Beginners Buyers Guide for a Road Bike – Part 2
Size and Fit
A buying factor that can be quite easily glossed over, the size and fit of the bike are pivotal to your riding experience. If you plan on cycling regularly with and uncomfortable and awkward frame it’s likely that you won’t get far. The size can often quite difficult and it’s always worth checking out the size chart for the particular brand of bike you’re looking at. Also, if possible, it’s worth actually getting a leg over the cycle and checking it’s right for you. Usually you’ll be able to tell if it’s right for you if you are able to stand over it and have a few centimetres between yourself and the top tube of the frame.
Naturally a standard fit is built to averages and this may not be to your suiting. Many bike stores will now provide services to help you find the perfect fit for yours. Adjustments such as the saddle and handlebar height can really go a long way in creating a more enjoyable ride. Unlike other types of cycling like say mountain biking or BMXing a cyclist on a road bike spends much of their time in one position making comfort very important.
It should come as no shock that the wheels are a very important component for your bike. As such they should definitely be something you take note of when purchasing your new bike. It’s likely that if you begin to enjoy cycling, you’re going to start making upgrades and changes to your vehicle to further improve its performance, whilst many of the smaller parts are simple to replace the wheels are one of the most expensive to do so with. If you start out with a quality lightweight wheel you can easily change the tyres later which can make a world of difference, lighter and faster tyres won’t just feel more responsive but will reduce the amount of energy you have to spend to maintain your speed. Usually road bike tyres come as a standard size of 23 mm however more recently even the professionals have begun to favour larger sizes of either 25 to 26 mm, what they may sacrifice in drag and weight they make up for with improved comfort and a better ability to hold the road. All factors worth considering.
You will usually find that most road bikes feature rim brakes, there are lighter and more aerodynamic, both features of which are integral to achieving high speeds, often a key desire for riders of the road bike. For those hoping to lower their overall costs however it’s seriously worth considering disc brakes. These are usually favoured by mountain bikers, they aren’t as affected by poor weather conditions, provide a better scope of modulation and power and more durable. This type of brake system is certainly worth considering for those that are planning to cycle all year round, much of the dirt and muck from the roads will often wear out rim breaks whilst disc brakes won’t wear out so easily. Plus, the cost of repair for disc brakes is significantly lower.