With the recent and much-needed buzz around global warming, cycling is no more just a mode of commute. People, especially the youth, are now becoming more flexible in using different types of cycles following the latest trend. With advanced and brand new models of cycles available in the market, we are also getting used to the idea cycling, as fun exercise as it is, can also be pursued as a serious career.
However, a vast window of alternatives also creates a paradox of choice. With so many options available in the market, it is easy to make the wrong choice without knowing much about the different features and uses of bicycles. While all types of bicycles offer a fun experience in their own way, not all cycles are suitable for every user. In this article, we will give you a detailed insight into the.
So let’s ‘ride’ right into it, shall we?
Most Common Cycle Types
1. The Classic Cycle
One of the most popular types of cycles, the classic cycle is the most common form of bicycle we see around. These cycles only have two gears, which means it does not have any other system of varying the gear ratio. It is inherently a single-speed bicycle available at the lowest price (₹2500 to ₹6000) in the market.
- Single speed gear arrangement with chain ring.
- Typically, these cycles have a 44/7 gear ratio, meaning 44 teeth in the chain ring, and 7 on the rear cog.
- It has a freewheel mechanism, allowing the pedals to remain stationary while the bicycle is moving.
- Both the front and rear brakes are wire breaks.
- Manufacturers mostly use mild steel as the material of this type of cycle.
- The tire size of classic cycles is usually 28 inches with 1.5 inches of width.
When should you choose a classic cycle?
Classic cycles would be ideal for you if you just want an affordable bicycle for daily riding, or commuting but do not have the time to maintain a fancier multiple geared bike regularly. These types of cycles are cheaper, lightweight, easy to maneuver and need low maintenance. Not having a complicated gear mechanism is another plus point, as it does not require frequent lubrication.
When should you avoid a classic bicycle?
While single-speed bikes are fantastic for daily use on plain roads, they would not be the best option for you if you plan to go cycling on rougher and more challenging terrains. They are also limited in what they can do. Such cycles are not ideal if you want to practice the nuances of cycling, like racing or mountain biking.
2. Road Bicycle
Road cycles are specifically designed for riding at speed on paved surfaces. Although similar to the racing cycles, road bikes have more endurance while performing rather than the rush of speed required for racing bikes. Road cycles are one of the oldest bicycles used for speedy rides, and they have been improved with new technology while keeping the style almost identical with time.
- More complex gear combination than single-speed cycles or classic cycles.
- It has sloping top tubes and a shorter seat post for a lighter and compact frame.
- Frames often include forks partially or entirely made of carbon fiber.
- Tires are narrow, have fewer spokes, and are smoother to decrease rolling resistance.
- Gears are more tightly packed for increased cadence (the number of revolutions the pedal makes per minute while riding). This allows the rider to pedal at a higher but smoother speed.
- Bent handlebars for a more leaned forward position for the rider. This reduces air resistance and increases speed.
- These cycles are available in the price range of ₹6000 to ₹30000.
When should you choose a road cycle?
Road cycles would be perfect for you if you are a fitness enthusiast and want to include cycling in your everyday regime. As the name suggests, you should choose a road cycle for everyday purposes as they are are built for riding on roads where you need to vary the speed. For this reason, geared road cycles are better than non-gear road cycles. Know More: Gear Vs Non-gear Cycle
When should you avoid a road cycle?
While the road cycles are fast and efficient, they are not made for off-road cycling or mountain biking. So if you are into these activities, it would be a practical decision to avoid riding road cycles. These bikes are also not for you if you want to enjoy comfortable cycling at your leisure.
3. Mountain Bike (MTB)
Specially designed for off-road cycling, mountain bikes or MTBs are bicycles with enhanced durability, speed, and performance on rough or mountainous terrains. Such cycles are designed with more robust material like carbon steel alloys for the frame and wide knobby tires for efficiently riding first in the challenging trails. Due to the advanced features, mountain bikes are comparatively costly, with a price range from ₹6000 to ₹70000.
- A sturdy and rustproof frame, mostly made of carbon steel, is resistant to stress, allowing the rider to maneuver on rugged trails and terrains and pass obstacles efficiently.
- Thick tires of 26-29 inches diameter for solid grip and traction on gravel, rock, dirt, or sand surfaces.
- Typically straight handlebars with wider grip allow the rider to sit upright for better position and vision.
- Wide range of gears to control the bike on different rough terrains. While the low gear ratio allows the rider to overcome steep hills, the higher ranges are not as high as road bikes as that much speed is not required in mountain biking.
- Mountain bikes are more expensive and cost around ₹10000 to ₹50000.
