Types of Bikes: A Breakdown

Author: Cycling Deal Date Posted:30 May 2016

Man on mountain bike jumps over precipice

There are several styles of bikes that are designed for different purposes. Riding a bike made for uneven surfaces is not the same experience as riding down the bike paths in Melbourne. Here is a breakdown of the major styles of bicycles and how they vary.


Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes are probably the most versatile category, as they are commonly used on and off road. They have a sturdier build than road bikes and can go over small potholes or grates more easily as the tyres are fairly wide and have a bit more traction.


Road Bikes

Road bikes are perfect for smooth city bike paths and streets. They have narrower tyres and are the fastest type of bike on long stretches of smooth concrete. The handlebar is a drop bar rather than a flat bar. Your typical road bike, or “cruiser”, is generally fine on any city surface, though you’ll feel the impact of bumps in the road more.

There are a couple of variants to the general road bike, including fixed gear or “fixie” bikes. Fixies are single speed bikes without brakes or gears, and are most popular among urban riders. By losing the brakes and gears, fixies are ultra light and easy to maintain – but can be dangerous as the only thing that can stop you is your foot on the ground. Hybrid bikes are a popular commuter bike as it blends aspects of mountain bikes and road bikes – often with a flat bar top and using braking and wheel elements from both. You miss out on some speed on a hybrid than a standard cruiser, but you gain some safety and stability features.


BMX Bikes

Bicycle motocross was invented in the USA in the 1960s as an alternative to motorcycle motocross, and BMX bikes are still popular today – especially among kids. There are three types of BMX bikes: The traditional BMX has a lightweight frame and sturdy rear brakes, and is used both as a dirt bike racer and for getting around town. The Freestyle BMX bike is specifically designed for stunts and tricks, and is most often found in skate parks. It has a heavier, sturdy frame and thicker wheels. The Jump or “Dirt Jumper” bike is a mix between the two – with a sturdy frame and tyres with plenty of tread. It’s the kind of BMX used to jump off ramps.


Triathlon and Time Trial Bikes

Racing athletes will often use bicycles with aerodynamic features, including Triathlon and Time Trial bikes. While road bikes are the most common speed bicycle, a triathlon bicycle has a steeper seat tube angle at 78 degrees. This angles the rider’s body forward, which is helpful for using your most powerful leg muscles. While this has speed gains in flatter areas, going uphill on a triathlon bike can be less comfortable than on a road bike.


Getting the right kind of bike can mean all the difference in how comfortable your ride is. Whether you are interested in commuter bikes or leisure bikes, racing bikes or stunt bikes, find the model that’s the best fit for you.  

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