what's the best type of road bike?

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  • Aesop101
    Aesop101 Posts: 758 Member
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    I've been looking into bikes myself for a couple of months. I'm not even close to an answer. I saw a lady on a Cannondale. She loved it. I looked them up, several thousand dollars but depending what you want. I saw some in the 500s. I saw a guy on a Giant, haven't looked them up yet. But he liked it a lot. I do know you have to pick the right size of bike. One size does not fit all.
  • Wolfena
    Wolfena Posts: 1,570 Member
    edited July 2016
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    I love my Trek.

    I ride for pleasure and exercise, not competitively or for speed. It was a bit pricey (450$) but it was fun and comfortable right off the bat. I bought it at a bicycle shop so they helped me measure what size bicycle I need it and then I picked out the color and design I liked. I have had about 8 years now.
  • TONYPASCUCCI
    TONYPASCUCCI Posts: 1 Member
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    Definitely shop the small bike shops. Get an idea on correct size too. Online shopping is difficult without getting on the bike. Lots of sites list S, M, L. You need to know the correct frame size for you. Road bikes=research. What is best for you. Once you have an idea of what you want, and how much you can spend then you can shop. Try BIKESDIRECT.COM. Some brand names, lots of their own stuff (they buy the frames and then build the bike around it with their own label). BIG SAVINGS! I got one of their Gravity labeled bikes. Same components as a Specialized or Giant but around $1200 less.
  • Anabug81
    Anabug81 Posts: 161 Member
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    I have a Cannondale Road Bike and I love it, the price was like $800.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
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    Mandygring wrote: »
    I'm sorta new to this topic so I'm curious what the best type of road bike is. Is it different for men than woman? What do I look for when looking for a bike?

    As with a number of others in thread, the right answer for type of bike really depends on what type of riding you want to do.

    In terms of types:
    • Road - Generally lighter weight with a broad range of gears, but will generally have a slightly more aggressive riding position. You'll generally find these have narrow tyres, which can limit their utility on poorer road surfaces.
    • Mountain bike - A broad range of models exist, but at entry level you're looking at bigger tyres, and for offroad use those would be heavily textured but you can get smoother tyres for road use. The gear range is generally reasonably wide, but at a lower power conversion level, so lower gears at the bottom of the range but the top gears will be slow in comparison. They're generally more robust and more rideable as they've got a more relaxed ride position, but slower and harder work to go distances on.
    • Hybrid/ Commuter - Generally a frame similar to a road bike, but with flat bars, bigger tyres and a decent gear range. They'll cope with poor weather and surfaces better than a pure road bike, but they're faster than a mountain bike.
    • Cyclocross - Originally designed for cross country racing, they're generally very similar to road bikes, but with offroad tyres, a more relaxed ride position and a slightly lower gearing set.

    Personally I have a carbon frame road bike (Boardman) that I use for training, an aluminium frame CX bike (Boardman) that I use for commuting, having put a pannier rack and panniers onto it. I commute part of the way offroad, so a hybrid wouldn't do the job for me. I have an aluminium frame mountain bike (Specialized) for throwing around the forests and an aluminium frame road bike (Specialized) that I have on my turbo trainer for indoor training sessions. I also have a steel frame folding (Brompton) that I use when I'm commuting into London, as I can ride it to the station, fold it up and take it on the train, then ride it through London. They've all got different benefits and disbenefits, depending on what I'm wanting to do.

    I'd also echo the points about getting the best frame you can, as you can upgrade gears, brakes, seat and wheels at somewhat lower cost than replacing the frame and forks.
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,248 Member
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    Once you have an idea of what you want, and how much you can spend then you can shop. Try BIKESDIRECT.COM.

    This is the kind of advice that will put local shops out of business. There is more to value than price, your local bike shop assembles the bike (properly) and will help fit it for you and most will include adjustments & tuneups for a year or two.....

    If you know what you want and how to assemble / maintain a bike by all means buy on-line but really bad advice for a newbie.......
  • Wolfena
    Wolfena Posts: 1,570 Member
    edited July 2016
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    Once you have an idea of what you want, and how much you can spend then you can shop. Try BIKESDIRECT.COM.

    This is the kind of advice that will put local shops out of business. There is more to value than price, your local bike shop assembles the bike (properly) and will help fit it for you and most will include adjustments & tuneups for a year or two.....

    If you know what you want and how to assemble / maintain a bike by all means buy on-line but really bad advice for a newbie.......

