Road bicycles are one of many styles of bike, each of which works best under certain riding conditions. A road bicycle works best on pavement that you might encounter on a commute, race, biking event or riding for exercise. Road bikes work well for all levels of bicyclists. Most road bikes start around $500 and range up to $2,000 or more. Choosing the right road bike involves comparing all of the features, from the weight to the extra features.
Your specific needs influence the selection process. Evaluate how you will use the road bike, including your purpose, the length and the frequency of your bike rides. For example, if you plan to ride for long distances several times a week, you want to invest in a higher quality road bike so it will hold up. If you only want to ride occasionally for recreational purposes, a cheaper model is usually sufficient.
Road Bike Style Options
Road bikes have the same basic construction with some differences. The bike frame materials are one way road bikes vary. Compare the materials used to make the road bike frames, which are usually either aluminum or carbon. Consider an aluminum frame if you are on a tight budget. A carbon bike frame is more expensive but offers a smoother ride. Some bicycles combine aluminum and carbon to get the best of both types. You get a smoother ride than an aluminum bike with a smaller price tag than a carbon frame.
The handlebars also differentiate road bikes. Try different styles of handlebars to determine which one feels most comfortable for you. Choose the drop-bar style for faster speeds and more hand position options. Choose a flat-bar style if you prefer an upright position.
Road Bike Fit and Quality
A good fit makes the bike more comfortable and keeps you safe while riding. To test the size of each bike model, straddle the bar with your feet on the ground. Look for a bike that leaves at least an inch clearance between you and the top bar.
An inspection of the different models helps you evaluate the quality of the bikes. Inspect the components of each bike option, including the wheels, brakes, seat and handlebars. Look for a solid construction, particularly at the joints. Avoid a bicycle that appears to be poorly constructed or feels flimsy.
Road Bike Test Drive
A test drive is the best way to figure out which road bike feels most comfortable to you. Ride each bike option to see how it feels, paying attention to how well it fits and handles. Engage the brakes and shift gears to determine how well those functions work. The longer you can test drive the bike the better you’ll be able to decide if it’s the best match.