With so many different types of bikes to choose from it can be hard to determine which bicycle would be best suited for you, but if you know a few basics about each type of bike it will be easier to zero in on the bicycle that will fit your lifestyle when you go to purchasing your next bicycle.
Cruiser Bicycles: These retro looking bikes have wide balloon tires, wide saddles, and keep you in an upright seated position. These bikes have a much simpler mechanical design with some versions having just a single-speed drivetrain (a single gear) and they are incredibly durable which makes them very easy to maintain.
Lifestyle of Cruiser Cyclist: A cruiser is a great choice for the casual and stylish cyclist who is looking for a stable bike. This cyclist is not concerned about how fast they get from point A to B, and will primarily be biking on flat terrain.
Mountain Bicycles: These durable bikes typically have wide knobby tires, a stout frame, shock-absorbers, and straight handlebars with a raised seat that keeps you in a more upright seated position then a road bike. With stable wheels these bikes can handle the dirt, potholes, and gravel of off-road biking. As a caution, although sturdy features make this type of bicycle excellent for rough terrain the same features can also make a ride on the road heavy and slow.
Lifestyle of a Mountain Cyclist: A mountain bike is an ideal bike for cyclists who are looking to ride their bicycle off-road and on rough terrain.
Hybrid Bicycles: The Hybrid is an excellent in-between bike that optimizes on comfort and fitness. This bike combines features of both the road and mountain bike styles to create a perfect compromise. From the road bike the Hybrid receives skinnier tires and a lightness which allows it to go faster than the mountain bike. The mountain bike however, offers a seat and handlebar position that keeps you riding in an upright position and with a better comfort and stouter frame for better durability.
Lifestyle of the Hybrid Cyclist: The Hybrid is an ideal bike for the cyclist who wants a general-purpose bike that can handle multiple terrains and riding conditions. Since this bicycle is not only durable and comfortable, but is also faster than an Urban or bike Path bike it is ideally suited for beginning cyclist or commuters who want a comfortable, fitness level and faster ride.
Urban Bicycles: These bikes are durable with strong frames to handle any possible hazards of the city road. Oftentimes this type of bike comes with fenders to keep the rider free from mud and water kicked back up at the rider. The handlebars on this bike allow you to sit upright for a comfortable ride.
Lifestyle of the Urban Cyclist: Urban bikes are ideal for the practical city dweller who wants to use their bike to get around quick while running errands or commuting to work.
Bike Path Bicycles:These bikes keep riding simple and smooth. Features such as wide plush saddles, upright seating, plush suspension, and tires similar to those found on mountain bikes (but smoother) make riding a Bike Path bike extremely comfortable although less efficient then a Hybrid.
Lifestyle of the Bike Path Cyclist: The Bike Path bike is ideal for a casual cyclist who desires comfort and leisurely rides.
Road Bicycles: These bikes have skinny tires, light frames, and a forward leaning riding position that allows a cyclist to go fast on pavement. Proper fit for road bikes is essential because a poor fit can make the ride uncomfortable while also reducing peddling efficiency. The road bike has two types of handlebars for the road cyclist various needs. Drop-bar handlebars are for the cyclist who wants to go faster. They are lightweight and create a more aerodynamic riding position, while also allowing you to better transfer your energy to moving the bike. However they may also put more strain on your back. The flat-bar handlebars allow you to sit up in a more upright position to reduce strain on your back, wrist and shoulders, but they are less efficient in speed than the drop-bar road bike is.
Lifestyle of a Road Cyclist: A road bike is ideal for cyclist who is looking to ride their bikes fast, on pavement, for lengthy distances, and long periods of time.
It is also important to remember that even after you know what type of bike is best suited for you to also make sure it fits you properly. Make sure to get on the bicycle and actually ride it a bit. While testing the bike you should check the extension of your legs. When the pedal is at its lowest point your leg should be almost completely extended with just a slight bend in the knee. Your feet should also not be able to touch the ground while you are seated on the saddle. Most importantly, make sure that you are comfortable with how you are seated and how the ride feels; after all biking should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience.
For more tips on how to buy a bike, check out our blog post How to Buy a Bike.
For more information on choosing the right size bike for your child visit our post The Guide to Kids' Bike Sizes and Heights.