Hyper Bikes seem to be tailor made for urban commute. They are reasonably-priced. Look as good as their beefier, mountain-climbing counterparts.
They can drastically cut short your commute time without creating a dent in your wallet. Bonus points for being environmental and heart friendly.
But they are often overshadowed by the ‘Walmart’ cloud.
Walmart is generally synonymous with cheap things. The rule of thumb in the world of biking is that if it’s cheap, it’s probably not worth it.
That’s what makes people wonder whether these bikes are any good, or just hyped to the heavens.
We had the opportunity to get our hands on three Hyper bikes in the past year, and we put it to the test. From short urban commutes to proper bike trails with a few hills along the way, we tested these Hyper Bikes from head to toe.
Here’s what we found.
What Is a Hyper Bike?
Hyper Bikes is a catchall phrase used to describe Hybrid Bicycles, which are preferred by urban cyclists for their ability to tread effortlessly on city trails and off-road ones.
We don’t blame you for mistaking it to be Hyper Bicycles, the bicycle brand with a fair bit of repute amongst BMX Racing & freestyle cyclists. Hyper was established in the 1990s by Clay Goldsmid, a former BMX Pro.
For years, they focused solely on BMX Bikes and racing bike components. Eventually, they veered into mountain bikes and commuter-specific bikes, which are now sold through Walmart in the USA & Canada. Hence the ‘Walmart’ halo that surrounds them.
Having said that, the Hyper Bikes that we are discussing may not necessarily be built by Hyper Bicycles though. There are many brands like Schwinn and Liv, which manufacture hyper bikes.
Benefits of Hyper Bikes
Biking comes with tons of perks, both for the body and the mind. But an oft overlooked benefit is that it can help you save time and money, otherwise spent inhaling soot and buying Metro Cards.
Cycling Outside Is a Great Activity
The Pandemic has single-handedly managed to revive cycling as a mainstream mobility option. To be honest, it was long time due. Cycling blows your rigorous everyday commute out of the water. It lets you get outdoors and connect with the environment. You can feel the breeze and the sun on your face (Vitamin D). It’s a stress buster and a mood amplifier.
Besides, there’s a whole community of cyclists out there which brings this electric vibe to the activity. The only thing that compares to this indoors is using a Zwift indoor bike, which allows you to enjoy a very realistic virtual cycling experience with your friends and allows you compete with other people indoors.
Great for Your Cardiovascular Health
Cycling is a low-impact aerobic activity that recruits all major muscle groups in your body. From your fingers (grip) to the forearms, to the calves, every muscle works in synergy when you pedal away.
Every time the terrain transforms and you come across a hill, the focus shifts to your heart and lungs, which have to work harder to pump blood and oxygen.
Cycling is a terrific cardiovascular exercise with the ability to help you burn almost 300 calories a day. A study published in the ‘British Journal of Sports & Medicine’ shows that 1-year of consistent cycling can let you torch up to 11 lbs. of body fat. Go figure.
Cycling Is Great for The Mind Too
The ‘Runner’s High’ is obsolete. Here’s the ‘Cyclists High’ for you. Cycling releases endorphins, which in turn increase the secretion of ‘Anandamide’, an endocannabinoid associated with good mood and happy feelings.
If you have been feeling the brunt of staying locked indoors, cycling might be the ticket to good mood and an end to the irritability and depression.
Cycling also has cognitive benefits for adults by the way and is said to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Downside of Hyper Bikes
All things said and done, there are a few pitfalls of hyper biking that you should also consider before you decide whether or not to pick one of these.
Risk of Injury or Accident
More and more people are opting to cycle instead of using public transport during the pandemic. This has caused a sudden surge in the number of cyclists on the road. There are far too many cyclists out there who may not be equipped with the skills needed to navigate through bustling streets. If you have cycled on busy streets all your life, then it may not seem like much of a difference.
But if this is the first time you are going to hop on a bicycle, then there’s a real risk of an injury or a mishap.
It Takes Time to Prepare for Your Outdoor Cycling Session
Most of us are tight on time. That’s why we grab a bag and rush to public transport. It saves us a fair bit of time that would otherwise be spent setting things up.
When you cycle, you have to account for the additional time needed to prepare for the ride. You wear safety gear, ensure that you park the cycle safely and there’s enough room to tow your bag and sundry details.
