Bicycle Types – How to Choose the Right One for You?

Bicycle Types
(Last Updated On: December 14, 2020)

The year of 2021, because of the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, has taught us all about social distancing. At first, the notion of staying at home sounded really exciting and stimulating. But, as the days went by, boredom started to cripple our soul and molded it excessive monotony. Thus, many people, nowadays, are looking for a way to get to the outdoors and do something venturesome while staying away from others. Are you one of them as well? Then, let us welcome you to the exhilarating world of bicycles.

Whether it is about short transportation, doing something adventurous, or getting a little bit of exercise – the cycles will always be your ideal partner-in-crime. But how are you going to choose one of the suitable bicycle types for you? Well, in all honesty, due to the availability of an excessive amount of jargon, the idea of buying a bike without help might seem terrifying to many. But, don’t fret.

Here, in this write-up, we are going to walk you through all the different types of bicycles available on the market. Aside from the general minutiae, we will also shade light upon some crucial details, which will allow you to make a well-established decision. So, without any further ado, let’s get started with our guide on “how to choose a bicycle?” right away!

Different Types of Bicycles

As mentioned before, there are several types of bicycles that are currently taking the market by storm. Each of these options has its own idiosyncratic features and, thus, can serve different purposes. So, before you begin checking out the gears and other components of the cycles, you will, first, need to know about all the alternatives. Let’s hover through them quickly!

1. Road Bikes

As the name implies here, the road bicycles are solely designed for soaring through the paved surfaces. They usually feature a lightweight infrastructure, which, in turn, makes them extremely agile. Furthermore, due to their short stature, they can help you to drive through narrower lanes as well.

In essence, the road bikes are ideal for riding on leveled plateaus. However, if you can hone your gear-changing skillset proficiently, then you can also use it for climbing hills. In most cases, road bikes tend to feature a 10-speed gear system. However, if you are considering buying a premium model, then you may also find an 18-speed gearing module with it.   

The road bicycles usually boast a drop-bar stylized handlebar, which has a downward curving design. Thus, while holding it, you will need to bend a little bit towards the front section. This way, it will diminish your air resistance and help you to move quicker than ever. However, if you are not really habituated to it, then the positioning might feel a bit uncomfortable.

The road bikes are considered to be a must-use option for professional cyclists or racers. However, they can also be an excellent option for daily commuting, on-road cycling, and exercising. You can also try out a long-distance venture with them as they usually accommodate a storage rack and fenders.

The category of road bicycles can be classified into several sub-categories as well. They are –

  • Touring Bikes: These types of bicycles tend to boast a sturdy and robust frame, which, in turn, makes them a bit heavy and difficult to control. But, they can also hold lots of gears, essentials, equipment. This, in turn, makes them an ideal option for going on a long tour with your friends or someone special.
  • Racing Bikes: As the name describes, this type of road bicycles are ideal for racing tracks. They tend to feature narrower tires, which, sequentially, allow them to burst through the roads at a mind-blowing speed. Also, unlike the touring bikes, they have a lightweight configuration.
  • Adventure Bikes: The adventure bicycles are designed for conquering off-track roads while offering you optimal comfort and a pleasing riding experience. They feature slightly wider tires, which offer a decent amount of traction in almost any terrain. Lastly, the aerodynamics of these bikes tends to be top-notch as well.
  • Endurance Bikes: Last yet not least, the endurance bicycles feature wider tires and seating. The handle positioning of these models is placed in such a way so that you do not end up straining your waist. They might be a bit heavier than some other types of road bicycles, but it is absolutely negligible.

2. Mountain Bicycles

Known for their capability of coping with harsh terrains and rugged appearance, the mountain bikes are largely admired by adventure aficionados. They are highly durable and usually feature wider tires, which offer a decent amount of traction on almost any surface. However, their overall appearance and ability to carry multiple apparatuses make them ideal for on-road cycling as well.

The mountain bicycles usually feature a higher ground clearance, which helps you to keep the bike intact throughout your venture. Moreover, you can also find a dedicated suspension system in these models, which are placed on both the front and back sections of the same.

They can efficiently absorb the shocks produced by harsh environments and offer you a comfortable riding experience. However, due to the availability of a wide array of components, these bicycles tend to be a bit on the heavier side. Thus, they will not be as fast or effective as the road cycles on pavements.

But, the wider tires have excellent traction ability and, thus, can help you in commuting during a rainy day. The handlebars of mountain bicycles tend to be a bit flatter, making it easier for you to grip them.    

Like the road cycles, these models, too, can be categorized into several classes. Here is everything that you need to know about them.

