Perhaps, you decided to start exercising. Maybe, you want to spend some quality time with your kids; or, you finally bit the bullet and signed up for a triathalon. Whatever the reason, you need a bike. You find yourself asking the question, what kind of bike should I get? This article explores all the options, and gives you the information you need to make that decision.
Different styles of bicycles are available for purchase both at the local discount store and at specialty bike shops. The most common types are the road bike and mountain bike.
What Kind of Bike Should I Get? The Road Bike
The road bike is designed to be used on paved roads. They are manufactured to be lightweight, with narrow tires, and flat handlebars. Race riders love road bikes. They are streamlined for speed, and do well on paved raceways. Most recreational riding is done on a road bike.
Touring bikes are an amped-up version of the road bike. They are meant to be taken over long distances, and often boast sturdier frames than regular road bikes so that they can support cargo. They usually have more gears than other types of bikes, because they are meant to cover great distances.
What Kind of Bike Should I Get? The Mountain Bike
Mountain bikes function well on rough terrain and are perfect for trail riding. The knobby, wide tires, provide great traction in the dirt. There are different types of mountain bikes, each designed to work best in certain applications. Most of the differences have to do with suspension. A hardtail mountain bike offers the best performance, overall, and can be used for jumps, racing, and cross-country riding.
The hybrid bicycle fits its name to a tee. It’s a hybrid between a road bike and a mountain bike. Designed to offer the best features of both types of bicycles, the hybrid bike is designed for rough riding over short distances and longer paved riding. They make great commuter bikes.
The Road Bike vs the Mountain Bike
So, which bike is right for you? That depends on your application, and your fitness level. Casual riders will want to consider the hybrid bike. It’s perfect for commuting and can be ridden on pavement or off-road.
If you plan to move over paved streets and you need to cover more distance, consider the road bike. It is designed for speed, and moves quickly through traffic.
Off-road riding requires the special tires, and sturdy frame of a mountain bike. Whether you get a hardtail or a full-suspension bike depends on whether you riding for pleasure or for sport. Generally, hardtails are more responsive, but require greater skill in handling. Full suspension mountain bikes are easier on the joints and offer greater comfort over the long haul.
Other Types of Bicycles
There are some specialty bikes out there that appeal to special groups of people. Recumbent bikes sit low to the ground, and your legs extend out in front of you. They go fast, but require quite a bit of exertion. They make great exercise vehicles, and work different muscle groups than a standard bike.
Gas-powered or electric bikes motorize the standard bicycle. The rider has the option of engaging a motor to assist in uphill climbs, and disengaging it downhill, or on straightaways. Obviously, these bikes require gas or recharging, and so they are not as economical as the standard bicycle; however, they make great commuters. Several online plans show you how to convert a road bike into a gas-powered bike, right in your own garage, using a small motor.
Two people can ride a tandem bike at the same time. Designed with two seats and two sets of pedals, this type of bike is great for a parent and child, or a couple. One person can power the bike if necessary, but it takes quite a bit of effort. As a parent, you can take your child on longer rides and not worry about them keeping up. They might not contribute a whole lot in getting you to your destination, but you are guaranteed to arrive at the same time.
Other Factors to Consider
When you are trying to decide what kind of bike should I get, you need to take a look at size, and durability along with function. Bikes come in a variety of sizes that range from small toddler bikes to extra-large frames meant for people as tall as 6 foot 5 inches. The best way to determine the proper size, is to straddle the bike with your feet on the ground. The seat should adjust to one inch below the top of your inseam. Consider both frame and tire size. The overall height is what you are interested in, not just the frame size.
Frames are made from a variety of materials: steel, aluminum, carbon, and other alloys. Generally, the lighter the frame, the faster the bike. Aluminum is very light, but not as durable as steel. Steel is heavy and make pedaling the bike harder. If you are riding paved streets, aluminum should not be a problem. Rough, off-road riding, may require a sturdier frame to prevent stress cracks, or dings.
Shop Around and Evaluate Price
Each different bike comes at a variety of price points. Road bikes can range from a mere 50 dollars to several thousand dollars. Mountain bikes generally run just a little more than road bikes, starting around 100 dollars. Similar to most things in life, quality rises in proportion to price; however, there are some very good deals out there, and shopping around is advisable.
Specialty bikes, like the recumbent and tandem bicycle, cost more money due to their more complex structures. Gas-powered or electric bikes are also more expensive, but as stated before, they can be built at home using regular bike components and small engines found in lawn equipment.
Summing It All Up
You still need an answer to: what kind of bike should I get?
Follow this series of steps and answer the applicable questions, to determine the answer:
- Consider where you plan to ride your bicycle. Will you be commuting, riding trails, going long distances, or tooling around the block with your children?
- Evaluate your fitness level. Can you ride up hills easily? Are you riding for exercise or for pleasure? Do you need more gears for easier pedaling? How heavy should your bike be? Do you need power assist?
- Determine your goals. Do you want to train for races? Are you interested in gaining skills for technical riding? Will you seeking to build up your endurance level?
- Set your budget. How much money do you have to spend? Which features do you consider the most important, and are you willing to pay for them? Have you shopped around for the best deal?
Purchasing a bike need not be overwhelming. Whether it be road bike, mountain bike, or specialty bike, due diligence pays off and you can be sure to find the perfect ride for your needs.
So, the answer to the question, what bike should I get, can only be answered by you; however, this article should help finding that answer a great deal easier than it was before.