Bikes: Tips on how to Select


riders on bikes

Out there for a brand new bike? There are three major choice factors:

Forms of bikes: The best kind of motorcycle for you largely is determined by the place you intend to trip.

Bike options and elements: Issues like suspension, gears and brakes decide how a motorbike performs.

Bike match: When you’ve narrowed down your search, it’s vital to verify a motorbike suits you correctly.

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Video: Bicycle Fundamentals

Forms of Bikes

To determine what kind of motorcycle is best for you, your first consideration is to know the place you may be driving: on pavement, grime trails or each. Some bicycles are made particularly for a selected type of driving floor, whereas others are versatile sufficient that, maybe with a fast tire change, they are often ridden in multiple class.

Bike Kind:

Greatest For:

Highway Bikes (together with racing, endurance, cyclocross, and touring bikes)


Mountain Bikes (together with path, cross-country, and all-mountain bikes)

Rugged trails and gravel roads

Hybrid Bikes

Pavement or reasonable gravel/grime roads

Specialty Bikes (together with cruiser, cargo, electrical, and folding bikes)


Highway Bikes

Highway bikes are good for a number of pavement makes use of together with health driving, commuting, long-distance/occasion rides, touring and racing. They normally have light-weight drop-bar handlebars that curve downward, placing you in an aerodynamic place, making them a good selection if you wish to go quick or are most involved with effectively transferring your power into making the bike transfer ahead. In addition they enable for a better variety of driving and hand positions than bikes with flat bars. Their extra aerodynamic driving place (bent over on the waist) could put extra pressure in your again in case you are much less versatile.

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Highway bikes have some specialised classes:

Racing bikes: These mild and aerodynamic bikes are constructed for going quick on the flats and charging up hills on race day or throughout a bunch trip with mates. Their frames are normally constructed from carbon fiber or aluminum they usually have a slimmed-down design that’s supposed to be as mild as attainable. Racing bikes usually have an aggressive geometry with steep angles that make them flip rapidly.

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Endurance bikes: Endurance bikes have most of the efficiency options of racing bikes, however with a body geometry that places you in a extra comfy driving place. They often have taller head tubes, slacker (decrease) angles and sloping high tubes supposed to scale back stress in your again and neck. In addition they typically function clearance for bigger width tires for versatility and a softer, extra comfy trip. Some endurance bikes have flat handlebars, for individuals who want a extra heads-up driving fashion.

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Cyclocross bikes: Cyclocross bikes are light-weight, but robust sufficient to cope with the intense situations of cyclocross racing (which includes riders taking laps round programs which will function pavement, grime trails and grass). Most cyclocross bikes have semi-knobby tires to deal with the terrain challenges.

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Touring Bikes: Touring bikes have just a few tweaks on the normal highway bike design that make them preferrred for long-distance bike excursions. They’re designed with sturdy frames able to carrying heavy masses on entrance and rear racks and have a number of attachment factors so you may connect racks, fenders, water bottles, pumps, lights and extra. Many touring bikes have an extended wheelbase (the gap between the 2 wheel hubs) than different highway bikes they usually are likely to have a decrease heart of gravity, which makes them simpler to manage. Many touring bikes even have disc brakes for improved stopping energy whereas hauling heavy masses on non-paved surfaces.

Inside touring bikes you’ll discover highway touring bikes and journey touring bikes, that are made to deal with gravel roads with extensive or semi-knobby tires.

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Need to be taught extra? Learn Highway Bikes: Tips on how to Select.

Mountain Bikes

mountain bike

Designed with shock-absorbing options and higher braking programs, mountain bikes can deal with grime trails and the rocks, roots, bumps and ruts that include them. They normally function decrease gears than most highway bikes to higher deal with steeper terrain.

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There are a number of classes of mountain bikes:

Path Bikes: That is arguably the most typical mountain biking fashion as a result of the class isn’t grounded in any particular kind of racing. If you happen to’re enthusiastic about assembly up with mates on the native trailhead and driving a combination of climbs and descents, then that is the fashion for you. Bikes on this class place equal emphasis on enjoyable, effectivity and smart general weight.

