In our fast-paced world where options abound, choosing the perfect types of bike can be a challenging endeavor. This guide offers a deep dive into the world of bicycles, providing valuable insights into various bike types – ranging from cruisers to cargo bikes, folding bikes to tricycles, and even the distinctive lowrider bikes. We provide you with detailed descriptions, the recommended user profiles, and the average price range for each type to help you navigate your way to the perfect bicycle that matches your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
Road bikes are designed for speed and efficiency on tarmac. They’re characterized by their lightweight frames, typically made of aluminum or carbon fiber, and narrow, high-pressure tires which reduce rolling resistance. The handlebars are dropped, allowing the rider to get into an aerodynamic position, and the gear ratios are spread to allow for optimal speed on flat ground.
Who are Road Bikes Recommended For?
Road bikes are recommended for those who prioritize speed, efficiency, and long-distance cycling. They’re the ideal choice for competitive racers and those who enjoy leisurely rides on paved cycle paths. Traveling to work via bike might also appreciate the swift and smooth ride offered by road bikes. However, as they are designed for smooth tarmac, they’re not advised for off-road or mountainous terrains.
Average Price Range for Road Bikes
On the lower end, entry-level road bikes are typically priced around $500 to $1000. Mid-range road bikes, often preferred by more serious cyclists or those looking to upgrade, can range from $1000 to $2500. They typically feature lighter frames, better components, and more advanced technology. High-end road bikes, preferred by competitive cyclists and enthusiasts, can start at $2500 and go well above $5000. These bikes are typically characterized by state-of-the-art technology, superior components, and ultra-lightweight materials.
Subtypes of Road Bikes
Road bikes can be further divided into several subtypes, each with unique characteristics tailored to different types of riding:
Racing bikes are built for speed and performance. They typically feature ultra-lightweight frames, aerodynamic design, and a high gear count to maximize speed on flat terrains. They’re best suited for competitive cyclists participating in road races or time trials.
Endurance road bikes, also known as sportive bikes, prioritise comfort over speed. They are designed for long-distance riding and feature a more relaxed geometry, wider tires for better stability, and vibration-damping technology for a smoother ride.
Touring bikes are designed for multi-day trips and carry heavy loads. They are built with sturdy frames, have multiple mounting points for luggage racks and panniers, and feature relaxed geometry for comfort during long hours in the saddle.
Mountain bikes are designed for off-road cycling and rough terrains, characterized by their robust frames, wide, knobby tires, and essential suspension for absorbing shocks over rocky trails. The handlebars are flat, enabling a balanced and upright riding posture, and they’re equipped with a broad range of gear ratios to handle steep and uneven terrains.
Who are Mountain Bikes Recommended For?
Mountain bikes are ideal for those who favor adventurous, off-road biking on rugged terrains like mountains, forests, and trails. They are perfect for thrill-seekers engaging in mountain biking sports or individuals who enjoy off-the-beaten-path explorations. However, due to their heavier build and slower speed on flat ground, they might not be as suitable for regular commuting or long-distance road cycling.
Average Price Range for Mountain Bikes
Entry-level mountain bikes start around $500 to $1000, suitable for beginners or those who plan on casual trail riding. Mid-range mountain bikes, preferred by regular off-road riders, can cost between $1000 to $3000, offering better suspension, lighter frames, and higher-quality components. High-end mountain bikes, designed for serious mountain bikers and professionals, can start from $3000 and go well upwards of $6000, featuring top-tier components, superior suspension systems, and advanced technology.
Subtypes of Mountain Bikes
Mountain bikes have several subtypes, each catering to various riding styles and terrains:
Cross-country bikes are lightweight and designed for speed and efficiency on off-road trails. They’re ideal for competitive racers or riders who enjoy long-distance trail riding.
Trail bikes are designed for general off-road riding. They offer a balance between climbing efficiency and descending ability, making them a popular choice for most mountain bikers.
Enduro or all-mountain bikes are designed for challenging terrains and steep descents. They feature more suspension travel to absorb rough and rocky terrains.
Downhill bikes are specifically designed for downhill racing and riding in bike parks. They’re built to handle extreme terrains and high-speed descents, with robust frames, long travel suspension, and powerful brakes.
Gravel/adventure bikes are hybrids with the ability to handle both on-road and off-road cycling. They are characterized by their sturdy frames, similar to road bikes, and wide, knobby tires akin to mountain bikes. This combination provides a balance between speed and ruggedness.
