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As of yet, like most other Indians, I've only ridden a single speed, which was brought for 4000 rupees, about 13 years ago.. Yes, it's still in use!

My budget now is strictly 13000 INR for the bicycle (since other things like fenders, pannier will add to the cost). I live in Kolkata (the roads aren't great here), and the bike will be shared between me and my dad. He will be using it for commute (about 10 kilometres one way), six days a week. I'm planning on using it for relatively longer rides (70-80 kilometres), half of it at one go, maybe an hour or two worth of a break and then back. I guessed a hybrid would be the best option for it.. The need is reliability, longevity and cheap maintenance.

Through my "research" (I'm a noob, as you may already understand) I zero'd in on Mach City Munich 21 speed. When I called multiple shops to enquire about its availability, I was told that it's not available currently (would take about two weeks still, if at all). I was also suggested that Montra Downtown is a good option.

https://machcity.com/munich-21-speed/#:~:text=₹%2012%2C285%2F-&text=This%2021-speed%20road%20bike,Shifters%20for%20quick%2C%20breezy%20rides.

https://montra.in/hybrid-bikes/downtown-2019/

Now, Downtown has disc brakes. I'm not sure, but the far I know, they just get the wheel coming to a rather sudden stop, and are also harder and more expensive to maintain. Aren't they?

Both have the same shifters and break levers (three finger) Shimano EZY- fire EF-51, but downtown has Shimano TY300 rear derailleur (TZ40 for Munich) and Montra has TZ500 front derailleur with no mention of what the front derailleur on Munich is. Munich has a steel body whilst Downtown has an alloy body (6061).

What I also want to ask is, say, I get the Munich itself, is it a good idea to swap components before I begin? I've never ridden a geared bicycle before! Or should I just simply get it as is at first and then after I learn a little, then swap, if at all? The rear derailleur on Munich is TZ40, and TX-35 is available online for 899 rupees (Amazon). Different websites told me that TX series is better than TZ series, hence the question.

Please suggest what to do! And also if anyone has any other bike they'd suggest I buy! (please also tell me how I'd be able to find the other bikes and also the reliability of the customer support). I'm not sure if I should be buying online either, I've read various reviews that talk about how much more they've had to spend because of multiple problems with the bike (broken rims, problems with the cassette, derailleur, etc).

I'm also unsure whether triple chain rings are a good idea and would like to know if I should swap them out for something else or if I should just get a bike that's got a single chainring.

Thank you in advance!

  • Are you both about the same height, with the same leg length ? Otherwise sharing is going to be a compromise from one or other of you, or even both of you. – Criggie Aug 3 at 8:07
  • @Criggle, I guess I can say yes, I'm almost 5'11"(180cm) and my dad is about 5'8" (172cm). I weigh about 65-68 KG and he weighs 80. – Gaurav Aug 3 at 11:11
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Product recommendations are off-topic on this site because they are geography-specific, taste-specific and quickly go out of date. However, there are several questions in your question that can be answered (and as such, they should have been submitted as individual questions to the web site in the first place). Let me address a few of them.

The need is reliability, longevity and cheap maintenance.

In these terms, nothing beats a single speed bike actually. There are fewer details to wear and to damage on it. A bike with internal gear hub comes next.

I'm not sure, but the far I know, they just get the wheel coming to a rather sudden stop,

Brakes in general are meant to stop a bicycle, and the faster they can do it, the better. It is up to their operator to control them properly; after all, you can fall off your bike even without brakes, being perfectly still. Any type of brake requires proper rider technique. There are a lot of materials about proper braking on the Net.

and are also harder and more expensive to maintain. Aren't they?

No, not really. Mechanical disc brakes are as complex in maintenance as mechanical rims brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes are even simpler in everyday's use, until you need to bleed them, and then it becomes somewhat tricky.

What I also want to ask is, say, I get the Munich itself, is it a good idea to swap components before I begin?

No, it is not a good application of your budget. New aftermarket components are more expensive to get than if they came with a complete bike (bike manufacturers get a huge discount on bulk purchases, compared to us mere mortals)

Different websites told me that TX series is better than TZ series, hence the question.

Both of these series are pretty much budget components, to be honest. It is very unlikely you will feel a difference between then. Instead, learn how to tune your existing derailleurs in order to get the best value out of them.

I'm not sure if I should be buying online either

Going with a second hand higher-tier bicycle is also an option; it may be more comfortable to use because of the quality of frame/components to start with. Unless you are 100% sure about the size of a bike you need, you should not buy online simply because you might get a too big or too small a frame.

I've read various reviews that talk about how much more they've had to spend because of multiple problems with the bike (broken rims, problems with the cassette, derailleur, etc).

These problems are not specific to the online/offline markets. It is up to the people who assembled the bicycle in the first place, and the customer service they provide. Make sure you buy at a reputable place in the first place, regardless of whether it is on the Net or offline.

I'm also unsure whether triple chain rings are a good idea and would like to know if I should swap them out for something else or if I should just get a bike that's got a single chainring.

Triple chainrings are usable; people have used such setups for decades. At the budget limit you have, it is unlikely you will find any new bike with 1× setup; a used bike, quite possible. 1× setups have many advantages: weight, simplicity and reliability, fewer components related to shifting. Their disadvantages are: price of new setup and replacement parts, single point of failure upfront, "sexier" look and as such proneness to being stolen.

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  • Re the comment on 1x setups: I and my wife really liked this 1x model and its simplicity, even after 3 yrs of use. It is regularly on sale for 130€, so 1x does exist at this price point. – Szabolcs Aug 3 at 8:14
  • Great answer - staying on-topic can be difficult. – Criggie Aug 3 at 10:49
  • @Szabocls, that was one of the first products I'd considered, to be honest, but the reviews of it are actually very different here in India! Have a look at this decathlon.in/p/8389398/bikes/… – Gaurav Aug 3 at 11:14
  • They seem to have made the quality worse in the recent times (I'm judging solely by reviews). – Gaurav Aug 3 at 11:15
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    @Guarav everybody has to start somewhere! parktool.com has some excellent repair help, but they are trying to sell expensive tools. There are lots of other repair videos on YouTube. "Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance" and "Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance" are great books that talk about all maintenance for those types of bikes. Good luck! – rclocher3 Aug 5 at 0:32

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