In the wide and varied world of cycling, there are many bikes to choose from. Even when the need is narrowed to the road, you still need to do some research and assess your requirements for the bike as well as what is suited to your own ability.
Consider your bike use
Current trends of revived vintage wheels are, in many cases, ideal for the casual rider. They and other fixed-gear bikes are often lower maintenance and simpler to operate, however restrictive this might be. For the daily commuter and hobbyist whose tracks extend long distances, a hybrid with automatic gear changes can tackle alternate terrains (as well as the road), with the journey made easier through skinnier wheels with thicker treading, some added suspension and often a comfier seat.
As with the hybrid bicycle, they are built for speed. Greater gear combinations, with a lightweight construction means there is less effort required to pedal as the bike assesses the strain and adjusts accordingly. Your need for speed can also be assisted by the choice of handlebars. Drop bar handlebars, often seen on the athlete’s bike, are also lightweight and add to the aerodynamics, often suitable for experienced, long distance riders.
However, if you’re looking for a cruisy afternoon ride, comfort is key; a flat-bar handlebar is conducive to an upright body position, placing less strain on the hands, wrists and shoulders. There isn’t an exaggerated need for balance and position, making this ideal for newer riders.
Keep it light
Remember, the road bike user must have some place to store the bike. If you are lucky enough to have an appropriate docking place near the road, this next point might not be so paramount, however many inner-city dwellers or riders who also use public transport might want to pay close attention.
The actual frame of your bike will contribute to not only its durability but its overall weight. If you are having to lug your bike up stairs, lift it into holding racks, or swing it on and off a train, you are going to want it to be as weightless as possible. Carbon fibre frames, most used on road bikes, are the lightest available, followed by titanium. Many urban and trendy bikes will be comprised of steel or an aluminium alloy.
Be aware that the more steel used in the frame, the heavier the bike will be. Add this to the accessories on your bike, such as the size of the seat, the number of gears, the tyres, and even how the frame is welded together can add to the heaviness of your bike. When chatting to your bike salesperson, be sure to explain how you intend to use and store the bike, so they can find the perfect balance of performance and practicality.