Too many terms, too much jargon! This will help. Types of Bikes is a reference of bikes – what the bike is and its purpose. This is an active reference that will grow as we introduce bike types within The goRide Way.
If you want to know more about riding a certain bike – like where you could ride it or who rides it – then check out the related links.
Ideal way to learn to ride a bike from about 2 years old. If offers an introduction to bike handling skills and balance as the name suggests. Often come without brakes so be aware of where they are riding.
Frames can be wooden, steel or aluminium.
Links: Balance bike stories
A transport bike for you, your shopping and maybe your kids. Usually have comfortable seats and curved handlebars. Position of the rider is upright. Heavy, hard to manage up hills – designed for a smooth, flat environment (You can overcome this by getting an electric cargo bike, see Electric below)
Links: Child Seats
Around town, paved pathway bliss. Comfortable, upright, cushioned seats, often with front handlebar baskets. Limited gears not designed for climbing hills but could manage gentle ones. Watch the weight – pick it up to see if you can lift it. Tyres are usually on the skinny side without much tread to allow for good speed on the smooth road surfaces these bikes are designed for. Most have step through frame design (low top tube) for ease of getting on and off.
COMMUTER – Can be ‘fixed wheel’ or ‘single speed’
Designed for speed around town. What you want them to have is skinny tyres, large wheel diameter and good brake systems. Usually have a frame with a high top tube. Lightweight so easy to lift and move about. Wheel size tend towards larger e.g. 29inch. If you will be locking this bike regularly in city locations think through security issues and consider panniers on a rear carrier to keep things off your back.
‘Fixed Wheel’ means that the drive chain does not stop so you can not rest or glide along without pedaling this means speed…and these bikes often come without brakes as well. These bikes also known as “fixes” are for experienced riders who claim they are the ultimate in a riding experience.
‘Single Speed’ means the bike has one gear meaning that once you get going you need to maintain that speed regardless of the changes in terrain. Challenging at times for the strength in your legs but you can coast without pedaling. These simply designed bikes have no gearing system so are lightweight and easier to maintain than conventional bikes.
ELECTRIC – pedal assistance
This is not cheating but removing barriers to riding. Whether thats faster or longer commutes, assistance up a hill, ability to arrive somewhere without being all sweaty, getting you further along a track or keeping up with fit friends. If this will get you out into the fresh air on a bike, do it. Heavier due to battery and be aware of how long the charge lasts for.
Batteries for electric bikes are now available across a range of bike types so investigate what your bike shop has to offer and what they could get in for you.
Come in a good range of sizes to match your kids height. Watch out for the really heavy ones these are not much fun to ride. As they get bigger they will have lever brakes and gears, try to pay as much as you can afford at this stage as it makes a huge difference to their enjoyment. Grip shifting gears can be a real issue – most children don’t have the wrist strength to move standard ones so you will need top of the line. (These gears are changed by rotating the handlebar grip.)
Links: Kids Profile Stories
Mountain bikes are all about off road riding and making this easier by providing some comfort through suspension – movement in the back and/or front of the bike that makes going over bumps, tree roots, gravel, rocks more comfortable as the bike absorbs the hit rather than your body. Although not specifically designed for on road use you can ride them comfortably on the road you just won’t be as fast as someone with skinny smooth tyres as mountain bikes have fat, knobbly tyres for grip on the off-road tracks. These bikes come in a wide price range. Generally the more you pay the better the important systems on the bike will be – brakes, gearing, suspension. As these bikes have a lot of moving parts and are quite technical in design they are harder to maintain so expect to need to invest time in caring for your bike and developing a relationship with a bike mechanic.
- FRONT SUSPENSION OR HARD TAIL = versatile, good gear range, front suspension, body poistion is less upright therefore you need some low back flexibility, great for learning to mountain bike or exploring the less technical tracks. Once you are a capable mountain biker these bikes are also great to ride on technical tracks – less suspension will force you to pick good riding lines and maintain a soft knee riding position.
Front suspension is found in your forks at the front of your bike. They look something like this…
- FULL SUSPENSION = versatile in the off-road environment, great for technical mountain bike tracks, wide gear range, back and front suspension, braking system is usually disk (on the wheel hub not the rim) and can be cable or hydraulic.
Full suspension means movement in the front and back of your bike. The back or rear part of this suspension is found in the back of your frame triangle. It will look something like this…
As the name suggests designed to be ridden on the road – lightweight, fast moving, skinny tyres and a bent forward body position (you need good flexibility to ride a road bike comfortably). This bike will not enjoy any off road environment or rough treatment in town e.g. riding up curbs. Easily recognisable for the drop bar handlebars which give you 3 different hand grip options. This is another bike that comes in a wide price range. An entry level bike will be reasonably priced and as you become more experienced or perhaps decide to enter races you may decide to upgrade components or your whole bike. Triathlon and racing bikes come under this “type” of bike but again there is a huge difference between an entry level bike and top of the range. Most of this difference is in weight, aerodynamic features, the tri bars and placement of levers so you can maintain your race position.
TOURING or Adventure
To be used cycle touring so has a strong frame for supporting extra weight. A frame that is designed for attaching carriers and water bottles. Expect good gear range to manage hill climbing with weight and good brakes to manage speed with extra weight. Seat, handlebars and tyre width/tread can all be manipulated depending on where you are touring – on or off road.
Links: Touring stories
TRAIL/COMFORT also called hybrid or pathway bikes
Versatile in both on and off road environments including grade 1 & 2 mountain bike tracks. Designed with comfort in mind. Mid range width of tyres, slighty knobbly, slightly lowered top tube on the women’s frame, large comfort seats, simple front suspension, good gear range and good brakes.
Links: Sandra – see where she rides her Avanti Trail bike Thanks for reading. Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider. goRide is a shared journey, so we would like you to assist in guiding it along the way. Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback are welcome. Thank you for being a part of the goRide way
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
goRide is a shared journey, so we would like you to assist in guiding it along the way. Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback are welcome. Thank you for being a part of the goRide way