The 6 Best Hybrid Bikes Under $500 for Men & Women [2021]

Hybrid bike in a forest

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Finding the best hybrid bikes under $500 is not an easy task. Due to events in 2020, most hybrid bikes are out of stock due to the shortage of components and high demand.

But, I was able to find a few good hybrid bikes for you. My favorite is the Trek FX 1 (also available in the step-through option). It is a well-equipped, lightweight, and versatile hybrid bike that you can rely on.

In this article, you will also learn how to choose a hybrid bike under $500 and what type of hybrid bike is the right for you.

Table of Contents


What Are the Best Hybrid Bikes Under $500?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the shortage of bike components and high demand for bikes, many bikes are out of stock online. Unfortunately, it is necessary to wait even several months for some bikes.

FX 1 Stagger

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FX 1 Stagger | Source: Trekbikes.com
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FX 1 Stagger (Step-Through) | Source: Trekbikes.com

Pros

  • The bike is available for men and women (step-through)
  • Comfortable grips & saddle
  • Platform pedals included
  • Compatible with rear rack and fenders
  • Compatible with DuoTrap S speed sensor (not included)

Cons

  • Limited color selection

Are you looking for a versatile bike that is comfortable and well-built? Trek FX 1 should grab your attention.

It is a perfect choice for people who need a bike they can rely on. It will not only take you from point A to point B, but you also enjoy a lot of fun with it because FX 1 is quick and agile.

You will be able to choose from 24 gears because it features a 3×8 Shimano drivetrain. This means you will always find the right gear for uphills, flats, or downhills.

FX 1 is compatible with a rear rack and fenders so that you can use it for longer trips and bike packing, thanks to extended storage capacity.

Just remember, it is equipped with smooth tires so it is not very suitable for too rough terrain. They are ideal for paved surfaces, light gravel, or dry dirt roads.

This bike is also compatible with the DuoTrap S speed sensor that you can use to track your ride progress. It is sold separately, so keep that in mind.

Trek FX 1 is available in the women’s step-through option as well! It is called Trek FX 1 Stagger. The only disadvantage of these 2 models is their very limited color selection.


Priority Classic Plus

Classic Plus Side Profile web

Pros

  • The bike is available for men and women (step-through)
  • Available in 4 colors (white, black, light blue, blush)
  • High build quality
  • Attractive retro design
  • Comfortable grips & saddle
  • Kickstand and bottle cage included
  • Easy to build

Cons

  • Limited gear selection
  • No rear brake

Priority Bicycles is a young bicycle brand that escalated its growth thanks to a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Its founder, Dave, created a bike that is comfortable, easy to build, maintain, and good-looking.

It all started with the Priority Classic model that raised over $565,000 on Kickstarter. Its successor, Priority Classic Plus, is an improved version of the previous model.

The Classic Plus is a lightweight (it weighs just 25 lb) bike that is hassle-free. Its main benefit is that it uses a belt-drive. This means it is completely free of grease and grime.

But its benefits do not end here. It is super easy to assemble, so even inexperienced people can make it. Its geometry allows riding in an upright, comfortable position, making it ideal for short commuting.

It also comes with a rigid kickstand and a bottle cage for your water bottle. And last but not least, the build quality is superb.

This bike is available for both men and women. You can choose from 4 nice-looking colors (black, blue, white, and blush).

There are 2 sizes for step-through (women’s) frame. The size S is suitable for riders with 26″-30″ inseam. The size M for riders with 30.5″-33″ inseam.

Men can choose from 3 sizes (S 26″-30″ inseam, M 30.5″-33″ inseam, and L 32.5″-36″ inseam).


Schwinn Wayfarer Retro-Styled Cruiser Hybrid Bike

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Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • The bike is packed in secure packaging
  • Shimano derailleur and freewheel
  • Quick-release front wheel
  • Geometry allows a comfortable upright position
  • Instructions manual included
  • Rear folding basket
  • Front and rear fenders

Cons

  • Adjustments are needed after assembly (tightening handlebars, brakes, etc.)
  • Cheaper components may rust easily

Schwinn is a well-known manufacturer of budget bicycles. The Schwinn Wayfarer Retro Bike is an excellent choice for those that want to commute in a city, to and from work or a grocery store. But, it doesn’t mean you can go on a trip on this bike. Just make sure you don’t choose a hilly route because the gears are limited.

Wayfarer is equipped with 7 speed Shimano derailleur that is quick and precise. The fenders are going to protect you from splashes. And you can take advantage of the rear folding basket to transport cargo (from your local store, for example).

