My boring answer as in most bike threads; find a good bike shop. There is a ton of choice out there and the best bike shop will not just ensure yo get you want but also what you need and alsomake sure it fits you.
Cube Hyde Pro
I picked one of these up a couple of years back in September - which is a good time for deals as the next years versions are due.
Has an 8 geared hub. Only maintenance I have needed to have done is oil the chain and remove the silly decals on the wheel rims.
You have already seen and will continue to see the best advice - find a quality bike shop near you. It makes the buying experiences less stressful. Mine is 35 miles away. Buy Shimano components for no other reason than they are available everywhere you go. My rear brake pads needed changing while in Croatia recently, and the local bike shop there only stocked Shimano. My bike was ready to go inside 5 minutes.
the OP wanted just to read the experiences of others who have bought an hybrid bike. It’s the reason why of a forum, to share.
Most dealers are not honest, they just want to sell the most expensive they can. And 70% of the dealers don’t really know their products. It’s the reality nowadays, for computers, phones, cars…
That’s a bit unfair, it pays to go by local recommendation, in a town near where i live there are a few bike shops and they all have reasonable reputations.
The advantage of a LBS ( Local Bike Shop ) is having a bike set up and adjusted safely and correctly on the correct size of frame.
I often see cyclists riding bikes that have the wrong frame size for them - usually frame too big, or even far too big.
Bike set-up is important too, and bike shop dealers can lend their years of experience to gain correct seat position - handlebar height - and the appropriate choice of pedals.
Equipment such as helmets, a cycle rain jacket, shoes, is often best bought locally so you get the correct fit.
Buying bikes on auction sites is okay if you’re street wise expert enough know what you’re doing / looking for, but beware of buying a troublesome bike, or a stolen bike, etc…
apparently i have a different opinion than yours on dealers. However i live in Paris area. It’s my experience , so i can’t say it’s unfair.
I can’t say really for bikes shops, but hifi, phones, computers have a lot of unexperimented dealers in France.
For hifi, most dealers will say that the components they don’t sell are not musical or good sounding. 70% of them don’t have a solid knowledge in computer audio, but are selling melco, core…without really knowing how it works precisely.