Do you walk into a bike store and feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of bike types on the market? You’re not alone.
As the world adjusts to the new normal, more people are looking for fun ways to get outdoors and keep active. Hence the spike in new bike purchases in many Australian regions. We can’t blame them — what’s more fun than riding a bike?
Knowing the right type of bike to purchase can be tricky. If you’re not too sure where to even start, this blog is for you!
Photo by Héctor Martínez on Unsplash
5 Types of Bikes in Australia to Compare Before You Buy
1. Mountain bike.
Mountain biking is a popular sport for many Australians, with participants riding through rugged terrain to reach their final destination. These bikes are designed for predominantly off-road cycling. So unless you plan on taking your bike off-road regularly, a mountain bike may not be for you.
Characterised by their fat tyres with deep tread, allowing riders to travel with ease in areas of unsteady ground, mountain bikes are designed with durability in mind. They have flat handlebars, a sturdy, thick frame and often feature full suspension elements for rider comfort.
- Great if you’re looking to tackle rugged terrain.
- Suspension coupled with solid frame geometry lessens the stress these bikes cause on joints. Low-impact exercise such as that provided by mountain bikes is great for those suffering with chronic joint pain.
- An annual service is recommended to keep your bike in mint condition. Mountain bikes are often subject to more dirt and rougher treatment than other types of bikes, so skipping out on your annual service may cause more damage than it’s worth. A service will set you back about $100 at your local bike store.
- Mountain bikes are not designed for long distance commutes of road surfaces. The tyres and suspension are not built for that type of use causing quicker wear on the bike.
The pricing for mountain bikes varies drastically depending on your preferences. For example, if you’re after a higher gearing range, it is likely the price will rise. The same can be said for other customisable options. However, if you’re looking for a basic mountain bike, you’ll likely find one for around $300. This said, the average price for a good-quality bike is around $1000 in Australia.
2. Comfort or hybrid bike.
As the name suggests, comfort bikes are designed for the rider’s comfort during the journey, no matter how far. You can easily recognise a comfort bike by their larger wheel size and higher-set frame, which allows you as the cyclist to sit at a more natural angle.
The hybrid bike’s biggest selling point is its versatility, designed for both serious and casual cyclists alike. Despite common belief, these bikes are not a blend of the mountain and road bike varieties. In fact, they sit in a class of their own, providing users with a reliable and comfortable ride.
- The seating position enables cyclists to sit in an upright position. This is a great repreve for those suffering from back conditions, taking the stress and tension of the riders shoulders, neck and back.
- The frame, tyre and gearing design of this bike allow for it to be safely ridden no matter the conditions.
- The hybrid bike frame is extremely lightweight, weighing in at a mere 12kg on average. Making transportation to your favourite riding spot easier.
- The best way to describe this bike is ‘a jack of all trade but master of none.’
- There is a lower gearing range available in these bikes compared to other models, so if you’re after a bike with a high gear range this bike may not be for you.
- Hybrid bikes are normally manufactured with smaller chainrings than their road bike counterparts, making it near impossible for riders to gain the same speed they would on a road bike.
Like all types of bicycles, hybrid bike pricing varies greatly, but it’s safe to say you get what you pay for. Prices start from around $200, with the average hybrid bike setting you back $650.
3. Road bike.
As the name suggests, road bikes are optimised for riding on roads. They are very popular amongst Australian riders, providing them with the ability to get to higher speeds than any other bike on the market.
Road bikes are easily identifiable by their thin, bare tyres and drop handlebars. The bike’s high speed ability can be attributed to their thin tyres and lightweight frame, allowing them to almost glide along the bitchumen.
- High-speed ability. A high gearing range allows riders to adjust their road bike to the conditions. Meaning riders can travel through both mountainous terrain and flat CBDs on them, no other bike on the market has this type of versatility.
- Easy to transport, having the lightest framing of any bicycle, weighing in at less than 10kg on average.
- The components on road bikes are lightweight, they are also highly tolerant to heavy usage and all weather conditions.
- These bikes are not designed to be comfortable, instead they are designed for speed and agility. So if you’re after a comfortable ride these bikes are not for you.
- For those suffering from joint and muscle pain, road bikes may aggravate symptoms. Due to the high gear ratio the pedaling motion is harder than on other models.
- The seating position for road bikes requires the rider to sit in an almost horizontal position, putting strain on the user’s shoulders, neck and back.
Road bikes are known to be one of the most expensive models on the market, due to their quality build and intricate components. On average a road bike will set you back $1,200. Prices start from $600 and go up to $5,000. It is recommended that avid riders have these bikes customised to best suit their needs, adding additional costs.
4. Beach cruiser.
Beach cruisers are a popular sight along Australian beachfronts. Their laidback design and loud colours make them the perfect weekend bike for those who want a simple and comfortable ride. This type of bike is easily identifiable with their high and rounded handlebars and colourful fenders.
Beach cruisers are one of the only bicycle types left on the market with a single coaster brake option available on most models. These days, most riders opt for multi-geared cruisers with hand brakes on the front and rear.
- The biggest pro of any beach cruise is comfort. Their high-set handlebars and large seat allow the rider to sit upright, limiting strain on the upper body.
- They look great! These bikes are the best looking bikes on the market, coming in almost every colour.
- Easily customisable, add accessories like baskets and back carry trays.
- The frame on these bikes, whilst very strong, is also extremely heavy. This coupled with the large handlebars makes transport difficult.
- Beach cruisers are not meant for speed, they are designed, as the name suggests, for cruising. So if you’re after a bike that allows for quick acceleration and high top speeds this bike is not for you.
Beach cruisers vary in price, but compared to other types of bicycles, are rather affordable. You can get a basic cruiser for as little as $200, but the average price is closer to $700.
5. Folding bike.
Folding bikes are a relatively new concept on the market. They allow users to transport their bikes with greater ease than ever before. Popular amongst campers, they are great for cruising around local areas.
With smaller-than-normal wheels and frame, and high-set seat and handlebars, folding bikes definitely stand out from the other types listed here.
- These bikes fold up so small that they can be considered carry-on luggage! Making them great for any kind of travel or if you simply have a small home.
- Their frame design allows users to sit upright. Reducing strain on the riders neck, shoulders and back. This also aids in all-around riding comfort.
- Folding bikes are not made for long distance rides, their smaller wheels mean bumper rides and lower speed.
- Best ridden on well maintained surfaces. Unlike other bikes on the market they are not made for rough off-road adventures.
- If you’re looking to travel with your foldable bike, be aware of its weight. Although these bikes fold up into small and compact positions, their weight remains around 15kg.
Pricing on foldable bikes varies greatly, although remains affordable. The starting price for a foldable bike is around $200, with the average price being around $400.