It’s easy to find the right bike type if you know what you need.
There are so many bikes that you’re guaranteed to find the right bicycle for your needs. No matter what terrain you’re riding on, there’s sure to be a great bike for you.
One of the most common types of bikes, the commuter bike is a simple vehicle to get you to work. Bicycles are an excellent alternative to cars or public transit—you don’t pay for gas or wait for the bus to come.
A commuter bike is designed for easygoing road conditions, so don’t expect to take it on mountain trails anytime soon. You might also consider investing in accessories for better city riding, such as a helmet light and bike lock. Keeping your bike safe lets you keep riding it for a long time to come.
Not to mention, there are tons of exercise benefits that come with biking. You’ll stay in shape and won’t pollute the environment!
The only potential disadvantage to commuter bikes is their limited terrain. They can last a long time in the city, but they shouldn’t be taken out like cross-country bikes. Many commuter bikes aren’t made for that strain and could break down. There are trekking bike models with the correct tires for the job, too, because having the wrong front or rear wheel can mean punctured tires and a long walk home. As with all the bikes in our guide, just make sure you’re using the bike for its intended purpose.
The term “road bike” can mean many things, but it generally refers to a great bike for taking outdoors. It’s somewhere between commuter bikes and mountain bikes. Whereas commuter bikes are city-only, and mountain bikes are usually reserved for rough roads, road bikes can go around the city AND make a path through offroad conditions. In more general terms, some people refer to road bikes as any bike type that is not an indoor bike (like an elliptical or stationary bike).
Mountain biking has become more popular in recent years. As cities get bigger and busier, there’s nothing like getting your friends onto mountain bicycles and taking an adventure across the wilderness.
Mountain bicycles are made for trail riding. There are tons of amazing trails out there that don’t get enough love, especially if they’re overgrown or uncared for. But mountain bikes can handle those conditions. This bike's flat handlebar can take a hit and keep riding, and the brake lever keeps working under difficult conditions. On top of that, the bike is well-supported by an excellent front and rear wheel. The tires will keep wheeling through the most difficult off-roading.
But it’s no city bike. Ironically, mountain bikes are so optimized for rough roads that they have trouble on gentle paths. Because of how stiff concrete is, a mountain bike has trouble riding around town. Also, mountain bikes take more energy to move, so it’s harder to ride them around town.
Generally speaking, the tougher the bike, the heavier it is, and the more gears it has. The higher the gears go, the harder it is to rotate the pedals. Even with their flat handlebar design, mountain bikes don’t end up being as useful in the city.
Some people may think they need a tough bike so it lasts longer, but that isn’t always the case. The bicycle you need depends on the terrain, not how long you want to use it. With proper maintenance, city bikes can last a long time, and mountain bicycles will get you through the off-road for years to come.
(See also “Gravel Bike.” A gravel bike is specially designed for rough road riding! They’re equipped with special tires to take on gravel, loose rocks, and other tricky surfaces. This bike type saves riders tons of trouble when they’re out on the road.
(The same goes for the dirt bike, which helps riders tackle mud and loose dirt with ease. For whatever offroading you need, the dirt bike is here to help!)
The age of electricity has given us tons of innovations, including the electric bike. This bike comes with a small motor to power the pedals as you ride. Instead of relying entirely on your own capabilities, electric bikes make riding easier and less strenuous.
Electric mountain bikes have surged in popularity because electricity makes rough roads easier. Instead of pedaling up that huge hill all by yourself, try flipping the lever and engaging the motor. Once the motor’s on, the uphill battle turns in your favor! The motor gives you the power you need to climb your trail’s mountains.
However, watch out for trails where electric bikes aren’t allowed. Bikers are (sometimes unfairly) blamed for trail damage and communities restrict them by outlawing certain bike types. Depending on your region, electric mountain bikes might not be allowed. Check your area’s website to ensure you don’t accidentally take your bike somewhere it’s not supposed to go.
There are even DIY electric bike kits, which help you put motors on regular bikes to upgrade them. You don’t need a specially-designed model as long as your bike matches the specifications for the kit. So no matter what bike you have, you can easily upgrade it to an electric model.
The kit comes with everything you need to make sure the bike can work: wires, a motor, and a way to connect the equipment to the pedals. You can even get electric components to help you pull down on the brake lever, which makes it easier to stop when riding on a downhill bike trail.
