When choosing the perfect bike for an outdoor activity, you must ask yourself first how much you are willing to spend. Then, you have to consider your level as a cyclist. Are you a newbie who’s still new to the world of cycling adventures? Or a long-time daily bike commuter? The next thing that you’re going to consider is the type of outdoor activity where you will be using the bike.
Once you have decided on the type of outdoor activity that you will engage or join in, it will now become easier for you to choose which bike suits you best. If you need help with choosing the perfect bike, you may click here for more helpful information. But, if you’re not yet sure what type of bike to buy, we have the following list of bicycle types and for which activity they will most likely suit best.
Road bikes are best suited for outdoor activities that require you to ride on tarmac roads.
These bikes serve as your fastest option. Keep in mind that its name “road” bikes mean such bicycle allows you to ride on surfaced roads the fastest way you can. Most road bikes have skinny tires and lightweight frames that help you reach your maximum speed but only with minimum effort. They also usually come with dropped handlebars which enable you to achieve much comfort while you strive to get into your most efficient and aerodynamic riding experience.
These road bikes may seem a lot like endurance bikes in disguise because if you’re able to buy a road bike that’s made of high quality components it will allow you to cover extra miles with your friends. Of course, these road bikes also serve as your best friend when you’ll be commuting every day. However, the issue with road bikes with dropped handlebars is that some cyclists find it to be uncomfortable. Plus, its lightweight wheels may also pose some problems when riding on potholes and kerbs.
However, if you plan to carry some luggage when going for an outdoor activity for days, this standard road bike may not give you the most comfortable experience.
If the outdoor activity that you plan to indulge in would entail riding on rough terrain, then a mountain bike will be deemed suitable.
Keep in mind that mountain bikes are built to roll over terrains that are truly bumpy. If you’re using this bike on other types of surfaces, you may not be able to expect it to perform with an optimal speed and level of comfort. This is because these bikes are designed to perform on even the most rugged off-road terrain. They are meant to be tough as they’re equipped with very aggressive components that are capable of giving you that grip you badly need on rough surfaces. Mountain bikes are also endowed with powerful brakes. Those expensive types of mountain bikes even have suspensions at both ends to ensure better control when riding over rough grounds. Its gearing is designed in a way that allows you to get up and down the steep terrain without any trouble while giving you a very wide range when taking on varying gradients.
But if you don’t plan to ride on mountain ranges, a mountain bike will still serve as a good option if you’re just into general leisure riding. After all, its overall design allows you to be in a more relaxed position all throughout the ride. However, you may need to change some of its components or else you will have a hard time riding on pure tarmac roads. Plus, its suspension could mean added weight and may not assure you of efficient ride so it is best to avoid this type of bike if most of your outdoor activities are done on-road.
This one is a perfect option if you’re looking to travel far with friends and you’ll need to carry heavy luggage.
These are the kinds of bike designed to be used on roads less travelled. A touring bike will also give you the best riding experience if you’ll be commuting on rough city roads. If a hybrid bike is just designed for city rides, a touring bike will serve you well whether it’s just for commuting or when you’re into continent-crossing adventure. Most touring bikes are equipped with 700c wheels that give you a very low rolling resistance compared to standard road bikes and hybrid bikes. However, touring bikes do have fatter tires, making you more prepared to take on any type of terrain with much comfort. Touring bikes provide a relaxed riding position while its stable shape enables you to take on almost anything while touring for long stretches. It guarantees comfort even when you have to travel with a loaded luggage.
This one works best when your outdoor activity requires you to go as fast as you can but you’re expecting bad roads ahead.
Adventure bikes are designed to overlap with the touring bikes category but with the looks of a road bike. It offers plenty of frame clearance in case you want it to have fat tires of 35mm or more so you can use it on almost any types of terrain. Whether you’re traveling on worst tarmac roads, bridleways, gravel-filled paths and gloopy mud, this adventure bike won’t fail to give you the best riding experience.
Adventure bikes may come in carbon, titanium, steel or aluminum frames at a varying price range. Many of these bikes also include eyelets so you can easily fit mudguards. It may also come with pannier racks, as well as disc brakes for better braking. Compared to road bikes, adventure bikes are built with a more relaxed geometry to ensure better handling on different types of surfaces.
If you’re looking to indulge in outdoor activities that require you to ride on iced roads during winter, adventure bikes will also be your great option. Just make sure to replace your tires with ones that are puncture-resistant.
If you’re the type of cyclist who needs a hand when going uphills, opt for electric bikes.
E-bikes will serve as your great aid when going uphills due to its powerful motor. However, laws may vary depending on what country you’ll be using the bike. For example, in some countries electric bikes are limited to only 25km/h. In other words, if you’re planning to purchase an e-bike make sure you are aware of the laws that your state or country has regarding its speed limit. Most e-bikes offer great comfort with its flat bars, luggage capacity and mudguards. But do expect that these e-bikes would come in more expensive price compared to standard road bikes as they are equipped with control electronics, motor and battery.
Other Important Things to Consider Before Buying a Bike
Now that you have finally figured out what type of bike you should purchase, the next thing to know is what qualities and features to look for when choosing the perfect bike for your outdoor activity. Some of these are the following:
Even the most expensive bike will be deemed useless if it does not provide you the right comfort. This characteristic must be your top priority when choosing a bike for outdoor activity. Remember that you will be using this outdoors which means if it does not provide comfort chances are you will find yourself stopping even before you’ve reached your destination. A bike that gives aches and pains and some or all of the troubles while you’re miles away from home will certainly be such an agony to endure. This is the reason why it is a must to test ride your bike before finally paying for it. Keep in mind that it would be hard to tell its level of comfort if you rely solely on what kind of components the bike has. Its frame height and size must be according to your level of comfort.
Check its geometry and see if it allows you to ride on the kind of position that you find most comfortable. Preferably, you should choose a bike that allows for upright riding position that leaves your back at 45 degrees or 48 degrees to the ground. Its saddle must also provide great support with nice cleats that give you the feeling of making it float around freely.
This may seem a trifle thing to consider but if you’ll be spending more time outdoors, chances are you would definitely want a bike that looks good not just to your eyes but to others as well who are in the same road with you.You wouldn’t want a bike that has terrible color combination that will only make you subject to humiliation down the road.
Besides, a good-looking bike is no doubt one great motivating factor when riding outdoors. If your bike is something that’s endowed with the kind of visual beauty that cries to be ridden then you won’t regret purchasing it in the first place. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to purchase the prettiest bike online or in your local bike shop’s display. But, make sure to choose the one that’s aesthetically pleasing to you. It has to be something that you love to ride. It would be hard to find joy in riding on a piece of bike that looks like crap.
If you’re planning to buy a new bike, then you should also give some careful consideration on its groupset. A groupset refers to the cranks, derailleur, levers, brakes, cassette and chainrings. The most common brands of groupset would be the Shimano variety which may come in different types such as the Claris, 105, Tiagra, Dura Ace or Ultegra.
When it comes to choosing the best groupset, you should know that the lighter and faster ones would usually entail heftier price as well.
Bicycle frames come in different types of materials such as the following:
This is the most common material being used in many bikes these days. This is because a steel frame is not just durable but it is also affordable. In case of damage, it can also be easily repaired. However, if low quality tubing is used, the output would be a heavy bike. But, the disadvantage of steel frames is that it easily rusts so if you prefer to purchase one that’s made from steel frame make sure you’re diligent enough when it comes to bike maintenance.
It is wise to choose a bike that is made of high-quality steel frame which has superior assembly, better alloy and stunning design. If possible, look for the one that’s made of American SAE 4130 steel.
This is also another popular frame material and just like the steel frames, you have to opt for the more expensive type if you want to have the better quality. However, aluminum frames offer a more jarring ride compared to bikes that are made from other types of material. But, these days you can already find new types of aluminum alloys that make aluminum frames possess better quality tubings. These aluminum alloys allow the bike to better absorb shock thus making it more capable of providing a more lively ride.
A titanium made bike frame still remains the most expensive type nowadays. Many bike enthusiasts claim that a titanium frame possesses all the positive characteristics of all the other types of frame materials. It can compete with aluminum in terms of weight but it can also be as comfortable as steel. It offers a sprightly ride and many cyclists say its frame feels alive with each pedal.
A carbon fiber material for bike frames is still considered new and unique because it is not made from metal. Carbon frames guarantee super lightweight yet durable bikes. The best thing about carbon fiber frames is that it is less likely to corrode. A carbon fiber frame has become a favorite among manufacturers because it can easily be manipulated. Manufacturers won’t have a hard time building it however they want to ensure the bike offers the best riding experience.
To reiterate, whatever bike you choose make sure it provides your much needed comfort. The saying “Never compromise comfort with looks” is true not just in the world of fashion but the same can also be said among newbie and professional cyclists who are planning to buy a bike.
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