Have you ever wondered how many types of bikes there are in the biking universe? There are many types of bicycles, you say, but how many different types of bikes does the cycling market offer? There are at least 22 different types of bicycles on the planet. Also read: Different types of cycle sports.
While you can’t possibly experience all of these bicycles, knowing what each kind is like certainly won’t hurt. Knowing what kind of bike you’re looking at and what specific purpose it’s best suited for is definitely useful.
So, buckle up and let’s learn the various kinds of bicycles the biking market provides today. I’ll also state what each bike described here does best. Whether you’re into commuting, exercise, time trial, road biking or you’re just looking for the best 4-year-old-boy’s bike for your son, this guide got you covered.
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22 Different Types of Bikes You Should Know
- Road bikes
- Adult tricycles
- Tandem bikes
- Recumbent bikes
- Folding bikes
- BMX bikes
- City bikes
- Flat-foot comfort bikes
- Cruiser bikes
- Hybrid bikes
- Dual-sport bikes
- Mountain bikes
- Fitness bikes
- Track/Fixed-gear bikes (fixies)
- Time Trial bikes
- Triathlon bikes
- Adventure road bikes
- Touring bikes
- Cyclocross bikes
- Fat bikes
- Kids’ bikes
- Electric bikes
There you go, a nice little list of 22 different kinds of bikes you can own if you want. Now, let’s now look at each bike type so you can decide which one suits your needs best.
1. Road Bikes (Race Bikes)
What’s a road bike? A road bike is a super light bike with smooth skinny tires used for traveling fast on paved roads. These types of bicycles aren’t good for carrying heavy loads. And that means road bikes aren’t an ideal choice for adventurous tours or commuting.
Another feature that distinguishes road bikes from other kinds of bicycles is their drop handlebars. But there’s one more feature that differentiates modern road racing bikes from other bikes — brakes. Check out these road bikes on Amazon.
These days, nearly all road bikes have disc brakes. Generally, disc brakes offer more reliability than other bike brake designs. Additionally, disc bike brakes tend to be safer and help increase tire clearance on most road bike models.
What are road bikes good for? Road bikes are built for speed. That’s why these bikes dominate road racing events.
Like tour bikes, road bikes have thin tires as part of the bike’s overall aerodynamic design. And that reduces wind resistance.
When rolling on asphalt, the skinny tires found on road bikes and tour bikes flatten out less than fatter tires. Since thinner tires flatten out on the bottom less than other tires, not much of these wheels touch the road.
Naturally, less contact with the road’s surface means less friction. Less contact with the blacktop in turn means more speed. View an image of a typical road bike below.
2. Adult Tricycles (Also Adult Trikes)
As the name suggests, a tricycle features three wheels rather than two wheels like conventional bikes. This kind of bicycle may feature one wheel at the front and two wheels at the back.
Having three wheels makes the bike bulkier than other bike types. But there’s one huge plus — better balance and stability. When cycling at a high speed or when cornering, though, a trike can easily topple over.
However, some trikes have one wheel at the back and two wheels at the front, and the front wheels steer. A trike with two wheels at the front is also called a tadpole trike. One reason to choose a tadpole trike over one with two wheels at the back is that it resists cornering forces slightly better.
A tricycle is one of the best gifts you can buy someone if they have any kind of special needs or balance issues. And if you have a young kid who’d love to learn to ride a bike but is terrified of falling, give them a tricycle.
Look at the image below to see what a tricycle looks like. Pretty hard to confuse a trike with any other bike out there, huh?
Alternatively, give your child a balance bike. But teaching your baby how to ride a bike using a tricycle or balance bike can be excruciatingly slow.
The Schwinn Roadster Tricycle is a good choice for toddlers and kids. It’s affordable, too, and it’s got tons of rave reviews on Amazon and other online locations.
3. Tandem Bikes
Tandem bikes look different than any other bike type you’ve seen out there. A tandem bike got that name from the idea that it’s a bike for two or more riders who cooperate to ride it.
The most common tandem bike features two sets of pedals, seats, and handlebars. But I’ve also seen a tandem bike that accommodates four riders.
To have a smooth ride, you and the person you’re riding with must pedal in a synchronized way. You and the person facing your back need to rotate the pedals simultaneously.
A tandem bike is longer and heavier than other bikes, and it’s not as nimble. This kind of bike is a great option for when you want to have fun outdoors with a loved one or a friend.
