September/October 1996, p.16

Nuts and Bolts: City Bikes
By Scott Stepp

To the cyclist, New York City offers hundreds of miles of road in wildly varied conditions. Sprawling, speedy stretches of avenue abound, as well as blocks patched with steel plates, peppered with potholes, and rippled with uneven pavement. The best type of bike for getting around on the street can vary from block to block. A few strengths and weaknesses of three of the most popular types of bike on the street are listed below.

Mountain Bikes
Mountain bikes' fat tires, long frame and (if you can afford them) suspension shocks help smooth a bumpy ride. Heavy treads, though, slow the tires down. You can replace them with slick tires, but you'd still get there much faster on a road bike.

Road Bikes
Road bikes are unmatched for speed because of skinny, hard tires, a larger wheel radius, and more speed-oriented gearing and frame geometry. The ride is rougher than a mountain bike, though.

Cruisers
Cruisers are generally inexpensive and widely available used. Sine most cruisers have coaster brakes and few gears, they're also easy to maintain. Cruisers are less likely to be stolen than flashier road and mountain bikes. They're also heavy and slow, making them bad getaway vehicles.