If you are an experienced cyclist, surely you know many types of bikes. However, in case you are inexperienced, let’s learn together the bikes: how to choose a bike?
There are many types of bikes, but in this article, we’ll be talking about the most common ones—road bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrid/comfort bicycles. We’ll cover the main differences in each type and give a few tips on how to know which bike type is better for you.
Since there are many bikes and brands, you can check out some of the popular bike brands in the world. The top hundred bicycle manufacturers and bike brands are well sorted in the article.
Table of Contents
- Types of Bikes
- How to choose your Types of Bikes?
Types of Bikes
First, there are men’s bikes and women’s bikes. You can read our article about it in case you want to find out more. Each model of the bike depends on the activities you plan to organize.
Hybrid bike is a combination of mountain biking and road biking. They have a range of applications in which these bikes can be used, including commuting to work or riding in the countryside. Hybrid bikes have parts common to both road and mountain bikes, but they come with many of the benefits that only mountain bikes can offer. Popular brands of hybrid bikes are kestrel, Bianchi, GT, and Diamondback.
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A city bike is a regular bike with pedals, handlebars, and a frame, but it does not have gears. Simply put, it’s a bike without gears. Some people use this type of bike to ride around the city by going up and down hills as well as on flat surfaces. It is also known as an upright bike or fixie (pronounced fah-sigh-ee). Popular brands of city bikes are BW design, Cannondale, and Gazelle.
Mountain bikes are designed for ridings off-road, such as dirt trails, grassy plains, and steep hills. They come with front suspension forks to take the shock of hitting a hill and adjust the suspension on the way down. Pure mountain bikes do not come with gears or brakes unless it is a model with hydraulics or disc brakes. Popular brands of mountain bikes are Bianchi, Diamondback, Cannondale, and gazelle.
Mountain bikes are famous to be more durable, but also less comfortable than city bikes. They have a suspension system and a flat or slightly raised handlebar. Speaking of suspension, you will have it at the front of the bike. And if you have both front and rear suspension, then you are riding a dualie. If the bike is rigid; it means that there is no suspension. These types of bikes have sprockets, brakes, and some gears with a minimum of 10 since 2011.
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Bicycle Motocross (BMX)
BMX bikes are essentially dirt bikes for fewer people. Bicycles have three wheels with spokes and bearings but no suspension or handlebars. The front wheel is the same size as the rear, which allows for a greater turning radius. BMX bikes are used mostly for racing in competitions, but they are also popular for some recreational riding and mountain biking. Popular brands of BMX bikes are gator, Mongoose, and KHS.
A mountain bike and a BMX bike can confuse any beginner. The fundamental difference lies in the type of terrain that can be tackled. With a mountain bike, you can explore a forest, jungle or rough terrain, while the BMX is available to tackle simpler terrain, such as roads and aero jumps.
BMX bikes (short for Bicycle Motocross, where the X stands for cross) are single gear bikes. It is light but solid with 20-inch wheels (24 inches in Cruiser models). We mainly use them in dedicated competitions or exhibitions and acrobatics in equipped bike parks.
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The touring bike has most of the same parts as a mountain bike but has a suspension Seatpost, and rigid fork. When you ride a touring bike, you do not have to worry about flats and will be able to enjoy the outdoors no matter how muddy or wet it is. Touring bikes also provide more stability than many other types of bikes that are used for commuting. Popular touring brands are Shimano, trek, and Felt.
Road bikes are designed for riding on pavement or smooth dirt paths. They have narrow tires and a lightweight frame. The frame is made with thin walled tubes that are strong, but they also make it easy to ride the bike fast with great energy transfer from the rider to the wheels. Road bikes come with gears that are attached to one side of the bike known as a “brifter.” To change gears, you need to shift hand from hand without moving your body forward or backward. Popular brands of road bikes are bianchi, tdf, kawasaki, Specialized and Cannondale.