But make sure you’re protecting the electric components from damage. Mud, rain, dirt, and other hazards can seep into the motor and other parts, causing them to fail over time. Additionally, the motor will usually require a battery and/or regular charging. If your electric bike components stop working or the power runs out, you’ll be left on your own strength until you can get them working again.
Ensure you aren’t taking unnecessary risks! Keep your bike motor charged and ready to go at all times, especially before long trips and treks in the rain. Use bike covers to shield your bike from the elements when it’s not in use. Proper bike maintenance keeps your ride in good condition for years to come.
A racing bike is made for speed rather than comfort. They’re usually made for paved roads and gentle trails that will lead you to first place. A racing bike can be a great TT bike (“Time Trial”) for optimizing your performance and helping you go faster.
Racing bikes aren’t built for comfort, as the seat is often stiffer and upright. Upright handlebars are better for fast riding while standing or leaning forward on the pedals, but that stance requires more skill to use. These bikes also aren’t ideal for beginners, but they’re great fun for experienced cyclists. For the serious competitor looking to cross the finish line before the competition, they do great work.
(See also “fixie bike,” a bike with fixed settings and is optimized for racing.)
The GMC Denali bike is an awesome budget pick for road bikers looking to start an adventure. It’s a well-balanced vehicle that offers tons of speed flexibility, which lets you ride as fast or slow as you like.
Its aluminum frame allows you to easily maneuver it through all the obstacles on the road. Although it’s heavier than similar bikes (30 pounds), its weight provides additional safety. When traveling downhill, since you won’t lose control of the bike and drift off course. For its price, the GMC Denali offers a lot. It’s versatile, durable, speedy, and offers great control.
As part of Cannondale’s elite biking series, Cannondale CAAD10 Track 1 is a serious ride for serious bikers. The bike’s handling is stiff to make sure it keeps pedaling throughout difficult conditions.
Also, it comes with lots of customizability. The CAAD10 Track 1 series encompasses several awesome vehicles specialized for different riders. The bikes all use an SRAM Ominium, 48T crankset and SRAM PC-1, ⅛” cassette, but the frame and geometry vary depending on which model you choose.
Like the Denali, it has surprisingly good components for its price. Its strong budget-wise principles, combined with the flexible sizes the bike comes in, make the Cannondale a strong contender for the road.
Specialized is a bike manufacturer that helps people get in shape. The Sirrus Sport is built for tough treks on rough roads, outfitted with eyelets so you can install mudguards. In addition, the bike sports Shimano and microSHIFT technology, so you come to a clean stop every time.
Additionally, its geometry doesn’t sacrifice comfort. Although sport bikes are usually positioned in ways that make them harder to ride, the Specialized Sirrus doesn’t have that problem. Its tight, comfortable geometry lets you steer clear of roots, rocks, and weeds while staying comfortable on your adventure.
Granted, that doesn’t mean the Sirrus is a beginner bike. We recommend the Sirrus for expert bikers looking to improve their times on an epic TT bike (“Time Trial”). With great handling and exhilarating speeds, the Specialized Sirrus bike will be zooming around roads near you!
As the name implies, the Surly Cross-Check is a no-nonsense riding machine. The Cross-Check is a cyclocross bike that balances well between open road, city commuting, and just about anything else you could take it on.
The Cross-Check breaks the stereotype of mountain bicycles that can’t go in the city. Although it’s heavy, it’s not so heavy that it’s unmanageable, so you can still take to the city streets. It also has LOTS of customizability for any kind of biking you can imagine. The Cross-Check is geared for expert bikers who know what they’re doing with customization. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s not a bad beginner bike because it covers almost every type of terrain you can ride on. For the all-around expert, the Surly Cross-Check is the bike to beat.
Out of all the Kestrel bikes out there, the Kestrel Talon X is one of the best for racing. Kestrel bikes have been serving cyclists since 2007, and the Talon X is the latest iteration in an impressive line. The Talon X seeks to break down the budget barrier that often accompanies racing bikes, too.
Out of the Giant series comes another spectacular bike. The Giant Defy 5 lives up to its name by putting pressure on the competition. It’s optimized to come out on top in high-demand, high-performance scenarios without giving up comfort or other features. With great features, excellent construction, and a need for speed, this Giant will defy the odds and emerge victoriously.