Bicycle racing has been a very popular sport for decades, and has only increased in popularity in recent years. A lot of new people are interested in cycling and, as a result, there are a lot of newcomers to the sport. One of the first obstacles that new enthusiasts face is how to pick the right bicycle.
Picking a bike is not as simple as it seems. There are so many different brands and styles of bikes out there that it can be a daunting task for anyone to choose the perfect bike. Here are a few of the basic racing bikes available, and an overview of some of their special features:
Track bicycles are optimized for racing on an outdoor track or velodrome. They have no brakes and no coasting. A track bike is a fixed gear bike, with a lightweight, rigid frame. Its tires are very thin and highly inflated to minimize rolling resistance. Its bottom bracket is also higher than other bikes, to prevent the pedals from touching the track on steeply banked curves.
The design of track bikes is very simple and straight forward and you won’t need to think about things like brakes and number of gears. What you do you need to think about is the durability of the bike and the size of the gear. A lower gear allows for quicker acceleration, but a higher gear helps keep up sustained speed. These are both important, and you’ll have to decide which is more important in the type of events you’ll be entering. Many track cyclists practice speed pedaling, to make up for the lack of gear options.
Mountain bikes are among the sturdiest race bikes out there. They are designed to ride over rough terrain and can withstand the strain of many off-road situations. They have knobby tires, with deep treads, which help to create traction while climbing steep hills or slippery terrain. Their geometry is altered somewhat from other racing bikes, the primary difference being the angle of the head tube and the seat tube. The angle can be more upright, which makes it easier to climb steep hills, or more relaxed, which provides more comfort and stability for downhill riding and faster speeds.
Mountain bikes can be either fully suspended, (both front and rear wheel suspension), fully rigid with no suspension, or suspended either on front or back. Fully suspended mountain bikes are more prevalent now than they have been in years past, due to the types of materials now available which allow manufacturers to produce fully suspended bikes that are less than 10kg.
A cyclo-cross bike is like a cross breed between a mountain bike and a track bike. Their design is very much like a track bike, with narrow tires and drop handlebars. They are also very lightweight, which is vital because cyclo-cross racing often requires the rider to dismount and carry the bike over certain obstacles. Cyclo-cross bikes also have deep treads, like mountain bikes, and very sturdy bodies, which allows them to be ridden through mud and other tricky terrain.
No matter what type of bike you end up choosing, it is important to really think about your decision. A good bike can be very expensive, and a cheap bike may not be very good. If you can solicit the help of an experienced cyclist friend, it will make your job of choosing a bike so much easier, and get you on your way to cycling success.