Bikes: Easy methods to Select | REI Co-op

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On the lookout for a brand new bike? Generally the jargon is usually a little intimidating. The excellent news is that you simply don’t need to turn into fluent in bike converse to determine which bike is greatest to your two-wheeled adventures. We break down issues to think about when selecting a motorcycle. 

The bike-buying course of may be boiled down to 3 primary steps: 

1. Work out your bike kind: The appropriate bike for you’ll depend upon the place and the way you propose to trip. We provide you with a rundown of motorcycle classes that can assist you slender your decisions.

2. Consider efficiency and value: Bikes inside a given class and worth vary usually have related sorts of elements. However count on to pay extra for higher-performance elements or body supplies reminiscent of carbon.

3. Make sure that your bike suits: Bikes are available a spread of sizes, so begin by discovering the correct body dimension based mostly in your peak. Learn extra about Bike Becoming Fundamentals. Cycle retailers (like REI Co-op’s) will help you fine-tune match points that come up after that.

Video: Easy methods to Select a Bike

Determine Out Your Bike Sort

Begin by asking your self the place you propose to trip: on streets, bike paths, unpaved roads and trails or some mixture of these locations? Beneath is an easy chart with primary bike class choices based mostly on the floor(s) every is constructed for:



Just about any bike can deal with pavement, after all, and lots of bikes may be ridden on a number of surfaces. Slim your selection based mostly on the place you count on to do the vast majority of your driving. You can too take a look at our extra thorough rundown of motorcycle classes beneath.


There’s an Electrical Bike for That, Too

Many bike sorts now embody electrical bike choices, so take a couple of minutes to determine if an e-bike is smart for you. Usually, an e-bike with a pedal-assist motor will enormously develop your driving prospects. Whereas these bikes include a better price ticket, they will let you zip up hills with much less effort, in addition to trip farther and quicker.


Street Bikes

A cyclist riding a road bike

Street bikes are good for health driving, commuting, occasion rides, touring and racing. Most have a drop-bar handlebar (curling down and towards the rear of the bike), which places the rider in an aerodynamic place. This bent-forward driving posture can take a bit getting used to.


Street bikes come within the following classes, together with a number of electric-bike fashions:


Endurance bikes: “Enduring consolation” is likely to be a extra apt identify as a result of these highway bikes function a relaxed geometry that helps maintain you extra comfy on longer rides. Barely wider tires give endurance bikes traction on quite a lot of surfaces, and the tires may be ridden at a decrease strain for a extra forgiving trip.


Gravel bikes: As a result of cyclists have at all times pushed the envelope on the place they’ll trip, multi-surface bikes have been a factor for years. Hybrid bikes (mentioned beneath) are one possibility. Gravel bikes are a really perfect selection, although, should you’re itching to go a bit quicker and farther. Descended from cyclocross (now a category of elite all-terrain racing bikes), gravel bikes function a drop handlebar for aerodynamic effectivity, together with wider tires for a forgiving trip and traction on terrain starting from asphalt to gravel to filth.


A road touring bike with mountains and a lake in the background

Touring bikes: Touring bikes differ from conventional highway bikes in that they’re constructed for driving loaded up with gear over lengthy distances. They’ve sturdy frames to assist heavy masses and have attachment factors that allow you to add racks, fenders, water bottles, pumps, lights and extra. An extended wheelbase (the space between the wheel hubs) helps make them simpler to regulate when you’ve got a heavy load.


Efficiency bikes: These mild and aerodynamic bikes are constructed for going quick on the flats and charging up hills throughout group rides with buddies, or for driving in organized races.


Mountain Bikes

Three mountain bikers ride on a rocky trail in the southwest

Designed with shock-absorbing options and durable builds, mountain bikes can deal with filth trails and the rocks, roots, bumps and ruts that make them so enjoyable. Mountain bikes have decrease gears than highway bikes so you’ll be able to trip up steeper terrain.

Two ceaselessly used phrases are “full suspension,” which means a motorcycle has each entrance and rear suspension, and “hardtail,” which means a motorcycle has solely a suspension fork. Full-suspension fashions are usually dearer, however they provide higher traction and a extra comfy trip. They’ll additionally deal with extra assorted terrain.


Mountain bikes come within the following kinds, together with a number of electric-bike fashions:


Cross-country bikes: Light-weight and responsive, this type of mountain bike originated within the racing world, so it delivers each driving pace and climbing prowess. It’s a good selection if you wish to trip off highway in your health rides or in order for you a nimbler bike for much less technical native trails.


A trail mountain bike leaning against a rock

Path bikes: That is the type most new mountain bikers will get. If social path driving with buddies on beginner-friendly trails and filth roads is your aim, then that is your bike. Bikes on this class place equal emphasis on enjoyable and effectivity.


All-mountain bikes: These bikes are an excellent possibility as you progress to driving on extra technical terrain. All-mountain bikes are well-rounded performers: joyful on steep and flowing descents, whereas additionally being succesful climbers. Their geometry balances the necessity for each uphill energy and downhill stability, so all-mountain bikes can deal with quite a lot of technical options alongside the path.