When should you choose a mountain bike?
MTBs are the best option for experienced cycling enthusiasts interested in off-road biking. So if you love cycling and seek an intense and exhilarating experience away from the everyday traffic, you should absolutely go for the MTB. However, make sure you have practiced enough before taking your mountain bike to rougher terrains.
When should you avoid a mountain bike?
Mountain bikes are expensive and not for everyday use. Although MTBs look really cool, they are not suitable for riding in town or on paved, smooth, or flat trails. So if you are someone who enjoys riding bicycles without the extremities of it, you should avoid mountain bikes.
4. Hybrid Bicycle
Hybrid bikes are an amalgamation of the features of mountain bikes and road bikes, making them general-purpose bicycles capable of performing in both on-road and off-road terrains. These cycles offer the rider a more comfortable and safe position in traffic while still offering considerably good efficiency in rougher areas, allowing the best of both worlds. However, some hybrid bikes consist of more mountain bike elements, and some are closer to road bikes or other traditional bikes.
- It generally includes larger wheels of about 700c, typical of road bikes but with narrower tires. Some models have 26-inch tires similar to that of comfort bikes or mountain bikes. Such high-pressure tires enable the rider to cycle faster and for longer distances.
- Front fork and seat suspension have less absorption than a comfort bike.
- They usually have multifaceted gearings such as triple chain sets and wide-ranging cassettes.
- Hybrid cycles are lightweight for smooth maneuvering.
- These bicycles are more budget-friendly with a price range of ₹5000-₹20000.
When should you choose a hybrid cycle?
Hybrid bikes are the best option for those who enjoy both on-road and off-road cycling. While these cycles are not for very extreme mountain trails, amateurs who want to start mountain biking but need a cycle that can be handled smoothly in traffic as well should choose to opt for hybrid bikes.
When should you avoid a hybrid bike?
Although hybrid bikes embody characteristics of mountain bikes, they are not well-suited for very rough terrains. Experienced mountain bikers who go for off-road cycling in more extreme environments frequently should avoid hybrid cycles.
Also Read: Hybrid Bike Vs MTB: Which Is Better?
5. Comfort Bicycle
As it says in the name, comfort bikes are a form of hybrid subtype bicycles designed to prioritize the rider’s comfort above other factors. These cycles are not designed for off-road or extreme riding. Comfort bicycles would ensure smooth riding without causing any aching discomfort to your body. These are a more comfortable variation of mountain bikes designed to reduce the risks while cycling.
- It accentuates comfort over efficiency.
- Ergonomic design reduces the chances of injury and pain caused by riding traditional cycles.
- Seats are taller than regular cycles, allowing the rider to be more upright.
- It has front suspension forks and wider and padded saddles for comfort.
- This type of cycle comes with wider tires, which are standard for mountain bikes.
- The handlebars are angled, making it easier for the rider to steer the cycle.
When should you choose a comfort bicycle?
Comfort bikes are the best for people who regularly get aches and pains from cycling on traditional bicycles. If you enjoy leisurely rides along the park, a beach, or a quiet street or just need a cycle for low impact exercise or to run errands, go for comfort bikes for a pain-free and recreational cycling experience.
When should you avoid a comfort cycle?
Comfort bicycles are not designed for fast-paced and efficient cycling. These are not for cyclists who want to enjoy off-road riding or racing.
6. Electric Bicycle
Electric bicycles are a type of cycle that comes with an integrated electric motor for providing a boost while pedaling, typically called pedal assist. It is very similar to regular cycles, except it includes a sort of power-up for the rider. While e-bikes are not a new concept, they have gained traction in the last decade for their convenience and efficiency in covering long distances with less effort. Depending on the models, e-bikes can perform quite smoothly in hilly terrains and can be used to carry heavy goods.
- The battery-powered assist is its most significant feature. It makes pedaling more effortless and convenient for the rider.
- It can carry heavy loads and is easy to haul goods.
- The battery generally lasts for 40 to 80 km, hence suitable for long cycle rides.
- It comes with a variety of motor types depending on the model. While mid-drive motors come in handy to climb sharp terrains and reach high speed, the rear hub motor can give your cycle more traction in the rear wheels.
- Electric bicycles are noiseless.
- Charging the battery is easy and can be plugged into wall outlets. E-bikes can take up to 8 hours to charge.
- While regular bikes often need maintenance and lubricating, electric bicycles save you from all those hassles.
- Electric bicycles are comparatively costly in the price range of ₹20000-₹100000.
When should you choose an electric bicycle?