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Trekking bikes are made for going out on rough terrain and rugged trails. Trekking bikes have hydroformed frames, high-pressure tires, and suspension seat posts with shocks. They have low gears that make it easier to climb hills because the bike does not have to work as hard at climbing hills as compared to other brands of mountain bikes. Popular brands of trekking bikes are Trek, Cannondale, and Specialized
Recumbent bikes are designed to have the rider in a reclining posture where they sit back and relax. The rider’s legs are positioned out in front of them to provide balance and stability during longer distances. These bicycles are also safer when riding at high speeds because the rider is less likely to be thrown off if there is a sudden stop or fall. Popular brands of recumbent bikes are leitra, Rans and Bacchetta.
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A tandem bike is a form of a bicycle designed to be ridden by more than one person. It is often called a “buddy bike”. Tandem bikes are usually fitted with two, three, or four wheels in contact with the ground, although some models (such as recumbents) may have up to five wheels.
A tandem seat is mounted between the two riders’ seats. This arrangement allows both riders to face forward and share the work of pedaling and steering.
A cruiser is a bike with a relaxed riding position that provides a comfortable ride for leisurely rides. The cruiser name comes from the early flat-track racing bikes, first popular in the 1920s, which were made for long-distance races (e.g., Australia). Today, some cruisers are designed for road racing while others are used as touring or leisure bikes.
Cruiser bikes come in many different shapes and sizes with only one common feature – upright riding position. Most cruisers have a relaxed, comfortable riding position. Some of the cruiser bikes can be used as an upright bike.
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Comfort bikes are exactly what you think they are—comfortable. They’re designed to be ridden on paved roads at relatively slow speeds in a sitting position with hands on the handlebars. These bikes have a light frame and wheels, making them easy to push and control. Comfort bikes have wide handlebars and soft seats that make it comfortable for riders of all shapes to ride them for long distances.
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Commuter bikes are used for short trips. They have three or four gears that are easy to change with less risk of making a costly mechanical error. It is important that the gears you choose are smooth and easy to change as these will save your money on repairs. They have a comfortable suspension seat post, so your ride won’t feel tiring as a cruiser would. Commuter bikes also have racks on the front and back for carrying things such as bags, cases, or boxes. They often have fenders to keep you dry in the rain or snow and a chain guard to protect your pant legs.
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Electric bikes have a motor that generates power through the pedals via a chain or belt. They either drive through the front wheel or they can attach to the rear wheel and go like a scooter. The benefit of an electric bike is that it can provide you with an alternative to using your car and will save you money on gas or even on your tax if you are an employee who drives a car only for work purposes. Popular electric bike brands are Stromer, Tomos, Raleigh, and saris.
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Cargo bikes are bicycles designed to carry freight or passengers. They are long (typically around 15 in) but handle like a bike. And they come with two wheels at the back, one wheel at the front, and a handlebar. Cargo bikes can carry heavy loads (150-300 lbs.) of groceries, people, and even pets. Riders can stand at the front of the bike or they can be seated at the bike. They come in several sizes, so choosing a cargo bike is easy. Popular cargo bike brands are lugia, sougou, neomax, and moon.
Single Speed Bike
The single-speed bike often is preferred for a long commute to work or riding around the city. It has only one gear so it does not require shifters, cassettes, or derailleurs. The only part involved in the change of gears is the chainring and cog located at the crankset, which means that there is no risk of making costly mechanical errors in an important event like a race or when you need to get from one place to another on time. Popular single-speed bike brands are beach cruiser, Bianchi, Brompton, Kona, and Diamondback.
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A foldable bike is a type of bicycle that can be folded and unfolded then riders can easily store them in their homes or apartments. Sometimes people refer to them as foldable bikes. They are not completely foldable because the frame still has some metal parts, but it is an unusually compact and portable bicycle. Popular folding bikes brands are Dahon, Weinmann, and Yuba.
Some people think foldable bikes are lightweight and easy to carry. Like other cyclists, they also believe that by folding their bikes, they’ll save space in their homes. Folding bikes are usually simple and easy to use, so it is a good choice for women. For example, the Weimann Alpina, with its flat bar and a coaster brake, is very convenient to operate.
