Road bikes are becoming more popular nowadays thanks to their adventurous nature and the fact that they provide a good platform for us to exercise. Finding a good road bike, on the other hand, is increasingly becoming difficult as people aren’t able to access the best bikes that suit them. So how can you solve this problem?
Before purchasing a road bike, you should first try and understand the features or factors that constitute a good road bike and discover the best places where you can easily shop for one (should you purchase one from a local store or from an online platform?).
Features of a Good Road Bike and How to Choose One
Appropriate Size and Fit
Before purchasing a road bike, ensure that you consider the bike’s size in order to determine your appropriate fit. With this in mind, choose one which frame size corresponds to the length of your inseam and your height.
The three main materials used in the construction of a road bike’s frames include aluminum, steel, and carbon fiber. Amongst the three, steel is the heaviest but ranks as the most durable. It’s also a suitable choice if you seek comfortability as it absorbs some of the bumps you may come across while riding on your bike.
Aluminum frames, on the other hand, are lighter than steel frames and provide a good strength to weight ratio. Moreover, they provide the required stiffness – a feature that guarantees efficient power transfer. For those who fancy or tend to ride for fun and fitness, an aluminum frame is the best pick as it guarantees a smooth ride.
Lastly, carbon fiber frames are the most versatile material. This is because they can be designed to suit the different needs of a cyclist. Carbon fiber frames have the best strength to weight ratios, making them the perfect choice for customers who intend to use their bikes for racing functions.
Carbon fiber frames are also strong and light and are capable of flexing in certain places and become rigid in other areas (this is due to its versatility). It should be your choice if you seek to attain the best balance between comfort and stiffness.
Due to its superb versatility, road bikes made using carbon fiber frames are expensive when compared to bikes made using either aluminum or steel.
A good road bike should be fitted with a strong fork material which in turn will allow you to steer your bike in a precise manner. Go for a road bike which fork material is made of either steel or carbon fiber, especially if you’re aiming to get the best compliance in a road bike. If compliance is your last option when it comes to the selection of a road bike, then you can choose an aluminum fork material instead.
Fork material made of steel is the heaviest followed by aluminum, with the lightest being carbon fiber. The design of a fork is also a major consideration when it comes to the selection of road bikes as the design of a fork material affects the ride characteristics of your road bike. How is this so?
This is because a road bike that’s designed with a curved fork is more absorbent and forgiving as compared to a road bike designed with a straight fork. It’s also advised that you purchase a road bike which fork material differs from that of the frame. A good example is when you purchase a road bike fitted with an aluminum frame but has a carbon fork. Doing so enables you to maximize the benefits of both materials.
The Right Groupset
A groupset simply refers to your road bike’s mechanical parts. In other words, its gear shifters, brakes, and just about any mechanical parts on your bike.
A road bike with similar groupset made from the same manufacturer tends to be more stylish, consistent, and refined in appearance when compared to a road bike model with an assortment of different components from different manufacturers. Groupsets are available at varying levels depending on the intended use and price levels. The two most popular groupset manufacturers are Shimano and SRAM.
As the level changes from Basic up to Pro, so does the price and quality of the components. However, the variation of weight is quite the opposite; it instead decreases as you move from the basic up to pro. Another important consideration is that the reliability and actual performance of the components reaches a point of ‘diminishing returns’ once you pass the mid-Range level.
What it means is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money, or even spend any money at all. Since most of them can be easily upgraded, you can swap them with better components any time soon.
When purchasing a road bike, check out its wheels as they will determine the kind of brakes and tires you will use. For those who are interested in buying a road bike which they will use to train and improve their fitness, it’s advised to go for a bike model with strong wheels. Lighter wheels are preferred because of the improved performance they give to a bike. This is so because the rotating weight of a road bike counts more as opposed to a bike’s static weight.
Steering and Other Components
A good road bike has all the basic steering and other crucial components that let you maneuver your bike with ease. These include the stem, handlebar, saddle, and pedals.
The stem is what holds the bike’s handlebars at the center which are the ones responsible for providing your bike with 2 of the 3 static contact points. Keep in mind, however, that even though your bike doesn’t have a perfect fit despite it being the right size, you can easily solve the problem by getting a shorter or longer stem.