You can also use a tandem bike for that long country ride you and your SO have been wanting for years. But a tandem bike may not be a good idea if you and your spouse have a competitive relationship. That’s because the bike requires tons of cooperation to ride.
What if you have a little social project you’re trying to raise awareness for? Buy a few tandem bikes and have people ride them together. You’ll certainly get the attention you need and then some…and maybe some funding?
The 26″ Kulana Lua Tandem Beach Cruiser Bike is a good cheap tandem bike; check it out on Amazon. It’s a cruiser tandem bike. But you can also choose an off-road mountain bike tandem, a hybrid tandem, or a road racing tandem.
Tandem bike racing is a thing. There’s even tandem downhill these days.
4. Recumbent Bikes
What’s the point of a recumbent bike? A recumbent bike lets you improve your health while seated comfortably on a two-wheeler or three-wheeler. This kind of bike is great for people who experience lower back pain.
The bike features a long, low design, and there’s a full-size seat with a backrest. The center of gravity of a recumbent bike is lower than that of most other bike types. That means this kind of bike is safer than most since you ride pretty near to the ground.
Many people choose this bike type for its ergonomic benefits. With a recumbent bike, your body weight distributes over a wider area,mainly your bum and back. And a greater weight distribution area translates into increased comfort.
Most of the pressure from your body transfers to the bike rather than to your knees and joints. Perhaps that’s why physicians sometimes recommend recumbent biking to folks with bone and joint-related conditions.
Take a look at a recumbent bike. Recumbent tricycles are also pretty common these days.
People that choose a recumbent bike are OK with coasting around their neighborhood in a laid-back reclined position. For recumbent riders, there’s no better or more comfortable option than a recumbent bike.
Some recumbent bikes have small wheels, others large wheels, and others have mixed wheel sizes. Others have the drivetrain on the front wheel while others have the drivetrain on the back wheel. Other features that differentiate one recumbent bike style from another include steering systems and the wheelbase.
But there are at least two downsides of riding recumbent. First, it’s pretty challenging to pedal a recumbent bike up hills. Second, this bike type is pretty long and bulky. That means a recumbent bike isn’t the most portable bike ever made.
Have you been meaning to own a stationary recumbent exercise bike? Check out the Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike ME-709 on Amazon.
I own this stationary exercise machine, and it’s one of the most comfortable stationary exercise bikes on the market. It’s pretty affordable, too. And there’s a lot to be said about an exercise bike with 4.5/5 rating out of 15,000 customer ratings as of this writing.
5. Folding Bikes (Best Option for Limited Spaces)
A folding bike is simply a foldable bike. This kind of bike is the best traveling companion ever designed. Whether you’re traveling by car, boat, or plane, you’ll always appreciate this bike’s space-saving design.
Maybe you live in a small apartment. Or perhaps you favor a more minimalist lifestyle and own a tiny home. In those circumstances, choosing a folding bike is a really good idea.
Another situation where a folding bike would be a great choice would be commuting. If you have to bike some of the time during your commute, you likely need a highly portable bike. Get a bike you can quickly fold and get on the bus or train. And that’s where a good folding bike comes in.
Here’s one more situation where a folding bike would make lots of sense — bike theft. Well, there are lots of bike thieves out there. And your work may not offer the safest parking lot on the planet. If that’s the case for you, get a foldable bike and keep it in your office the entire time.
Folding Bike vs. Traditional Bikes
Is there any disadvantage to selecting a folding bike instead of a standard bicycle? Yes, there’s one little disadvantage. The typical folding bike features smaller wheels than regular bikes.
Now, having smaller wheels isn’t such a bad thing, but it reduces this bike’s efficiency and ride-ability. On the whole, though, the advantages of choosing a folding bike far outstrip any downsides.
If you’re looking for folding bike recommendations, the 20” Euro-mini Zizzo Folding Bike with a 7-speed derailleur deserves a look. This bike is pretty easy to assemble and folds really well. And if it ever rains when you’re out riding, fold the bike and toss it in the back of the Uber.
But for some reason, Euro-mini Zizzo says not ponying up for professional bike assembly voids the warranty. Why require pro assembly when assembling this thing is extremely easy? That sucks.
6. BMX Bikes
A BMX bike isn’t like a regular bike. Like a road bike, a BMX bike is designed to travel really fast. But how is a BMX bike different than other bikes?
BMX Bikes vs. Regular Bikes
Since a BMX bike also does stunt cycling, its frame needs to be super light. That’s why its frame is more than 50 percent shorter than a standard road bike frame. While a road bike’s top tube measures roughly 45 inches, that of a BMX bike measures no more than 20 inches.
If place a road bike and a BMX bike side by side, you’ll quickly notice how remarkably shorter the frame of a BMX bike is. Having a short frame enables stunt cyclists to swing their bike 360 degrees mid-air and make big landings without breaking the bike. The bike’s extremely lightweight chrome/steel alloy packs tons of strength and durability.
Different Brakes and Fewer Components
Instead of the standard brakes used in regular bikes, a BMX bicycle features U brakes. When swinging your BMX bike 360 degrees mid-air, you want brakes that won’t get entangled in the handlebars. Standard bike brakes would get entangled when doing a 360 on a BMX. And you would take a bad fall.
Another difference between BMX bikes and regular bikes is that they have fewer components. For instance, BMX bikes are a single-speed affair and have no freewheel assembly. And that’s another reason BMX bikes are pretty light.
Strongly Built, Grippy Wheels
Finally, BMX bikes have strongly built wheels that are also considerably grippy. However, flatland and street BMX bikes’ wheels don’t have too much traction. As for off-road track BMX bikes, these ones have deep tread that makes for amazing dirt-gripping capabilities.
If you’re wondering what the most popular BMX bike today is, consider the Mongoose Legion Freestyle BMX for kids and adults . This freestyle BMX is for kids and adults of all riding abilities, for beginners and pros as well.
The Mongoose Legion Freestyle BMX bike is a sturdy bike with pretty decent welding. And it comes in at an attractive price point. But the best part is that the frame, fork, crank, and handlebars are all made of lightweight Chromoly.
With this deal, you’re getting tons of bike for the money. And it’s likely that the bike will last you years. Now, grab this freestyle BMX bike and start landing jumps at your local park.
7. City Bikes (Urban or Commuter Bikes)
A city bike is a crossbreed between a hybrid bike and a cruiser bike. That means this bike features characteristics of these two bike types. Like a cruiser bike, it has you riding in an upright position. As for the wheels, they’re the same size as a hybrid bike.
Well, you certainly can use a mountain bike or road bike to ride through a city. So, what makes a city bike different than other bikes?
City Bikes vs. Other Bikes
One of the differences between an urban/city bike and other bikes is that it looks pretty attractive. Also, you can ride it in your everyday clothes. You don’t need to put on cycling-specific clothing before hopping on a city bike. Wear a pair of jeans or skirts or anything else you like and ride off to town.
Three features make a city bike really stand out from most. These features include the fenders, chainguard, and skirt guard on the rear wheel.
An urban bicycle may have all three or some of these features. These features make it safe to ride without worrying your pants or skirts might catch on moving parts.
Some city bikes may also have a built-in generator for lighting up the path in front for safe night riding. Other city bikes may feature a geared rear hub while others may be single-speed bikes.
Many people in European cities that encourage biking use this kind of bike. Amsterdam in the Netherlands is such one city. That’s why this bike is also called a Dutch bike. And did you know there are more bikes than humans in the Netherlands? The Netherlands worries more about the growing bike population than the human population.
The 7-speed Sixthreezero Ride in the Park Men’s City Road Bike is an option you’ll want to check out. It looks nice, and it’s surprisingly light.
This bike features caliper-type brakes, and they work well. The fender over the chain may be noisy when you’re pedaling, though, but you can always adjust it.
One little issue is that the instructions that come with the package aren’t for this specific bike! But it’s not too hard to assemble.
8. Flat-foot Comfort Bikes (Designed for Comfort)
A flat-foot bike is a type of cruiser bike. What makes a flat-foot bike different is its so-called flat-foot design.
This design features an elongated frame that positions the pedals a couple of inches in front of the seat. The design lets you lower the seat enough so you can put your foot flat on the ground during stops. But that doesn’t mean your feet won’t extend fully when you’re pedaling. And that means the bike is pretty comfortable.
However, you may notice the seat tilting too far forward when you’re pedaling. When that happens, you have to slide your bum back to the seat’s backend. Honestly, that’s not very enjoyable, but it doesn’t make the bike significantly less comfortable. You still get nice, smooth rides.
The Sixthreezero Body Ease Women’s Comfort Bike is a great choice for women. It’s a 7-speed cruiser with 26″ wheels that tackles small hills pretty well. The bike is sturdy and well-made, too.
And if you ever want to add fenders, the front suspension fork is wide enough for that. The manufacturer provides fenders, but you’ll have to buy them separately.
9. Cruiser Bikes (Great for Casual Riding)
Like hybrid bikes, cruiser bikes are great for casual or recreational riding. These bikes come with a comfortable seat and have you riding in a comfortable upright position.
The handlebars are upright for the most part, too. However, some cruisers may have sweeping handlebars, and this helps keep your shoulders and back a little relaxed during rides.
This bike type typically features balloon tires. Balloon bike tires are large, low-pressure tires that provide smooth, cushy rides on both smooth and uneven surfaces.
Even though cruisers have a modern look, they feature a somewhat dated brake type, the coaster brake. With a coaster brake, you have to pedal backwards to come to a stop.
A cruiser bike works best on fairly flat riding surfaces. It’s a nice-looking bike, one that provides low-impact rides so you can run errands and do short commutes in comfort. As for speed options, cruiser bikes mostly offer single-speed and 3-speed options.
The Sixthreezero Around the Block 21-speed Women’s Beach Cruiser Bike is an option deserving of a closer look. Assembling this attractive girl can be quite a hassle, and the instructions manual doesn’t seem very useful. But Youtube helps. Overall, it’s a sturdy high-quality cruiser bike.
10. Hybrid Bikes
Hybrid bikes look pretty much like cruiser bikes design-wise. Bike manufacturers decided to bring together the road biking and mountain biking experiences into a single bundle of fun. And that’s how the hybrid bike emerged.
But was the resulting bike better than its parents? Unlike mountain bikes, hybrid bikes are OK-ish rather than good for off-road biking. And unlike road bikes, hybrid bikes aren’t super lightweight or efficient. That doesn’t mean they’re not good bikes, just a little different.
The bike’s medium-width tires feature a reasonably smooth tread. These tires provide fairly smooth rides on paved roads. And on unpaved trails, you get fairly cushioned rides with relatively good grip on the dirt.
Initially, hybrid bikes were known as cross bikes. But since people sometimes confused these bikes with cyclocross bikes, the name died a natural one.
Like cruisers, hybrid bikes have large, comfy seats and mostly swept-back upright handlebars. Plus these bikes offer an upright riding position.
I recommend the 28″ Swinn Discover Unisex Hybrid Bike. This bike has drawn tons of positive reviews from satisfied customers on Amazon and elsewhere.
My husband owns this bike. And even though the bike didn’t ride smoothly without a ton of tweaks initially, Jason has zero regrets.
He spent hours tweaking and adjusting things to make the bike work as intended. The brakes, handlebars, derailleur, and saddle height all required a bit of attention.
If you’re not the handy type, you’ll want to have your local bike shop assemble the bike and fine-tune everything.
11. Dual-Sport Bikes (Highly Versatile)
A dual-sport bike combines speed, comfort, and mountain biking capabilities in one shiny package. Dual-sport bikes are pretty much hybrid bikes, but they feature a more aggressive style.
The handlebars are typically flat or upright. But they’re not upright in the way regular hybrid bike handlebars are.
Compared to a hybrid bike, the seat of a dual-sport bike is smaller. That’s because dual-sport bikes focus more on performance and less on comfort.
A hybrid bike rolls smoothly and super fast on paved roads and transitions smoothly to the roughest trails. Dual sport bikes are road beasts while at the same nimble and capably confident when things get tough.
If you want a bike that rolls from the road to the trail without breaking a sweat, choose a dual sport. Get a bike that goes wherever you want to ride, not where some manufacturer decides you should ride.
The 28-inch Schwinn GTX Comfort Adult Dual Sport Bike is a worthy buy. But even though basic tool skills should suffice as far as assembling this bike, things can get a tad tricky.
A handy guy my husband is friends with recently bought this bicycle. And they had a fully functioning bike in roughly 45 minutes. But unless you’re good with your hands and tools, I suggest you pay a bike shop to handle the assembly.
12. Mountain Bikes (Built for Steep Trails)
When it comes to navigating rough off-road trails, nothing touches a high-quality mountain bike. Mountain bikes usually have flat or upright handlebars. And that means mountain bikes are normally designed for an upright riding position.
If you’ve ever wondered how mountain bikes climb steep trails that easily, wonder no more. Instead, thank their extremely low gear range. Additionally, MTB’s have fat, knobby tires that make for tons of safety-boosting traction on rough, dirt-packed terrains.
Some mountain bikes are rigid. That means they have no suspension at all. Others have front suspension while others feature both front and back suspensions.
Mountain bikes with front suspension only are referred to as hardtails. And options with both front and rear suspension are called duallies, or full-suspension mountain bikes.
Wondering what’s the best mountain bike on the market today? It’s hard to answer that kind of a question. But you likely won’t go wrong with the Schwinn High Timber Youth and Adult Mountain Bike.
This 29″ 21-speed mountain bike features a sturdy lightweight frame. It’s a frame designed to take the rigors of rough trail biking graciously.
Assembling this mountain bike is incredibly easy. With an adjustable wrench, a screwdriver, and a bike pump, setting this bike up shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.
Simply attach the handlebars, seat, pedals, and finally add the quick-release front tire. Make sure to loosen the front brake when attaching the front tire or you’ll face problems.
13. Fat Bikes (Mountain Bikes with Super Fat Tires)
Fat bikes are a type of mountain bike with extremely fat tires. Fatbikes go where mountain bikes and most other bike types can’t or have trouble riding.
Have you ever tried riding a bike on wet sand? And how does your regular mountain bike behave when it gets all snowy and wet outdoors? This is what you get: frustration. Bike paralysis. Pain.
Fat folks may struggle a little doing certain tasks, but that doesn’t happen with fat bikes. In fact, fat bikes are super active and capable. I can’t figure out for the life of me why the name-giver tried to fat-shame this bike. Bikes can’t be fat; they can only be outstanding performers.
If you’re looking for a bike that floats on soft surfaces such as the beachside, go for a fat bike. And when the ride gets too tough for your mtb on a nasty, snowy day, turn to your fat-tire mountain bike.
There’s tons of good fatbikes on Amazon and elsewhere online. But if you’d like to take a look at a good fat bike right now, view the Krushner Men’s Dynacraft Fat Tire Bike at Amazon.
This 26-inch mtb has super-fat knobby tires that run really well on low pressure. Pedaling this bike on wet sand or snow feels like…..conquest. But while this Krushner bike handles snow and wet sand well, it’s not great for steep trails. It’s a one-speed mountain bike, after all.
If you seek out a fat bike that conquers off-road trails, consider picking up the 26″ Mongoose Dolomite Men’s Fat Tire Mountain Bike. This off-road bike offers multiple gears, and its super-wide, low-pressure tires dominate snow, wet sand, and dirt trails.
If you’re a bike-savvy rider, assembling shouldn’t give you a migraine. But I bet you’ll want to swap out the front-wheel and rear-wheel sprockets as well as the crank down the road. I found that these components don’t hold up well under abuse.
Here’s one more thing. You’ll need to adjust the brake calipers a bit for smoother, better-controlled rides.
14. Cyclocross Bikes/CX Bikes/Cross Bikes (for Cross Racing and More)
A cyclocross bike is first and foremost a cross-racing bicycle. However, it’s a pretty versatile bike that exceeds expectations on the road and far out in the sticks.
This on-road/off-road monster re-organizes the strengths of a mountain bike, hybrid bike, and road bike into an all-terrain bike that knows no limits.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. If choice-related confusion engulfs your decision-making abilities at this time, buy a cyclocross bike. Stop debating whether to buy a mtb, a hybrid, or a road bike. Just order a CX bike that you can afford and you’re good.
Why? It’s because a cyclocross bike lets you experiment with various biking styles until you find one you’ll click with. It’s because doing long on-road explorations and crazy off-road adventures becomes incredibly easy with a CX. Plus this is the only bike that handles on-road biking like a pro and still rules way-out-in-the-sticks riding.
CX Bikes Are Insanely Capable On-road and Off-road
If you watch cycling sports all the time as I do, you likely have seen crazy, mud-covered guys riding to God knows where. Look carefully at the bike they’re riding, and odds are it’s a cyclocross. That’s because a cyclocross bike features V-brakes, a braking system that provides great mud clearance.
Some CX bikes also include an extra mini-braking system on the handlebars. These extra mini-brake levers provide safe panic braking capabilities when things get a tad tricky outdoors.
Most modern CX bikes feature disc brakes with a mechanical cable. And mechanical brakes work fine. But the best (and significantly more expensive) cyclocross bikes offer hydraulic braking systems. Hydraulic brakes have co consistently proved to be remarkably better than mechanical systems during ride tests.
As for the tires, these bikes have mostly tubeless tires these days. That’s because tubeless tires roll faster, plus they’re more puncture-resistant. Additionally, this bike type uses fatter tires than a road bike. And the tires have good tread for off-road biking.
