Road, Hybrid, Mountain, or E-Bike: Which Bicycle is Right for Me?

Road Bikes

Tires: Smooth and skinny for speed
Handlebars: Dropped
Posture: Forward and downturned
Terrain: Best for touring, commuting, and road racing


As the name implies, road bikes are intended for paved roads. They’re distinguished by lightweight frames and skinny tires, designed to maximize speed and efficiency. The bike’s geometry and dropped handlebars provide a more forward-leaning and aerodynamic riding position. These nimble and fast-handling bikes are generally best suited to more experienced cyclists seeking speed and riding long distances. However, many cyclists find road bikes more enjoyable than other bicycle types since they can make your ride more streamlined.

Hybrid Bikes

Tires: Thicker than a road bike for stability, thinner and lighter than a mountain bike
Handlebars: Flat
Posture: Upright for comfort
Terrain: Appropriate for paved roads and gravel or dirt bike paths


A hybrid bike (sometimes called a cross bike) offers the comfort of an upright riding position with flat handlebars and often a wider seat. With a slightly heavier frame and tires that are wider and more robust than a road bike’s, hybrids handle with more confidence over rougher terrain and on less-than-perfect roads. Hybrid bikes offer a wide gear range, which helps with climbing hills. They can be used for easy trail riding, but wouldn’t be the most appropriate choice on rough terrain.

Mountain Bikes

Tires: Wide and thick for stability
Handlebars: Flat with a wide range of gears
Posture: Upright
Terrain: Gravel or dirt bike paths and off-road or unpaved terrain


For off-road use and over rugged terrain, a mountain bike is the best choice. Mountain bikes offer an upright riding position for better visibility, and have flat handlebars for superior steering control. They are equipped with fat, knobby, shock-absorbing tires. A typical mountain bike also has shock-absorbing suspension to remove the sting from bumpy terrain and a wide gear range for climbing steep hills. Mountain bikes are heavier than road bikes, but more comfortable to ride off-road.

Electric Assist: E-Bikes

Tires: Varies
Handlebars: Flat
Posture: Upright for comfort
Terrain: Appropriate for paved roads and gravel or dirt bike paths


E-bikes provide an extra boost to your own pedal power, so you can ride longer distances, tackle tougher climbs, and maintain a faster pace. Electric assist is an excellent option for a little extra push if you’re traveling with friends or family and don’t ride at the same level, or if your heart is set on exploring a region with more challenging cycling.

On an e-bike, the motor is a part of the frame on the bottom bracket between the pedals cranks. You can switch the electric assist on or off at will, so you don’t need to use the motor during your ride if you don’t want to. E-bikes are slightly heavier, faster, and more powerful than a non-electric bike. Therefore, you should anticipate a different reaction when riding downhill, breaking, or dismounting from an e-bike.

Still Unsure?

Since DuVine tours feature some of the world’s top bicycles, your local high-end bicycle shop likely stocks many of the same bikes. Take one for a test ride, paying attention to the seat, handle bars, and riding position. Still have questions or want to see if another bike may be available on tour? Contact us or read more about our bikes and gear!


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