Chain reaction: choosing a bicycle

Alan Bonini looks at some of the bikes that make cycling is so much fun and great exercise.

Some may consider the notion of cycling on Abu Dhabi streets comparable to kamikaze exercises, but there are redeeming qualities that can make the effort vastly rewarding. While the 3,642km Tour de France may be an unlikely target for most, a jaunt along the Corniche or some of the quieter routes around Abu Dhabi make buying a bike a worthwhile exercise in itself. But what to buy? There are three basic configurations: racing /road bike, hybrid, or mountain/off-road bike. Here, Alan Bonini pedals his way through some of the specifications of one brand.

Hybrid Type Hybrids are a wonderful mix of the bits that make road bikes and mountain bikes so popular, but are customised primarily for road use. They are best suited for recreational riders or commuters as they offer superior comfort. Normally with a well-cushioned saddle, they are mostly designed to be ridden upright with a comfortable arm-reach to the handlebars and pedals and gears to achieve a relaxed ride through normal city traffic.

Mechanics At just over 13kg, the Sportster P3 is not too heavy to pedal for long periods of time, and the Shimano gears, hubs and chain combined with powerful Scott Comp brakes make it a durable choice for day-to-day leisure riding. The wide 700x35cm tyres and Scott sportster seat allow for a lot of give on some of the less paved routes that you and your family might discover for fun and fitness.

Distance Not particularly designed for long trips, hybrids fill the gap for in-town commutes and possibly slightly longer journeys, and are a more functional - and green - method of transportation than other road-using vehicles. If you're looking for a quality and well-rounded bike for casual riding, the Scott P3 is an excellent choice at a reasonable price. Dh3,890

Road racing bike Type Road racing bikes are designed for one thing only - to go fast. They are the most efficient style of bike with the most advanced technologies used to make them extremely light weight. The Addict has become a benchmark in carbon fibre construction, and is known as the bike to ride in the pro peloton or road race pack. Mechanics The Addict uses IMP carbon technology to produce a super light Scott Addict HMX NET road frame that weighs only 790 grams, with an overall weight of just 6.20kg. Its carbon technology is also designed for road race geometry, and features high-end Shimano shifters, brakes and crankset with Mavic Ksyrium hubs turning 700x23 tyres. Team Columbia-HTC, the most successful team in professional cycling and ranked number one in the world, consistently rides this bike to victory.

Distance The well-named Addict features race-inspired geometry for maximum performance. Whether you are planning to join a racing team or simply have a need for speed, this is the bike for serious riders. Dh32,990

Mountain/off-road Type Not specifically for rugged off-roading, this choice can also be used in the city, with the wide tires and suspension fork giving added comfort no matter the terrain. On the road you can switch off the suspension or hunt out tortuous hills and tracks to test the two-wheeler to its limits. Competition-level riding, however, is not for the faint hearted. Mechanics Although this model is loaded with bump-levelling mechanics and specialised components, it weighs less than 12kg and comes with a Rock Shox fork, Shimano gears and shifters and strong Avid Elixir 5 disc brakes. This is all held together on a new hydroformed alloy frame with Scott Aspect handlebars. Wellgo pedals turn thick 26x2.1cm tyres. Distance Designed to take the very rough with the smooth, this version of mid-range mountain bike will satisfy the adventurous rider in pursuit of excitement, and still allow for that slow, comfortable ride home. Pretty soon you will be hunting out those unexplored trails and dunes to take yourself and the bike to the limit.