Types of bicycles

Mountain bicycle

These bicycles are often called MTB (mountain terrain bicycles). Based on their purpose and construction, mountain bicycles are mostly intended for riding on mountainous and uneven terrain. This is one of the most popular types of bicycles among youth and cyclists.

Mountain bicycles usually have a reinforced frame, the derailleur shaft is higher off the ground than other types of bicycles, which increases the bicycle’s passability. Straight or slightly curved and wide steering wheel, reliable brakes (usually disc brakes). Most bicycles of this type are equipped with a front suspension fork, while others also have a rear shock absorber (full-suspension bicycles). The wheels are 26” as standard, and the tires are wide and with a rough tread, which makes it easier to control and maneuver when driving on rough terrain. Currently, mountain bicycles with 29” and 27.5” wheel sizes have become popular. MTB bicycles often have a large number of gears (21-33) and are equipped with front and rear derailleurs, allowing you to choose the optimal gear for areas with different hilliness. For certain tracks and purposes, models are also equipped with two stars in the front star unit, which reduces the number of gears to 20-22, but the weight of the bicycle is reduced, it is easier and faster to select the optimal gear. A modern XC (cross country) mountain bicycle can weigh 8-12 kg.

The price of a high-quality bicycle is determined not only by its technical characteristics, but also by various details, specific solutions or even inventions that affect comfort, quality and safety. Built with higher-end components, the lighter yet more durable bicycle won’t be at the same price point as other cheap bicycles available in the market, although they would be visually similar. It is not even worth talking about the cheapest bicycles offered by (“supermarket” bicycles), which may not meet the technical standards or even safety requirements of that type and pose a danger to misleading buyers. 

According to the bicycle’s shock absorption, MTB bicycles are further divided into:

1. Rigid mountain bicycle;

2. Hardtail mountain bicycle;

3. Full suspension mountain bicycle.


-   Adapted to overcome difficult terrain;

-   Good adhesion to the road surface, which makes it easy to maneuver on uneven terrain;

-   The most appropriate choice for sports and competitions in rugged terrain;

-   The model type is suitable for young people who want to ride aggressively and sporty.


-   The sitting posture on the bicycle is sporty – the body leans forward, the heavy load falls on the hands;

-   It is inconvenient to go on long tourist trips, because your hands and back get tired faster;

-   Rough and wide tires cause additional noise and more resistance when riding.

Here are some examples of this type of bicycle:


Hybrid (“cross”) bicycle

This type of bicycle is considered one of the most versatile for its riding purpose. Hybrid bicycles have a lot in common with touring bicycles and mountain bicycles. They come with 28” wheels, but are not equipped with additional accessories typical of touring bicycles: trunks, panels, lighting systems, which makes them lighter and more sporty. Compared to mountain bicycles, they don’t have wide and rough tread tires, so they are much more comfortable to ride on asphalt. Hybrid bicycle frames have a different geometry than mountain bicycles: the cyclist’s hands are less stressed, so it is more comfortable to ride long distances. Hybrid (“cross”) bicycle are suitable for riding on paved roads, forest tracks, parks and long trips, so it would be the optimal choice for a buyer who wants to have an all-purpose bicycle.

This type of bicycles is often equipped with adjustable handlebars and the number of gears, depending on the level of the bicycle, is 21-30. The weight of hybrid bicycles is usually 12-14 kg.


-   Low rolling resistance due to the small contact area of the tires with the surface;

-   Wide range of uses;

-   Comfortable sitting posture;

-   Lighter than touring bicycles.


-   Not suitable for sports competitions;

-   Less off-road passability than a mountain bicycle.


Here are some examples of this type of bicycle:


City bicycle

This bicycle is basically designed for city riding. City bicycles come with 28” and 26” size wheels, a soft and comfortable seat, a curved wide handlebar, a shorter base frame. The shorter distance between the seat and the handlebars and the corresponding frame geometry allow the cyclist to ride in an almost vertical seat. This type of bicycle is almost always complete with visors, trunk, lighting system, chain protection, trunk or even a basket and skirt protection.

Frames of women’s city bicycles usually have a low lower part, curved shapes or retro style, so that they don’t have to lift their leg high when they get on the bicycle and it’s comfortable to ride it while wearing a dress or skirt. Frames of men’s city bicycles are of the classic type with a horizontal top tube.

This type of bicycles often weighs between 14 and 18 kg, depending on the equipment and materials they are made of. In order to reduce their weight, aluminum frames are often used, which are even more rigid.

The simplest city bicycles have a single gear. Recently, bicycles equipped with internal-gear hubs have become very popular. These hubs are characterized by the fact that the gear shifting system is integrated inside the hub. Such hubs can have systems with 3, 5, 7 ... or even 14 gears. Most city bicycles with internal gears or only one gear have a foot brake. City bicycles with external gears are also popular.