Typical specs: 120–140mm of suspension journey; 67–69° head-tube angle


(Suspension journey is the quantity of motion supplied by the bike’s entrance and rear suspension. Head-tube angle is the angle that the top tube varieties with the bottom. A steeper head-tube angle usually signifies bike will flip sooner and climb higher. A slacker (decrease) angle usually signifies bike will present higher stability at excessive speeds however received’t climb as effectively.)

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Cross-Nation Bikes: This fashion of driving sometimes implies driving quick, with an emphasis on climbing prowess. Distances range from only a few miles to 25-plus, and bikes are likely to deal with effectivity and low weight. These bikes will be nice when you’re contemplating getting aggressive or would love a racier trip to your native trails.

Typical specs: 80–100mm of suspension journey; 70–71° head-tube angle

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Fats Bikes: Oversize tires, from three.7 in. to five+ in. extensive, give these bikes wonderful traction, and are optimum for driving in sand or snow. The extensive tires are reassuringly forgiving as you trip over tough terrain.

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All-Mountain Bikes: Consider all-mountain driving as path driving on steroids, with larger leg-burning climbs, longer, scarier descents and extra technical options—each man-made and pure. Bikes for all-mountain driving are designed to carry out effectively on steep descents whereas additionally being mild and nimble sufficient to pedal uphill.

Typical specs: 140–170mm of suspension journey; 65–68° head-tube angle

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Downhill/Park Mountain Bikes: Principally ridden at lift-serviced bike parks, these bikes aren’t bought by fitnessinf. Downhill bikes are huge and hard, and riders put on full-face helmets and physique armor as they encounter jumps, berms, rock gardens and wood ladders.

Typical specs: 170–200+mm of suspension journey; 63–65° head-tube angle.

Study extra about mountain bikes in our article, Mountain Bikes: Tips on how to Select.

Hybrid Bikes

A mixture of mountain, highway, and touring designs, hybrid bikes mash up particular options to create do-it-all bikes with a variety of makes use of. Typically, you’ll get the thin, speedy wheels of highway bikes blended in with the quick-turning prowess of mountain bikes, plus a splash of consolation with an opulent saddle or perhaps a shock-absorbent fork. They normally mix a flat bar and a heads-up trip for consolation and a greater view when driving in site visitors. Some hybrid bikes are outfitted with disc brakes for responsive braking whereas bike commuting in any climate. Many commuter-friendly fashions embrace racks, lighting programs or fenders.

No two hybrid bikes are precisely the identical, so search for a motorbike outfitted with options that make it suited to the kind of driving you intend to do.

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Study extra about hybrid bikes in our article, Hybrid Bikes: Tips on how to Select.

Specialty Bikes

commuter bike

Specialty bikes have very particular options and finish makes use of that set them other than different bikes we promote. Specialty bikes embrace cruiser bikes, cargo bikes, electrical bikes and folding bikes.

Cruiser bikes: Cruiser bikes are constructed for leisurely rides round city. A lot of them function barely wider 26-inch tires than different pavement bikes, a snug seat and a relaxed sitting place. Some cruiser bikes even have internally geared rear hubs for straightforward upkeep.

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Cargo bikes: With stout body designs which might be constructed for stowing gear and carrying a lot of weight, cargo bikes make it simple to run errands and transport children. Whereas they are typically heavier and slower than different varieties of bikes, their utility makes them fashionable for city biking.

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Electrical bikes: Electrical bikes function a battery-powered motor that may provide help to climb hills simply or make your commute much less strenuous. Constructed-in sensors can monitor how a lot strain you are placing on the pedals after which apply battery energy accordingly.

