How to buy a road bike

 Join us for  Hills of Anacostia  and  Hills of Rock Creek  every weekend.

Join us for Hills of Anacostia and Hills of Rock Creek every weekend.

For many road bikes are synonymous with racing, but really road bikes are great for anyone that wants to cover more miles, more efficiently. Gone are the days of buying a racing specific road bike. Today you can get a road bike as relaxed or as aggressive of fit as you’d like. Road bikes can run wider tires than ever, blurring the categories between road, gravel, and dirt. This lets you ride your bike on all sorts of surfaces and conditions. 

When looking for a new bike the most important factor is the fit. Getting the appropriate size bike for you and your riding style makes all the difference. Many manufactures are producing high quality bikes, and they are very comparable in terms of performance. They will differ in how the fit you. Endurance road bikes put you in a more upright riding position and are designed to be comfortable for long days in the saddle.  

 Cannondale CAAD 12

Cannondale CAAD 12

 Cannondale Synapse

Cannondale Synapse

Traditional racing bikes are going to have a more dramatic saddle to bar drop, putting you in a more bent over posture. This can take some getting used to, but can also be a very comfortable position and is very efficient.  

There are many ways to tailor the fit of the bike to your needs. You can get longer/shorter stems of different angles, different bar lengths and you can adjust saddle position fore and aft. All theses millimeters of adjustments can have a big effect on how the bike fits and handles. 

 

Frame materials also effect the ride. Traditionally bikes were made of steel. A durable material that is also very forgiving, flexing over potholes and all the imperfections in the road. Companies like Cannondale were able to make bikes lighter than ever before when they began using aluminum. In contrast to steel aluminum is very stiff, meaning when you step on it, it goes. Aluminum is very snappy and is quick to accelerate and climb. Cannondale continues to be innovative with alloy, and makes Aluminum bikes lighter than some companies carbon bikes. 

Carbon fiber is a ultralight material that can be woven to allow for stiffness and compliance in different areas. It also has vibration dampening properties. This makes it an ideal material for bike frames because it can be light like aluminum and forgiving like steel. 

 

 

 All-City Cycles Mr. Pink mixes classic steel style with modern features like a carbon fork and clearance for 32c tires. 

All-City Cycles Mr. Pink mixes classic steel style with modern features like a carbon fork and clearance for 32c tires. 

 BicycleSPACE co-founder, Erik Kugler, on a steel Soma. 

BicycleSPACE co-founder, Erik Kugler, on a steel Soma. 

The best way to shop for a bike is to take a spin on as many as you can. Come on in and let us help you determine the best size in each model. From there you can see first hand how different fits and materials translate to different ride experiences.