Bike riding is a great outdoor activity for keeping in shape, enjoying the nature and getting to places faster. Some people are lucky enough to be riding a bike since childhood but most of us are not. People tend to drop it at one point or another in their lives but often come back to it because, apart from being a healthy habit, riding a bike has a lot going for it. Plus, coming back to it is as easy as riding a bike, right?
Let us assume that you fall into this second group of people. You dusted off your old bike and are rediscovering the joys of cycling. At one point old bike just won’t be able to cut it. You will get outperformed on the road, feel uncomfortable and get frustrated enough to kick the habit all over again. Also, old bikes require heavy maintenance and can eat a hole through your wallet.
Instead of giving up on cycling all over again think about investing in a new bike. There are a lot of choices on the market right now and an entry level bike can be bought for an excellent price. The first hurdle you need to overcome is choosing the bike type. Here you have a choice between road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, and cruisers. If you enjoy rough and hilly terrain then you are a mountain bike person. If you are some more inclined to flat terrain and going fast then your first choice has to be a road bike. A road bike will give you the necessary versatility to either spend a day cycling on roads with no heavy traffic or run your errands across town faster.
Some distinct features set road bikes apart from other bike types. Here is the breakdown:
•Road bikes are lighter than other types of bikes since they are built with speed in mind. Actually, the heaviest part of a road bike is not its frame but its tires. The materials used in making such light frames vary between aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber. Though it may be tempting to go straight to carbon fiber the price tag might put you off. Some high-end road bikes with carbon fiber frames can cost up to $ 10 000! An aluminum frame will work just as well for you, especially if you are not cycling professionally.
- Drop handlebars allow you to rest your hands on the bike depending on your style of cycling. They are designed to maximize speed and grasping them at their lowest point will put your body in an aerodynamic tuck that reduces wind resistance. Of course, if you are riding uphill you will want to grasp them closer up. They are there to offer versatility for different types of cycling.
- Road bikes have narrow wheels and narrow tires. Since they are designed for used on paved surfaces there is no need for them to be burden with heavy, wide tires we normally see on mountain bikes.
- Lack of peripheral equipment that is usually found on other types of bikes allows road bikes to achieve much greater speeds. To do that most manufacturers sacrifice suspension (both front and back), cargo racks and so on. They are not designed to haul too much stuff.
There are a lot of quality road bike manufacturers out there but the important thing is that you do your research. Focus on quality of work rather than on materials used since you can end up paying a lot for a badly assembled carbon fiber frame bike that falls apart in the middle of your test ride. For recreational and day-to-day purposes you can find a great bike for around $ 700 that will last you for years with proper care and careful tuning. If and when you require something better it is easy to upgrade. At that point, you will have some hands-on experience with road bikes that will allow you to make a better purchasing decision.