Who are Gravel Bikes Recommended For?
Gravel bikes are ideal for riders seeking versatility. They cater to riders who enjoy both regular commuting and off-road explorations. They strike a balance between the speed of road bikes and the durability of mountain bikes, making them a perfect choice for riders who don’t want to be limited by the type of terrain.
Average Price Range for Gravel Bikes
The price range for gravel bikes is wide, reflecting the diversity of their features. Entry-level models start around $1000, offering a versatile, yet basic setup suitable for both road and off-road cycling. Mid-range models, costing between $2000 and $4000, offer more advanced features such as better components, lighter frames, and wider tire clearance. High-end models, exceeding $4000, are equipped with top-tier components, advanced suspension systems, and superior technology, providing exceptional performance on both roads and trails.
Subtypes of Gravel Bikes
Like other bike types, gravel bikes also have their subtypes, each designed for a specific purpose:
Bikepacking bikes are designed for multi-day off-road adventures. They come equipped with multiple mounting points for carrying gear and provisions.
Gravel Racing Bikes
Gravel racing bikes are designed for speed on gravel roads. They have a more aerodynamic design and lighter frames.
Gravel Touring Bikes
Gravel touring bikes prioritize rider comfort for long-distance cycling on mixed terrains. They feature more relaxed geometry and come equipped with mounts for racks and panniers.
E-bikes, also known as electric bikes, are bicycles with an integrated electric motor that can be used for propulsion. They have risen in popularity due to their ability to assist with pedaling, making cycling accessible to a wider demographic and adding an element of ease to long or steep rides. E-bikes maintain the key characteristics of traditional bikes, but their electric components – the motor, battery, and controller – provide assistance when needed.
Who are E-Bikes Recommended For?
E-bikes are an excellent choice for a wide range of individuals. They’re suitable for those who commute daily and want to avoid traffic, those who wish to keep cycling despite physical limitations, and those who simply wish to enjoy longer rides without excessive fatigue. E-bikes can also be a great choice for off-road adventurers, with specific models designed for mountain biking.
Average Price Range for E-Bikes
The price of e-bikes can vary greatly based on the type, features, and brand. On the lower end, you can find basic models for around $1000, while mid-range e-bikes that offer better range, speed, and durability can cost between $2500 and $5000. High-end e-bikes, which feature advanced technology, superior components, and longer battery life, can cost upwards of $10000.
Subtypes of E-Bikes
E-bikes come in various types, each catering to different cycling needs:
Commuter e-bikes are perfect for daily urban travel. They often come with features that enhance comfort and practicality, such as fenders, racks, and lights.
Mountain e-bikes are designed for off-road adventures. They feature robust frames, wider tires, and higher quality suspension systems to handle rough terrains.
Touring e-bikes are built for long-distance rides. They come with larger batteries for extended range and are equipped with mounts for carrying gear and luggage.
Women’s bikes are specifically designed to accommodate the typical physique of many women, with consideration given to shorter torso lengths, longer legs, and shoulder widths. These bikes often feature a shorter top tube and taller head tube to create a riding position that is more comfortable and efficient for many women.
Who are Women’s Bikes Recommended For?
Women’s bikes are, of course, recommended for women, but more specifically, they are for women who find that standard bikes do not meet their comfort or performance needs. They are suitable for women who prioritize comfort, fit, and style in their bicycles.
Average Price Range for Women’s Bikes
Basic models suitable for casual riding can start around $300, while more advanced bikes designed for specific purposes like mountain biking or road racing can range from $1000 to over $5000.
Comfort bikes are bicycles designed with an emphasis on providing a comfortable riding experience while also allowing for increased physical activity. These bikes often feature ergonomic designs and additional padding to enhance comfort, along with adjustable components to cater to a variety of fitness levels.
Who are Comfort Bikes Recommended For?
Comfort/fitness bikes are an excellent choice for individuals who want to combine the benefits of physical exercise with the comfort of a leisurely ride. They are ideal for those who enjoy cycling as a form of fitness but put a premium on comfort, as well as for those who prefer a relaxed, upright riding position.
Average Price Range for Comfort Bikes
The price range for comfort bikes can greatly vary depending on the features they offer. On the lower end, you can find basic models for around $200 to $500, while high-end models with more advanced fitness-focused features and superior comfort enhancements can range from $1000 to $4000.
