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What type of bike should I choose?

Updated on October 7, 2015
Family biking
Family biking

Pedaling around on a bike is an activity that has been around since the 19th century. Nothing was more practical than to be able to move around comfortably and leisurely on an object powered by your own legs. It's the human motor that makes it elegant. It was also a relatively inexpensive and a practical form of entertainment and recreation. Back in the 19th century there was just one type of bike and was never meant to be ridden outside of pavement roads. Since then the bike has greatly changed over the years and so has the activity. There are many different kinds of bikes, such as the mountain, road, downhill, and the freeride bike.

Fold bike
Fold bike

For Mountain biking:

  • the mountain bike is known as the workhorse in mountain biking
  • can handle any kind of road condition
  • has a sturdy, heavier frame
  • has wide wheels for more grip, and traction on the road
  • has lower gears

For Road biking

  • the road bike is good for fitness riding, commuting and long distance event rides when it comes to road biking
  • can be used on pavement
  • has a lighter frame
  • is a modern version of the conventional bike
  • has drop bar and flat bar handle bars
  • is good for beginners as well as experienced riders

Downhill bike

  • the downhill bike is used for high speed descent
  • used on unpaved roads
  • must wear full head and body protective gear
  • has sturdy, heavier and durable frame
  • has good braking system
  • has full suspension

Big names

One of the biggest names and contributors to extreme mountain biking - Downhilling has to be the Athertons, two brothers Gee and Dan and one sister Rachel Atherton who won many big race contests around the world. They surely are unique biking family.

Red Bulls Atherton project
Red Bulls Atherton project

Freeride bike

  • the freeride bike is an all-purpose bike and can do it all, such as climbing, jumping, descending, and airborne tricks
  • is versatile, lightweight, and nimble
  • has shorter wheel base
  • the free ride bike basic model can be customized to fit the rider. Ideal customizations are gear and suspension systems
  • can make quick adjustments to rear and front suspension

Buying hard tail bike

Now you know some basic riding styles, now let's look at some of the differences when purchasing a hard tail bike at your local dealer.

Building a hard-riding bike on a budget is real challenge. To deliver the good, you need good parts and good part don't come cheap. Designers and product managers have to compromise somewhere, and it's where those compromises are made that counts. There's a lot to like about the Commencal Ramones, but the clunky, bouncy fork lets it down. In fairness, it's one of the cheapest bikes, but the fork on the only slightly more expensive Kona Shred is much better. With a fork upgrade (and an ISCG mount) the Commencal would definitely be a much more compelling purchase.

The Kona shred fares better and has a splendid hooligan feel about it, but we can't help thinking that it could be a couple of pounds lighter without losing much of that. If you don't mind the weight it's well worth considering though.

Which you choose will depend a little on your take on what a hardcore hardtail should be, but the fact that Ragley manages to be lighter than the notionally more trail oriented Saracen, while still delivering entertainingly gung-ho performance, means that the M74 bubbles to the top.

No roads? No problem!

There is literally no place in existence you cannot ride a bike - From open roads to the steepest, gnarliest terrain you can imagine. It's all about you enjoying some freedom.

Downhill Mountain Biking in the Wilds of Africa

What's your favorite riding style?

What's your favorite riding style?

See results

Tell us more about your bike

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    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 

      3 years ago from Cicero, New York

      Superior well written knowledgeable and informative, you covered everything that anyone needs to know, excellent so nice meeting you. I know you will be offer great hubs, love your way of writing and look forward to reading all of them. Linda


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