Last year, after renting a bike on vacation, I decided that it was time to upgrade my department store bicycle. I found that there were quite a few options, and I had no idea what I wanted. I found that the first step in buying a new bike is deciding where you will ride and what type of bike you might need for that type of riding.
Here is a shortcut guide to a few basic styles of bicycle.
A road bike: A road bike is a great choice for riders interested in riding long distances on pavement. They have drop-bar handlebars that curve downward. The handlebar design offers riders the opportunity to change handlebar positions, making for a more comfortable ride over long distances. The dropped handlebars allow the rider to ride in a more aerodynamic position. The thin, smooth tires allow for a faster ride. Road bikes can be set with the handlebars in a very aggressive and fast position, or they can be set a little higher in an endurance position.
A mountain bike: A mountain bike is equipped with a suspension system and sturdy braking systems designed to handle dirt trails. It has knobby tires for better traction and a lower gear ratio to help with steep climbs. This is a great bike for riders who want to get out in the woods or for riders who are unconcerned about speed on the roads.
A hybrid or fitness bike: There are a wide variety of hybrid and fitness bikes on the market. These bikes are usually equipped with slimmer, faster rolling tires than a mountain bike. While slimmer than the tires on a mountain bike, hybrid tires are generally a little wider than the tires on a road bike. They often come equipped with racks, making them great bikes for commuting. The upright positioning of the bike can make it a better choice for riding in traffic. A hybrid is also a good choice for riding neighborhoods or the Swamp Rabbit trail. It is a good all around bike for handling sometimes-rough South Carolina roads.
A cruiser: A cruiser is a beautiful bike. It is usually the bike that you see with a basket on the front, wide tires and a wide seat. It is commonly called a beach bike, because it is best suited for a leisurely, flat ride. It is often are single speed, though multi-speed bikes are available. If you are looking for a comfortable bike to ride short distances, you might enjoy the comfort of a cruiser.
The e-bike: An e bike or electric bicycle is a unique option of riders who want to ride a bike, but need to build a greater fitness level before tackling upstate hills or for riders who want to ride with a more experienced rider. The electric bicycle is An e-bike has a motor in the front or rear wheel. It can be adjusted to give you as much or as little assistance as you need. The motor offers pedal assistance. A rider must still pedal in order for the engine to work. Electric bicycles are sold at the eBicycle store on Main Street in Greenville.
Regardless of the style bike you choose, a local bike shop can help you find the right size. A bike fitter will make adjustments for you to ensure that the ride is as comfortable as possible.