The Bike

There are many different kinds of bikes out there, each designed to give a different ride. In order to help you determine which bike is right for you, we will go over the distinct differences for the three main types of bikes. By no means is this information comprehensive, it is just ment to give you an idea of what bike to go after via Craigslist, a retail store, or from the Durham Bike Co-Op. At the Durham Bike Co-op members can build a bike for free. Becoming a member is easy – just volunteer five hours or pay $35.

Questions to ask yourself when deciding on a bike: Will you be wearing your work clothes while riding? Where do you want to ride? (Flat road vs wooded trails). Will you want to race and take long workout rides? Do you want to use your bike for both commuting and recreational activities? Most bikes will let you do all these things, but some bikes are made to suit certain activities more than others.

But don’t be hung up on what bike to get. You could spend months researching trying to find the best frame geometry, components, tire size, stem length, etc, etc. The internet can complicate your bike search quickly. The important thing is to get a bike, ride it, and have fun promoting your health and saving our planet.

Road Bike: An effecient, fast, and addicting ride.

  • – Sail on flat roads with ease and speed
  • – Narrow, low friction tires
  • – Drop down handle bars for efficient body posture and multiple hand positions
  • – Large gear range
  • – Integrated brake levers and gear shifters
  • – A lower, more powerful and streamline riding position
  • – Have to pay more attention to high tire pressure in order to avoid flat tires
  • – Light weight

Trek’s guide to choosing a road bike

Hybrid Bike: (aka touring bike) Tires on hybrid bikes are narrower than mountain bikes yet wider than road bikes.  The tire size attempts to provide performance of both worlds and a balance between speed, traction, and safety.

  • – Comfortable ride and performance on both rough terrains and smooth terrains
  • – Variable riding position, upright or lower
  • – Most have flat handle bars
  • – High tire pressure
  • – Heavier then road bike, lighter then mountain
  • – More likely to come stocked with accessories for commuting (mud guards, baskets, chain guards)

Trek’s guide to choosing hybrid bikes

Mountain Bike: Wide tires for unpaved roads, dirt tails, and unfriendly terrain.

  • – Comes with no suspension, front fork suspension, or both front and rear suspension (aka full suspension, shown below)
  • – Submissive ride and absorbs vibration
  • – High friction tires (loud hum when riding on pavement)
  • – Low pressure tires
  • – 26 or 29 inch rims
  • Comfortable upright riding position
  • – Bomb proof

Trek’s guide to choosing a mountain bike


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