It is heartening to see that a number of new cyclists are taking up cycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly sport in Lahore and other cities across the country.
It has been observed that initially new bees buy bikes which are either not suitable according to their needs or they do not give importance to the size of bikes viz a viz their height!!
Generally speaking, for cyclists in Lahore most suitable bikes are either Hybrids or Road Bikes for taking up as a sport/ leisure activity.
Bike types into the following categories based on the activity they’re used for:
- Road bikes: Roads
- Mountain bikes: Off road.
- Hybrid/commuter bikes: A bit of everything.
- Cyclocross bikes: A bit of everything, but with a road bike feel.
- Folding bikes: Commuting, leisure or touring for the short-on-space.
- Electric bikes: An electric-assisted bit of everything.
- Touring bikes: designed for carrying loads over longer distances while remaining comfortable for the rider.
We’ll look at each of these in turn so you can get a better idea of what bikes are used for what.
As the name suggests, road bikes are designed to ride on the road. Can’t all bikes ride on the road, you wonder? They absolutely can. But road bikes are optimized to make road cycling as efficient as possible
Defining characteristics: A lightweight frame, skinny tyres, drop handlebars (those are handlebars which curve back down underneath themselves) and a high gear ratio (i.e. The gears are set up to favour the ones that help you go really fast, if your legs and lungs are up to it.)
Get a road bike if: You want fast, efficient cycling on tarmac roads for commuting, competing, or for fun.
Don’t get a road bike if: You want to take it off the road. Skinny tyres means you won’t really be able to use a road bike on anything other than tarmac. Icy roads can also be a problem for road bikes.
Mountain bikes are designed to go on mountains or on off-road trails, which means they’re chunkier, have knobbly tyres on them, and a frame geometry which makes them better suited for seriously uneven terrain.
Defining characteristics: Wide, knobbly tyres for traction, and a wide range of gears to help you get up and over mountains or across fields. Some bikes have front suspension but are rigid at the back (‘hardtail’), and some have front and rear suspension for cushioning jumps and drops (‘full suspension’ or ‘full sus’). Others have neither. Here’s our Guide to full suspension vs hard tail.
Get a mountain bike if: You want to go mountain biking or mainly off road.
Don’t get a mountain bike if: You want to go fast on tarmac roads, cycle long distances, or mostly knock about town.
HYBRID / COMMUTER BIKES
Hybrid bikes, or commuter bikes as they’re also known, are essentially a mixture between road bikes and mountain bikes. They give you the versatility to do a bit of everything. What you sacrifice in terms of speciality, you gain by being able to do what you want, when you want.
Defining characteristics: Unlike cross/cyclocross bikes (below), hybrid bikes have flat handlebars instead of drop handlebars. Some models have front suspension to cushion bumps in the road or on the track, and others don’t. They’re designed with versatility and comfort in mind, so they have the comfortable geometry of mountain bikes but with slicker, narrower tyres. The tyres can be changed for super knobbly tyres if you want to do a bit of off-roading, or slicker tyres if you’re commuting on tarmac, or something in between.
Get a hybrid/commuter bike if: Your main use for the bike will be commuting and/or knocking about town, as well as occasionally going off road or mountain biking.
Don’t get a hybrid/commuter bike if: You want to go full lycra and ride as fast as possible on roads, or tear down mountain bike trails as dexterously as possible.
Also simply known as ‘Cross Bikes’, these are bikes which follow the tradition of road cyclists in the olden days, who would swap their slick road tyres for knobblier tyres and continue to train during the winter months. A cyclocross bike could be the perfect year-round bike for you if you’re looking for a fast road bike that will cope with off-road excursions.
Defining characteristics: The easiest to spot is the drop handlebars like a road bike, instead of the flat handlebars of a hybrid. Like a hybrid, there’s also enough clearance (space around the wheel) for knobblier tyres and mudguards. A cross bike has more of a road bike feel than a hybrid does.
Get a cross bike if: You’d like a road bike with drop handlebars but you want to go on the odd off-road excursion.
Don’t get a cross bike if: You want a really fast road bike, or a rugged mountain bike, or a hybrid with flat (instead of drop) handlebars.
Folding bikes are designed to fold up into a compact size so that you can store them away when you’re not using them, or cycle to the train or bus station and fold them up once you get there. They also fit neatly into a car or hall cupboard.
Defining characteristics: A folding frame and small wheels; a more upright geometry.
Get a folding bike if: You want to involve cycling on your commute but it’s a bit far, or you want to own a bike but have zero storage space.
Don’t get a folding bike if: You want to go off road or go really fast.
Electric bikes are, as the name suggests, part electric. They have a battery and a silent motor, and because of this they’re heavier than other bikes, but you’ll never curse a hill again in your life.
When you start pedaling, the motor ‘kicks in’ and gives you a push as if you had a fierce tailwind at your back, meaning you can essentially go anywhere at a steady pace without breaking a sweat.
Defining characteristics: A hybrid, mountain or road bike with a battery and a motor.
Get an electric bike if: You want to go twice the distance for half the effort.
Don’t get an electric bike if: You want to ‘feel the burn’ and develop thighs of steel.
Touring bikes are like road bikes that have been specially adapted to carry loads over longer distances. They’re designed for long days out where stability, practicality and rider comfort are as important as performance, and they take pannier racks, mudguards and slightly wider tyres. Often, they double up as commuter bikes.
Defining characteristics: Road bikes with wider tyres, space for mudguards and panniers, and designed with long-distance comfort in mind.
Get a touring bike if: You plan on going long distances, you want a commuter with the option of touring one day, or you want to load your bicycle up like a Tibetan Sherpa.
Don’t get a touring bike if: You think you’d do better with a road, mountain, hybrid or cross bike.
Kids bikes are for kids, but you can get one for yourself just for fun and we won’t tell anyone. Whether you’re looking for a balance bike for a 2 year old (i.e. no pedals), a trail centre-competent junior mountain bike for an 8 year old, or a road bike for a 12 year old, we’ve got a superb range of bikes for boys and girls of all ages at the Co-op.
Defining characteristics: Small.
Get a kid’s bike if: You’re a kid.
Don’t get a kid’s bike if: You’re an adult or unusually big for your age. Although we do have a handy little article called Mountain Bikes for Short People and Tall Kids which might be worth a look at!!
WISH YOU ALL HAPPY AND SAFE RIDES 🙂