A woman rides a fat bike across a snowy field

Fats-tire bikes: Recognizable due to their oversize tires, these bikes supply outsize traction that makes it doable so that you can trip them on sand or snow. The ultra-wide tires are additionally reassuringly forgiving on all kinds of tough terrain.


Hybrid/Health Bikes

A cyclist riding a hybrid bike on an overpass with a mural painted in the background

If you would like one thing that performs effectively on the road however also can deal with some unpaved terrain, that is your bike. You may also see hybrid bikes known as “health bikes” as a result of their consolation and flexibility enchantment to riders motivated primarily by the train advantages of driving. Hybrid bikes usually have a extra upright driving place than their highway bike counterparts. Most have large-diameter highway wheels for pace, paired with wider tires for off-road traction.

A tipoff as to if a motorcycle is extra for road driving is the absence of suspension. Hybrid bikes with entrance suspension are a good selection should you plan to spend extra day off highway—the tradeoff is a little more weight and rather less pace in trade for a cushier trip.


Specialty Bikes

You can too select a motorcycle that doesn’t match neatly into one of many different broad classes above:

An electric cruiser bike sitting on grass with water in the background

Cruiser bikes: Cruiser bikes are constructed for leisurely rides round your neighborhood or trip dwelling. Cruiser bikes function wider tires for traction and cushioning, a snug seat and a relaxed sitting place. They’re enjoyable for brief rides on flat, paved surfaces.


A cyclist riding an electric cargo bike

Cargo bikes: That includes beefy builds so you’ll be able to haul a number of gear and deal with tons of weight, cargo bikes are perfect for operating errands and transporting youngsters. Neither speedy nor nimble, these are extremely utilitarian bikes.


A folding bike sits on a concrete wall

Folding bikes: These bikes may be folded up and positioned in a carrying bag, which makes them helpful for commuters with restricted space for storing at dwelling or the workplace. Light-weight, sturdy and capable of be folded up rapidly, they’re additionally a good selection if you wish to journey along with your bike.


Consider Efficiency and Price

You don’t have to research every technical element on a motorcycle, however sure options and premium elements can add to the value. When in search of a motorcycle inside your finances, take into account the next components that may value extra:

Full suspension, hardtail or no suspension: Full-suspension bikes (entrance and rear shocks) usually value extra, but in addition supply a smoother trip and the flexibility to tackle essentially the most rugged trails. Hardtails (entrance suspension solely) nonetheless take in bumps, however achieve this for rather less.

Carbon vs. aluminum: Light-weight carbon frames supply premium efficiency and trip high quality—in addition they imply a leap in worth. In distinction, aluminum-frame bikes may be discovered at each worth level.

Going electrical: Electrical bikes develop the driving horizons for all riders.

Part high quality: A motorbike’s elements—basically all the main programs aside from the body and wheels—are often a part of a tiered group. As you progress as much as a better worth in a motorcycle class, the corresponding element group will likely be extra responsively tuned and add to the general value of your bike.



A detail shot of gears on a bicycle

Bikes differ within the variety of gears, the vary of the gears (decrease gears make it simpler to pedal) and the accessible gear ratios. Usually, most fashions in a given bike class can have related gearing. Which means it’s not one thing it’s a must to take into consideration except you actually need to.


Wheel Measurement

Four different bike wheels of differing sizes

Wheel dimension is one other bike function that’s largely predetermined by the bike class you select, with one large exception: Most mountain bikes include both 29″ wheels or 27.5” wheels. From a price standpoint, the distinction isn’t vital. So your selection is basically a matter of efficiency nuances.


Brake Sort

In years previous, rim brakes had been the norm and disc brakes had been the exception. Disc brakes have at all times provided superior braking energy in all circumstances, although, and so they now dominate the market as a result of the price of disc brake expertise has come down over time.


A detail shot of rim brakes on a bicycle

Rim brakes, which work by squeezing the brake pads towards the perimeters of the wheel rims, are nonetheless a cost-effective possibility. They make it simple to verify brake pad put on and to switch worn pads.


A detail shot of disc brakes on a bicycle

Disc Brakes, which function brake pads that grip onto a brake rotor mounted to the wheel hub, are available two variations:

Hydraulic disc brakes supply extra progressive and stronger braking with much less finger effort, and so they self-adjust for brake pad put on.
Mechanical disc brakes want guide adjusting because the pads put on.


Bike Measurement and Match

Getting the correct body dimension is step one. Fortuitously, most bike producers have dimension charts that record your body dimension based mostly in your peak. A very powerful facets of motorcycle match, standover peak (the space between your physique and the highest tube whenever you straddle the bike) and attain (the space from seat to handlebar) can then be fine-tuned with some minor changes.

To be taught extra about tips on how to match a motorcycle, in addition to tips on how to do changes at dwelling, learn Bike Becoming Fundamentals and Mountain Bike Becoming Fundamentals. Past getting the proper body dimension, you’ll additionally have to fuss with nuances like seat peak.

REI Co-op shops and different biking specialty retailers may also regulate your bike’s match, both throughout a take a look at trip or after you purchase a motorcycle. Inform them about any discomfort and so they’ll fortunately handle your match points. Be aware, although, that you have to give your physique a number of weeks to get accustomed to your new trip. It’s a bit bit like breaking in a brand new pair of industrial quality climbing boots.


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