Ultimate Road bike buying guide
Over recent years road bikes have started to become affordable for the everyday user. We’ll be telling you everything you need to know about road bikes for heavy riders. From specifications at certain price points to what you should consider and not compromise on.
Road bike group sets explained
A group set in cycling is known as the mechanical components that make up the drivetrain and braking.
This includes parts such as brake levers, brake callipers, both front and rear derailleurs, shifters, crank set, chain and cassette.
When you’re looking for a top quality bike. The group set should be one of the three main considerations that should be at the top of your list.
The biggest manufacture of groupsets is Shimano. They offer groupsets at all price points up to a few $1000.
If you’re just looking to get into cycling and this is one of your first road bikes then an entry level group set from shimano is the Tourney range. Most road bikes under 500 will use shimano tourney groupsets.
If you’re more of a cycling enthusiast then you’ll probably want to look at the Tiagra, Sora or Claris variations.
And for the professionals there’s the Ultegra, UltegraDi2, Dura-ace and Dura-ace Di2. But unless you’ve got a few thousand to spend you’ll probably not see these groupsets on the specification sheet.
An ideal group set would focus on providing a great stiffness-to-weight ratio. If you’ve never looked into a road bike before you’ll notice that road bikes try more gears at the back from 8-11 which you’ll normally find on the expensive mountain bikes.
How to get the correct road bike size
Once again like with mountain bikes. Choosing the right size road bike is important to feeling comfortable and pain free.
We’ve put together a guide on the road bike size chart for both men and women you may want to look at.
It is however always good to double check with the manufactures size chart just in case they measure slightly differently.
As a rule of thumb when buying a bike online. Most places offer a good return policy if you was to get the sizing wrong.
What tyres will my road bike come with?
To achieve great speeds, road bikes will come with thinner tyres with very small tread. Although you can use wider tyres on road bikes.
The tyres are made to roll fast. With the wider tyres providing similar speeds but also providing more cushioning.
- Best performing road tyres
On the cheaper road bikes you’ll find the tyres aren’t the best. But you can easily switch out tyres and some of the more expensive best performing road tyres are cheaper than you might think. It’s definitely worth considering changing your tyres to maximise speed and comfort.
With there being two main types of road bikes both endurance and race bikes. You’ll find if you opt for a race bike you’ll get skinnier tyres compared to an endurance bike where they opt for more comfort and aren’t in full favour of aerodynamics.
Should I buy a road bike with rim or disc brakes?
In the past road bikes have opted for the standard cable operated brakes. Primarily because they are lighter. And the lighter the bike the quicker the bike can go. However, over recent years disc brakes have become more and more popular on road bikes.
Although they do increase the weight of the bike, they also provide far greater stopping power than the standard cable operated brakes.
If you’re going to be using your road bike for commuting to work and more endurance based rather than racing. I’d definitely recommend choosing a bike with disc brakes.
- What to know about road bike disc brakes
Road bikes by price
Cheap road bikes under 200
Yes you can get road bikes for under $200. Are they worth it? Maybe. There are some good budget road bikes if you are a beginner and only going to be commuting shorter distances.
If you are going to be using it everyday and for medium to longer commutes, I’d try stay away from this price point and go for a road bike under 500. There’s more of choice and competition which brings the overall road bike quality up.
Best road bikes under 1000
Best road bikes for heavy riders that are around the 1000 mark still compromise bits of quality. But if you know you’ll be using your road bike often then between 500 – 1000 is a good price range to make sure you’re getting good quality with the only compromises being not including top of the range shimano parts.
Instead you’ll find the mid-range enthusiast level parts which are great for everyday use.
You’ll find groupsets such as the Shimano Sora as well as lightweight aluminium frames with disc brakes.
You may find the odd steel frame, although they can be slightly heavier it’s always important to check the overall weight of the bike as some steel frames can be lightweight.
Best road bikes under 2000
At the $2000 price range we start to see some amazing road bikes. If this is going to be your first road bike maybe you should look at the cheaper alternatives but if you’ve got the cash to splash and know you’ll be using the bike all the time.
Then you’ll find some really high quality road bikes.
Lightweight aluminium frames. Whilst you’ll also start to find carbon forks to save on weight. As you get closer to the $2000 mark you’ll find full carbon frames.
Most bikes will be rated at a user experience level of advanced / expert user. If you aren’t then it doesn’t matter but you may find that you don’t use the bike to its full potential.