if you are looking for something that will serve you well for a long time while providing the qualities of high-end bikes in the market. A very expensive hybrid may also be a serious waste of money since you are more than able to get similar attributes in much cheaper bikes. A hybrid that costs more than a specialized bike may be too much when it comes to pricing, even if you have the capability of buying one. Mountain bikes and speed bikes will be more expensive for the reason that they are specialized and built for a specific task.
The frame is the structure of the bike. It is also the first thing that you notice the moment you come across a bike or when considering to buy one. We ensured that our choices had frames that you fall in love with at first sight without digging too deep into your wallet. This determines the number of features for the bike including the overall design, the comfort level, and the price. Some bikes come with frames made of carbon fiber and titanium thus skyrocketing the price to double or triple the standard pricing. This may not be necessary when it comes to performance. A frame made of aluminum is as good providing lightweight features for speed and strength for trails. Steel frames are tougher but will dent easily. Aluminum is thought brittle but can withstand the amazing pressure which makes it the best option for a hybrid. Bikes with aluminum frames also come with good design depending on the hand of the designer. A good frame will last long, be corrosive free and lightweight enough to provide speed for the rider. It will also need to be robust enough to withstand impact and vibrations while riding. Most of our choices leaned onto the aluminum frame since bikes with these frames were reasonably priced. Aluminum frames do not bend easily and only break when the pressure is too much. This is a hard point to reach unless you are pushing your bike.
Tires are the first thing that determines the type of the bike. The type of tires you install on your bike determine whether it will work on the road or trail. Mountain bike tires are not only tough and puncture resistant but come with deep threading that comes in handy when riding on rocky ground. These threads provide traction on the uneven ground making it easier to ride up and downhill. The traction is also important when it comes to braking. Speed bikes come with slimmer tires that provide very little traction between them and the road. They do not need as much of it and work on a rolling effect to move along. These tires have very shallow threading if any for the purpose of increasing speed. The frame is also slim and shaped in a way to provide aerodynamics during riding. Unlike mountain bike alloy wheels frames that are bulky and strong, these are somewhat brittle and designed to be light enough to reduce the weight of the bike. The road and trail hybrid will be a compromise between the two. The bike allows the rider to roll tires on the road as well as a reasonably rough trail without damage. They are also slimmer than normal mountain bike tires providing higher speeds closer to those of a speed bike. The wheel frames are light yet wider to accommodate the size of the wheel. This compromise is maintained by creating puncture free tires with moderate threading providing enough traction for both surfaces. A good braking system aids the tires with disc brakes recommended in this case. This is because one may be doing high speeds in the city which can be full of unwanted surprises.
Road and trail bikes are mostly about comfort. The components of the bike have to come together to provide the rider with commuting qualities while offering options for trail and road extremes. The comfort of a bike lies mostly in the position that the rider takes while sitting on the saddle and holding the handlebars. Speed bikes will provide a bent position to improve the aerodynamics of the rider as well as those of the bike. This is why the handlebars are more often than not lower than the saddle. The Mountain bike will provide a more comfortable sitting position because riding on rough terrain while bent could be dangerous. The road and trail bikes will assume the sitting stance of the mountain bike more as compared to that of a speed bike. The sitting position will still be slightly slouched as compared to that of a mountain bike allowing the ride to shift. Some riders buy other bars to raise or lower the suiting position further, but this is a matter of preference. A rider using the road and rail bike will spend extended periods of time commuting or during around a trail exposing then back to a lot of strain. The right sitting position should even the pressure from the back. The suspensions also determine comfort. Bikes with suspensions as an added feature are ideal. These absorb any shock that comes to the wheel keeping the body safe.
