To most riders planning to enter the beautiful world of bicycles, a hybrid is recommended. Alternatively called city bikes, hybrids come in suspension and without versions. If your riding is likely to be mostly on road and the roads are in fairly good shape, a rigid fork hybrid would be a good choice. Rigid forks are comparatively light in weight (about 12 kg) and fast. But if the roads in your city/town are in bad shape, the ride could be bumpy.
In such a situation, a hybrid with (front) suspension is advised. Suspension hybrids are comparatively heavy (about 14 kg) and slow, but mitigate jerks. These are also preferred if your riding is likely to include occasional and mild off-roading.
Broadly, there are three types of bicycles -- those with dropdown handlebars, mountain bikes, and a mix of these. Dropdowns break into road and beyond, roads break into race and endurance, and beyond road into touring, gravel and cross. Mountain bikes break into downhill (DH) and hardtail. While DHs are dual suspension, hardtails with only front suspension go off-road.
Hybrids are a mix of endurance road and hardtails and can be used for commuting as well as distance riding.
Say, an endurance road bike representing a man and a hardtail standing for a woman get into wedlock and produce two children, the man-like would be rigid fork hybrid (stiff, fast but a bit bumpy) and the woman-like a suspension hybrid – relatively slow, but soft.
Choose your like because you can choose only one in bicycling – speed or relative comfort. I would say go for speed, because comfort, as said, is relative.
Review: Marin Fairfax SC1
Among the best rigid fork hybrids readily available in the country, SC1 offers both speed and control. It's built for the flat-bar fitness road rider with accessory mounts and a gear range for the everyday commuter.
The SC1 is a 24-speed bike with puncture-resistant tires. The saddle is comparatively comfortable, the handlebar wide, and the grips round but soft. The bike is a nice mix of speed and comfort, a combination most brands try to achieve in commute bikes.
It looks good in matt black and blue and offers value for money at Rs 31,000. Some riders might find the broad handle a hindrance in maneuverability, but Marin offers the possibility of tailoring it.
(The author is a bicyclist by choice who uses the bicycle for everyday commute, distance riding and conducts professional workshops on bicycling and bicycles)