Folding mountain bikes are also very popular. A folding mountain bike is a little different from a regular mountain bike. The main difference is the lightweight frame and suspension fork, which make the bike more portable and easy to carry. But as long as it’s in good condition, it can also be used on regular roads. If you need a bicycle to commute through different terrains or for leisure riding, then folding bikes may be the best choice for you.
A folding electric bike is a small electric bicycle of folding bicycle. Its appearance and riding experience is very similar to a normal electric bike. The wheels are larger than the traditional folding bike, which is not as compact when folded, but the overall weight of the motor is lower, and some folding electric bikes can reach speeds up to 20 km/h.
A cross between a trekking bike and a mountain bike that is suitable for both on-road and off-road use. The battery-powered lighting system complies with the regulations for road traffic, wider tires, and the 26-inch wheel diameter. Short gear ratio ensures proper propulsion off the beaten track. Clip-on mudguards prevent dirt streaks on clothing.
Luggage racks are available but are uncool by the target group. The young people who mostly ride such bikes carry their school supplies in a backpack or a shoulder bag. The saddle is sporty, narrow, and hard. And they intend the bikes for short distances, for driving to school and for a quick sprint to the lake.
An adult tricycle is a high-end, wheel-less bicycle. This type of bike is typically used by those looking to exercise while riding or simply as a toy. Adult tricycles often have the most amount of gears and braking systems of any other style of bike. Tricycles can be expensive, costing from around $7000 to well over $20,000 depending on the manufacturer and features they offer. Also, Tricycles have been used for over a century since the first model was created in the late 1800s. The bicycle industry has undergone many changes over time, and tricycles are now manufactured by companies such as Trek Bicycle, Schwinn, Craton Technologies, Kinesis Technology, and Bewley Cycles. Several patents protecting certain features are still in validity today.
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How to choose your Types of Bikes?
It is difficult to survive in the sea of offers and the ocean of doubts that arise when you come up to buy a new bike and do not believe that all these doubts affect only newbies. The information in the materials, previous experiences, suggestions from friends, and advice from experts are the preamble to other hesitations and indecision.
The following are just suggestions. They are probably trivia for the more experienced, but we hope they will help to bring solutions to some issues. It is of some importance to choose a bike that suits your needs and your sporting activity.
The evolution of materials has contributed to improving the bikes by meeting the needs of the cyclist. But, sometimes, it has also contributed to creating even more confusion when preparing for a new purchase. Staying up-to-date on materials and new accessories is an undertaking even for professionals and enthusiasts. And It is necessary to experiment before expressing a judgment.
Forgetting the bikes now wrapped in the mantle of history where the frames were made of iron or even wood. Today, the most used materials are as follows.
Recommendation: Prefer the carbon fiber material for lightweight bikes.
$ – This material is resistant to the mechanical stresses and wear of the bike. The material is inexpensive and easy to use. So, they widely use it for the construction of frames:
- “Hi-ten” often appears on steel frames and refers to a certain type considered elastic.
- Chromoly is another denomination that appears. It is not just steel, but an alloy formed by steel and chromium-molybdenum that makes the structure lighter.
- Columbus was available in 1999 as THERMACROM. It is heat-treated micro-alloyed steel that allows creating frames with a weight very close to the best aluminium series.
Recommendation: Prefer the steel material if you want a smooth ride, and you don’t mind about weight. The steel bike is used for casual use, like city riding.
$$ – It appeared on the market after steel. To simplify the matter, it is the same material that makes up the cans of many drinks. Aluminum is a versatile material and lighter than steel.
You can be misled by examining the diameter of a frame made of aluminum. We notice that they are wider than those made of steel. Therefore, it gives the feeling of greater heaviness and resistance, but it is not the drawback. An aluminum frame is lighter than a steel counterpart, but less flexible and with less mechanical resistance.
Recommendation: Prefer aluminum if you’re on a budget. However, it’s going to be heavier than the carbon material type.
$$$- Metallic matrix is an aluminum frame, covered with a ceramic surface layer, to make everything more resistant. This compound makes the frame more resistant to mechanical stress and is lighter than steel.
$$$$ – Carbon fiber is a widely used material, also by air and space engineering. They make it from resins like the shell of an airplane or a racing boat. Carbon fiber is a lighter material than steel and aluminum. But because of its strength, it can be variable. Carbon frames differ according to the number of layers that have been prepared for their construction, so more layers equal more resistance and higher price.
