Road Bike Buying Guide


ROAD BIKE BUYING GUIDE

How to Choose the Best Style of Road Bike for You


 

 

What Type of Road Bike Should I Buy?

Whether you are commuting from A to B, touring, fitness training or simply popping out to see friends, getting out on the open road on two wheels can be exhilarating and, done often enough, the sense of freedom can even become a bit addictive. However, with so many different styles of road bike to choose from, selecting the right type and model to suit your lifestyle can leave you feeling confused. Here we give you an overview of the different types of road bike available and what kind of riding they are best suited to.

 

 

 

SPORTIVE / ENDURANCE BIKES

Good for: Long distance rides | Fitness training | Amateur sportives

Price Range: £400 - £7600

 

SPORTIVE BIKE FEATURES:

 

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable frame geometry
  • Less upright than a Flat Bar Bike but more so than a Race Bike 
  • Carbon forks for precision handling and to reduce vibration
  • Advanced tech with robust materials
  • Drop Handlebars

 

Sportive road bikes are the perfect style for long distance rides, fitness training or friendly sportive events. With a sleek and slender lightweight frame and skinny low friction clincher tyres, Sportive Bikes make riding on the road a dream. Plus, with a range of models available for beginners right through to dedicated roadies, there’s a model to suit everybody’s ability and experience. Sportive Bike frames are made from a variety of materials from lightweight carbon fibre and titanium through to aluminium and steel, and generally speaking, the geometry of the bike creates a more upright riding position compared to racing road bikes, with more emphasis on comfort than aerodynamics. With carbon forks you’ll get less vibration through the handlebars and you’ll find acceleration easier, plus you’ll significantly reduce the amount of weight you’ll have to drag up the hills! The components are usually of a fairly high spec but some riders may opt to upgrade the chain set and wheels as they gain more experience on the bike and want to improve their performance. 

 

 

PERFORMANCE BIKES

Best For: Road Racing | Pro/Am Riders | Speed

Price Range: £800 - £7600

 

PERFORMANCE ROAD BIKE FEATURES:

  • Lightweight
  • Carbon frame
  • Stiff chassis to dampen vibrations and improve acceleration
  • High tech components and chain set for clean and smooth gear changes
  • Aerodynamic components, wheels and riding position
  • Drop Handlebars

If you are serious about your riding and want to increase your pace at events and races, a performance road bike is your only option. Built for speed, these aerodynamic carbon frame racing machines are very lightweight and a stiff chassis reduces vibrations to help you put the hammer down on the flats and attack the hill climbs with confidence. With a longer top tube and shorter head tube the riding position is lower and more aerodynamic. Plus, top of the range, high tech components ensure your pedaling power is ultra efficient and smooth gear changes make your riding even more dynamic. 

 

 

 

CYCLOCROSS BIKES

Good For: Commuting | CycloCross Racing | Mixed Terrain

Price Range: £575 - £1900

 

CYCLOCROSS BIKE FEATURES:

 

  • More relaxed geometry than road racing bikes
  • Increased tyre clearances to cope with the mud
  • Top tube cable routing to protect against debris 
  • Lower gears to handle tough terrain
  • Cantilever, Disk or V-brakes
  • Knobbly tyres for off-road grip

 

Cyclocross bikes are very versatile. Essentially a Sportive Bike modified to be used both on and off-road, a Cyclocross bike can be used for Cyclocross race events as well as commuting, touring or just leisure rides around the park. Although mainly built for racing, Cyclocross bikes have a more upright riding position than racing road bikes and have a larger tyre clearance, allowing for bigger tyres and for any mud or debris that is likely to be picked up. The lower gears will help you to tackle tough terrain and disk brakes are recommended for efficient stopping power. 

 

 

TOURING BIKES

Good For: Long distance rides | Mixed terrain | Self sufficient riding | Carrying lots of kit

Price Range: £575 - £1900

 

TOURING ROAD BIKE FEATURES:

 

  • Strong frame and components
  • Space for panniers and bags
  • Relaxed upright frame geometry  
  • Lots of gears

 

If you love exploring or are planning a cycling holiday, a touring road bike could be just right for you. These bikes are built for covering lots of miles and carrying all of the load, so you don’t have to. Your trusty workhorse, a touring bike has lots of space for panniers and bar bags and the riding position is a little more relaxed so you can look up and take in the scenery as you cycle along. Moreover, the gear ratios make climbing hills and riding the flats easier, so you can enjoy a steady and relaxed pace wherever you end up.

 

 

 

 

SINGLESPEED BIKES

Good For: Commuting | Cruising around town | Style | Low maintenance

Price Range: £299 - £600

 

SINGLE SPEED BIKE FEATURES:

 

  • One gear
  • Low maintenance
  • Flat or drop handlebars 
  • Upright riding position 
  • Good for flat terrain

 

Said to be a pure form of cycling, Singlespeed bikes are simplicity at its best. With only one gear and sometimes no brakes at all (Fixie), there are very few moving parts to maintain, meaning less time in the workshop and more time riding. More suited to flat landscapes, Singlespeeds are brilliant for city cruising and have oodles of good style.

 

 

ROAD BIKE FRAME SIZE

Ensuring you find the right frame size for you is really important to making sure your time on the bike is comfortable and fun. You’ll feel stretched and have less control if the bike is too big, and cramped on a bike that is too small. The geometry of the road bike will vary between sizes and across different brands too, so take time to research the different options and get the right bike fit. We do have size guides for each manufacturer, but the best way to find the right bike fit is to try one for size in store. Plus, we can make adjustments to the handlebar and saddle height and position to modify the reach to fit you perfectly.

 

 

Still Confused? We're Here to Help

If you are still a bit unsure as to which type of road bike is best for you, we’re here to help. Just pop into one of the Cycling Surgery stores and our expert bike gurus will be more than happy to help you.  As cycling enthusiasts ourselves, we can point you in the right direction to a style that will suit your cycling activities. We have lots of great road bikes from market leading brands for you to try out, so come and take a look.