Different Types of Bicycles: What’s Right for You?

Whether you’re flying down a rugged mountain trail or simply cruising to work or the beach, bike riding can be a whole lot of fun. Cycling in general can help you stay in shape, and it’s also a great way to get out and explore the outdoors. If you’re interested in purchasing a bike for yourself, it’s important to remember that there are several different kinds of bikes to choose from. Certain bikes are ideal for certain activities—for example, mountain bikes are fantastic for riding on trails, while comfort bikes are perfect for cruising a beach boardwalk. Here are a few thoughts about different bike types:
bicycle types silhouettes

Road Bikes:

Road bikes are pretty self-explanatory—they’re designed for riding on paved streets. If you’re looking for an agile, lightweight bike to use for training or racing, you’ll want to go with a road bike. Road bikes have downturned ‘ram’s-head’ style handlebars and slimmer tires for eating up the miles. Since this type of bike puts your body into a fairly aerodynamic position, it’s a good idea to go to a local bike shop and get a proper fitting so you’ll be less sore – and more efficient – over the course of your training miles. Prices are wide-ranging: decent road bikes can be found starting at about $800, while something approaching a Maserati can up the price to about $20,000.

Hybrid/City Bikes:

If you’re a beginning rider, like to enjoy the scenery, or are looking for a bike that’s perfect for commuting in an urban area, then you’ll probably want to go with a city bike or hybrid bike. They’re usually fairly tough, and typically designed in such a way that the user has to sit upright while riding—this allows for better visibility when riding in traffic. Tires are slightly wider than road bike tires, which makes them more ‘grippy’ on almost any road surface and fine for well-maintained bike paths. Many hybrid/city bikes also feature cool optional accessories like gear racks, lighting systems and fenders, which are perfect for commuting. The average prices run from several hundred dollars to well over $1,500.

Comfort Bikes:

Comfort bikes –sometimes called ‘cruisers’ – are designed purely for leisurely, flat riding. These bikes are easy to handle, tons of fun and extremely comfortable. Comfort bikes are ideal for cruising beach boardwalks, paved bike paths or flat neighborhoods. Many comfort bikes have fairly wide tires so they can handle some dirt or gravel roads—though not to the same extent as a mountain bike. Their one drawback is their heavier weight – making them challenging to pedal up hills. Some of the lower end models cost around $400, while the higher end ones, which feature custom shock absorbers, high-quality brakes or more complicated gear set-ups, will run well up to a $1,000 or more.

Mountain Bikes:

These bikes are tough—they’re designed to get dirty and take a beating. Many mountain bikes feature top-notch suspension systems that allow you to roll right over small natural features, such as rocks or roots that you might find on a trail. They also have high-quality brakes and specially designed tires that handle steep or muddy trails. Mountain bikes are also designed to be fairly light, and many feature lower gears than most road bikes, allowing mountain bikes to handle very steep terrain. Mountain bikes can handle just about anything, ranging from rough trails to ordinary streets—though you will have to switch over to road or pavement tires to keep your bike performing at its best. If there’s one downside to a mountain bike, it’s cleaning off the gook after a fun day in the mud. A high quality one will cost you a pretty penny: expect to pay anywhere from several hundred dollars to well over $6,000.

As you can see, there are plenty of bike types available for the average rider. However, just remember to pick the bike that best fits your overall riding style—if you do that, you’re bound to be pleased with whatever bike you end up choosing.

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2 Responses to Different Types of Bicycles: What’s Right for You?

  1. Many bike companies will not honor the frame warranty if a carbon fiber bike is used on a fixed trainer. That lack of rocking motion you described puts unnatural stress on the rear seat and chain stays. Carbon Fiber frames were not designed to be held back there. I believe Kinetics has a model called Rock ‘n Roller that some companies will allow with Carbon Fiber bikes. I know of no warranty issues with Carbon Fiber bikes on rollers.
    Of course, not a lot of carbon fiber touring bikes, but many of us have different bikes for different types of riding and maybe some folks have a carbon road machine for non-touring riding.

    • exit22admin says:

      Thanks for the advice, Mabel…probably a good idea to check on your carbon fiber bike’s warranty before affixing it to your winter trainer.

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