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Best hybrid bikes under £500: buyer's guide

Joseph Delves
30 Nov 2020

Cyclist helps you find the best hybrid style runaround for less than £500

How much hybrid bicycle can you get for under £500? The answer should be more than enough to take you into work each day and still have something left over to play about on at the weekends.

Despite being a small sum compared to what it’s possible to pay, the £300-500 range includes some real gems. About where we consider the entry level to be, paying a bit more here really provides dividends, getting you previously high-end features like disc brakes or suspension.

However, even the cheapest of the bikes listed here should keep you rolling season after season assuming you don’t neglect their maintenance.

Below are what we think should be your seven top contenders...

The best hybrid bikes under £500

1. The coolest hybrid bike under £500: Marin Kentfield 1, £395

Buy the Marin Kentfield 1 now from Tredz for £395

A legitimately rad bike for not a lot of money. The retro style of the Kentfield is only skin-deep as below its lovely paint job and tan-wall tyres lurks a very forward-thinking design.

Based around an aluminium frame with a tall head tube, the fork bolted to the front of the bike looks suspiciously like it’s been pinched from a BMX bike. It’s a sensation that’s exacerbated by the high and backswept handlebar.

Leaving you sovereign of all you survey, the Kentfield is a bike that’s both joyful and comfy. Borrowing trends left, right and centre, its simple and low maintenance single-chainring drivetrain provides seven sequential gears.

With multiple mounts for racks and guards, it also sports fixings for more modern style bikepacking bags on the fork and top tube. Rolling on wide 40c beach cruiser tyres, it’s silly and practical at the same time – and we like it very much.

Frame: Aluminium Fork: Rigid steel Gears: Shimano Tourney 7-speed Brakes: Mechanical disc Tyre size: 700x40c Additional features: N/A

Buy the Marin Kentfield 1 now from Tredz for £395

2. The best multi-terrain hybrid bike: Voodoo Marasa, £450

Buy the men's version now from Halfords for £450   
Buy the women's version now from Halfords for £450

Coming in men’s and women’s versions, the Voodoo Marasa is a hybrid that looks like it might be ready to escape the city. With a mountain bike style kink to its top tube and semi-knobbly tyres, it’s quick on the road but capable of taking a sideways slide and tackling the odd trail too.

Stopped by quality Tektro HD-M285 hydraulic disc brakes, its rigid construction is light and simple. Despite the lack of suspension, its geometry also tilts towards the rowdy, with a relaxed head angle that helps keep everything stable.

Possessing a decent kit list and a keen price, the Marasa is a great hybrid for mixed commutes – or playing about on when the weekend rolls around.

Frame: Aluminium Fork: Rigid steel Gears: Shimano Altus 27-speed Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc Tyre size: 700x35c Additional features: Reflective paintwork

Buy the men's version now from Halfords for £450  
Buy the women's version now from Halfords for £450

3. The best value hybrid bike under £500: Giant Escape 3 Disc, £429

Buy now from Rutland for £429

As the world’s largest bicycle maker it’s unsurprising Giant bikes are exceptional value. Based around a lightweight hydroformed aluminium frame its relatively upright ride position combines comfort and efficiency.

A great looking bike, its finishing kit is made up of well-balanced, workmanlike components. Its Shimano Tourney gears rely on a more basic screw-on freehub system, but this is likely to go unnoticed by most users, who will instead probably only appreciate the wide range of ratios they provide.

Similarly unfussy, Tektro’s cable-actuated disc brakes are also unlikely to cause problems. Giant’s own-brand rims are better than those found on most similarly priced bikes. It’s a trait that combines with the largely slick 38c tyres to render the Escape 3 a little lighter and more lively than you’d perhaps expect.

