How to choose a road bike: A beginner's guide in 2024

If you are a lover of road bikes and you are in doubt between which is the best for you, please let me guide you through the different options you have. If you are still a beginners in this world, or you are just a person who enjoys watching this sport on television, you may hardly be able to perceive any difference between the different types. 

There are mainly three types of road bikes ; Aero, Gran Fondo and Climbers, that have been with us for a long time and are part of the daily life of every amateur or professional cyclist.

Types of road bikes

Climber Type Road Bike

Bicycle-type-climber They are known as the most versatile, being used par excellence in bicycle races to be able to adapt to any situation that arises. They have a rigid and light body that characterizes them, facilitating the overcoming of different obstacles typical of the mountain. Use to be the lighter option as it is designed for climbing and each gram should be taken into account when we think about climbing.  

On flat terrain it may not be the most suitable, being surpassed by the Gran Fondo in this aspect, and the aero, but even so they are still one of the best options for cyclists who carry high expectations to classifications.

Being one of the most popular models, it is possible to find stair climbers around the price of € 700 to € 1000. This will largely depend on the transmission elements, which can be basic or electronic, and the basic or advanced models of the frame, which can be made of aluminum or carbon.  

Climbing road bikes allow great performance when climbing and in competition on all types of routes. Its peculiar geometry allows you to position yourself in a more aggressive way on the bicycle, being stretched out on it with your back lying down.

Gran Fondo Type Road Bike 

Gran Fondo road bikes are considered the most comfortable ones, as they are designed having the rider comfort and helping to reduce the fatigue in mind, being the best option for very long routes that require resistance. It has a less aggressive geometry than the stair climber, allowing a more upright back position so we can sit in the bike not forcing our posture not so much.

To ensure greater comfort some gran fondos even has a system that allows absorption to uneven surfaces and potholes. If you are thinking about a demanding sprint, or are looking to stand out in the high mountains as the race leader, it may not be the ideal bike, however they can provide great performance in different terrains and situations, making it one of the best options for almost every rider.

Photo sources: online

Aero Type Road Bike

Aero bikes are designed to be aerodynamic, reactive and very fast, sacrificing comfort and pedaling by having a silhouette with more aggressive lines, very sharp tubes and forks. This type of road bike has been gaining popularity over the years, where all the well-known brands have a range of designs that meet all Aero requirements.  

Its more aggressive design allows it to reach high speeds in flat and going downhill, without sacrificing performance in uphill ports. The position is even more lying down than on a climbing bike, making the osito on a bit forced sometimes.

Being an extremely versatile model, it can be seen more and more among amateurs and professionals of this discipline. With an Aero road bike, there is no need for two bikes for people who combine triathlon with cycling.

Similarly, professionals are capable of using an Aero model for sprinting, and even for solo getaways even when the finish line is a long way off. 

Photo sources: online

Considerations to keep in mind when buying a road bike

When you want to choose the ideal road bike, it is important to look beyond the color that decorates the bike frame. Now, once the types have been defined, it is possible to analyze the considerations that must be taken into account when making your choice. 

Road bikes can perform in different situations, such as training, riding, or for racing. In case of dedicating a purely recreational use, it is not necessary to go very far in the search, a basic bicycle will be enough to roll.

When you start training, you need a good bike, but you don't need a the  high-end model. In general, a basic model with an aluminum frame can be enough. To start, we can use a low-medium range model, around € 700, if possible a Tiagra group will be even better.

If you want an advanced machine to compete, it is the ideal time to invest your money. In general, the prices and complexity of a bicycle dedicated to competition are high, due to its greater lightness and advanced materials. This complexity in materials is accompanied by an extraordinary physical form. Depending on the type of competition, an aerodynamic frame, extremely light components, profile wheels, carbon frames, among other characteristics, may be recommended, but every gram and special part has a toll to be payed as the prices rise exponentially.

Road bike size and geometry

One of the most important elements to take into account when choosing is that the size is appropriate for your constitution. The same size can vary in different models, for this it is possible to observe an exhaustive table of sizes. Having a bicycle that fits exactly to your size is something basic and essential, especially to avoid future injuries.

Bike material: aluminum or carbon?

The material from which the frame and fork are made has a great impact on the performance of the road bike. Most, especially those designed for beginners, have an aluminum frame. Carbon requires a bigger budget, but today we can find carbon bikes at an affordable price. There are also bikes with frames made of steel, vey rigid and titanium, very light, but these use to be very exclusive models. 

The history of this sport as an amateur is always the same and it has happened to all of us: first we buy a bicycle as cheap as possible, because as it is to start and to see if we like this sport or not. Some of use enjoy the rides and see ourselves fitter so we want more and not long after we already want to buy a better bike, but we always want to buy a better bike.

If you have a tight budget, an aluminum frame is not a bad option, and will get you to the very same places than will take you a 10 times more expensive bike.

The ideal weight for a road bike

Weight-bike,weight on the other hand is very important, however, losing the weight of a road bike can make it very expensive. Weight in a bike is important but not determinant, sometimes on club rides we see people with much more heavy bikes climb ahead of the pack.

Recommendation regarding transmission 

In general, this point can be something personal for each one. The sprockets are recommended from 10 to 12 speeds in the rear , being a 10 for beginners, a 11 as the most acceptable, and an 11-12 that generally go on more medium-high range bicycles. 

In general, this point can be something personal for each one. The sprockets are recommended from 10 to 12 speeds in the rear , being a 10 for beginners, a 11 as the most acceptable, and an 11-12 that generally go on more medium-high range bicycles.

Group set

The group set the bike is built in is a factor we have to take into account. There are three major brands, SHIMANO, SRAM and Campagnolo and nowadays the tree of them have mechanical and electronic group sets. Obviously the electronic ones are more than expensive but the gearing is much more smooth and easy.

In the market we can find two types of brakes for road bikes: Rim brakes and disks. We could say that Tim brakes nowadays are only for entry level bikes or on the other hand for special or very light builds while the bast majority of road bikes are equipped with disk brakes. 

The warranty and technical service you have
When you buy a bicycle it is important to be well informed about the warranty and the service it has. There are brands that have lifetime warranty boxes. In the first place it may not be something that worries you very much, but after a while you will be interested to know that you have support for your machine. Or you can buy it second-hand, which can always be found at a good price and in very good condition if you are not in a hurry to buy it. 

Regarding the rims, they are made of a sharp profile so that the wind cuts through, there are low-profile rims that measure -30mm, averages that are between 30 and 40mm and high-profile ones that already have more than 40mm. 

It must be borne in mind that the more profile it has, the more rigid the bicycle wheels will be and the less they will absorb the bumps of the road, but on the other hand, they transmit the pedaling power better. And the aerodynamics is affected when the wind is lateral where you have to go very carefully not to displace us.

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