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Choosing a bike that works for you

Bikes Designed for Transportation

Cargo haulers

Bakfiets – front-loader cargo bikes

Bullit – front-loader cargo bikes

CETMA Cargo – front-loader cargo bikes

Joe-Bike – front-loader cargo bikes

Kona – longtail

Madsen – longtail, bucket bike

Metrofiets – front-loader cargo bikes

Surly Big Dummy – longtail frame for Xtracycle

Triobike – convertible trike/baby carriage

Xtracycle – longtail frames and conversion kits

Yuba – longtail

There are an increasing number of bikes designed for the urban transportation cyclist. These typically feature carrying capacity, fenders, hub-powered dynamo lights and internal-gear hubs. Some are even shaft-driven.

Folding bikes are growing in popularity because they offer added versatility to the commuter. They can be stored in your office, rather than out on the bike rack. They can also be carried onto busses and trains when the racks are full.

The commuter-specific bike has the advantage of having all the right tools for the job, but many other types of bikes are suitable with additional equipment or conversion kits.

Below is a list of other types of recreational bikes and the advantages and disadvantages of using them for transportation.


Touring Bike

Advantage:

  • Can support racks and fenders.
  • Drop handlebars offer various positions for comfort and aerodynamics.
  • Good for long distances on open roads.
  • Longer wheelbase is more comfortable on rough roads.
  • Stable when carrying heavy loads or pulling a trailer

Disadvantage:

  • Angled brake gripping is less powerful when riding with hands on hoods.
  • Touring bike gear ratios are overkill for flat Florida commuting.

Road Bike

Advantage:

  • Light weight and skinny tires allow for higher speeds.
  • Drop handlebars offer various positions for comfort and aerodynamics.
  • Good for long distances on open roads.

Disadvantage:

  • Many road bikes cannot support a full rack. Seat post mounted racks carry less weight and must be mounted on aluminum or steel seat post (cannot be mounted on carbon).
  • Aggressive riding position can be uncomfortable and not as well suited for traffic.
  • Angled brake gripping is less powerful when riding with hands on hoods.
  • Stiff ride on bricks and rough pavement.
  • Impossible or problematic to add fenders

Upright Road Bike

Advantage:

  • Light weight and skinny tires allow for higher speeds.
  • Straight handlebars offer more leverage for bike handling.
  • Straight-forward brake gripping is more effective for quick-stop.
  • Usually are made to support a full rack and panniers.
  • Some models have frame/brake clearance for mounting fenders

Disadvantage:

  • Aggressive riding position can be uncomfortable and not as well suited for traffic.
  • Stiff ride on bricks and rough pavement.

Mountain Bike

Advantage:

  • Comfortable on bricks and rough pavement.
  • Good for off-road excursions – cutting through parks and empty lots.

Disadvantage:

  • Heavy and slow.
  • Full-suspension mountain bikes absorb a lot of pedaling energy and require expensive rack mounts to add cargo capacity.
  • Knobby tires have poor traction on pavement – use slicks for road riding.

Cyclocross Bike

Advantage:

  • Light weight and thinner tires allow for higher speeds.
  • Drop handlebars offer various positions for comfort and aerodynamics.
  • Good for long distances on open roads.
  • Comfortable on bricks and rough pavement.
  • Good for off-road excursions – cutting through parks and empty lots.
  • Support fenders and racks.

Disadvantage:

  • Aggressive riding position can be uncomfortable and not as well suited for traffic.
  • Angled brake gripping is less powerful when riding with hands on hoods.

Hybrid Bike

Advantage:

  • Lighter and faster than a mountain bike, but more comfortable than a road bike.
  • Front suspension makes brick roads more tolerable.
  • Hybrids come in varying frame geometries and often have adjustable stems – offering a choice between aggressive and relaxed body positions.
  • Usually are made to support a full rack and panniers.
  • Work well for xtracycle conversions.

Disadvantage:

  • Heavier and less aerodynamic than a road bike – not as good for making time on long stretches of open road.

Comfort Bike

Advantage:

  • Upright riding position is easy on the neck and back (for short distances).
  • Front suspension makes brick roads more tolerable.

Disadvantage:

  • Heavy and slow.
  • Upright position is not aerodynamic.
  • Not a great choice for a commute of more than a couple miles.
  • “Comfort bike” is a bit of a misnomer, as some of these designs are not comfortable for more than short distances.

Recumbent Bike

Advantage:

  • Comfortable riding position and seat. Great for those of us with stiff necks and bad backs.

Disadvantage:

  • Some designs sit low to the ground, reducing visibility in traffic (more problematic when operating alongside traffic in bike lanes and shoulders).