You can even flip the stem to use it both ways. This way, you can save a bit more cash especially if you’re in need of a longer reach. However, don’t go too long or too short as this can affect the overall handling performance of your bike.
By default, bars that are preinstalled on bikes are good enough for a lot of individuals. Since road bikes come with curved handlebars, most people might think that they’re uncomfortable as they will have to deal with the “drops” or the bar’s lower end which is almost parallel to the ground.
Meanwhile, the saddle is where you will actually sit on, and the pedals are what you will use to propel your road bike to move forward. Saddles that are fancy looking may only offer limited comfort for a short distance since your bodyweight must be supported by your sit bones.
Hence, even though preferences may vary from one person to another, flat and narrow saddles can be more comfortable for most.
Now that we have got a good understanding of the components of a road bike and the factors to consider when buying one, let’s now try to understand why you should consider purchasing a road bike online.
Purchasing a road bike online gives you lots of advantages, some of which are as follows:
- You get value for your money – whenever you purchase a road bike from an online platform, your money directly purchases the actual product as opposed to buying directly from a local store where some of your money goes to marketing and branding, thereby making the product even more expensive.
- You can enjoy convenience – when shopping for a road bike online, there are no fixed hours. As such, you can shop anytime and anywhere you want.
- You get the chance to compare different prices – online e-commerce sites have different and numerous road bike models available at different prices. It’s through such platforms that you will be able to compare different bike models and select one that suits your budget.
- Easy to access customer reviews – customer reviews and how they rate the products after a purchase are all available on an online e-commerce platform. Accessing such reviews will help guide you in purchasing the best product there is.
Reviews of the Best Road Bikes that Are Under the $1,000 Range
The Schwinn Volare
First on the list, and our most recommended top end pick, is the Schwinn Volare road bike. This quality bike is an entry level flat-bar road bike perfect for anyone who is in need of a simple and efficient commuter bicycle. It also comes in handy for anyone looking for the best road bike he can use to exercise.
Designed and assembled by the Schwinn Bicycle Company, one of America’s oldest and trusted bicycle manufacturers, this high-value workhorse guarantees you an excellent performance and value for your money.
The Schwinn Volare road bike has the following key features:
- Strong and efficient aluminum frame – designed with a strong Schwinn aluminum frame and equipped with a rigid carbon fiber fork that absorbs some of the road vibrations when cycling, this road bike guarantees you a smooth ride.
- Superb alloy wheels together with high profile rims – cyclists can now enjoy an improved ride quality, all thanks to its superb alloy wheels which keep its weight low. The high profile rims give your road bike a stylish appearance.
- Topnotch bicycle components – the Schwinn Volare road bike is assembled using superior bicycle components including alloy linear pull brakes and Schwinn alloy crank which are all meant to improve your overall cycling experience.
Features and Specifications
- Alloy crank
- Alloy wheels
- Front and rear alloy linear pull brakes
- 21- speed Shimano fire shifters
- Rigid aluminum frame
- Ez fire shifters together with Shimano rear derailleur
The Diamondback Haanjo
The Diamondback Haanjo is the best low-budget road bike pick. If you’re looking for a bicycle that’s efficient, powerful, yet budget-friendly, then the Diamondback Haanjo is the one for you. This road bike represents the best that “adventure road bikes” have to offer.
What’s even more interesting about this bike is its ability to handle gravel roads as well as rough streets, thus giving you that flexibility that you deserve.
The Diamondback Haanjo comes with the following key features:
- 6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame – designed in an endurance geometry, the 6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame offers a cyclist the best riding comfort. The frame of the Diamondback Haanjo is also durable in nature.
- DB Gravel Disc Carbon fork – the aluminum alloy frame is equipped with a DB Gravel disc carbon fork that is responsible for absorbing road vibrations. The carbon fork facilitates an accurate and precise steering.
- Great range of bicycle components – the Diamondback Haanjo is equipped with a great set of bicycle components which include TRP disc brakes that give it a superb stopping power and a great set of gears together with all weather tires that support multi-road capabilities.
