Hybrid bicycles are a general-purpose bike that combines characteristics of other specialized bikes such as road, touring, and mountain bikes. By combining elements of different specialized bicycles the hybrid becomes quite versatile. Most have the straight handlebars associated with a mountain bike but lighter wheels similar to a road bike.
Hybrid bicycles are often confused with motorized-pedal hybrids, which fall under the realm of motorized bicycles.
The appeal of hybrid bikes is that they combine comfort with speed. They take certain aspects of more comfortable bicycles and combine them with the speed and lightness of more specialized bicycles.
If you are in the market for a hybrid bike, choose carefully, based on what your intended use for the bike is. If you are looking to ride around town more, maybe a commute to work, then look for a hybrid with thinner wheels, and a lighter frame. The great thing about hybrids is that you can keep the comfortable mountain bike handlebars, but with the added roadbike practicality.
Or, if you are intending to use your bike in the woods more, on a trail, or at your campsite, look for a stronger wheel. You can still have a light frame like the road bike, but you want a thicker wheel that is able to bear the natural elements.
Another great aspect of a hybrid bike is that it often has the capability to mount racks and bags, an element commonly associated with a touring bike.
If you are looking for a multi-use bike to take on any type of terrain adventure, then a hybrid bike just may be your perfect fit.