Road Bike Types for Your Riding Style.
Riding a road bike keeps you active and provides a great opportunity to meet new people and experience your surroundings.
It’s also a fantastic way to stay fit at any age since it has little impact on your body. Additionally, road bikes cater to competitive types, thrill seekers, and/or adventure seekers if you’re inclined in that direction.
New bikes and entry-level road bikes come with a plethora of options that can be overwhelming.
In order to help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together the definitive guide to road bike type. You are free to choose one based on your requirements.
What are Road Bikes
The term road bike refers to a bike designed for use on the pavement at high speeds. It has been used in some sources as a synonym for a racing bicycle.
In other sources, the term is excluded explicitly from racing, describing a bicycle built primarily for endurance and not fast bursts of speed. These bicycles are sometimes also called ‘sportive’ bicycles to differentiate them from racing bicycles.
The following features distinguish road bicycles from other types of bicycles:
- Narrow tires with high pressure (100 psi (700 kPa) or higher) and smooth surfaces to minimize rolling resistance.
- Handles that are bent or dropped to enable the rider to lean forward and downward, reducing forward vertical cross-sectional area and air resistance to a high degree.
- The majority of them use derailleur gears. However, there are also variants with fixed gears and single speeds available.
- They use disc brakes or rim brakes (although there may be technical differences, for example, road bikes use shorter and wider pads than mountain bikes).
- They are constructed from lightweight materials, such as aluminum alloys or carbon fiber.
Types of Road Bikes
Many types of road bikes are available to meet the needs of different types of riders. A bike can be an aero bike for flat ground, a lightweight bike for hills, an endurance bike for long rides, an all-road or gravel bike for adventure riding, and a recreational bike for fun.
We have described each type of bike below to help you decide which one is right for you.
1. Cyclocross Bikes
Bikes designed for cyclocross racing can often cover all kinds of terrain, such as mud, sand, rocks, and even snow. The bottom bracket height of a cyclocross bike will be higher than that of a gravel bike or even of a road bike.
Additionally, a cyclocross bike’s chainstays will be short, and its stack height will be lower, both of which will cause it to ride aggressively and handle significantly better than a gravel bike.
Mountain bikes have no doubt won local races, especially if the course is technical, with few fast sections or road sections. However, cyclocross bikes are best suited for cross-country racing. Remember, cycling cross bikes aren’t worth considering if you want to ride on flat roads.
2. Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes are drop-bar bikes that can be used on many different surfaces. They can make good progress on and off-road thanks to their sporty geometry, wider tires, lower gearing, and stable handling.
You can combine gravel routes in new ways when riding a bike designed for multi-terrain excursions, incorporating gravel roads with forest tracks, trails, byways, and bridlepaths. You can also use a gravel bike packed with camping gear for multiday backpacking trips.
Getting into gravel riding might be a good reason to get a gravel bike. Rest in all cases you should look for other types of road bicycle.
3. Race Bikes
Race bikes are all about squeezing out as much performance as possible. Their design is intended to minimize aerodynamic drag, rolling resistance, and weight while balancing stiffness.
A racing bicycle sacrifices comfort for speed when compared to a non-racing bicycle. Drop handlebars are positioned lower than the saddle to make the rider’s posture more upright.
Its derailleur gear ratios are closely spaced to allow a rider to pedal at their optimum cadence. Plus, they are widely used as fitness and utility bikes.
If performance matters to you or you are planning to prepare for road bike racing, then a race bike is all you need. But if you are a comfort lover or have a low budget then try some other kinds of road bike type.
4. Endurance Bikes / Sportive Bikes
It is very likely that if you have been shopping for a new bike in recent years, you have come across “endurance” bikes because they are becoming increasingly popular. Often referred to as “sportive” bikes, these bikes are aimed at riders who want to travel long distances in comfort and pleasure on a cycle tour.
