As we all know Road bikes are stylish, fastest, and the top choice among youngsters to mature cyclists. The outstanding looks and functionality of these bikes take them to unique heights. If you’re looking to get into cycling, or just want a new bike to ride, a road bike is a great option. But, there are different types of road bikes available that can confuse you a bit. So it needs to be clear about that matter first before picking one.
Road bikes are so versatile these days that you can choose the type of road bike based on your needs. And, there are road bikes to suit all types of roads and riders. In this article, I will explain road bikes in detail, which will help you know and determine road bikes perfectly.
What Are Road Bikes?
Bikes designed for competitive cycling and suitable for use on paved roads are called road bikes. These bikes are good for racing, event riding, fitness riding, touring, or commuting. Most road bikes have aerodynamic frame geometry and drop handlebars. So, the rider can ride road bikes at high speeds in an aggressive manner.
Many people think of road bikes as racing bikes, but there are some subtle differences between the two bikes. Therefore, I will present the differences between the two bikes in the bottom part of this article to break down the wrong thought.
Different Types Of Road Bikes
Road bikes have upgraded over time keeping in mind the convenience and comfort of the biker, thus manufacturers have diversified these bikes. And, you need to know about all the bikes and choose accordingly to ride more smoothly on the road.
For ease of explanation, I describe road bikes in “3 Categories”, which are traditional road bikes, modified road bikes, and racing-type road bikes.
1. Traditional Road Bikes
These types of road bikes come with all the features of a standard road bike. Riders use these stylish bikes to save time and move faster.
It has a perfectly aerodynamic shape, and manufacturers design it to achieve and maintain fast speeds. Also, it can reduce drag to maximize aerodynamic properties.
These bikes are made of aluminum or carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. Along with frame geometry, aero bikes also include larger depth wheels, as wheels play an important role in a smooth ride. Therefore, these bikes outperform other lightweight road-racing bikes and save time on the course.
Specialties of Aero Road Bikes
- Aggressive Aerodynamic Frame Geometry.
- Long, Thick, and Sculpted Tube profile.
- Steep Seat Angle.
- Deep Section Wheel.
The frame geometry of endurance bikes is somewhat aerodynamic but allows you to sit upright. Manufacturers prioritize comfort in making bikes suitable for long rides.
For example, in a marathon race, you will need speed, but comfortable riding is also important. An endurance bike is definitely the best in this case, which can provide both speed and comfort. That means an endurance bike can be your faithful companion for fast rides comfortably.
Specialties of Endurance Road Bikes
- Marathon-level speed.
- Plenty of gearing options.
- Non-aggressive and comfortable frame geometry.
- Stable wheelbase.
Manufacturers design these bikes to make commuting quick and efficient for those who commute every day from one place to another.
The frame geometry of these bikes allows the rider to sit in a relatively upright position on the seat. That’s why any bikers don’t get tired even on long rides. Moreover, Commuter road bikes feature fenders, racks, lights, etc. like Touring bikes to accommodate long rides.
Specialties of Commuter Road Bikes
- Sturdy frame.
- Comparatively upright riding position.
- Raised handlebars.
- Sometimes comes with fenders, racks, lights, etc.
All-road or gravel bikes have become quite popular these days. The bikes are equipped with a ‘shock-absorbing frame geometry’ that provides a comfortable ride. And its long wheelbase gives the stability of the bike even when riding on unpacked gravel.
These bikes are more suitable for trail riding, not competition. And, most of these bikes come with 30 to 40 mm tires and disc brakes, which help to establish more control over the bike.
Specialties of All-Road/Gravel Bikes
- Ergonomic upright riding position.
- Shock-absorbing frame geometry.
- Ultra-wide tyres.
- Specifically designed gearing options.
2. Modified Road Bikes
Companies add various features to road bikes to make them more comfortable and time efficient. These bikes allow the riders to move effortlessly.
These bikes are made by combining features of mountain bikes with faster bikes to make them suitable for riding on different types of roads. Instead of drop handlebars, you will often find flat handlebars on these bikes. So a cyclist can ride these bikes comfortably and safely amidst the traffic on city roads.
A large volume 700c tyre on a hybrid bike can provide more comfort. different types of braking systems are easily seen on these bikes. Although V-brakes are quite common, you can also find mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes.
Specialties of Hybrid Road Bikes
- Flat handlebar.
- More upright riding position.
- Large volume tires.
- Versatile gearing.
Touring bikes often have steel frames and long wheelbases, which keep luggage away from pedal-strokes. And, they are mostly equipped with fenders, racks, mudguards, etc.
Specialties of Touring Road Bikes
- Optimal functionality and comfortable design.
- Longer wheelbase.
- Comparatively heavier.
- Equipped with fenders, racks, mudguards, etc.
These bikes include some features of both touring and racing bikes. Thus in the manufacturing of Bikepacking-road bikes, companies mostly use sturdy frames made of steel, durable rims, and high spoke count wheels that make the bikes more reliable.
The comfortable frame geometry and wide tires make the bikes quite comfortable. Also, the bikes have wide flared drop handlebars which are quite useful for rough terrain. Therefore, Bikepacking road bikes are ideal for you if you want to ride a fast bike with a focus on unpaved roads or trails for long periods of time.
Specialties of Bikepacking Road Bikes
- Comfortable frame geometry.
- Wide handlebar.
- Lower climbing gears.
- Wider tyres.
The advantage of a dual-sport road bike is that you can use it equally on road, trail, and pavement.
The bikes’ frame geometry is like a cross-country racing (CX) bike, but they are optimized for trail riding rather than flat terrain. And, it often features a suspension lockout that provides speed on city streets and comfort on trails. Also, sometimes Dual-Sport cycles come with fenders, racks, water bottle cages, etc.
