Whether you’re planning your first long distance cycling trip or want to upgrade to a better bike, this article is the perfect read for every cycling enthusiast. Road bikes come in various sizes, style, endurance, and efficiency. Choosing the best road bike is always going to be a little difficult. Well, let’s make it simple for you.
Selecting a road bike depends entirely on your preference and the purpose of riding. Here we have created an ultimate guide to pick out the best road bike based on your preference.
- Everything You Need to Know About Road Bike
- Endurance vs. Race Bike Geometry
- Road Bike Groupsets: Everything You Need to Know
- Road Bike Tires
- Rim Brakes vs Disc Brakes for Road Bikes
- Get the Right Sized Frame
- The Top 7 Road Bike Brands Based on 2017
Everything You Need to Know About Road Bike
Road bikes have varying types depending on the endurance level, frame material, groupsets, wheels, and size. Nowadays, road bikes categorization is mainly about Endurance vs. race bike geometry. Apart from geometry, they differ in comfort and gearing.
Let’s have a detailed look!
Endurance vs. Race Bike Geometry
Before going ahead, let’s see how exactly endurance road bikes and race road bikes differ. Race bikes are designed to offer the least resistance to fluid flow, and allow for quick handling, while endurance road bikes offer the rider a more upright posture for a more laid-back feel and long distance comfort and stability.
Basically, endurance road bike is more about the comfort, while the race bike concentrates mainly on speed.
Road Bike Groupsets: Everything You Need to Know
A group set of a road bike is pretty much the engine. It consists of brakes and drivetrain. Drivetrain comprises of cranks, cassettes, chainrings, shifters, and derailleurs.
Based on the level of the hierarchy, the material of group sets varies. Entry level bikes have aluminum or steel group sets, while pro level bikes have titanium and carbon fiber.
The gear ratios of bikes depend on two factors: chain sets, and cassettes.
A road bike mostly comes with double chainset/crankset—located at the front of the drive train. Double crankset means two rings. Most efficient among all variations of double cranksets are the one with compact crank due to small chainrings, which makes the pedaling and gearing easier.
Now, the question arises, what is a compact crank?
The compact crankset consists of a 50-tooth big ring and 34-tooth small ring, which makes it different from the standard one that comes with 53/34t rings. The larger gear ratio helps you achieve more speed at a given pedal swing while the smaller ratio leads to easy pedal swing.
Some of the best companies for designing group sets are Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM.
Road Bike Tires
If you are wondering “what tires will my road bike come with?”, you should know that tires highly determine the level of comfort a bike offers. Mainly, a comfortable aerodynamic race bike will come with skinny tires while endurance road bikes will come with a plump rubber tire.
The size of the tire is determined based on the diameter and width. The standard diameter of a road bike tire is 700c and width is 23mm.
If you are looking for faster speed, go for the tire that has excellent rolling resistance and lightweight. The wider the tire, the better the comfort, grip, and puncture protection.
Moreover, prefer to go for the bike which has a frame with clearance for wider tires so that you can change the tire according to your comfort and need.
Rim Brakes vs Disc Brakes for Road Bikes
One of the common questions that pop up for beginners is:
“Should I buy a road bike with rim brakes or disc brakes?”
Well, both have their pros and cons.
Road bikes with disc brake have become quite popular, as they survive even in the extreme weather while rim brakes lack this feature. Hence, disc brakes are durable even in wet weather conditions.
However, Rim brakes offer easy installation while disc brakes do not. Though hydraulic disc brakes are easy to install, they require a lot of maintenance such as replacing the hydraulic liquid and so on.
Disc brakes offer an incredible stopping power; you definitely have more control over the brakes, while rim brakes take more time to slow down the bike. But then if you have a lot of wheel options available, even rim brakes provide good performance.
In the end, it all depends on your choice; just don’t let the brakes be your showstopper. Looking at the current market conditions, disc brakes will soon be seen in almost all the bikes, but as of now, rim brakes are still considered standard.
Get the Right Sized Frame
Fit and size play a vital role when it comes to cycling. Only get the bike that fits your body shape, and is comfortable and easy to handle.
That said, now the question arises, how to get the correct road bike size?
Although choosing the right size frame is critical, you can always look for the size chart of a particular manufacturer or go for an expert’s advice.
Have a look at a reference size chart below.
The Top 7 Road Bike Brands Based on 2017
Deciding the best road bike is not based on some universal rules but on your personal choice. You need to cut your options based on your personal preference and comfort.
Here we have collected some of the best road bike brands, considering road bike reviews 2017.
Basso Astra Disc
A race bike made of carbon fiber frame. It features tapered steerer fork, routing for electronic/mechanical drivetrains, thru axles, and BB86 bottom bracket shell.
Colnago C-RS Ultegra
An entry level but a race bike nonetheless. It is made of carbon fiber and possesses same geometry as that of Colnago’s top bike. It provides internal cable routing and 27.2 mm wide seat post. A press-fit bottom bracket increases the width of bottom bracket shell.
Specialized Tarmac Comp Torch Edition
It is the best option available at an affordable price with durability and extra comfort. The paint sprayed on the frame changes its color from orange to yellow, if the temperature rises above 72 degrees (Fahrenheit) and this effect last for 600 hours of UV exposure. Built with the most durable, comfortable tarmac frame designed by Shimano’s Ultegra group, which has DT-Swiss aluminum wheels.
Road Bikes for Women
Though most of the female riders prefer unisex bikes, these are some of the best women’s road bikes of 2017 with shorter top tube and longer head tube to get the upright position while riding.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Disc Women’s 105
One of the best and most affordable road bikes for women that come with carbon frame and disc brakes. The lightweight, reactive handling, and extra stopping make it suitable for group rides and long distance cycling events.
Felt VR3W is one of the most trending endurance road bikes for women. It comes with disc brakes, thru axle front and rear, ultra-low gear ratio, bosses on the top tube for a stash bag, and BB386. It offers the speed as well as comfort and is equipped with Shimano groupsets.
Ladies, keep these tips in mind to have a fun, but safe, experience.
Road Bike for Long Distance
Diamondback Century 4
The groupset of this road bike comprises of the hydraulic disc brake and a 2×11 drivetrain. The upright position of this carbon fiber makes it easy for you to ride long distance smoothly.
Jamis Quest Elite
This is one of the most traditional and classic road bikes. In the world of the disc brake and thru axle road bikes, this Reynold steel framed traditional bike still keeps its stability by providing longer wheelbase. Not only that, it is still available in the market at a very affordable price. It provides speed, durability, and comfort.
Apart from all above best road bikes, if you wish to buy some other model just keep few things in mind. Go for the bike which offers speed, control, comfort, and durability.
Now that you are well aware of the road bikes, go and make your purchase.
But hey! Before you hit the ground, make sure to purchase the essential cycling accessories as well.
It’s time to challenge your limits.