BICYCLE CATEGORIES - WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
There are a variety of bicycles in the market right now. Manufacturers and brands have put a lot of research work into designing bicycles for all types of purposes to meet the growing customer demands. However, when it comes to day-to-day riding, there are a few bicycle categories that most bikes fall under.
Here is a rundown of bike categories to help narrow down to your ultimate bike of choice.
1. HYBRID / FITNESS BIKES
This bike falls in between a road bike and a mountain bike. The hybrid bikes have frames designed to have a more upright positioning for comfort. This is the right bike for you if you are motivated by outdoor recreation, leisure riding, fitness, or family riding. The bike is great for street riding but also handles unpaved terrain well. It suits commuting and is fantastic for urban delivery jobs.
Hybrid bikes usually come with wider diameter wheels which are fast-rolling and wider tires for off-road traction. The frames for these bikes are also designed with mounts for mudguards, carriers, and pannier bags.
2. ROAD BIKES
These bikes are built for speed and are best for racing, fitness, long-distance commuting, and touring. Unlike hybrid bikes that come with flat bars and upright positioning, road bikes have drop-bar handles and slacker head angles. This positions the rider in an aerodynamic state for speed optimization.
Road bike frames are much stiff and lightweight to assist in maximizing pedal stroke efficiency and energy transfer.
Road bikes are meant to be ridden on smooth roads; they come with thin wheels which are aero in design.
3. MOUNTAIN BIKES
When smooth roads come to a halt, mountain biking begins. Perhaps this is the most common bicycle category because of its versatility. These bikes are built with shock-absorbing features and sturdy frames for durability. This should be your pick when thinking of adventures and visiting trails like Karura and Ngong Road Forest.
Mountain bikes typically come in two categories.
- The hardtail mountain bikes; these bikes are built with front suspensions and are designed more for cross-country riding.
- The Full or Double Suspension bikes - As the name suggests, they have two suspension systems, at the back and the front. This bike will be more comfortable and will perform better on rugged terrain than the hardtail.
Beginner mountain bikes are characterized by entry-level components such as rim brakes while high-end bikes comprise of components with advanced technology and durability such as air suspensions and hydraulic brakes.
Mountain bikes are also equipped with robust tires suitable for tackling rocks, roots, and bumps. The bikes are majorly manufactured in 3 wheel sizes; 26, 27.5, and 29-inch diameters. Their handlebars are wider for increased control and easy maneuverability.
Mountain bikes have further subcategories for example downhill mountain bikes and enduro mountain bikes.
4. GRAVEL BIKES
Just like hybrid bikes, gravel bikes are designed for mixed terrain. The most differentiating factor is that gravel bikes are designed for adventure riding.
Think of them as road bikes for off-road riding. They are lightweight, have broader tires, and have a wide gear range for tackling steep gradients.
Their frames are also designed with mounts for luggage carriers ideal for long adventure tours. If you fancy wanderlust on a bicycle, then this is the right bike for you.
E-bikes are the fastest-growing bicycle category. These bikes have rechargeable batteries and pedal-assist motors. There is an e-bike version for each bicycle category mentioned earlier; kids e-bikes, e-roads, e-mtbs, and electric hybrid bikes. Most e-bikes in the market have an average of 60 to 100km on a single charge.
With mobility becoming a challenge in most cities, a lot of people are looking for cheaper, faster, and more sustainable means of transportation. E-bikes are an answer to this challenge.
E-bikes allow those who aren't physically fit to easily onboard into the sport. This also includes the elderly and those who are recovering from injuries and need some form of exercise.
Click Here for a YouTube video we made on bicycle categories