Choosing the right bike requires some basic research and consideration to ensure a great fit and equally great ride. When paired with the right type of bicycle, riding becomes a fun way to exercise and travel.
Consider how you will use the bike
Some people buy bicycles to ride on the trails near their homes. Others might use a bicycle to ride to and from work. Yet others might prefer recreational riding on paved riding trails and roadways to get their exercise and take in the sites. Choosing the right bike means making sure it will match the type of riding done most.
Mountain bikes have smaller wheels with wider tires and more durable rims than most other bikes and often have front suspension on the fork and possibly another suspension system as part of the frame. Such bikes are perfect for trails, where the wider tires enable better traction, while the suspension systems absorb rough terrain. Mountain bikes also work well when riding on city streets and college campuses, where curb-hopping is common. Mountain bikes generally are poor choices for long-distance riding on roadways due to the increased roll resistance from their wider tires.
Road bikes have large wheels that hold narrow tires with high air pressure to reduce roll resistance on paved surfaces and make riding more effortless. Road bikes generally also have traditional drop-down handlebars that enable several hand and riding positions and make it easier to ride longer distances. Equipped with lightweight frames, cranks and efficient gearing and shifting, a fit rider on a properly matched road bike can travel relatively far with less energy than when using a mountain bike.
Those who intend to mix up their riding between roadways and trails can generally opt for a good hybrid bike. A hybrid bike is configured more like a road bike in that it has larger wheels and frames than mountain bikes. They also have relatively wide tires mounted to wheels that generally are smaller than those on a road bike but larger than a mountain bike’s. Hybrids usually have no suspension, nor do they have drop-down handlebars. That makes them great for city riding and occasional light trail use. While they also allow for longer rides on paved surfaces, they’re not as dedicated as a road bike.