Picking the best bike to suit your needs can be a tricky task. Whether you want to commute, get fit or just explore the countryside. The bicycle is the perfect tool to do that. But there are a confusingly huge – and growing – number of different types of bike to choose from.
So, if you are asking yourself “which type of bike should I buy?”, then read on, as we guide you through the styles of bike on offer today to help. You find the best one for your needs.
It’s important to have a think about what you want to do with your bike. Where you’ll be going because the best bike for you totally depends on this.
Your choice of bike will depend on your own tastes too. And the kind of distance and terrain you want to ride. There are many different types of cycling and a multitude of bikes that will let you achieve your goals.
Whether you’re an urban commuter, a lightning-quick road racer. A trail centre hero, downhiller, fixed-wheel fan, gravel path explorer or something else. There’s a suitable bike out there for you.
Road bikes: best for riding fast on tarmac
They have dropped handlebars (i.e. ones that loop down and backwards) that allow you to get into an efficient. And aerodynamic riding position and have gearing that’s all about maximum speed.
Under the guise of slightly more relaxed ‘endurance’ bikes, they’ll let you embark on big-mile rides with friends. But also lend themselves very well to commuting thanks to their ability to cover ground quickly.
However, the speed-focused riding position can be uncomfortable for some riders. And the lightweight wheels and tyres are susceptible to damage from kerbs and potholes.
Many dedicated road bikes, especially ones at the racier end of the spectrum. Will also lack the ability to carry luggage. So, if you need to lug a hefty load, a pure-bred road bike might not be ideal.
Made to take on the most rugged off-road terrain that nature can offer. Mountain bikes are built tough with aggressive knobbly tyres designed to find grip on almost any surface.
They also have powerful brakes that use car- or motorcycle-style discs at the centre of the wheels. And more expensive machines will have suspension at both ends for better control over rough ground. The gearing is designed to get you up and down steep terrain, with a wide range to take on the varying gradients.
Even if you don’t plan to tackle mountain ranges. Mountain bikes can be a good choice for general leisure riding thanks to their more relaxed riding position.
While suspension is great for pure off-road riding, it means extra weight, costs more and can be inefficient. So it’s best avoided if you plan to spend most of your time on-road.
If you fancy heading into the back of beyond, pushing your limits and exploring the path less travelled. Then check out our buyer’s guide to the best mountain bikes.