Thinking of getting started with biking?
Well, start right away!
Here is why.
First of all, biking is one of the best workouts. It is top-notch cardio that burns 400 calories per hour. It strengthens your lower body, including your hips, legs, and glutes while being gentle on your back and knees.
And since it gives you an opportunity for outdoor adventure while being alert, it improves your reflexes and overall mental health. Moreover, it is effortless to incorporate cycling into your daily schedule.
Unlike going to the gym, you don’t have to set aside a specified time for this activity. Instead, you can try it as you commute for work during weekdays or run errands over the weekends.
Additionally, cycling is a pocket-friendly activity. While you need to invest in a bicycle, unlike a gym or swimming membership, you don’t have to pay periodic membership charges. And once you invest in a bike and take proper care of it, it will continue to give you returns for an extended period of time.
And finally, biking is environmental-friendly. Unlike riding in public transport or driving your car, you can save on carbon emissions and positively contribute to the environment by riding your bicycle.
For the reasons highlighted above, cycling is one of the best things you can do to yourself. But you cannot just get started with it right away. When planning to start cycling, you need to have some information about the various types of bicycles available on the market.
You will also need to know about the right size of bike for yourself. Moreover, it is essential to understand how different features of a bike, such as tires, can affect your ride. And this is precisely why we have compiled an ultimate guide to the world of bicycles.
In this guide, you will find answers to almost all questions that will come to your mind when investing in a bike. But before we delve deep into different types of bikes and other relevant details, it is important to learn a little bit about the history of bicycles. So let’s get started.
- 1 History of Bicycles
- 2 What Types of Bicycles Exist?
- 3 Cost Ranges of Bicycles
- 4 What Is the Best Type Of Bicycle For You?
- 5 Bicycle Tires And How They Affect Your Ride?
- 6 How to Size Yourself Up For A Bicycle?
- 7 Final Words
History of Bicycles
“Necessity is the mother of all inventions” is a saying that holds true for almost all inventions, and bikes are not an exception.
Bicycles were first invented because a natural disaster (presumably volcanic eruption) killed horses, and were primarily used as a mode of transportation. Since then, bikes have evolved, and over the years, they have completely transformed.
The two-wheeled bikes, as we know them today, were first developed in the 19th century. Two of the earliest bikes were the Hobby Horse and Boneshaker. In 1818, Karl Von Drais invented the Hobby Horse that was worked through kicking.
A few years later, in 1863, a few new features such as cranks and pedals were added to Hobby Horse along with slight modifications in the tires, and the resultant was named the ‘boneshaker’.
In the years that followed, there were some new developments in the two-wheeled bike, and cycling became a popular sport around the world.
The first bicycle clubs and competitive races started to take place, and this is when the world felt a need to develop some safety standards for the bicycles. As a result, brakes were introduced, and different types of tires were developed to ensure safety for the riders.
Almost two centuries after the bikes were invented, today, we see different types of bicycles designed to cater to a variety of audiences.
Whether you are a road rider who needs an affordable bicycle for everyday commute or a sportsperson looking for a hybrid or mountain bike with the most advanced features, there is something for everyone. Now let’s take a look at the different types of bicycles that you can find in the market today.
What Types of Bicycles Exist?
You can choose from different types of bicycles, but when making a choice, you first need to identify your needs. One way of doing so is asking yourself a few questions such as
- Whether you will use your bike for everyday commute or on a leisure trip with your friends?
- Do you have any previous experience with a particular type of bicycle, and does that experience influence your choice?
- Do you have specific requirements for the handlebar or other gear?
- How much are you willing to spend on a particular bicycle?
The following descriptions of different types of bicycles will help you find answers to almost all your questions. Some of the types of bicycles include
Road bikes are designed for smooth roads. They have slim and smooth tires along with dropped handlebars. Moreover, road bikes are light in weight and can be used for on-road racing.
Since this type of bike is intended to be used on smooth surfaces, you can ride it on paced trails. However, riding road bikes on unpaved trails may not be a good idea.
Road bikes are not ideal for everyday commute and may also not be suitable for touring as you may not always find a smooth surface to ride your bike on.
Mountain bikes help you out where road bikes fail. If you are planning an outdoor adventure on a rough, off-road trail, then a mountain bike is your best friend.
With upright and flat handlebars and a low gear range for pedaling uphill, most mountain bikes come with suspensions or shock absorbers. The front suspensions are called the hardtails, whereas the rear suspensions are called the duallies
A few types of mountain bikes come without a suspension. And for obvious reasons, the tires of a mountain bike are heavier and wider compared to the tires of a road bike.
