There are many types of bikes that riders can choose from today, depending on their needs, desires, tastes, and budgets:
Road bikes use drop handles, are meant for speed on smooth roadways, and have some real advantages: they are light and fast; body weight is distributed among the pedals, the seat, and the handlebars; and they come in many sizes, styles, and price ranges. But the skinny tires don’t offer much in the way of shock absorption.
Mountain bikes absorb bumps in the road nicely thanks to their heavy frames and shock absorbing forks. The wide knobby tires are great for winter riding and the disk brakes work better in snow and slush than caliper brakes. A wide range of gear choices make it easy to climb hills. But they tend to be rather heavy and can be rough to ride in the city.
Hybrid bikes were designed to combine the best of road bikes and mountain bikes so they can be ridden on paved roads, but are not as lightweight or efficient as road bikes. They are suitable for paved or unpaved bike trails, but not so great for rough off-road mountain bike trails. The tires are usually medium-width with a semi-smooth tread to provide a relatively smooth ride on pavement, but enough grip and cushion on unpaved trails.
Urban bikes work great in cities that are relatively flat. They tend to be inexpensive, light, fast and minimal, with few or no gears. Add on a cargo carrier and a pannier and you can carry just about anything on them.
Dutch bikes (a.k.a, city bikes) offer comfortable riding positions and stylish looks. They are usually equipped with fenders, chain guards, kickstands, and rear and/or front carriers. These bikes are meant to be used for everyday riding in normal street clothes. They have become very trendy and fashionable among women (and they rule in Holland). They are practical workhorses: strong and built to last forever.
Cargo bikes are everywhere In Copenhagen where they are put to everyday use. They are also popping up more and more in places like Toronto, where bike culture is expanding rapidly. Newer, sleeker designs are lighter, faster, and more stylish than traditional cargo “barges” of the past.
To avoid theft, folding bikes can be taken inside with you. They are also great for multi-modal transportation. The smaller designs can be stowed away under the seat on the subway and used for that last mile to get home or to the workplace. They require a bit more work and are somewhat slower than full-size urban bikes. They are also a bit slower, which has the advantage of minimizing the dangers associated with speed. Also, they tend to be a lot more maneuverable than full-size bikes because of their smaller wheels. And for people who live in apartments, they can be collapsed and easily carried up and stored in a closet.