While the act of riding a bike is as “simple as riding a bike”, the opportunities offered by keeping the wheels moving are very diverse and cater to different agendas and terrains. Whether you’re riding a bike to get fit, commute, explore the countryside, use it on dirt roads and trails and even race with it, the bike is the perfect vehicle to do that and there are more benefits of cycling than meet the eye.
There are numerous types of bikes, so let’s look into them and what to consider when you’re out to buy one.
How to Choose a Bike?
Choosing a bike that suits your needs can be a tricky task. There are many types of riding and so many types of bikes to choose from that sometimes it can be confusing. By default, any type of bike can get you from point A to point B but they don’t all get you there the same way or speed.
Some bikes are built for racing and off-road riding, others are designed for smooth, reliable and consistent long-distance riding. Ultimately, choosing a bike largely depends on understanding your needs and goals and the type of riding you will do.
We’ll be giving you a rundown of types of biking and types of bikes that are exclusively built for specific purposes and/or different terrains. Although the types of bikes are abounding, the good news is that many types of bikes mean that there is one exactly designed to satisfy your needs.
Check them out below.
As its name entails, road biking is usually practiced on paved surfaces and is typically tailor-made to balance efficiency and embark on big-mile rides. It may include short distance recreational riding, touring, commuting, or working out. Or, if you want to kick it up a notch, you could join event rides and toe the line in cycling races. What’s amazing about road biking is that paved surfaces are usually in good condition and can handle different types of bikes.
Within the road biking classification, there are road bikes that have a particular and more defined purpose. Depending on the type of road riding you’ll do, each bike features a different design and setup, different shape and length, height and gearing, and different other specific aspects of the bike. For instance, race bikes are distinguished by their slick look and aggressive lower riding position. In contrast, touring bikes have a more robust and stronger design and are best for carrying luggage and riding long distances.
If you are thinking about changing your cycling style, then it’s about time you consider all types of cycling and narrow down your choices. Below you can find a list of road biking types and see what kind of folks they are well-suited to.
Racing bikes are just what they sound like—bikes designed for racing with gears that are all about maximum speed. They are lighter in weight and have narrower tires than most common bikes. With a dropped handlebar that loops down and towards the rear, they are designed to easily change hand and body positions. This bent-forward position allows you to cut through the air faster and with less energy spent, making them a perfect tool for high-speed travel.
If you’re interested in traveling long distances and carrying a lot of stuff with you, consider a touring bike. Because they are specifically designed to carry extra load, they have sturdier components than the average road bike. Additional strength and durability, comfortable large seat, wider wheels and tires, lots of bottle cages, a frame-mounted pump are just some of the features of this bike that make it ideal for long journeys and move a load up hills. As comfort is the number one priority, touring bikes are slower and heavier than bikes more suited to racing.
Commuters, also called urban bikes, are simple, good-looking bikes specifically designed to handle the daily grind and commute to work or school with minimal fuss and maintenance. This bike genre is characterized by responsive handling and an upright riding position that ensures better visibility for busy inner roads and stops/starts. Along with its practical features, commuters can carry a modest amount of stuff, so you don’t have to take a backpack while riding.
Cruisers are hard to miss with their classic retro look, padded seats, and upright handlebars. They are commonly used for shopping or a pleasant amble by the river. Their reliable mechanical performance offers a cozy, stylish, and durable ride, especially in short-range cruising in flat towns. Cruisers also come in bright colors and cute baskets, which are pretty slick.
If you fancy taking on the most rugged off-road terrain, pushing your limits, and riding paths less traveled, mountain biking is the best option for you. Built with shock-absorbing features and steady traction, mountain bikes make dirt trails and rocky roads so much fun to ride in. All aspects from descending and quick climbing to huge jumps and drop-offs, mountain bikes offer better control over rough terrains. Because mountain bikes have thick knobby tires, they cannot go fast on paved roads. However, you can change them to smoother and smaller tires to be used for general leisure or even town rides.
Just like with road biking, there is an ever-expanding range of sub-types of mountain bikes- each with a different purpose, built with different elements for different mountainous areas. There are also numerous sub-disciplines of mountain biking, such as cross-country and downhill. Cross country is a good choice for beginners who want to start a new adventure in mountain biking. On the other hand, downhill requires more strength, stamina, and concentration as bikers need to memorize the course and do a lot of practice.
Cross-country was introduced in 1996 and is the most popular discipline of mountain biking nowadays. This mountain biking style takes place on a circuit and sees riders run multiple laps that are around 4-6 km long for a duration of 1h 30m up to 1h 45m.
In comparison to other formats of mountain biking, cross-country is less-technical but requires agility and endurance from riders. Since cross-country requires bikers to ride long distances, it can be used for fitness, improve stamina and bike handling skills. The bikes used for cross-country are usually lightweight with relatively short suspension for extra comfort and cushioning in case of hard jumps or very rugged terrain.
The name is a giveaway here. Downhill biking is the most exciting and risky mountain biking discipline, where bikers start at the top and go down the challenging steep trails, big jumps, and drop-offs. To avert crashing, riders need to pick every line with great aplomb and high concentration. Downhill bikes are designed to endure extreme forces and find grip on almost any surface while also protecting the bikers in the event of intense shock or bad handling.
All-mountain bikes/ Enduro
These types of bikes are a good option as you advance your skills in technical terrains. Although they share some attributes with their fellow downhill bikes and sometimes overlap greatly, all-mountain bikes are designed to go down and uphill with great power and maximum efficiency. They are full suspension bikes and have a more aggressive geometry than other types of mountain bikes.
With ultra-wide 26-27.5-inch wheels, fat bikes are all about grip. If you live near a mountain where it’s snowy and wet, fat bikes are a perfect fit for you. Because of their oversize tires, fat bikes make riding on sand or snow a sweet affair—the fatter the tire, the cushier the ride.
Cycling is one of the healthiest and versatile sports to indulge in. It can be as intense or calming as you want it to be. There are many types of riding, and they all blend with more than one type. Choosing a riding style and bike all depends on where and how you plan to ride. Whatever your choice, there is always a bike that matches your style.