The frame geometry of an endurance bike allows riders to be more upright, which reduces the likelihood of soreness in the back and shoulders. A handlebar with a higher position also reduces the strain your neck puts under due to low handling.
The handlebars of some bikes are closer to the saddle because they have shorter top tubes. As a result, you can ride farther without feeling fatigued from bending over for long periods of time. This type of bike is still considered a “racer” due to its design, style, and drop handlebars.
Nowadays, most brands offer a range of “endurance” road bikes that provide a more relaxing ride over long distances. Additionally, this type of road bike usually comes in male and female models, and it is available at a range of prices, so regardless of whether you are a beginner or an expert, you are sure to find a bike that suits your budget and needs.
5. Hybrid Bikes
A hybrid bike combines some of the best features of road bikes, touring bikes, and mountain bikes in a very compact package. This results in a very versatile “hybrid” bike that can be used in various situations and applications.
Beginner cyclists, casual riders, commuters, and children love them for their stability, comfort, and ease of use. For many bicyclists, hybrid bikes are appealing and comfortable because they combine the flat bar road bikes’ straight handlebars and the upright seating of a mountain bike.
Additionally, hybrid bikes use lighter weight, thinner wheels, and smoother tires than road bikes, allowing them to travel at a greater speed with less effort. The racks and bags found on hybrid bikes are similar to those on touring bikes.
Numerous hybrid bike sub-categories have been developed to satisfy diverse ridership. Depending on their design priorities, they can be classified as either comfort or fitness bikes or as city, cross, or commuter bikes.
Although regular hybrid bikes are excellent they are not masters of any trade. So, they are a good option for you only if you are a beginner who wants to taste different bikes at the price of one.
However, they are not your option if you are serious about a specific type of riding, for example, racing or climbing steep slopes.
6. Time Trialing / Triathlon Bikes
Time trial bicycles are designed for use in individual races against the clock. Its aerodynamics, shorter wheelbase (it may have spoked wheels or solid disc wheels), and a closed position to the front make it a superior choice to other road bikes.
During a time trial, the cyclist cannot draft (ride in the slipstream) behind other cyclists, so reducing the bicycle’s and rider’s drag is crucial.
There are similarities between time trial bicycles and triathlon bicycles. Triathlon bikes have steeper seat tube angles, allowing hips to move forward and leaving hamstrings for running.
To comply with UCI regulations, TT bikes must have a saddle nose 5 cm from the bottom bracket center. A time-trialing bike is the best choice if you plan to compete in TT races or triathlons.
7. E-Road Bikes
A road bicycle equipped with an electric motor is called an electric road bike because it provides a boost to cyclists who are pedaling. Similar to video games, this is cycling with a power-up.
A little additional electric power can be a huge advantage when trying to overcome hilly terrain or haul goods.
Electrified bikes have longer ranges and are easier to use, so riders can commute sweat-free, haul heavier goods, run more errands, and make longer trips. Moreover, they ease cycling access for older riders and people with disabilities.
They are a good choice if you need extra assistance while riding to cover a long distance. However, they may not be suitable in all weather conditions, so you may have to take them off the road if it’s raining or snowing.
8. Dual-Sport Bikes
Dual sport hybrid bikes are designed for adventure lovers who want a bike that can be used both on and off the road. This bike delivers a versatile, comfortable, stable ride wherever you go.
In the cycling industry, these bicycles are often referred to as “all-mountain” bikes because they have similar geometry characteristics that are identical to the types of bikes used for cross-country racing.
Compared to other categories, this one is designed for trail riding rather than flat-ground commuting.
9. Commuter Road Bikes
Commuter bikes are probably the best option for those who commute every day. They are inexpensive, easy to maintain, and practical. The most important thing about commuter bikes is comfort and utility, not speed or form.
The commuter bike provides the rider with secure grips and a wide saddle, making the ride more elegant rather than focusing solely on speed. While the heavyweight makes this bike durable and promises a long life.
