Bicycles are a fun way to get exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. However, with all the different types and styles available, you may have a hard time choosing the right one. You will want to think about bikes you have enjoyed in the past, as well as those that you have not enjoyed. Also, if you are going to be riding with a group, you may want one that is similar to what they use, so you can keep up. Following are some of the different types:
Road bikes are designed for pavement. They are made with smooth, narrow tires, and are lighter than other types. Typically, they are not as well-suited for unstable or unpaved trails, or for carrying heavy loads, although some types are designed to support such conditions. Among this type, you’ll find several variations:
– Cyclocross: This model can actually be ridden on different surfaces, including unpaved trails, gravel, and grass. The tires are wider, to give it off-road stability and traction. The brake is designed to prevent dirt build-up in the frame. This is a good choice for commuters, since they can be versatile and can carry light loads.
– Touring: These are made for riding on pavement for long distances. They are more durable and have mounting hardware to carry cargo. The handlebar is dropped, so the rider is more comfortable on long rides across multiple days. They have a lower gear range than other road types, so they can support heavier loads up hills. This model is also good for commuters.
– Flat Bar: This type is made for people who want a light, well-performing ride, but do not like the drop-handle position. They are lightweight and have the narrow tires, as with most road bikes. Some models can accept wider tires, cargo racks, and fenders, making them another good choice for commuters.
Mountain bikes are designed for riding rough trails. The handlebars may be flat or upright. The gear range is very low to allow for the heavy pedaling required on steep trails. This type may have front, or front-and-rear suspension for shock absorption. Those that do not have any suspension are considered rigid.
– Hardtail: This type has a front suspension only. It is less expensive and lighter weight than a full suspension type. It is a good choice if you plan to ride on both paved and unpaved surfaces.
– Full-suspension: This type has both front and rear suspension shocks. They are well-suited for off-road trails or tracks with lots of bumps, twists, and hills. They are more expensive and heavier than the hardtail.
These bicycles take the best of both worlds from road and mountain bikes. They have large, padded seats. The upright handlebars are comfortable for riding around the neighborhood, or short distances around town. They perform well on paved or unpaved bike trails, but not on rough surfaces. Most of these have a front suspension, and a medium-width tire.
Similar to hybrids, cruisers offer a comfortable riding position for casual riding. This type usually has wide tires and upright handlebars. They are available in single-speed or three-speed, and have the old “coaster brake” design, where the rider pedals backward in order to brake. Flat-Foot types have a longer frame design where the pedals are more in front of the seat, allowing you to ride with a lower seat.
When you are browsing bicycles, consider how you will use it and how often. Make sure you choose one that is suited to your lifestyle.