Kid’s bikes are specially designed to be safe and easy to ride for children. They are typically smaller and lighter than adult bikes and come with additional features like training wheels to help young riders learn and gain confidence.
Who are Kid’s Bikes Recommended For?
Kid’s bikes are designed for children of all ages, from toddlers getting their first taste of cycling to pre-teens needing a reliable ride for school and activities. The key factor in choosing a kid’s bike is the child’s size, with the bike’s wheel size typically being the best indicator of suitability.
Average Price Range for Kid’s Bikes
Prices for kid’s bikes can vary based on size, brand, and features. Basic models for younger children can start at around $100, while bikes for older kids with more advanced features for safety and ease of use can range from $200 to $500. More specialized junior models of mountain bikes or road bikes can cost over $1000.
Fat bikes are bicycles designed with oversized tires, typically 3.8 inches or larger, and rims twice the width of a standard mountain bike. The design is aimed at providing increased traction and stability on difficult terrain such as snow, sand, or mud.
Who are Fat Bikes Recommended For?
Fat bikes are an ideal choice for adventure enthusiasts who love exploring off-the-beaten-track terrain. They’re perfect for riders planning to tackle snowy, sandy, or muddy trails where standard bike tires might struggle. Fat bikes are also suitable for beginners due to their increased stability.
Average Price Range for Fat Bikes
The price of fat bikes can vary greatly depending on the brand, materials, and features. A basic model suitable for beginner riders can start around $500, while high-performing fat bikes designed for extreme conditions can range from $1000 to $5000 and beyond.
Triathlon bikes are specifically designed for triathletes who need speed, comfort, and efficiency for the cycling portion of their multi-sport race. They have intricate aerodynamic designs that minimize air resistance and allow for faster speeds, as well as specialized features to enhance comfort and performance over long distances.
Who are Triathlon Bikes Recommended For?
Triathlon bikes are primarily recommended for athletes who participate in triathlons or those who engage in similar multi-sport activities. They are also a good option for cyclists who prefer time-trial racing. Their design caters to those who require optimal aerodynamics, speed, and endurance in a bicycle.
Average Price Range for Triathlon Bikes
The cost of triathlon bikes can vary widely depending on the brand, design elements, materials used, and other features. Entry-level triathlon bikes can start around $1000, while high-end models featuring top-tier components and advanced aerodynamic design can range from $3000 to over $10000.
Tandem bikes, or bicycles built for two, are a unique category of bikes that have seats and pedals for two riders arranged one behind the other. These bikes offer a unique and social cycling experience, allowing two riders to cover the same distance at the same time with less effort than it would take them each to ride alone.
Who are Tandem Bikes Recommended For?
Tandem bikes are particularly suited for couples, friends or family members who enjoy cycling together. They’re also a great option for visually impaired individuals who can enjoy a ride with the help of a sighted rider. The essential factor is coordination and teamwork between the two riders.
Average Price Range for Tandem Bikes
Basic models that are built for leisurely rides can start from around $500, while high-end models designed for performance can range from $2000 to over $5000.
BMX bikes are a special kind of bike designed for off-road racing and stunt riding. They are characterized by their durability, agility, and simplicity, with fewer gears and a light, robust frame built to withstand the rigors of the track or skate park.
Who are BMX Bikes Recommended For?
BMX bikes are recommended for those seeking thrills and adrenaline rushes. They’re ideal for riders who enjoy freestyle riding, racing, or just performing tricks at the local skate park. BMX bikes cater to a wide range of ages, with specific models suitable for kids, teens, and adults.
Average Price Range for BMX Bikes
BMX bikes can be quite affordable, with beginner-friendly models starting around $100-$200. Mid-range models, suitable for more serious riders and racers, can cost between $300 and $500. High-end models, designed for professional racing or stunt performance, can range from $1000 to over $2000.
A tricycle, often abbreviated to trike, is a human-powered vehicle (HPV) with three wheels, two at the back and one at the front. Tricycles are designed for stability and are often used by children learning to ride or adults who prefer a more stable ride than a traditional bicycle can provide.
Who are Tricycles Recommended For?
Tricycles are recommended for a broad range of individuals. They are particularly suitable for young children who are still learning to balance and pedal. Tricycles are also a great option for older adults who enjoy cycling but require extra stability. They are also recommended for individuals with balance problems or certain disabilities, as the design provides more stability than a two-wheeled bicycle.
