by Ben Cooper
Currently there are many types of bicycles available. Even so, the standard safety bicycle design developed in the 1800’s is the basis of our current bicycle designs. The types of bicycle most commonly used today are mountain bikes, cruisers, touring bicycles, racing bikes, BMX’s and utility bikes. The class a bicycle falls in hinges on a number of elements; style of construction, number of passengers, gearing and propulsion.
Mountain bicycles were intended for trail and mountain riding where the terrain is tough. The frames are constructed to resist the rough treatment of riding in natural settings. In addition, special tires and gearing make it easier for riders to get the power they require to keep moving.
BMX bicycles are another unique style. These cycles usually have little 16 – 24 inch traction treaded tires. They are small framed, making them easier to maneuver and much faster. BMX bikes are usually used for racing and even for doing fantastic tricks.
Racing cycles are designed for road cycling and they are all about speed. They’re light weight and have excellent handling. Racing bicycles use drop handlebars, positioned lower than the saddle. This puts the riders body in the best possible aerodynamic posture. The closeness of the derailleur gear ratios permit the rider to pedal at the most effective cadence.
Touring bikes are unique in that they have racks mounted on them to carry the riders gear. These racks are attached to the frame of the bicycle in front and back. The wheel base is also longer than on a standard bike, which makes it able to carry more weight. Also, features such as wider tires and additional water bottle mounts are commonly incorporated.
Tandem bicycles carry two or more passengers at once. Tandem refers to the way the seats of the bicycle are set up, and not to the number of passengers it will carry. All the passengers of a tandem bike pedal, providing power. In most tandem set ups, the front rider controls the steering just like in a standard bicycle.
Low rider bicycles are normally home-built, extraordinary customized bikes. They have normally got an old-school curled banana seat with a extremely tall sissy bar. Ape-hangers are the norm for handlebars, giving the bicycle a “chopper” look & feel. They’re normally chromed to the limit and have glittery, high spoke-count wheels.
Recumbent bikes & trikes are designed so that the rider is reclining back in a low-statured position. Also commonly referred to as ‘bents. The seat supports the passengers back and the legs are extended forward to the pedals. The seat and pedals are usually at the same height. Tires used on recumbents are commonly smaller and farther apart than they are on an upright bike. Recumbents can be guided using either over- or under- seat steering.
There are other types of human powered vehicles referred to as “bikes” too. Though they are not technically regarded as bicycles, they work on the same general principles. They include unicycles, tricycles and quadracycles. Fun to ride, no doubt, none of these styles are used very often.
Despite the multitude of bicycles that are commercially available, there are always those that want to construct their own. Building a bicycle, trike, or tandem at home is fun and not awful hard. In fact, nearly anybody with a can-do attitude, a a couple of tools and some simple instruction could build a decent bicycle.
Bike building can be done in a shed or garage and it’s an excellent small project. For individuals that want a custom-made bike without the custom built cost it’s an excellent choice. The bicycle you make could bring back a old-time style or lead the pack into the future of bike construction.
Whether you decide to ride a factory built bicycle or a unique custom bike, the important thing is to get out there and ride! Next time, we’ll discuss the important topic of bicycle safety.
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K.L. “Vin” Hayes guides a team of autonomous authors and investigators. Over the last decade, they have worked in concert to produce quality digital reissues of vintage documents & books as well as original works. Vin specializes in how-to information that includes a wide variety of matters such as hunting & fishing, hobbies & crafts, self-improvement, construction and a great deal.
Leo got a new recumbent bike last week that’s actually a tricycle (from TerraTrike). Look for Leo’s coming review on the GizWiz at twit.tv or in episode 815.