Looking for a new hybrid bike for a beginner.

Hi everyone. I would really appreciate advice on a new bike for a beginner, budget around $800-$900.

The last time I owned a bike I was 10 and that was 20+ years ago. I am finding it difficult to decide what to go for with the countless options available. I will be riding for leisure and fitness a few times a week around mostly flat paths with the occasional gravel/dirt or sightly uneven paths (Melbourne).

With the current lockdown stage 4 it is impossible to take it for a test ride making it incredibly difficult to pick the right one.

So far I have narrowed it down to:

Merida Crossway 100 – https://www.99bikes.com.au/merida21-crossway-100-glossy-blac...
Reid Urban X3 – https://www.reidbikes.com/product/urban-x3/
Giant Roam 4 Disc – https://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/roam-4-disc

I love the look of the Urban X3 but the Merida Crossway 100 is available for C&C from a nearby store.

I genuinely appreciate any advice. Thanks!

Poll Options

  • 2
    Merida Crossway 100
  • 4
    Reid Urban X3
  • 8
    Giant Roam 4 Disc


  • I'd go the Giant - being the largest manufacturer they have they buying power to offer generally better specs at a price point to match others.

    Having said that, the Reid has the better drivetrain, but gives up a suspension fork for that improvement.

    • Merida is almost as big as Giant and I think one of the big manufacturers that make frames for other companies.

  • I also last owned a bike when I was 10, which was also 20+ years ago.

    I wanted a hybrid bike and went for the Giant Roam 4 Disc. No problems with it. To me it came down to availability - The Merida was only available at 99 bikes and not only did they not have stock but they weren't particularly helpful. Instead I could get the Giant Roam from a local family owned store and they did a package that was a better price than 99 bikes anyway.

    For mostly flat paths with occasional gravel/dirt and slightly uneven (as you describe), these bikes will be perfect. My riding is a few times a week to the childcare centre and back on paths (i've got a detachable child seat), and every second weekend longer distance (50-70K) on Gravel along the Mawson Trail. Occasionally i'll do some downhill/single track riding and these are OK for that but not as good as a fat tyre moutain bike.

    Looking at your list - the Reid is more of a commuter and less of a Hybrid I think so you give up the front forks. I think the other two are more suitable.

    Conclusion: The Giant and the Merida are both good, go with whatever is convieient.

    • Thanks for your comprehensive response. Interestingly I also found 99 bikes to be barely helpful. It felt like I was bothering them over the phone when throwing a number of questions. Unfortunately there are no in store sales atm so I was quite surprised about the attitude and it was a slight turn off.

  • If you have the chance, go to the stores and test ride each one. I was sold on a bike on paper, took it for a ride and noticed little things that stopped me from purchasing it.

    • I understand and I appreciate your comment, however as mentioned in the post, test riding is out of the question in Melbourne with the current stage 4 restrictions.

      • Really I wouldn't buy a bike without trying it. Even if you pick the best bang for your buck on paper getting the sizing right is critical and even within sizing you may find one more comfortable than another. I know that's a problem right now but if you really can't then you might be better off buying used and looking at it as a temporary purchase.

  • The Roam 3 fits your exact use case and might be a bit easier on the wallet

  • I was also recommended a Giant Cross City 1 or 2 (2020). I forgot to add those in the poll. Any thoughts or comparison to the Roam series for my use? Cheers

    • The Cross City doesn't have front suspension. It won't make too much of a difference as the Roam 4's front suspension has only 63mm of travel anyway, and you don't really need suspension on urban paths. I usually just have it locked as having it on just wastes your speed and power. However, if you do want to try simple single tracks later on when the lockdown is over, the Roam 4 will still suffice for a while whereas the Cross City will be a bad idea for those conditions. Mountainbiking is very addictive though and you'll soon want to upgrade all your gear. 😜

    • Wife and I both have the Giant Cross City 1 bikes. Ours are a few years old, so not the current model. I've ridden several thousand kms on mine with no issues at all, super reliable. That said, ours only have 28mm tyres, good on sealed surfaces, okay on well compacted and smooth bike paths ('rail trails') but are a bit of a handful on rougher surfaces, such as gravel/rough dirt.
      If the current model of the Cross City has wider tyres, this may not be an issue.
      As for durability, we were both knocked of our bikes early in the year (another cyclist shot off the footpath taking us both out) but the bikes suffered no damage other than minor scuffing to pedals and handlebar grips, confirmed by LBS's safety check and service.

