Type Does Matter: What bike is right for you?

What type of bike is right for you? Here's some choices...

ROAD: Sleek and streamlined, the road bike is built for speed and maneuverability. You can spot them by their frame’s thin poles and even thinner tires, which make them very light. Many local cyclists modify their road bikes into fixed gears, trading in their extra gears for extra speed and control (and hipness). Favored by the kids, bike messengers, speed enthusiasts and professional riders.

  • Pros: Fast, and can be modified to go faster or travel long distance. Look like they can go fast. Dodge through traffic like a butterfly.
  • Cons: Higher maintenance. Thinner tires mean more flats. Extra speed can go to your head.


CRUISER: Most associated with leisure riding at the beach, the cruiser has made a comeback as people realized you can buy these heavy bikes used for very little money (which should tell you something). Riders are recognizable because they are sitting up and enjoying their nice bicycle ride. They’re not very maneuverable, but they often have a ’50s auto look to them and sweet chain guards.

  • Pros: Comfy and smooth ride. Medium size tires mean less flats. Pee-Wee Herman rode one.
  • Cons: Usually only three gears. Not very fast or maneuverable.


MOUNTAIN: Fit for riding in the hills, or jumping curbs. Mountain bikes are the all-terrain member of the family and their thick, knobby tires mean that, unlike an SUV, they can actually go out into nature and survive. With heavier and thicker frames than other types of bikes, you’ll feel more secure (not that it will really make much of a difference if you get hit by a car).

  • Pros: Thick tires equal less flats and you can run over most anything. Very durable frames. Can go on trails.
  • Cons: Slow, oh so slow. Not very maneuverable in traffic.


COMPACT: Formerly a niche bike model, the folder is forging into the mainstream. As its name suggests, this small vehicle can fold up into the size of a small box or briefcase. Perfect for traveling on planes, trains or buses because you can stow it easily. Small wheels mean you probably will not achieve very much velocity, and you’ll look a little silly.

  • Pros: You can fit it in many small spaces.
  • Cons: Generally slower. Looks kinda like a scooter.


This article originally appeared in Grid's 2008 prototype issue.

Story by Will Dean