Choosing a Bike
Of all the types of bikes to choose from, how do you know which one’s right for you?
First ask yourself, "Which type of cyclist am I?"
- Recreational? (You mostly bike for leisure or part of your regular exercise routine.)
- Utilitarian? (You mostly bike to work or to do errands, etc.)
- Competitive? (You want to participate in organized races.)
Then ask yourself, "Which style of riding do I want to do?"
Do you mostly want to:
- Ride on trails?
- Commute to work or other destinations?
- Do long distance touring?
Answering these questions and learning the differences between the 4 main types of bikes will help you find the bike that best suits your needs.
4 Main Types of Bikes
|Bicycle Type||Riding Style||Benefits / Recommended For||Considerations||Features|
||Recreational||Off road and trail riding||Small, fat tires make it difficult for gaining speed on roads and in cities||Fat, small tires
||Utilitarian/ commuting/ competitive||on-road, city riding
speed training and competition
| dropped handle bar
thin and big tires
side pull brakes
lighter but stiffer frame
| Utility (City/ Commuter) Bike
||Utilitarian/ recreational||City riding
Typically used for short-distance commuting, running errands, shopping, etc.
|Heavier than sport bicycles
Built to let people ride in regular clothes in various weather conditions
| upright handlebars
medium sized tires
a step through frame (for women)
||Recreational/ utilitarian||good for on/off road riding
good for people who want to ride on trails that are both on/off road
| flat handlebars
medium sized tires
Bike sizing and fit
Fit should be your main focus when buying a new bike. If you’re comfortable riding your bike and you can control it easily, then your bike is the right size.
Use these general guidelines to find the right-sized bike for you.
|Aspect||How to test|
|Frame size||Straddle your bicycle frame and put your feet flat on the ground. There should be 2-5 cm between you and the top tube.|
|Distance between seat and handlebars||For most bikes, the distance between the front tip of your seat and the handlebars should reach from your elbows to fingers. This distance will affect your riding posture: the more distance between the handlebars and seat, the more hunched over you’ll be when you ride.|
|Seat height||Sit on the seat, and then place your foot on the pedal. Check to make sure your knee bends slightly when the pedal is at the lowest position.|
|Seat position||Sit on the seat, and then move one pedal to the lowest position. Check to make sure your knee is directly over this pedal. The nose (front) of the seat should be level with the back of the seat.|
|Handlebars||Handlebars come in many heights and lengths. Choose a style, size and position that will let you ride comfortably for a long time.|
Bicycle shops will also help size a bicycle for you.