What types of road bike are there?
What do you actually understand by a racing bike?
There is a wide variety of types of road bikes, to say that in advance. Different demands, terrains and goals require different designs. Here we explain which types of road bike there are and what to look out for in the individual models.
Once upon a time there was a racing bike
By definition, a racing bicycle is a very light bicycle designed and built for racing. It is intended for use as sports equipment and for road cycling and is characterised by a lightweight construction and the reduction to the components essential for riding. If you actually want to take part in competitions with it, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has stipulated a minimum weight of 6.8 kg since 2000. Today's racing bikes usually have narrow rims and tyres, and handlebars with a handlebar or horn, which allow different grip positions and are narrower than the usual handlebars (the UCI regulations allow a maximum of 50 cm). So much for the starting position.
Starting with the so-called classic racing bike, other types of racing bikes have emerged over time that look similar at first glance, but sometimes have significant differences in the details. The special characteristics are based on clearly defined requirements, on the basis of which individual aspects (aerodynamics, weight, durability, etc.) have been optimised. This is at the expense of complementary characteristics.
In general, we distinguish between racing bikes for flat routes, for mountainous and hilly terrain, for long distances and the so-called all-rounders. The individual types are described below.
The mountain goat
Racing bikes for mountain and hilly terrain or actual bicycle races are initially characterised by their low weight. The frame is often made of carbon fibre, alternatively also of titanium. In addition, road bikes allow very agile steering, which makes cornering easier, especially on steep descents. The posture can vary through different settings (saddle position, stem length, spacers, etc.), although this is generally designed more for long rides. Another important factor is the size of the chainring, which can influence the cadence on steep climbs. Here, "less is more" often applies on the mountain. Some compromises are made in terms of aerodynamics, and durability is also affected by the materials used.
CONCLUSION: unbeatable on the mountain, generally a good all-rounder.
Time trial bikes and aero bikes
The time trial bike is suitable for the long plains, time trial races or a triathlon. Weight and comfort are deliberately neglected here, the only thing that counts is to offer the wind as little surface area as possible to save energy. Thicker frames paired with an integration of the individual components and rims are decisive here. You will hardly see any cables or protruding brake pads on an aero bike. In addition, the tube cross-sections often match the shape of the tyres to save further millimetres that could be exposed to the wind. Thus, the aero wheel is designed and built for a clearly defined purpose, so it is considered an absolute specialist. We would therefore not recommend it for a mountain finish. If you want to progress as quickly as possible on the flat, it is a good choice.
CONCLUSION: unbeatable on the flat, but comfort is written in small letters.
We would probably say "I'm off" on an endurance road bike. The balanced geometry including a longer wheelbase, high head tube and the resulting upright riding position make for a comfortable ride. It also offers a high level of stability and robustness. Drives with compact gearing, wider tyres and various damping mechanisms make riding a pleasure. The disc brakes, which are often used, increase safety and protect the arm muscles. This equipment thus makes it possible to cover long distances, among other things in the course of multi-day tours and on different terrain. Naturally, the air resistance is somewhat higher than on an aerobike or a classic road bike. In addition, the somewhat higher weight plays a role in long uphill climbs, although this can be counteracted somewhat by selecting the individual components.
CONCLUSION: For long-distance riders with low racing ambitions.
Gravel, forest and meadows are best conquered on a gravel bike. For some years now, more and more passionate road cyclists have been switching to the "off-road alternative" to escape congested cycle paths and busy roads. These road bikes feature durable and flexible frames, achieve greater ground clearance via raised bottom brackets and come on wider tyres with tread. In combination with a lighter gear ratio, gravel bikes therefore allow both on-road and off-road riding. This flexibility naturally leads to poorer performance on the road, although there is still a clear difference to a mountain bike. Those who don't want to do without their road bike but still like to ride off-road will find a more than acceptable compromise here.
CONCLUSION: For connoisseurs and more choice when selecting routes.
Ultimately, every road bike is fun in its own way, as long as you use it properly. Whether on the mountain, on the time trial course or now also in the forest, the variety of road bike types has something to offer for everyone. For the indecisive, endurance bikes in particular are a good solution, as they offer many features, high comfort and good safety without falling off on the mountain or on the flat.
If you develop a certain passion over time, we at buycycle are sure to have something on offer and will be happy to take delivery of your old bike!
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