There are a lot of bikes to choose from. And there are a lot of ways to sort bikes: according to need, size, preference, and, of course, price. But the most important factor to consider is: you.
Here’s a good exercise to put you in decision-making mood. Do this in a quiet, safe environment. If you’re in a public place, be with friends who can confirm your sanity when guards approach you.
Close your eyes. Now, where are you?
If you see yourself biking in your village, waving at neighbors, then you are cruising.
Cruiser bikes have wide wheels, making it great on pavement. It’s comfortable since it’s built for casual riders. It has wide, upright seats and handlebars for a relaxed riding position.
If you see yourself off-road, surrounded with lush flora, able to inhale without coughing off polluted air, then choose a mountain bike.
Mountain bikes are designed for, well, mountain-like landscape. It’s engineered with suspensions which buffers shocks from uneven terrain.
If you see yourself with measured breathing, rushing to a finish line, then invest on a road bike.
Road bikes are engineered to perform on pavement. It has two major categories: touring and racing.
Touring bikes are designed with flat handlebars, providing better road visuals. Flat handlebars support a more relaxed riding position.
Racing bikes are engineered for speed. It is the preferred bike for competitions and triathlons.
In racing, every opportunity to increase speed is vital. Racing bikes have drop-bar handles for that much needed speed boost. Drop-bar handles let the rider use their body weight to push forward. The form the rider takes reduces wind resistance, improving aerodynamics. Racing bikes are also lighter than touring and mountain bikes.
If you see yourself going around the city and also off-road every approved leave or so, then a hybrid bike should be at the top of your list.
As the name suggests, hybrids are designed to give you the best of both worlds. Hybrid bikes have suspensions similar to a mountain bike, providing shock absorption in hilly terrains, and the comfortable upright riding position of cruiser and touring bikes.
If you are practical, challenged with space, or prefer to bring your bike easily for some out-of-town adventure, then consider a foldable bike. Basically, it’s a cruiser bike with smaller wheels which ease hand-carry transportation.
There are other bike types, but they are mostly derivatives of the above bikes.
Though some may argue that these other factors should be considered first before choosing a bike, it shouldn’t be the case. Choosing the type of bike first focuses more on who you are, or who you would be as a biker rather than being defined by your equipment. Your equipment should support your passion and not the other way around.
Price. How much are you willing to invest? Aside from the bike, you may also want to invest on other gear.
People. Will you ride alone or with a group? Groups add to the fun. Not only is it safer to bike with a group, it is also economical since you can share resources and borrow gears.
Gear. Safety first! A helmet is a must. However, if you intend to compete or do hard core biking, then acquiring other gears is also a must.
Last but not least, have fun! Biking is often a vacation from the daily humdrum of reports, spreadsheets, bosses, or whatever it is you need a vacation from.
Choose a bike that will let you have fun.