They are ideal for people who commute to and from the office or who travel long distances.
10. Track / Fixie Bike
Track bicycles are unique bicycles designed for racing at velodromes or on outdoor tracks. Due to their fixed-gear design, track bikes have only one gear ratio and neither brakes nor a freewheel, unlike road bikes. To reduce rolling resistance, tires are narrow and inflated to high pressures.
The sole purpose of track bikes is track racing. It is not recommended to ride them on the road. Although you can ride your track bike on the road it won’t be a pleasant experience, and it may be illegal in certain areas.
11. Performance Bike
A performance road bike is lightweight, stiff, and quick in acceleration and handling. Designed with speed, aggressive riding, and racing in mind, performance bikes are not just for racing enthusiasts.
You are sure to love performance road bikes no matter if you are a world-class racer or just someone who enjoys the dynamics that come with a frame design and component selection that emphasizes speed.
12. Aero Bikes
A road bike with aerodynamic features is called an aero road bike. Its bike frame is often built with tubing that gives an impression the bike is stocky on the side and skinny on the front, and all parts of the bike are designed to keep wind resistance to a minimum.
Aero bikes combine the efficiency and speed of time trial frames with the handling of racing road frames, balancing weight and stiffness to form the ultimate package for speed-oriented road racers. The biggest advantage of aero bikes is that they are safe to ride in a group, unlike TT bikes.
Aero bike is for you if you want speed on flat courses. But they are out of options if you want comfort over speed.
13. Touring Bikes
A touring bike is similar to a road bike; it usually has drop bars and has the same basic shape as a road bike. While there are subtle differences, the touring bike has a more upright riding position and a geometry that makes it easier to maintain stability when carrying a lot of weight.
Many touring bikes come with racks for hauling panniers and gear.
Touring bikes are designed to be comfortable and stable even when carrying heavy loads. This is why most touring bikes have longer wheelbases than road bikes. It is the distance between the front and rear hubs of a vehicle that determines the wheelbase.
It is generally easier to steer and more stable to carry a load with a longer wheelbase. Another touring bike feature is longer chainstays (the part of the frame closest to the chain). Builders can create more room for rear panniers on bikes by extending these.
14. Bikepacking Bike
The truth is that there’s no one bike that’s right for bikepacking; bikepackers use everything from touring bikes to full-suspension rigs on their journeys; there are no ideal bikes.
Choosing the right bike often means balancing your priorities and accepting certain tradeoffs.
Tips to choose the right bike for bikepacking:
Your riding environment is perhaps the most important factor when choosing a bike.
Choose suspension or rigid
The suspension on your bike smooths out rough trails, but it adds weight and complexity to your bike simultaneously. Depending on your preference, you have three options: rigid (no suspension), hardtail (front suspension), or full suspension.
Think about gearing
You should have more easy gears than hard gears so your bike can climb hills when loaded.
Select a wheel and tire size
Trail performance can be affected by wheel and tire size. Tires and wheels with larger diameters provide a smoother and faster ride, but they are also heavier.
Consider frame material
Each material has a different feel. Chromoly steel or carbon are popular choices for bikepackers, but aluminum is another option. If you don’t mind spending a bit more, titanium may also be an option for you.
Note: You don’t have to buy expensive gear to get into bikepacking. The bike you already have at home will work for you in many cases.
What’s the right Road Bike Type for you
First of all, you need to figure out why you’re interested in a road bike – and be honest with yourself about your reasons.
Are you planning to use it for competitive racing and fast group rides or for more gentle recreational rides to raise your heart rate?
Are you planning on taking a commute to work, or will you purely go out on weekends? It’s also possible you’re interested in longer rides and gravel roads.
Many people have different perceptions of road cycling. Local roads can also vary greatly. The backcountry roads of Australia are very different from the pristine tarmac mountains of Switzerland. Moreover, not everyone is fit, flexible, or athletic.
