A bike, also known as a cycle or bicycle, is a simple, human-powered or pedal powered, two wheeled machines, with two wheels connected to a rigid frame, attached either directly or at a side to a platform, rail, or trail. A biker is also known as a cyclist, or bicycle rider. A road biker, or a recreational rider, will use his or her bike more for pleasure and fitness than for commuting to work. A mountain biker, on the other hand, prefers a mountain bicycle for the challenge and thrill of cycling over difficult, high, and technical trails.
In the United States, two major categories of bicycles are distinguished: mopeds or go karts, which are powered by two or four wheels; and dirt bikes or mountain bikes, which are more robust, have more powerful engines, and can ride on surfaces other than pavement. Mopeds and go karts are usually inexpensive and can be driven as long as the driver has some ability; dirt bikes, on the other hand, are very expensive and are not suitable for most drivers. The price range of these two types of bikes varies greatly.
In Europe, bicycles are grouped into three main types. Simplistic touring bikes are lightweight, have small engines, and small front wheels; while utility bikes are heavier, have bigger engines, and larger front wheels. Modern day utility bicycles are now available with both standard handlebars and a sportier, upright handlebars.
One type of European bicycle is the recumbent bike, which was invented in the late 1890s by a man named Oscarsson. The recumbent bicycle features a seat much like that of a chair. The rider maintains his or her posture by leaning the back on the seat and pushing off the pedals. Recumbent bikes, however, feature no mechanical suspension. The front wheel is instead allowed to coast with the resistance of the body weight.
Many modern day bicycles in Europe still feature a recumbent design. There is now widespread use of hand controls, rather than foot pedals. Foot pedals are much lighter and easier to handle. Many bike riders prefer them because they are more convenient and less fidgety. A hand-made manual riding position makes it easier for people who have reduced strength in their hands. Hand controls may be powered or electrical, and there are even electric motorized versions that allow the rider to control the direction of the bicycle without physical effort.
Many modern day bicycles are designed for both racing and urban commuting. Most street bikes are narrow, with small and shallow tires, low to the ground, and with narrow spacing between the pedals. The design of these bikes is such that they provide a smooth and comfortable riding position.
Mountain bikes are designed for hard-surface riding on rough terrain. These bikes share many similar components with their road bikes counterparts but have the added feature of suspension and special tires for better traction on all types of surface. Mountain bikes are also very competitively priced. Many people prefer to ride a mountain bike instead of a road bike because they are easier to control and get around.
A sport bike is the most popular bike style in the United States. Sport bikes are equipped with a front wheel that is closer to the ground than a standard bike. The handle bars are lower than normal and the saddle is lower than on a standard bike. The seat is higher than on standard bikes for comfort reasons. Some sport bikes have been upgraded from three speeds to four speeds.
Hybrid bikes are a combination of the above two types of bikes. They are both dirt bike and mountain bike that are converted into hybrid motor vehicles by the way they are propelled. Some hybrid bikes may be dirt bike specific, while others are not.
The difference between a road bike and a mountain bike is in the suspension system. Road bikes have suspension that is connected to the front of the bike, while mountain bikes have a rear suspension system. Many cruiser bikes are cross-country specific, while road bikes are usually for flatland use. A cruiser bike is a good choice for anyone who enjoys the occasional off road trip or long ride on relatively smooth trails.
It can be difficult to choose the best bike for each individual. Bikes do vary in price and quality, so it is important to know what type of riding the individual prefers to do. If an individual is not certain which bike they would like to purchase, they should browse through some bike reviews online to see which bikes are reviewed the most and which make or model they like the most.