Electric cycles are excellent options for those who enjoy cycling to commute to work or run errands that require carrying heavier goods but do not want to put much physical effort into it. These also make cycling accessible for older people or people with disabilities. With the rise in petrol price, electric bikes are more cost-effective for commuters. Apart from that, if you would like to cycle without making noise, typical for high traffic, you should definitely go for an e-bike.
When should you avoid an electric bicycle?
People who do not have much experience in riding bicycles every day should avoid getting an e-bike. Electric bicycles also need to be stored in well-secured spaces, especially in inclement weather. You should keep in mind that these bikes are heavier than the standard cycles and cannot be carried up the stairs. So if you do not have the fitting space to park an electric bicycle, you should avoid buying it.
7. Folding Bicycle
A folding bicycle refers to the type of cycle that can be folded into a compact form, making it easy to store and carry. Designed to be a space-saving solution, this type bicycle is very convenient for the daily urban cycle commuters. While the folding mechanisms vary, typically, the back wheel folds under the bike’s mainframe while the handlebars fold down alongside the back wheel. The saddle can be dropped down and locked at the hinge, which can then be used as a handle. The front wheels swing around and cover the rear wheel.
- A magnet included in the rear shock absorber acts as the folding mechanism.
- Some folding bikes can be partly disassembled.
- It comes in smaller wheels, starting from 14 to 20 inches and up to 26 inches.
- Folding cycles are available in various models like e-bikes or standard bicycles.
- These bicycles can be availed in the Indian market with a price of ₹10000-₹20000.
When should you choose a folding bicycle?
Folding bikes are ideal for urban life. As they are easy to store, you don’t require any particular parking spot. People who travel frequently will find it highly convenient.
When should you avoid a folding bicycle?
Folding bikes are not for you if you are a speed junkie and enjoy off-road cycling. These bicycles are especially not ideal for bumpy roads and as sturdy as regular traditional cycles. So if you are someone who needs to commute long distances, you should avoid getting a folding bicycle.
8. Utility Cycle
Utility bicycles look close to classic cycles and are primarily designed for practical transportation instead of recreational or competitive activities. Built to serve utilitarian purposes, these cycles are aimed to provide short-distance comfort and practicality. These bicycles are defined by a slightly curved handlebar, diagonally aligned central frame bar, and sometimes a career basket in the front or the back for carrying items. This type of cycle is the most commonly used bicycle in developing countries.
- The saddle is larger than the other bicycles.
- These cycles are generally single-speed.
- A diagonally aligned central frame bar allows easy mounting.
- This type of cycle is pretty popular in rural places.
- Utility cycles are cheaper in price (₹2500-₹8000).
When should you choose a utility cycle?
It is the best option if you need a bicycle mainly to carry objects or run errands like grocery shopping or short-distance delivery.
When should you avoid a utility cycle?
Utility bikes are not ideal for long-distance rides or cycling on rougher surfaces.
Unique Cycle Types For Special Purposes
1. Cyclocross Bicycle
A sub-category to road cycles, the cyclocross bicycle or the CXB is a specially designed bike to handle cyclocross racing. The rider has to cycle through grass, mud, steep hilly trails, and other obstacles in this unique cycling sport. These bikes are very lightweight, as the race involves quickly dismounting, passing obstacles, and remounting on the bike again. These types of cycles can be considered a highly developed version of racing cycles, providing agility, speed, and durability in a rough environment.
- Carbon fiber is a widely used frame material to make it lightweight as well as durable.
- The body frame has space for slightly wider tires than ordinary road or hybrid cycles.
- The top tube is routed to the derailleur to tackle the mud build-up.
- Most CBX has off-road tubular tires as they are efficient in performing in low pressure and has a lower risk of pinch flats.
- Cyclocross bicycles have shorter chainstays and higher bottom bracket height, giving them more agility.
- A 46/36 chainring combination and an 11-36 cassette are the most popular gearing set-up in cyclocross bicycles. This keeps the jump between gears at a minimum, ensuring smoother movements.
- Most cyclocross bikes have 700c tires, but some models are manufactured with 650c to accommodate racers of the smaller statute.
- These bicycles are usually costly with price from ₹30000 to ₹300000.
When should you choose a cyclocross cycle?
Even if you are not a cyclocross racer but just an off-road cycling enthusiast, CBX can be a good choice for upping your cycling skills. They are suitable for physical exercise in the winters as well. Even a boring mountain trail can be a joyride on a cyclocross bicycle.
When should you avoid a cyclocross bicycle?
As much fun as cyclocross bikes are, they are not for beginner cyclists. You would need a certain amount of experience in off-road biking to handle it. So it is wiser to avoid getting a CBX before getting a fair amount of practice in a road cycle or mountain bike.
