Your Bike Buying Guide
Want to get out and start exercising? Riding a bike is one of the best forms of exercising. Easy on the body and a great way to get around. But what type of bike do you want? Check out the different types of bikes below and what type of riding they are used for. This will give you a better idea of what will be the best fit for you. We have also included a basic sizing chart to get you started.
Road or racing bikes are streamlined and designed for speed and distance with light frames, drop handlebars, and narrow, high-pressure tires. The speed, distance, and efficiency of road bikes come with a price, though–road bikes aren’t meant to withstand rocky trails or dirt and are not as rugged or durable as mountain bikes. If you’re a serious rider, want to fast across travel long distances, and want to use cycling as a form of exercise, you’ll want a road bike.
THE MOUNTAIN BIKE
If you like to get dirty and ride the trails, you’re going to want the beefed-up suspension and sturdy tires of a mountain bike. Designed for riding off-road and over rugged terrain, mountain bikes have strong, durable frames and wheels, strong brakes, low gears for hill climbing, and upright handlebars. Mountain bikes have either a front or a full–sometimes called dual–suspension built for absorbing trail shock.
Front Suspension If you’re a beginner or a casual mountain biker, a front suspension mountain bike is a good choice. You can ride it on dirt roads and easy trails, but also on bike paths and paved trails. You’ll benefit from the comfort and smooth ride of the front suspension but your bike won’t be too bulky or aggressive for casual riding.
Full Suspension If you’re a serious rider who likes to climb steep hills and rocky trails and take multiday mountain bike expeditions through the backcountry, a full-suspension mountain bike is for you. You’ll benefit from the sturdiness and reliability of a full-suspension system as you come flying down rocky singletrack.
Built small and designed for beginning riders, kids’ bikes come in a range of models and sizes but are most often styled after BMX or mountain bikes. Kids’ bikes are sized according to the wheel size of the bike and age.
Balance bikes, also called push bikes, are designed for toddlers who are just being introduced to bike riding. Balance bikes don’t have pedals–rather, the child straddles the bike, steers with the handlebars, and walks to get familiar with the feel of a bicycle. The next step up is a basic entry-level bike with removable training wheels. After a child is confident on training wheels, he or she can move up to bigger bikes with six or 21 gears and start shifting and using handbrakes. Kids’ bikes are designed for the early rider through the more advanced young adult rider.