If you are reading this article, I can already assume that you have seen a road bike at least once in your life. You are just looking for a definition, perhaps. Or maybe you just want to know about road bikes in detail.
Well, road bikes have always been, perhaps, the most popular type of bike. Whether you want to ride a long-distance or you are a regular commuter, a road bike will always come handy for every situation.
Simplified definition, a road bike is a type of bike, that is fundamentally designed for use on paved roads, as opposed to mountain bikes, for example, which is designed for off-road cycling. Road bikes give you a higher speed than the other types of bikes.
Without further due, let’s jump right into our discussion, which aims at letting you know about road bikes in detail.
Table of Contents
Things You Should Know About Road Bikes
Some Common Types of Road Bikes
As you can guess from the name, race bikes are specifically designed for racing purposes. Its features are conducive to a higher speed. For example, the bikes have to be quite lighter than the other of its kind. The comfort issue comes only second to the speed issue.
If you are looking for a bike you can ride fast, then race bike is what you need.
Well, you may have seen some cycling challenges where the speed is not the most important thing – endurance is. While the race bikes give more emphasis on speed, sportive bikes try to balance both speed and comfort. Comfort is even more crucial as it is about riding for a long time. It’s good for hilly terrain and long-distance rides.
Time Trial Bike
It is some real speedy thing! If you think that race bike is the epitome of speed, then you need to reconsider.
A time trial bike is absolutely made for professional racing. It is designed in such a way that it provides more resistance against wind. This bike is only about more speed.
The bike is specially designed for day to day rides. For people who just want a simple and comfy ride, a commuter bike is an ultimate choice. The geometry of the bike gives more comfort. The weight is not really an issue here.
Breakdown of a Typical Road Bike
The frame is what we may call the trunk of any bike. However, it’s size and shape differ from other types of bikes. The frame is usually made of steel, aluminum, carbon, and even titanium.
Traditional, or you might call older, and bikes have a frame with a flat top tube and a shorter seat post. But newer frames contain a sloping top tube that makes it smaller and lighter. It makes the geometry more compact.
Almost all the road bikes have these things similar. There isn’t much space for variation.
Wheels and Tires
Wheels and tires are, perhaps, the two most recognizable things that make a clear distinction between road bikes and mountain bikes. Road bike wheels aren’t as heavy as mountain bikes’ wheel. The wheels tend to be thinner. Due to the nature of the wheel being not so robust, there is less space for spokes, and the rim tends to be lighter also.
Owing to its skinny nature – although not as skinny as the older bikes used to be, the rim is also light and very narrow.
And of course, the tires are also supposed to be skinny to match the rims. However, the newer bikes come with a little wider tires as it gives a more comfortable experience. The newer ones are around 25 mm while, and the older ones are around 23 mm. You can see there’s not that much difference. The tires are still significantly skinnier than that of mountain bikes.
Chainset and Cassette
If you are wondering what might cause the high-speed nature of road bikes, then I would say that it’s every part of a road bike that makes it speedy. However, the most important indicator to look for when considering the speed of a road bike is the chainset/cassette combination.
A chainset, also known as crankset, is placed at the bottom of the frame. It is connected with the pedals. You can say a chainset makes the bike work, that is, when you are pedaling, the chainset/cassette converts the force and makes the bike move. A chainset usually consists of two sprockets.
A cassette, also known as cog-set, is a set of sprockets that are connected to the hub of the back wheel. Most road bikes have more than 9 sprockets. Some high-end bikes have even 11 or 12 sprockets.
Handlebars are where you place your hand while riding the bike. You control the bike using the handlebars. Components that are crucial to navigating the bike are attached to the handlebars.
Most road bikes usually come with drop handlebars – a downward sloping handlebar that helps to lean forward quite more comfortably as opposed to a flat bar which is, well, just flat and straight with no curved portion.
The brakes are placed on the curved portion of the handlebar whereas the gear shifters are placed on the standard part – the flat part – of it.
A saddle is where you sit. A saddle is shaped and designed with a great amount of care since you have to sit comfortably on the bike. An uncomfortable ride, of course, is not a desired one.
At the first look, you may think the saddle is kind of weird and uncomfortable. Well, you are not totally wrong. It takes a little time to get used to that. These are specially made for long rides. Once you get used to that, you will find a great amount of comfort later on.
I have already said where brakes are situated on a road bike. But what is a brake? If you already don’t know that, a brake is a component using which you can control the speed of the bike and stop it whenever you want to stop it. Two types of brakes are usually used on a bike.
A rim brake fundamentally consists of two rubber-made pads that clamp the rotating rim to stop the bike.
A disc brake, which is more powerful and used inexpensive bikes, consists of a disc that is attached to the hub of the back wheel. It is more superior in terms of performance, especially when the roads are wet.
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So these are the essential aspects of road bikes. If you are considering buying a road bike, I hope this write-up will help you. However, as you can see, this write-up deals with the fundamental aspects only. There are many technical issues involved in a bike that you should know before you buy one.
A perfect bike will depend upon your size and the kind of ride you want.