Bicycle Types: How To Choose the Best Bike for You

With such a multitude of choices from hybrid bikes to beach cruisers and beyond, finding the right bike for your needs can be challenging. Before making your decision, review this guide to learn more about each type of bike and what you should know about it before purchasing.

Road Bikes

Do you typically ride your bike on the flat, smooth pavement? Road bikes are lightweight, which makes them ideal for urban commuters. Curved handlebars are designed to boost your speed by creating an aerodynamic riding position. If you usually ride on the road, consider shopping city bikes for sale.

This broad bike category includes touring, cyclocross, racing and endurance bikes. Racing bikes are built for speed with sharp angles and carbon fiber or aluminum frame. Endurance bikes tweak the riding position just a bit to keep you more comfortable on long trips. Cyclocross bikes are also race-appropriate but have bulkier tires to tackle varied terrains like grass and gravel. Touring bikes have a low center of gravity for added control and feature durable frames with lots of attachment points so you can haul everything you need for a long trek.

Mountain Bikes

This category of bikes is designed for riders who love to hit the trails. Mountain bikes are built with high-quality brakes and shocks as well as low gears that allow you to climb steep ascensions. You’ll find a range of wheel sizes in this category, each with different strengths and weaknesses.

Trail bikes, a versatile model designed for general use, is the most popular type of mountain bike. Cross-country bikes are available to travel further at a faster speed than trail bikes. Fat bikes, a subcategory that includes beach cruiser bikes, feature wider than usual tires that can handle sand and snow. All-mountain bikes are designed for the steepest hills and toughest terrain with added performance features meant for experienced trail riders. 

Hybrid Bikes

If you want a bike that you can just as easily ride to work and take to the state park on the weekend, consider a hybrid bike. You will need to spend some time researching to find the best hybrid bikes under 500. This versatile style includes features of both a road bike and a mountain bike, allowing riders to experience the best of both worlds. Although the world of hybrid bikes includes significant variance, most models feature a flat handlebar, responsive brakes, slim tires and a shock-absorbing fork. Tires are usually 700 cc, though some hybrid bikes have 26-inch wheels.

Some hybrid bikes are slightly more suited for the road, while others can tackle steep trails in addition to gentle descents and dirt roads. Some have just one gear while others have more than two dozen. Explore the features carefully before making your selection in this category.

Before browsing bike models, ask yourself how you plan to use your brand-new two wheelers. If you’re strictly a pavement person, a road bike is a natural choice. If trails are your thing, go for a mountain bike. If you aren’t sure or if you think you’ll do a variety of riding on your bicycle, a hybrid might be the way to go. Either way, make sure the bike is properly fitted before taking it for your first spin.