    Plus most likely, the bicycle shop will service the bike for you free for awhile, and lower if you bought it from them than someplace else. My bike shop also offered to exchange it, or give me store credit if I discovered I made the wrong choice or just didn't like riding at all (for a limited time). Again, 8 years later they are still of assistance to me when I need it :)
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
    edited July 2016
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    Definitely shop the small bike shops. Get an idea on correct size too. Online shopping is difficult without getting on the bike. Lots of sites list S, M, L. You need to know the correct frame size for you. Road bikes=research. What is best for you. Once you have an idea of what you want, and how much you can spend then you can shop.

    Notwithstanding what might be considered as pretty parasitic behaviour, for someone asking the original question it's extremely bad advice.

    fwiw your LBS may also provide some sweeteners in the deal. I bought a new bike about three weeks ago and got about 10% of the value in additional accessories and a low level maintenance package. They're giving me labour, and sundries, free for a year.

    The originator is unlikely to be able to maintain and service her own bike, so is going to have to use the local shop that you're putting out of business. The idea of someone going out on a bike when they're potentially not maintaining it appropriately is lethal, both for the person you're advising, and other road users.
  • mattbell007
    mattbell007 Posts: 45 Member
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    I have two things to add:

    First, women's bikes "tend" to fit women better, but that isn't universally true. My wife has a "men's" bike and loves it. Definitely check out both men's and women's bikes. I'm a guy, but I'd buy a women's bike if it fit me better. Seats are like that too. I have a men's frame bike, but I have wide ischial tuberosities (sit bones). As a result, my seat is wider than most men's seats. It isn't softer, though. If the seat fits, it doesn't have to be soft to be comfortable, and soft seats can squish pressure from bones designed to take the weight to soft areas that are not designed to take the weight. Getting a frame that fits is important, but getting a seat that fits is just as important. Final thing about fit: if you have a frame that is close to the right size, there are a lot of things that can be adjusted to "dial in" the fit.

    Second, I'm partial to Performance Bike. They are a big chain, but they specialize in just bikes. They have some advantages of both a local bike shop (bike knowledge) and a big chain store (prices). I love my local Performance Bike store. I am sure that some are better than others, just like local shops. Some local shops will try to sell you what they have, not what you need (which I hate). The sales people at Performance don't work on commission. That means that the salesman doesn't directly benefit by selling you more than what you need. But, like an LBS, they do sell high-end bikes, too. They have a Web site, and prices in-store and online are fairly competitive with online-only bike stores. If you have a Performance Bike store in your area, check it out, too. (Disclosure: I have no affiliation with Performance Bike except being a customer.)

    REI is a bit like that too. They sell higher-end bikes than a box store like Walmart. I've never been terribly impressed with their prices, though, and they don't specialize in bikes. I would expect that their knowledge about bikes would be noticeably better than a general box store, but not nearly as good as a bikes-only store. (I am an REI customer, too, just not for bikes.)
  • robertw486
    robertw486 Posts: 2,390 Member
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    The best type of road bike is the one that you're comfortable on and will ride.

    I see people in this area go out and spend a lot of money thinking that will make them better riders, and make the same mistakes people make at a big box store picking bicycles. The only real difference being that the people at the big box stores waste less money on a bike they aren't sure they will ride.

    Light weight, thin tires, less aero resistance, and more ratios will make you travel farther with the same amount of energy. But no bike will perform beyond what you put into it regardless. You can get just as fit with a lower priced bike, and if you decide you like or dislike certain styles, features, etc you can always move up to something that suits you better.


    What is comfortable and suits what you want to do with it varies a great deal person to person.
  • UmmSqueaky
    UmmSqueaky Posts: 715 Member
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    Yaaay bikes! Check out this buying guide - http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Content_10052_10551_-1_ChoosingaBike

    Key questions to consider rather than brand:

    1. How am I going to use my bike? This will dictate what kind of bike you buy (road, mountain, hybrid, etc)
    2. What's my budget? Look to get the best bike for whatever amount you have. You can get a good bike for $500. Or a good bike for $2000. The $2000 bike will probably be better but objectively you might not need the improvements.
    3. What local shop has a good reputation? Buying a bike isn't a one and done activity. You'll want a relationship with your local shop so they can service your bike and extend it's life. They might offer classes so you can learn how to work on your bike yourself. And if you trust your local shop, you can trust them to help you get the most bang for your buck.

    And when you're all set, join us in the monthly challenge thread. Anyone who rides a bike is welcome. http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10418483/july-2016-bike-cycling-bicycling-challenge
  • jacksonpt
    jacksonpt Posts: 10,413 Member
    edited July 2016
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    I scanned the first page and thought I'd throw out a couple of points worth considering...

    1 - women specific bikes generally have different dimensions/measurements (called geometry in the bike world) and are designed to fit shorter people. If you're under about 5'6" or so, women's specific bikes could be helpful. If you're over that height, then there probably isn't a need to limit yourself to WSD. Ultimately though, it really comes down to feel.