Recommendation: Prefer the Carbon if you want a lightweight bike. The carbon fiber bike is used for racing.
As a high-sounding name, the Titans of mythology are indestructible beings. Therefore, we think the same also of this league. It is a resistant material that has a greater duration in resistance and is the lightest. But it also has the flaw of not being versatile for repairs and is difficult to weld.
When we talk about titanium, we always refer not to the pure material itself but an alloy, composed of 3% aluminum, 2.5% vanadium, and 94.5% titanium. It has a high mechanical resistance that is about double that of steel for the same weight. Titanium does not rust. Therefore, it does not require any painting and resists the wear and tear of time better than steel. For its serious flaw, it costs a lot.
Recommendation: Prefer Titanium if your bike lasts longer than others. Titanium is a strong material and durable.
The right frame size is the most important factor for confident and comfortable cycling. You should have a specialist dealer measure and advise you professionally. The wrong size is dangerous in extreme cases. Once you have found the right frame size, the dealer will also help you adjust the bike correctly. These include saddle height, handlebar height and distance to the handlebars, and setting the suspension to your body weight on a mountain bike.
Recommendation: Use this bike frame size chart below
|Rider Height||Inside Leg||Road Bike Frame Size||Mountain Bike Frame Size|
|5′||28″||18.9″ (XX small)||15″ (X small)|
|5′ 3″||29.5″||20.1″ (small)||16″ (small)|
|5′ 7″||31″||21.2″ (medium)||17″ (medium)|
|5′ 9″||32.5″||22.04″ (large)||18″ (medium)|
|5′ 11″||33.5″||22.44″ (X Large)||19″ (Large)|
|6′ 2″||35″||23.62″ (XX Large)||20″ (Large)|
|6′ 5″||36.5″||24.80″ (XXX Large)||21″ (X Large)|
What do you want to use your new two-wheeler for? The fact is that the more often it is to be used in the future, the higher quality it has to be. City bikes offer a comfortable seating position and are ideal for shopping trips and weekend excursions.
Trekking bikes are the right thing for all travel fans. They also cut an outstanding figure on moderate terrain. In the city, they are faster than city bikes and mountain bikes. The latter is especially perfect for off-road. But in the city, they require increased effort.
The Right Dealer
Bicycles are now also available in hardware stores and department stores. “You can only get proper advice from specialist bicycle dealers,” says René Filippek from the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC). And it is where the road should lead to newbies. Here the seller helps with the assembly and change of the saddle, pedals, handlebars. “Besides, we can exchange parts that you do not like in specialist shops right before you buy.”
The frame height depends on the rider’s step and torso length. “The bike has to be long enough so you do not have to arch your back, but short enough to have full control over the vehicle,” says the expert. “You also have to get off safely without getting too close to the top tube.” Branded bikes are available in different frame heights, but hardware store bikes are often not.
The thickness alone does not decide. “Wide tires roll no worse than narrow ones,” says René Filipek. “Profile and pressure are crucial.” Those who drive mainly on roads rely on tires with the profile. A moderate profile suffices for field and forest paths; large-tread mountain bike rubbers only make sense off-road. Otherwise, they cost unnecessarily.
- 29″ wheel: A lighter wheel will perform in better acceleration & control
- 27.5″ wheel: the large wheel is better traction
- 26″ wheel: shallower is more beneficial
Steel or aluminum is the question. We can only find steel rims on very cheap bikes. If you want something from your new bike in the long term, use aluminum. Ideally, with so-called double-wall rims, they are more stable because of an intermediate floor. Heavyweights and travelers with a lot of luggage should rely on wide rims with 36 spokes, which provide stability.
