I’ve been in Melbourne around a year and have been part of buying a total of seven bikes in that time. That said I’m pretty new to city cycling, so am no means an expert. I’ve owned two types of bike in Melbourne, so will mainly discuss those and their respective pros and cons.
A Hybrid bike is very similar to a mountain bike, the main difference being a hybrid has no rear suspension. Tyres are usually slightly thinner and can have a slick middle for speed on straight roads. These are heavy bikes which are suited to all weather and terrain. For those new to cycling, or lacking in confidence, a hybrid offers a comfortable ride which is very sturdy.
I plumped for a Specialized Crosstrail 6 months ago to get me back into cycling. I’ll admit the choice was based on it being half price, but it has served me very well. I’m sure it’s almost impossible to fall as this bike is so very solid, that said it’s also very heavy. It’s got the basics of everything, basic gears, basic breaks and basic all round comfort.
For real beginners, a hybrid will give you confidence on the mean city streets. You can roll over just about anything and the suspension and tyres will ensure you’re not thrown from the saddle.
Having owned a commuting bike before, once I got back into the swing of cycling I started dreaming of lighter frames and faster speeds. Step in the city commuter, or fitness bike.
Just as with hybrid bikes there are a range of models which vary in prices, going from full aluminium frames with basic crank a gear sets, to carbon frames and lighter features. There is no suspension with a city commuter, so you’ll feel every bump compared with a hybrid, but the lack of weight means much faster speeds. They also feature a tire in between a road bike and a hybrid, a happy medium between grip, speed and stability.
This time I splashed out on a Trek 7.5, and boy does it fly. Fantastically smooth gear changes and a super light frame, this is a close as I’ll get to a road bike, without getting very serious and investing in clip in pedals, cycle jerseys and the whole road bike regalia.
Just as I have encountered people like myself who feel the hybrid is too heavy, I’ve also spoken to those who have invested in a city commuter and not ridden it due to lack of confidence on the roads. It’s important to buy a bike you feel confident riding, it may look great in the shop, but if you wobble at the thought of a passing truck it’ll live a life of darkness in the garage.
- Buying the “perfect” bike (tractionbikeblog.com)
- Use Sizing Guidelines to Find the Right Hybrid Bike (biking.answers.com)