Choosing the Right Road Bike
While we all can’t be Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France, we can enjoy riding through the great outdoors on a road bike. Road biking is fast growing sport that not only gets you outside, but gets you physically fit as well. Road bikes are designed for speed. They have light weight frames and thin high pressure tires for gliding over hard road services.
Most new cyclists will want to start with a quality bike that won’t break the bank. The primary driver of a road bike’s cost is the frame. Bicycle frames are made from various different materials. The materials drive the cost. Most high end road bikes are made from light weight but strong materials. Bikes on the lower end of the price range have frames made from either steel or aluminum. Aluminum is lighter but offers a harsher ride. Steel of course is stronger and heavier, but offers a smoother ride due to the extra weight.
Working our way a little further up the price scale, medium priced bikes offer frames with some components and parts made out of carbon. Many medium priced bikes have aluminum frames with carbon forks. Even further up the price line are bikes that have both frames and components made from carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a material that consists of thin fibers made primarily of carbon. Carbon fiber is a very strong and durable material that is very light.
The most elite (and expensive) bikes are made from Titanium. Often referred to as the “space age metal”, Titanium is very light weight and strong. Titanium also has the benefit of being corrosion resistant as well. Bikes made with Titanium are expensive and definitely intended for high end cyclists.
If you aren’t sure exactly which of the various frame options are right for you, take a test ride. Riding a bike made from the different materials is the best way to make the right choice for your road bike.
In in addition to the frames, the various components of the bike, including wheels, gears, and brakes can make a big difference as well. After all, who wants to be in the middle of their ride and having to fight with the shift mechanism.
The right bike for you will boil down to a combination of price, comfort, features and style. When buying your road bike, focus on getting the best frame you can buy. Components such as brakes, shifters, seats, etc can all be upgraded later, but the frame is the core of the bike.
Most importantly once you do purchase your bike, get out there and ride it!