It can be a daunting task to choose from the many different types of bikes out there – but there truly is a bike to suit every occasion. When the cycling bug gets you, you might find yourself confused and overwhelmed by all the choice, or lusting after 4 types of bike at once!
Fear not – this handy little guide will hopefully help you on your cycling journey and make the decision a little bit easier for you.
- Hybrid bikes are designed to cope with various terrains. They are the perfect bike to commute on, with wider tires, flat handlebars and plenty of gears they will get you across the city in the middle of winter and be comfortable on longer rides at the weekend. Normally made from aluminium (alloy) which makes them resistant to rust, perfect for winter roads gritted with salt. They also have plenty of frame mounts for racks to carry pannier bags and baskets.
- Road bikes have fast and aggressive geometry, dropped handlebars and thin slick tires. These lightweight bikes, normally made from aluminium (alloy) or carbon, are agile, quick and impractical for daily commutes. If you are interested in going really fast for a long time, then this is the bike for you.
- Older steel road bike frames can make great commuter bikes with the addition of wider tires with a decent tread. Drop handlebars take a bit of getting used to but if set correctly to your height, they can be incredibly comfortable as they offer multiple grip options.
- Touring bikes are comfortable long distance adventure machines that can carry a lot of weight. Normally made out of steel, they have a large range of gears, drop, flat or butterfly bars and tiers with a decent tread. They also come with a wide range of rack mounts. They tend to be on the heavy end of the scale but are normally very robust.
- Cyclocross bikes started out life as adapted road bikes, made to cope with muddy park races to keep road racers fit in the offseason. They quickly became a bike bracket of their own. With lots of frame clearance for thick tires, drop bars and lightweight, agile alloy frames they are an incredibly fun bikes to ride, be it on bridle paths, forestry roads or country lanes.
- Gravel bikes are a cross between touring bikes and Cross bikes. They have more frame mounts to carry packs for longer trips than a cross frame, lots of frame clearance for big grippy tires and lightweight carbon forks. Often they have flared handlebars for more control on descents and to make room to fit a bar bag. Gravel bikes are made in all materials, from steel to titanium.
- Mountain Bikes (MTB) come with suspension, thick knobby tires and wide flat handlebars. They are made for offroad adventures, and riding downhill in the mud really fast. Hardtails have only front suspension and are great for most trail centres, small jumps and bike packing trips. Full suspension MTB’s are best for downhill riding and enable the rider to hit big features on the hill with lots of squish.
- Old steel MTB frames can make really good commuter bikes.
- Fold up bikes are great if your commute is too long to ride all the way. Cycle to the train station, fold your bike up for the train and use the bike again when you get off at the other end. They can be heavy and small wheels make for more effort from the riders perspective.
- Step through bikes have low cross bars that make getting on and off the bike really easy. With a comfortable upright position and swept back handlebars, they are the perfect cruisy city bike. They are great for beginners as well as those who want to avoid subscribing to wearing lyra or tucking your trousers into your socks (they often come with a subsational chain guard to keep your trousers from getting caught and mucky). For long-distance cycling, they are not the best as they tend to be quite heavy and the upright position is not ideal for climbing hills.
- Electric Bikes are a growing market and their battery technology is improving all the time. E-bikes make cycling accessible for many, reducing the barriers that long term illness or injury create. There are all types of e-bikes now available from road bikes to mountain bikes.
- Cargo bikes are the van of the bike world. They come in various sizes from a bit bigger than a normal bike to the size of a car. Most cargo bikes are now electrified which makes them a real viable option for transporting anything from furniture to your weekly shop.
Fixed gear/Single speed
- Fixed gear or fixie bikes have no gears and no free wheel. This means that you can’t coast or stop pedalling. They often only have a front brake or no breaks at all. They are used for track races at indoor velodromes. Bikes without brakes are not legally road safe.
- Single speed bikes have one gear only but they do have a free hub meaning you can give your legs a break whilst rolling down hill. They are great to cruise around on in relatively flat cities like Glasgow.
Fixed and single speed bikes are incredibly easy to maintain as they have less components to wear out, making them light and cheap to build, buy and maintain.
At Bike For Good we aim to make sure you find the right bike from our refurbished range.
We often have a wide selection and we sell bikes every Saturday from our West Hub. Drop in then to see what we have on offer!