How to Choose a Road Bicycle

How to Choose a Road Bicycle
A road bicycle is designed for speed. It can be identified by its thin, smooth tires and drop handlebars. Road bicycles can be used for other purposes besides road racing, including commuting or leisure rides. Some road bicycles are equipped to handle the addition of such accessories as racks, fenders or lights. Generally, though, road bikes are kept free of accessories.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Consider your price range. You can find road bikes in a wide range of prices. The least expensive road bikes can be bought for around $400 and the most expensive bikes can easily total over $5,000. Be flexible with your price range, but do have some sense of what you can afford when you get ready to make your choice.
Step 2
Go to a local bike shop. It is a good idea to choose your bicycle from a local bike shop rather than a large department store. The employees at a bike shop generally are more knowledgeable about bicycles than employees at a discount retailer and the bikes typically are higher quality. Bikes from local shops often come with a free tune-up.
Step 3
Choose the correct size. A correctly-sized and adjusted bicycle will make riding more efficient and comfortable and reduce strain on your body. The bike shop employees can help you with this, but one way to measure is stand-over height. This means that when you are standing on the ground the top tube should be about two inches from your crotch. Look at the seat height and handlebar reach. If either doesn't feel right, an employee can help you make an adjustment.
Step 4
Test ride a few bikes, even if the first bike you get on feels right. This is how you learn what you like, what feels comfortable and what suits you. Often, something will stand out that you wouldn't have noticed until you ride a few other bikes. If the bike shop doesn't allow test rides, choose another shop. Buying a bike without riding it is not conducive to making the best choice.
Step 5
Experiment with different frame materials. Bikes most frequently are made of steel, aluminum or carbon fiber. Steel frames can rust, but are sturdy. Aluminum frames are lighter but can be jerkier and don't rust. Carbon frames are very light and absorb much of the shock of the road but are the most expensive. Many middle price range bikes are aluminum with some carbon parts, such as a fork, seat stays or seat post.

Tips & Warnings

Always wear a helmet while riding.

Article Written By Frances Hall

Frances Hall is a librarian and writing and women's and gender studies instructor. Hall has written for Her Active Life and Queercents and has been blogging since 2004. Hall holds a Master of Arts in library science from Dominican University and a Master of Arts in English/literature with a focus on feminist writing pedagogy, as well as a graduate certificate in women's and gender studies.

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