-   Has foot brakes;

-   Vertical sitting posture;

-   There are models in different shapes and colors.


-   Relatively high weight;

-   Steeper hills are more difficult to overcome because it has fewer gears.


Here are some examples of this type of bicycles: [EXAMPLES]


Folding bicycle

Folding bicycles are fun, maneuverable and compact bicycles designed for riding on hard surfaces or on the road in the city, and are classified as city bicycles. Most of the time, it fits perfectly in the trunk of the car, so you can also take the bicycle on a trip. Does not take up as much space at home or at work as a traditional bicycle. This type of bicycles is distinguished by the universality of the frame – it is suitable for people of various heights (depending on the model, 140-195 cm).


-   Extremely compact;

-   Suitable for people of various heights;

-   Maneuverable;

-   A large selection of models.


-   Longer distances are harder to overcome.

Here are some examples of this type of bicycles: [EXAMPLES]


Touring bicycle

These bicycles are the most suitable for both short and multi-day tourist trips or hikes. With a touring bicycle, you can successfully ride on both paved and unpaved roads (gravel roads, forest tracks). The geometry of the frame is different compared to MTB or road bicycle and allows the cyclist to sit in an almost vertical position. This type of bicycle is manufactured with 28” wheels, narrower and semi-slick tires are used. They are wider than in road bicycles, but narrower than in mountain bicycles, so both ride comfort and low rolling resistance (small tire contact area with the surface) remain.

Most touring bicycles have shock-absorbing front forks. They come fully equipped – they have a trunk so that you can store bags, visors, a lighting system with a generator in the front wheel hub when traveling. The weight of this type of bicycle depends greatly on the additional equipment installed and varies between 14-18 kg. Touring bicycles usually use an external gearing system with 21-30 gears, which allows a cyclist to easily overcome terrains of various heights.


-   Adapted for both long and short trips;

-   A great replacement for a city bicycle;

-   Suitable for riding on asphalt, gravel roads and forest tracks.


-   Greater weight due to installed additional equipment and accessories.

Here are some examples of this type of bicycle: [EXAMPLES]


Road bicycle

Colloquially, these bicycles are called “racing” or “road bicycles”. The main purpose of road bicycles is fast riding on a good and smooth surface (asphalt road). The main characteristics of road bicycles are stiffness and weight. Their frame and fork are rigid and never have a damping front fork or rear suspension. Road bicycles are already produced with disc brakes, but so far such bicycles have not been approved by the UCI, so they can only be ridden by amateurs. In order to obtain even better riding characteristics, higher-level road bicycles are produced with a carbon fiber frame, which is characterized by low weight, good stiffness and dampens vibration. Properly designed carbon fiber forks add comfort to the ride. The frames have a classic geometry, so the seat is higher than the handlebars when riding – when the cyclist is in this position, wind resistance is reduced, allowing you to maintain a higher riding pace. The road bicycles have a different shape of the handlebars – it is rolled down and looks like a ram’s horns. Shift knobs on modern bicycles of this type are also non-standard – they are integrated into the brake knobs, and gear shifting is done by bending the knob to one side or the other. Sport road bicycles usually have two sprockets in the front (amateur bicycles are sometimes equipped with 3-star front sprockets) and a rear sprocket with 8-11 sprockets.

Most road bicycles are built according to the technical requirements of the International Cycling Federation (UCI). This limits the application of new technical solutions and unconventional bicycle designs. There is a minimum road bicycle weight limit of 6.8 kg, and most models weigh less than 10 kg. These bicycles use tubeless tires and these tires are narrow 20-28 mm.


-   Fast (due to low air and rolling resistance);

-   Lightweight;

-   Wide price range.


-   Suitable for use only on smooth and hard surfaces;

-   Not comfortable.


Here are some examples of this type of bicycle:



Stylish bicycles

Stylish bicycles are characterized by a steel (sometimes aluminum) frame with a distinctive design, wide handlebars similar to those used on touring motorcycles, and special components that further emphasize its specific design. The wheels on these bicycles are 26” in size, and the tires are wide (50-60 mm), also called balloon bicycle tires (balloonbike). The saddle is mounted below the handlebars, so the cyclist sits in a comfortable, upright position.

Stylish bicycles were most popular in the USA in the 1930s and 1950s. Later they were brought from Europe - they were more modern, lighter and with gears. As cruisers, these bicycles became popular again in the late 90s.


-   Vertical sitting position;

-   Exclusive design and style.


-   Inconvenient for long trips;

-   Not maneuverable.


Here are some examples of this type of bicycles: