ROAD BIKE BUYING GUIDE
Reid Cycles understand that there’s a huge amount of new bikes out there. Check out our road bike buying guide, and you’ll be able to buy with confidence. Road bikes are the peak of speed and efficiency. A road bike is defined as any bike designed primarily for riding a quickly and efficiently as possible on the road. If you’re interested in doing longer or faster rides on the road, a road bike may be the ideal choice. They typically feature a lightweight frame, 700c wheels (the larger wheel size) and slim, high-pressure tyres.
A road bike most often has the curved, drop-style racing handlebars, called drop bars, but recently road bikes with flat handlebars (similar to mountain bike handlebars) have become popular as they provide a more upright, commanding and comfortable riding position, making them ideal for fast commutes. Road bike designs vary depending on their expected use. There are relaxed touring bikes, aggressive road racing bikes, comfortable endurance bikes, aerodynamic time trial bikes, plus a range of more specialised bikes like cyclocross bikes.
With so many choices, how you know where to start? There’s five key criteria in looking for a new bike: style, fit, frame, fork and key components.
Thinking of trying an Road Bike? Read the FAQs below and contact your nearest Reid Cycles store for a free test ride.
HOW TO CHOOSE A ROAD BIKE
The style of road bike is important. If it’s your first road bike, an endurance style road bike is a fantastic place to start as it will allow you to participate in most kinds of road riding. Think about what kind of riding you’re interesting in doing. Do you need a specialist bike? A specialised bikes such as time-trial bikes and road race bikes will be worth investing in as you develop in the sport, but you can replicate much of their function with the addition of clip-on aero bars and other ‘go fast’ parts. If you’re interested in pure speed, the more aggressive geometry of a road race bike such as our Falco range may be suitable.
A flat-bar road bike is a fantastic blend of speed and comfort. Drop bars offers a more aerodynamic position and more hand positions, which is great for endurance riding, but the flat-bar is generally more comfortable and controllable, which is why they’re fantastic for riding in traffic.
Aluminum frames are reliable, robust and great value. Going to a full carbon-fibre frame is great for bikes over around $2,000 as you’ll get a quality frame. Below this price point, ‘me-too’ carbon-fibre frames are more about looks than improved performance. A good quality alloy frame will have better lateral stiffness, more vertical compliance and a similar weight to cheap carbon. It will also be less expensive and more durable.
The fork is also an important part to consider. A carbon-fibre fork is a great upgrade, as they’re light, strong and reliable, while the slight flex provided by the carbon-fibre legs of the fork will reduce ‘road buzz’ for more comfort on long rides.
Fit is extra important on a road bike, due to the the more precise geometry of the frame and the longer, harder efforts on the bike. Check out of sizing chart for our recommendations.
The fit of the frame should be spot on. You should be able to adjust the saddle height to suit your leg length and extension. Then, when you’re sitting on the bike you should feel even pressure on your seat and your hands. You shouldn’t feel any extra strain in your back or shoulders. A comfortable, neutral position is required for the long haul. When you decide to sprint or climb, you’ll be able to move to a more aggressive position to put the power down.
A great frame needs great components. Shimano, along with SRAM and Campagnolo, is one of the biggest names in cycling, being at the cutting edge of cycling technology for decades. Shimano components are fantastic across the range, with even their first-level gears, brakes and other parts being made to a high standard.
Claris is the first-level of Shimano road riding components. Above that you have Sora, then Tiagra and then 105 before you get into professional competition level components from the Ultegra and Dura-Ace ranges. Shimano uses trickle-down technology, so the developments from the racing world this year trickle down to the more budget friendly groupsets in the following year. Other brands such as Tektro, Velo and Mavic are also names you see associated with good quality road bikes.
Looking at the crankset in particular, most road bikes come with either double or triple chainrings. Double chainrings are ideal for rapidly changing across the range of gears, such as grabbing a high gear for a sprint or dropping to a low gear to climb a hill. Double chainrings are either the standard racing crankset, typically with 53-tooth and a 39-tooth chainrings, or a compact crankset, typically with 50-tooth and 36-tooth chainrings.
The racing crankset is great for flat-out speed and power, while the compact crankset is great for endurance riding, hill climbing and mixed terrain. Going with triple chainrings gives you even more range, with plenty of low-end gears. This is fantastic for touring or hill-climbing.
The other key components that you should investigate include the saddle, pedals and tyres. All of these components can be changed or adjusted to suit your needs.
Saddles are a matter of personal preference, but don’t be afraid to go for something firm. It seems counter-intuitive, but a saddle that’s too soft allows you to sink in too far, potentially reducing circulation. The perfect seat would be very firm, with a perfect fit for your body. Given that a perfect fit isn’t possible, some degree of padding is needed. Provided that it’s a good fit for your sit bones, a firm saddle will often offer better comfort and support for long hours in the saddle.
Tyres vary between fast, lightweight racing tyres such as the Kenda Kriterium and heavier, but more durable, puncture protected tyres such as the Maxxis Refuse that are ideal for longer distances, rough roads or fast commutes.
SHOP REID CYCLES, AUSTRALIA'S BEST VALUE ROAD BIKES
For all new bikes we offer FREE servicing for 12 months, lifetime warranty on frame and forks and 2 years warranty on parts.
If you’d like some more information, give us a call or come into one of our stores for a warm welcome and friendly advice. In the meantime, check out our full range of RoadBikes.