The bike is designed for 5’4” to 6’2” adult riders and is available in black or dark blue colors. You should be able to assemble the bike by yourself because the assembly is easy, and the instructions manual is included.

You may need to adjust the handlebars and brakes, but I believe you can make it. If not, visit your local bike shop.


Sixthreezero Beach Cruiser Hybrid Bike (for Women)

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Pros

  • A large variety of colors and gears to choose from
  • Rear rack
  • Geometry and curved handlebars allow a comfortable upright position
  • Attractive retro design
  • Comfortable grips & saddle
  • Kickstand included

Cons

  • Not suitable for very tall or very short figures
  • Be careful with the fixed gear option – it is suitable for flats only

The sixthreezero beach cruiser is a super cool-looking bike with classic curves. Because of its geometry, the riding position is upright and thus more comfortable.

Thanks to the rear rack, you can add a basket for cargo (the basket is not included). So, you can go to the beach with all your clothing and accessories on it. Just remember that the bike is available with fixed gear only. Thus, it is suitable for flats.

The bike also has no brakes, so you have to get used to braking with pedals. When you decide to stop, you can take advantage of the kickstand that is included.

The sixthreezero beach cruiser is designed for riders with a height of 5’ to 6’2” feet.


Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1

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Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 | Source: Rei.com
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Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 (Step-Through) | Source: Rei.com

Pros

  • The bike is available for men and women (step-through)
  • Disc brakes
  • Comfortable grips & saddle
  • Platform pedals included

Cons

  • Limited color selection

Yes, I admit. This bike is a little bit over the $500 mark, but it would be a huge mistake not to include it as well. If you save a little bit more and decide to invest in a high-quality hybrid bike, this is the bike you should invest in.

Not only is it available for men and women, but it is equipped with a quality Shimano drivetrain (3×8 gears). This means you will always find the right gear for the terrain you ride in.

Its disc brakes will provide you with enough stopping power even in wet conditions so that you can rely on them at any time.

This bike is suitable for paved roads, light gravel, and even dirt roads. Just remember, the tires are not knobby, so that the traction may be limited on rougher surfaces and more difficult terrains like trails, in mud, etc.

Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 is a versatile bike that offers a very good price-value ratio. You can use it for commuting to or from work, bike trips, casual rides… I am sure it won’t disapoint you.


GT Transeo Sport

GT Transeo Sport
GT Transeo Sport | Source: Chainreactioncycles.com
GT Transeo Sport Step Through
GT Transeo Sport (Step-Through) | Source: Chainreactioncycles.com

Pros

  • The bike is available for men and women (step-through)
  • Disc brakes
  • Comfortable grips & saddle
  • Platform pedals included

Cons

  • Available in one color only

GT Transeo Sport 2021 offers an excellent price-value ratio. It is available for men and women, so you can gift your partner with it and go on a trip together.

With Shimano Acera drivetrain (3×7 gears), you can choose a gear that will fit you to climb steep hills, ride quickly on flats, or in downhills.

Thanks to disc brakes, you will also get good stopping power in any weather or terrain.

It features high-volume 700 x 40c tires ideal for light gravel or dirt roads. But, they are fast on paved roads as well.

These features make it versatile and suitable for family trips, daily commuting, or casual rides into the countryside.

The main disadvantage is that GT Transeo Sport 2021 is only available in blue.


If you could not choose from this selection, you might also be interested in the Best Hybrid Bikes Under $300.


My Verdict

The best hybrid bike under $500 is the Trek FX 1 (also available in the step-through option). It combines high-quality build, versatility, and reliability.

I think it is one of the best hybrid bikes you can get in this price category. Compared to other models. It features a Shimano 3×8 drive train that allows you to choose the best gear in every terrain.

FX 1 is a bike suitable for short commuting to and from work, bike trips with your family, or even maintaining your fitness level.

It is available for men and women. Its only main downside is the limited color selection. But overall, this is a bike I can fully recommend.


How to Choose the Best Hybrid Bike Under $500?

You already completed the first step – setting a budget. In the following section, you find out what to expect from a hybrid bike for under $500 and how to choose it, so you spend your money wisely.

The $500 budget is not large, but it will allow you to buy a hybrid bike capable of reliably bringing you from point A to point B.

These bikes are made from aluminum. They are equipped with entry-level components. Some models come with disc brakes. Usually, you get a wider gear range than with hybrid bikes under $300.

The following sections contain the most important info from my full guide How to Choose a Hybrid bike.

