Finding the Right Bike - Pedal the Metal

Finding the Right Bike

When you were in elementary school you may have thought there was only one type of bike – the one you rode.  It was your mode of transportation until you got a driver’s license, right? As an adult, you now decide that having a bike would be a good thing and you notice there are many different styles of bikes to choose from depending on how and where you plan to ride. Which one is right for you? This brief introduction is meant to help you find the right bike if you are a beginner and help you with your buying decision.

Road Bikes 

As the name implies, this type of bike is built to be ridden on the pavement. They are of sleek design and easily identified by the dropped, curved handlebars and skinny tires. They are designed to take you as far and as fast as your legs can manage. 

Mountain bikes 

If you are wanting to hit the trails then this is the bike for you. They have a sturdy frame with wide, flat handlebars for better control. The tires are wider and have knobby tread for traction.

Commuter bikes 

While many styles of bike can become your commuter bike, you want to make sure it is comfortable for the commute.  You will want full-length mudguards, a rack for carrying your stuff, and lights so you can see and be seen.

Hybrid bikes 

A mixture of a road bike and a mountain bike.  They have large padded seats and upright handlebars.  Great for short-distance casual riding in town, commuting, or on bike paths. Tires are wider than a road bike but narrower than a mountain bike. 

Gravel bikes 

When you want to get further off-road than a mountain bike will take you, then this is the one to use.  They can easily go on those roads you probably would not take your car down like gravel trails and fire roads.

Cyclocross bikes 

These bikes are made for racing and have a higher clearance than road bikes for mixed surfaces.  If you intend to do some mud running or off-racing this is for you. If your commute has a lot of potholes, this might be an option for your commuter bike.


Electric bikes are great commuter, recreation, or general transportation bikes. They make hills less of an obstacle and distances more manageable. You can also carry heavy cargo so taking them to the store is no problem. Some models can also go on mountain trails.

Touring Bikes 

If you’re ready to hit the road on your bike then this is for you. They are made specifically for long-distance touring with wider tires than road bikes. They have heavy-duty steel frames to hold your packs and are equipped with lower gears to make it up those hills.

Fixed Gear (AKA fixie bikes) 

Just as the name implies this bike has only one gear and it is fixed to the rear wheel.  This means no gear shifting and no coasting. You must continue pedaling when you want the bike to move.

Folding bikes 

Great for those on the move.  Folding bikes are lightweight and come with small wheels or larger full-size wheels. Considering an RV lifestyle? This would be a great option.

Many of these styles have sub-categories so you can drill down to your specific needs based on lifestyle, price and level of adventure.