Road bikes – ambition and passion combined
This text shall give you an overview so that you can make the right choice for your road bike.
Equipment can differ too. For instance, you can go for a classic road bike with rim brakes or a modern road bike with disc brakes. There are mechanical and electric derailleurs with up to 24 gears. Tyres are mainly 28 inches, but 27.5-inch (650B) wheels offering greater off-road mobility are worth considering. And think about tyre width: 25 to 28 mm on classic road bikes and up to 2.1 inches (54 mm) on all-terrain gravel bikes.
What’s different about a road bike?
Unlike a regular bike, a road bike is light and has one major feature: racing or drop handlebars. They offer lots of grip positions on the top and bottom of the handlebars. Their width should be adjusted to the rider’s shoulder width. These handlebars also feature combined gear shifters and brake levers – Shimano calls this system STI and the controls are easy to access in the sprint position, i.e. from the bottom.
Another important road bike feature is the height difference between the top of the handlebars and the top of the saddle, which enables an aerodynamic riding position. This sitting position along with a steep seat tube angle is also assisted by a long wheelbase. The seat tube angle is steeper on a women’s road bike. Another salient feature is the frame - nearly always unsprung, and usually combined with a rigid fork.
Road bike tyres are designed for high speed. They are thinner than MTB tyres and have less tread. With their gear ratios and increments, the built-in derailleurs help you reach high speeds.
Carbon, aluminium or steel-frame road bike?
The frame is key to any road bike, affecting both weight and power transmission. Carbon and aluminium road bikes are the most common. Aluminium road bikes are generally cheaper, with the benefit of a lighter, rigid and robust frame. Carbon road bikes are dearer, but even lighter than aluminium road bikes. Wall strengths are optimised for the best weight/stability/comfort ratio.
Alternatively, some road bikes are made of steel. These bikes look distinctive, last a long time with the right care and riding is comfortable and lively. But they are usually heavier than aluminium and carbon road bikes.
Choosing the right gears for your road bike
Your road bike gears can be controlled mechanically or electronically. Providers like Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo produce really light derailleurs with aluminium and carbon. They are operated via a gearshift on the handlebars integrated with the brake levers.
The derailleur is usually at the back and the cassettes have 11 or 12 sprockets. A high number of gears allows for fine gear increments. Most road bikes have two front chain rings with a front derailleur. All-road, gravel road and time trial bikes often have a single chain ring with a narrow/wide tooth profile to stop the chain coming off.
Electronic gears operate via SRAM real-time wireless signal transmission, making cables redundant. And, whether Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo, electronic gears are really quick, precise and individually programmable.
Disc or rim brakes for your road bike?
In the beginning, road bikes with disc brakes were laughed at for being a bit fancy – but now disc brakes are standard, offering greater braking power with better controllability. You particularly feel the benefits of mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes in the wet and when cycling downhill. Meanwhile disc brakes are also approved for official competitions.
But a road bike with rim brakes also has its benefits: classic look, lower price and easy maintenance are all advantages.
Which road bike is best for you?
This section will help you choose your road bike.
Classic road bikes
Classic road bikes are ideal for sporty road cyclists, luggage-free day trips and racing. These light models have small tyres (up to 28 mm) and a higher saddle position.
All-road and gravel bikes
Do you want a fast road bike for the city or touring, or exploring unknown trails? Then a comparatively robust all-road or gravel bike will suit you. This type of bike often has fixing points for luggage, making it ideal for bikepacking.
Cyclocross bikes (CX)
Cylocross bikes are the competition version of all-road and gravel bikes, and specially designed for cyclo-cross racing. They’re suitable for obstacle courses with sandy sections, jumps, barriers and steep climbs. Compared to gravel bikes they have smaller tyres with a regulation 33 mm width, but cyclocross bikes with 35 and 37 mm tyres are also available
Wind tunnels and simulations are used for developing aerobike frames and components with the lowest wind resistance. This includes carbon wheels with high-profile rims, integral handlebar stems and covered brakes. The pipe cross section on the frame, fork and saddle post reflects the aerodynamic design. Almost all aerobikes are made of carbon.
Triathlon and time trial bikes
These road bikes are specially designed for flat stages and comply with UCI regulations. They’re similar to aerobikes, but have a more aerodynamic frame with maximum covering of all technical components. The steeper seat angle, special saddle and mounting position also help the rider to achieve the triathlon position. Special aerobars and handlebar add-ons further improve the "flat position".
Women’s road bikes
Women’s road bikes have a different frame geometry from men’s road bikes. Alternative parts like saddles and handlebars designed to suit female ergonomics are selected. But women can also choose a men’s road bike and change the saddle.
Buying a road bike from BIKE24
Buying your road bike from the BIKE24 online shop is hassle-free. It’s important to choose the right frame size. So have a look in our guide how you can determine the frame size. Enabling you to buy your road bike online and assemble it at home in minutes, we do most of the assembling first.
Still have questions? Then contact our friendly customer service team any time.