Bikes have been around for centuries and they just keep getting better and better. More people than ever are riding bikes all over the world. Choosing the best road bike can be pretty tough as there are many makers and manufacturers, different features, a variety of frames and many tire sizes. The price considerations are important, too. You don’t want to spend too little as to limit yourself in terms of quality. There are some great ones that very reasonably priced. You can easily spend a couple thousand on a brand new bike that will perform to perfection. Buying the best road bike for you doesn’t have to be a hassle or confusing. We have compiled all of the information you need to help you make the best choice possible for your new ride.
Type of Road Bikes
Road bikes are a fun way to get fit as well as commute in an environmentally friendly way. Road bikes differ in many ways, and each come with their own advantages and disadvantages. What kind of road bike you should get depends on what you need the road bike for, where you usually ride it, and for how long. Do you need it only for working out, for running errands, to commute , or for use on difficult terrain? Your answer to this and other similar questions will give you an idea about the best road bike for you.
Drop-bar Road Bikes for Speed Cycling
These are the bikes that come to the mind of most people whenever we talk about road bikes. They have skinny tires, which run effortlessly on smooth pavements. The drop-bar handlebars force the rider to sit in an aerodynamic position, which offers the least air resistance. These bikes are incredibly light, and are usually the fastest. Since they cannot carry large loads, you will not be able to bring groceries on them, but they are excellent for your fitness regimen.
Cyclocross Road Bikes for All Terrain Commute
These bikes are similar to drop-bar road bikes, except for their tires. They have thick tires, which are designed for commuting on many different types of surfaces. Their thick tires provide greater traction with the ground, and therefore, better grip and control. Also, they have special type of brakes to prevent mud build up in the frame. They are durable, versatile, and can carry large loads.
Flat-Bar Road Bikes for Amateurs
This is the go-to bike for beginners. The flat-bar handlebar provides an upright sitting posture for the riders, which is more comfortable over long distances. They can be fitted with thin tires for speed, or thick ones for unpaved terrain commute. They usually come fitted with mounting gear, which can be used to carry medium loads.
Touring Road Bikes for Long Distances
Touring bikes are similar to drop-bar road bikes, except for some differences. They are much lighter than their counterparts. Although touring bikes have a drop-bar handlebar, their handlebars are more upright and provide a relaxed posture for the riders. Because of the extra comfort, riders are able to travel long distances on these bikes easily. Moreover, they also sport mounting gears, so that people can carry luggage or supplies on their tours. Touring bikes are particularly useful uphill because of their lower gears, which makes it easy to carry loads up the hill. Even more, they are highly durable too.
Track Bikes for Velodrome
Track bikes are special purpose road bikes designed for velodromes, which are oval shaped tracks designed for the sole purpose of bicycle racing. These bikes come with single gears so the riders cannot coast on them. In other words, if the bike is moving, the pedals are always moving. Since this also acts as a braking mechanism, some riders prefer to completely do away with the default brakes. These bikes can be fitted with drop-bar as well as flat-bar handles to suit different riders’ needs.
Top Ten Best Road Bike Reviews
2015 Kestrel Talon Shimano 105 Carbon Fiber Bike
The 2015 Kestrel Talon Road Bike is one of the most loved bikes in the $1000 – $1500 range. It sports the Shimano 105 groupset, and integrated shifter levers. This bike’s aerodynamic design is a result of years of research in Wind Tunnel. Kestrel Talon is built to perform spectacularly on both roads as well as triathlons. The 2015 Kestrel Talon now sports a frame and fork that are a blend of 700K & 800K Carbon Fiber, which gives the bike exceptional strength while making it ultra-lightweight. The aero design and carbon fiber configuration together ensure that the bike is much faster than its counterparts in the same range. Kestrel continues to deliver with arguably the best road bike on our list.
Schwinn Men’s Phocus 1600 700C Drop Bar Road Bicycle
The Schwinn Phocus 1600 is one of the best men oriented drop-bar road bikes. In fact, it is easily twice as worth as its sub-$500 price tag, considering its various features. The lightweight aluminum frame, together with the carbon fiber fork, provides excellent strength to the bike. Shimano Claris 14 speed derailleur and STI shifters work seamlessly while changing gears. Adding to it are the high profile rims, and Promax alloy brakes, which ensure an excellent riding experience for users. Phocus 1600 700C has been specifically designed for high intensity workout regimen for men. The drop-bar handlebar makes the bike also suitable for training by competitive cyclists. Looking for the bets road bike under $500? You will definitely have to consider this.
Vilano FORZA 4.0 Aluminum Integrated Shifters Road Bicycle
Vilano FORZA 4.0 is an excellent basic road bike in the $500 price range. The FORZA 4.0 features Shimano STI Integrated Brake Lever Shifters, and 24 speed choices. The integrated shifters make it easy to change gears without having to release the grip on handles. Further, the lightweight aluminum frame provides the bike good stability, while the 700c double walled CNC machined rims provide superb strength. The highlights of this road bike are its ability to cruise at great speeds, and the effortless experience it provides even uphill. Although FORZA 4.0 is an entry level bike, it can do a great job as a training bike for competitive cyclists. Many consider this one the best road bike to start off with.
