Are you into mountain bikes, road bikes, e bikes or BMX bikes? Let’s take a look at the different types of bicycles, how they differ and how to choose the right one for you.
There are many different types of bicycles on the market these days, and it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. At iBikeReview, we cover the different types of bikes available and how to choose the right one for your needs. We’ll also cover bicycle accessories, bicycle maintenance tips and of course riding technique and tips. So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned cyclist, read on for all you need to know about choosing the perfect bike!
Types of bikes
- Mountain Bikes – including Cross Country (XC), All-Mountain (AM) or Downhill (DH) variants.
- Road Bikes – including Racing bikes, Touring bikes and Cyclocross.
- Downhill Bikes – Specialist Downhill mountain racing bikes with heavy suspension and brakes.
- eBikes – including Mountain Bike and Road Bike variants
- BMX – ‘Bicycle Motorcross’ Bikes are designed for stunt cycle sports performed in competitive BMX racing or freestyle BMX, or else in general on or offroad recreation.
Mountain bikes are designed for riding off-road on more rough terrain such as mud, gravel, dirt, roots and bush tracks. They typically have wider tires with knobby treads to provide traction on loose surfaces, and they’re equipped with features that make them more durable than other bicycles like suspension to absorb bumps, making them ideal for rougher terrain. Mountain bikes come in different styles, including cross-country (XC), all-mountain (AM) and downhill (DH). If you’ll be doing mostly off-road riding, look for a bike with front or full suspension. And if you plan to ride in wet conditions, make sure to get a bike with disc brakes. You can also get gravel bikes which are good on various surfaces but faster on the road.Check out our review of the Specialized Rockhopper 29 Mountain bike here.
Road bikes are designed for riding on paved surfaces such as roads, bike paths and sidewalks. They typically have narrower tires and higher gears to make pedaling easier, and they’re built for speed and distance rather than comfort. Road bikes come in different styles, including racing bikes, touring bikes and cyclocross bikes. If you’ll be riding mostly on paved surfaces, a road bike is a good choice.
“Road bicycles are just that, bikes made for efficiently riding on roads. You’ll know a road bike when you see one. It’s characterized by its sleek look, with dropped, curving handlebars, narrow wheels and “skinny” tires, a small seat and lots of cogs, or gears, on the back wheel. Typically, road bikes are lightweight, and oftentimes they look “fast.” That’s why they’re sometimes referred to as racing bikes.”John Marsh – roadbikerider.com
Downhill bikes are designed for riding on steep and rocky terrain. They have suspension to absorb bumps and protect the rider from impact, and they’re equipped with features that make them more durable than others. Check out our review of the Trek Slash 8 bike here.
Electric bikes (or eBikes) are a type of bicycle with an electric motor to assist the rider. They typically come in both mountain bike and road bike styles, and they’re a great option if you want a little help getting up hills or riding long distances.
As eBike technology evolves allowing higher performance from smaller and lighter eBike batteries and motos, we’re seeing more and more features coming out at lower and lower price points, making eBikes a great choice for all kinds of riders. If you’re looking for an electric bike, be sure to check out our reviews on the Carrera Vengeance e bike, the Tesla E bike and the Easy Motion E bike.
BMX bikes are designed for bicycle motocross racing (BMX) and freestyle BMX. They have small frames and wheels, and they’re built for speed and maneuverability. BMX bikes come in different styles, including race bikes, freestyle bikes and dirt jump bikes. If you’re interested in BMX racing or freestyle, a BMX bike is a good choice.
There are also city bikes (also known as cruiser bikes) which mostly have an upright riding position and are usually for more casual riding, there are hybrid bikes (a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike), folding bikes, tandem bikes and of course, kids bikes.
How to choose the right bike for you?
Now that you know the different types of bicycles available, how do you choose the right one for you? The first step is to decide what type of riding you’ll be doing. If you’re mostly going to be riding on paved surfaces, a road bike is a good choice. If you plan to do mostly off-road riding, a mountain bike is a good choice. And if you want a little help getting up hills or riding long distances, an eBike is a great option.
