What type of bike you should get will depend on what you are wanting to do with it. They all look pretty similar at first glance, just like all trucks and cars do. However, their intended purpose as well as their suitability for your specific needs varies greatly, based on their design. Road bikes are basically useless out in the deep woods, while mountain bikes under 500 are terrible for road racing. If you do a lot of riding, then you know you need to select your bike based on things you would like to do with it, along with its cost and appeal. If you are just starting to ride, or maybe wanting to get the first good bike you have since you were a child, then purchasing a bike can be fairly intimidating, particularly given all of numerous choices there are that range from one speed beach cruisers to featherweight road bikes. No matter what the cost or brand, your first choice needs to be made based on the basic kind of bike that will suit your needs the best. After that you can start focusing on the specifics. Then you need to answer a couple of questions to narrow down your choices.
Where are you intending to ride your bike? Off road? On the road? A bit of both? Your answer will considerably narrow your choices down.
Why are you wanting to ride a bike? For all out competition, casual cruising, commuting for school, work or shopping, fitness or fun? Or maybe a combination? A bike that is suited best for one purse might not work very well for a different purpose.
How often are you expecting you will ride your bike? Riding a bike every day might require different characteristics and components than a bike that you ride only once a month. A bike might be comfortable on short rides but get uncomfortable on longer ones. And although it might seem odd, a bike that is comfortable for many hours at a time, might not be very comfortable for short rides.
In general, a majority of bikes fall into only a couple of basic categories. However, each category has endless variations, and that is what can get very confusing. You can eliminate most choices by knowing what you would like your bike to do, which makes it easier for you to determine which features can help you do what you want to do and which ones can’t.
It isn’t just a question of the amount you need to spend in order to buy a good bike. Really it is more of what is the least amount it will take to get a bike that does what you want. The cost of a majority of quality brands ranges from $350 up to around $12,000. Spending a lot of money won’t guarantee that you get what you really want, but not spending enough can guarantee you won’t. As long as cost isn’t a major issue for you, it is fairly easy to choose a bike that will do the job at the highest standard possible. The biggest trick is figuring out where costs can be cut while still getting what you need. After you reach a certain point, every increase in price only provides you with performance enhancements that are fairly subtle. They might be valuable to some people, but not to everyone. That is where some insider knowledge might help with sorting the facts out from the myths and hype to get the most valuable for your money. A majority of commercial bicycle magazine will say that if you don’t spend $2,000 at least, then you may as well stay home. For experienced and serious road riders focused on competition and performance, that might seem fairly reasonable. However, for a majority of individuals who want all around fitness and fun riding, a road bike that costs less than $600 can be more than adequate for their needs. For other kinds of bikes it may be even less money. They are referred to as entry level bikes, and that’s a fairly accurate term for them. An entry level bike made by a quality manufacturer might lack in refinements and enhancements that make the higher levels ones cost more, however the minimum standard will still provide the level of performance and quality needed to get the job done.
It is completely reasonable for you to expect to be asked these questions at a bike shop, and for them to listen to what your answers are and provide you with realistic and knowledgeable advice as well as options about the features and bikes that will do what you are looking for, as well as the ones that won’t and the reasons why, and finally the comprises that you may want to consider in order to not exceed your budget.
We are always happy to speak with you regarding your costs, choices and needs. We highly recommend that you take our bikes for a test ride for as long as you need to make it is well suited for you.
Here are a couple of basic examples of different kinds of bikes. Each kind covers a broad range of costs, functions and intended purposes. Of course, there is are also more than what is listed below, including bmx, fat tire bikes, single speeds, track and more. However, for a majority of people, it covers the basics. The term Hybrid gets used often, however it applies to almost anything that isn’t a mountain or road bike.
These are built to ride mostly on pavement. Some of them are built for fast, short ride, while other are for leisurely rides around your neighborhood, for adventuring riding out on the back roads or for cross country trips with a full load being carried. Compared to other bikes, the riding position has more bend forward position for maximum pedaling efficiency and less air resistance. Usually the tire are skinny and somewhat hard for quicker handling and lower rolling resistance. Although they them them as comfortable as possible, comfort isn’t always the main design goal. You need to balance needs for comfort vs speed that is suited to you. In some aspects lighter weight makes them a bit faster, however they are also less versatile and more delicate.
Flat Bar Road Bikes
This type of bike is a quick and light road kind of bike featuring flat handle bars as well as more casual geometry with an emphasis on comfort more than sheer speed. This may be a good option if you won’t to be fast but not at road racer speed.
Also referred to as comfort bikes at times, it is basically a go anywhere all purpose bike. They are comfortable enough for riding all day long, nimble and light enough for navigating mean streets as well as rugged enough for managing foot paths and gravel roads. It features a more upright riding position and more stable and relaxed frame geometry. A majority have 700cc road bike kind of wheels that are wider with larger tires for providing a stable and smooth ride.
Many of them have suspension forks for handling rougher terrains. Some of them also have set posts that have a shock absorber built in. They are good for exploring Rails to Trails greenways such as the Virginia Creeper, neighborhoods, campground paths and urban commutes. An example of this kind of bike is the Crosstown.
This is a type of beefed up version of a flat bar road bike or slimmed down version of a mountain bike. It is built for comfort but still needs to be geared well and rugged enough for off road riding. It is stable and smooth on pavement, and not as cumbersome as a mountain bike yet not as quick or light as the Absolute. The Traverse is a good example.
Ranging from wild to mild. Some are great for jumping off of tall cliffs to piles of rocks and then roaring down the mountain at top speeds, while others are well suited for casual cruising on all different types of surfaces. Those that are more casual mountain bikes may be more upright, easy to ride and comfortable compared to serious rock bashers. However, in general, they haven’t been built with their main consideration as comfort. Versatility and comfort are sacrificed on the harder core models in favor of tolerance for abuse, lighter weight and performance. If you are really going to be breaking rocks and pounding dirt, you will need to have a certain performance level and nothing else will really do. However, the bikes that are the best at this usually aren’t ideal for leisurely riding. The trick is finding a balance of performance and comfort that works the best for the type of rider you intend to be or already are. Here are some good examples:
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Laid back, low, long cruisers provide maximum stability, ease and comfort. On the Pedal Forward deign, the pedals are placed in a more forward position so that you can properly extend your legs for easier pedaling as you are maintaining the set low enough for putting both of your feet on the ground when you stop. They are available in 7 speed, 3 speed and single speed versions.