Types of Bicycles

Who knew that there were so many choices for bicycles? When you were a kid, you got the shiny pink one with streamers or the blue one with racing stripes. Both had training wheels and a mom attached to keep you from falling. For today’s discerning cyclist, there are several types of bikes to choose from to suit your needs.

A bike is more than two wheels, a seat and handlebars. All bicycles are not equal as you will soon discover. Before purchasing a bike, decide what type of bike you are most comfortable handling.

Mountain Bikes

These are the rugged bicycles riders use to jump small boulders and navigate their way through wooded areas. Mountain biking is not for the faint of heart and can be dangerous if you are on the wrong bicycle. A mountain bike has wider wheels than a standard bike. Those wheels have deep tread to prevent slipping on all sorts of terrain from grass to loose gravel to wet pavement.

One thing that you will notice is that mountain bikes have the straight handlebars that you once saw only on those grandma bikes with the wide seats. The straight handlebars allow for better control on strange terrain.

Road Bikes

Remember those bicycle riders in spandex trying to balance skinny wheels on the white line at the edge of the paved road? They are riding road bikes. These are bikes chosen for competition by sports riders. The name of the game is aerodynamics. The wheels are thinner for speed and maneuverability.

It probably looked like there was no seat on that road bicycle. The seats are narrow to avoid slipping as you ride. The frame of a road bicycle is lightweight either aluminum, titanium (expensive), or another alloy for further speed advantages.

Hybrid Bikes

For most of us who are not thrill-seekers or inclined to ride competitively, this bike is for us. As a hybrid, it is a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. The wheels are not as wide as a mountain bike but wider than a road bike so it could support more weight on them. The handlebars will usually be straight since it puts less pressure on your back which is good news for novice riders who really want to stick with cycling and commuters.

Cruising Bikes

You’ll see cruising bikes on the beach, in tropical locations as rental bikes to tool around the city streets and for older riders. The seats are wider for comfort over a long ride. These bikes have heavier frames for security on the street and are not great for maneuvering in tight places. It is the type of bicycle for a leisurely ride when you want something to do but not for regular riding every day.

Touring Bikes

Touring bikes can be a more off road bike like a mountain bike or a traditional touring bike set up for the road or off road. Traditionally, touring bikes have drop handlebars and lots of gears!!  The geometry of the bike is designed to be a more comfortable ride for long distance riding.  You add racks for your gear or frame packs for gear.

Make sure that you love the feel of the bike as you will be on it everyday you are on your trip!

Determine what bike is right for your needs before heading out to the store.

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Donna Price

Business & Marketing Strategist at Compass Rose Consulting, LLC
Donna Price, is a business consultant and marketing strategist by day..... mom and driver, cyclist and lover of the open road.Donna has cycled across the United States and loves to be on the road. She drives -- her girls around for sometimes hours at a time, thinking, innovating, writing all the way. These are her ponderings.
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2 Comments on “Types of Bicycles

  1. Hi, Thank you for your information. I have a Query….
    Which bike will be the best one for mountains…. ?

    • Thanks Adam –

      I am definitely more of a road biker. I think you need to determine what type of riding in the mountains you are going to do. Are you touring? Trail riding? A good bike shop should have qualified staff to help you find the right bike to meet your specific needs. But definitely recommend a bike shop and not a sporting goods store. You want to get a quality bike with professionals to help you.

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