by Stefan Milic
There are many kinds and types of bicycles, mainly depending on the function and the terrain of use. It may be confusing at the beginning, as for the novice rider a bike is a bike, but believe us – there is much more to it. In this text, we’ll try to explain some of them, at least the most important categories and give you some useful tips when you’re looking for a bike of your own.
Please note each of these bike categories contain many subcategories, but we’ll stick to the main ones, as we’re trying to give you some useful details on this topic, not build an encyclopedia.
As the name says, these bikes are mostly used on paved roads. They have bent (or dropped) handlebars, narrow and smooth tires They are designed to be aerodynamic and fast and are therefore usually lighter than other types of bikes, and not designed to carry any significant load. You can see those bikes at the most famous cycling event in the world – Le Tour de France.
Some road bike subcategories include cyclocross bicycles (designed for mixed surfaces), triathlon bicycles (designed for triathlons) and touring bicycles (designed for bicycle tourings).
These bikes are made for off-road cycling, or to better put it – all terrains. It has to be durable and perform well on all terrains so it has wide and knobby tires and suspension (usually front but can have back as well). It has more durable wheels, more powerful brakes, and lower gear ratios for climbing steep grades.
Subcategories include downhill bikes (with both front and back suspension), rigid (with no suspension), dirt jumping and many more.
These bikes are a blend of road bikes and mountain bikes, and provide advantages of both categories. They can be fast and at the same time ridden on unpaved surfaces. It has tires wider than with the road bike and have flat, straight handlebars. It is a favorite choice of a recreational and novice riders. A subcategory are touring bikes, used for longer tours and equipped with mudguards, pannier racks, etc.
Also called urban bikes, are designed for people commuting or running errands in the city, at the market or any kind of everyday riding in urban areas. It’s a utility bicycle, usually comes single speed, with no gears, and is simple to maintain. They are comfortable bikes, ridden in an upright position.
Cruisers are heavy framed bicycles, comfortable, with wide seats and curved handlebars, designed for riding in the upright position. It’s mostly single speed with coaster brakes (means it’s breaking when you reverse the cranks). They are usually made very colorful.
They are specifically designed bikes to fold into compact form, and take up less space and carried in a bag. It can be then stored in a bus or on a train and then used afterwards. They are perfect for commuters who need to take some other form of transport during their commute or are constrained with space. They usually come with smaller wheels, 16” or 20”, which means they are less efficient, but some of them can nevertheless be very fast.
E-bike is a bicycle with integrated electric motor and equipped with rechargeable battery. It can be coasting or pedal assist, with speed controlled via grips or pedals. Even though they have motors, they are mostly legally classified as bicycles and in most countries (including EU) the motor will stop helping you at the speed of 25km/h.
Now coming to the question from the beginning of the text – how to choose the best bike for you. The response lies in answering a simple question – what are you going to use the bike for? If you’re planning to use it mostly off-road, then choose from the wide range of mountain bikes. If you plan to ride it in the city or commute to work, then it’s a city or folding bike for you. If you’re going to mix then the safest choice is a hybrid. Once you narrow down the selection, then it’s up to your budget as all bikes come with different low range to high range equipment and specs. Also don’t forget to make sure your new bike fits you properly. Once you get it you need to maintain it and keep it safe. But that’s another topic…
If you’re on the market to buy a bike, we’re happy to help with some recommendations, just let us know!