Hybrid vs. Mountain Bikes: In-detail Comparison

We cover the features, advantages, and drawbacks of these two bike types and compare them in detail.
John Watson
John Watson
John is an experienced cycling enthusiast and a great asset when it comes to writing skills. He's a Bachelor of Arts and a talented journalist. John is in charge of our blog read more
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Last updated: August 13, 2023
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What’s the difference between a hybrid bike and a mountain bike? It is a common question. Although they share a lot of things in common, mountain bikes and hybrid bikes are two different types of bikes. What are the criteria to take into account when choosing between mountain bikes and hybrid bikes? What are the main characteristics of these bikes in the cycling landscape?

Can we use the mountain bike in town? Can we use the mountain bike on all roads and paths?

In this hybrid vs mountain bike article, we tell you everything you need to know.

Mountain Bikes

Hybrid vs. Mountain Bikes: In-detail Comparison

Comparing hybrid vs MTB bikes, the mountain bike is used on rough paths in the forest, in the mountains, or on demanding terrain. The advantage of a mountain bike is that it performs very well on muddy or rough trails and dampens vibrations.

With at least 18 speeds, it adapts to all conditions. Its studded tires and powerful brakes allow you to cross all trails safely. Be careful, however, the mountain bike is more intended for sporting use off the road but it is not comfortable for use in town, except the wheels are changed.

Styles and Use

An all-terrain bike, as its name suggests, is designed for budding or professional cyclists, who want to go off-road and get off the beaten track. It’s estimated that about 9 million people mountain-bike in the US Trusted Source • Mountain biking participants US 2020 | Statista www.statista.com , according to Statista. Available in several styles depending on the use or sport practiced, a mountain bike is characterized by its ability to take technical paths, steep paths, and difficult terrain. On the other hand, the mountain bike can be used regardless of climatic conditions.

From enduro mountain bikes to cross-country styles, there are a few types of mountain bikes. For the budding cyclist who wants to discover the joys of off-roading without having to spend a fortune, we recommend the purchase of a mountain bike for beginners with a standard hardtail and hydraulic disc brakes.

Distinctive Features

The mountain bike is based in particular on reinforced steel, aluminum, or carbon frame and has two wide and notched wheels, the diameter of which varies from one model to another. Moreover, the mountain bike is equipped with shock absorbers in the front and rear wheels to be able to absorb the roughness of steep terrain.

Mountain bike handlebars are generally the same width as the rider’s shoulders and are usually straight. The suspensions for mountain bikes provide greater performance and capacity control on a steep path or a bumpy road. They can go in the front, in the rear, or on both wheels.

A rigid suspension will allow you to go on difficult but not extreme roads. On the other hand, a full suspension bike will allow you to perform more maneuvers. Of course, it must be accompanied by other components.

The tires are a fundamental part of a mountain bike. They have more thickness with spikes to resist rocky roads, or obstacles such as wood, leaves, grass, or mud. The tread of the tires will depend on the road on which it is rolled. The vast majority have studs that improve traction.


  • Has spiky, thick, and durable tires
  • More versatile than a hybrid
  • More durable than a hybrid
  • More comfortable to ride
  • They have shock absorbers both in the rear and front wheels


  • They are not fast when used on the road
  • You need to change the wheels to convert it to an on-road bike

Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid vs. Mountain Bikes: In-detail Comparison

What is a hybrid bike? The hybrid bike is a hybrid between the racing bike and the mountain bike Trusted Source Mountain bike versus hybrid: What's the difference? review | Cycling Weekly Wondering what the difference is between a hybrid bike and a mountain bike and which is best for you? We’ll take you through both these styles of bike. www.cyclingweekly.com . It can be used on asphalt roads and country lanes. The advantage of the hybrid bike is that you can use it to go to work or in the city but also in the countryside for weekend rides. Nevertheless, the hybrid bike has very smooth tires, which will not allow you to use it on the mountain trail or on rough roads.

Styles and Use

The difference between mountain bikes and hybrid bikes is that hybrid bikes are not suitable for all types of terrain. Nevertheless, this bike is nonetheless very versatile and suitable for many kinds of uses. To put it simply, the hybrid bike is intended for cyclists who want to ride in an urban environment. The hybrid bike is also recommended for driving on non-extreme off-road terrains and paved roads. Models such as the Schwinn Discover Hybrid Bike for commuting and riding in the neighborhood.

The hybrid bike comes in several types, but only two are the most used: the urban mountain bike and the sports mountain bike. Everything is in the names that these mountain bikes bear. The first is intended for driving in an urban environment, while the second is aimed at people who want a bike tailored for sports activity. Note that the sporty mountain bike is very similar to mountain biking in its design and technical specificities.

Distinctive Features

Much less technically complex than mountain biking, the hybrid bike is based on a steel or aluminum frame and its tires are generally much thinner compared to those of the mountain bike. On the other hand, the wheels of a hybrid bike, being larger, requires less pedaling effort than a mountain bike. Keep that in mind when deciding on whether a hybrid or mountain bike to choose.

Another point of convergence with mountain biking: the hybrid bike is much lighter due to its frame and the lower design of its front fork. To conclude, it should be noted that the hybrid bike is generally equipped with a mudguard, a luggage rack, and other accessories of the kind, bringing it closer to the city bike.

The wheels of a hybrid bike are a combination of the wheels of a racing bike and those of a mountain bike.

The diameter is wider and this offers greater stability and durability over time (with lower consumption of rubber), but this increases the pressure thus placing the wheels at the level of road bikes. The rims and spokes, on the other hand, are lighter. You should remember that when deciding between MTB vs hybrid bikes.


