Buying a High Spec Road Bike
This road bike post is a paid article by the folks at Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog.
Buying a high spec road bike
by Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog
Good leaders set trends. This is especially true in the cycling world where road bike riding is taken very seriously as a hobby.
After Britain’s summer of sporting success, the Guardian reported that more people than ever have been inspired to ‘get on their bikes’. It reported an ‘up-cycle’ in bike and accessory sales, with some of Britain’s most famous cyclists putting their own retail lines on the market.
The report also found that bikes costing between £700 and £2,000 are the most popular with accessories, including shorts, helmet and shoes adding even more. Whether you’ve already saved up for your dream machine or plan to take out a loan to help buy one, a lot of effort goes into researching your preferred model.
As their name suggests, road bikes are mainly designed for use on the roads or tracks. They can be used for a range of purposes, including general fitness, commuting and the sport itself. Road bikes typically feature:
- Thin tyres as narrow as 23mm
- A lightweight frame (one of the lightest road bikes is a mere 2.7kg, lighter than some laptops!)
- Low handlebars
- Between 18-27 speeds
Finding the right fit
To find the right sized bike, measure your inside leg to determine your stand over height above the crossbar. This can be between 2.54cm and 5.1cm. Together with the inside leg length, riders can measure their height to provide two reference points. Road bike frame sizes usually increase in 2cm increments. Consulting a bike sizing guide and going for a few test rides can help in finding the best fit.
Made of strong stuff
- Steel – A typical type of frame material is steel. Chromoly (chromium-molybdenum steel) is lighter than carbon steel, but both are strong and durable.
- Carbon Fiber - strong and lightweight to provide a comfortable ride
- Titanium – one of the most rugged and durable, yet costliest frame materials
- Aluminium – a stiff and strong material that’s good for riders who favour lightweight bikes
Getting into gear
Gears are crucial for riding on uneven surfaces. On flat surfaces, a fixed single speed, or just three or four gears are usually needed. However, for tackling hills and challenging terrain, a bike with 21, 24 or 27 speeds might be more suitable.
Give us a brake
Most bikes are equipped with either rim (V) or disc brakes. Both get the job done, with disc brakes being the more efficient – yet more expensive – option.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Seats or saddles should make your cycle a pleasant – not painful – experience.
Also, with intensive road bike cycling, you’ll not always sit down on the job; instead moving out of the saddle to climb steep slopes.
Go for a saddle that’s narrow, lightly padded with cut out tops, and has a rear width which is both anatomic and ergonomic.
Weight, fit, ventilation and, of course, safety are all important aspects of a quality bike helmet. There are more practical, everyday helmets – to pointed versions which almost resemble a back-to-front wizard’s hat. These are designed to be aerodynamic for serious cyclist – yet probably aren’t necessary for the casual family cycle.
Follow you, not the crowd
Last but not least is deciding on a road bike you like – and which suits you. The summer of sport might have inspired dedicated followers of cycling fashion, yet, ultimately, the decision is yours.
This guest post was written on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury’s Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.
Image c/o blogto.com