    2 - any bike that is well put together an in good working condition can be just fine. Is a $1000 bike from a local bike shop gong to be "better" than a $300 bike from Target? Yep, but you can still get a ton of use out of the Target bike. All depends on your needs/priorities.


    Generally speaking, you should first decide on how and where you want to ride.
    - Steets? Bike paths? Dirt roads? Trails?
    - Casually with kids/family? Recreationally to get in shape? Weekend racing?

    Then decide on a budget.
    - cost of the bike
    - buy a helmet
    - most people will want a water bottle or 2, and maybe some basic tools, but those are kinda optional


    Answering those couple of questions will help steer you in the right direction. Brand is largely irrelevant, so don't get too hung up on that.
  • denversillygoose
    denversillygoose Posts: 708 Member
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    robertw486 wrote: »
    The best type of road bike is the one that you're comfortable on and will ride.

    Quoted for truth. You'll get a bazillion recommendations here from people who are partial to their own bikes. Go talk to the peeps at your LBS. Tell them exactly what kind of riding you want to do (paved vs dirt, commute vs endurance, etc) and your budget. Test ride a bunch, and by test ride, I mean at least 15 minutes where you can shift, brake, and test the handling, etc. Avoid big box stores and make sure any bike you get is properly fitted to you.


  • lodro
    lodro Posts: 982 Member
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    Get a proper bike-fit done, determine what you like to do: racing? touring? extended rides? randonneuring? off-roading? Then select the bike to fit your preference.

    However, you may find that after riding for a couple of months, you're curious to try out other disciplines. I started out with a sensible, but heavy, touring bike. I've now switched to one of Kona's "freerange" models, bikes that can really go anywhere. Came equipped with 35 mm width tyres.

    It's a myth that narrow tyres are "faster". They're not, but a 23mm width tyre will always be more uncomfortable than a 28mm width, or even 30 or 35mm.

    This year's Tour de France had a common tyre width of 25mm, with only a small minority of riders still sticking with 23mm.


    Still, proper bikefit will wholly determine whether you will be comfortable on your bike or not.

    (disclaimer: my rides are geared toward ultra-racing, 200 km plus events against a time limit.)
  • misskris78
    misskris78 Posts: 136 Member
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    If you want to ride stone dust trails and an occasional off road jaunt, I'd recommend a hybrid or cyclocross. If you're looking at just pavement, a road bike is the way to go. I just started biking this year, and got a Trek Lexa, which is a women's bike. It is a lower end Trek model, and runs about $1000. I ride exclusively pavement in the Adirondacks, and it's a good bike for me, but I'll probably upgrade in a few years. My husband rides a Giant Defy, which has gotten a lot of accolades in the bicycling mags. It's a great fit for him. His setup was in the $2500 range. Components are pretty much the same at the $1000-2000 price point regardless of the manufacturer, so fit should be your deciding factor. Specialized, Trek, Giant, Cannondale, Diamondback and Fuji all have road bikes in this range. Used bikes might be a great option, but I'd suggest getting fitted at a real bike shop before exploring the internet. When coming up with a budget, remember you'll need to add the cost of a helmet ($50-100), gloves ($30-50: highly recommended), clipless pedals ($50) (if this is your gig), shoes ($75-150), a portable bike pump, spare tubes, flashing lights, bike shorts, etc. As a runner, I found getting into biking rather complex, but it's a ton of fun. I'm finding I enjoy my miles on the bike way more than those I've spent pounding the pavement.
  • berolcolour
    berolcolour Posts: 140 Member
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    I bought my first road bike a year ago! I love it. What I learnt:

    Bikefit totally worth it
    Good Lycra shorts/longs are worthwhile
    Men's and women's bikes are not always different geometry (some are just different colours!)
    Don't automatically buy a really soft saddle, in the long run it can more uncomfortable and you could cause soft tissue damage
    Some helmets are uncomfortable (might sound daft but I bought and returned a couple before I realised it is more than just a size) so it's worth trying a few
  • daweasel
    daweasel Posts: 68 Member
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    Quick note on women's specific vs unisex - I was riding a unisex bike that was the "correct" size for me, but found the geometry of a different brand women's specific to be much much more comfortable. It all comes down to your proportions an the geometry of the bike. There is no reason to discount women's or unisex options, just make sure you're comfortable.

    For me, I am longish in the leg, so the reach on a unisex bike was really too long for me. I've since bought a women's specific one that fits me so much better, but that's not to say that a different unisex bike wouldn't fit me just as well as my current women's specific one does.

    Women's specific bikes usually have a shorter reach to the handlebars, that's the only major difference I'm aware of.

    Ohh and Specialized helmets, they make women's ones with a "hair port" that you can stick your pony tail through...seems like such a minor thing, but it's great!