2. BMX Cycle
BMX (BMX stands for bicycle motocross) bicycle is an off-road sports cycle specifically designed for racing and stunt riding. While it was initially designed to perform in BMX racing, these bikes are now used in other off-road extreme racing and BMX freestyle disciplines. BMX bicycles are equipped to handle certain extremely rough terrains, even better than mountain bikes. While not very popular among the other types of cycles in India, BMX cycles are getting traction among millennials and teenagers these days.
- There is only one gear and minimal break set-up for smooth riding on mud, ice, grass, gravel, and other obstacles.
- New freestyle BMX bicycles use a similar gear ratio of 2:8:1.
- The body frame is simple yet robust, sturdy, lightweight, and agile for easy manoeuvering.
- The tires have about 36 spokes in the BMX freestyle or BMX racing bikes but can go up to 48 depending on the intensity of the activity. The ones made for children often have 18 to 28 spokes.
- Each side of the front and rear wheel hubs has pegs attached, enabling the rider to perform grinds, stalls, etc., for stunts.
- BMX cycles are more affordable. You can easily avail them with a price tag of ₹2500-₹10000 in the market.
When should you choose a BMX cycle?
BMX bicycles are an ideal choice for extreme cyclists and stunt enthusiasts. More resilient to extreme terrains than road cycles or mountain bikes, BMX cycles can be used for off-road racing and honing your stunt skills.
When should you avoid a BMX bicycle?
BMX bicycles are not suitable for racing on paved roads, especially on busy roads. People who don’t want to get into the intricacies of BMX racing or freestyle but want some adventure of off-road cycling should avoid buying a BMX and get a mountain or hybrid bike instead.
3. Touring Cycle
Well, the name gives it away. Touring bikes are specially designed for bicycle touring with the capability to provide comfort and carry heavy loads. You can carry everything you need for multi-day touring on these bikes. Ideal for long day rides, these bicycles mostly have a retro look about them but can prove very trustworthy in your tours.
- It has various carriers and attachments for luggage.
- Rustproof steel body frame.
- It comes with mudguards and a longer wheelbase.
- Wider and padded saddle for long comfortable rides.
- Mosty has disc brakes rather than rim brakes as disc brakes are more heat resistant and provide better brake performance.
- Low gearing for increased rolling resistance and to manage heavyweight.
When should you choose a Touring Cycle?
India has diverse landscapes that are ideal for bicycle tours. So if you are a frequent traveler who enjoys cycling and exploring nature without the hassle of hiring a car, touring cycles are your best friend. These cycles will especially come in handy if you plan to visit the quiet and less populated states.
When should you avoid a Touring Cycle?
Not all the places are suitable for traveling on touring bicycles. Riding these cycles loaded with luggage in the hilly trails in Darjeeling or the crowded streets of Benaras would not give you the ultimate satisfaction as a traveler. So it is best to avoid touring cycles if you plan to visit places that are not especially famous for their quiet and calm.
4. Tandem Cycle
Also known as twin bicycles, tandem cycles allow more than one person to ride at once. The name ‘tandem’ comes from the seating arrangement that is fore and aft. One of the most visually unique cycles, these bikes are generally heavier and longer. The rider in the front has controls of steering, gear shifting, and braking, while the stoker (rider in the back) maintains balance by peddling as well. While most tandem bikes offer space for two riders, some cycles can carry three people.
- While most tandem bikes follow the fore-to-aft pattern, some tandem bikes also offer side-by-side seats.
- They are available in different varieties like tandem mountain bikes, tandem hybrid bikes, and tandem road cycles.
- Longer and heavier than other cycles.
- It comes with an extra saddle and extra handlebar.
- Tandem bicycles are costlier with a price of ₹30000-₹10000.
When should you choose a Tandem Cycle?
Tandem cycles are primarily used for recreational fun activities. Fun rides with friends, family, or significant other on tandem bikes can add charm to outdoor events. Nowadays, tandem bike races are also organized.
When should you avoid a Tandem Cycle?
Tandem bikes are not for everyday use. Being heavier than other bicycles, it is difficult to park tandem bikes in regular homes. So it’s better to avoid buying one if you live in urban areas. You can always rent it instead to have some fun cycling sessions.
Types Of Cycles By Gender And Age
Unisex cycles refer to any bicycle designed to be suitably used by both men and women. Previously, men’s bikes with horizontal crossbars used to be considered unisex bicycles. But later, the women-specific cycles with carved crossbars came into the market. However, many bikes with horizontal crossbars are used by both men and women. Now, the crossbars are vertical and angular so that both men and women can ride this bike comfortably.
