For many the allure of road bikes comes from tradition and the illustrious history of road cycling; for others it's the excitement and freedom of the open road. With smooth, narrow tires and drop handlebars, road bikes are designed for strength, speed and efficiency. Modern road bikes are descendants of the 10-speed bicycles from the 1970s, but many advancements have been made since those bicycles traveled the roads. Today, frames and components are made from lightweight, strong, and comfortable materials, such as carbon fiber, aluminum alloys, titanium and the latest advancements in steel tubing. Because they are so fast and efficient, you can cover the greatest distances and reach the highest speeds on a road bike. If you are someone who enjoys speed and leaving miles of road behind you, a road bike is the perfect choice.
There are many types of road bikes, covering a wide price range. Here are some descriptions to help guide you with your selection:
Competitive/Performance Road Bikes
Whether you are a cyclist who is competing or one who is competitive, performance road bikes offer the highest level of frame materials and are equipped with the finest component groups. The frame geometry is designed to put you in an aggressive and efficient position, and the frames are built to be as light and responsive as possible. This level of road bike gives you the same level of equipment as your favorite pro-cyclist.
Sport/Endurance Road Bikes
Built for journeys and not just the finish line, sport/endurance road bikes can comfortably do a few hours training as well as a full day's century ride. These bikes have the efficiency and style of performance road bikes, but the frame design and component selection is geared more towards a smooth, comfortable ride. Frame geometries tend to be more relaxed, providing greater stability and allowing for a higher handlebar position.
Fixed Gear/Singlespeed Road Bikes
Fixed gear bikes provide a pure, elemental cycling experience, thanks to the lack of gears and the constant connection between the rider and the bicycle. The purest form is the track bike: one gear, no brakes, no coasting, and a steep racing geometry. However, as their simplicity made them popular for winter training and urban commuting, fixed gear bikes evolved. Many models now use relaxed road bike geometries and incorporate brakes, drop or flat handlebars, and a singlespeed option that retains the simplicity of a fixed gear while providing the convenience of coasting.
Women's Specific Road Bikes
Brian Rutledge of Belmont Wheelworks says: