Sep 14, 2021
Sep 14, 2021

Mountain bike or hybrid bike - Which suits me better?

The following article explains the most important differences between hybrid bikes and mountain bikes, which will make your purchase decision much easier.

Mountain bike or hybrid bike - Which suits me better?

Can't decide whether you need a mountain bike or a hybrid bike?

Here we’ll explain the most important differences between a hybrid bike and a mountain bike, which will make your buying decision much easier.

The Mountain Bike

The term mountain bike covers a wide range of different bikes, especially for sporty off-road use. The range extends from simply equipped hardtails to competition-ready full-suspension bikes. Within the world of mountain biking, you'll find the following ridestyles: enduro, downhill MTBs, dirt, or fat bikes.

In contrast to a hybrid bike, a mountain bike can be ridden almost anywhere. However, MTBs are only really fun when you get off paved roads, for example, on forest and gravel paths. MTBs are really in their element when they go on the road less travelled.

Their knobby tyres provide excellent grip off the road but have a slightly higher rolling resistance on asphalt. 27.5 inch (650b) or 29-inch wheel sizes have become commonplace on MTBs.

Mountain Bike vs. Hybrid Bike Canyon Grand Canyon MTB

MTB Gearing

An essential component of the mountain bike is the gearing. A MTB will allow you to master steep climbs as well as fast-paced descents. To do this efficiently requires the right gear ratio. MTB setups typically include a single, small front chainring with a wide-ranging rear cassette to ensure you have the right gears for the trail ahead.

1x12 gearing has become common using one chainring at the front and twelve sprockets at the rear. Such a wide range means there’s always an option regardless of whether you're riding up a steep trail or crushing a descent.

MTB Brakes

Hydraulic disc brakes are available on medium to high end mountain bikes. They ensure optimal stopping power even in dirt and wet conditions.

Less is more

Everything unnecessary is left off a mountain bike, as it only means extra weight, which makes climbs and bike handling more difficult. Therefore, you won't find mudguards, bike lights or luggage racks on our range of mountain bikes.

MTB riding position

The riding position on a mountain bike is determined by the frame geometry. It’s designed for acceleration and enables you to move around the bike as the gradient changes. The suspension fork and shock ensure optimal handling and comfort on rough terrain, even on fast-paced descents.

At home everywhere

Mountain bikes adapt easily to changing terrain. Whether on gravel, muddy forest paths or challenging trails - an MTB can do it all.

Whether a hardtail, full-suspension, or e-MTB, our range of mountain bikes ensure there’s something for you no matter where or how you ride.

Mountain Bike vs. Hybrid Bike Canyon Grand Canyon is great for exploring mountains

Mountain bike: the pros and cons at a glance

  • Rideable everywhere
  • Optimal off-road capability
  • Large choice (trail, enduro, downhill etc.)
  • More aggressive riding position, not quite suitable for everyday use
  • Not suitable for road traffic without lights
  • Higher rolling resistance on asphalt

The Hybrid Bike

If you are looking for a versatile bike, a hybrid bike is the best choice. A hybrid bike can be sporty and nippy, if necessary, but it is also suitable for shopping or longer tours. Hybrid bikes are very robust - so they can also cope well with larger loads. Hybrid bikes are comfortable city bikes but can also easily cope with gravel paths or forest trails. Challenging terrain and trails, on the other hand, should be reserved for MTBs.

The reason for this is the significantly narrower tyres compared to mountain bikes and different geometry. Most hybrid bikes have simple short-travel suspension forks at the front and no suspension elements at the rear.

Mountain Bike vs. Hybrid Bike Canyon Pathlite is best for exploring a little beyond your comfort zone

Hybrid bike gearing

Hub gears can also be found, but due to a lack of sufficient gearing, they are only recommended for short and medium distances.

Hybrid bike brakes

High-quality hybrid bikes are usually equipped with hydraulic disc brakes. They are more reliable and at the same time easier to control.

