Buying a bike is similar to buying a computer. The choices are endless and can be overwhelming!
This is the 3rd tip in our series: “7 Road Bike Shopping Basics” which is also available as a FREE eBook at www.GearedUp.biz/ebooks/7-road-bike-shopping-basics.
Although Mountain Bikes & Road Bikes are two of the more popular styles, there are many other types of specialized bikes to choose from.
You have to decide what your riding style is and what your goals are.
Below are brief descriptions of various other styles of bikes that may work for your specific needs.
Touring bikes feature mounts for racks and bags to carry gear. Touring bikes generally use mountain-bike brakes for more stopping power and heavier frame materials to combat stress & weight as well as slightly wider tires for more stability and resistance.
A hybrid bike is like the SUV of the bicycle world. The idea is that the larger wheels and narrower tires enable you to travel more efficiently over longer distances while still being stable and worthy of the occasional jaunt on an unpaved fire road or non-technical single track. Hybrid bicycles are perfect for multiple gear selections (like the mountain bike) and smooth efficiency (like a road bike).
Comfort and cruiser bikes are built for recreational riding, generally on bike paths or over flat terrain. Tires can be very wide and soft, as on a “beach cruiser,” but are usually a smoother version of a mountain bike tire. Many comfort specialized bikes include shock-absorbing seats and suspension seat posts which help to make the ride as cushy as possible. Weight is less of an issue, and many cyclists add rear-view mirrors, lights, bags for carrying items, and reflective tape to their comfort bikes.
The Cyclocross specialized bikes are essentially road bikes that have a more durable frame, wider and knobbier tires, and mountain bike brakes, but are still light enough to carry while running. A ‘cross bike will have a lower, more race-style position, than a touring bicycle. If you aren’t into racing Cyclocross, these bicycles often make great recreational road bikes or touring bikes. Some feature mounts for racks and other accessories.
Cyclocross is a combination of mountain biking, road racing, and running. Cyclocross is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. racing scene.
- Triathlon Bikes
Triathlon bikes are variations of a road bike. These are aerodynamic cycles for triathlons, and use clip-on aero-bars (short for aerodynamic handlebars) to allow you to ride in a more aerodynamic position. They often also have aerodynamic wheels and drinking systems.
Bicycle motocross, or BMX, is a sport for smaller, specialized bikes, ridden off-road on a dirt track. BMX includes jumping, ramp riding, racing and freestyle. There are variations on the standard BMX bike, but most use the same style: 20-inch wheels with knobby, wide tires, a small frame and beefy components designed for rough use. There is also a cruiser style BMX bike, with 24-inch wheels for faster riding and more stability.
So now that you know about some of the more specialized bikes, you can go out and find the bike you need!