Let Us Help You Find Just the Right Bike for Your Needs
If you’re just getting into the biking world, you’ll be amazed—then overwhelmed—by the wide range of bike styles available. There are many different types of bicycles suited to different uses, conditions, and riding styles. Get the correct bike for your needs, and you’ll love riding. Get the wrong style, and you’ll incorrectly assume that bike riding is not for you. Some bike seller’s just want you to buy bikes. However, we want you to ride bikes, and we’d be honored if you bought them from us as well.
If you’re looking for a bike in the Cincinnati area, let us help you choose the right bike for your needs. We keep plenty of bikes in stock, many times more than fit in our store. Come see for yourself.
Comfort-able Bikes for the Paved Trail
Ride around the neighborhood or hit the paved bike path on a bicycle that doesn’t hurt to ride. The upright position of a comfort-able bike by Del Sol, Biria, Fuji, or Day6 will make riding an enjoyable form of exercise that you’ll be eager to repeat, not merely tolerate.
If you know someone who has physical challenges that make riding a traditional bicycle difficult, West Trails Bicycles may have a bike that can get them back on the road to fitness. For example, our low step-over bikes from Biria are extremely easy to mount and dismount.
The name itself might be a hint as to the potential awkwardness of these bikes. We enjoy the various ways that shoppers butcher the term: “incumbent”, “encumberent”, “reclinbent”, “cucumbent”… These bikes are perfect for some riders, but for most riders they add unnecessary awkwardness to the bike riding experience.
These bikes come in an amazing number of styles with various wheel sizes, seat configurations, body and handlebar positions, and price tags. It’s unlikely you’ll find a new recumbent bike for less than $1500, which is part of the reason these bike don’t suit most riders.
Recumbents do a great job of taking the pressure off of the “sit-bone” area of traditional bike saddles. For some riders, seat discomfort is not a slight discomfort to be “toughed-out”, but a deal-breaker that makes riding a traditional bike impossible.
Most people that consider recumbents are trying to avoid two things: leaning forward and seat discomfort. For these customers, we first like to recommend the semi-recumbent, Day6 bicycle.
Our Day 6 bicycles feature contoured backrests and custom-made saddles, making them easy on the back, neck, and shoulders. Basically, they do what recumbents do, but with less complexity. And no, you can’t merely put one of these seats on your current bike and make any positive changes. The entire Day6 bike is designed around nestling you back into this seat.
We’ve been fortunate to have customers with back problems, joint replacements, range-of-motion issues, and amputations who we’ve been able to help get back on bikes—sometimes with stock bikes, and sometimes with a little modification back at the machine shop. We don’t guarantee we can get everyone back on a bike, but we’ll give it our best shot.
Also known as “flat foot” bikes, pedal-forward bikes are designed to lower the rider closer to the ground. For most riders, young and old, that is a comforting thought. Much confidence can be gained by lowering the seat height on any bike. That’s why you will see surprising numbers of casual riders on the bike trail with their seats way too low; their poor knees coming up chest-high straining to push the pedals at such an awkward angle. Yes, it feels good to the brain, but the body suffers. Consequently, knees and hips get strained, and legs tire quickly from the leg-unfriendly position.
Pedal forward bikes, like the Manhattan Smoothie, as you might imagine, have the pedal rotation centered much farther forward than a traditional bike. This allows the rider to get proper leg extension while pedaling, even though the seat is closer to the ground. You might ask, “Why hadn’t anyone thought of this before?” Well… mostly because bike designs of the past tended to focus on efficiency rather than comfort. Try to stand up while riding a pedal forward bike to power up a hill and you’ll find that it’s not easy to do. By contrast, traditional bike designs put your body over the pedals, so you can use your weight to help you push on the pedals. Pedal forward bikes are best for casual riders and flat pavement.
It’s a sad commentary on our current society when putting the word “adult” in front of something conjures the thought that the subject might not be family friendly. However, an adult trike might just be the best way to get the whole family out on the bike trail.
Not everyone has the confidence or balance to ride a traditional bike. Our adult trikes from Sun and Manhattan, as well as electric assist trikes from Bintelli, Wolff, or Sun can be confidently ridden in full view of the children without embarrassment.
