Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape?

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Editors Note: Another guest contribution from Kevin Fleeman at to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award as well as be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

Cycling/biking is one of the most loved crazes of youth, all ages in fact. No? Yes? For most of us it was our first “wheeled” escape vehicle. So let’s take this a step further and learn more about biking and if perhaps a hybrid bike is a good vehicle to depend upon in times of need, as well as just fun.

Many people search the web asking ‘is a hybrid bike good for trails?’ In this article I’m going to answer this question. (You can check on the Best hybrid bike under $1,000 here.)

About Hybrid Bikes

A hybrid bike is the upgraded version of your newer bicycle designs – a combination of road bikes and mountain bikes. The advanced features of a hybrid bike easily suites it for gravel trails or light-off road trails. For this reasons it has become hugely popular with cyclists.

Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal

How to Buy the Best Hybrid Bike Under $1,000?

A hybrid bike is designed to perform well on both smooth and rocky roads. Anyone who has tried to ride a road bike on anything other than well, a road can attest to this, or a mountain bike on roads. Of course every hybrid bike has different specifications and features, so you need to consider some important things before buying the best hybrid bike to fit your needs, filtered through your budget.

Some important things about the best Hybrid Bike:


Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal

The best hybrid bikes normally come with a 700 CC wheelbase and have tires that are between 1.4″ and 1.8″ wide. On the other hand a cross-country bike will have tires in the 1.9″ to 2.25″ width range, trail and all-mountain bike will have tires in the 2.25″ to 2.4″ width range, and downhill bikes, which are meant to withstand the abuse of drops and rock gardens, are equipped with tires ranging up to 2.5″ wide. These bikes are used by most ski resorts to attract a summer crowd to use the mountain and its lift systems for rides few roads can compete with for thrills and near-death experiences. IAC the standard hybrid tires allow you to quickly and smoothly pass over road cracks, road bumps and pavements abnormalities. These also help as to speed and climbing hills, dependent of course on how the bike is geared. They also support the weight of additional packs, equipment and gear should one of these be a part of your prepper planning.


Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper JournalIs a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal

It is essential to consider the frame of the bike before buying. The frame is the bone of the bike as it connects the other parts to each other and provides the form, fit and function of this as a vehicle. Today most of the frames out on the market are made of aluminum or carbon composites. The price range can be substantial so do your homework.

While it may seem a little costly to buy a carbon frame, especially if you are on a limited budget, that reduced weight is a plus. Whichever you select, both of them are strong and rust-resistant.


Another important thing you should consider before buying a hybrid bike is “the fit”. We have all seen the wrong person on the wrong sized bike. It was either a gift or it is an accident in the making. You want to be comfortable, stable, and feel you can smoothly touch the ground while stopped or stopping. Also, ensure the bike seat can be adjusted to support your comfort and the pedals can be adjusted for that “right” riders position, even with added gear and packs.


Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper JournalIs a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal

Where you meet the road. Most hybrid bicycles come with padded bike seats or saddles which are intended to help you to feel comfortable while crossing the unpaved roads, or other road hazards as well as making long stretches now wear less your important parts. While it is essential to test the bike before buying as a part of the whole thing as a road system, it is also the time to change the seat as needed to assure this is a vehicle you can both enjoy and depend upon.


Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal

If you want to enjoy a comfortable, non-wearing biking experience on any terrain then a front suspension fork is important. Suspension forks are shock absorbers and every shock they lessen makes for a better ride and a better you! Take this into consideration even if you don’t intend to use the vehicle to hall your gear and your life off-the-grid.

Most of the hybrid bikes come with front suspension forks, so before buying make sure what the fork tolerances are as a part of your overall research.


Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal

When you are going to buy a hybrid bike, you will find that most of them have linear braking system which are excellent, especially when you are not biking.

A better option is disc brakes if available. In fact I would make this a “no buy” decision personally. This type of braking system fits accurately in the center part of your wheel and ensures you much greater control of the bike when braking. Disc brakes perform in rain and mud and even in snow and ice and are not dependent on just how hard you can squeeze the brake handles. AND, no matter the two-wheeled vehicle, peddled or motorized, just you or an additional rider or loaded with gear, just hitting the front break hard will preform a helmet test you really don’t want to do.

Advantages of Hybrid Bikes:

Cyclists are a tough group, as are we preppers. To gain popularity a bike has to promote its advantages. So, what do hybrid bicycles bring to the table?

Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal

Raised Handlebars and a Relaxed Frame Geometry: The raised handlebars and Relax geometry are perfect for sitting up straight in a comfortable saddle, a natural position as opposed to making minimizing wind-resistance the most important consideration, as in racing. For a SHTF user this comfort outweighs speed and also facilitates supporting more gear. Additionally, raised, flat handlebars and the upright sitting position make it simple to watch where you are going and what is coming your way in either road hazards or two-legged ones.

Higher Gear Ratios: Higher gear ratios bikes are more comfortable for on-road, on trail biking. Yes, lower gears are better for hills, sandy soil, small brush/grass, but for a long ride, with the added weight of gear, on mostly flat pavement, high gears ratios are the right trade-off. They also facilitate smooth shifting and consistent pedaling. Things that are foreign to dedicated mountain cyclists, though they will never admit it.