Schwinn Men’s Volare 1300 Bicycle
The Schwinn Men’s Volare 1300 Bike is a perfect amalgamation of functionality and affordability. An aluminum frame, rigid fork, and high profile alloy rims provide good strength to the vehicle. Complementing these is the Shimano groupset, with 14 speed A050 shifters, and Shimano rear derailleur. The adjustable seat ensures maximum comfort to riders, while the alloy caliper pull brakes see to it that the braking is simply perfect. Despite its inexpensive price, the Schwinn Men’s Volare 1300 is a work of art, and sports an upscale look. At roughly $250, this is arguably the best road bike at the entry level for under $300, and it hard to spend less even on a used bike.
Giordano Libero Acciao Road Bicycle
Giordano Libero Acciao is one of the best value for money road bikes in the sub-$1000 category. At less than $300, Giordano has managed to even include a 14-speed Shimano Tourney STI drive train in the bike. The inclusion of water bottle mounts is quite thoughtful. In addition to the high strength it borrows from the stainless steel frame and fork, the bike rates high on the looks too, owing to its classic design. The road bike is exceptionally strong, durable, and rugged. Whether the bike is used on paved roads, or unpaved ones, the performance of the bike is outstanding, making this the best road bike all around.
Vilano Aluminum Road Bicycle 21 Speed Shimano
The Vilano Aluminum Road Bike 21 Speed Shimano is a solid bike, and boasts a double butted aluminum frame for light weight, and ruggedness. Adding to its strength are the Doubled Walled CNC Machined rims, and threadless fork. Then there is the 21 Speed Shimano groupset, which does a good job at changing gears smoothly, no matter what speed. Further, the thumb shifter, located in the middle of the handlebar, is quite convenient to use. The drop-bar set of wheels is pretty fast, easily maneuverable, and performs smoothly on roads. At less than $300, this Vilano product delivers way beyond its price tag as the competition for best road bike of 2016 getting tougher and tougher.
Tommaso Imola Lightweight Aluminum Sport Road Bicycle
Tommaso Imola is a beautiful road bike, designed for speed and performance. The lightweight aluminum compact bike is easy to maneuver, and is comfortable to ride. The road bike even comes with an optional carbon fiber frame for extra strength. The 24 speed Shimano groupset works wonders on the bike, while the integrated shifter levers ensure effortless gear changing experience. Although the bike sports a drop-bar design, the handle is positioned such that the riders do not have to bend all the way, while simultaneously the posture retains the aerodynamic nature. Needless to say, the bike is pretty darn fast. You have to be fast if you want to be considered the best road bike.
Diamondback 2015 Haanjo Alternative Road Bicycle
The Diamondback Haanjo Alternative is a solid road bike for the everyday cyclist. At a price tag of $625-$671 apiece, the Haanjo Alternative is an excellent entry level bike. Considering the other ones on our list, the best road bike for your money should be under $700. The highlights of the bike are its light weight, advanced drivetrain, great stopping power with disc brakes, and an exceptionally comfortable seat. A lightweight aluminum frame, and alloy forks give the bike good strength, and stability. Shimano Sora derailleur and shifters deliver on their reputation and provide a seamless gear changing experience. The bike is capable of bearing large loads on account of its strong body, and thick tires. Simply put, Haanjo Alternative is a multi-tasking bike for both everyday use, and workout regimens.
Tommaso Superleggera Carbon Road Bicycle
Tommaso Superleggera is a high end road bike – something that is apparent from its looks. The Toray high modulus carbon fiber frame provides exceptional strength and stability, while adding least weight to the bike. The result is an ultralight, yet insanely powerful bike on the road. The bike features the best in derailleurs and shifters – Shimano Dura Ace 9000. The Ultegra 6800 Hollowtec and 6800 11-28T cassette, together make the bike suitable for races uphill, downhill, and planes alike. The seat features decent padding, with memory foam, which promises comfortable rides even over long distances. At about $2500, the bike is clearly at the higher end of the spectrum. But considering the features, quality, and riding experience, it is absolutely worth its price and competes with the Kestrel for best road bike of 2016.
Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike is one of the most basic, and least expensive road bikes in the market. Although it costs slightly less than $200, it rates quite high on the quality front. A steel frame, alloy hub, alloy rims, and alloy pull brakes provide remarkable strength to the road bike. The bike has a stand over clearance of 31 inches, which is quite high for many users. Therefore, the bike is best suited for riders with height anywhere between 5’10” and 6’2”. The inexpensive bike not only matches its more expensive peers on the, but even beats many of them in performance. The bike is easy to ride, and eye-catching too. Naturally, the bike is a hit among riders, with most raving over the ease of riding and the price of the bike. This could be the best road bike under $200 ever.
