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Lifestyle Bike Types

Beach Cruisers

Beach cruisers are an American classic. Strong, simple, and reliable, beach cruisers can be counted on to be there when you need them. The most stylish bikes available, beach cruisers appeal to a wider spectrum of riders that any other type of bike.

Beach cruisers are best suited to flat terrain and do not feature the high tech gizmos of many modern bikes, but this just adds to the appeal of the cruiser for many buyers. If you want to get there in style a custom cruiser may be right for you.

City Bikes

Getting around by bike is one of America's best kept secrets. The benefits of clean air, exercise and self-locomotion are undisputable and yet passers by often pity the unfortunate person who rides his bike, not knowing that they in fact are the ones who are missing out.

City bikes come in various flavors from the pure utilitarianism of a commuter bicycle to the stylish and useful coffee shop bike. City bikes often use internally geared hubs, such as Shimano's Nexus 7, and feature chain guards for riding in everyday clothing.


Ever wish you had a comfortable upright handle bar on your old 10 speed or road bike? Well, you're not the only one. The desire for easy rolling, comfortable bikes, capable of routinely traveling distances greater than 10 miles, led to the creation of bikes called hybrids.

Part road bike and part mountain bike the hybrid is a great choice for sport touring, casual riding or commuting to work or school. Hybrids use wide range gearing and large diameter tires, wider than road tires, but smoother and faster than mountain bike or cruiser tires.

Comfort Mountain Bikes

Often called simply, comfort bikes, the comfort mountain bike is designed to spend much of its life on pavement. Its large tires, wide saddles and tall upright handlebars create a safe and comfortable cockpit for its rider.

With wide range gearing and powerful brakes, comfort bikes are an excellent choice for a novice or infrequent rider who choose comfort over speed.

Road Bike Types

Road Bike

The traditional road bike historically has been used for road riding, club rides and criteriums.

While a traditional road bike has many different frame geometries to support the preferences of novice and experienced riders alike, the components they use are similar in design and function. The road bike has drop-handlebars and skinny tires on a taller frame. Road bike gear choices are classified as double and triple gearing.

Time-Trial/Triathlon Bikes

These types of bicycles are built for speed and are designed to position the rider out in a more aerodynamic body position.

This is done by incorporating the use of aero bars. By using the aero bars, you are more aerodynamic thus creating a faster ride. The downside of time trial or triathlon bikes is that they are built for speed on shorter courses.

These bikes use a lot of the same components as traditional road bikes. Where they differ is in the chain ring combinations on the crank set that some groups offer like Dura-Ace and the types of shifters that are used on the aero bars (see bar end shifters).

Touring Bikes

A touring bike is built for just what the name says, Touring. The idea of hopping on your bike with a bunch of panniers and going out to see the country side.

These bikes generally have a more upright position. Most traditional road bikes can be converted into a touring bike, but a true touring bike offers a few differences that make it ideal for traveling with your panniers or bags. With the added weight of panniers, you need two things.

One is more stopping power by the use of cantilever brakes (see BR-R550) which require the use of cantilever bosses built into the frame. The other is a wider range of gears to get you up hills easier by the use of triple gearing.

Cyclo-Cross Bikes

Cyclo-Cross began in Europe as a form of cross training in the winter for cyclists. Cyclo-Cross is the idea of riding a modified road bike off-road.

While still using drop bars and a majority of the parts used on traditional road bikes, cyclo-cross bikes still have some special needs. With a cyclo-cross bike, you need cantilever brakes (see br-r550) for more braking power since some cross course are muddy thus reducing the efficiency of your traditional dual-pivot caliper road brake.

Most cyclo-cross riders use smaller gears on their crank set to allow for easy acceleration due to the steeper pitches found on off-road courses. On all cyclo-cross bikes you will find wider and knobbed tires to help gain traction in the dirt.

Track Bikes

A track bike is probably the last bike you want. But for experienced cyclists who understand what track racing is and the excitement of it, it can be a very exciting form of cycling.

Track Bikes have one chain ring and one fixed gear on the back which does not allow you to coast. In addition these bikes do not use brakes because they are ridden on a velodrome.

With the combination of a fixed gear and no brakes, this type of riding is for the experienced and trained cyclists.

Mountain Bike Types

XC Racing Bikes

Often called Cross Country bikes, XC Racing bikes are designed to tackle a mountain from the bottom. Lightweight and efficient, XC bikes often sacrifice comfort and control as luxuries you can't afford when racing to the top.

XC bike frames are either hardtail or short travel, semi-active suspension designs. Long and low, XC bikes put the rider in a stretched out position. Best suited to gradual terrain, XC racing bikes are popular in areas without a lot of rocks and roots and among competitive riders.

If your idea of mountain biking is fitness and endurance you may want to consider a XC Racing bike. If you consider the best rider the one who made it to the top first, then your choice is made.

XC Trail Bikes

Often called all-purpose, XC Trail bikes are what most people think of when they hear the phrase mountain bike.

XC Trail bikes are designed to climb with control and comfort and descend with speed. With active suspension, knobby tires and low gearing the XC trail bike is slightly less efficient than an XC Racing bike but can be more enjoyable to ride downhill. As terrain gets steeper, trails tend to get rockier and the ultra-light XC Racing bike may ride roughly, but the XC Trail bike is right at home.

If you like the idea of challenging yourself on a rocky climb, enjoy extended singletrack descents and want to battle it out with your friends going uphill or down, An XC Trail bike may be for you.

All-Mountain Bikes

Some riders just need more. As adventures get longer and trails more remote, many riders see increased value in reliability and downhill control.

The bigger tires, plush suspension and powerful brakes of the All-mountain bike are an insurance policy against accidents and mishaps and can be just plain fun to ride. With geometry suited to steep terrain and small drop-offs All-mountain bikes can inspire confidence, however, on more mild terrain they can feel sluggish.

If you are an all-day adventurer or ride harsh trails you may be an All-mountain rider.

Freeride Bikes

Freeride bikes are designed to ride the most extreme types of terrain. Steep chutes, large rocks and roots, big jumps and drop-offs, and just about anything else, natural or man-made, that you can imagine.

With only the occasional concession made for even the thought of riding uphill, freeride bikes are mountain biking's version of monster trucks. Blurring the line between bicycle and motorcycle, bikes with eight inches of rear wheel travel, three inch wide tires, and eight inch diameter brake rotors are commonplace.

If you are attracted to the challenge of going big and see mountain biking as a source of individual expression, Freeriding will appeal to you. And what does any extreme athlete need? Well, a Saint to watch over him, of course.



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