After two years in lockdown and restrictions, we are especially aware of how much physical activity is good for our bodies and mind. Riding a road bike is probably among the top five activities that were practiced during social distancing. It’s also a great cardio and can strengthen your muscles and joints, keeping you fit and healthy.
However, choosing the ride bike is the key to have the best experience possible. We prepared the basic and essential things to pay attention to in order to find your perfect bike. So take a look at these tips that will help you choose the road bike of your dreams.
Research before purchase
If you don’t know which road bike is for you, do some research. You can rely on staff in the bike store, but it’s best to know a little more before you go to buy. Start by visiting message boards and forums intended for bike riders where you can get a lot of useful advice from professionals.
You can contact bike riding groups and see what they suggest. Remember that it matters if you rode a bike before or not, so focus your research accordingly. Manufacturers’ websites and customer service may also be a good starting point for your research, as well as blogs of other cyclists.
What type of road bike is for you
Determining what bike is for you is the dilemma of many future riders. The same applies when going for a narrower selection process, like choosing the right type of road bike. Ask yourself how much money you are willing to spend and where you plan to ride your bike. These questions will help you find a suitable bike among available types on the market.
· Endurance road bikes — an ideal choice for beginners. Sitting on them doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your intimate area and hands, while you will sit in a more upright position. These bikes are okay for racing, although not a professional ones.
· Performance road bikes — these are also referred to as race road bikes. They are similar to endurance types with an essential difference in their frame geometry. This feature requires you to take a more racing position to achieve faster speeds, making them perfect for hilly races. Pro-models can cost over $10,000, while a decent starter bike is around $1500.
· Aero road bikes — as the name suggests, these bikes are intended to be ridden in an aerodynamic position. This is a more demanding way to ride than with the previous types and is for people with an increased level of flexibility. Unfortunately, this means that they are also less comfortable for riding. These are fast bikes used by racers and sprinters. The price is higher, around $2500, but if you want to race, this may be the right model for you.
· Gravel bikes — this model uses wider tires of at least 40mm, making it good for rough terrains. They are also a great choice for bike packing and long trips since you can add accessories, like fenders, bottle cages, and racks. Some models are even used in gravel racing.
· Touring road bikes —this is a special category of road bikes. Their geometry makes them more relaxed for riding than endurance bikes. They come with accessories that will allow you to equip them with add-ons to expand your storage capacity, needed for multi-day adventures.
If you want to participate in time trials, triathlons, or cyclocross races you can get a road bike specifically designed for those purposes. Other than that, one of the previously explained types will cover plans, like cross-country trips and uncomfortable terrains.
Range of frame materials
The frame is at the core of your road bike and the material it’s made of can determine the price and what will you use it for. It is usually made from steel, aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber and this order also dictates the price on the market. This is not to say that aluminum bikes are not good for racing, so don’t dismiss them too quickly during shopping.
Choosing the right groupset
The collection of breaks and gear parts are called a groupset. Most road bikes use a 2X groupset, but you can do well with buying a 1X one. Regarding breaks, you can choose a bike with a disk, rim, or hydraulic disc breaks. Rim breaks are the most common, although disk breaks are increasingly popular for being better adapted for wet roads and descents.
Pay attention to wheels and tires
Wheels and tires are other components to take into consideration during purchase. Wheels are made of various alloys or their mixes, with carbon fiber being the most expensive and used on high-end bikes. When it comes to tires, you need to pay attention to their width. Basically, the rule says that wider tires bring more comfort when riding.
Picking the right bike size
The size matters! When shopping for road bikes, you need to make sure that the models you are choosing from are a perfect fit for your body. What does this mean? Well, you need to take into account your height and dimensions so you don’t pick a bike that is too big or too small for you.
Some manufacturers offer three sizes of bikes given in centimeters. Others may have ten sizes that only slightly differ from each other. The best approach is going to the store and trying several models until you figure out which one is the best fit for your body type. Ask the seller to take the bike for a spin to feel it. If that’s not an option, ask about their return and replacement policies, so you don’t waste your money on a road bike that’s not good to ride.
Mind your budget
The price of a road bike can range from affordable to extremely expensive. But regardless of the price, you can find the price range that fits your budget and still get a great bike. Things that can define the price are materials used for the frame, ranging from steel (cheapest) to carbon fiber (the most expensive).
The same applies to materials used for wheelsets and groupsets, where more durable alloys cost more. To be considered as well as a fact expensive bikes are intended for professional use, meaning the higher the price the more uncomfortable it will be to ride it. If you don’t intend to participate in races, opt for an affordable model that will get you going until you are ready for something more professional.
A road bike should fit your plans, intentions, and fitness level. Some types of road bikes are not easy to ride and are intended for people with years of experience, like the racing models. However, if you are looking for a road bike to ride across the country and on various terrains, you will find some of the most comfortable types at affordable prices. Remember to sit on a bike before making a purchase, since it’s not one size fits all, and choosing the perfect one may require some patience and research.
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