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Bike Frames and Form FactorsUpdated 3 months ago

Type of frames

There are a wide variety of frame types: however for simplicity's sake, most can be classified as either step-through (open) or step-over (closed).

  • Step-through frames: they either do not have a top tube, or have a significantly lowered one. These are best for simple commuting, frequent stops, and for those with restricted mobility.
  • Step-over frames: this type of frame offers the best rigidity (and therefore is used on most mountain bikes), but requires you to lift your leg high to get on the bike.

Many bike models come with two versions: one step-over and one step-through. There is no "better" option, just what is more suitable for you! Typically, step-over frames are associated with a more "athletic" stance, while step-through frames place the rider in a more "leisurely", upright position.

Form factors

Form factorDescription
HybridOffers a somewhat upright riding position, slightly more athletic than a cruiser. Lightweight (often <50 lbs), with moderate cargo capacity (~25 lbs on the rear rack), ideal for commuting with moderate-to-thin tires for increased speed.
CruiserProvides a comfortable, upright riding position with decent cargo capacity (~50 lbs on the rear rack). Moderately heavy (usually 50-70 lbs) with medium-thickness tires for a balance between speed, traction, and comfort.
Mountain BikeOffers a relatively upright riding position, designed for comfortable standing riding. Features fatter tires for maximum traction off-road, with front suspension standard (hardtail) and rear suspension (fully-suspended) common. Some models offer cargo capacity, varying based on model.
Folding BikeFeatures an upright riding position with step-through geometry, suitable for shorter riders. Typically equipped with medium-to-fat tires for stability on smaller wheels. Weight varies (some lighter ~50 lbs or under, some heavier) and can be folded up for convenient storage.
Scrambler / E-MotorcycleResembles a moped or motorcycle, often used without pedaling, capable of higher speeds (30 mph+), typically weighing ~60-70 lbs. Not always suitable for shared trails.
Cargo bikes (Bakfiets, Basket/Box bike)Offers maximum carrying capacity, very heavy (100 lbs+), with customizable front storage space. They often feature accessories like infant car seat adapters.
Road/Racing Bike
Provides an efficient, athletically-engaged, aerodynamic position with extremely skinny tires for maximum speed. Minimal cargo capacity, no suspension, extremely lightweight.
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