While there is something for almost everyone in the bike industry, that doesn’t mean that every bike will be right for you.
Modern road bikes have been extensively diversified due to the different roads, riding styles, and body types they are designed for. Basically, choose something that suits your needs. Additionally, read the above-mentioned bike types to make a more informed decision.
Guide to Road Bike Materials
Although bamboo and plastic frames used to be popular over the years, today’s road bikes are made from steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber.
A frame was first constructed using aluminum in 1895. However, large-diameter tubing and improved construction processes did not become widely used until the 1980s.
Currently, it is the most popular frame material. As with steel, its quality and assembly can vary. In addition, as you spend more, the tubing and construction improve.
2. Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber (also known as carbon or graphite) is a relatively new material, and it’s unlike metal. It’s a fabric impregnated with resin which allows it to be shaped and joined. Lightweight, stiff, and durable carbon frames are an excellent choice.
Carbon can be manipulated endlessly (since builders can arrange the fabric strands in any way they like), meaning it can be fine-tuned to provide almost any ride quality. Furthermore, it is impervious to corrosion and can be shaped to resemble Ferraris.
For over a century, frame builders have used steel as the most traditional frame material. Steel tubing comes in many types and is easy to bend and shape. Aside from that, steel is very adaptable to the needs of cyclists thanks to its myriad methods of assembly.
It also provides excellent ride quality and durability, is easy to repair, and is affordable. When low-quality tubing is used (as on department store bikes), steel tends to be heavy. Moreover, if treated carelessly, steel will rust.
The titanium (also known as “ti”) frame material is one of the strongest, longest-lasting, and most expensive materials available. In the opinion of most cyclists and frame experts, it combines all the advantages of all the other materials.
Many riders swear by its sprightly ride and electric handling that rival aluminum and are as comfortable as steel, plus similar in weight to aluminum. Pedal strokes feel “alive” on these frames as if they are springy.
A titanium joint must be finished carefully in a controlled environment, as titanium is hard on metalworking tools and requires expensive titanium welding rods. As a result, titanium frames are quite expensive to manufacture, which explains their high pricing.
Road Bike Wheels — 700c vs. 650b
There is a difference between 650b and 700c in terms of the rim diameter. A 650b wheel measures 584 mm in diameter, while a 700c wheel measures 622 mm in diameter.
There is a 38mm difference between 650B and 700C wheels (about 1.5”). In mountain biking, 650b wheels are sometimes called 27.5-inch wheels. There is no difference between the two. They can be used interchangeably.
It’s important to consider your bike frame, your height, and what kind of surfaces you ride on when choosing a wheel size.
650b is an excellent choice if you ride mostly gravel roads. A tire that measures 5 mm wider can make a huge difference in grip and ride quality. If you mostly ride on pavement, 700c wheels will probably be better for you due to their superior rollover capacity and efficiency.
To Wrap Up — Road Bikes
As the bike industry has become more specialized, road bike types and models (and all bikes, really) differ.
The bottom line is that each bike is designed for a specific purpose. Your first challenge is to figure out “What is My Riding Style? ”
Then, it is a matter of knowing which road bike best meets those needs, which our article can help you immensely with.
So, consider keeping the above-mentioned point in mind while making your final purchase decision.
Else, if you have any suggestions or doubts, feel free to drop a comment below. I will be more than happy to assist you with your query. Please follow our Facebook Page for more guides like this.
Frequently Asked Questions — Road Bike Types
Is 65 psi too much for bike tires?
You’ve got a tire with a PSI range between 60-90 PSI. The higher pressure may pinch-flat if the rim sinks to the ground, and there is a risk that the wheels may slide. In my opinion, you want an MTB at 55PS, and you want to increase that amount to see if it is better and less painful.
Is 40 psi good bike tire pressure?
MTB manufacturers advise between 30 – 60 PSI on many bikes since it’s a good balance between on-road (about 50) and off-road (about 30 / 40).