Fun Group Talk Slider_1 Spotlight — 06 June 2011
Choosing a Bike

Your friends have taken up biking and now you want in.  You’ve seen the benefits of cycling in your friends’ increased energy from cycling and have noticed slimming and toning of their physique.

After a buddy lets you take a few spins on their bike, feeling the breeze of speed, the tightening of your legs, and quick change of scenery, you’re sold!  You’re convinced that cycling definitely has its advantages over your typical routine of jogging and walking. Come payday, you head down to your local bike shop but find yourself faced with a dilemma.  There are so many bikes types choose from.  What type bike should you buy?

Click to learn your bike size.

Your predicament is common.  One of the most important yet confusing factors to consider when taking up biking is what type of bike to ride.  In deciding what type to ride you should first determine the kind of riding you plan to pursue.

- Are you riding to increase endurance?
- Are you riding to tone up?
- Do you plan on riding on paved roads?
- Do you plan on tackling dirt trails or rough terrain?  Or will you ride a mixture of both trail and road?

For as many varying types of terrains that exist there are as many types of bikes to suit the terrain.  Answering these simple questions will help narrow down the type of bike most suitable for your needs.  Yet, there are basically three categories of bicycles:

- the Road Bike
- the Hybrid
- the Mountain Bike.

Each has their own benefits and limitations.  To help you in your decision we offer this chart on how bike types differ.

Bike Type Characteristics Benefits Downside
Road bike Thin tires, Lightweight materials, aggressive aerodynamic design, Large chain ring, curl handlebars Good for high-intensity fitness riding, day touring, and speed competition Thin tires can be impeded by inclement weather and road debris.  Riding is limited to paved roads.
Hybrid High gearing, Lightweight, fatter tires – sometimes slick with knobby sides, raised straight handle bars, shock suspension seat pole Gently rides bumpy roads, fast,  offers less strain on back with upright position, good for commuting, fitness, and family riding. Can be hampered by rough weather conditions.  Not versatile off road.
Mountain bike Knobby off-road tires, thicker frame, front suspension forks, smaller chain rings, low center of gravity
Sturdy, can take abuse, offers good resistance, grips, maneuvers, and accelerates well off road Often heavy, slow on paved roads, requires more energy to propel.
Road bike

Many cyclists have multiple bikes. Some for speed. Some for unpredictable terrain. Pick which best suits you. And if you can’t decide, pick two.

For cycling novices we recommend entry-level mountain bikes and hybrids. Visit your local bike shop for a test ride of each.  Click to learn your bike size.

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