Which Bike Should I Buy?

The process of determining which bike you want to buy starts by deciding where you will be doing most of your riding. There are several types of bicycles: road, mountain, cyclocross, cruisers, hybrids, touring, recumbent and racing bikes. Where you like to ride and how seriously you ride will determine which is the best for you.

Road Bikes

As the name suggests, road bikes are designed specifically for riding on smooth and well maintained roads. They will not perform well on off road surfaces. They are designed for speed. If you have plans to do races, triathlons, charity rides or commute to work over well paved roads these are ideal.

Road bikes typically have narrow tires and a thin, light frame. Most have drop handle bars but you can also find road bikes with flat ones. The tires should be kept well-inflated to keep the surface contact between road and tire at a minimum.

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Mountain Bikes

Distinguished by their thicker tires with sturdy tread, mountain bikes are made to take a beating from Mother Nature.

The thicker tires have more surface contact with the earth. The wide tread digs in to the ground for better traction. As a result you can ride on dirt, in fields or over loose gravel or rocks. The bike frame may be thicker and a little heavier than a road bike to withstand the jarring from uneven terrain.

The components on a mountain bike are often bulkier and/or heavier than a road bike as it needs to stand up to more abuse. These features all add up to supporting you in unfamiliar territory.

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Hybrid cycles were made to satisfy bikers who wish to do a little of each road and mountain biking. They mix the security of a rugged mountain bike with the steering response and thinner tires used for road riding. They usually have straight handlebars and shock absorbing suspension systems (features of mountain bikes).

Hybrids, with fatter tires, make excellent choices for touring bicycles. There are many options with hybrid bikes to support you in your selected activity. If you’re struggling on which kind of bike to buy, this could be your answer. If you wanted to support more rugged terrain, you could purchase a new set of tires, instead of a new bike. Conversely, you could buy a nice, thin set of road tires for more serious road biking. Either way, the frame and components are good “middle of the road” materials for mountain and road biking.

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A good purchase for anyone who is interested in leisure biking. Cruisers could also a good purchase for people who want to bike to work. If you’re biking on a paved, smooth surface, a cruiser will do so most efficiently.

Consider your environment

If you live near mountains and hilly terrains with ample trails for exploring, a mountain bike could be an excellent choice if you know you’ll use it.

On the other hand, if you live in Kansas, a road bike is for you.


The nice thing about a bicycle is that you always have options to make it better. Interchangeable parts are a blessing. If you start with a nice frame, you can build up from there. A bike doesn’t mandate a huge investment initially, however, parts wear out and you may wish to upgrade for better materials later.


If you’re interested in carrying materials on a trip, you’ll likely want what is known as a touring bike. They’re not as easy to find, but they are still manufactured and should be a snap to find online or through your local bike shop. You’ll likely be able to find the packs you can use when touring or commuting to hold your gear.

Back Problems

We know. They’re strange. But, you’ll be surprisingly comfortable riding on a recumbent bicycle with a reclined back support and full chair. They’re just as fast as some road bikes and infinitely more comfortable. If you’ve had back problems, saddle sores, or are worried about taking up cycling seriously, look into these. Be aware, you’ll get plenty of attention while out riding.

If you have back problems, be sure your bike is the correct size for you. Your pain may be due to a frame or components that are not appropriately sized for your body.