The bike industry offers us bikes for every kind of riding, making it difficult to choose the bike to ride. There are a confusingly huge and growing number of different types of bike and they are divided into a seemingly endless number of categories and sub-categories.
Road bicycles are designed to be ridden fast on smooth pavement. These bikes rule the road due to their extreme efficiency and speed. This type of bikes is usually lighter than other types. They are also not capable of carrying heavy loads. Road bikes’ lightweight frames and skinny tires are designed to help the rider achieve maximum speed for minimum effort. Their dropped handlebars allow riders to get into an efficient and aerodynamic riding position and gearing. However, this aerodynamic riding position may put more strain on your back if you are less flexible.
There are a few types of road bikes. The following the different types of road bikes and all the things you need to know about choosing a road bike:
Cyclocross bikes, also known as cross bikes or cx bikes, are a special type of road bike designed to be raced on a mixed surface course like a combination of pavement, unpaved trails, gravel, or grass. These bikes are lightweight, yet tough enough to deal with the extreme conditions of cyclocross racing. They have a drop handlebar like regular road bikes, but the tires are a little wider for more off-road traction, and they have a different style of brake that helps to prevent mud buildup in the frame. Most cyclocross bikes have semi-knobby tires to handle the terrain challenges.
Racing bikes are light and aerodynamic bikes which are built for fast pacing on the flats and charging up hills on race. They are designed for competitive road cycling. Generally, they have an aggressive geometry with steep angles that make them turn quickly. Their frames are usually made from carbon fiber or aluminum and they have a slimmed-down design that’s intended to be as light as possible.
Touring bikes are ideal for long-distance bike tours. They are designed with sturdy frames capable of carrying heavy loads on the front and rear racks and feature multiple attachment points so you can attach racks, fenders, water bottles, pumps, lights and more. Many touring bikes tend to have a lower center of gravity and have a longer wheelbase than other road bikes, making them easier to control. Many touring bikes also have disc brakes for improved stopping power while hauling heavy loads on non-paved surfaces. The ideal bike for your touring trip will depend upon the terrain you plan to cover and how many kits you want to take with you.
Endurance bikes offer comfort over long distances and are usually closer to a race bike than a traditional touring bike. In fact, they have many of the performance features of racing bikes, but with a frame geometry that puts you in a more comfortable riding position. Some endurance bikes have flat handlebars, for those who prefer a more heads-up riding style. They generally have taller head tubes, slacker (lower) angles and sloping top tubes intended to reduce stress on your back and neck.
A commuting bike is any bicycle used as general transportation. They generally have practical amenities such as lights, rear racks, bags, locks, and fenders, making the bicycle a utilitarian tool. Using bicycles for transportation is a great way to get some exercise, save money, help the environment and to have fun.
Triathlon/Time Trial Bike
Triathlon or time trial bikes are road bikes with a special design that maximizes their aerodynamic properties. They are built specifically for triathlon or time trial events. These type of road bike have forward bull-horn shaped handlebars and aero bars that allow the rider to crouch forward while riding, to minimize the wind resistance against the body.
Track Bike/Fixed Gear
A track bike is a road bike with a single gear that does not freewheel or coast. Fixed gear bikes are the outdoor version of a track bike. They have a single, fixed gear but may have brakes and different styles of handlebars. These bikes are often used for racers in training because they force the athlete to spin their legs in a consistent circle and run a higher cadence.