Bicycles for Heavy Riders
Not all cyclists are those skinny little twigs you see wrapped in bright spandex colors—or at least they don’t start out that way. If you’re looking to reduce your size by bicycling, you need to be aware that many stock bicycles may not be sturdy enough as you begin your quest for the new you. Unfortunately, most of the more robust bikes are going to put you in an awkward and uncomfortable position. We have experience modifying comfortable bicycles to be safe and allow you to begin riding towards your future.
The term “hybrid“, in the bicycle world, is confusingly overused these days. A few decades ago, bike shops had basically two styles of bikes to offer adult riders: “road” and “mountain” bikes. Then some genius realized that many riders were buying mountain bikes, not because they wanted to ride off-road, but because they thought that the flat handle bars of mountain bikes offered a more upright riding position, which they did not.
Enter the “hybrid.”
Basically, a hybrid bike is any of the vast array of bikes that is not strictly a “go-fast” road bike or a “go-rugged” mountain bike. These “hybrids” range from nearly road bikes to nearly mountain bikes. Most bikes in any bike shop these days will be some version of a hybrid. At West Trails Bicycles we try to avoid using the term “hybrid” because it’s confusingly non-specific… except for “electric hybrids.” A bike that has an electric motor, but also can be motivated forward by pedaling is an electric hybrid, or hybrid electric… we swing both ways.
Stuck in the Middle
Hybrids are book-ended by road bikes on one end of the spectrum and mountain bikes on the other. To give you an idea of the range of bicycle styles called “hybrid,” here is a brief overview:
Drop Bar Road Bikes
Many people refer to these only as “road bikes.” However, for clarity we refer to them as drop bar road bikes (DBRB). Generally, efficiency is the paramount design consideration with these bikes. Because of their superior efficiency, this is the bike style professional road racers use. The design leans the rider forward to get rider weight more directly over the pedals and to reduce wind drag. Typical attributes: narrow tires, forward lean, higher gearing for faster top-end speed, lightweight. Choose these if “faster” or “farther” are your goals. Subsets of road bikes include, endurance, gravel/adventure, cyclocross, and touring bikes.
Flat Bar Road Bikes
Here’s where “hybrids” begin. For clarity we call these flat bar road bikes. These bikes suit a bit more casual rider interested in challenging themselves with effort on rides less than 25 miles at a shot. Typical attributes compared to DBRBs: wider tires, more upright position. Commuter bikes are a subset of these.
Paved Path Bikes
In the center of the “hybrid” range comes what we refer-to as paved path bikes. These are the most comfortable of the bicycle styles. In fact, sometimes bikes in this category are referred to as comfort bikes. Because most people don’t want to give up comfort in exchange for efficiency, most of the bikes we sell are in this category.
Contrary to marketing campaigns that might assure you that you don’t need to sacrifice comfort for efficiency, or efficiency for comfort… you actually you do! Features like the upright riding position, suspension seat post and fork, and wider seat, all add weight, wind resistance, less efficient power transfer from rider to machine, and… comfort! So if enjoying the ride is your top priority over speed and distance, this is the bike style for you. Included in this category are cruiser, pedal forward, and easy boarding bikes.
True Hybrid Bikes
Heading toward the off-road end of the bicycle spectrum, we come to what we refer to as the true hybrid. It’s about as in-between a road bike and a mountain bike as you can get. Medium width tires with moderate tread allow for less rolling resistance than a mountain bike and more traction on non-pavement than a DBRB. The wider range of gearing allows both a slow slog up steep terrain and fast speed along smooth pavement. The light-duty front suspension fork smooths out the ride over bumpy terrain and ideally has a lock-out feature to make the fork rigid on smooth pavement, which allows more of your pedaling effort to go into driving you forward and less of it going into bouncing you up and down.
Like all compromises, however, this bike gives you the “best (you can get with one bike) of both worlds” but does not give you either the best of the road bike world nor the best of the off-road world. If you are holding-out, searching for one bike that “does it all”, be prepared for a long wait.
Rugged Terrain Bikes
The rest of the world calls these “mountain bikes,” but we prefer rugged terrain bicycles because very few of these bikes ever touch the slopes of a mountain, yet they certainly are designed to handle rugged terrain wherever it is found. This style features wide tires for increased off-road traction, an extra strong frame and fork, and low gears to power up difficult climbs. Additionally, the low handlebar position puts body weight over the pedals and keeps weight over the front wheel for steering traction. And perhaps, best of all, the heavy duty suspension fork dampens the impact of rocks, roots, and logs.
