Road bikes are specifically designed to drive on asphalt. They usually have narrow tires and large 700 cc (28 inch) wheels with low drop handlebars. The size of the plates and cranks is usually larger than on mountain bikes, as well as the distance between the axles of the wheels. On the contrary, they usually have a lower bottom bracket height, which makes them more stable even at high speeds, although it depends on each model. The shift levers are normally integrated into the brake levers.
How to choose your road bike?
Before buying your bike, make sure you have chosen the correct size. This will give you greater efficiency and comfort. In the case of road, gravel and cyclocross bicycles, when choosing the size of the frame, the inner length of the leg, or crotch, is usually taken as a reference and the result in centimeters multiplied by 0.65. To measure the crotch, we stand barefoot, with our backs to the wall, with a square or a book placed between our legs. We will place it touching the perineum area. Next, we will measure the distance to the ground from the top of the square or the book. The sizes are measured in centimeters and range from 46 to 64.
The material of the picture not only determines the price of the bicycle but, to a large extent, how you will feel when you drive it. Road bikes are manufactured in a wide variety of materials (steel, titanium, chromoly, etc.), with aluminum and carbon fiber being the most common. Carbon fiber is a very rigid material, light and resistant to vibrations. For its part, aluminum also allows an excellent transfer of power although it has less impact absorption than carbon.
The geometry of road bikes is designed to be efficient, although there are variations depending on the use for which they are intended.
- Route: the route bikes are designed to run. The geometry varies depending on the level of each user, but the design and operation of the components are similar for all levels. Within these, and according to each manufacturer, we can distinguish between: aerodynamic bicycles, which provide rigidity, lightness and speed; long-distance bicycles for long runs, with a more relaxed and vertical geometry and that provide maximum comfort and efficiency; and lighter bicycles but with a more nervous, agile and manageable profile for climbers. Many road bikes can collect several of these characteristics at the same time.
- Triathlon or time trial: similar to the aerodynamic road bikes in terms of components, although they differ in the shape of the frame, the driving position and the type of wheels that, if applicable, are optimized to cut the air by itself.
- Track: with less distance between axes, with higher bottom brackets and shorter connecting rods, although the main characteristic is that they only have one gear and it is fixed. This means that if the rear wheel turns, the pedals move, and there are no brakes. This inertia allows them to accelerate and reach high speeds traveling very little distance.
- Elite: designed for competition, very light and aerodynamic, they have the best components and the most aggressive geometries or driving positions, as well as the least weight. For the average cyclist, they could be uncomfortable due to geometry.
- Sports: are generally more affordable than racing, have mid-range components and geometries less aggressive and more comfortable.
- Beginner: have lower level components, are heavier, but are a good acquisition for novice cyclists.
The components of a road bike are the pedals, the derailleurs, the brakes and the gear changes. Their prices vary depending on the weight and accuracy of them.
- Development: a 10-speed change is standard on medium to high-level road bikes, although some bicycles offer 11-speed options. Initiation bikes have 8 or 9 speeds. Choosing between a set of double or triple cranks (2 or 3 plates in the front) will depend on how and where you are going to circulate with your bike. Triple cranksets offer a wider range of gear changes, making upgrades easier. Experienced cyclists are usually strong enough to use double cranksets. Those with less experience, or urban cyclists who travel with the bike charged, should look for bikes with triple cranksets. Apart from the number of dishes, it is also worth mentioning the size of the dishes. The majority of uncompetitive bicycles are assembled with the so-called Compact developments, that is, two slightly smaller plates, generally of 34 and 50 teeth, this allows practically any type of route to be faced although the physical condition of the cyclist is not the most optimal.
- Wheels: the wheels are the star component of road bikes. Their total weight and speed depend to a large extent on them. The carbon fiber and aluminum wheels are the most common. It is also common, especially on track or triathlon bikes, the use of aerodynamic or lenticular wheels, with a high resistance to air, especially rolling at high speeds.
The different materials have different advantages. Runners prefer lighter bikes, while occasional riders prefer the durability of heavier road bikes. Novices should keep in mind that the lightest bikes can also be the most expensive, and they are not necessarily more durable.
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