Riding on the road is the perfect activity to keep fit, make friends and explore the world. In addition, you can do it during your entire life, regardless of your age: with a tool as useful as a bicycle, there are no impacts that deteriorate your physique or wear your bones. As if that were not enough, road bikes are the favorites of those who love to compete, those who seek adventures or rides without complications. If you want a bicycle that does not help you in the longest stretches on the route, this is the guide for you.
When the time comes to buy a new bicycle, the bombardment of options that paralyzes us returns. It happens to everyone, every bike looks better than the last. To help you make the best decision, we created this guide to compare the types of road bike. When you know what you need, choosing among the hundreds of alternatives is going to be a walk in the park.
To start, ask yourself the basic questions:
- How do you like to ride?
- Do you want to experiment with other cycling disciplines?
- What is your budget?
- How much experience do you have riding?
Some of these questions are easier to answer than others, and some will affect your final decision more than others.
For example, if you live in a flat area with no hills in sight, an aerodynamic and more comfortable bike will probably be a better investment than a super light climbing bike. If you only need a transport bike that helps you with going to work and maybe some recreational rides on weekends, then you can lower your budget a little more and get something equally good for your needs. If you are not a high level cyclist but you are constant and passionate (and you have the budget), why not indulge yourself and get the bike of your dreams?
Road bikes are distinguished from the pile by certain modifications in their design, to give you greater speed and a competitive advantage:
- Aggressive position:Made with the purpose of cutting the currents and minimizing your contact with the wind, the best route runners put you in a more athletic and aggressive position compared to other more relaxed types of riding. An unexpected advantage of this is that they exercise more muscle groups, such as the hamstrings and the buttocks.
- Curved Handlebars:Although you can get Bar-flat road bikes, most will have the handle curved down. To allow you more positions when riding and adjust to the terrain as you need
- Thintires : The most common tires in road cycling are usually 23 mm, 25 mm or 28 mm wide, although some for resistance can range from 30 mm onwards. While earlier it would have been rare to see tires wider than this, new trends in the world of endurance and “All Road” bikes reach up to 33 mm.
- Without suspension:Unlike MTBs, road bikes generally do not need suspension. Most of the stretches that you will travel on a road bike are flat and smooth, and do not need cushioning. If you prefer a little extra comfort, you can find it with thicker tires or more flexibility in the frame.
- More Changes:Road bikes have two plates on their cranks and up to 12 sprockets on the cassette, this gives you a range of up to 24 speeds. This wide arsenal allows you to pedal efficiently at full speed (in planes or descents) or have more strength and control in climbing.
Add all this, plus its premium materials, and you’ll have the most comfortable bikes for long trips, with the fastest speed!
If you are about to buy a road bike it is important that in addition to your preferences of colors and models you take into account the different geometries and functionalities that different types of road bikes present. The right purchase choice is largely to choose a type of bike that suits your needs and expectations. The climbing, aero, etc have important enough differences in their designs and performance to condition your final decision.
Currently the best bicycle brands offer models oriented to different user profiles and virtually all manufacturers have in their catalog different types of climbing bikes , Aero, Great fund and time trial. The recent arrival of the gravel to the peninsular market adds another interesting cycling alternative and consequently another type of bicycle to the sector.
The most aggressive road bike of all. Aero bike versions have been designed to roll at high speed on flat ground and downhill . The arrival on the market of aero bicycles can be interpreted as a commercial adaptation of the time trial bike to the route. The tubes are flat to improve the aerodynamic coefficient and the finishes are very aggressive. The position on an aerodynamic bicycle is even more spectacular than that of a climber since the back and arms are even more inclined.
In my opinion the aero bike is still limited to a fairly limited audience and its real orientation is only aimed at people who compete, or practice cycling at a good level. The bicycle aero may also be interesting for athletes who combine cycling and triathlon and do not have a large enough budget to have road bike and time trial . The aero bike can become a “goat” with the incorporation of simple couplings.
If you are looking for a fast bike to compete on flat or winding terrain and in the process you want to take a spectacular bike ride visually, your thing is undoubtedly an aero bike . Any aerodynamic bike combined with good profile wheels will be all the rage among your training partner. A perfect bike for those who want to pull postureo in social networks.
