Exercise 101: Different Types of Bikes


Bicycles: How to Choose.

You want to start biking, but haven’t been on a bike since you were a kid? Where do you begin. There are different types of bikes depending on where you want to bike. This article from REI, an outdoor specialty shop, breaks it down for you pretty simply.

The basics are the type of bike you choose is based on your riding style and your height. The basic types of bikes are:

  • Road bikes – best for riding on pavement. This is what you see in the Tour de France. Generally lighter in weight than the typical mountain or comfort bike, road bikes are good for multiple pavement uses including fitness riding, commuting, long-distance/event rides, touring and racing. 
  • Mountain bikes  – best for rocky trails or dirt. Designed with shock-absorbing features and better braking systems, mountain bikes can handle dirt trails and the rocks, roots, bumps and ruts that come with them. They feature lower gears than most road bikes to better handle steeper terrain.
  • Recreational bikes  – best for pavement or gravel. These bikes emphasize comfort and ease of handling. They are ideal for riding around flat neighborhoods, parks and bike paths.
  • Urban/Commuting bikes – best for pavement and some gravel. Designed with city streets in mind, urban bikes are rugged and sturdy with tough frames and strong wheels. They feature an upright riding position that allows you to better see, and be seen by, motorists.

There are additional types of bikes as well. But if you’re just getting started, this list should point you in the right direction. The next aspect of choosing a bike is the fit. Try out different bikes. You want your seat to be high enough that there is a slight bend in your knee when the pedal is at the lowest point. You also want to make sure you can easily reach the handlebars. There are bikes designed for women. As you “test drive” a bike, make sure it works for your body type.

Purchasing a bike need not be expensive. There are plenty of bikes in every price range. I suggest visiting a bike shop. It may seem more expensive, but they really have all sorts of bikes to meet every budget. It’s not bad to go to a big box store, such as Target or Wal-Mart, to buy a bike. Just make sure you can try it on for fit before you buy.

Most important, get yourself a helmet. I don’t want to hear anything about helmet hair. Helmets save lives. A simple fall from a bike can result in a serious head injury or worse if your head strike the ground. Get yourself some comfortable clothing that won’t get caught in the chains. Good shoes. Also some reflective gear on the bike and your person if you’ll be out at dusk or after. I have a hybrid cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. Wasn’t too expensive. The right price for my budget and my amount of usage.

I’m just keeping it new.

Leave a Reply