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Folding bikes: These bikes will be folded up and positioned in a carrying bag, which makes them useful for commuters with restricted cupboard space at dwelling or the workplace. They’re light-weight but robust and will be folded up rapidly and simply. Folding bikes are additionally a good selection for individuals who wish to journey with their bike.

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Youngsters’ Bikes

From bikes with coaching wheels to teen-sized variations of grownup bikes, there are various choices obtainable for teenagers. Crucial consideration when shopping for your little one a motorbike is measurement. When purchasing, understand that youngsters’s bikes are measured by their wheel measurement, not body measurement. The most typical wheel sizes are 16 in., 20 in. and 24 in. The best measurement is one the place the kid can comfortably get on the bike and stand along with his or her ft on the bottom.

It’s not beneficial that you simply purchase a motorbike that’s too massive for a kid after which have them “develop into it.” Doing so can set the kid again by way of driving abilities and confidence. A correctly sized bike will likely be simpler for teenagers to deal with, much less harmful and much more enjoyable. And do not forget the helmet!

For extra data on children’ bikes, see our Youngsters’ Bikes: Tips on how to Select article. Additionally see the fitnessinf Professional Recommendation article and video, Educating a Youngster Tips on how to Journey a Bike.

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Ladies’s Bikes

women's road bike

These bikes—which will be highway, mountain, or hybrid bikes—function body geometries, handlebars and saddles which might be tailor-made to higher match the standard feminine physique proportion. As an example, the highest tube body lengths on ladies’s bikes are usually about 1 to three centimeters shorter than males’s bikes, so the attain (saddle to handlebar) is shorter and suits most ladies higher. These bikes additionally function shorter-reach shifters that higher match ladies’s arms.

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Stationary Bikes

Consider a stationary bike type of just like the train bike at your native gymnasium however with a design that mimics the match and really feel of your highway bike. Most assist you to set up your personal seat and pedals and make changes to the geometry to create the right match.

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Bike Options

When you’ve settled on a kind of motorcycle, you’ll wish to contemplate the variety of gears, wheel measurement, suspension, brakes, body supplies and handlebars.


In case your final bike was a 10-speed, then you could be shocked to be taught that right now’s bikes generally include 18, 21, 24 and even 27 gears. While you issue within the many mixtures of a number of chainrings and cogs and the numbers of enamel on them, issues can get advanced.

To maintain it easy, a very powerful issues to think about are your health stage and the terrain you may be driving. If you happen to’ll be driving a lot of hills and you discover climbing difficult, you then’ll wish to go for extra gears.

If you happen to’re a robust bicycle owner otherwise you solely trip flat terrain, you will not want as many low gears to energy up a hill so you will get away with fewer gears, which can preserve your bike mild. Some hybrid bikes have just one pace, and are aptly named single-speed bikes. These bikes have a freewheel mechanism within the rear hub that means that you can coast identical to you’ll on a regular bike with a number of gears.

Study extra about bike gears in our Bike Gears and Shifting Fundamentals article.

Wheel Measurement

700c: That is the usual measurement wheel discovered on virtually each highway bike and hybrid bike. Don’t fear an excessive amount of about wheel measurement on a highway bike until you’re smaller in stature and have had hassle discovering the appropriate match on a motorbike, by which case you could wish to search for a motorbike with smaller 650c wheels.

650c: A handful of highway bikes are designed for smaller 650c wheels. If you happen to’re shorter than about 5 ft. four in. and have had hassle discovering the appropriate match on a highway bike with 700c wheels, you could wish to strive a motorbike with 650c wheels.

26 in.: Within the not-too-distant previous, all grownup mountain bikes had been outfitted with 26 in. wheels. It nonetheless is an obtainable wheel measurement, however now while you stroll into a motorbike store and inquire about mountain bikes, you’re more likely to be requested, “27.5 in. or 29 in.?”

27.5 in. (also called 650b): Providing a center floor between customary 26 in. wheels and 29ers, this wheel measurement applies a “better of each worlds” resolution, extra simply rolling over terrain than the 26s, however extra maneuverable than 29ers.

