There are various types of bicycles available in the market today. They come in various styles and you may be overwhelmed with the available choice when you go out to buy one. When planning to buy a bicycle, it is very important to first decide what you want it for, as the type differs according to the utility. Given below are the different popular types of bicycles and their uses.
Mountain bikes are specifically designed to go up and down mountains, hills, and trails. They have many gears and very effective brakes. The tires are chunky and thick, and the wheels are 26 inches thick. Mountain bikes have flat handlebars and the suspension is pretty efficient to absorb the bumps and jars of off-road cycling. These are comfortable bicycles that can be ridden even in city.
Road bikes are a type of bicycle designed to ride on smooth surfaces at high speeds. The bicycles of this kind are lightweight and have dropped handlebars. The tires are pumped up to minimize friction. Compared to mountain bikes, these bicycles are prone to punctures. While using road bikes, the riders have to sit in a hunched position. Cyclists competing in the Tour de France use these bikes.
Touring bicycles are a more comfortable version of road bicycles. These bikes are designed with mudguards, drop handlebars, and pannier racks for carrying luggage. The wheelbase of touring bicycles is longer as compared to mountain bikes and road bikes.
Cyclists who have to make a part of their journey in a public transport such as a bus or train, use this type of bicycle. Folding bicycles are mainly used for the first and last legs of a commuter's journey. Many of the folding bikes do not include folding pedals. However, they can be purchased if necessary.
These types of bikes are a combination of mountain bikes and road bikes; hence, they offer all the pros and cons of both these bikes. Though designed to look like a mountain bike, they have slimmer wheels and tires. The cyclist can sit upright while riding a hybrid bicycle, and it is perfect for city riding. They are also referred to as comfort bikes.
These bikes are meant for commuting in urban areas. They are tough and are especially suited for riding on city roads. The wheels and body of these bikes are designed to withstand harsh road conditions such as debris like broken glass shards or nails, gravel, potholes, or even water. They are suited to all kinds of weather, and may also come with front and rear lights for night riding. The cyclist can sit in an upright position while riding a city bike.
BMX bikes are used for stunting. These are quite popular for dirt track racing as well. These bikes have a smaller frame and wide tires for ease of stunting. BMX first originated in the 1970s, when some children started dirt track racing using wheelie bikes and the Shwinn Stingray Bicycle. This began the BMX revolution, which soon became hugely popular.
These bikes are designed for comfortable riding or cruising. They have padded seats, a variety of speeds, and as few gears as possible. These bikes are popularly used as rentals by people for riding on beaches or places with flat ground. They are light in weight. They are also called beach bicycles or boulevardiers.
Tandem bikes are those that have two or more riders. The rider sitting in the first seat steers and pedals and is known as the 'captain' or 'pilot'. All the other rear riders are known as 'stokers' or 'navigators' and they only pedal, not steer. These bikes are used in sporting events like the Paralympics, wherein visually impaired participants are the stokers, and a seeing participant is the captain. There are many different varieties in these bikes.
These bikes are used as utility vehicles for running errands such as shopping or picking up the dry cleaning. These are relatively on the heavier side when it comes to the frame and tires. The cyclist can ride in an upright position on these bikes. They usually come with attached baskets for easy carrying of goods like shopping bags. They also come equipped with fenders to protect the rider from getting dirty, for example, from mud during monsoons.
Some other types of bicycles are track bikes, motorized bikes, freeride bikes, freight bikes, and cyclo-cross bikes. Bicycles are an extremely varied mode of transport, and a greener and healthier alternative to commuting in cars.