Browsing the Range of Bicycles Available
Part of the Cycling For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)
So you’ve decided to take up cycling, but you’re missing that vital piece of kit – a bike! Unless you already know exactly what type of bike you want, a good piece of advice is to take your time and really consider what you’ll be doing with your bike and where you’ll be riding it, or you might come away with something that isn’t a good match.
Check out this list of different bike styles and consider the things they’re good for before you make that trip to the bike shop:
Road bikes: These bikes are meant for riding fast, in a bent forward position, on roads. They have curved handlebars and can be very light – and very expensive. Road bikes are good for racing, training and fast commuting.
Mountain bikes (MTBs): These tough bikes either have front or dual (front and back) suspension. They have wide, knobbly tyres to grip any surface and gearing to help with steep uphill climbs. MTBs are great for trails and off-roading, but you can also use them for a comfortable, less speedy commute (although you might want to think about getting smoother tyres for commuting).
Cruisers: The curvy frames, wide saddles and colours of these bikes create a style statement that can’t be denied. Cruisers generally have no gears, or just three, a back-pedal rear brake and are great for short trips but not usually ideal for fast or long journeys.
Comfort bikes: These bikes are a safe and steady option for anyone who wants a gentle and comfortable ride. They usually have a wide, low saddle, often with seat suspension, and allow you to ride in an upright position. Some are made with better quality components that enable longer rides.
Hybrids, city bikes, exercise bikes and flat-bar road bikes: While the definitions for these bikes may blur and merge a little, all are designed for medium-paced to slightly faster cycling. They have straight handlebars and allow a more upright riding position than a road bike.
Touring bikes: These bikes are meant for covering long distances while also carrying all your kit. They tend to have drop handlebars, to give you a variety of positions to stop you from getting tired, and racks to clip your bags to. The frames and wheels are strong and they have lots of gears to get you over any mountain range that stands in your way. Touring bikes make a good all-round choice for a keen rider.
Folding bikes: You can fold and pack up these bikes in a matter of seconds – and you can ride pretty fast and far on them, too.
BMX bikes: These bikes may be small, but they’re not just for kids. BMXs are great for flips, rolls and grinds, but not the best for travelling further than the local skateboard park.
Fixies: These bikes look like road bikes, but they have no gears and the fixed-wheel system means you can’t freewheel, so if the back wheel is turning, so are the pedals. Fixies are great for being cool and urban.
Tandems: These bikes offer two saddles, two sets of pedals and handlebars, two wheels and two riders. While often chosen by lovers, tandems are also great for people who can’t (for medical or physical reasons) ride a bike on their own.