Average Price Range for Tricycles
The price of tricycles can vary significantly depending on the design, brand, materials used, and features. Basic kids’ models can start from as low as $50, while adult tricycles designed for comfort and stability can range from $200 to over $1000. High-end models, designed for specific needs like heavy-duty carrying capacity or increased comfort, can even surpass $2000.
Recumbent bikes are a type of bicycle where the rider is placed in a laid-back reclining position. The design is ergonomic, distributing the rider’s weight comfortably over a larger area. The back and buttocks are fully supported, and the rider’s legs extend forward to pedal.
Who are Recumbent Bikes Recommended For?
Recumbent bikes are recommended for people who value comfort and reduced strain during cycling, particularly those with back issues or other orthopedic conditions. They can benefit those who find traditional upright bikes uncomfortable, or those who like the idea of a larger seat and a backrest for longer rides. The low center of gravity also makes them a preferred choice for those seeking stability during rides.
Average Price Range for Recumbent Bikes
The price of recumbent bikes can differ greatly depending on the brand, materials used, and design features. Entry-level models often start around $1000, while high-quality models with additional features such as electric assist can range from $2000 to over $5000.
Track bikes, also known as fixed-gear bikes or “fixies”, are characterized by their simplicity and are typically used for racing on a velodrome. Unlike most types of bikes, they have a single gear and do not have a freewheel mechanism, meaning the rider cannot coast and must continue pedaling whenever the bike is moving.
Who are Track Bikes Recommended For?
Track bikes are recommended for cyclists who desire both speed and simplicity. They’re best suited for riders who intend to race on velodromes or for those who prefer the control and direct feedback provided by a fixed-gear setup. Track bikes are also a popular choice among urban riders due to their low-maintenance design.
Average Price Range for Track Bikes
Entry-level models can start from around $300, while professional-grade track bikes can range anywhere from $1000 to over $5000.
Sub-types of Track Bikes
Track bikes may appear straightforward in design, but they come in several sub-types, each tailored to specific racing conditions and rider preferences.
- Sprint Bikes: These bikes are designed for short, high-speed races, often between only two competitors. They feature very stiff frames for maximum power transfer, and a more upright position to aid in quick acceleration.
- Pursuit Bikes: For longer, solo races against the clock, pursuit bikes are the go-to choice. They have aerodynamically optimized frames and usually feature aero bars, allowing the rider to assume a streamlined position for maximum speed.
- Omnium Bikes: These are versatile track bikes used in omnium events, a type of race where cyclists compete in multiple different events for an overall score. These bikes balance the needs of speed, control, and maneuverability.
- Madison Bikes: Named after the Madison race format, these bikes are used in events where teams of cyclists take turns racing and resting. They are similar to omnium bikes in their balance of various characteristics.
- Street Fixies: These are a variation of track bikes that have been adapted for urban riding. They retain the simple, low-maintenance design of track bikes but often feature brakes and a more relaxed geometry for comfort and practicality in city environments.
Single Gear Bikes (Fixies)
Single gear bikes, often referred to as “fixies”, offer a simple, low-maintenance biking experience. These bikes have only one gear, and like track bikes, they do not have a freewheel mechanism, meaning the pedals are always engaged when the bike is in motion.
Who are Single Gear Bikes Recommended For?
Single gear bikes are ideal for cyclists who value simplicity and control. They are particularly suitable for urban environments, where the ability to quickly adjust to changes in pace can be beneficial. The minimalist design and lower maintenance needs of single gear bikes appeal to riders who want a straightforward, uncomplicated riding experience.
Average Price Range for Single Gear Bikes
Basic models can start from a few hundred dollars, while higher-end models equipped with top-quality components can reach into the thousands.
Sub-types of Single Gear Bikes
Single gear bikes come in various designs, each tailored to specific rider needs and preferences.
- Urban Fixies: These bikes combine the simplicity of a single gear setup with features designed for comfort and practicality in city environments, such as relaxed geometry and the inclusion of brakes.
- Track-Style Fixies: These bikes emulate the design of track bikes and are favored by riders seeking a performance-oriented ride in an urban setting.
- Cruiser Fixies: These bikes have a laid-back design perfect for leisurely rides and short commutes, typically featuring wide tires, swept-back handlebars, and a comfortable saddle.
- Freestyle Fixies: These bikes are designed for tricks and stunts, often featuring reinforced frames and components, and sometimes including pegs for grinding.
- Road Fixies: These bikes take cues from road bike design, featuring drop handlebars and a focus on speed and efficiency, making them suitable for longer commutes and fitness riding.
