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Types Of Bicycle
There are many different types of bikes available to buy in the UK today, and each one serves its own specific purpose in the world of cycling. Here we give you a rundown of the main bicycle types and when they should be used:
Mountain bikes now account for around 70% of all bikes sold in the UK. Despite what the name suggests, very few of the mountain bikes sold in the UK actually get to see a mountain in their lifetime, however their chunky tyres, 26-inch wheels, strong frames and flat handlebars actually make them a good choice for cycling around city streets.
These types of bike are designed to go up and down hills and therefore have many different gears and very effective brakes. Many mountain bikes have added suspension parts to absorb the bumps and jars of off-road riding, however with or without the extras, mountain bikes are good for soaking up the shocks of street potholes making your ride around the city a comfortable one.
With slim saddles and thin tyres, road bikes are designed to be rode at high speeds on smooth road surfaces. If you’re still not sure what we mean think Tour de France, all the competing cyclists use road bikes for that race.
Road bikes are lightweight with dropped handlebars and have their tyres pumped up to more than 100psi to minimise friction. Generally, road bikes are more easily damaged than other bikes and are prone to punctures. Cyclists using road bikes are forced to sit in a hunched aerodynamic position and this can take some getting used to. However, many people travel hundreds of miles on road bikes and find the position comfortable enough, and if you’re planning on doing any kind of high-speed road racing then you should also invest in road bike.
Hybrid bikes are a combination of mountain bikes and road bikes and therefore offer all the pros – and some of the cons – of both these types of bikes. Design-wise they look like mountain bikes but have slimmer wheels and tyres, and have a more upright sitting position than the road bikes do, making them perfect for city riding.
In addition, hybrid bikes are faster than mountain bikes on smooth road surfaces but they can also handle weekend off-road riding. Some of these bikes come with mudguards as standard but they are easily fitted on if you buy one without them. If you’re thinking of buying a hybrid bike then make yourself aware of their other names. Some companies call them city bikes, while other firms, such as Raleigh, refer to them as comfort bikes.
A touring bike is a chunkier and more comfortable version of the road bike. They are designed with drop handlebars, mudguards and pannier racks for luggage, while the wheelbase (the distance between the hubs) is longer than the wheelbase of either a road bike or a mountain bike. A touring bike usually offers a smoother ride than a road or mountain bike as it irons out the bumps and potholes. Folding bikes Folding bikes are extremely useful for cyclists who have to make part of their journey on public transport. Being able to fold down your bike makes it so much easier for getting on and off buses, trains, trams and the London Underground. In fact in the next decade or so, folding bikes may also be valuable for motorists who could keep the bike in their car, park on the outskirts of the city and then cycle into work to avoid the traffic gridlock.
Although there are cheaper versions available, it is better to buy a mid to top range folding bike as they can fold down very small in just a few seconds. Folding bikes are designed for the first and last legs of a commuter’s journey and therefore they replace speed and comfort with stability and convenience. Folding bikes don’t always include folding pedals but these can be bought as extras if necessary.
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