Beginner’s Guide to Buy A Road Bike

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To the casual observer, carbon road bikes all look pretty similar. Drop-bars, light-weight, skinny tired. Built for speedy rides on the tarmac.

Look closer, and you’ll discover a number of subtle differences in components, frame materials, and frame geometry depending on the bike’s intended use.

We’ll be taking you through the most important factors you’ll need to consider so that you’ll be able to find the right bike for your riding style.

What kind of riding will you be doing? 

The first question to ask yourself is, is it a Race or a Sportive bike?

For new road riders, or anyone whose joints are not as good as they were, then a more relaxed, more upright position is key to keeping things comfortable. This is your Sportive bike. In the last few years, we have seen a huge growth in Sportive type road bikes, from entry-level to high performance.

Frame and fork material

Another key area to consider, when you’re purchasing your first road bike, is whether you want a carbon or alloy frame and/or fork.

Most entry-level road bikes will be aluminum-framed road bicycles, and perhaps a carbon fiber fork; this provides a good balance between reliability and robustness of the alloy frame, but with vibration absorption provided by the more compliant carbon material in the fork.

If you’re looking to have a bike with a lower weight, and greater lateral stiffness though, then you should consider a full carbon frame and fork. Carbon framed road bikes are lighter, and they can be more comfortable (because they’re more compliant); therefore they can be faster!


The third thing to pay attention to is the groupset model specified in the bike description. This is the bike’s transmission and brakes.

The groupset manufacturers you will most commonly see are Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo. Each has a hierarchy of groupset models, from basic entry-level right up to the same parts you’ll see the pros using.

The best buying advice is to go for the best groupset you can afford. Higher-end groupsets provide smoother shifting, more gear choice, and overall lighter weight.

Disc brake road bike or caliper road bike?

Perhaps the ‘question of the moment, is whether you get a disc brake road bike or a caliper (traditional rim brake) road bike.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both systems. Disc brakes are fantastic at having consistent stopping power, in wet and dry conditions; even when the bike sprays up a quantity of dirt and grit onto your wheel rims, you can still brake consistently with disc brakes. Rim brakes, by contrast, tend to suffer in particularly wet or grimy conditions; however, they are cheaper, easier to maintain, and provide more wheel upgrade choices.

We won’t try to persuade you one way or the other; disc or rim brakes, your first road bike will be great fun!

If you want to get more tips for choosing a road bike, please visit our official website:

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