Choosing a new bike is one of the most exciting decisions, but it can also be challenging if you have no idea about what type of bike would make the best fit.
Technology advances over recent decades mean there are now more different styles of bike than ever before. Where once you could only find mountain bikes, road bikes, and city bikes, you’ll now find an almost overwhelming choice.
So, if you have recently been asking “What kind of bike should I get”, jump right in and explore our guide to the top 10 bike styles.
Top 10 Bike Styles
- Mountain bike
- Road bike
- Hybrid bike
- City bike/commuter bike
- Cruiser bike
- Fixed gear bike
- Fat bike
- Folding bike
- Electric bike
1) Mountain bike
A mountain bike, commonly abbreviated to MTB, is arguably the most popular of all bike styles.
Designed for tackling rocky and mountainous terrain and for traveling across forests, the versatile and rugged mountain bike differs from traditional bicycles in the following ways:
- Wheels are heavier-duty and longer-lasting.
- The frame and work often includes suspension.
- Tires are larger and knobby.
- Gear ratios are lower to promote traction and to streamline climbing steep gradients.
- Brakes are much more powerful.
Thanks to the large tire pattern and the controllability of mountain bikes, riding on technical tracks should be safe and comfortable.
There are many different mountain bike sub-types, including:
- Rigid mountain bikes: Rigid bikes are not equipped with suspension. The ride is not soft or comfortable, but you’ll still be capable of riding off-road on a rigid mountain bike. The absence of suspension means these bikes are more lightweight than hardtails or full suspension mountain bikes.
- Hardtail mountain bikes: These bikes have suspension only on the front while the tail of the bike remains hard. Less able to handle rough trails, hardtails are great for riding on gravel roads, forest, or hard-packed trailheads.
- Full suspension mountain bikes: With suspension on the fork and at the rear of the frame, full suspension bikes are usually more expensive than hardtail or rigid bikes.
- Cross country bikes: A cross country bike, commonly called an XC bike, is intended to be ridden on gravel roads, fire roads, single-track trails, and in the countryside. This style of mountain bike is available in all of the three variants above, with or without suspension.
- Trail bikes: Similar to XC bikes, trail bikes are designed to cope with more demanding tracks (as long as they are single-track trails). You will be able to pull more extreme stunts on a trail bike than an XC bike and the ride is also more stable.
- Enduro bikes: An enduro bike or all-mountain bike is designed for participants of all-mountain, a cycling discipline involving steep uphill climbs and tough downhills.
- Downhill bikes: Made to attack technical and demanding downhills, this type of bike is also known as a DH bike. Frame geometry is relaxed, and head tube travel is slack. Ideal for rapid descents, these bikes are useless for other types of riding.
Mountain bikes are the ideal choice for cyclists who prioritize traversing rough terrain over speed.
2) Road bike
The most specialized of all types of bikes, road bikes are designed purely for tarmac riding.
The key benefits of road bikes are:
- Lightweight build
Road bikes are typically more expensive than traditional bikes, although you can still find yourself a bargain.
Built for speed rather than comfort, frames are made from carbon (pro models) or aluminum (recreational models)
In addition to standard road bikes, you can also find various subcategories of road bike, including:
- Triathlon (TT) bike
- Cyclocross (CX) bike
- Gravel bike
- Touring bike
Most of these subtypes share similarities with traditional road bikes. Frame geometry is similar, materials are similar, and the bikes also have drop handlebars.
3) Hybrid bike
Hybrid bikes are becoming increasingly popular due to their showstopping versatility.
These bikes are designed to accommodate riding on almost any surface. You should feel comfortable riding a hybrid bike on city streets or in forests.
Most of these bikes come equipped with between 21 and 27 gears, ideal for a range of road conditions and gradients.
4) City bike/commuter bike
A city bike, often known as a commuter bike, comes with the following equipment as standard:
Although this style of bike is primarily designed with city streets in mind, you could also take a city bike onto a hard-packed forest road without any interference.
Prices of commuter bikes, like most other styles, varies radically depending on build quality, performance, and equipment levels.
5) Cruiser bike
If you want a bike that combines style, comfort, and affordability, it is worth considering a cruiser bike.
Retro styling, sound mechanical performance, and a comfy ride makes for a winning recipe if you like to take long and relaxed bike rides where speed is not of the essence.
6) Fixed gear bike
A fixed gear bike, often abbreviated to fixie, is also called a single-gear bike.
This style of bike is built in a minimalist style. The cog or drive sprocket is fixed directly to the back wheel hub. This is achieved through threading or bolting. This set-up forces you to continue pedaling at all times when the bike is in motion. As the rear wheel turns, so the pedals also turn at the same speed and in the same direction.
Most fixies are equipped only with front brakes. Some of these bikes have no brakes at all. If this doesn’t concern you, you will find a fixed gear bike is super-simple to ride on city streets, as evidenced by their popularity among bicycle couriers.
7) Fat bike
A fat bike features enormous 26-inch tires that are ideal for riding in mud, deep snow, and on rocks. If a MTB isn’t quite rugged enough, a design-driven fat bike might be your smartest alternative.
For anyone who is planning a lengthy bike tour involving lots of off-roading, fat bikes may not be the best for raw pace, but for style, comfort, and aggressive riding, they are hard to beat.
A BMX is a small bike with 20-inch wheels most frequently used by kids and teens. That said, you can also ride this style of bike as an adult for performing tricks. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as trick bikes.
Most BMXs will have only one gear. Unlike a fixed gear bike, though, you will be able to pedal in both directions.
Many BMX bikes have no brakes at all, although some include a front brake to make tricking easier.
While a BMX is by no means the most versatile bike, they are usually cheap and can be great fun for kids and adults alike.
9) Folding bike
Many commuters, especially those who travel partly by rail, favor folding bikes as the most convenient form of city riding.
The foldable frames can be assembled and disassembled in minutes. Once folded, these bikes will go on a train or subway with ease. You can even pop one in your suitcase when you are traveling by plane.
While a folding back can provide incredible convenience, there is one style of bike that wins the convenience contest hands down – the electric bike.
10) Electric bike
Last but not least, electric bikes are well worth popping on your shortlist when you’re bike shopping.
These bikes come with an electric motor onboard, allowing you to benefit from a boost while you’re riding. E-bikes are sometimes called booster bikes for this reason.
At the upper end, electric bikes can deliver similar performance to a moped, while still retaining the ability to be pedaled like a regular bike.
Most standard electric bikes are capable of traveling at 15 to 20mph. They feature rechargeable batteries with varying runtimes.
Often purchased by older people with mobility issues and by commuters looking to get to and from work without arriving fatigued and sweaty, e-bikes continue to fly off the shelves the world over.
We very much hope that today’s breakdown of the many different bike types has given you plenty of inspiration.
Today’s guide omits a few niche bikes like recumbent bicycles, tandems, and trikes. Above, though, you can choose between all the major variants of bike. With any luck, you should find the perfect steed for the kind of riding you prefer.
Take a moment to bookmark Florida Cycling before you head off today and be sure to come back soon. We’ll be bringing you plenty of informative buying guides and plenty of assistance to choose the best bike gear the easy way. We’ll see you soon!