I am about to get myself a hybrid bike, but being tight on budget (~ 200USD). I didn't really have many options to choose from. I'd initially thought of buying this particular bike, Mach City Munich after reading good reviews about it online, but it's been unavailable for the past month, without any surety about when it will be.

So, the shopkeepers suggested I get myself another bike, named Montra Downtown.

I live in a city where roads have potholes and bumpers more frequent than lighting poles, (but not the kind that'd require an MTB).

The bike will primarily be used for commute (~15 kilometres, 6 days a week), but I'm also thinking of taking it out for long rides (about a hundred kilometres or so) on weekends.

Both of them have a triple chain ring system.

Downtown has an alloy (6061) body with a steel fork whereas Munich has both the body and fork made of steel.

Both of them have a 21 speed system with triple chain ring system.

Downtown has Shimano TY300 whereas Munich has TZ40 rear derailleur.

Munich has Shimano TX 50 where Downtown has Shimano TX 500 front derailleur.

Both have Shimano easy fire shifters with integrated brake levers, with Munich having a three finger braking, and Downtown having a two-finger.

The brakes, however, on Downtown are disc brakes, whereas on Munich are V brakes.

The cassettes on both are the same too.

Downtown mentions BB Cartridge-Sealed Bearing-Cold Forged Boron Axle, Plastic cups, Steel Body for the bottom bracket whereas nothing is Mentioned for Munich.

I've never ridden a bike with gears as of yet, this will be my first time.

I'm confused between which one to buy for a multitude of reasons. I've been told that a steel body has a give, it flexes, which allows for a more comfortable ride in a place that has roads that aren't very smooth, which does not happen with an aluminum (alloy) frame.

I've heard that disc brakes are harder, require a lot of maintenance and are more expensive to maintain compared to V brakes too.

Downtown has alloy rims, double walled. Munich previously had "double walled rims" specified but currently their website only says that the rims have an ED black finish so I'm not sure if they still have double walled rims.

The bike will most likely be stored about two storeys high, where it'd need to be picked up and carried through the staircase.

And last, but not the least, the cost of Downtown is about 20% higher than Munich. (both are in the budget nevertheless).

If I buy Munich, is it a good idea to swap components and use? For example, the rear derailleur?

Moreover, since I've chosen to buy a rigid bike (because my limited scope of knowledge tells me that a suspension frame with such a low price tag will only be a pain), is adding a suspension seat post a good idea?

  • You might find that Bicycles Chat is a better place to discuss off-topic questions - its a lot less structured.
    – Criggie
    Aug 6 '20 at 6:57
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    Considering how much you plan to use this bicycle, can’t you invest in higher quality? My sister recently got a similar 250€ entry level bicycle, subsequently discovered the joy of bicycle travel and now it’s already having issues after 700km. Shifting, brakes etc. never worked perfectly and now they’ve gotten even worse.
    – Michael
    Aug 6 '20 at 7:15
  • Michael, sadly, I can't put in any more money. I'm from a place where a bicycle is "just a cycle" and even the much I'm spending on it, according to my family is way too much. I haven't even told them I'd be spending so much! They are of the belief that I'll be spending half the amount I will actually be spending and yet they believe it's too much, so you can imagine how it must be like..
    – Timon
    Aug 6 '20 at 9:32
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    @Timon I can't put in any more money Find a used bicycle. You'll get a higher-quality bicycle if you do a good inspection on it before you buy it. Aug 6 '20 at 17:34

Ultimately, you're comparing two entry level bikes. The differences are small and mostly irrelevant. The one thing that really matters is how they fit you - ride both and figure which one is more comfortable to you. So bare minimum is to get a leg over each one and ride it around.

Most bike shops will let you pedal around, which is enough to rank them in immediate comfort. If you're buying online, then you're stuck and have to make the best guess you can. This is one reason for buying from a real LBS and not a boxmover.

This question is pure shopping and is off-topic for Stackexchange, because there's virtually no chance of this question being useful to anyone else. For example, neither of these bike brands exist in my area.

The transmissions are Tourney grade, which is shimano's second bottom groupset in terms of cost or quality. It will work fine, but comparing variants is like comparing pebbles in a stream - in detail there are differences but up close, they're all much the same.

And no, if you were asking about expensive top-end bike comparisons, that would still be off-topic.

