THE ROAD BIKE GUIDE
Today, the road bike is not restricted to professional cyclists anymore: it has become way more accessible. Just a few pedal strokes and this fast bike takes you out of the city in no time! The road bike is a sport in itself that helps you to stay in good shape, makes you forget about your stressing day and suits all kind of level and age.
If you’re planning to buy a road bike, there are some important questions you have so ask yourself. What will you use it for? Are you a born competitor and do you wish to update your races calendar with more dates? Or do you simply want to enjoy the landscapes of your region and a bit of speed during the weekend?
There are several types of road bikes, which correspond to different kind of use:
- Road bike
- Triathlon bike
Buying a road bike is a bit of an investment. It is therefore important to evaluate your wishes and what you’re planning to do with it. The price of the road bike mostly varies depending of the parts. So, what are the bike parts that you have to pay attention to on a road-bike?
Should I pick a road bike with a carbon or an aluminium frame?
Aluminium is a light, solid and stiff material. Aluminium frames are mostly to be found on entry or middle level road bikes. It’s a reliable frame that allows a very good power transmission. However, aluminium also has weak points: it’s heavier than carbon fibers and doesn’t absorb the chocks as well as carbon does. Today, most of the aluminium frames are equipped with a carbon fork and a carbon seat post, which makes the driving more pleasing.
Carbon fibers frame
Carbon fibers are much lighter than aluminium, and as we said, they absorb chocks better. What’s the advantage in practice? You get bikes with an excellent power transmission capacity and an outstanding speed, but also more resistant and flexible. Thanks to technological progress, there are a lot of different ways to produce carbon frames and they are more and more common on the market. Contrary to common beliefs, they are not restricted to competition.
What’s the right frame size for my road bike?
|155-160 cm||47-49 cm||46-48 cm|
|160-165 cm||49-51 cm||47-49 cm|
|165-170 cm||51- 53 cm||48-50 cm|
|170-175 cm||53-55 cm||50-52 cm|
|175-180 cm||55-57 cm||52-55 cm|
|180-185 cm||57-60 cm||55-57 cm|
|185-190 cm||60- 62 cm||57- 60 cm|
|190-195 cm||62-64 cm||60-62 cm|
|from 195 cm||from 64 cm||from 62 cm|
You’re probably going to spend quite a lot of time of your new bike. It is therefore important for you to choose to perfect frame size, the one that suits your body. You will find a detailed table of the frame sizes on the website of each bike brand. The tableau that we put right there give you the ideal frame size for you according to your size and the size of your legs.To the framesize calculator
The different types of road bikes
The road bike
As its name implies, the road bike is made for the road. On this type of bike, the body position is very sporty and quite horizontal in order to improve the speed and to minimize the wind resistance. The typical parts that you’ll find on a road bike are a race handlebar, thin wheels and a light frame. They are designed for the speed, and not particularly for comfort. They will be an awesome choice if you plan to train or to participate to races. The perfect bike for speed-lovers!
The cyclocross is a kind of mix between a road bike and an MTB. Also known under the name of “XC”, the cyclocross is a type of race which a lot of cyclist participate to off-season. The racers have to do several tours on different surfaces: grass, wooden surfaces, etc. These races are truly a challenge for the riders. They can test their endurance, their strength and their agility. The bikes in themselves can therefore ride on a lot of different surface and are more solid. They have some common points with the gravel bike, but the route of the races is generally way more intense.
The gravel bike
Not everyone can be a professional road racer. Most of the cyclists ride their bike for fun or to do some exercises. If that’s how you see it, we advise you to choose a bike with a position that is more comfortable. The past years, the gravel bike has become more and more popular. It named “gravel” because of the type of terrain it can ride on. The shape of its shape is a bit less extrem than the one of the road bikes, and they are therefore more pleasant to ride. The angles of the frame are shorter, and the riding position more a bit more upright. The wheelbase is also longer and the tires are larger. It also has a race handlebar, which can be a bit surprising as it is mainly meant for rides in the nature.
The triathlon bike
The triathlon bikes are a more aerodynamic version of the road bikes. This aerodynamism significantly reduces the wind resistance. Their main characteristics are a straight handlebar, an aggressive frame shape (sharp angles, low stem and low handlebar). This is the frame shape that allows the bike to be more aerodynamic. This particular shape also reduces the effort that the athlete produces while riding, so that he can save some strength for the running part! The heavier the wheel rim is, the harder it is to make it turn – but once you get started, it almost keeps a constant speed. If you really want an aero bike, choose higher wheel rims, or even paracular wheels.
The right drive train
The three brands that are the most famous in the world of road bike are Shimano, Sram and Campagnolo. Each of them produces a wide range of drive trains, that are meant to be used by different types of cyclists : high-end transmissions for racers, and more affordable groups (but with a totally acceptable quality) for amateurs. For sure, you have to keep in mind that their price is proportional to their quality. On some road bikes, the gears change automatically thanks to an electronic system. These systems are more expensive, but they will change your life on the bike!
What is special about wheels?
After the frame, the wheels are one of parts you have to focus on when buying a road bike. Their weight and rotation have a high impact on the bike’s behavior. The lighter they are, the more the braking capacity and acceleration performance are impacted. Their design also plays a big role: the deeper the wheel rims are, the more aerodynamic and stiff the wheels are. Aero bikes are a recent trend, but their special wheels make a great difference, in particular for triathletes and racing cyclists. Beginners can start with light and stiff wheels, which are also cheaper.
Rim brakes or disc brakes?
Most of the road bikes for races and asphalt roads are equipped with rim brakes. But disc brakes fit gravels and cyclocross bikes way better. They have a better braking capacity and are very efficient by rainy weather as well.