Hybrid Electric Bikes for Health
For many people, a bicycle offers their last hope of regaining health after years of neglect or life-altering trauma. Some, however, start their quest for health at such a desperate level that even riding a bike a short distance is nearly impossible. Pedal-assist electric bicycles (also known as e-bikes) from Bintelli, Biria, Serfas, or Wolff amplify the pedaling effort you put into them, allowing you to ride faster and farther than you could on your own, so you can enjoy cycling as you slowly build your strength and improve your health.
Hybrid Electric Bikes for Commuting… and Health
If your commute is too long or too hilly to accomplish by bike, or you want to keep the ride time to a minimum, an electric assist bicycle (also known as an e-bike) from Bintelli, Biria, Serfas, or Wolff might be your ticket to bypass the gas station on your way to work. The average American spends more than $4,000 on gasoline and $5,000 on obesity-related diseases. After buying and using even a really nice e-bike, it won’t take long to recoup your investment in dollars, while the benefits to your health will be huge.
If commuting by bike sounds appealing to you, come talk about your options with the experienced staff at West Trails Bicycles. Most of our staff bikes to work, some every day. Most any bike style could be the right commuter for you, depending on the route you take and the distance. If your daily trips are just a few miles and not too hilly, a commuter bike from KHS may be right for you. Or, if you are less interested in the physical challenge aspect of commuting by bike and more interested in other practical matters like saving money, consider an e-bike from Bintelli, Biria, Serfas, or Wolff. Just their looks may be enough to make you want to ditch your gas guzzler and opt for a simpler means of transportation.
The speed and distance that can be achieved out on the open road on a nice road bike are what made the bicycle such a hit from its inception, and have sustained its popularity for over a century.
Adventure Bikes / Gravel Bikes
Often “the road less traveled is the road more graveled.” Now, thanks to the wonders of engineering and strong materials, bikes, like the Fuji Jari, with the efficiency of traditional road bikes can plow through the unpaved territory of gravel and dirt roads, reliably, with less jarring to the rider. With super-strong frames designed to accommodate wider tires, your road ride can turn into an adventure ride as you turn off the smooth pavement and try some rough routes you’ve avoided in the past. Also see the adventure bike offerings from KHS.
Explore untamed terrain, and enjoy the challenge of riding over it on a rugged terrain bicycle (RTB), commonly known as a mountain bike, from Pivot, Fuji, KHS, or Haro. If you are just getting started, take a look at hard tails like the Fuji Nevada. If you are ready for more fun, check-out the Fuji Bighorn.
Full suspension RTB’s, like the Fuji Outland, reduce the pounding on you and allow the bike to go faster and roll through super challenging terrain.
“Plus” bikes have larger tires designed to get you through the ruff-stuff with less drama. Some of the bikes mentioned above have plus size variants.
We’re talking fat as in “wide,” not as in “overweight.” Indeed the “discount” store versions of these bikes are overweight, but bike shop quality fat bike models are not only surprisingly light, they are also very fun to ride. Where do you ride them? Anywhere you want to go.
The super-wide tires of a fat bike keep you on top of whatever you are riding over, rather than sinking into it. Snow, sand, gravel? No problem. Farm field, rutted or muddy track? Bring it on! Pot holes, storm sewer grates and curbs? Sorry, I didn’t even notice them. Fat bikes are stuffed full of fun!!
Dangerous you say? Not compared to the hazards of a life spent in front of a computer monitor or phone.
Kids bikes tend to go through a lot of wear and tear. While “big box store” bikes have a proud tradition of sitting on the curb on trash night, Fuji’s high-quality kids bikes will last for years to come. Not only will they last through the first little rider, but they will last through the next few too. These are bikes that will still have value after the first rider graduates to their next two-wheeled, skilled-independence machine.
Baby seats, helmets, parts, accessories, and more—whether you’re looking for a unicycle from Sun Bicycles or a bike carrier from Swagman, West Trails Bicycles either has it, is waiting for it to arrive, or can get it.