29ers: These bikes function 29 in. wheels which might be a little bit slower to speed up, however when you begin transferring you may conquer significantly extra terrain far simpler than on a motorbike with 26 in. wheels. They’re extra environment friendly for longer rides as they preserve their momentum up they usually have the next “assault angle,” which means the wheel rolls over path obstacles simpler. These bikes have turn into extraordinarily fashionable for the cross-country crowd. 29ers will be present in inflexible, hardtail and full-suspension rigs.

For assist selecting between 27.5 in. and 29 in. wheels, see 27.5” vs. 29er: Which Mountain Bike is Proper for Me?

24 in.: Many children’ bikes have 24 in. wheels to accommodate the shorter legs of kids. Most are less-expensive variations of grownup bikes with less complicated elements. Typically talking, these go well with children ages 10 to 13, however this relies extra on the dimensions of the kid than the age. Youthful/smaller youngsters can get began on mountain bikes with 20 in. wheels.

20 in.: This wheels measurement is discovered on some BMX and folding bikes and can also be widespread on children’ bikes.

16 in. and 12 in.: These wheel sizes are discovered on bikes for younger children. 16 in. wheels are sometimes accompanied by coaching wheels and 12 in. wheels are widespread on stability bikes for actual younger riders.

Bike Suspension

mountain bike hardtail suspension

Full Suspension: Discovered solely on mountain bikes, full suspension incorporates a entrance suspension fork and rear shock to soak up the impacts of the path. This drastically reduces the impression on the rider, will increase traction, and makes for a extra forgiving and pleasurable trip.

Entrance Suspension: Bikes with entrance suspension usually fall into both the mountain bike or hybrid bike classes. The entrance suspension fork helps take in impacts on the entrance wheel to clean out the trip, whether or not you’re on a rocky path or a tough metropolis road. Bikes with solely entrance suspension are sometimes cheaper than full-suspension bikes and have fewer transferring elements (which regularly interprets into much less upkeep).

No Suspension: Most highway bikes and plenty of hybrid bikes don’t embrace any suspension in any respect. Suspension forks and rear shocks add weight and may make pedaling much less environment friendly, so most individuals who trip on bike paths and paved streets will forego it. A handful of mountain bikes don’t embrace suspension both and are appropriately known as “inflexible bikes.” Inflexible bikes are simpler to take care of and normally cheaper, however most mountain bikers want bikes with suspension for better consolation.

Study extra about bike suspension in our Bike Suspension Fundamentals article.

Brake Kind

raod bike features

Rim Brakes: Many highway bikes come outfitted with rim brakes. Rim brakes function pads that grip onto the wheel rims.

  • Benefits in comparison with disc brakes: Economical; simple to look at brake pad put on; simple to exchange worn pads.
  • Disadvantages in comparison with disc brakes: Progressively put on out the wheel rim, requiring the wheel to get replaced; much less stopping energy; much less efficient in moist or muddy situations; require extra finger effort on the levers to brake aggressively.

Disc Brakes: These function brake pads that grip onto a brake rotor mounted to the wheel hub. Disc brakes are available in two variations:

  • Hydraulic disc brakes supply extra progressive and stronger braking with much less finger effort, they usually self-adjust for brake pad put on.
  • Mechanical disc brakes want handbook adjusting because the pads put on.

While you examine disc brakes to rim brakes there are a number of clear benefits and drawbacks:

  • Benefits in comparison with rim brakes: Extra constant braking in all situations; less expensive to exchange a worn rotor than an entire wheel; superior efficiency in steep and moist terrain; much less finger pressure.
  • Disadvantages in comparison with rim brakes: Tougher to examine pad put on and substitute pads. Hydraulic brakes are costlier to service.

Coaster Brakes: These brakes are sometimes discovered on children’ bikes, BMX bikes and a few cruiser bikes. The brake mechanism is positioned within the rear hub and is activated by turning the pedals backwards. “Coaster” signifies that you could coast with out the pedals turning.

