BUYING GUIDES: ROAD BIKES

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Road bikes are designed to be ridden on good unbroken surfaces. Good tarmac is fantastic as it allows you to ride the bike fast and long, but these bikes can definitely roll over fire roads or broken tarmac patches. Road bikes do not come with suspensions and riding them over broken patches can seem quite jarring.

Typically road bikes are identified by ultra slick tires and drop down handlebars and delicate looking frames.

There are different types of road bikes depending on the experience they deliver- Classic Road Bike, Aero Road Bike, Performance Road Bike, Endurance Road bike, Cross-country Road Bike, Time trial and MORE!

If you are the kind of rider who enjoys the idea of riding long distances on well-paved roads, conquering that steep hill on the outskirts of the city, aspiring to be a road bicycle racer at your local city bicycle races or attempting to pull off a few uber long rides (the sport is called Randonneuring/Brevets) at some point of time, the road bike is the ideal choice for you. These bikes are light in weight and have features to make the rider fast and aerodynamically efficient.

What kind of riders or riding is a road bike best suited for?

If you are the kind of rider who enjoys the idea of riding long distances on well-paved roads, conquering that steep hill on the outskirts of the city, aspiring to be a road bicycle racer at your local city bicycle races or attempting to pull off a few uber long rides (the sport is called Randonneuring/Brevets) at some point of time, the road bike is the ideal choice for you. These bikes are light in weight and have features to make the rider fast and aerodynamically efficient.

Which Road bike is Suitable for You?

Typically there will be different types of road bikes available in the market, which are meant to serve different purposes. Choosing a road bike not only depends on your budget also the type of riding you are intended to do.
The Road bikes which aimed at racing are designed with a lightweight frame, ultra slick tire and efficiency takes the highest priority over comfort. For best performance, this type of road bikes is built with longer top tubes and shorter head tube for an aerodynamic racing position. Generally, these type of road bikes is suitable for experienced riders. On the other hand road bikes for leisure riding allows a more upright riding position that is less aerodynamic than racing bikes which is a good choice for beginners.

Is the road bike an ideal first bike for me? The posture on it looks very uncomfortable.

The most important aspect of buying a bike is making sure that it is the right frame size and fits you well. As long as those aspects are taken care of and you have an average level of fitness and flexibility, the road bike is a good choice. These are certain off-the-bike exercises one can do to improve your riding abilities on the road bike and take it to the next level of performance. In short, the right fitting bike is the crucial factor here. And as long as that is taken care of, you should not face any discomfort in this regard.


Lets deep dive into the different types of road bikes

Specialized Tarmac

RACING/PERFORMANCE ROAD BIKES
These bikes are designed to be as light as possible, so frame design plays the most important role in these road bikes. That is why racing bike uses steeper angles for the fork and seat tube also with short chainstay and seat stays. Racing road bike use longer top tubes to create flat backed, stretch out riding position and makes the rider more aerodynamic which helps you ride faster.

Generally Racing road bikes built with lightweight Aluminum or carbon fiber frames.

Trek Domane

ENDURANCE ROAD BIKES
These bikes are the most popular form of road bikes with a relatively relaxed geometry for stable and longer rides. Generally, endurance road bikes have an upright riding position and stable handling because of the shorter top tube and taller head tube combinations. In short endurance, bikes put less pressure on your body, especially on your back which allows you to ride longer in greater comfort. This is especially important if you’re not as flexible or if you prefer comfort over speed.

Having said that, a correct bike fit is absolutely critical to ensure you are 100% comfortable and safe once you purchase your bike.

Specialized Shiv

TIME TRIAL OR TT ROAD BIKES
Time Trial (TT) bikes are designed to cater to the demands of the sport of Time Trails – here individual riders or teams compete against the clock on relatively short and flat courses. TT bikes are designed to go as fast as possible with the lowest wind resistance. So everything in TT bikes designed to give optimum aerodynamic performance and speed, designers use super slippery foil shape frames which helps bikes to cut through the air. TT bikes have a higher focus on aerodynamics than weight because most of the TT events are run on flat courses, hence weight is not an issue here. The most important feature of TT bike is its handlebar. TT Bikes don’t use drop handlebars which are generally used on most of the road bikes. They use flattened aero bikes which give the rider a super low, flat stretched out position to maximize their aerodynamic efficiency. The main goal is to reduce your wind resistance so that more of your pedaling power goes towards going faster, rather than breaking through the air.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

TOURING ROAD BIKES
Touring bikes are slightly different than other road bikes as these bikes are not focused on performance but more on comfort, longevity and on the ability to carry gear on the bike. Touring bikes are comparatively heavier and provide a lot more stability and an upright riding position.

Specialized Amira

WOMEN SPECIFIC ROAD BIKE
Women have a different body geometry to men and women-specific bicycles cater to that difference. Generally, women tend to have longer legs and shorter arms and torso than men, hence women-specific bikes come with a shorter top tube to bring the handlebar closer to the saddle while still enabling full leg stretch. Some bike brands also end up having other women-specific components on their bikes – like saddles, grips/brake levers and crank arms to accommodate the difference in human physiology.


ROAD BIKES FRAME MATERIALS

The frame is the heart of any bike. Road bikes are generally made from Carbon fiber, Aluminium, Steel or Titanium. Each type of material has different characteristic and will affect the cost, comfort, weight of the bike.

Carbon Fibre: Carbon frames are strong, stiff and lightweight. Because of this, most manufacturers use carbon fiber to build the high-end bicycle segment. Carbon fiber is also famous for easily moduled features which allow designers to experiment with tube profile on the frame. Carbon is fantastic at vibration damping making carbon frames more comfortable over long distances.

Aluminum: Aluminum frames are light and stiff. Aluminum is cheaper than carbon fiber and hence is seen on a majority of bicycles that are manufactured as it is found in abundance, is lightweight and does not rust. An aluminum frame offers performance on a budget!

Steel: Steel frames are perfect for riders who prefer comfort over stiffness and speed. Before Aluminum and carbon fiber, steel was the best choice for road bike frame material as it is found in abundance, is easy to work with and offers a brilliant ride.

Titanium: Titanium bikes are lightweight, strong yet not as harsh as Aluminium. Unfortunately, Titanium frames are priced higher because it is an expensive material and difficult to work with.