What Is The Difference Between Mountain Bike And Hybrid Bike?

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Before taking your new bike out for a new spin, you should know what kind of bike you are going to be getting, because there are some similarities and differences.

What the difference between a mountain bike and a hybrid? The difference between a mountain bike and a hybrid is mountain bikes are designed for rough terrain while hybrid bikes are designed to ride easy on streets while having the ability to go off-road when needed.

If you’re looking for reasons why you should pick one of the other, read below to see all the differences you need before selecting your bike. 

Note, these are differences between hybrid and mountain bikes. This will not take into account differences that include road or city bikes.

Why They are Different

Mountain Bikes are made so that they can travel all terrains on a mountain. Hybrid bikes are made so that they can handle different terrains of mountains and city areas. 

However, that does not make Hybrid Bikes better than Mountain Bikes. Rather, it just means that they have different qualities. 

There are 6 key factors that can make them different, including:

  • Handlebars
  • Tires
  • The frame’s structure
  • The frame’s weight
  • Suspension
  • Brakes

Handlebars

To start, you may think that the type of handlebars you use would be purely based on preference, and while that does have a big deal to do with it, there are other factors at play.

Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes will typically have the standard flat handlebars. This may depend on the bike model or brand that it comes from. 

Some variances will be included, such as a type of grip that will be on them if any grip at all is involved. 

When going off-road with a bike you will need to make sure that you have a sure grip to hold onto when traveling over a valley or rocks.

Hybrid Bikes

The hybrid models do provide a difference in terms of handlebars for your bike. 

Keep in mind that a hybrid is the combination of a mountain bike and a city bike and will have some similarities. 

Hybrid handles will be the flat-style designed handlebars as the mountain bike but will not have as much grip as they do.

The Difference

The difference in handlebars would only seem to be the grip. In the case between choosing the two based off handlebars, the more favored one would have to be the ones of the mountain bike. 

On the flip side, handlebars are always something you can change quickly, so they should not affect your overall decision of choosing a bike.

Tires

When selecting a bike you want based on the tires, you need to be very careful of which one you choose. This will be a key decision in your future top safety picks.

Mountain Bike

Mountain bikes will always be made with safety as their number one goal. 

When biking in the mountains, you need to be aware of what specific terrain you will be riding over. There are different tires for different areas. 

For example, are you going to a grassy mountain or a mountain with a lot of dirt or gravel? That is a question you’ll need answered as it can be a significant safety concern.

Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid bikes, in this case, have special tires that take a mix of both mountain bikes and city bikes. 

The makeup of this is they will have thicker tires like a mountain bike, but with far less traction. Typically designed for pavement or sidewalk.

The Difference

The main difference, in this case, will depend, of course, on where you will be primarily biking. However, there is a solution that works for both, but it will be slightly more at the cost of you. 

If you get all-terrain tires, you will be safe for virtually any area you plan on biking in, except for snowy terrains. 

There are specific tires used in the snow if you plan on biking in the snow.

Frame Structure

The structure of the frame is very important if you intend on using your bike for racing or rough terrain.

Mountain Bikes

With mountain bikes, you more than likely will have a more relaxed frame that won’t cause you to haunch forward on it. 

Bikes like these have more of a ‘freestyle’ approach when it comes to posture so it can fit the best form of the rider, instead of the event.

Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid bikes also follow the same approach of ‘freestyle’ that the mountain bikes do, but there are some that do follow the pure racing style. 

Be careful of which one you find as they will all vary.

The Difference

If you are looking for a bike that is going to be used specifically for racing on the street, consider finding an arched frame for a hybrid bike. 

If you happen to be using a bike for casual riding, then the normal frame will work for you just fine.

Frame Weight

Depending on what you intend to use your bike for, this may or may not be one of the most important decisions.

Mountain Bikes

The weight of the frame for Mountain Bikes should always be sturdier than that of a road or hybrid bike. 

The reason why is when in the mountain, it is considering that you will eventually take a fall or dive to the floor. 

With the number of rocks it can encounter, the manufacturers want to assure that the bike holds up. However, this does mean that the bike will be heavier.

Hybrid Bikes

On the matter of this topic, hybrid bikes have taken the lighter approach as the road bike has.

It is meant to be the middle ground for casual bikers. 

So, if you are planning on taking a hybrid bike on the mountain, stick to the paths because it will be lighter and not as durable if it meets rocks or destruction.

The Difference

If you plan on going off-roading or to the mountains, I strongly recommend using a mountain bike. One of the things you will not be able to change on a bike will be the frame. 

If you want a bike that can be durable and take a beating or two, pick a mountain bike frame. 

If you don’t, plan on going off-roading or to the mountains, you will be fine with a hybrid frame.

Suspension

This will be the second most important decision in terms of safety that you will need to consider. 

Like I said everything on a bike is changeable except the frame, so this shouldn’t affect your overall decision, but it should be a primary area of concern.

Mountain Bikes

If you truly are planning on going off-roading or in the mountains to bike, it should be your number one priority to have the best suspension you can get. 

If you do not have a great suspension in the mountains, you will fall off, and you will hurt yourself. No wiggle room around that at all.

Hybrid Bikes

If you aren’t planning on being in the mountains, your hybrid bike’s standard suspension will work just fine for casual or professional biking.

The Difference

If you are going on a mountain, pick the best suspension you can get with a mountain bike. You will be bouncing around a lot! 

If you don’t fall off your bike, you will have a sore butt after you ride for 10 minutes. If you are a casual biker, it will not matter which one you have.

The Brakes

Brakes will be your most important decision when deciding your safety level of the bike that you wish to have. So, it is important to know which to have.

Mountain Bikes

All bikes will differ when selecting brake. The beginner mountain bike will have foot brakes, and those are the standard brakes recommended to have. 

If your mountain bike has both pedal brakes and hand brakes, be careful that you know how to use both properly.

Hybrid Bikes

This decision of brakes will also vary with the type of specific model of bike you have. Most of the time, your casual hybrid bike will either have hand brakes or both, but rarely will they have both.

The Difference

This is going to be the most important decision you make, so please pay attention. 

Most bikes try not to have the hand brakes on them at all due to the event that you could use them at the wrong time and could throw yourself off the bike very quickly if you aren’t careful enough.

The only reason why mountain bikes will have both hand and pedal brakes at the same time will be for some of the more experienced riders who always know where they are and know how to control their bikes. 

You’ll need this when on a mountain ride because a lot of quick timing and thinking needs to be done when you need to brake and from what part of the bike to brake with.

Consider using a mountain bike braking system if you meet the above criteria. Otherwise, the recommended brakes to have would be the standard pedal brakes.

In conclusion, if you follow the recommendations above of which pieces to use for your bike, you should be able to determine which you would need. 

If you can’t, then it seems you would need to custom order a bike. Happy choosing, I’ll see you out on the dirt!

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