  • Benefits: Work effectively in any climate; sometimes require much less upkeep than different brake kinds; good for individuals with restricted hand power, reminiscent of children.
  • Disadvantages: Not suitable with bikes with rear derailleurs; susceptible to inflicting skids; will be awkward to get began pedaling as a result of you may’t rotate the pedals backward right into a beginning place.

Drum Brakes: Drum brakes are built-in into the wheel hubs and are activated by levers on the handlebar. They’re sometimes discovered on cruiser bikes.

  • Benefits: Climate resistant; usually require little or no upkeep.
  • Disadvantages: If a drum wears out, the hub and sometimes the wheel should be changed; are typically heavier than different brake kinds.

Bike Body Supplies

The vast majority of bikes are constructed from aluminum; nonetheless, metal and carbon fiber are additionally widespread. Every materials has professionals and cons, so that you must weigh your priorities when deciding.

Aluminum is mild, robust, stiff and inexpensive. It may generally be described as feeling harsh on tough roads, however newer development methods have helped enhance shock absorption.

Metal is heavier than aluminum, however its power and quantity of flex supply a snug, clean trip.

Carbon fiber is lighter than aluminum and stronger than metal, nevertheless it’s costlier than each, making it a well-liked alternative for high-end bikes. Some bikes function carbon fiber forks and/or seat posts relatively than a body made totally of carbon as a way to preserve the worth down however nonetheless present a number of the advantages of the sunshine, robust materials.

Study extra about body supplies in our Understanding Bike Body Supplies article.

Handlebar Form

When a motorbike, examine the extent of the seat and the handlebars. Typically talking, the farther the seat is under the handlebars, the extra comfy the trip. Most hybrid bikes are arrange this fashion. Seats which might be greater than the handlebars, however, will assist you to trip in a extra aerodynamic place and apply extra energy to the pedals. This allows you to go sooner, nevertheless it might not be as comfy.

There are 5 fundamental kinds of handlebars on bikes obtainable at fitnessinf:

Drop bar: Discovered on most highway bikes, drop-bar handlebars are light-weight and aerodynamic, making them the popular alternative if you wish to go quick. In addition they enable a number of driving and hand positions. They’re draw back is that they put you in a decrease, extra hunched over place which will put extra pressure in your again.

Flat bar: These bars are sometimes discovered on hybrid bikes and on some highway and mountain bikes. They’re heavier than drop-bar handlebars, however they allow you to sit up in a extra relaxed place so you may higher see the highway and potential hazards. This upright place reduces pressure in your arms, wrists and shoulders.

Riser bar: Generally discovered on mountain bikes, riser bars prolong barely upward and again towards the rider. They assist you to sit extra upright and farther again for wonderful imaginative and prescient of the path forward and good management whereas steering the bike.

Moustache bar: These bars look just like drop bars, solely with little or no drop. They offer you quite a lot of hand positions whereas permitting you to take a seat extra upright than with drop bars. Moustache bars are discovered on some highway bikes and hybrid bikes.

BMX bar: These handlebars are designed to be robust and sturdy to deal with the abuse of motorcycle methods.

Study extra about handlebars in our article, Bike Handlebars: Tips on how to Select.

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Get the Proper Bike Match for You

It doesn’t matter what kind of motorcycle you select, make sure that it suits you. Bikes are bought in quite a lot of body sizes, so it is a good start line. Many producers have measurement charts that listing a top vary for every bike measurement.

A check trip is a good way to find what one of the best bike is for you. Most fitnessinf shops present an space for purchasers to do that, normally in a little-used space of the parking zone. fitnessinf-flagship shops in Seattle, Denver, and Bloomington (Minn.) even supply onsite mountain-bike check trails.

For specifics on discovering the appropriate measurement, see our Bike Becoming Fundamentals and Mountain Bike Becoming Fundamentals articles.


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