Getting a road bike can be a large commitment especially due to the fact you’re embarking onto a new hobby and passion. You never know where it could take you, in a few years time you could be cycling everyday and competing. However for now we’ll just assume you’re gearing and really excited to start your new hobby.
Everyone needs to start somewhere and hopefully this guide is a good place to start. There are many different questions that beginners ask and this guide should cover the main ones.
Below are some things to think about when looking to choose your road bike: ]
Your Bike Compared To Your Skill Level
A road bike should always be chosen with heavy regard to your skill level. Obviously if you’re a beginner you’re going to want a road bike that’s reliable, is comfortable, is the right price and has enough gears to help you get over challenging hills.
You may be new to road bikes but not new to biking overall. Road biking is slightly different to standard biking but there are principles that apply. Look below and try and decipher what level you’re currently at when you bike or what level of commitment you’re trying to obtain.
Low Level Biker
Choosing a low level road bike can be tricky due to the fact many road bikes these days are very expensive. However all is not lost as you can get some great road bikes for decent prices if you look around. You may not get all of the features but you can be sure to get a road bike that does the job. If you’re just starting out and not sure how much you’re going to be using it then you should consider the pricing.
Medium Level Biker
A medium level biker is someone who has had a good amount of experience with bikes and many other different types including mountain and triathlon. A medium level biker should be looking at road bikes within the medium range which is anything up to 500. If you’re going to be taking it seriously then this is necessary. The best road bikes aren’t necessarily the most expensive so it’s best if you do some research beforehand.
High Level Biker
If you’re enthusiastic about biking and it’s a big part of your life but you’re looking for a road bike then you should make sure you’re getting the best possible. It’s known that road bikes can be expensive but if you’re dedicated and sure that you’re going to be using it often then it’s wise to invest a good deal. Most of the high level road bikes are over 500 with most being over the 1000 range. Anything over that and you’re looking at top competition standard. A high level road biker would need as many gears as possible especially to take advantage of certain conditions, make sure you don’t sell yourself short.
The standard amount of road bike gears you’re likely to find in most online and local stores are 14-33 gears. A higher amount of gears will give you the most flexibility when you’re going to tackle hills or bumpy roads with different environments. In most cases it may not be necessary to have a lot of gears, especially if the roads you travel on are mostly flat and have a similar surface. Before you consider how many gears you need look at the environments you’re going to be traveling and use that to make a decision.
As with everything in cycling, the most important factor when it comes to buying a road bike is size. Ideally you’re going to want a bike that fits your dimensions uniquely and gives you a comfortable fit. There are three main benefits to purchasing a road bike that fits.
Comfort – With a bike that fits well and suits your physique you’ll be riding for longer without any discomfort. This is important for any journey but especially so for those long rides which can drain you. A good indicator of whether a bike will fit you is if the seat is in a comfortable position.
Efficiency -How fit and strong you are will dictate how much energy you can exert and also how much the pedals will help you to move forward. However every human body is limited in how much energy it can exert no matter how fit or strong you are. You should try and find a bike that makes it easy to peddle and also make good use of your natural body physique.
Speed – The biggest thing to slow any biker down will be his own weight and also the wind resistance that is pushed against him. That’s why you should find a bike that feels great when you sit and peddle but also when you get into full throttle.
Road Bike Accessories
Road Bike accessories will give you that edge when it comes to comfort, efficiency and most of all safety.
Visible or reflective gear is important for anyone who is going to be taking their riding seriously, especially if you’re going to be riding at night or in any low light conditions. Many of the materials will help with comfort as well such as preventing chafing and wear.
Mirrors are important for road safety if you’re going to be travelling for long periods of time on the road. They will give you an indication as to how the traffic is responding behind you and are obviously important in places like roundabouts.
If you’re going to get any accessory at all make sure you get a helmet. If you have ever seen an injury to a bike helmet after a collision then I’m sure you’ll understand why you’d rather it be your helmet than your head. Make sure you buy one of these that fit and get it with your bike as a required purchase.
How Much Should I Spend?
How much you spend is entirely up to you and it will be based on your disposable income, how much you think you’re going to ride and how experienced you already are. For a decent Road Bike that will last you a good few years you may be looking at around the 400 to 600 mark. Just be sure you look around before you buy as bike prices have been known to be slashed, especially around Christmas.