How to match the road bike to the terrain

Choosing what style of bike best fits your needs can be a difficult decision to make, even once you’ve realised your preference is for the road over dirt trails, there are a lot of options that can complicate things. If you’re considering purchasing one of the many styles of road bikes (Tesco stock options for every budget) and aren’t exactly sure what is the best style of bike for you, here are few tips to choose a ride that will suit your needs and keep you rolling.

Decide what you will be using your bike for

Saying you will be using your bike to ride on the road is just the first part of describing its use, other things you need to consider are the length of rides you will be going on and what these rides will entail. If you’re looking for a bike to exercise on and ride in a more race style manner, then you’re after a standard road bike, but if you’re thinking of doing longer expeditions or multi-day touring then you might be more interested in a road touring bike.

The standard road bike https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7513/16043193466_700bcac282_z.jpg

Today’s road bikes are complex machines designed to achieve high speeds and be as lightweight as possible in order to ease the burden of climbs. They are most commonly made from steel (less so nowadays), titanium, aluminium, and the famous carbon fiber. While the strength and light weight of carbon fiber makes it the upper-echelon material and choice for the top riders of today, it also comes at a high price. If you’re looking to purchase a standard road bike don’t dismiss aluminium or titanium, as the lower cost of these frames will afford you better components on your  bike, which may actually reduce the overall weight and price in comparison to a base level carbon fiber bike.

The touring road bike https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7106/7579596104_c604b5633d_z.jpg

Most touring bikes are designed primarily to ride on the same surface as road bikes, though they can be driven on slightly more off-road surfaces, like compacted dirt and gravel roads. These bikes focus less, however, on achieving the supreme lightweight and top-speed characteristics of the standard road bike, and more on providing riders with a comfortable and sturdy ride that will get them through the long miles. For anyone looking to do multi-day bike trips with gear, the touring road bike will provide you with the best means for transporting yourself and your things over long distances.

The most important thing is fitting

Inevitably, you can have the top bike in the world for your choice of pursuit, but if you don’t have a correct fit, you’ll find riding difficult and quickly tiring. This not only means matching up your body-size to the bike, but also selecting the correct components that will make you most comfortable on your bike. Be sure to try out different components, such as brakes, gear-shifters, chainrings, and wheels to decide what ones feel the best for you.

Remember, choosing a bike should be a fun process, so take your time to discover what will have you enjoying your next ride the most.

Please feel free to give your bike fitting suggestions and advice in the comments below.

Images by  halfrain and  Robert Couse-Baker used under the Creative Commons License.

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