Wider Tires: Wider tires are safer for lower speed, non-racing biking. Used at lower speeds they provide a better (bigger) contact patch greatly increasing stability while being somewhat more forgiving of mistakes. Now, you make the bike top-heavy by just being there riding. Add gear and the “advantage of the larger contact patch is mitigated. Physics applies equally everywhere (except in a vacuum.). In any case they provide a more comfortable ride on rough pavement, sandy roads or snowy tracks. They last way longer than road-bike tires and they help you not getting thrown by things like road cracks or train tracks you might have to cross, or cow barriers.

Superior Comfort: Again, many of hybrid bikes have suspension seats (hard springs) and forks on the back and front wheel. With this suspension system, riders feel much safer as they do help mitigate the bumps. Whenever a bump or obstacle comes, rather than the rider having to lift up off the seat, the seat counteracts to lesson the shock. Suspension forks also help when speed breaking as they provide a smoother compression in the down fork response. These are of value when you are carrying gear that is, but shouldn’t, really be bumping up against each other.

Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal  Is a hybrid bike good for both trails and an escape? - The Prepper Journal

Loaded with Accessories: These bikes are specifically designed to carry “extra stuff” as opposed to road bikes where ever ounce is considered an abomination of nature. And, as preppers, we mostly like things with extra attachments. Even the little basket on the front of the bike can be of value, as long as it doesn’t have a flower designed into it.

Affordable Price: Knowing the advanced features and advantages, you may think it might be a pricey bike, and compared to what is sold over the counter at Walmart, you could defend that point. However, buying right the first time and buying for the true purpose intended is always smart. A road-bike carbon-composite frame, bare frame, can run you $3,500 and has but only two purposes – actual hard-core racing, or making you look like you do hard-core racing. The build-out of these frames can push the cost to 4 times the cost of that frame. I don’t judge. The hybrid is a better solution for cruising the hood or getting out of the hood should you chose this as a part of your survival planning.

Disadvantages of Hybrid bikes

With a lot of advantages, the hybrid bike has a few limitations or disadvantages too. I write them off to the designed purpose of the bike vs a road bike or mountain bike but I am providing them for your consideration:

  • Some hybrid frames won’t accept tires wide enough for the more serious mountain biker
  • The absence of a full range of lower gears makes them unattractive to, again, mountain bikers. If you live in a hilly area, you should make this a part of your buying decision as higher gear ratios are more for level or near level road riding
  • The upright frame geometry does increase your wind drag at higher speeds
  • The compliant frames and riding position are less efficient in the transfer of power from your body to the pedals to the rear-driving wheel, than a racing bike – again, physics
  • Slower than a street bike and less intense than a mountain bike, again know you intended use.

Now, it’s time to decide if a hybrid bike is good for trails or not? Reading this article, you should be able to make a smarter make choice. In this expert’s opinion, hybrid bikes are good for the smooth trail (typical or not), regular commuting, but not good for racing or dedicated mountain biking.

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Bikes are cool but I prefer mine to have an internal combustion motor attached to them!


JD, Start slumming through craigslist for an old XR200, 250, or 400. Old tech, easy to work on, stone reliable. I have newer, but have stewing on the idea of an old ‘trail’ bike vs the rip roaring beasts my people ride. The XR series are super quiet, very tame for anyone tall enough to ride one to handle. The 600s and 650s are quite heavy, and to be avoided by the average rider. On the flip side, the 600/650s have a solid after market for gear carrying add-ons, as they are also used for low-end adventure riding, where riders… Read more »


When I saw the title, I was hoping to see the hybrid electric bikes that are gaining a lot of traction in the market place. I’m not a fan of the hybrid bike described here. A straight cross country mountain bike will have greater versatility during a bug-out or ‘get home’ scenario. The a comparison of a hybrid vs a cross-country MTB over grass fields, bike trail networks would quickly demonstrate the pounding the rider of a hybrid would take. A bike designed to ride over rough terrain will make leaving the roadway much easier, and faster due to more… Read more »


“Physics applies equally everywhere (except in a vacuum.).”
Strike that…reverse it..


Great blogs about the hybrid bike! Good feature for hybrid bikes. You can ride comfortable. Thanks for sharing this post.

Looking for the best hybride bike review on this site:

Delia Hogue

Hi, The hybrid bike is my choice. I love to ride the hybrid bike. In your post title is hybrid bike good for trails & escape. I told hybrid bike best only for the road. this is my personal opinion. I like to ride a hybrid bike on the road. By the way, in your post, you will provide some special suggestions for beginners rider. In your post, you tell us about hybrid bike size, tires, suspension, brakes etc. This all thinks are a basic query of a beginner rider. This is a very useful post for a rider. Also,… Read more »

John L. Clark

Great Sharings!

Though it has some disadvantages I think it’s not a problem for hybrid lovers.

Its affordable price and advantages are bigger than its disadvantages. I also recommend electric hybrid bikes.


People sometimes get confused while buying hybrid bikes, they are very good if get the hold of them and do proper research before buying. Thanks for the info.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x