Hybrid Bike Type

Did you know there are 4 basic categories of hybrid bikes? The cruiser/comfort bikes are usually the cheapest, but, in the below $500 range, the other types of hybrid bikes also start to appear.

types of hybrid bikes
Basic types of hybrid bikes | Product pictures were used with permission of canyon.com and trekbikes.com

Below, I explain the differences between individual hybrid bike types so you can decide which type of hybrid bike is the best for you.

Trekking Bikes

Trekking bikes (sometimes also called fitness bikes) are specific for their flat handlebars and more aggressive geometry than other types of hybrid bikes. Depending on the type and manufacturer, the geometry may vary. There are 3 basic types of trekking bikes:

  • Trekking bikes with more relaxed, upright geometry suitable for family trips. They are usually equipped with wider tires allowing riding on rougher surfaces (light gravel, dirt roads, etc.).
  • Trekking bikes with a more aggressive geometry that allows a faster ride to maintain your fitness level. They have narrow tires that have lower rolling resistance and thus are great for paved roads. Yet, they handle light gravel too.
  • Trekking bikes that are a compromise between the above-mentioned two categories. They are very versatile and suitable for a large variety of terrains.

Commuter Bikes

Commuter bikes are designed for commuting to & from work, grocery store, or for riding around your neighborhood. Commuter bikes are suitable for paved roads, but they can handle light terrains as well. Some commuter bikes may be equipped with extra accessories like panniers, baskets, and most with lights.

To increase your safety on your bike, don’t forget to wear a helmet. Choose from a selection of the most stylish bike helmets on the market.

City Bikes

City bikes are very similar to commuter bikes. According to Richard Ballantine, the author of Richard’s 21st Century Bicycle Book, they differ from other hybrid bikes by using 26” inches wheels and wider tires. These features allow riding on roads with pot-holes. If you live in the countryside, a city bike can be the right choice for you thanks to the mudguards that often come with it. 

Cruiser / Comfort bikes

Cruiser / Comfort bikes are all about comfort. They have the most upright geometry of all types of hybrid bikes and allow riders to place both feet on the ground easily. Cruiser and comfort bikes are perfect for cruising around the beach and neighborhood. They often come with accessories like baskets, bells, lights, etc.

Hybrid Bike TypeIdeal for
Trekking Bikes• Maintaining fitness level and family trips
• Paved roads, bike paths, and light terrain
Commuter Bikes• Commuting to and from work, grocery store, etc.
• Paved roads and bike paths
City Bikes• Commuting in the city, cruising neighborhoods
• Paved roads and bike paths
Cruiser / Comfort bikes• Cruising around beach and neighborhoods
• Paved roads and bike paths

Easy Assembly

If you’re not a good mechanic (don’t worry, I am neither), focus on getting a bike that is easy to assemble. The packing should include easy to follow instruction manual.

Some manufacturers sell their bikes already semi-assembled so that you can assemble yours within 10 or 15 minutes.

On the other hand, some hybrid bikes come with hard-to-follow assembly instructions. So, it is better to take it to a professional mechanic. This will cost additional money, so the bike that looked cheap will suddenly become expensive because you have to pay for the service and the time getting the bike to and from the store.

Components

The $500 budget allows manufacturers to equip bikes with entry-level components. If you can, save more money so you can buy a bike with better components, from Shimano, for example.

Here are my other recommendations that are based on my market research:

  • Buy a bike with a front and rear brake. You can choose between rim or disc brakes.
    • Rim brakes are cheaper, lighter, and easier to maintain, but their stopping power may be affected by bad weather, such as the rain.
    • Disc brakes have better stopping power at any conditions, but they are heavier and more expensive.
      Sources: Bicyclenetwork, Bikeradar
  • Hybrid bikes under $500 offer a good gear range. Usually, you get 2×7, 2×9, 3×7, or 3×8 gearing.
  • And finally, the bike should be equipped with pedals. Hybrid bikes come with platform pedals that you can use with standard shoes.

Hybrid Bike Size

To make your bike ride comfortable, you need to choose the right bike size. There are various methods and ways to do this.

The simplest method is to choose bike size based on your height. But, this method is not very precise.

I recommend choosing a bike size based on your inseam length and comparing it with the manufacturer’s bike size chart.

If you want to find out more, free to read my article on How to Choose a Bike Size.

Other Accessories

Hybrid bikes under $500 may come with other accessories. For example, cruiser bikes are equipped with a front basket, cup holder, a kickstand, etc.

If you want to maintain your fitness level and ride medium to long distances, the front basket will be useless for you.

Make sure you first think about your riding style and then decide whether you should get a bike with better components or with more accessories.


Hybrid Bikes FAQ


This post is regularly updated to provide you the most up to date tips on products. If you find a product that is not up to date, please, contact me.

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