The drive train was one of our most important considerations. This may not have been as significant as others since most people choosing these types of bikes are not about speed. The drive train affects the speed and drivability of the bike. A drive trail includes the crank, cogs, derailleurs, gears, and chain. Some of the best bikes will come with the option of gears but will not necessarily be a cup of tea for novice riders. The novice rider will need to take a handoff the shifting mechanism so as to make the right combinations work. It is at this point that a single geyser bike will work. We felt that the drive train was merely a point of choice. This preference would of course change with time as the rider develops skill and branches off to a particular type of bike. The drive train however needed to be strong as well as corrosive free. It also needed to have a good derailleur so as to make the shifting of gears easy. We preferred shorter crankshafts that provided enough clearance because the bike would be making rough trails every once in a while. A drive train that is also to maintain is perfect for the bike withstanding all forms of elements. Shimano is known to make some of the best drive trains besides other bike accessories for performance bikes. We felt that they were still the best options when it comes to road and trail bikes for the purpose of use and longevity. Some bikes have borrowed Shimano drive trains so as to compete well in the market while maintaining the rest of the parts.
Versatility is all about how well the bike slips into both roles when it comes to riding. The best bikes provide the rider with the ability to hit both trails without feeling much of a difference regarding the impact on the body. A versatile road and trail bike will also conform to the traits of a city bike quickly allowing for the right speeds, braking, and maneuvering. It will also hit the trail providing the right amount of traction and control. The parts including the drive train and the handlebars should be versatile enough to provide the right conditions for both roads. A single gear bike may struggle in this area but will still work if the train is not treacherous. These bikes are not designed for extremes especially when it comes to trails. Real mountain bikes will handle rocks, slippery ground and serious impact on the frame and fork while riding. A road and trail bike will fall apart in these same conditions or at least not fair very well. It will also be risky to try the same using a road and trail bike due to the cat that the traction and such absorption features are off.
The braking system was determined as a preference at some point with bikes with disc brakes taking the top position. The fact that one can change the braking system to discs on any bike is what made this a weak consideration. It would cost more, and so one that came with these brakes right from the store is still a better option. Good brakes mean real stopping power and control when riding for more safety.
Why trust me?
The right kind of bike when it comes to riding in and out of the city has to be thoroughly thought about. Having spent hours on end riding around the city on a speed bike taught me the value of using a hybrid. The mountain bike is more forgiving when riding for extended hours but will not be as fast which can be a tiring endeavor. We spend six months with my friends who are also professional riders trying to come up with the best compromise for both ends, and these four seemed to do for us. Our notion was to get a bike that would work on a trail that would present some challenged on traction and evenness. Some trails are as good as roads and hence not useful measures of the ability of the bike to handle trails. Most bikes did not fare well when it came to a road with occasional rocks and pebbles along the way, failing at braking or conceding to tire bursts. Most would work on the road due to the ease of riding but still not pick up speed as required. The Schwinn models excelled on both ends thanks to the perfect compromise. It can be argued that the ideal compromise was reached by using Shimano Stock parts which could be possible. A good bike is a combination of comfort, good pricing, and performance on both tracks. Some excelled on one track more than a matter of preference the other. It would be a matter of preference at this point depending on where one lives and the most preferred trail. We, however, assumed that both tracks would be used equally in terms of time and speed.
Who is this guide for?
This is for every novice and professional rider that is looking for a bike that will work on the road and trail. Even professional bikers take some time off the extremes to ride with their families or run errands around the neighborhood or the city. Using Superbikes for this would be unnecessary hence the need for a bike that provides for both situations. The right hybrid is not an easy choice to make thanks to the thousands of options in the market. Knowing what parts the bike is made of is even harder unless you are working with a professional retailer. Most people will tend to go for cheap since the bike is not used for sport. This may end up affecting performance for the professional rider and the health of the beginner. Taking the time to do research as well will work for you perfectly. The truth of the matter is that you may never get the chance to try all the bikes at the shop or even any of them on the road. You may not even get to know what bike is a hybrid and what is not. People with back issues need to be more careful when choosing these bikes and if possible get help when making the purchase just to be sure. This leaves your luck to what you know. It is for this reason that we have set up this for you so as to make an informed decision while at the bike store.
The best bike for the road and trail will be a hybrid. We prefer that you go for preference as compared to any other aspect. It is for this reason that our choices are the best in the market as well as versatile enough providing you with some options. People suffering from chronic back pains have a hard time picking bikes for speed and will often end up with cruisers and recumbents. It comes a time when one wants to try more speed as well as take options which make the road and trail bikes the best choice out there. Commuters will find our four options more than ample to pick from.
Best Bike for Road and Trail Both