What Is A Road Bike?

What Is A Road Bike?

So you want to know what makes a road bike a road bike? Well in essence, a road bike is a bike that is designed for city life. It's designed to stay on-road, rather than it's mountain bike cousins. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some with skinny tires, flat handlebars and lightweight frames. Some hydraulic disc brakes, electronic shifting capabilities, carbon fiber components and wide tires.

Frame Geometry

Frame geometry refers to the shape of the top tube, which determines where the rider sits relative to the front wheel. There are three basic types of geometries: drop handlebars, flat bars and raised/dropped bars. Each type offers different advantages depending on what kind of riding you do. For example drop handlebars sit lower down the stem so they're closer to the ground when you stand up.


Some sources use the term to mean racing bicycle. Certain of these bicycles have been referred to as 'sportive' bicycles to distinguish them from racing bicycles.

The term road bicycle can describe any type of bike used primarily on paved roads. In contrast to bikes primarily intended for off-road use, such as mountain bikes. Utility bicycles are designed for utility cycling. Such as a traditional bicycle for commuting, shopping and running errands in towns and cities.

A road bicycle is a vehicle propelled solely by human power. Road bicycles are typically lightweight bikes and seat one person. They offer varying degrees of comfort depending on the model and many have incredible top speeds for a bike.


The term “road bike” is a generic name given to any bicycle that has been modified from its original design in order to make it more suited to riding over rough terrain such as dirt roads, gravel paths, etc. Road bikes typically use wider rims with knobby tires instead of the narrower rim sizes found on mountain bikes. The frame geometry may also differ slightly between road bikes and mountain bikes.

Compared to a complex full-suspension mountain bike, it's a traditional bicycle with a near-identical silhouette to those raced 50 years ago.

The classic road bike is what we all think about when we hear the word "road bike." This model was developed in the early 1900s, and since then, it has remained largely unchanged. A typical road bike features drop bars, flat pedals, relatively low handlebar height, thin tires, a single chainring up front and two rear sprockets, usually 11–23 teeth.


Road bikes are designed around three primary purposes: comfort, efficiency or performance. The first two types comfort and efficient are often combined into what we call “hybrid” models. Performance road bikes tend to be lighter than their hybrid counterparts but also have less suspension travel. They're built for long rides at high speeds over rough terrain.

The Pros of Road Bicycles

Road bikes are designed with the intention that they will be ridden in all conditions. They have been built from lightweight materials, which allow them to handle rough roads without being too heavy or cumbersome. The frame is also made out of high-strength steel so it can withstand impacts while still maintaining its shape. This means you don't need to worry about your bike breaking when riding over bumps.

With large wheels, thin slick tyres and low center of gravity, a road bike moves quickly. This makes it ideal for racing, commuting and recreational rides.

Because there isn't much extra material around the seat tube, handlebars and fork crowns, road bikes tend to be lighter than comparable hybrid or touring models.

Take a look at our popular related buyers guide. Best Road Bikes.

Types Of Road Bikes

Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid bikes are the hybrid between a road bike and a mountain bike. They take characteristics from both bikes in order to create a bike designed for people who want the best of both worlds. A hybrid has the speed of a road bike with the comfort of a mountain bike. A hybrid is commonly used by the recreational rider who primarily uses their bike for commuting, touring, or the occasional workout.

Track Bikes

Track Bikes These stripped-down machines are designed for special use in velodrome racing. They feature very stiff frames, narrow tires, a single gear that does not freewheel (if the bike is moving, the pedals are turning), and no brakes.

Gravel Bikes

A gravel bike is a bike that has been modified so that it can be ridden on unpaved, loose dirt surfaces that include dirt roads and unpaved trails. Gravel bikes are different from mountain bikes in that they have smaller tires with less clearance so that the rider does not sink into the dirt as much. Gravel bikes can be made to withstand the conditions of unpaved trails and dirt roads. Most people ride gravel bikes on the street or in a bike park, but they can also be used as a winter bike.

Adventure Bikes

Adventure Road Bicycles are one of the newest categories of bicycle. They are sometimes called all-road bikes, any-road bikes, or gravel bikes, and are the most versatile sub-category of road bike. Similar to cyclocross bikes, they have drop handlebars and the ability to use wider tires. The frame geometry is longer and more upright compared to a cyclocross bike, however, making these bikes more suitable for long days in the saddle, light touring, and commuting.

Commuter Bikes

Commuter bikes are often used to get to work, school, and other places. This is often done in the morning or evening when the weather isn't that nice. They are also a great way to get around if you are moving to another place because you want to find something cheaper. Commuter bikes are typically used by the ones who do not have a car to commute to their jobs in the city.

Touring Bikes

A Touring bike is a bicycle manufactured for the joy of riding. They are designed to perform well in any kind of weather. Touring bikes are usually more upright, so they are designed to better withstand the wind and ride sturdier. Touring bikes require more maintenance than a road bicycle, but the added peace of mind of knowing you can ride your favorite road bike, but as a touring bike, is well worth it.

Endurance Bikes

Endurance road bikes are designed to let you ride farther and over a wider variety of road surfaces. They're great for new road riders and seasoned riders alike, and built with a stable and comfortable geometry that keeps you smooth and confident.

Cyclocross Bikes

Not all that different from Touring bikes, cyclocross bikes have wider, knobby tires designed for racing on a combination of dirt paths, grass and asphalt. Lighter than mountain bikes and not typically set up for racks and luggage, a cyclocross bike can be a perfect commuter bike.

Single Gear Bikes

Single speed bikes are popular among commuters living in flat areas, because they require little maintenance. They're also used by some racers who want to drop weight and cut down on any extra complication coming from the shifting process - in this case, choosing the correct gear ratio is crucial. Finally, track bikes only ever have one gear - though again riders will change their set up to suit certain events.


It's clear there are many different types of road bike. The trick here is to choose the type you're looking for first, then start looking for the exact model you're after. We have lots of buyers guides and product reviews to help you on your journey. All free to access and full of useful tips. Take a look for yourself and good luck with your search.

Best Bike Guide

Affiliate Disclosure

bestbikeguide.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.