Hybrid bikes were created to bring the benefits of both road bikes and mountain bikes. With upright handles and a large and padded seat, hybrid bikes provide a comfortable riding position that allows you to cover short distances as you commute to work or run errands.
They can be used on both paved and unpaved trails; however, they are often not suitable for rough, off-road mountainous trails.
The tires of a hybrid bike are wider compared to a road bike but narrower than mountain bikes. This gives enough grip even on unpaved trails. For the extra cushion, most hybrid bikes come with front suspensions.
A small, sturdy bike that is ideal for performing stunts and tricks is a BMX bike.
While adults can use this type of bike, its petite size makes it a great choice for children of all ages. BMX bikes usually do not come with freewheels or brakes; therefore, it is not a good option for extensive rides.
For an everyday commute, there is nothing better than a commuting bike. Most people assume that a commuting bike is similar to a road bike, only a few know that there is a difference between the two types.
Commuting bikes are slightly heavier in weight compared to road bikes. Moreover, this type of bicycle has locks, bags, rear racks, and lights to make your commute easy and secure.
Fixed Gear Bikes
Fixed gear bikes, also known as fixies, are designed for a cycling race track, particularly the ones with steep turnings. While some cyclists may prefer track bikes, most go for fixed gear bikes due to their simple design and ease of maintenance.
However, with a fixie, you only get a single gear, so as your bicycle continues to move, your feet are constantly pedaling. The fixed gear mechanism also works as a brake that gives more simplicity as you ride the bike.
A folding bike is an excellent choice for an on-the-go person who likes to carry their bikes as they travel. Moreover, if you live in a studio apartment where space is a constraint, a folding bike is a great option.
Folding bikes generally have smaller wheels, which makes the bike a little less efficient. Nevertheless, it is still a bike that you can use to getting all the advantages of cycling.
Apart from the different types of bicycles mentioned above, there are numerous other types including
- Cyclocross Bikes – A drop handlebar bike is generally regarded as a recreational bike.
- Recumbent Bikes – Ideal for cyclists who want a comfortable ride.
- Tandem Bikes – Bicycles for two.
- Cruiser Bikes – Similar to hybrid bicycles but are more comfortable.
- Flat Foot Comfort Bikes – Specially designed with a seat so low that you can touch the ground with your feet flat.
- Adventure Road Bikes – The newest addition to the types of bicycles that is ideal for longer commutes and light tours.
Cost Ranges of Bicycles
Now that you are already aware of different types of bicycles, it is the right time to find out more about the cost range of different types of bicycles. It is a given that a bicycle is a costly investment.
But if you invest in the right type of bicycle, and use and maintain it properly, it is going to give you returns for years.
You can find out bicycles with prices ranging from several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. But, when it comes to the cost, you can divide all types of bicycles into three different price ranges.
Bicycles that fall in this category have a price range between $80 and $300. In this range, you will usually find basic metallic bicycles that are just functional.
While these bicycles are often stylish, they do not have any fancy features. Additionally, you will get a basic version of tires for bicycles that fall under this category.
A slightly more expensive version of bicycles falls into this category and cost between $300 and $1,000.
You can easily find aluminum or other metallic bikes that comes with a decent quality of tires and pedals. You may find a bike with carbon fiber within this price range. Bikes that fall into this category are not just functional but are also durable.
With a price range of $1,000 and beyond, most lightweight bicycles fall into this category. Bikes made up of carbon and titanium are usually more expensive and durable, so the high price does not come as a surprise.
You can find a variety of bikes in this price range with more advanced features such as brakes, wheel types.
And while the price is high, you can continue to ride on these bikes for years as they offer most durability. Usually, cycling enthusiasts and athletes who take cycling seriously invest in bikes falling in this category.
What Is the Best Type Of Bicycle For You?
Given the variety of the type of bicycles and varying needs of people, only you can decide on the best type of bicycle for you.
And with all the information about different types of bicycles and how much do they cost, you are now in a better position to decide on the best type of bicycle for you. Again, only you can decide by asking yourself a few questions including but not limited to
How Do You Intend to Use the Bicycle?
If you want to commute to work every day or intend to use your bicycle for running errands, then a commuting bicycle is what you need. But if you plan to take a ride on rough mountainous trails, then a mountain bike will suffice your need.
What Features Do You Desire?
For people who are on-the-go and prefer to bring along their bikes everywhere they go or have space limitations, a folding bicycle is ideal.
But if you are someone who enjoys stunts and tricks, then a BMX bicycle is a great option. Again, your preference for features such as tire width and gear range will determine your bike choice.
Who Do You Ride With?