Frame: Aluminium Fork: Rigid steel Gears: Shimano Tourney 21-speed Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc Tyre size:700x38c Additional features: N/A

Buy now from Rutland for £429

4. The lowest maintenance hybrid bike under £500: Vitus Dee Vr City Bike Nexus, £419

Buy now from Chainreaction for £419

Anyone who’s hopped aboard one of Transport for London’s rental bikes will be acquainted with the joys of Shimano’s Nexus 3-speed hub. Providing a trio of perfectly spaced ratios, this internal unit requires almost zero maintenance.

Leaving you without the hassle and expense of regularly replacing chains and cassettes, Shimano’s equally wonderful MT400 hydraulic disc brakes are almost equally low on hassle.

Given the tiny price, the Vitus would score highly if these were its only highlights. Instead, it manages to also cram in a great aluminium frame and a pair of puncture-resistant 47c Schwalbe Land Cruiser tyres.

A fun-to-ride bike that can be treated appallingly without complaining, it’s a set of mudguards away from being pretty much our ideal city runaround.

Frame: Aluminium Fork: Rigid Steel Gears: Shimano Next 3-speed internal Brakes: Shimano hydraulic disc brake Tyre size: 700x47c Additional features: N/A

Buy now from Chainreaction for £419

5. The most versatile hybrid bike under £500: Riverside 900, £380

Buy now from Decathlon for £380

This preposterously cheap hybrid comes from European outdoor giant Decathlon, meaning it’s easy to pick up in-store.

Based around an upright aluminium frame, its chunky dual-purpose tyres are fast-rolling down the centre but have enough knobbles for muddy tracks on their sides. Like the suspension fork that can be made rigid at the turn of a dial, they render the Riverside as at home on the means streets as it is pottering along a canal towpath.

The rest of the parts are also superb given the price. Slimming down the list of things to service or go wrong, its simplified single-ring drivetrain makes it easy to pick the right gear from the bike’s wide-range 10-speed cassette.

Stopping the whole assemblage are hydraulic disc brakes, a rare find at this price and something that will both increase safety and cut maintenance.

Frame: Aluminium Fork: Lockable suspension Gears: Microshift 10-speed Brakes: Hydraulic disc Tyre size: 700x38c Additional features: N/A

Buy now from Decathlon for £380

6. The best no-nonsense hybrid bike under £500: Trek FX 2 Disc, £460

Buy now from Trek for £460 

Proving that being conventional doesn’t have to be a bad thing, this hybrid from American bike maker Trek is both stylish and versatile. With a wide-ranging 24-speed Shimano Acera groupset, this provides the gears needed for any endeavour.

Stopping the bike is a set of Shimano’s cable-actuated disc brakes. Not quite as posh as hydraulic alternatives, they’re nevertheless perhaps a little easier for the home mechanic to work on.

Complementing the frame's lovely paintwork, the bike’s gear and brake cables mostly run internally, keeping the bike uncluttered and protecting them from damage. Also lovely is the lower-than-average weight of both frame and wheels, which combine with nippy tyres to provide a spritely ride.

Frame: Aluminium Fork: Rigid Aluminium Gears: Shimano Acera 24-speed Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc Tyre size: 700x35c Additional features: Integrated computer sensor

Buy now from Trek for £460 

7. The brightest red hybrid bike under £500: Ridgeback Comet, £400

Buy now from Tredz for £400

After years testing bikes, my advice is still usually to get a red one. The Ridgeback Comet fits the bill. However, there are plenty of reasons to buy it beyond the colour. Like the light aluminium frame, easy to maintain single-chainring drivetrain and simple to operate twist-to-change gear shifter.

One of the cheaper bikes on test, the Comet does without disc brakes and instead uses the older V-brake standard. That means you’ll find yourself with slightly reduced braking power, plus more maintenance down the line, the flipside being lower overall weight and a bit more cash left in your pocket.

Frame: Aluminium Fork: Rigid steel Gears: Shimano Tourney 7-speed Brakes: V-brake Tyre size: 700x42c Additional features: N/a

Buy now from Tredz for £400