  • Cross-Country Bikes: The cross-country variants of the mountain bikes tend to be a bit lighter as well as quicker than their other counterparts. They can be used for riding on the trails with mild to the moderate difficulty level.
  • Trail Bikes: The trail bikes offer an exquisite balance between downhill speed, climbing efficiency, and excellent traction. They are ideal for riding on beginner trails, dirt roads, and moderately-steep sites.
  • Fat-Tire Bicycles: Also known as fat bikes, these two-wheelers feature huge tires for providing optimum grip on almost every surface. It can cope with almost any type of terrain, such as snowy areas, sandy shores, and many more.
  • All-Mountain: The all-mountain bikes are durable, offer an excellent amount of grip and traction, and have a rather easier handling module. You can use it to climb up the higher steep hills without breaking a sweat.

3. Hybrid Bicycles

Are you thinking about buying something versatile, which can be used on almost every terrain? Then, hybrid bicycles will be ideal for your requirements. As the name suggests, these bikes tend to boast the features of both road cycles and mountain models. Therefore, you can use it for both conquering mountains and narrower paths comfortably.

The hybrid bikes feature a serious breaking module, which is ergonomic and performs properly in almost every environment. The tires of the same come with a slightly narrower look, which, in turn, makes them pretty quick to say the least. Lastly, the paddle and some other sections of the bicycle tend to feature a decent clearance like a mountain bike.

Typical hybrid models have a plushy seat to make the rider feel comfortable and relaxed during a long ride. There will also be suspension seat posts available on the bikes, which can take care of bumps proficiently. They feature an uprightly-positioned seating as well rather than the crouched, aerodynamic setting.

The hybrid bicycles, too, can be categorized into three different variants. These are –

  • Sport Hybrid: The sport hybrid models feature the same feel and function as a standard mountain bike. They come with rugged tires along with flat handlebars for more efficiency in climbing a higher altitude. They are not as fast as road bicycles. But, they can accommodate a broad range of gears to make your journey more feasible. Owing to the availability of suspension, it can also offer a cushioned ride, even on the toughest surfaces.
  • Fitness Hybrid: Unlike road bikes, the fitness hybrids feature a flatter handlebar and offer an upright riding position. Thus, it will not cause the concurring issue of waist strain, even if you are riding for a prolonged period. They also feature wider tires for offering an excellent off-road cycling experience. The fitness cycles are ideal for those who wish to cruise through pavements like a professional. Due to their overall set-up, they can also ensure decent fitness training, especially if you ride it for at least one hour a day.  
  • Comfort Hybrid: Unlike the other types of hybrid bicycles, the comfort models are unique in their own accord. The classic models tend to feature a raised handlebar, which makes them easy to grip and operate. They also boast a large yet cushioned seating along with a suspension module for offering a subtle and sublime riding experience. These cycles are usually built on a step-through frame to help a child or smaller people to mount on it. A comfort hybrid does not really have a lot of speed or cannot climb mountains at all. Hence, they will an ideal go-to option for daily commuters and casual cyclists.

4. City Bicycles

Also known as cruisers, the city bicycles are considered to be an ideal option for riding in a rustic urban setting. These models usually feature an upright seating position and, therefore, do offer a decent riding experience as a whole. Furthermore, they do come with larger tires as well, which can subdue the damages or impacts of damaged roads or potholes.

The overall design and structuralizing of these models seem to be pretty durable and long-lasting. They can be used in almost every weather and environment without causing any concern. Moreover, the city bicycles also come with a smaller rack section, which can help you to carry all of your essentials conveniently.

With regards to outlook, the city bicycles boast a retro-inspired look. They are quite on the heavier side but do offer decent shock absorption for a superior riding experience. But, they are not fast at all and are quite prone to skidding on slimy or wet surfaces.

5. Specialty Bicycles

The term “specialty bicycles” refers to some uniquely-designed bicycles, which do not come under the previously-mentioned categories. The models, which fall in between this umbrella term, are quite idiosyncratic and, therefore, can serve very specific purposes. Let’s take a look at them to learn more about their functionality.

  • Folding Bikes: It is a type of full-size bicycle, which can be folded into almost one-third of its size and lesser than that. Hence, you can put them into a specialized bag and carry them with you. They are pretty lightweight and, therefore, do not cause any inconveniences at all. But, there’s a hitch. The folding bikes tend to feature smaller and narrower wheels. So, it will be better for you to avoid rough surfaces while you are driving these bicycles.
  • Recumbent Bikes: The seating of a recumbent bike almost resembles the same design as an easy chair. Therefore, with it, you will not have to endure the stress of leaning forward or riding in an upright position. The position also puts only a diminutive amount of pressure on your knees. Some of these bikes can also feature the outlook of a tricycle along with one wheel at the back and two at the front. These types of specialty bicycles do come with various gear systems, but they are not really an ideal option for climbing hills.
  • Tandem Bikes: The tandem bikes tend to feature a rather expanded structure with two different seating options. Thus, it can be ridden and driven by two different people all at once. These options are primarily used by couples or friends to perform cardio workouts together. Nonetheless, if you do buy a premium model, then you can ride in the steep hill areas with them as well.
  • Cargo Bikes: This sub-category of specialty bicycles is known for its ability to carry a huge amount of load without faltering. They have a lower center of gravity. Therefore, these bikes might feel a little bit heavier for a few people. The cargo bikes also feature a huge rear wheelbase for offering support to the weight it is carrying on the rack. They are a bit slower and can be used much more feasibly on flatter surfaces.
  • Park Bikes: The park bikes come with a lightweight frame and smaller size. Due to this reason, they are mostly used for performing stunts in designated locations. The construction of these bicycles can be quite robust and durable. This, in turn, makes them even more viable for hard landings. The most renowned variant of the park bicycles is the BMX models, which are designed for riding on bumpy racecourses.

