Bikes: The way to Select


riders on bikes

Available in the market for a brand new bike? There are three fundamental choice factors:

Varieties of bikes: The suitable sort of motorbike for you largely is determined by the place you propose to experience.

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

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

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Video: Bicycle Fundamentals

Varieties of Bikes

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

Bike Kind:

Greatest For:

Street 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 average gravel/filth roads

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


Street Bikes

Street bikes are good for a number of pavement makes use of together with health driving, commuting, long-distance/occasion rides, touring and racing. They often 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 permit for a better variety of driving and hand positions than bikes with flat bars. Their extra aerodynamic driving place (bent over on the waist) might put extra pressure in your again if you’re much less versatile.

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Street bikes have some specialised classes:

Racing bikes: These gentle and aerodynamic bikes are constructed for going quick on the flats and charging up hills on race day or throughout a gaggle experience with associates. Their frames are often constructed from carbon fiber or aluminum and so they have a slimmed-down design that’s supposed to be as gentle as doable. Racing bikes usually have an aggressive geometry with steep angles that make them flip shortly.

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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 snug driving place. They often have taller head tubes, slacker (decrease) angles and sloping high tubes supposed to cut back stress in your again and neck. In addition they usually function clearance for bigger width tires for versatility and a softer, extra snug experience. Some endurance bikes have flat handlebars, for many who favor a extra heads-up driving model.

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Cyclocross bikes: Cyclocross bikes are light-weight, but powerful sufficient to take care of the intense situations of cyclocross racing (which entails riders taking laps round programs that will function pavement, filth 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 street bike design that make them splendid 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 possibly can connect racks, fenders, water bottles, pumps, lights and extra. Many touring bikes have an extended wheelbase (the space between the 2 wheel hubs) than different street bikes and so they are inclined to have a decrease middle 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 street touring bikes and journey touring bikes, that are made to deal with gravel roads with vast or semi-knobby tires.

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Wish to be taught extra? Learn Street Bikes: The way to Select.

Mountain Bikes

mountain bike

Designed with shock-absorbing options and higher braking techniques, mountain bikes can deal with filth trails and the rocks, roots, bumps and ruts that include them. They often function decrease gears than most street 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 commonest mountain biking model as a result of the class isn’t grounded in any particular sort of racing. Should you’re concerned about assembly up with associates on the native trailhead and driving a combination of climbs and descents, then that is the model 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 kinds 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 gained’t climb as nicely.)

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Cross-Nation Bikes: This model 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 inclined to give attention to effectivity and low weight. These bikes will be nice when you’re contemplating getting aggressive or would love a racier experience in 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. vast, give these bikes wonderful traction, and are optimum for driving in sand or snow. The vast tires are reassuringly forgiving as you experience 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 nicely on steep descents whereas additionally being gentle 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 offered by fitnessinf. Downhill bikes are large 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: The way to Select.

Hybrid Bikes

A mixture of mountain, street, 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 street bikes combined in with the quick-turning prowess of mountain bikes, plus a touch of consolation with a luxurious saddle or perhaps a shock-absorbent fork. They often mix a flat bar and a heads-up experience for consolation and a greater view when driving in site visitors. Some hybrid bikes are geared up with disc brakes for responsive braking whereas bike commuting in any climate. Many commuter-friendly fashions embody racks, lighting techniques or fenders.

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

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Study extra about hybrid bikes in our article, Hybrid Bikes: The way 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 embody cruiser bikes, cargo bikes, electrical bikes and folding bikes.

Cruiser bikes: Cruiser bikes are constructed for leisurely rides round city. Lots 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 simple upkeep.

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

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Electrical bikes: Electrical bikes function a battery-powered motor that may allow you to climb hills simply or make your commute much less strenuous. Constructed-in sensors can monitor how a lot stress 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 space for storing at residence or the workplace. They’re light-weight but robust and will be folded up shortly and simply. Folding bikes are additionally a good selection for many 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 a lot of choices out there for teenagers. Crucial consideration when shopping for your baby a motorbike is measurement. When purchasing, take into account that kids’s bikes are measured by their wheel measurement, not body measurement. The commonest wheel sizes are 16 in., 20 in. and 24 in. The suitable measurement is one the place the kid can comfortably get on the bike and stand together with his or her ft on the bottom.

It isn’t really useful 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 probably be simpler for teenagers to deal with, much less harmful and much more enjoyable. And do not forget the helmet!

For extra data on youngsters’ bikes, see our Youngsters’ Bikes: The way to Select article. Additionally see the fitnessinf Skilled Recommendation article and video, Educating a Little one The way to Experience a Bike.

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Ladies’s Bikes

women's road bike

These bikes—which will be street, mountain, or hybrid bikes—function body geometries, handlebars and saddles which might be tailor-made to higher match the everyday 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 fingers.

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Stationary Bikes

Consider a stationary bike form of just like the train bike at your native gymnasium however with a design that mimics the match and really feel of your street bike. Most can help you set up your individual seat and pedals and make changes to the geometry to create the proper match.

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Bike Options

When you’ve settled on a sort of motorbike, 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 chances are you’ll be shocked to be taught that as we speak’s bikes generally include 18, 21, 24 and even 27 gears. If you issue within the many combos of a number of chainrings and cogs and the numbers of tooth 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. Should you’ll be driving a number of hills and you discover climbing difficult, then you definately’ll wish to go for extra gears.

