Walking into a bike shop or browsing for a bike online these days can be overwhelming. There are many models, styles, and types of bikes to choose from. How do you know which one is best for you? Thankfully, we can help you narrow down the choices to ensure you select the best bike for your needs. This article will describe the different types of bicycles as well as the benefits and limitations of each. With this knowledge, you can more confidently make your selection of bike style and type.
Maybe you are looking for a convenient all-electric cruiser bike for traveling, a rugged mountain bike to explore dirt trails, or a versatile hybrid bike that can do everything. No matter the type of bike you want, we will cover the 7 most common varieties of bicycles and how to pick the best one for your needs.
1. Road Bikes
If you are looking for a lightweight, fast, and sleek bike for use strictly on paved roads and paved paths, a road bike might be your best choice. Road bikes can be identified by their skinny tires, drop handlebars, and many gears. Drop handlebars offer more hand placement options and allow you to crouch forward, decreasing your wind resistance. Road bikes will provide you with speed and agility but will limit the number of surfaces and terrains you can traverse. If you are interested in riding in bike racing competitions or triathlons, this will be the bike type for you.
Road bikes come in electric and traditional styles. You might consider an electric version if you want to commute and increase the amount of distance you can comfortably travel. Because of the compact design of the road bike and the drop handlebars, they are helpful for navigating through traffic with narrow openings.
A second bike style is the cruiser bike. Cruisers, such as the Himiway Cruiser Step-Thru, are best suited for a more leisurely pace than road bikes. They often have flat handlebars, a heavier construction than road bikes, and offer a more comfortable ride due to the upright posture of riders. Depending on the type of tires you select, a cruiser may allow you to ride on paved or dirt paths. For example, fat tires with deep treads will help you navigate in muddy, slippery, or snowy conditions with increased traction. Cruisers are easy to handle but would not be best for racing or power riding. Many riders choose cruisers for easy daily riding and for the ability to attach racks and bags to them for increased functionality.
3. Urban Bikes
An excellent choice for looking good on short trips around the city, urban bikes (sometimes called “city bikes”) provide a stylish, hip appearance with low maintenance. They will usually have wider tires than road bikes but narrower tires than mountain bikes. They are an excellent option to navigate sidewalks, brick roads, or paved streets on your way through a city due to their high handlebars, which provide good visibility of cars and pedestrians. Urban bikes will not come with many extra features and will not be the best choice for fast or competitive riding because they often do not have as many gear combination options as some other bikes. However, they are a good choice for quick attachment to a car or bus rack, adding more options to the places you can go.
4. Mountain Bikes
One of our favorite types of bicycles is the off-roading mountain bike. Mountain bikes are an excellent choice for those looking to explore mountains, forests, and sandy trails because they come with deep tread tires, shock absorbers, and pedals with small grips to keep your feet from slipping off. Mountain bikes come in traditional and electric versions, such as the Himiway All-Terrain Electric Fat Tire Bike for when you need a little help on more demanding trails. One great feature of the Himiway All-Terrain E-bike is the durable aluminum crankset, which keeps your chain in place on rough terrain. Mountain bikes are very versatile and can be used on almost every surface but excel on dirt, gravel, or sand. You might not want to use a mountain bike in tight riding conditions like in cities or when speed is necessary, such as in competitive races.
5. Touring Bikes
Another type of bicycle is the Touring Bike, which gets its name from being an easy and comfortable way to visit tourist sights and travel on vacation. Touring Bikes are meant for long distances and expected to have high mileage, so they come with more durable components than ordinary bikes. Because they are used for trips, they have sturdy frames which support racks and bags to hold all your clothing, food, and any necessary supplies. Because of their sturdy design, Touring Bikes are heavy and have large treads on the tire. You won’t win any races on a Touring Bike because they are not made to achieve the highest speeds. They are a bit like electric commuter bikes, but commuter bikes are lighter and easier to operate.
6. Folding Bikes
A unique type of bike that has emerged in recent years is the Folding Bike. As the name implies, Folding Bikes can be folded up in various ways and made more compact for traveling, storage, or security purposes. These types of bikes are perfect for those that want to carry their bike on a bus or train, bring it inside at work, or keep inside instead of being exposed to the elements outdoors. Folding Bikes have smaller wheels (about 20 inches in diameter) and are therefore not as fast or efficient as full-sized bikes, but many people have become fans of their utility for this exact reason. They have many adjustable features which allow you to get the fit just right for your body type.
7. Hybrid Bikes
The final bike style we will highlight is the Hybrid Bike. Hybrid Bikes are known for being the “Swiss Army Knife” of the bicycle world. They can conform to all sorts of situations due to their specific tire tread patterns. Hybrid Bikes will have low tread on the center of the tire to allow for smoother and faster riding on pavement but will then have deeper treads on the sides of the tires to give some traction on dirt trails. They will often come with some absorption capabilities through a front suspension but are not as heavy-duty as full mountain bikes. Hybrid Bikes can be ridden almost everywhere but are not specialized in any given area.
There you have the 7 most common types of bicycles and how to pick the best one. Be sure to consider all the different ways you want to use your bike, as well as the type of riding you plan to do the most. And if you determine that an electric version of any of these bike styles is your preference, be sure to check out our related article, 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying an Electric Bike. This information will help you determine which bike is right for you.