Once you’ve decided on the type of bike, the next step is to choose the right size. Bike sizing depends on both the type of bike you’re getting and your height and weight. Mountain bikes and road bikes are sized by the frame, which is the bicycle’s main triangular structure. The frame size is measured in inches or centimeters, and it’s usually listed in the bike’s specifications. To find the right size mountain bike or road bike for you, consult a sizing chart or ask an experienced bicycle salesperson.
When choosing a BMX bike, the frame size is not as important because BMX bikes are designed for maneuverability rather than speed and distance. However, the wheel size is important, as BMX bikes come in two different sizes: 20-inch wheels and 24-inch wheels. If you’re unsure which size to get, ask an experienced bicycle salesperson or consult a BMX sizing chart.
Finally, once you’ve chosen the right bike and size, it’s important to make sure you’re getting a quality bicycle. Inspect the frame for cracks or damage, and make sure all the parts are in good working order. If you’re buying a used bike, be sure to have a qualified bicycle mechanic inspect it before you buy it. And if you’re buying a new bike, be sure to get a warranty from the bicycle shop.
Now that you know how to choose the right bicycle for you, it’s time to get some basic tips under your belt before you hit the trails or the open road.
There are many bicycle accessories available on the market, and the right ones for you will depend on your riding style and needs. Some popular bicycle accessories include helmets, camel packs, saddle bags, tyre slime and mud guards.
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Basic bicycle maintenance is important to keep your bike in good working condition. Some basic bicycle maintenance tasks include regularly cleaning your bike, lubing the chain and sprockets, correctly inflating the tires and adjusting the brakes.
Changing a bicycle tire is a common task that all cyclists should know how to do. If you get a flat tire while out on a ride, it’s important to be able to change it quickly so you can get back on the road. Here’s a quick overview of how to change a bicycle tire:
- Disconnect the brakes (and chain if rear tyre)
- Remove the wheel from the bicycle frame.
- Remove the tire from one side of the wheel using your tire change tool – run it along the bead the full circumference of the tire
- Now you can remove the inner tube and inspect it – apply an inner tube patch or discard
- Replace the inner tube with a new or repaired one, and inflate it slightly.
- Replace the tire on the wheel using the tire change tool, insert one area of the bicycle tire and then run it along the bead the full circumference of the tire.
- Reinstall the wheel on the bicycle frame.
- Reconnect the brakes (and chain if rear tyre) – be sure to test this before riding
If you’re unsure how to perform these tasks, there are plenty of resources available online on YouTube, on this website, or for first-hand experience and tutorials you can engage your local bicycle shop.
Good Bike riding Techniques
Many rider technique tips can help you ride your bicycle more efficiently and safely. Here are a few bicycle safety and maintenance tips to get you started:
- Always wear a helmet when riding, and make sure it fits properly.
- Check your bicycle tires regularly for wear and tear, and be sure to keep them inflated to the proper pressure.
- If you’re going to be riding in the rain, be sure to equip your bicycle with fenders and mudguards.
- When riding on the road, always obey the rules of the road and ride predictably. Be aware of obstacles in your path and give yourself plenty of time to avoid them.
- Inspect your bicycle regularly for loose bolts or other damage, and be sure to apply regular corrective maintenance.
- Always ride with a bright white flashing front light, and bright red flashing rear light. Modern LED units are extremely bright, draw low power and can be recharged via USB ports.
- Pedal in a smooth circle (the use of pedal cages or cleats will assist in the power strokes)
- Prioritize the front brakes to prevent the rear wheel locking up and creating a flat spot on the tyre
- Standing up when riding over rough terrain.
- Always look ahead, and maintain situational awareness when riding – especially when on the road.
For more rider technique tips, check out the rest of our blog – www.ibikereview.com
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There are many different types of bicycles and they are built differently depending on the intended use. Deciding on what kind of riding you want to do will help you decide on the type of bike. Just make sure you have the right protective and safety gear and follow the road rules.
Do you have a favourite type of bike? Why did you choose that type? Let us know in the comments!