A Cyclocross Bike vs. a Road Bike
Frame-wise, a CX bike is lighter and more durable than that of the traditional road bike. This lighter, longer-lasting frame also offers greater clearance that allows running bigger tires for even better performance. But like a regular road bike, a cyclocross bicycle provides drop handlebars.
What’s the best cyclocross bike on the market? The Crux Sport E5 CX Bike is a good beginner cyclocross bike. But if you crave a high-performance bike for less, the Giant TCX Advantage Pro 2 fits the bill. Visit the manufacturer’s site to see what else you might like aside from these two bikes.
15. Touring Bikes (Offers Strength and High Load Capacity)
Just like an adventure bike, a touring bike is a kind of road bike. This is the type of road bike to choose for riding a several days at a time. Where a tour bike beats an adventure bike is comfort levels and distance covered.
The frame geometry of a tour bike allows for a more upright posture, and a more relaxed riding position at that. But the handlebars aren’t upright, which isn’t a problem. Simply ease into a comfortable, relaxed riding position, and you’ll ride many miles each day of your long road trip.
And like a tough mountain bike, a touring bike features an extremely low gear range. That feature enables this bike to go up steep trails even when carrying heavy loads. That design advantage coupled with the bike’s durability makes touring bikes a great option for commuting.
Here’s a touring bike you may want to look at for a moment: the Giant Contend 3. This tour bike lets you run wider tires so you can enjoy a less bumpy ride. The D-Fuse design of the seatpost further boosts shock absorption.
What’s more, you can run up to 32c tubeless tires to combat flats. What if your geo has rough roads and gets wet weather a lot? Don’t worry. Instead, introduce a seamless disc-brake for better smoother braking and ride control.
16. Adventure Road Bikes/All-Road Bikes (Most Versatile Road Bike)
New bikes are always getting invented, and the adventure road bike is among the newest bike styles. Some riders call these bikes all-road bikes, others call them any-road bikes while other call them gravel bikes.
Those names suggest something. And it’s that adventure bikes demonstrate great versatility. You can ride your adventure bike on rough gravel surfaces, dirt roads, off-road trails, paved roads, and smooth sidewalks. Tell an all-road bike where you want to go, and the bike will get you there — without complaining.
Like regular road bikes, an adventure road bike has drop handlebars. And like cyclocross bikes, you can take off its existing thinner tires for wider ones with more traction for off-road cycling. But an adventure road bike features a longer frame compared to a cyclocross bike. Aside from that, this bike features a more upright frame geometry.
Because the frame is reasonably long and upright, the bike offers a considerable amount of comfort. With an adventure bike, it’ll be hours in the saddle before you experience saddle sores.
Taken together, all these design features make adventure bikes good for moderate touring and commuting. You’ll know your surroundings and the areas beyond better with this kind of a bicycle.
The Surley Midnigght Special from Centure Cycles is a worthwhile option. Well, the bike isn’t cheap. But when you wake up one bright morning and decide to ride your bike to wherever, you want it to be the Surley Midnight Special.
This adventure bike tolerates pot-holed roads admirably well. As for bad-and-getting-worse pavements, they don’t frighten this guy. And when the bike encounters a long stretch of gravel, its high-volume tires keep rolling. But you’ll have to adjust tire pressure accordingly, aligning it with the new riding surface.
17 .Track/Fixed-gear Bikes/Fixies (Mostly Ridden Indoors)
Typically ridden indoors on velodromes, track bikes have a nice and clean design that makes for pretty easy maintenance. That’s likely the reason some commuters favor track bikes or fixies over other types of commuter bikes. By the way, a velodrome is an enclosed place with banked oval tracks designed specifically for indoor bike racing.
The reason a track bike/fixie) is called a fixed-gear bike is that it features just one gear. And this gear prevents any kind of coasting on this bike. That is, to keep your track bike wheels spinning, you must keep pedalling.
When you stop pedalling, the bike slows down to a stop. For that reason, this fixed-gear mechanism can function as a braking system. In fact, many track cyclists that own a fixie end up chucking out the breaks altogether.
A Fixie vs. a Road Bike: Handlebar Design
Just like road bikes, fixies come with drop handlebars. However, you can swap out the drop handlebars for a handlebar style of your preference.
I keep seeing folks that removed their bike’s drop handlebars and replaced them with flat handlebars or upright handlebars.
If you’d like to check out any good, affordable fixie, the 6KU Single-speed Urban Fixie is a worthy bet. Its price point seems reasonable. Plus the product boasts many positive customer ratings.
I still have my fixie my SO bought for me years back as a birthday gift. The thing stills looks good, but then I haven’t ridden it a whole lot.