Should you’re a robust bike owner otherwise you solely experience flat terrain, you will not want as many low gears to energy up a hill so you may get away with fewer gears, which can maintain your bike gentle. Some hybrid bikes have just one velocity, and are aptly named single-speed bikes. These bikes have a freewheel mechanism within the rear hub that means that you can coast similar to you’d 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 nearly each street bike and hybrid bike. Don’t fear an excessive amount of about wheel measurement on a street bike until you’re smaller in stature and have had hassle discovering the suitable match on a motorbike, wherein case chances are you’ll wish to search for a motorbike with smaller 650c wheels.

650c: A handful of street bikes are designed for smaller 650c wheels. Should you’re shorter than about 5 ft. four in. and have had hassle discovering the suitable match on a street bike with 700c wheels, chances are you’ll wish to attempt a motorbike with 650c wheels.

26 in.: Within the not-too-distant previous, all grownup mountain bikes have been geared up with 26 in. wheels. It nonetheless is an out there wheel measurement, however now whenever you stroll into a motorbike store and inquire about mountain bikes, you might be more likely to be requested, “27.5 in. or 29 in.?”

27.5 in. (often known as 650b): Providing a center floor between commonplace 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 bit of slower to speed up, however when you begin shifting you possibly can conquer significantly extra terrain far simpler than on a motorbike with 26 in. wheels. They’re extra environment friendly for longer rides as they maintain their momentum up and so they have the next “assault angle,” which means the wheel rolls over path obstacles simpler. These bikes have develop into extraordinarily standard 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 youngsters’ bikes have 24 in. wheels to accommodate the shorter legs of kids. Most are less-expensive variations of grownup bikes with less complicated parts. Typically talking, these go well with youngsters ages 10 to 13, however this relies extra on the dimensions of the kid than the age. Youthful/smaller kids 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 be widespread on youngsters’ bikes.

16 in. and 12 in.: These wheel sizes are discovered on bikes for younger youngsters. 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 completely 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 influence on the rider, will increase traction, and makes for a extra forgiving and fulfilling experience.

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 easy out the experience, whether or not you’re on a rocky path or a tough metropolis avenue. Bikes with solely entrance suspension are sometimes cheaper than full-suspension bikes and have fewer shifting elements (which regularly interprets into much less upkeep).

No Suspension: Most street bikes and lots of hybrid bikes don’t embody any suspension in any respect. Suspension forks and rear shocks add weight and may make pedaling much less environment friendly, so most individuals who experience on bike paths and paved streets will forego it. A handful of mountain bikes don’t embody suspension both and are appropriately referred to as “inflexible bikes.” Inflexible bikes are simpler to keep up and often cheaper, however most mountain bikers favor 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 street bikes come geared up 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: Steadily 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, and so they self-adjust for brake pad put on.
  • Mechanical disc brakes want handbook adjusting because the pads put on.

If you examine disc brakes to rim brakes there are a number of clear benefits and downsides:

  • Benefits in comparison with rim brakes: Extra constant braking in all situations; less expensive to exchange a worn rotor than a complete 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 exchange pads. Hydraulic brakes are dearer to service.

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

  • Benefits: Work nicely in any climate; sometimes require much less upkeep than different brake types; good for folks with restricted hand power, similar to youngsters.
  • Disadvantages: Not suitable with bikes with rear derailleurs; vulnerable to inflicting skids; will be awkward to get began pedaling as a result of you possibly can’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 infrequently the wheel have to be changed; are typically heavier than different brake types.

Bike Body Supplies

Nearly all of bikes are constructed from aluminum; nonetheless, metal and carbon fiber are additionally widespread. Every materials has execs and cons, so it’s worthwhile to weigh your priorities when deciding.

Aluminum is gentle, robust, stiff and reasonably priced. It will possibly typically be described as feeling harsh on tough roads, however newer building methods have helped enhance shock absorption.

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

Carbon fiber is lighter than aluminum and stronger than metal, however it’s dearer than each, making it a well-liked alternative for high-end bikes. Some bikes function carbon fiber forks and/or seat posts moderately than a body made completely of carbon with a view to maintain the value down however nonetheless present a few of the advantages of the sunshine, robust materials.

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

Handlebar Form

When taking a look at a motorbike, examine the extent of the seat and the handlebars. Typically talking, the farther the seat is under the handlebars, the extra snug the experience. Most hybrid bikes are arrange this fashion. Seats which might be larger than the handlebars, alternatively, will can help you experience in a extra aerodynamic place and apply extra energy to the pedals. This allows you to go sooner, however it will not be as snug.

There are 5 primary types of handlebars on bikes out there at fitnessinf:

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

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

Riser bar: Generally discovered on mountain bikes, riser bars lengthen barely upward and again towards the rider. They can help you 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 much like drop bars, solely with little or no drop. They offer you a wide range of hand positions whereas permitting you to sit down extra upright than with drop bars. Moustache bars are discovered on some street bikes and hybrid bikes.

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

Study extra about handlebars in our article, Bike Handlebars: The way to Select.

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Get the Proper Bike Match for You

It doesn’t matter what sort of motorbike you select, make sure that it suits you. Bikes are offered in a wide range of body sizes, so this can be a good start line. Many producers have measurement charts that record a peak vary for every bike measurement.

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

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


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