Deciding what is the right bike for you requires you to consider the different types of bicycles. Generally speaking, there are four types of bicycles and your selection process will depend mainly upon what type of riding you intend to do.
The road bike is made for use on relatively smooth roads and paved streets. These bicycles were originally designed for road racing so they have been developed with speed and long distance riding in mind.
They are quite easy to spot on the road since they have narrow tires, a very lightweight frame and the riders always look uncomfortable since they ride in a bent over position due the the positioning of the seat and the low handlebars. The thing to remember if considering a road bike is that the frame is made to carry its rider along relatively smooth surfaces and are not suited for any off road riding.
Some consider the riding position to be uncomfortable but if long distance road riding is your cup of tea, the road bike would be your choice. That awkward riding position creates the most aerodynamic riding position for the rider as is possible.
Road bicycles will have a wide range of gears to allow riders to climb hills. Usually a road bike will have multiple sprockets which allow for anywhere between 16 to 27 speeds or gears. The price of the road bike usually is based mainly upon the cost of the frame. Steel and aluminum are the most common materials but newer alloys are lighter and will drive the price higher. If you are about to get one for you, then have a look at these cheap road bikes which won't burn a hole in your wallet.
The second main type of bicycle is the mountain bike. In recent years this has become the most popular type of bike on the market. These generally will have fairly wide tires with knobby treads. The knobby tires have a purpose and that is for gripping on surfaces like sand, gravel and dirt. You will also find a softer ride since the tire's pressure will be less then that of the road bike.
The frames will be stronger then the typical road bike frame mentioned above and will provide higher ground clearance to enable climbing rocks or over logs and such.
Mountain bikes will never go as fast as the road bike due to lower gearing and the heavier frame that is necessary for off road use. One of the nice things about mountain bikes is the riding position is more upright due to the seat position in relation to the straight handlebars.
As with the road bike, the mountain bike can have anywhere from 16 to 27 gears also. Needless to say if you have any back problems, this would be a much better choice then the road bike.
So if you plan to ride a good deal off-road or on gravel or dirt roads, the mountain bike would be an excellent choice. In most cases it will also be less expensive than the typical road bike.
The third type of bike to consider is the hybrid bicycle. These have become the most popular among more mature riders. They are a actually a combination of the road and mountain bike and usually offer the best features of both types.
These hybrid bicycles are good for shorter trips on paved roads and have proven to be great for city streets since they offer more speed then a mountain bike and more comfort then a road bike.
Their tires are usually skinnier and smoother then those of mountain bikes but not as smooth or skinny as road tires. They can offer the same number of gears but the gear range will be closer to that of the road bike. They also offer the upright riding position of the mountain bike which adds to their popularity.
The forth main type of bicycle would have to be the cruiser bike. The cruiser bicycle will have comfortable wide tires, soft and wide seats and upright handlebars. They might only offer one speed but many are available today with up to seven speeds.
These are what many of us would refer to as the old fashioned style of the 1950's. They are really meant to be used on smooth flat roads or even on the beach. Although you cannot get much speed from a cruiser, they are guaranteed to be comfortable riding.
The Ending Lines
Of course we could include the many variables within these four types of bicycles but we only want to present the basic characteristics of them at this time. Simply said, decide how athletic you are and what type of riding you will do and everything should fall into