Mile for mile there is probably not a lot of difference between bikes so the benefits are going to be gained in the manufacturing, maintenance and end of life. Some examples are: The simpler a bike is the less the energy that has gone into its manufacture. The less parts that need to be lubricated the less toxins the bike will consume. The more durable the parts the less frequently they will need to be replaced. The less exotic the materials the easier it is to repurpose and recycle when they are worn out.
ibike is right that the materials that go in to making a bike are going to be what impacts them the most. Most bikes are going to be made of various steels and alloys with some man-made composites like glass or plastic. However, the amount of material used pales in comparison to creating a car. Any bike is best for the environment when compared to a car or motorcycle. The link below is a really interesting study of bike materials and their affect on the environment.
As ibike said, the more durable, the better!
Used bicycles are often good to buy. With a used bicycle, you can avoid the carbon emissions for manufacturing a new one. My favorite bicycle is a 1965 Raleigh 3-speed that was sitting in the back of my uncle’s bike shop. When I outgrew my first road bike, I let my uncle take it and sell it to another customer. You can probably find a good used bicycle if you just walk into a shop and ask. Alternatively, if you live anywhere near Davis, CA, you can check out the Davis Bike Collective.
The best bicycles are those that fit you properly. If your bicycle is too small or too large for you, it will not be nearly as efficient as if you have it properly fitted. When I was growing up, my dad re-adjusted my seat post every few weeks. As a result, I was always the fastest kid on the block.
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