How to Choose a Bike – A bike is a wonderful piece of equipment, combining the elements of functionality, leisure, health and exercise, and environmental consciousness. Determining what bike is right for you depends on which of the diverse bicycle functions you intend to use the bike for.
If you intend to ride over rough terrain, such as rocks, gravel and tree roots, a mountain bike may be the best choice for you. The smaller diameter 26 inch wheels, front and rear disc brakes for increased braking power, and shock-absorbing suspension are better suited for trails and more challenging surfaces. The lower gear ratios make it easier to ascend hills, despite the generally heavier weight of the mountain bike as compared with a touring bike, road bike or other lighter weight bicycle designs.
Many cyclists also prefer the mountain bike for traversing city streets, as the sturdier frame, wider and more durable tires, and better suspension are more suited for uneven road surfaces, potholes and street debris. Some mountain bikes feature 29 inch wheels which are more efficient on non-trail road surfaces.
Examples of mountain bikes include the Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men’s Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike, Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle, Diamondback 2013 Recoil 29’er Full Suspension Mountain Bike, and Mongoose Status 3.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike.
If you intend to ride your bicycle primarily over bike paths and paved roads, such as for weekend recreation or for commuting, then a recreational bike might be right for you. The bikes allow the cyclist to ride in a comfortable, upright position, and are relatively stable and easy to handle. The bikes are generally equipped with linear pull brakes to facilitate stopping, front wheel suspension for cyclist comfort, and front and rear fenders to protect the rider from rain and road debris. Two subcategories of recreational bikes are comfort bikes and hybrid bikes.
Road bikes are the most versatile bike design, suitable for commuting, racing, distance work and touring, and general fitness. They lack the comfort and shock absorbing features common to mountain and leisure bikes, and are more suited to road work. But they are built for speed, and are the preferred bicycle for those interested in racing on paved road surfaces.
Urban or commuting bikes are a more rugged version of the leisure or comfort bike. They are designed to navigate city streets and pavement surfaces, providing some of the frame rigidity of the mountain bike with features such as front and rear fenders, headlamps and tail lights, and bike racks generally found on leisure bikes.
Many urban or commuting bike designs include coaster brakes for quick stopping without utilizing handlebar brakes, fixed single speed drive-trains to eliminate the need for gear shifting, ergonomic seats, and thick tires with large, water dispersing grooves. Cyclists sit in an upright position, allowing the maximum visibility to see traffic and other road hazards. The bikes are designed to get the cyclist from points A to B, while maximizing rider safety, so are considered ideal for commuting.
Urban or commuting bike models include the 700c Mongoose Detain Men’s Urban Bike, Critical Cycles Dutch Style Step-Thru 1-Speed Hybrid Urban Commuter Road Bicycle, Pure Fix Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Urban Fixie Road Bike, Retrospec Fixie Saint Urban Fixed Gear Single Speed Urban Road Bike, and Mongoose Sabrosa 3X8 Commuter Bike.
BMX bikes are designed primarily for off road riding on trails, streets and dirt, and are built for extreme sport jumping over ramps, gaps and obstacles. BMX bikes are constructed of strong and light-weight high-tensile chromoly steel or aluminum, with smaller wheels for increased agility and strong rear brakes for quick stopping power. BMX bikes have upright handlebars connected by crossbars, and a rear hand brake.
There are three types of BMX bikes, the basic or true BMX bike, the freestyle bike, and the dirt jumper or jump bike.
Cruiser bikes emphasize comfort, with an upright seating position, stable steel framing, and spread handlebars. The cruiser bike features a single speed drivetrain, front and rear fenders, wide, double-spring saddles, and heavy tires, and are often equiped with a rear rack and front basket.
Examples of cruiser bikes include the Firmstrong Urban Man Single Speed Beach Cruiser Bike, Schwinn Sanctuary Bicycle, and Nirve Forty-Nine Men’s 3-Speed Cruiser Bike.
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