Unisex cycles are convenient for households where both men and women ride cycles. Only one of these cycles can be used by all the adults in a household where cycling is not a daily routine. Especially for families that don’t have a lot of storage, one unisex cycle for everyone would be an excellent option to consider.
However, smaller height can be an issue while riding unisex cycles. So if you are a person with less than average height, it would be wiser to choose a gender-specific or smaller cycle.
Specially designed to suit male riders, Men’s cycles have distinctive qualities. Men’s regular bicycles are taller with different saddles and body frames.
Traditional men’s cycles are suitable for regular use for males of average to taller height. Sports bikes are now also customized to be well suited for male cyclists.
Typical men’s cycles have a higher body frame, which might be an issue for men of smaller stature. In that case, it is better to go for a unisex cycle instead.
Specially designed to suit female riders, women’s cycles are a comparatively new addition to the market. These cycles are manufactured to suit the female body structure.
Suitable for regular use, women’s bicycles are lighter than typical men’s cycles, more comfortable, and easier to maneuver. So if you want a cycle that is comfortable, easy to mount, and pleasing to the eyes, you should definitely choose a women’s bicycle.
It is better to avoid opting for a general women’s bicycle if you intend to add cycling to your daily fitness regime.
Learning to cycle is a good exercise for kids and a fulfilling part of their childhood. Hence, kids’ cycles are designed to provide children with a comfortable and safe cycle learning experience.
From classic cycles to mountain bikes, kids’ cycles have diversified quite a bit, and many cool and stylish kids’ bicycles are available in the market now for you to choose from. Even sports bikes have been built to accommodate children interested in competitive cycling better.
Kids’ bicycles are best if you want to give your child a fun way of regular exercise. And if your kid has shown interest in cycling as a sport, you can also consider BMX bikes specially designed for children.
Types Of Cycles Depending On Tire
Fat Tire Bicycle
A fat tire bicycle, popularly known as the fat bike, is an off-road cycle that has oversized tires and is specially designed to allow ride on soft, unstable terrain, like snow, mud, or sand. It is one of the most popular bikes nowadays and is preferred as an exercise bicycle in winter.
In recent years, the craze for fat bikes has significantly increased in the world. Fatbikes have very wide wheels that apply very low ground pressure, running smoothly even on snowy trails. The width of oversized tires typically start from 3.8 inches with a rim size of 2.16 inches. They have a large number of gears, and they are heavier than most bikes and are not very agile or speedy.
When should you choose a fat tire cycle?
Fat tire bicycles are ideal for the explorer in you. With excellent grip, these bikes are built for rolling smoothly over the most challenging terrains, even if the surfaces are laden with wet stones, snow, or mud. Moreover, if you live in a hilly region where it snows in the winter, fat-tire cycles will not let you hit a pause in your everyday exercise routine.
When should you avoid a fat tire bicycle?
Fat-tire bicycles are not built for commuting or racing, as they are not very efficient in providing speed. If speed and agility are what you are looking for in a cycle, fat-tire bicycles are not for you.
Thin Tire Cycle
Thin tire bicycles are designed to provide speed and agility to the rider. Such tires are commonly seen in road bikes and touring bikes. Thin tires are less rolling resistance as they exert lesser pressure on the road surfaces. These bikes are easy to accelerate and are lightweight. Their tire measurements typically range from 23 mm to 25 mm.
When should you choose a thin tire bicycle?
Thin tire cycles are ideal for those who want a bike that is easy to maneuver, lightweight, and provides impressive speed. They are perfect for fast and efficient cycle rides on paved and smoother surfaces. The new run-flat technology allows a safe ride even when the tires are deflated.
When should you avoid a thin tire cycle?
Thin tire bicycles are not designed to for difficult terrains as such tires lack grip efficiency. So if you live somewhere where the tracks are bumpy or rougher, you should avoid getting thin tire bicycles.
So there you go. This is more or less everything you need to know about different types of cycles. Cycling is gaining attention as a serious sport not only in foreign countries but also here in India. Read the pros and cons of cycling if you are serious to find out if a bicycle is good or bad for you.
Be it the good old classic single-speed or the stunt efficient BMX cycles with multiple gears, cycles are more than just a mode of commute or exercise. Though cycle, bicycle and bike are termed differently, they are similar in terms of their basic meanings.
According to your requirement, this is your sign to get a bicycle and start riding it regularly. You would not only be improving your physical fitness but also would be doing your part in helping our mother earth.