A distinction is available between braking integrated into the hubs (such as a coaster, roller, and drum brakes), rim brakes (V-brakes and side-pull brakes), and disc brakes. Most of these items are operated by a cable. Alternatively, it can also be done hydraulically. Systems integrated into the hub should be sufficient in flat areas. Those who drive quickly, transport luggage, or are out and about in hilly regions are better off using the more powerful rim or disc brakes.
For example, out of 27 switching options, we can use only 15 or 16, according to the ADFC. All others are almost identical or not advisable because the chain wears out too quickly because of excessive skew. The type of circuit also plays a role. A derailleur system is interesting for athletes, as it offers a wide range of change options and, above all, wonderful help on the mountain. Depending on the application plan, a chain changes every 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers with a derailleur. The everyday bike runs with less maintenance with hub gear.
It ensures comfort and driving safety, but brings weight and maintenance with it. Be sure to ask the dealer how the system should be maintained. “Inexpensive suspensions often have poor damping properties and cannot be adequately adjusted to the weight of the driver and the nature of the road,” says René Filipek. The dealer should carry out the initial setting. “Bikes without suspension but with wide tires are often more comfortable and more pleasant to drive.”
Besides a good posture, a suitable saddle is important so that the bottom can hold out on longer tours. Which saddle is the right one for we explain which type of bicycle below in the explanations of the respective bicycle types. The following applies to all saddles: The bottom belongs on the widened part of the seat.
The cyclist sits correctly when the saddle remains hidden under the bottom. If the edge of the saddle protrudes from the back, the cyclist is sitting too far forward. It indicates a saddle that is too wide. Even if you have a wider bottom, try a narrower saddle – the width of the saddle does not always correspond to the shape of the buttocks as you would expect.
Those who cycle often are better off using a dynamo instead of a battery for lighting. So the light is always ready for use. Prefer light-emitting diodes (LEDs)! “They do not burn out, have an unlimited lifespan, and the brightness is very good,” says the ADFC expert. A hub dynamo is low-maintenance and particularly practical. It also works with no problems in rainy weather. And many models are already equipped with a brightness sensor so that the light comes on automatically in a tunnel. The hub dynamo continues to work even when the lights are switched off, swallowing some pedaling power. In high-quality models, however, the proportion is very low, even when compared to conventional dynamos.
Sporty cyclists can neglect mudguards, chain guards, and luggage racks for their off-road trips, but for everyday cyclists, they should be part of it. Without mudguards and chain guards, clothing suffers in rainy weather, and a luggage rack is essential for bags.
The more advanced and lighter materials are more effective. It makes the bike less weight to carry around. And it means less fatigue. We do not need to tackle the climbs beating records. However, there is one different question for people who compete that can make the difference between the podium and the wooden medal.
And for people who want to beat the opponent or improve their limits, it leads to different choices on the type of frame. Less weight also equals higher price, we would say that the search for the most suitable material also depends on your pockets.
We do not want the managers of department stores and hypermarkets to attack this article. But when you are about to buy a new bike, especially for sports use, it is preferable to go to a specialized shop.
Low-priced bikes expose them to high risks when the special price is consequent to the poor quality of the components. Therefore, the solidity and quality of the bike are far from negligible.
You will probably spend a higher amount, but you will have advantages. First, it is a precise reference for the guarantee in case of defects or problems after the purchase. And the certainty of being able to count on help to the vehicle even after the purchase is no small bargain. Before identifying which shop, it is always advisable to spend some time visiting the stores directly, ask for information and figures.
You can ask cyclist friends or contact a cycling association in the area to have references on the operators and their competence and reliability. In the shop, specify the activity you intend to carry out with your bike (city routes, cycle tourism, road excursions, racing, or MTB) so that whoever will take care of you can show the most suitable bike for your type of activity and need.
Competence and Professionalism
In your search, you will get sensations from the shops you visit. It is an environment that transmits familiarity and passion for two wheels, announcements of races, and excursions posted on a notice board. It offers for used bikes, presence in the room of people in perfect cyclist outfit converse with the staff.
Competence and professionalism are exactly what we are looking for. It updates the operator on the news and will try to identify the best compromise between the quality of the vehicle and the expense that you can afford.