Road – Single Speed and ‘Fixie’: Road or track bikes with a single gear-either fixed gear or freewheel. This is a diverse category including everything from trendy courier-style bikes to track racing bikes.
Cyclocross Drop-handlebar road bikes with knobby tyres and plenty of mud clearance around the wheels. Cyclocross riding developed as a winter sport in Europe, and the bikes meld road bike speed with enough robustness for dirt road and off-pavement riding. These traits make them appealing for everything from commuting to touring and all-round riding. Interestingly, the sport of Cyclocross is now gaining some popularity Down Under, with events popping up in cities around Australia. General defining features include drop handlebars, slightly lower than standard road bike gearing, cantilever or disc brakes, 700C wheels and wider 30-38C tyres (as a matter of general interest, 700x33C is the widest allowed for UCI level of competition).
Hardtail Mountain Bikes – Cross Country and Trail: These bikes feature a rigid frame and 26-inch wheels. While some models will have a rigid fork, most will come with a front suspension fork. Cross-country and trail oriented mountain bikes will range from super light cross-country race models through to recreational trail bikes for general off-road riding or MTB touring. There are also large numbers of budget priced all-round models for general cycling and for those who are getting into the sport.
Hardtail Mountain Bikes – Heavy Duty/Freedride: Again featuring a rigid frame and 26-inch wheels, these bikes are built tough to handle very aggressive riding such as freeriding and dirt jumping. The dirt jump bikes typically have shorter travel suspension forks (80-100 mm) while the more freeride oriented models will have 120-160mm of suspension travel up front.
Dual Suspension Bikes, Cross Country, Trail and All Mountain: This category contains 26-inch wheeled bikes equipped with front and rear suspension. It includes all manner of mountain bikes from short travel cross-country racing models through to long travel bikes that are still light enough for general trail riding. This year there are bikes with up to 180 mm of rear suspension travel within this ‘trail riding’ category while the shortest travel offering was 80 mm. Most XC race bikes now have around 100 mm of suspension travel. It wasn’t that long ago that 100 mm was considered ‘downhill only’ – it shows that suspension technology has come a long way in recent years!
Dual Suspension Bikes – Downhill/Freeride With up to 266 mm of rear wheel travel on some models, these bikes are built to go fast over the worst terrain as long as gravity is on your side. Most will be on the heavy side but they are designed to handle plenty of ‘air time’ and some sizable drops. Pure downhill bikes are likely to use a single front chaining with a chain device while the freeride models may offer a broader gear range, making them a little more versatile when out on the trail.