Although finding the ideal road bike may seem like a simple task at first glance, it doesn’t take long to begin wondering if we’ll ever find the right fit for us. The options are virtually limitless, and the market seems to be an ever-expanding one. Not to worry though — there are plenty of useful tools available now that will help you narrow down the choices. Let’s start with the basics.
Endurance or Racing
Road Bikes (you may have heard them called “10-speeds”) can be divided into two categories. Whereas all road bikes have a drop bar and two wheels, the fundamental difference between these categories is their frame and how they position you in relation to the machine.
Racing bikes are going to encourage you to lean forward, both for the purpose of aerodynamic fluidity as well as to promote quick handling at high speeds.
Endurance bikes will lend themselves to a somewhat more relaxed and upright posture, for a stable and comfortable ride over long distances.
Whatever category you choose to explore, the best way to get a feel for what frame type suits you best is to simply ride both. Many shops will be more than happy to let you take one of their bikes for a test ride. Alternatively, you can ask to borrow one from a friend.
Where Do You Want to Go?
Getting a road bike isn’t just a purchase — it’s an investment. You’re shopping for a piece of equipment that’s going to provide a lot of years and miles of reliable use before you run into problem one. You want to make the right choice, but the primary criteria is where you want the bike to take you, and how you want to get there.
Maybe you see yourself speeding down an open highway under a warm sun, or cascading along a shaded, curvy mountain road ensconced by lush, green forest. Or maybe you’d rather take your bike offroad, exploring a long, dirt road with an unknown destination. If you want to mix it up, some bikes will offer you the best of both worlds, with slightly wider tires and the potential for lower gearing.
Your vision for your future comes into play when selecting the piece of equipment that’s going to help you get there.
Budget is Important, but it’s Not Everything
Now that you know which category is best for you, this is a good time to decide how much you’re willing to spend on your new bike. One important factor to consider is that you’re not just considering the initial investment, but the cost of accessories (like a comfortable and safe helmet, for instance) as well as upgrades, replacement parts, repairs, and so on. For example, there’s a big price point difference between replacing electronic gearing and classic mechanical parts.
Fortunately, with websites offering Certified Pre-Owned bikes that have passed a strenuous six-step process before being listed, getting your hands on a bike that’s both affordable and reliable has never been easier.
Use a Size Chart to Order with Confidence
Not every bike you ride is going to feel just right, no matter how many adjustments you make to your seat and stem. A lot of salesmen will tell you that the only way to guarantee a good fit is to come into their shop and actually sit on the thing, but with bike sizing charts more accurate now than ever, this simply isn’t the case.
Whereas there are a variety of methods for determining the appropriate bike size, such as calculations based on measuring the distance from crotch to ground while standing with your legs 6 to 8 inches apart, the simplest method is based on your height.
If you order a bike only to find that the fit isn’t quite what you’d hoped for, not to worry — most minor discrepancies in sizing can be easily compensated for by making adjustments to the saddle or adding a longer stem or seat post.
Wherever you want to go, however, you want to get there, and whatever your budget, now is the time to get on the road bike that’s right for you!