If you are a biking enthusiast, but aren’t ready to shell out thousands of dollars for a bike, you’re likely looking at some lower to moderately priced hybrid and cruiser bikes. But sometimes it’s hard to know which bike is right for you.

The main difference between hybrid and cruiser bikes is whether you can take them off-road, meaning anything but dry, flat pavement.

Cruiser Bikes

Cruiser bikes are perfect for just that, cruising. Take them on your favorite paved paths and they will serve you well. However, if you plan to go on dirt roads, ride in the rain, mud or even snow, a cruiser bike is likely not the right choice as it doesn’t have some of the amenities that you would need to navigate rougher terrain, such as shocks.

Hybrid Bikes

If you are looking for an everyday commuter bike that you can also take onto those dirt road shortcuts or ride in the rain, mud and light snow, hybrid bikes are worth considering. They offer similar comfort to cruiser bikes, but add a few more off-road friendly features to make sure your ride is both smooth and comfortable even if it does involve that little bit of off-road adventure. Hybrid bikes are great for the bike enthusiasts , but shouldn’t be used as mountain bikes, since they don’t offer the same rigidity and features that are required for riding down mountains, going around sharp turns, and over stumps and logs.

Should I buy a Hybrid or Cruiser Bike?

If you are looking for true comfort, a cruiser bike is the way to go. However, if your day takes you off the beaten (paved) path, a hybrid bike is a nice way to still gain some comforts that a cruiser bike would offer, but also make sure you’re able to go through small pot holes, over gravel or through puddles.

In the end, no one bike gives you every terrain, every season, every climate, but think about what a majority of your riding will be and make a decision based on your most common use. And if you do end up needing another bike, it never hurts to have two…