  • It looks like the Giant one is cheaper than the Merida for very similar if not identical specs. It does sound like you want a bike straight away though and as far as I know a lot of bike shops are still sold out on most stock in Melbourne. If the Merida one is in stock, then that might be your best bet. It's hard with the lockdown at the moment, otherwise you could pick up a second hand one as a starter. I didn't ride for 20 or so years as well and when I started riding again last year, I bought a second hand 2015 Giant Liv Rove 2 and I absolutely enjoyed it. I've since moved it on to another owner and I think it still has many more years of life left.

    I haven't checked pricing or stock exactly, but Decathlon bikes are pretty reliable and reasonably priced too as a starter.

    • A very helpful comment, thanks. Yeah, you are right. I want it right away (going nuts at home and jogging turned boring AF). Merida is the only one available within 5km from home and it will most likely go anytime soon. Reid can deliver right away too. I called a number of stores around Melbourne trying to get a Giant Roam 4 (or 3) and the waiting list is about 1 month long with no guarantees of further delays. I might try some single tracks later on but I do not think I will ever go for full on mountbiking. Btw, I had no idea that Decathlon established a number of stores Down Under. Good to know! Cheers

      • No problems. Decathlon had their first store in Box Hill for some time and I had no idea about it until they were opening their second store in Moorabbin. I've bought quite a lot of stuff from them since then actually.

        I just realised though that the Reid is much cheaper but I still think the Merida is more versatile.

        Never say never, I never thought I'd go mountainbiking either, but after going to Lysterfield I was hooked, and I'm only an entry level rider myself!

  • In terms of spec, the Reid is top, followed by the Merida then the Giant. The Deore componentry in the Reid is a nice feature and is certainly a step up in overall quality and experience.

    I note the Reid is a more "road-hybrid" and the other two are more "MTB-hybrids". You may which to consider that in terms of what you expect to use it for. The Reid will give you a faster ride over "road" surfaces and will likely be a bit lighter. The other two will be slower on road surfaces but will give you greater flexibility on other surfaces and a somewhat more comfortable ride.

    What to buy will come down to budget, your expected use and other more intangibles on personal preference.

    At the beginner level, there is certainly nothing wrong with any of the three you've chosen. These will all "get you where you want to go" from a recreational perspective.

  • Hi everyone. I would really appreciate advice on a new bike for a beginner, budget around $800-$900.

    $800 - $900 isn't a beginner bike

    I will be riding for leisure and fitness a few times a week around mostly flat paths with the occasional gravel/dirt or sightly uneven paths

    REID's look like a flat bar road bike, the tyres would be dangerous in gravel / dirt. If you are on roads this bike will go fast, not as much for leisure and fitness as you would expect. It is for riding 45 mins into the office with lycra on.

    Merida / Giant looks more like all purpose bikes and can take some gravel / dirt.

    • Thanks for your input. I think the higher price tag/quality doesn't always mean it's not a beginner bike. I wouldn't like to buy a cheap bike that will fall apart within a few months forcing me to fix it as often as I ride it. At least with a bit pricier models I am hoping (I know it's never guaranteed) for some extended life time and less maintenance issues. Cheers

  • Whats the wait times like with the Giant??

    Ive put in an order for a Trek bike but doesnt drop until Early December….

    There is a shortage for bikes atm because everyone went nuts and bought one and the factories had to shut or minimise worker loads.

  • Reid - Buy and support local

    • What do you mean? All of these bikes are imported. Our local bike shop, is a Giant store, locally owned - I've known the owner for 35 years. Just because a store has come under the umbrella of one of the large bike brands doesn't mean it isn't locally owned and staffed.
      If you want a truly local bike in Victoria you'll be looking at Baum Bikes from Geelong, won't be in this price range though. https://www.baumcycles.com/about.html

  • Have you considered getting a gravel bike?