To determine the best comfort bike for women's needs, first look at the intended use of the bike.  Will the bike be ridden on the road, trail bike path, or a little of everything?  Assuming that the rider is interested in a fun, casual, comfortable ride that does not involve great distances and climbing big hills, a hybrid is the best choice.

best women's bike A hybrid is called that because it is capable of being used both on pavement and on easy (non-technical) dirt trails and gravel roads.  There are two types of hybrids - road-oriented and mountain-oriented.  Road-oriented hybrids have larger wheels and narrower tires for less rolling resistance.  Tires are generally "slick" (no tread, for pavement only) or "semi-slick" (subtle tread, fine on pavement and gravel/dirt).  If the bike will be ridden mostly on pavement, look for a road-oriented hybrid as it is much faster and easier to pedal.  Mountain-oriented hybrids have mountain-bike size wheels (26"), and generally come with semi-slick tires for traction on dirt.  Mountain-style hybrids are generally slower, but if there is dirt involved, they're a much softer, more compliant ride.

Hybrids sit the rider in a very upright, comfortable position.  They are not race machines!  Rather, their purpose is to serve as fun, comfortable, stable bikes.  An added feature of some hybrids is a step-through frame, which makes it easier for people with limited mobility to mount and dismount the bike.  Hybrids typically have low gearing suitable for climbing hills, although the bikes themselves tend to be heavy.  There are some hybrids that are designed with more performance in mind.  These are naturally more expensive - but again, if the rider wants a bike to "do it all" and still be very comfortable to ride, it's worth the investment.

Cruiser bikes (also known as "beach cruisers") are a wonderful option as well, if the rider is not interested in speed or agailty - at all.  Hybrids are faster and more versatile.  Cruisers can't be taken off-road, and are painfully slow on pavement.  Having said that, though, if "slow and show" are what the rider wants, cruisers are worth a look!

As with any bike, getting a good bike fit is important.  Choose a hybrid according to your needs and wants, and address comfort: riding position, saddle, handlebar placement and ease of shifting.  Hybrids can be ridden in cycling clothing, or street clothing.  If you're going to ride in street clothing, a wide, soft saddle is going to make the ride much more enjoyable!