Since lately I have been posting my cycling adventures in my Facebook account many of my friends have been asking suggestions on "What types of cycle should I buy?", "Tell me the best Brand of cycle to buy" etc.,
Though I am not an expert on this yet thought of sharing what I understood till now and leave for the experts to comment and help me correct any content which they feel might be misleading for the readers.
My Top 4 Learning as of now
1. DON'T just go by Brand
2. Fix your Budget - Because there are bikes from few thousands to 2+ Lakhs :)
3. Be clear on what sort of terrain you plan to ride / Major purpose of this investment
4. Test as many cycles, brands as possible and see which one YOU are comfortable with.
Majorly these are the 3 types of bikes I tested: Road Bikes, Mountain Bikes (MTB) and Hybrid Bikes.
I had always loved the Brand Cannondale and Bianchi a lot. So I had made up my mind to buy only one of these brands. But after test riding ended up buying Scott Sportster x20 - Its an Hybrid.Let me jolt down my version of difference between these 3 types of bikes and why I went for Hybrid version.
Road Bike - For me anytime its the stylish of the lot and most of the time it has a drop (handle) bar. All bikes I had tried have been lightweight with very sleek tires. Out of the 3 types of bikes this was faster as well. Unless you tend to ride ONLY on properly laid road (tarmac) and have a budget of INR 50K+ this option is ruled out.
Mountain Bike (MTB) - When I tried out MTB felt it to be little heavy when compared with the other 2 types of bikes. It had bulky tires which is called as Knobby tires. If majority of the time you would be doing off-roading then this is the type of bike for you. I tried it on a proper tarmac road (as that is the terrain am majorly interested in) and felt to be little slower than Road / Hybrid bikes. I don't remember the price range now but i think any decent MTB would cost upwards of INR 25K+ as well.
Hybrid Bike - Its a mix of Road and MTB!! Based on the bikes I had tried this was slightly heavier than Road Bikes but lighter than MTB. This had the straight / flat handle bar as MTB. Tires weren't so sleek as Road bike but definitely sleeker than that of MTB. Found it to be faster than MTB and less energy consuming. This can be used to ride on properly laid road as well as some sort of light off-roading :) I believe we can get Hybrids for around INR 15K or 25K range.
My main purpose was to commute to office and also use the same bike for Endurance rides organized by Tamilnadu Cycling Club and Madras Randonneurs. The budget I had in my mind was max INR 25 or 30K (inclusive of all accessories). So Road bike was straight away ruled out for me.
With that budget I could have gone for either MTB or Hybrid. But based on test riding I felt doing long distance endurance rides with MTB (say 100+ kms) might need to use more energy than if done with Hybrid. So ended up buying the Hybrid bike which I have now.
FYI - cycles comes with shock observers, disc brakes etc., as well (mine doesn't have it though). But bottom-line more the features you are going to expect more you might want to shell out from your pocket.
As of now very happy with my decision and in 2014 till now have cycled 4900+ kms out of which ~1500 kms of Office commute, have done multiple 100 kms rides as well as completed 200, 300 BRM using the same bike. Hoping to try out 400 BRM also with this and beyond that would be too much of stretch and not very sure as of now.