  • The problem is, none of the stores around allow bikes to be ridden, even offline one. The most one can do is to ride them inside the store, and the polished tiled floors don't really help understanding comfort.
    – Timon
    Aug 6 '20 at 6:46
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    Actually disk vs v brake is pretty significant in appearance, but for a low end bike neither will be good. A cheap V brake might easily outperform a cheap disk brake. My point is - comfort and fit trumps everything else, and we can't tell you which you will find most comfortable. Hence why you have to try them and make your best judgement call.
    – Criggie
    Aug 6 '20 at 6:54
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    That the bike fits you is the bare minimum requirement. You wouldn’t get a shirt two sizes too large just because it’s the only size available or because it’s cheaper (though with bicycles there is more adjustability, especially if they are a bit too small rather than too large).
    – Michael
    Aug 6 '20 at 9:03

For your price range it might be wiser to get an older higher quality second-hand bike. A touring bike from the 90s might be in that price range (they are in Europe, I'm not sure about the USA) and it will be tough enough to deal with any commute while also being set up for longer rides too.

If you can find one which hasn't been modified by the owner then you can depend on fitted components being dependable in quality. And a tourer may have come fitted with a rear rack and panniers, ideal for commuting.

The downside will be the weight - these older steel touring frames aren't designed to be light weight.

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    older steel touring frames aren't designed to be light weight Neither are the entry-level hybrids @Timon is contemplating. A used bike will likely have much higher-quality and longer-lasting, better-operating components too, as long as it passes a good inspection before being bought. Aug 6 '20 at 17:33
  • One must know bikes well to not be taken advantage of when buying a used bike from a stranger. The OP hasn't ridden a bike with gears yet, and is asking lots of questions here, so I doubt that he or she has the experience or has a friend with the experience.
    – rclocher3
    Aug 6 '20 at 21:17
  • Also remember this is India, a different culture and history. There may simply be no market for old bikes because they get ridden a lot more.
    – Criggie
    Aug 7 '20 at 3:50
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    @Criggie Ah I didn't notice India. I saw US dollars and assumed America. My bad.
    – thosphor
    Aug 7 '20 at 8:59

I tend to agree that the differences between the two bikes you listed are minor. It comes down to personal fit, like Criggie said.

Another option is buying used. If you aren't married to the Munich or the Downtown, used is the way to go. I'm in the United States where, unfortunately, $200 just won't get you much brand new. You should be able to find a capable pre-owned bike for that price, though. I'd advise going to a local shop, because they won't sell you a bike that isn't safe. If you decide to purchase a bike on Craigslist or some similar service, do not ride it without first having it checked out by a professional.


Downvoted because the question is off-topic, but I will give you a few pieces of advice...

  • You do not need disk brakes. They add cost, add weight, and you will not need the braking power they provide in the city.

  • You (probably) do not need suspension. If you are able to lift yourself out of the saddle when you go over bumps, you don't need suspension.

  • You should not care about shifting components. Even though they are lower end Shimano products, they will still function absolutely fine. Only idiots who buy $6000 road bikes should care about shifting components.

  • I would suggest tires which are at least 1.5 inches (38mm) wide, and not knobby.

Instead of buying a new bike, use the money to buy an older (steel frame) mountain bike. Do you need a mtn bike if you are going to be riding in the city? Yes. Mtn bikes were made to be ridden on rough terrain. Most city streets provide rough terrain.

I do not know where you live, but I spent a few minutes looking through a local online marketplace (craigslist), and found this old mountain bike which would absolutely kick ass as a commuter bike. I have commuted thousands of miles on bikes similar to this one.

trek mtn bike ad

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    Calling other people idiots just because they need / want / can afford more expensive bikes doesn't seem nice. Or fair.
    – Mołot
    Aug 6 '20 at 20:42
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    I'm a road biker, and I took the "idiot" remark to be a light-hearted poke at those of us wearing Lycra. (Full disclosure: I doubt I'll ever spend 6,000 2020 US dollars or its future inflation-adjusted equivalent on a bicycle.)
    – rclocher3
    Aug 6 '20 at 21:28
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    @rclocher3 is correct. I said it for its shock value. OP needs to stop wasting his time comparing low end Shimano groupsets, when the watt savings between Tourney and Dura-Ace are probably less than 30 watts when properly oiled and adjusted.
    – sam
    Aug 6 '20 at 21:52

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