When it comes to choosing a type of bicycle to purchase, consumers are sometimes left wondering which type to buy. There is no hard and fast rule about which type of bike is the best, but instead it is entirely dependent on each individual consumer’s circumstances. Therefore it is more of a case of matching the correct bike with the needs of the customer.
The two main factors that needs to be considered are what the bicycle is going to be used for, and what will be the terrains it is used on. We must consider both factors because even if the purpose is to ride to and from work each day, one person may ride only on the cycling paths and bitumen roads, while another person may have to make much of the journey on dirt-tracks, especially if they live in a more rural area.
These are the main types of bicycles and what they are most suited for:
Mountain Bikes – Perfect for off-road riding, the mountain bike can tackle the most difficult terrains. They can also be used on the regular roads, and come in handy if part of the journey switches on to pebbles or grass, such as taking a short-cut across a park. It is important to choose a suspension system based on your main method of use for the mountain bike.
Road Bikes – As the name says, made for use on the roads, as well as well maintained tracks and trails. They were originally referred to as 10 speed bikes, but nowadays they often have more than 10 gears. They are much faster than mountain bikes, although the terrains they can be used on are limited. Depending if you are a racer or not, you should choose a sub-category of road bike to suit your needs, choosing from the Racing Bike, Touring Bike, or Sports Bike.
Hybrid Bikes – Although hybrid bike is a general term, it is generally understood to mean a cross between a mountain bike and a raod bike. Much of the difference between these two is in design and riding position, so the hybrid bike generally falls in the middle somewhere to provide the best comfort levels. Common areas include the tyre thickness, handle-bar position, and seating placement. In terms of performance, it also provides a middle ground for riding speed and terrain tackling ability.
Recumbent Bikes – Commonly known as bents, the recumbent bicycles are now seeing an increase in popularity. Suited mainly for the roads, they possess a different design which takes advantage of reduced win resistance. They are faster and more comfortable than the regular road bikes, with the rider sitting in a reclined position instead of the regular upright or forward leaning positions. They have unique positions for the pedals and handlebars, and although they may seem unusual, are actually more ergonomic.
BMX Bikes – Purpose built for the really tough off-road tracks, the BMX bike is not one for the roads unless you enjoy a lot of pedalling. The name actually stands for Bicycle Motor-cross, and that’s where they are suited for. The freestyle and jump bikes are perfect for jumping off the motor-cross hills, as well as performing spectacular aerial maneuvers. An argument can be made that the BMX bike is mainly used for fun, as the mountain bike would be a better alternative off-road.
As always, have a chat with your local bike shop before making a purchase. Advise them of your needs and what types of activities you intend to use the bike for, and they can give you professional advice as to what bike will be the most suitable for you. However, if you feel the above mentioned information is sufficient to determine the type of bicycle you need, then it may be worth looking for an online retailer where the bikes are supplied at a discounted price. Don’t forget to grab a few custom team shirts and other riding gear to match the type of bike you purchase.