An aggressive type of bicycle that is increasingly seen among amateur training groups, although it should be totally ruled out for older people or cyclists with back or neck problems.
The climbing bike is the modern name that is attributed to the conventional road bike that has been used throughout life and has undergone modifications over the years.
They are the most versatile bicycles of all and those that have a greater market share internationally. The range of models and possibilities is tremendously wide and its price range ranges from 500-600 euros for the most basic aluminum models to more than 10,000 euros for the most advanced carbon models .
They are in comparative terms the lightest bicycles in the market and in the vast majority of occasions the most rigid . They are perfect for facing all types of terrain and cycling gears and their climbing profile makes them the perfect choice for those who are passionate about climbing ports.
Its geometry is also very versatile and is situated between the aggressiveness of aero bicycles and the comfort of endurance bicycles.
A perfect bike profile for virtually all cyclists and that in terms of performance-comfort is the best in the market. The only questioned aspect is the commercial stagnation of some brands for this type of bicycle. Cannondale with the Supersix model or Trek with the Emonda are an example of which part of this sector needs an aesthetic and design renovation. Some models have been seated in the market for too many years with hardly any modifications.
The climbing bike is the perfect purchase alternative for cyclists who start cycling and for those who doubt between one type of road bike or another.
The bikes gravel or gravel are classified within a very broad category that allows you to access all types of terrain on one bicycle. To achieve this, your bike must be durable, comfortable and have sufficient performance characteristics. Adventure or gravel bicycles (although the clarification is worthwhile, there are differences between these two terms) are usually similar to endurance bicycles, but with more free space for wider tires, disc brakes for optimal performance in all conditions climate and lower transmission ratios to facilitate driving or extreme profiles.
With these bicycles it is where the line between the mountaineering and the route is erased, with a good gravel you can conquer all types of terrain without fear of breaking (you) anything, although if you plan to do stunts and jumps keeping the weight to a minimum, you will be more Safe with a MTB in the lighter spectrum.
Broadly speaking we can say that bikepacking is a kind of mix between hiking and cycling . What is pursued with this modality is to travel by bike natural routes of some days through mountainous terrain. Unlike traditional bicycle touring, the luggage is intended to be as minimalist as possible and in general it is transported on the bicycle itself – handlebars, seatposts, frames, etc … – without the need to attach saddlebags or grills. Some bikepacking routes even alternate cyclable parts with others that must be done on foot or by canoe.
If in bicycle touring the most common bicycles are usually converted road bikes, in bikepacking it is mtb -even fatbike- that carry the singing voice. And it is that to make large routes through irregular terrain larger wheels and even suspensions are appreciated. As with cycling bicycles, the bikes used in bikepacking are also modified for comfort.
Cyclocross, or simply CX bicycles are designed for use on a variety of terrain ranging from paved roads, dirt roads, to muddy roads. At first glance they are very similar to road bikes but they have many differences.
These bicycles are designed for cyclocross races. These are carried out in circuits that can be formed from a variety of surfaces such as grass, mud, soil and the occasional obstacle. Being designed to be used on a wide variety of terrains, they are very versatile and can also be used outside the cyclo-cross tracks.
In recent days we touched on the issue of the advantages of aluminum as the main material on a bicycle, specifically the frame. Today we are going to talk about carbon fiber and its main characteristics.
Let us start from the base that carbon fiber is not a metal, it consists of very thin strands of braided carbon, which are rolled and grouped together to form strands of many strands, then they are shaped by putting them on a mold and poured a resin that glue them and to finish forming the piece. This fabric is very popular in many industrial sectors because it is durable, flexible, lightweight and resistant.
It is not surprising that a material of these characteristics has been applied in cycling to manufacture extremely light frames. As we have just mentioned, the fiber is formed on a mold, which allows to obtain a frame in one piece without joints or welds, if to this it is added that the material is light then we get a fairly competitive weight.
Additionally, the fiber layers are placed in several directions. By using this technique, the compound will be able to absorb the forces and counteract them from any direction, which will allow to create a piece of high rigidity without having to use any additional reinforcement.
A frequent question among some is the durability of the material, the degree of fatigue and the qualities of absorption before the impacts of the carbon fiber. Today, thanks to the advances in processes and resins that are used in its manufacture, a frame made of carbon fiber can last for years, even a lifetime under the right conditions.
If you have the opportunity to afford a frame of this material, do not hesitate to do so. In addition, with the passage of time and increasing its popularity there will be more and more facilities to acquire it.
Steel is considered an outdated material. In fact, the main brands years ago that abandoned the manufacture of steel frames for their medium and high ranges … and in most cases also for the low ones. However, bicycles made of steel can still be found on the market.
1970s, practically all bicycle frames were made of steel. In those years the mountain bikes appeared and, with them, the need to look for lighter materials. This was how little by little aluminum was introduced into the cycling industry. In the 1990s, with the advent of carbon fiber, steel was relegated to bicycles of lower ranges or white label manufacturers.
However, there is a type of steel called CroMo that is still used as frame material for some bicycles of higher ranges. It is called that because it is made from a chromium and molybdenum alloy. It is lighter and stronger than conventional steel.
The main quality of steel bike frames is that they are cheaper, have greater durability than aluminum and are easier to repair in case of dent or perforation.
It is also a material with great resistance. If you are going to carry a lot of weight on, such as on a long adventure trip with tens of kilos in your backpack and saddlebags, a steel bike can be a good choice.
In contrast, steel has a disadvantage that it is heavier than other materials and is also more sensitive to oxidation.
Titanium had its peak in the 90s, although it never got the numbers of the other materials due to its very high cost. Personally this metal is the one that has always attracted my attention, offering a unique beauty (usually the brands do not paint the picture) and surprising features.
We have already commented that its great disadvantage is the costs, much higher than even carbon, but then titanium does not oxidize or fatigue like the previous ones, it is more resistant to impacts, light as aluminum (not like carbon) , and offers an excellent rigidity-flexion ratio offering comfort on the bike that is totally different from any other material.
Aluminum is the most commonly used material for the manufacture of bicycle frames. Of frames and handlebars, connecting rods, seatposts and various components. It was introduced in the cycling industry towards the 1970s and today all the major bicycle brands have mostly aluminum models in their ranges.
Contrary to what happens with steel, aluminum is a very low density material. In other words: aluminum is more malleable than steel and, in addition, is lighter, making it a material that is easier to handle in the manufacture of frames of different geometry. It is also cheaper than carbon fiber and requires less processing time.
Aluminum tubes may have different thicknesses. This characteristic is used by manufacturers to produce frames with an excellent combination of rigidity and lightness. Thus, for example, the ends of the horizontal tube tend to be thicker than the central part, thus favoring the rigidity of the structure without affecting an increase in weight.
Another advantage of aluminum is its manufacturing cost, cheaper than carbon fiber. In addition, it has excellent resistance in relation to how light it is and is less sensitive to corrosion than steel.
On the other hand, it is a metal that is more prone to suffer from what is called material fatigue, which is structural wear due to the passage of time and intensive use. It is also a harder material to repair than steel.
Aluminum frames are surely the best option in terms of budget and type of use for most cycling enthusiasts. However, although brands use aluminum alloys with other metals to increase their strength, their durability is still less than that of carbon or titanium.
Wheels and tires.
The wheels for the route are composed of a hub, spokes to connect it with the nipples and these in turn will connect to the wheel. A good wheelset can with everything you ride, its bushings will be reliable, you can brake efficiently, and you will have enough rigidity to transfer your energy, keeping the weight to a minimum.
The width and depth of the tires will largely determine how you move and how you feel. The trend is for modern tires to be wider than previous generations to provide better aerodynamics and greater tire air volume, resulting in greater comfort. This is in accordance with the new fashion of thicker tires that improve the efficiency of rotation and your comfort while running with less pressure. The depth of the tire affects the aerodynamics of the wheel and the handling of a bicycle. The deeper the wheel, the more aerodynamic it will be, but it will also be more difficult to control, because the currents will have greater area of contact with your wheel.
It is worth knowing the three types of tire for your road wheels, depending on your riding style (and the type of wheel you have) there will be custom made tires. “clincher”, “tubular” or “tubeless”, each rider has his opinions and the wheel will specify what type it is compatible with. Most road bikes on the market use clincher tires, which need inner tires to hold the air. The tubular ones are for sponsored professionals, because they can be extremely expensive. While tubeless are an emerging technology on the road, they are basically the clincher, with all its advantages, without the tires.