Choosing the Right Road Bike for You
A bike is not a fashion accessory that you change every six months. It is a sizeable investment that is going to last years. Therefore, it is crucial that you find the most suitable one for yourself. Did you know that road bikes can cost you anywhere from $500 to $10,000. But, know this – just because a bike costs more doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better for you. You can get a decent bike for your needs well within a $1,000 range. But, apart from the price, there are other factors that should be given prominence. This guide will help you consider those factors that matter the most, and help you in choosing that perfect bike.
Frame and Fork Materials
The frame and fork are where a majority of your budget goes. Today, these parts are available in a number of materials, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, steel is classic. It has been in use for over a century and is one of the strongest materials. Although the parts made of steel are extra strong, they tend to be on the heavier side. On the other hand, parts made of aluminum are light, easy to make, and look great too. But, aluminum does not match steel in the ‘strength’ department.
Titanium used to be an exotic material, and prohibitively expensive. The reason being that it is exceptionally strong, and is difficult to mold. The metal combines the strength that is on par with steel, and has a lightweight that is comparable to aluminum. Today, a titanium frame bike can be purchased for less than $2,000. Carbon fiber is another strong material that’s gaining popularity. However, it can be a tricky material. You should know that not all carbon fibers offer the same properties because a lot depends on the fabrication process too.
Size and Fit
It is the golden rule of cycling that your knees should be bent at roughly 20 degrees, when your feet on the pedal is nearest to the ground. Choose a bike with height that gives you this angle. Secondly, a bike know your preferred sitting position. You can try a few bikes to check the posture that you are most comfortable in and purchase a bike which provides the most comfortable fit.
Cranksets and Gearing
Road bikes come with triple, double, or compact cranksets. A triple crankset has 3 chain rings, which are paired with a 9-speed cassette on the rear wheel. This translates to a total of 27 gear options for the rider. A double crankset sports 2 chain rings, and a 10-speed cassette, totaling to 20 gear options. A compact crankset has smaller chain rings with less teeth than a double crankset. Owing to this, even though it has 20 gear combinations, its low-to-high range is quite similar to that of a triple crankset. Also, small size and less teeth mean less weight, which is what professional athletes prefer.
Wheels and Tires
Unless you are purchasing a custom-built road bike, you do not have much say regarding the wheels. However, you can choose to upgrade them once you have bought the bike. If that is your decision, then the choice is quite simple. Go with thin and light wheels for speed. They are extremely aerodynamic and provide the highest speed, and maneuverability. On the other hand, if you want a versatile bike, get thick tires. They will perform well on non-paved roads as well, and can bear higher loads.
Best Road Bike Brands
Hundreds of manufacturers produce an endless variety of road bikes designed for every body type, and need. However, not all of them are of great quality. That’s why, when you are considering a new road bike, check the ones from the following brands, which have built a reputation of their own.
The Schwinn Bicycle Company has been in existence for more than a century now. At one point, they had absolute dominance on the American bicycle market. However, the company has gone through rough times in the past few decades, and so has its products’ quality. Some of the Schwinn products are still of exceptional quality, while others are just pathetic. Buyers are advised to check reviews of each bike model separately and not simply go for the brand.
Vilano bikes are renowned for their eye-catching design and value for money. In particular, the brand’s entry level bikes are among the best in their class, and deliver good performance. They produce a huge variety of bikes ranging from road bikes to MTBs to hybrid, to meet every buyer’s needs. Even the performance bikes are of good quality and can impress the buyers.
Kestrel is one of the first bike brands to embrace the carbon fiber revolution in the ‘90s. Since then, they have released some of the finest quality bikes in the market. Their triathlon bikes have been a favorite among the athletes over the years. Yet, their road bikes have not been able to rise up to the standards set by their triathlon bikes.
Tomasso’s bikes are the combined effort of Italian design, and American engineering. As such, the brand has released a range of attractive designs in the market. Whether it is the entry level bikes, mid-level bikes, or high end bikes, Tomasso is known to deliver value worthy of the price tag. The manufacturer primarily sells through Giantnerd.com, and the customer support from the seller has become a little sloppy. In other words, Tomasso bikes are great, but the customer support can turn out to be unsavory for bike owners, if they ever need to claim anything under warranty.
Giordano produces bikes on the explicit intention to bring a professional bike riding experience to amateurs and bike enthusiasts. As such, Giordano’s bikes are among the best in value for money. They do not produce competitive range bikes, but they are easily the winners in the entry level and the mid-level range. For those looking for a high quality bike at an affordable price, Giordano will never disappoint.
Diamondback is easily one of the most loved bike brands among the bike enthusiasts. They produce excellent quality entry and mid-level bikes, although they are practically absent in the high end segment. They produce a variety of bikes, including women-specific ones. However, what makes Diamondback truly special is their exceptionally responsive customer support. Owners of Diamondback bikes have always had a happy relationship with the company, even after the sale of the bikes.