What Bike Is Best For Your Needs?

What kinds of bicycle should you buy? Where do you want to go? Find out more in this article.

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Man cycling on a mountain bike from the bottom view, on rough terrain.
Photo by Tobias Bjerknes.

As more people look to travel, commute, and exercise sustainably, cycling has reemerged as an easy and accessible way to accomplish all these goals, due to its low carbon footprint. To a newbie however, buying a bicycle can be daunting and confusing – what’s the best kind of bicycle for my use? What parts do I need to cycle? Here are some different kinds of bikes you can consider using.

Road Bike

Road bikes are best for riding on tarmac in urban areas. They usually have lighter frames, thinner tires, and dropped handlebars, designed for high speed and aerodynamism. If you’re a commuter or a road racer, this is the ideal bike for you. However, they are less suited to biking offroad, or on trails. 

Mountain Bike

Most mountain bikes are heavy-duty beasts, made to cycle long distances offroad. They’re great for rough terrain, and typically have heavy-duty disc brakes built to prevent you from slipping and sliding, as well as thicker tires and gears for uphills. The downside is that they’re heavier, which means lower top speeds for road cycling.

Hybrid Bike

Hybrid bikes marry the best of both worlds between road and mountain bikes, featuring mid-sized frames and medium wheels. They are built for casual riders, particularly those who want to ride in both urban and rural environments, and are most suitable for short rides. However, most hybrid bikes are often closer to either road or mountain bikes in design, so be judicious in your selection. 

A blue city bike with a black basket parked against a red wall.
Photo by Christian Stahl.

City Bike

Featuring the most classic and retro designs, city bikes are excellent for urban commuters. If you want a hassle-free ride, some city bikes offer single-speed designs, as opposed to switching gears regularly. This means an easy ride for casual riders, but some difficulty for those looking to handle more difficult terrain.

Touring Bike

Touring bikes are designed for long distance travel. Like hybrid bikes, they combine the best elements of both road and mountain biking, but more importantly, are designed to carry bags along with your ride. Though they aren’t as fast as road or mountain bikes, if you’re looking to travel long distances across various terrains, this might be the bike for you.

Gravel Bike

Gravel bikes match the speed and looks of road bikes with the load-carrying capacity of touring bikes. Similarly designed for offroading and gravel paths, they have become increasingly popular for backpacking and travel. Though they can be somewhat heavy, gravel bikes are still one of the best options available for biking today.

These are some of the types of bikes available for cyclists today, each designed to match different needs and terrains.