How to choose the right bike for your trip?
There are so many different types of bike available now that it can be confusing to know which one is the right choice for the tour or excursion you are going to be doing! Below we outline the basics of each type and the pros and cons for each style:
- When should I use a hybrid bike?
A hybrid bike is the type of bike which you are most likely to see day to day on bike paths in any city around the world. Comfortable, practical and flexible, a hybrid bike is a great choice for leisurely tours and rides. The riding position is laid back and the bikes come with very comfortable saddles which makes them a perfect choice for riders who haven’t been on a bike for a while.
Pros: Light but sturdy with the option to load panniers and carry gear on the bike. A very comfortable riding position and tyres suitable for both paved roads and unpaved bike paths.
Cons: Despite being lightweight they are considerably heavier than road bikes so riding significant climbs can be more of a challenge.
- When should I use an electric bike?
If you have spent much time in Geneva city centre looking at the variety of bikes and cyclists pedalling the streets, then you will already be very familiar with electric bikes! Similar to hybrid bikes in terms of style and the terrain they can cover, electric bikes have the added advantage of being fitted with an electric motor! As with hybrid bikes the riding position is laid back and the bikes come with very comfortable saddles, making them a great choice for riders who haven’t been on a bike for a while. They are perfect for leisurely tours and for making challenging rides more accessible. Electric bikes are fantastic for older, younger or inexperienced riders who are riding in a mixed ability group.
Pros: An electric motor makes climbs much easier and longer daily distances more attainable. Option to load 1 or 2 panniers and carry gear on the bike. A very comfortable riding position and wide tyres mean that it is suitable for riding on both paved roads and unpaved bike paths.
Cons: Electric bikes are much heavier than hybrid bikes and so more difficult to transport by car or public transport.
When should I use a road bike?
Road bikes are what springs to mind when we think of the classic image of a lycra-clad Tour de France rider, grinding their way up Mont Ventoux with drop handlebars and thin wheels. If you are doing a challenging road tour then this is most likely going to be the bike for you. We recommend that if you are going to use a road bike, you are used to using one on a regular basis, as there is quite a learning curve attached to riding one: the tires are narrow, the brakes are not as accessible as they are on flat bars, saddles are minimal and if you aren’t used to the more aggressive riding position it can be uncomfortable initially.
Pros: The lightweight frame is engineered to optimise speed, climbing and road performance. Road bikes are usually fitted with automatic pedal strokes.
Cons: It is not possible to fit panniers on to a road bike and they are not suitable on unpaved terrain. Riding drop handlebars can be a learning curve if you aren’t used to it.
When should I use a gravel bike?
The ultimate in flexible riding, gravel bikes look like road bikes in terms of style but are fitted with wider tyres and disc brakes as well as also having the capacity to load panniers or a bikepacking setup to carry gear during a ride. Gravel bikes are at home both on and off-road and let you roam off the beaten track to explore those inviting paths! Given their amazing flexibility they can be used for all types of riding. As with our road bikes we recommend that if you are going to use a gravel bike, you are used to riding a bike with drop handlebars as the brakes are not as accessible as they are on flat bars, and if you aren’t used to the more aggressive riding position it can be uncomfortable initially.
Pros: Lightweight but very sturdy aluminum frame makes it possible to load 1 or 2 panniers or a bikepacking setup. Performs brilliantly on and off-road and wider tyres make for a very comfortable ride.
Cons: If you haven’t ridden drop handlebars before this can take a bit of getting used to.
How can Geneva Cycling help?
At Geneva Cycling we offer all four of the above types of bikes for hire. All of our rental bikes are supplied as standard with a basic repair kit, spare inner tube, pump or CO2 cartridge and helmet. GPS and panniers can also be supplied if requested.
Our rental hybrid bikes also come outfitted with a pannier rack and 1 or 2 panniers so you can transport the gear you want to access during your ride. They are the perfect choice for all types of tours, including day excursions or multi-day trips.
As with our hybrid bikes, our rental electric bikes also come outfitted with a pannier rack and 1 or 2 panniers so you can transport the gear you want to access during your ride. This is the perfect choice for less experienced riders or riders who would like that “extra boost”, perhaps when riding in a mixed-ability group or on a trip with a bit more elevation gain each day, such as Three Lake Cycling.
Our rental road bikes are fully carbon with Shimano Ultegra components. Most of them come with a 32-cog cassette in the back making them the ideal bike to tackle our local cols. They are the perfect choice for our more challenging multi-day tours (many of which include Tour de France climbs) such as our popular Geneva to Alpe d’Huez.
Our rental gravel bikes can be fitted with a pannier rack and 1 or 2 panniers or a bikepacking setup, which is a more lightweight way of transporting the bare minimum for your adventures! They are a good choice for our entire catalog of tours given their flexibility, but particularly our tours specifically designed for gravel bikes.
The two most important things to consider when choosing a bike for a trip are “will I be comfortable on this?” and “is it suitable for the type of riding that I will be doing?”.
If you are relatively new to cycling or returning to cycling after a while away from your bike, we would highly recommend choosing a hybrid or electric bike and a trip suited to this more comfortable style of riding.