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The type of riding you plan to do should determine the style of bike you
buy. You should consider whether you will be riding primarily on pavement or on
dirt roads, and whether you ride fast from point to point or just want to
cruise along. Another consideration is whether you want your bike mainly for
transportation, competitions, or just having fun. Also think about how long you
plan to keep your bike, your body size, and whether the bike will be used for
commuting, recreation, or racing.
Road bikes are designed to be ridden only on pavement.
Road bikes have light frames, drop or racing style handlebars, and
narrow, high-pressure tires
They are designed for speed, efficiency, and long distance
Sport and touring bikes (sub-categories of road bikes)
Sport and touring bikes have the same features as road bikes, and may
also offer three chain rings (granny gears) for easy pedaling, as well as
special frame fittings for fenders and racks
Hybrid bikes (cross bikes)
Hybrid bikes combine the features of mountain and road bikes
Like mountain bikes, they have a wide gear ratio and upright handlebars
Like road bikes, they also have narrower tires suited to riding on pavement
Hybrids are good for casual road riding, commuting, and for riding on
smooth dirt roads or trails.
They are not as fast as traditional road bikes, and cannot handle
rough terrain as well as mountain bikes
Comfort bikes feature upright handlebars and wide, padded seats
They also have wide, smooth-riding tires, hand or coaster brakes, and
are great for cruising around parks and beaches
Determining your ability level
Road bikes are good for serious riders who like to go fast and far
Sport bikes are good for recreational riders who also want some
Touring bikes are designed for riders who want to carry loads, such as
racks and panniers (special bike bags), over long
Hybrid models are designed for riders that want the lightness of a road
bike and the durability and comfort of a mountain bike. Because of their
versatility, hybrids are especially suited to recreational riders and
Comfort bikes are good for beginning and recreational riders, and for
those who enjoy casual cruising in beach, park or neighborhood environments.
They're also great for family rides.
Freestyle bikes are designed for doing tricks on the ground, off a ramp or
in a half-pipe.
Freestyle frames are small and sturdy, and closely resemble their BMX
Features may include front and rear pegs (which riders can stand on
while performing tricks), and a rotor that allows the handlebars to spin 360
degrees without the brake cables getting tangled or broken
Determining your ability level
Freestyle bikes are specifically designed for daredevil antics and are
not ideal for extremely young children
Because of the nature of freestyle riding, knee and elbow pads, as well
as a helmet, are highly recommended