Do you want to go for a solo trip uphill?
Then invest in a mountain bike. But if you desire a bicycle-for-two, then a tandem bike is best for you.
Do You Have Any Preference for Speed and Style?
If you prefer to ride a bike on a velodrome, then buying a fixed gear bike is the best thing to do, but if you rarely use a bike for commuting and running errands, a hybrid bike is all you need.
How Much Are You Willing to Pay for it?
How much you are willing to pay for a bike depends upon your usage and love for cycling.
If you are a cycling enthusiast, who is always planning for on-the-trail, outdoor adventures, investing in a bike of a higher price range may be a good option, but if you are an occasional cyclist, going for a mid-range bicycle may be a better idea.
Using the information about different types of bicycles and asking yourself a few relevant questions, you can easily find out about the best type of bicycle for you.
Bicycle Tires And How They Affect Your Ride?
Perhaps the most important feature of a bicycle is its tires. Unfortunately, most cyclists often take tires for granted. After all, all tires are made up of rubber and are quite similar in how they look.
But there are different types of tires, and they can significantly affect your ride. So let’s get a little more information about tires and how they can affect your ride.
Tires – Basic Overview
Almost all bicycles have tires with tubes inside them. It is a rubber tube that needs to be inflated, so there is a valve through which you can inflate the tube.
In case you have a flat tire, this means that the tube inside your tire has a problem that needs to be fixed. So the tube is removed and repaired and is again inserted inside the tire.
However, with improvements in technology, we now have tubeless tires that are ideal for bikes that ride on rough trails.
With tubeless tires, you can ride on extreme terrains without the fear of having a flat tire. Another type of tire is known as tubular tires that have a round, tubular shape and is often used in high-end road bikes.
Knowing your tires is important because of two reasons.
- Tires affect the ride
- Different types of tires have different maintenance requirements
How Tires Affect Your Ride?
Tires can significantly affect your ride. It is important to remember that the tubes of your tires leak even when you do not ride a bicycle, so If your bicycle has tires with tubes, keeping the tires inflated is essentials.
An under-inflated tire reduces the speed and leads to further damage to your tire’s tube. On the other hand, if you inflate your tube too much, you will experience more bounces and vibrations as you ride on the road. So with an over-inflated tube, you will end up with an uncomfortable ride.
But if you have a tubeless tire, you won’t have to worry about flat tires, and you can enjoy a more comfortable ride along with different types of terrains.
How to Size Yourself Up For A Bicycle?
When choosing a bicycle, you have to decide upon the type of bicycle you need depending upon your preference and the amount of money you are willing to spend on a bike. But you also need to consider the size of the bike.
A bicycle that fits right will give you a more comfortable cycling experience and if you are not sure about how to size yourself up for a bicycle, this section is for you.
Measure Your Height
To get started, you need to measure your height. You can do so simply by standing straight against the wall and let another person measure it.
If you want to do it on your own, you can simply mark on the wall right along with your skill and then measure the distance using a measuring tape. Here is a simple height chart that can guide you about the right size of bicycles.
|59-63 inches||13-15 inches|
|63-67 inches||15-16 inches|
|67-71 inches||16-17 inches|
|72-74 inches||17-19 inches|
|74-76 inches||19-21 inches|
|76+ inches||21+ inches|
Do Different Types of Bicycle Require Different Measurements?
While the above-mentioned guideline is a simple method of sizing up for your bicycle, you will need a specific sizing chart depending upon the type of bicycle you want to purchase.
For this, you will not only need to measure your height but will also require the length of your inner leg.
Again, you will have to stand straight against the wall and then measure the distance from your groin all the way down to your feet. Using this information, you can find out more about how to size yourself up for different types of bikes.
Trying Out Bicycles In-Store vs. Buying Online
If you are planning to purchase a bicycle from a store, you can always try out and choose the best bicycle that offers the most comfortable fit. However, if you are planning to buy it online, sizing becomes much more critical.
Make sure you refer to the right sizing chart designed for different types of bikes to get to the right bike for yourself.
Additionally, if you try out a bicycle in the store, you get more information about the type of tires and the associated feel, something you will miss out if you buy your bike online. We recommend trying out bicycles in-store before you finalize your purchase decision.
Cycling is one of the best activities that you can try to stay healthy. But when it comes to pursuing this activity, you have to make one of the most difficult decisions; choosing the right type of bicycle for you.
While there is no one best bicycle for everyone, there are certainly too many options out there. And by considering your needs, preference, and budget, and keeping in mind some of our guidelines, you can definitely find the right bicycle for yourself.
Last Updated on May 7, 2021 by Matthew Carpenter