There’s an entire spectrum of bicycles on the road and trails that accommodate many functions. Some riders need to rely on a daily commuter, some may want to take that epic weekend road session, and some just enjoy the pleasure of a townie or cruiser. In any case, different bicycles have different functions but share common ground in two-wheeled mobility.
So what bike should one choose? We’ll try our best to outline some considerations.
Comfort Bike or Hybrid Bike
Pros: The name says it all. Comfort bikes usually have wide city tires and upright handlebars, along with plenty of gears to attack the urban terrain. These bikes offer some of the speed of a road bike while giving you the seating position of a mountain bicycle.
Cons: Hybrids are not suitable for intense off-road use. They will not be as efficient as a road bike or as comfortable for distances over 30-50 miles.
Single Speed Bicycle
Pros: Simplicity and efficiency, single speed bicycles are a great way to zip around an urban environment. Lack of gears makes this bike especially easy to maintain.
Cons: Single speed bikes can be difficult to ride in hilly and mountainous areas since you can not change to a higher or lower gear.
Pros: Cruisers have wide saddles, fat tires, and a low center of gravity for great balance. They are comfy for short distances and great for going to the beach!
Cons: Cruisers can be difficult to ride up hills and can become uncomfortable on longer trips. Cruisers are bulky and can be difficult to store.
Pros: Townies make some of the best choices for commuters. Internal gears, upright bars, and full fenders allow one to ride anywhere, anytime.
Cons: These bikes are made for comfort, but not speed. Also, if you you are going to be riding more than 10-15 miles, townies will become uncomfortable to ride.
Pro: Light frames and multiple gears characterize this style of bike. Road bikes are made for long, fast rides!
Cons: Road bike users sacrifice comfort for speed. Some users find riding in the bent forward position uncomfortable. Road bikes are not built to go off-road and their tires are more susceptible to street hazards like potholes, train tracks, and storm drains.
Pros: Beefy frames and knobby 26in. wheels typically define this all terrain beast. These bikes are built to handle off road bicycling. Suspension systems help absorb the impacts along the trail and the gear ratios are perfect for climbing hills.
Cons: Mountain Bikes are not efficient on flat roads. If you are trying to commute by bike or travel long distances, you will want a bike with smoother tires and a lighter frame.
Pros: Are you looking for the SUV of bicycles? Cargo bicycles can transport heavy loads, bulky objects, and human passengers. These are great if you want to haul work supplies, groceries, surfboards or children.
Cons: Cargo Bikes have a larger frame then conventional bikes and they will take up more space when you go to park or store them. Cargo Bikes take more effort to ride, especially when you’re hauling something. Getting a workout isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
Pros: Recumbent bikes are the marriage of a reclining chair and bicycle. They don’t look like most bicycles, as the rider sits back and keeps their legs forward. Recumbents offer back support, comfort on long distance rides, and a better viewing position for the head.
Cons: Recumbents can be more difficult to balance and maneuver. Generally, recumbent bicycles are more expensive than conventional bikes. They are slower than road bicycles when climbing hills.
Pros: Remember the 90’s? What about the film RAD? BMX bikes are just that. These bicycles are made to take jumps and do tricks.
Cons: BMX bicycles lack comfort. Their small frame and tires make them unsuitable for most trips over a a mile or two.
Pros: Don’t pigeonhole these with circus acts. Unicycles are fun and a great way to master balance. How many folks do you know who ride them?
Cons: They only come equipped with one wheel.