Specialties of Dual-Sport Road Bikes
- Effective riding on the road, trail, pavement, or path.
- Comes with extra mounts.
- Extra stable.
❖ Electric Road Bike
Electric road bikes known as ‘pedelecs or e-bikes’, have an electric assist motor.
Companies usually attach the motors to the bottom bracket or rear wheel hub. Motors don’t quite power the bike to ride but make pedaling a lot easier. And, the battery of electric bikes helps the rider to ride the bike from 20 miles to 100 miles per charge.
Specialties of Electric Road Bikes
- Electric motor powered.
- Comparatively heavier.
- Stiff and responsive frame.
- Durable wheelset.
3. Racing Type Road Bikes
Bikes in this category are used for competitive events and not for road riding in general. But there are many riders who also love to ride these types of bikes on the road as a hobby.
❖ Time Trialing/Triathlon Road Bike
Companies design time trial (TT) or Triathlon road bikes specifically for racing. Thus the bikes have aerodynamic frame geometry, which helps in gaining speed. In most cases, the top tube of the frames is long and the height of the bottom bracket is low.
Intended for time trial events, these bikes offer fast pedaling facilities. And, they have aero bars instead of standard handlebars that support the entire arm.
Specialties of Time Trialing/Triathlon Road Bikes
- Aggressive top speeds.
- Less stamina-intensive.
- Low aerodynamic drag.
- Wide hip angle.
Generally, these bikes are ridden on a special type of track called a velodrome. Thus they come with a fixed gear system with no freewheels or brakes. The bikes carry aerodynamic frame geometry and an aggressive riding position, which allows the rider to ride the bike at top speeds.
Furthermore, track bikes have narrow tires that can hold air at high pressure. As a result, the bikes create very little friction and can maintain speed. But frankly, track or fixie bikes are not ideal for city roads or the road we want to commute every day.
Specialties of Track/Fixie Road Bikes
- Aerodynamic frame geometry;
- Single speed gear system;
- Without brakes;
- Narrow and hard tires.
Manufacturers build aggressive cyclocross bikes for short-and-dirty fast competition on uphill trails. So the bikes have wide tires with an aggressive geometry that makes them suitable for fast rides off-road.
Cyclocross got short chainrings and long crank arms making them ideal for gaining and maintaining fast speeds. Though CX (Cyclocross) is primarily built for competition, it can also serve as a versatile road bike.
Specialties of Cyclocross Road Bikes
- Aggressive frame geometry.
- Wider tires.
- Shorter chainring and larger crank arms.
- Raised bottom bracket.
❖ Typical Racing Bikes
Race bikes are designed for high speed in short sprints. And the upcoming bike history, you will find 11 gears with 2 chainrings.
As manufacturers use high-end components on bikes to reduce weight and prioritize pedaling efficiency. So the bike’s aero properties, an aggressive geometry, and lightweight materials are particularly noteworthy.
Today’s racing bikes have electronic shifting systems that are the first choice of professionals. Although earlier racing bikes used caliper brakes, now come with disc brakes.
Specialties of Racing Road Bikes
- 700C wheels with 20/25 mm tires.
- Lightweight aluminum or carbon fiber frame.
- Aggressive and aerodynamic shape.
- Electronic shifting.
So, What Are The Differences Between The Road And Racing Bike?
There are some significant differences between a road bike and a racing bike you can spot easily.
Racing bikes achieve and maintain top speed quickly. On the other hand, road bikes have features suitable for faster speeds as well as longer rides. Below, I am presenting the differences between both bikes through a chart for a better quick understanding.
|Parameter||Racing bike||Road bike|
|Purpose of Use||Competitive ride||Fast moving|
|Frame Geometry||More aerodynamic frame geometry||Less aerodynamic than racing bikes|
|Riding Position||Aggressive riding position||Not all road bikes provide an aggressive riding position|
|Riding Comfort||Not comfortable, inconvenient to ride for long periods||Comfortable than a racing bike|
|Handle Bar||Use drop handlebar||Most road bikes use a drop handlebar, but some bikes use a flat handlebar|
|Width of the Tire||The tires are narrow and hard||Tires can be narrow or fat depending on the type of bike|
|Weight||Extremely lightweight||All road bikes are not lightweight|
|Gear||Suitable for racing and some bikes use a single-speed gear||Comes with multiple gear systems suitable for faster speed|
|Cost||Expensive||Less expensive than the racing bike|
Then, Which Type Of Road Bicycle Is Best For You?
A road bike would be best for the rider, depending on his needs.
- Aero bikes are good for covering short distances in the fastest time.
- If you have long distances to cover or want a more comfortable ride, go with a touring, backpacking, or endurance road bike.
- All-road/gravel bikes and dual-sport road bikes are better if the road is not smooth or you have to ride on trails.
- Besides, if you have to commute a certain distance every day, you can opt for hybrid or commuter road bikes.
In a word, we can’t determine a specific type of road bike as the best. Because not all riders have the same bike riding goals. So, the bikes will be the best for the riders based on their needs. That’s why you need to have a good idea about all the bikes if you want to ride a road bike smoothly, passionately, and comfortably.
The Final Say
Yes, road bikes aren’t just for racing, they are also great for commuting, exercise, and even touring. Because Road bikes are versatile, and they suit every rider of almost any age.
Moreover, Road bikes come with boatload features and advantages. Many times, we feel an irresistible attraction toward these bikes. Maybe it’s because of the sleek lines, lack of fenders and racks, or the skinny tyres and drop-handlebars that give the rider a more aerodynamic position. But whatever the reason, road bikes are always our top choice. The right type of road bike can provide us with an exhilarating riding experience. And, undoubtedly, the different types of road bikes make our cycling choice easier and smoother depending on our preferences.