Fully road legal

Unlike mountain bikes, hybrid bikes are equipped with mudguards, luggage racks, front lights and rear reflectors. A hybrid bike is suitable for everyday use and is fun not only on the road but also on light off-road terrain.

Mountain Bike vs. Hybrid Bike The Canyon Pathlite is setup for relaxed riding

Hybrid Bike: Pros and Cons

  • Fully roadworthy
  • Ideal for city and touring (also dirt roads)
  • Good for everyday use (bikes lights, mudguards, stands)
  • Not suitable for mountains and rough terrain
  • Not suitable for sports use
  • Not as versatile as a mountain bike

Off-road specialist versus all-rounder - a comparison

Whether you will get more enjoyment from a mountain bike or a hybrid bike depends very much on your needs. A hybrid bike is equally suitable for easy terrain like asphalt and getting around town. An MTB, on the other hand, is the unbeaten champion for action-packed trails, mountains and gnarly downhills.

Weight: solid vs. light

Hybrid bikes (16 to 19 kg) almost always add weight, while mountain bikes (11 to 16 kg) are lighter. Depending on the materials used (aluminium or carbon) and the features, there are also outliers in both categories in one direction or the other.

Put simply, the weight has a big influence on the bike's handling. A heavier bike requires more power on climbs and is more cumbersome to handle. On the other hand, it is a bit faster on downhill sections. Don't underestimate the role of tyre tread, rims, and tyre pressure when it comes to the speed you can achieve.

Riding Position

The riding position also differs greatly. On a hybrid bike, you tend to sit more upright, which is comfortable and very good for everyday use. A mountain bike has a more dynamic, and forward-leaning seating position that is better for off-road use.

Aesthetics: inconspicuous vs. cool

Often, the design of mountain bikes is a bit more striking and eye-catching. This is why they are perceived as cooler, especially by many younger cyclists. The riding position alone makes an MTB look a bit sportier. A hybrid bike tends to be more understated on the outside, but it is usually the better choice for everyday use. And the range of bikes is now so huge that fans of both can find the right bike to suit their tastes.

Usefulness: suitable for everyday use vs. sporty

Another advantage of a hybrid bike is that it requires less maintenance. One reason is the mudguards, which protect both the bike and the rider from excessive dirt. In addition, the components of hybrid bikes are usually not as complex and maintenance-intensive.

Another advantage of a hybrid bike is that it requires less maintenance. One reason is the mudguards, which protect both the bike and the rider from excessive dirt. In addition, the components of hybrid bikes are usually not as complex and maintenance-intensive.

Summary: Hybrid bike vs. mountain bike

Each type of bike has its advantages and disadvantages. To ensure that you are satisfied with your choice for as long as possible, you should think carefully about how you will mainly be using the bike before buying it. If you mostly ride in the city and occasionally go on a tour, a hybrid bike is a good choice.

The sports fanatics among us who like to try out challenging trails, want to speed down a valley and rarely ride in the city are better off choosing a mountain bike. No matter which category you choose, at Canyon, you will find the right top-quality bike for every purpose and riding style, with a 30-day return policy.

By subscribing to our newsletter, you are agreeing to our Data Protection Statement .

Did this article help?

Thank you for your feedback

Related Stories

Aug 4, 2021
Take a closer look at all our mountain bikes and find out which one might be right for you.
Apr 8, 2021
So you’re thinking of getting a hybrid bike? We’ve packed everything you need to know into our helpful buyer’s guide to ensure you get the best bike for your needs.
Jul 18, 2024
Whether you’re new to clipless pedals or you’ve been riding with them for years, installing or replacing cycling cleats can be a tricky task. This guide will walk you through the process step by step and help you to troubleshoot any issues that might come up along the way.
Jul 9, 2024
Summer is almost upon us and with it comes the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships and the culmination of this year’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Here is our comprehensive guide to both events, including a breakdown of this year’s calendar, riders to watch and how you can watch them.
Content is loading
Loading animation image