Features and Specifications
- TRP disc brakes
- All-terrain tires
- DB Gravel Disc Carbon fork
- 2×11 speed Shimano 105 drivetrain
- 6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame
- Diamondback Ready Ride
The Kestrel Talon
The Kestrel Talon is a road bike designed for racing. It’s the best choice for cyclists who are searching for a road bike to train with. Designed and assembled by Kestrel USA, an innovative American bicycle company famous for designing innovative and fast carbon fiber bicycles, the Talon is highly preferred by many cyclists for its high responsiveness to changes in direction.
When riding on this road bike, every single pedal stroke is changed or converted into high motion speed. Despite the bike’s superb qualities, it retails at a budget-friendly cost – a factor which makes it even more popular with cyclists.
The Kestrel Talon road bike comes with the following features:
- Superb strength and finesse capabilities – the Talon is designed in a way that it helps improve lateral stiffness which in turn ensures efficient power transfer.
- Maximum adjustability – the bike’s saddle seats can be mounted in a wide range of positions. It’s also possible to adjust it in a more forward position for tri-use and, it can even be adjusted in a backward position.
- Lightweight and stiff – the bike is constructed with an enhanced modulus hybrid carbon frame material which makes it lightweight in nature yet at the same time stiff.
- Designed with an A2 wind tunnel – the bike’s A2 wind tunnel, seat post, seat tube, and stays are aerodynamically contoured to ensure efficient airflow throughout the whole road bike.
Features and specifications
- Proprietary Kestrel H-stays
- Kestrel EMS Pro Aero seat posts
- Designed with an A2 wind tunnel
- Designed with a Kestrel’s Enhanced Modulus Hybrid Carbon frame
Vilano Aluminum 21 speed Shimano
Another superb road bike for those who enjoy club rides together with training and exercises is the Vilano Aluminum road bike. This road bike is fully equipped with a 12k carbon racing fork that absorbs road vibrations whenever you go cycling. Moreover, the racing fork ensures a precise steering.
The Vilano Aluminum road bike comes with the following key features:
- 6061 Double Butted Aluminum frame –the bike’s double-butted aluminum frame offers superb strength to weight ratio which helps ensure maximum stability during a ride. In addition, the aluminum frames guarantee the cyclist a smooth ride. Since the Vilano Aluminum is a club riding road bike, it’s fitted with an aluminum frame which is excellent for fun and fitness purposes.
- Equipped with a 12k carbon fiber fork material – as stated earlier, the 12k carbon fiber fork is responsible for the absorption of road vibrations whenever you go cycling.
- Superb steering and other bicycle components –the Vilano Aluminum road bike comes with a great set of pedals and a double-walled wheelset amongst other great sets of components that ensure maximum functionality of the road bike.
Features and specifications
- Shimano Tiagra 9 speed
- 12k carbon fork material
- 6061 Double Butted Aluminum
- 700C Doubled walled Wheelset
- Free pedals
BAVEL Ultra Light Aluminum Road Bike
This superb road bike is your ultimate choice if you seek a product that is lightweight in nature, fast, and provides you with optimum comfort. The Bavel ultra light aluminum road bike weighs only 27 pounds in terms of weight and is also very cheap, thus making it the ideal choice for budget bikers.
The Bavel Ultra Light Aluminum 21 Speed Road bike comes with the following key features:
- Ultra-light aluminum frame – the Bavel road bike is fitted with an ultra-light aluminum frame material which explains why it’s very lightweight.
- Top quality gear systems – bikers who fancy a good gear system will absolutely love the Bavel road bike. This is so because it’s equipped with a derailleur and Shimano EF-500 gear system which is a top-notch gear system. Moreover, the gear system is capable of running up to a speed level of 21 with 7 gears.
- Flexible in size availability – the Bavel road bike is available in three different sizes to cater to different body types and sizes.
Features and Specifications
- Top grade Shimano brakes
- Size availability ; 48cm, 51cm, and 54cm
- Gear system; Shimano EF-500 and Shimano derailleur gear systems
- Ultra modern aluminum frame
Road bikes are ideal for cycling, racing, and even training and exercising. In order to purchase a good road bike, ensure that you consider the abovementioned factors.