It’s not rocket-science. But it’s definitely going to eat into your rationed time. Unlike if you cycle indoors, and maybe using an app like Zwift, where you can start in a couple of minutes with literally no prior planning or thought.
While a hyper bike is a cost-effective choice, the cost increases exponentially as you crave for a better set of wheels. A fancy mountain bike used by the pros can set you back by almost 3-5 grands, even high-end indoor bikes like the Peloton and the newer model Peloton Plus don't cost that much. Add to that the cost of safety equipment. Then you look at that speedometer and want one of those. An action camera to attach to the handle. Fancy pedals, sneakers, the list goes on and on.
Top Hyper Bikes on the Market Reviewed
Now that you are aware of the pros and cons, here’s a look at some of the best hyper bikes in the market currently.
#1 - Schwinn Men's GTX 3 Hybrid Bike
The Schwinn Men’s GTX 3 is a lightweight hybrid designed for city commute. It’s a 28” bike with an aluminum dual sport frame and a front suspension fork that can tackle a bump or two with ease.
If you ever wish to go exploring to the country side, a 24-speed gear with the Shimano EZ-Fire trigger gear shifters allow you to seamlessly adapt to the changing terrain. The GTX3 comes with 700cc tires that give you a firm grip, regardless of whether its pavement or a dirt trail.
In the advent of an unruly passerby walking into your path, the Alloy V-brakes kick-in and stop the cycle in the blink of an eye. I have a full review of the GTX 3; if you want a more in-depth look, you can check it out.
- Frame – Aluminum, 20-inch
- Wheel Size – 28”
- Suspension – Rigid Front Suspension Fork
- Ideal Use – City Commute with easy off-road trails
#2 - Liv Alight 2 Disc – Best Option for Women
The Liv Alight 2 Disc is the successor to the Alight 1 Disc, Liv’s bestselling hybrid bike for city commute. The Alight 2 Disc is revamped from the ground up and features more comfort, better stability and improved ergonomics, which make for a comfortable ride.
The handlebar is noticeably flatter giving you a more upright seating position. This allows you to keep a vigilant eye on the traffic and watch out for pesky cyclists who ride like they’re blindfolded. Added benefits include better stability and posture.
Just like the other bikes in Liv’s hybrid range, the Alight 2 disc features an ALUXX aluminum frame, which is Giant’s (Liv’s Parent brand) signature alloy across their range of hybrids. It’s perfect for zipping around on busy roads, or lifting the bike if need be.
Other features include Puncture protect tires, triple chain sets for 21-gears, Tektro Hydraulic brakes, & Shimano Derailleurs on the front and rear. By the way, the Liv Alight Disc 2 comes with mudguards & a kickstand installed.
- Frame – Aluxx Aluminum, Available in XS, S, M, L
- Wheel size – 28”
- Suspension – NA
- Ideal Use – City commute for women
#3 - Tern BYB S11 – Best Folding Hybrid
The Tern BYB S11 is one of the best folding hybrids around. It stands 32” tall & 14” wide, weighing a lightweight 29 lbs. But when you fold it down, the double-folding mechanism kicks-in shrinking it into a third of its original size.
Oh yes, most folding bikes break down into halves. The BYB S11 folds into thirds. This is made possible with two large levers on the frame. Even if you are in the middle of the street, you can fold this easily.
Come ride time, the 20-inch wheels with the 1.5” tires bring comfort and stability that are generally not the USP of folding bikes. There’s an 11-speed gear suite with a 54-tooth chain ring for tackling the occasional terrain change.
Overall, the BYB S11 is a folding bike unlike any.
- Frame – Aluminum, Single size that fits rider’s from 4’5” to 6’5”
- Wheel size – 20”
- Suspension – Fork
- Ideal use – City commute without hogging storage space
So, Are Hyper Bikes Good?
That depends on the intended use. There’s so much buzz surrounding hybrid bikes these days that manufacturers pitch them as the be-all, end-all of multi-terrain biking. That’s generally not the case.
Hyper Bikes are lightweight and feature moderately good components. The frame, the tires, the suspensions or the lack of it, are all designed purely for short commutes on reasonably smooth trails.
They can occasionally handle a country road. But don’t expect to climb a mountain with these.
On the other hand, if you seek a reliable and stable ride for city commutes, there’s no better choice than a hyper bike.
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