  • Offers the benefits of a mountain and road bike
  • Can be ridden in rainy weather
  • Lighter than an MTB
  • Upright handlebar and comfortable saddle
  • More aerodynamic than an MTB but not as a road bike


  • They’re designed overall for comfort than performance

Hybrid Bicycle vs Mountain Bike: Side-by-Side Comparison

So, what’s the difference between MTB and a hybrid cycle? The hybrid bike is a type of bike that is suitable for riding on asphalt. It’s a versatile bike that is a perfect mix between racing bikes and mountain biking. It’s ideal when you want to indulge in this activity as a leisure activity and go several kilometers for a hike.

MTB meanwhile is an all-terrain bike that brings you unparalleled comfort when you have to take on rough roads. So you need an agile, maneuverable, and solid model to ride on more difficult roads. One after the other, here are ways both bikes differ.

Should you go for MTB or hybrid? Let’s take a closer look


When comparing MTB vs hybrid cycle, you should remember to check the material of the frame to assess its strength and weight. Steel is stronger than aluminum but heavier and susceptible to corrosion.

Almost all, or at least most, hybrid bikes are made with lightweight compounds such as steel or lightweight aluminum. The advantage lies in the resistance of the materials (they have a fairly long life) and in the relatively low price. MTBs are usually also made of high-strength steel for durability. However, many models are still made of aluminum. The Mongoose Status Mountain Bike has an aluminum frame but it’s a strong full-suspension aluminum frame with a powerful suspension fork.

Mountain bike frames are different depending on the type of use. There are specialized frames, they can be one suspension, two suspensions, or rigid. The former is found as a hardtail, the latter as full suspension, and the rigid ones.

The hybrid bike has a more compact frame. But in both cases, you will have the choice between a geometry with titanium, aluminum, steel, or carbon frame, which will have a direct influence on the price. Here’s everything you need to know about hybrid bike vs MTB bike frames.


Hybrid vs. Mountain Bikes: In-detail Comparison

The choice between mountain or hybrid bikes also depends on the brakes. Mountain bikes are equipped with V-brakes, mechanical disc brakes, or hydraulic disc brakes. V-brakes consist of large jaws with high leverage. Finally, the mountain bike is characterized by the sensitivity and the power of its disc brakes, mechanical or hydraulic.

Meanwhile, the brakes of the hybrid bikes are V or disc brakes and the gearshift controls have levers on the handlebar or ergonomic controls integrated into the brake levers (this is in the case of curved handlebars). The crankset almost always has three smaller toothed crowns. This is the difference between MTB and hybrid cycle in terms of brakes.


The next difference between mountain bikes vs hybrid bikes is suspension. Some hybrid bikes are equipped with a telescopic fork or a lockable shock absorber. Locking the fork or the suspension stiffens the bike and does not waste energy in pumping.

The suspension fork is not a mandatory criterion on the mountain bike, however. Nevertheless, it gives you real comfort, especially when you have to take paths outside the asphalt. A minimum clearance of 60mm on the fork will be recommended.

For mountain bikes, the fork is essential and in some cases, it will be completed with a suspended frame. Faced with the demands of the road, it is important to absorb shocks as much as possible. At least 75mm of fork travel is recommended when choosing a hybrid bike. This is the difference between hybrid and MTB suspension.


Hybrid vs. Mountain Bikes: In-detail Comparison

The next difference between hybrid and MTB cycles is based on tires. The tires of the hybrid bike were previously 26 inches. But they are gradually being replaced by models in 27.5 inches and 29 inches. With a wider wheel, you have a better grip, even when the weather conditions start to get rough.

Conversely, the mountain bike needs a thinner wheel to limit friction to ensure better performance. You will usually find 28-inch wheels with designs for good grip.


Comparing MTB cycle vs hybrid, you should also consider handlebars. The handlebar of a hybrid is very similar to that of a mountain bike. In practice, it is completely flat. Compared to a racing bike, therefore, it has a better position for viewing and controlling the bicycle.

Meanwhile, the mountain bike handlebars are generally the same width as the rider’s shoulders and are usually straight.


The transport capacity is not the same on hybrid bikes or mountain bikes. With a hybrid bike, you won’t be able to carry a lot of things. The capacity of an MTB backpack is very limited because the weight will not be helpful, especially in the mountains or in the hills.

With a mountain bike, on the other hand, you will be able to carry more things. It is possible to add transport baskets or side bags to bring the necessary for a picnic for example.

Comparison Chart

There were the main differences between MTB and hybrid bikes. Taking a general view of both types of bikes, here is a hybrid bike vs mountain bike comparison:

  Hybrid Bike Mountain Bike
Use For riding on bike paths, short-distance commuting, and more Used on rough paths in the forest, in the mountains, or on demanding terrain.
Speed 12 to 18 miles per hour Average of 10 miles per hour
Comfort The handlebars are not as comfortable Comfortable to use but harder to pedal and slower on asphalt or concrete
Durability Lasts up to 15 years or 1,000 to 3,000 miles Lasts up to 20 years or 3,000 to 7,000 miles
Cost $450 to $500 $400 to $800

Final Thoughts

So, for those asking, “between a mountain bike or a hybrid bike, which should I buy,” the answer should be clearer now.

As we emphasized in the hybrid vs mountain bike article, the choice between a mountain bike and a mountain bike depends on your profile as a cyclist, the use you want to make of your bike, and the type of terrain you plan to use. Although they are the same in many ways, mountain bikes and hybrid bikes are two different bikes.

Therefore, mountain biking is more aimed at cyclists wishing to get off the beaten track and take the rough paths, while the hybrid bike is designed for cyclists who want to drive on hiking routes, less extreme off roads and paved roads.


• Mountain biking participants US 2020 | Statista
Mountain bike versus hybrid: What
Wondering what the difference is between a hybrid bike and a mountain bike and which is best for you? We’ll take you through both these styles of bike.

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