Q: I want to get a new bike, but I have no idea what kind of bike to get. How do I figure out what the appropriate bike is for me?
A: The first and most important question I always ask customers is WHERE they will be riding this bike the most. There are lots of different styles of bikes and they all shine on different terrain. To get you started in the right direction, here is a list of a few bike types and what they are best suited for:
Mountain Bike - A mountain bike will generally have a bigger, knobbier tire and some aspect of suspension(ie: front shock or both front and rear shock). These bikes are designed to be in the woods on dirt or rocky terrain. They are very durable and can handle much more abuse than most other styles. Mountain bikes come equipped with a low gear ratio that allows you to venture up and through the most technical situations with ease.
Road Bike - If you're looking to reach top speeds, this is the bike for you. Road bikes are built with one thing in mind; getting you to your destination as quickly as possible. Though not the most durable, or easiest to maneuver in tight situations, these bikes allow you to go as fast as you can (comfortably) for as long as you want. A road bike will often start with a price tag around $800 and the more you pay, the faster they get. If 50-100 mile jaunts through the country-side sound like your thing, this is the bike for you.
Hybrid Bike - A hybrid bike is a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. This style is a favorite among city-dwellers as the tires tend to be smooth like a road bike for speed on the pavement, but a little thicker for varying terrain. Hybrids have the quick reflexes of a mountain bike with the speed of a road bike.
Touring Bike- Thinking about packing up and heading cross-country? Trading the car in for a bike? While a touring bike has a very similar look to a traditional road bike, it packs a little bit more of a punch. This style of bike is designed for the person who wants to go on long distance trips with a good amount of cargo. With places to screw in options or "braze-ons" all over the frame of the bike, a touring bike can take racks on both the front and back of the bike for cargo, as well as fenders to keep you clean and dry on long excursions. The frame and components are reinforced and the tire will often be slightly wider than that of the road bike as to offer a bit of shock absorption on the varying terrain you might come across. Think "road-bike on steroids".
Folding Bike - Though slightly more obscure, these bikes have proven to be extremely handy in urban environments. Though it feels like a full-sized bike, a folding bike is a slimmed down, smaller version of a traditional hybrid. With the flick of a few latches it can fold up into itself entirely for easy carrying and storage. The biggest advantage to a folding bike is once the weather gets rough, or your simply done riding, you can pack take it virtually anywhere with ease.
Comfort/Cruiser - While most bikes are designed to get you to your destination quickly and efficiently, the comfort cruiser has a different goal in mind. Keeping you smiling. A comfort bike is designed with your aches and pains in mind and just wants you to be happy riding a bicycle. While its not the fastest style on the market, these bikes are easy to get on and off of, they often come with a beautiful paintjob and are designed to keep you comfortable and calm all day long.