When trying to decide on the best type of bike for you, thinking about these questions will help:
If you're buying a bike to ride with a group of friends, buy something similar to what they ride. Unless you're super fit, you won't be able to keep up with road bikes on a mountain bike or cruiser. A road bike also can't handle trail riding like a mountain or cyclocross bike. Being equally matched to your riding partners makes for a much more pleasant experience.
If you enjoyed a 3-speed as a child, you may have a great experience on that bike again. If you disliked the road bike you bought a few years ago — perhaps a mountain or hybrid bike would be better.
As you learn about the different bicycles available and think about where and how you'll ride, you'll start getting a clearer picture of your ideal bike. Here's a quick primer of the different types that are available.
Road bikes are fast and easy to pedal on pavement thanks to a narrower tire, and body positioning that allows you to use your most powerful muscles. They're not as well suited for operating off road. Some people find the low riding position of the racing ("dropped") handlebars difficult to maintain comfortably for a long time. However, there are new road bikes today that are specially designed with significantly higher dropped handlebars, so you don't have to bend over so far. These bikes are best for long distance riding, as the drop bar offers multiple hand positions, and they tend to be lighter than other styles of bikes.
Mountain bikes are slower on pavement. They have an upright riding position with flat handlebars, and can travel easily on a wide variety of surfaces. Fat, flat-resistant tires, low gearing for easy climbing, and linear-pull or disc brakes for excellent braking in all conditions make them great for the trail. Front, or often front and rear suspension are featured for incredible comfort and control. Mountain bikes are very durable and reliable.
Hybrids or cross bikes are almost as fast and easy to pedal as road bikes, while being almost as comfortable and versatile as mountain bikes. They're great for commuting, errands, getting in shape and all-around fun.
Comfort bikes are just that — comfortable. They are less efficient, but extra comfortable thanks to an upright riding position, wide handlebars, easy gearing, a plush seat, and often suspension. They also typically have easily accessed controls and wider, flat-resistant tires.
Cruisers (sometimes called "beach cruisers") are fun to look at, and when ridden at a relaxed pace, they’re ideal for admiring the scenery and exploring the neighborhood or shore.
Keep in mind that even within these categories, there can be sub-categories of bicycles. For example, not all mountain bikes will be suitable for large drops, and some road machines are specifically built for time trials and triathlons, and therefore won’t be good for your next century.
There's nothing we like better than showing off the wide variety of bicycles we offer. And, there's nothing like seeing and riding a few to truly understand the difference, and find the perfect bicycle(s) for you! So, drop by soon!