Cruiser bikes are designed for casual riding and comfort, offering a relaxed biking experience. These bikes are typically characterized by a large seat, wide tires, and upright handlebars that allow for a comfortable riding position. Cruiser bikes are an excellent choice for leisurely rides in relatively flat areas, such as neighborhoods, parks or beachfront paths.
Who are Cruiser Bikes Recommended For?
Cruiser bikes are recommended for riders who prioritize comfort over speed and would enjoy a bike for casual, leisurely rides. They are perfect for those who intend to use their bike for short trips in the neighborhood, for commuting short distances, or for enjoying scenic rides along flat terrains such as beachside paths.
Average Price Range for Cruiser Bikes
Basic models can start from around $200, while high-end models with top-quality components and features can range anywhere from $500 to over $1000.
Sub-types of Cruiser Bikes
There are several variations of cruiser bikes to cater to different riding preferences.
- Classic/Beach Cruisers: These bikes typically have a retro design, balloon tires for comfort, and single-speed drivetrains.
- Low Rider Cruisers: These have a lower standover height, making them easy to mount and dismount. They often feature extended handlebars and a reclined saddle.
- Chopper Cruisers: Inspired by chopper motorcycles, these bikes have an extreme reclined seating position and elongated handlebars.
- Multi-Speed Cruisers: These cruisers have multiple gears that make them more versatile and suitable for varying terrains.
- Electric Cruisers: These combine the comfort of cruisers with an electric motor, making longer distances and hilly terrains more accessible to riders.
Cargo bikes are a type of bicycle designed specifically for carrying heavy loads. These bikes typically feature a larger frame and a built-in cargo area, which can be located at the front or back of the bike. Cargo bikes are incredibly versatile and can be used for a range of purposes, such as grocery shopping, transporting children, or even for commercial purposes like delivering goods.
Who are Cargo Bikes Recommended For?
Cargo bikes are recommended for riders who need a practical, eco-friendly method of transporting goods or passengers. They are highly suitable for urban environments, where the use of cars might be impractical due to traffic or parking issues. These bikes are also perfect for families with children, as they often come equipped with child seats or can be adapted to them.
Average Price Range for Cargo Bikes
Basic models can start around $1000, while high-end models with electric assistance and top-quality components can reach upwards of $4000.
Folding bikes are a unique type of bicycle that can be folded into a compact form, facilitating easy storage and transport. This makes them a particularly excellent choice for urban environments, where space is often limited. They are also ideal for mixed-mode commuting, where part of the journey might be undertaken by public transport, as they can be easily carried onto buses or trains.
Who are Folding Bikes Recommended For?
Folding bikes are recommended for riders who require a versatile and portable mode of transport. They are suitable for urban dwellers who may have limited storage space, commuters who use multiple modes of transport, or travelers who wish to take their bike with them on trips.
Average Price Range for Folding Bikes
The price of folding bikes can range widely depending on their design, brand, and quality of components. Basic models can start from around $200, while high-end models with advanced folding mechanisms, lightweight materials, and high-quality components can cost $1000 or more.
Lowrider bikes are a specialized type of bicycle that originated in the Chicano community in the United States. They are known for their distinctive design, which often includes a shorter frame, increased rake, and lower ground clearance, hence the name ‘lowrider’. These bikes are not just a mode of transportation but also a form of artistic expression, often featuring customized paint jobs, decorative elements, and even hydraulics.
Who are Lowrider Bikes Recommended For?
Lowrider bikes are recommended for riders who value self-expression and customizability in their choice of transportation. They are often seen as a symbol of creativity and individuality, making them popular among artists, enthusiasts, and members of the lowrider culture. However, due to their design and customizations, they are not typically used for long-distance riding or fast-paced transportation.
Average Price Range for Lowrider Bikes
The price of lowrider bikes can vary widely, as a significant part of their value comes from the custom work and decorative elements added by the owner. A basic lowrider bike can start from around $200, but custom models with extensive modifications and high-quality components can cost several thousand dollars.
What To Do Next?
Now that you are familiar with the different types of bikes available and their respective features, you’re one step closer to finding the perfect bike for your needs. But before you make a decision, it’s essential to ensure that the bike you choose is the right size for you. Riding a bike that’s too big or too small can be uncomfortable and potentially unsafe. To help you determine what size bike you need, check out this comprehensive guide on how to chose the perfect bicycle.