Guide to Buying a Bicycle

If you expect to spend most of your time on pavement, your options will definitely increase. Depending on your goals, you might want a road bike, a commuter, or a hybrid. Most road bikes have smooth, skinny tires and a curved handlebar, and place you in a bent-over position suited for speed. Hybrids provide comfort and stability via moderately thick tires and an upright riding position, a compromise that allows you to ride easily on city streets or packed-dirt paths. Commuter bikes range from sturdy workhorses to stylish fashion accessories, and often have utilitarian features like rack and fender mounts, an upright frame design, and low-maintenance drivetrains.

Choosing between the three depends on how hard, how long, and where you want to ride, says , sales manager at Piermont Bicycle Connection in Piermont, New York. Many bike makers offer hybrids with high-quality drivetrains and disc brakes. They’re lightweight and fun to ride, making them a solid choice for commuters or new riders who want one bike to run errands, cruise the rail-trail, and ride with the family. But if you’re planning to burn some serious calories, train for a charity ride, or maybe even sign up for a race, you’ll be more satisfied with a road bike.

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