18. Triathlon Bikes (Designed for Distances)
It’s easy to confuse a Time Trial bike with a Triathlon bike, but the two are different. While both feature an aerodynamic design, a triathlon bike is lighter and more aerodynamically efficient than a TT bike. That’s because a Triathlon bike is designed for longer rides (up to 112 miles) than TT bikes. In comparison, TT bikes are made for speed over short distances.
Here’s another difference between a TT bike and a Triathlon bike. The difference is that a Triathlon bike offers more comfortable than a TT bike during rides. The rider assumes a somewhat more relaxed position than they would on a TT bike.
The other difference between these two bike designs relates to the steepness of each bike’s seat tube angle. Compared to a TT bike, a Triathlon bike’s seat tube angle is steeper. That difference in geometry keeps your hips pushed forward. With hips thrust forward, your hamstrings won’t work too hard. That way, you’ll always have the energy you need to ride the next mile.
There’s at least one similarity between a TT bike and a Triathlon, though. Both bike’s aero bars have cyclists leaning forward and keeping their heads down to reduce wind resistance. Riding head down is a highly effective way of increasing speed and can help you save a second or two. Also, the handlebars’ ends face away from your instead of toward you as in a road bike.
Now, the biking universe offers all kinds of TT bikes. However, not all TT bike options perform as expected. The Valdora PHX-2 Carbon Fiber Triathlon Bike is pricey, but that’s hardly surprising. The best TT carbon bikes are rarely cheap, and the Valdora PHX-2 Carbon Fiber TT bike is no exception.
19. Time Trial Bikes (Made for Timed Short-Distance Racing)
Time trial is a kind of road bike racing that has individual riders racing against the clock. To win this kind of cycling sport, you need a bike whose overall design maximizes its aerodynamics.
A Time Trial Bike vs. a Road Bike
The features of a TT bike from its handlebars, frame geometry, seatpost angles, and tires coordinate to boost the bike’s aerodynamic efficiency.
Compared to a road bike, a TT bike offers greater aerodynamic efficiency than a road bike. First, it features a noticeably shorter wheelbase than a road bike. Secondly, the bike’s design naturally positions the cyclist pretty close to the front, even closer than a road bike does. And unlike a road bike which normally boasts spoked wheels, a TT bike may feature either spoked wheels or disc wheels. A TT bicycle may have a rear disc wheel paired up with a spoked front wheel.
*Time Trial bikes are typically used for timed individual rider competitions rather than teams. Each rider starts the race at a particular time and rides as fast they can. Choosing the cyclist that rode the distance in the shortest time determines the competition’s winner.
Some of the finest TT bikes are prohibitively expensive for most people. But pros that know how to tap into the greatness of these bikes buy them.
Here’s a somewhat affordable TT bike to check out: The Cervelo P series Disc 105 R7000 Road Bike. The Felt B is one of the more affordable yet ultra-high performing TT bikes at that price.
20. Fitness Bikes (Performance Hybrid Bikes/Flat-bar Road Bikes)
All forms of bike riding boost your health and fitness credentials immensely. In a sense, all kinds of bikes are fitness bikes.
With that being said, certain bikes deserve the name fitness bikes better than others. The other name for fitness bikes is flat-bar bikes or performance hybrid bikes.
Fitness bikes offer the efficiency of regular road bikes by having relatively skinny tires. Well, the tires aren’t as thin as road bike tires are, but they’re not as wide mountain bike tires either.
Just like road bikes, fitness bikes come with a super-light frame that provides a considerable amount of stiffness and strength.
What’s the difference between fitness bikes and road bikes? One key difference is that road bikes have drop handlebars vs. flat handlebars for fitness bikes. Small wonder this kind of bike is called a flat-bar bike. So, you’ll need to assume the usual upright handlebar riding position.
Fitness Bikes Offers Lots of Versatility
Want to ride dirt trails on a fitness bike? No problem — simply swap out the existing tires for wider ones. This bike’s design lets you use wider, grippier tires. And if you want to convert a fitness bike into a commuter bike, add fenders and a cargo rack. Again, the bike’s design supports such modifications.
On the whole, fitness bikes are light, fast, versatile bikes that look great and offer great performance. If you want a really light, high-performance bike, choose a fitness bike.
The Giant Escape 3 Comfort is among the best fitness bikes on the market today. It features a clean, light mountain bike design. And you can convert it into an off-road or commuter bike whenever you like. Check the Giant 3 Comfort fitness bike at Centurycycles.com.
21. Electric bikes (Motorized E-bicycles)
Electric bikes, popularly known as e-bikes, are bicycles that rely on a motor and battery to propel you forward. Interest in e-biking has been growing rapidly over the past couple of years. I suppose that’s because e-biking has proved to be ultra-accessible to lots of people pretty much everywhere.
E-bikes come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and styles. The cycling market offers e-beach cruisers, e-folding bikes, e-mountain bikes, e-commuter, e-city bikes, e-road cycling bikes, and more.
3 Classes of Electric Classes
Before you fork over for an e-bike, understand how these motorized bicycles are classified. Three classes of e-bicycles exist namely:
- Class 1 e-bikes
- Class 2 E-bikes
- Class-3 e-bikes (also called speed pedelecs)
Both class 1 and 3 e-bikes are a 1-horsepower bike. That is, class 1 and 3 electric bikes offer no more than 750 watts of power. And that’s not like pure, raw bike power. With these two classes, you still have to pedal as the motor is designed to assist rather than replace pedaling.
With class 1 e-bikes, you have to keep rotating those pedals even when the motor is running. The motor assists you up to 20mph, but you must keep pedaling to maintain that speed. As for speed pedelecs, the motors are more powerful than class-1 e-bikes. But it gets even better — speed pedelecs get higher speed assistance from the motor. Still, pedaling is required.
The only category of electric bikes that lets you relax as the motor propels you forward is a class-2 e-bike. This e-bike type can attain and maintain a speed of up to 20 mph without pedaling.
This bike features a throttle that keeps the speed at or below 20 mph. Without the throttle kicking in at around 20 mph, some class-2 e-bikes can reach a maximum speed of up to 28 mph.
Some Modern E-bikes Looks Like Regular Bikes
Modern e-bikes are lightweight and feature a super-sleek look. You’d easily confuse some of the better e-bikes these days with a standard bike.
With most e-bikes, the battery is swappable. That means you can charge the battery off-bike. The battery is lockable, too; thieves would have a hard time stealing it.
When traveling or climbing stairways, removing the battery can make carrying the bike noticeably easier. Check out some of the best adult electric bikes on Amazon.
22. Kids-Specific Bikes
There are all sorts of kid-specific bikes out there. Some are good, some great, and others nothing more than a pile of expensive junk.
Your child deserves a bike that’s been designed with the specific needs of young, small riders in mind. I’ve seen tons of crappy department store bikes that pretend to be good kiddo bikes — for a while. But when subjected to even a small amount of abuse, these cheap pieces of metal fall apart.
Dad once bought me a bike, supposedly a good cheap kid’s bike. It sparkled (or so I thought) and rode like a dream right out of the box.
But after a ride or two, the thing broke. We took it to a bike repair shop, but not long afterward, other components came off, broke, or just misbehaved.
After a couple of trips to the bike repair shop, Dad gave up, utterly disappointed. The angry man flung the useless bike into the attic and forgot about it, for good.
I have always hated cheap kids’ bikes from places such as Walmart from that day. Many years later, there’s little love lost between me and cheap crappy bikes, whether kids’ or adults’ bikes.
Your child needs a bike with properly working brakes, obviously. They also want a super light yet strong frame that takes abuse well. Also, a good kid’s bike features kid-friendly components that look appealing to young, discriminating eyes.
Remember to size your kid’s bike right, too.
And if they’re too young to ride a bike with pedals, buy them a balance bike. You could also give them a tricycle. But tricycles are no longer the automatic option they once were as a toddler’s first bike.
There are all kinds of styles when it comes to kids’ bikes. There are full-suspension mtb kids’ bikes, high-quality BMX kids’ bikes, and even kids’ road bikes. Check out kids’ bikes on Amazon.
Types of Bicycles: Final Thoughts
The cycling market swarms with bikes of all shapes, sizes, colors, frame designs, handling capabilities, sensitivities, and styles. Throw in the fact that the best bikes are super expensive. And that you’ll be riding the bike you choose for years.
What you get is confusion, and sometimes frustration. Because the web is a rabbit hole that likes swallowing up undecided seekers.
Fortunately for you, you now know at least 22 bike types on the market today. You also know how each bike is like the others and how each stands out.
What remains is for you to pick up something that matches your interests and start having fun. And, gear up before you hit the road or trail. Sometimes cyclists crash, you know. You need to have adequate protection throughout your adventures, trips, and competitions. Learn how to choose a good bike helmet.