So, these are some of the bicycle types that are readily available in the marketplaces. Now, we are going to provide a small chart down below about the bikes to provide a brief about their favorable riding surfaces.

BicyclesRiding Surface
Road bikes, specialty bikes (cargo, tandem, recumbent, and folding), and hybrid bikesSpecific bike paths and pavements
Hybrid bikes, city bikes, and fat-tire bikesNatural surfaces and potholed roads
Mountain bikes and fitness hybrid bikesDirt trails and roads
Touring bikes, endurance bikes, and adventure bikesHardened surfaces

Other Considerations

In addition to assessing the types of bicycles, you will also need to make other considerations to bolster your decisiveness. So, let us walk you through them as well!

  • Type of Brakes: Modern bicycles tend to feature two different types of braking systems, which are – discs and rims. The rim brakes quite old-fashioned and can be found on the older (and affordable) bicycles. They usually perform their function by squeezing the wheel of the bicycle between the two available brake pads. Conversely, the disc brakes are grip the rotor of the cycle and prevent it from moving instantly. The rim models are relatively cheaper and pretty easier to maintain as well. But, they are not as effective as the disc modules.
  • Frame Material: The reasonably-priced models generally come with a steel-made frame or structure. These are, indeed, quite strong but can also increase the overall weight of the cycle. So, if you are considering buying something lighter as well as rust-resistant, then the aluminum-framed models can be your go-to option. They are easy to handle, faster than usual, and deliver a decent amount of speed as well. Additionally, you can find them in different cost spectrum too. The most expensive frame material is titanium. They are extremely lightweight, strong, and scratch-proof. The titanium-framed models are more common among racing road bikes and high-end mountain bikes.
  • Size of the Wheel: The size of the wheel of a bicycle typically varies on its type, purpose, and the associated terrain. Anyway, most of the hybrid models and road bicycles tend to feature standard-sized wheels. However, if you are considering buying mountain bikes, then we would suggest you to go for the 27.5-inch or 29-inch wheels. The smaller and narrower wheels are much more lightweight and agile. Conversely, the larger and wider components offer superior traction and can cope up with mild obstructions (logs and rocks) pretty easily. Both of the mentioned size options usually cost almost the same. Thus, you will need to give your purpose more magnitude in this aspect.
  • The Height and Weight of the Rider: A bicycle needs to match the weight and height of the rider to offer a sublime riding experience. If you are taller than the overall length of your cycle, then you might not be able to handle it easily. Furthermore, if you do weigh more than 170 lbs, then choosing a model with a titanium or steel frame should be an ideal option for you. Due to the same reason, many women tend to use the bikes, which were targeted more towards the male community.
  • Way of Using the Bike: How are you going to use your bike? Will you only ride it for daily commuting? Or do you want to go on a tour with your friends? Well, in the first case, you can go on either a road or a city bike. Both of them are highly efficient for on-road conditions and, thus, can cater to you perfectly. On the other hand, if you are thinking about triumphing over the hard-worn mountain roads, then a mountain bike would suffice for your purpose. So, try to determine your needs and requirements before buying a bicycle.
  • Budget: Buying a bicycle tends to be a one-time investment for most people. Thus, if you are, indeed, passionate about it, then you can go for an expensive model, then there is no harm at all. However, if you are running on low funds, then you will need to consider the price of the bike closely. Remember, your budget will need to cover various other accessories as well. For example, if you want to make your cycling experience a little bit safer than usual, then you will need to buy a helmet. A lock system will also need to be implemented if you want to protect your cycle from prying eyes. In addition, if you usually commute during the nighttime, then installing a small light on it also seems to be logical for you!

Hopefully, our guide will help you to find the bicycle of your dreams. However, once you have bought it, you will need to treat and maintain it like one of your family members. Remember, a bike will only be able to offer you a subtle riding experience if it is in proper condition. Also, do not forget to repair a part of the model as soon as you find defects in it. Otherwise, it might lead to an unfortunate yet life-threatening accident. Good luck!

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