We have previously discussed pros and cons of buying a cheap bike as well as Can Craigslist be trusted if you looking to get a great deal on a good bike. At the end of the last article we identified that there are there are four major bike types out there:
- Road Bikes
- Mountain Bikes
The difference between them lays primarily in different construction, since each of these has a different purpose. Without getting too much into technical details the geometry and components of each bike is arranged differently to make the most out of each class under conditions it was designed for.
Mountain Bikes have the most rugged, aggressive, “go-anywhere” design to accommodate amount of stress and abuse they’re going to endure. It has in mind that rider will most likely be moving around a lot and being comfortable (like sitting on the couch comfortable) is not his first or even second priority. You will be able to take this bicycle to …
Cruisers are probably the second most cargo oriented class after Hybrids, but as comfy as they might look, it is all about the looks in this category. You can put a lot of cargo on it, but make sure to match the style of your bike, because these bikes have STYLE. With many done in retro style, they sure look pretty sweet … on the road.
Road Bikes are built for speed. Slim as a stick, light as a feather, those are the speed junkies of the bicycle family. That’s all they’re meant for by design.
Hybrids … well, the name does sort of speak for itself – it’s a middle ground between a Mountain Bike and a Road Bike. It normally has higher speed capabilities than Mountain Bike, but it is more rugged than a Road Bike. Very cargo friendly, it also maintains controls of a Mountain Bike.
All of these bikes can be upgraded and customized depending on your activities by adding some elements and/or accessories, but lets keep it simple for now, since the main thing for us at this point is to understand the environment your bike is going to be in most of the time because this will dictate your target type.
By definition it sounds like Hybrids are probably the most versatile and practical of them all. You can take a moderate trail ride as easily as a paved road ride and be fairly comfortable on either, which probably makes it the most common choice for a lot of people. However, if you start going to more complex trails, you’ll find hybrid underperforming in tough off-road environment. At that point you will have to look for something more aggressive and a lot more rugged. That’s territory of Mountain Bikes. They will take abuse like no other member of bicycle family. Their rugged design was made with severe stress in mind. Try imagining going down the mountainside … fast. These bikes are fairly light for the way their construction look and quite fast. However, if you crave real speed – Road Bike would be your best choice. Pay closer attention to packs of bikers on the road from time to time. They go 20-30+ mph with ease. If you’re into this kind of riding, you will have a blast. However, for a pleasure ride Cruiser is better than anything else. The best ones make you feel like you’re riding a comfy couch. They are designed to be comfortable and easy to operate.