How To choose a Road Bike
In this “How To” guide we provide a valuable help to those of you looking to get your first road bike or upgrading from an existing one. We look into the advantages and disadvantages of Alloy and Carbon frames, group specs and the way you’ll be using the bike, in order to help you with the decision process.
Why should I go for an Alloy road bike?
If you are just starting cycling and are unsure of how much you will like it or not, an alloy frame won’t drain your bank account and will keep the financial advisor happy for a little while longer.
This does not mean that you will have an inferior bike, a slow bike or something heavy as that will drain all your energy every time you’re challenged by an uphill. Nowadays, alloy frames are very light and the increase stiffness of the alloy gives a better power transfer (or less power loss) and despite not being the most compliant material to road vibrations by having an endurance geometry will have you sitting slightly more upright, adding comfort to your ride.
Alloy is also great in terms of durability against impacts directly to the frame, where the paint might crack, the frame might present a small dent, but the frame integrity will remain the same and you won’t feel any difference in performance.
Why should I go for a Carbon road bike?
If you already cycle and want to improve your fitness level or do longer rides, a carbon frame will be a natural upgrade on your bicycle history. Even if you’re not a road cyclist but want to invest in a bike that will last a few years without needing to replace parts or getting a new bike, a carbon bike might be a very good option for you.
By jumping on the Carbon frame you will have a bike with quality components, light weight and an awesome performance level that will fit right into club races level or will put a big as smile on all weekend warriors that just want a comfortable yet fast road bike to “race” their friends.
The lighter frame and the added compliance to road vibrations make this a sure bet for cyclists that want to improve their comfort on the bike, want a lighter bike to ride faster, or want to start riding for longer distances (more than 60km/2hours riding).
Level of Componentry
Another frequently asked question when searching for a new bike is the level of componentry on each bike and how will it impact the performance and weight of the bike.
All Polygon Road Bikes are equipped with Shimano gearing, allowing for precise shifting, great value for performance, easy to upgrade and can be serviced in virtually any local bike shop.
Shimano’s gearing line up accounts for 6 different groupsets to fit the size of any wallet and riding style. From most affordable to most expensive we have:
Shimano Claris is the entry level groupset that is featured on road bikes under $700 and is aimed at beginners that want reliability with a small price tag. It offers 8 speeds in the cassette and a double or triple crankset option. Shop Shimano Claris Level
The Shimano Sora groupset saw in 2014 a great addition to its features that makes it a very interesting upgrade for beginners that can afford an extra $150 when buying a new bike. This groupset counts now with fully integrated gear and brake levers that enable for a more ergonomic fit while riding, same as the most expensive groupsets in the Shimano line up. It comes in a 9 speeds configuration with a double or triple crankset option. Shop Shimano Sora Level
Tiagra’s the last of the so called “entry level” groupsets but it’s far ahead of the previous ones. You can spot this groupset on under $1000 road bikes and commuters. Aimed at riders looking into improving their fitness levels, it’s a durable and reliable groupset. It comes in a 10 speeds configuration with a double or triple crankset option. Shop Shimano Tiagra Level
Moving up on Shimano’s line up and getting more performance oriented, we find the perfect balance between value and performance with Shimano 105. You can find this groupset on alloy road bikes just over $1000 or even on Carbon road bikes valued over $1600.
It shares some technologies and innovations from its bigger brothers (Ultegra and Dura Ace) allied with amazing stiffness and lightweight and low maintenance. It’s the perfect groupset for someone looking into a club race, training bike or lightweight commuter. It comes in a 11 speeds configuration with a double or triple crankset option. Shop Shimano 105 Level
Known to attract riders looking for the best performance and also a friendly price tag, we find the Shimano Ultegra groupset. With a big focus on performance and lightweight, this groupset has a lot of features from Dura Ace.
There is a version with Di2 (electronic gears) which narrows the differences to the Dura Ace groupset and just makes gear shifting effortless and dead accurate (it also tunes itself by a push of a button). It comes in a 11 speeds configuration with a double or triple crankset option, however Di2 only allows for a double crankset. Shop Shimano Ultegra Level
Shimano’s flagship and winner of many professional races, used by the majority of Pro Tour teams. You will find Dura-Ace groupset paired with the best in bike components, wheels and nothing less than a full carbon frame. It’s the ultimate upgrade to make your bike as lightweight and performance driven as it can be.
Like the Ultegra groupset, Dura Ace also has a Di2 version that just makes everything even better. With a long lasting battery, that lasts something like 3 Tour de France, Dura Ace Di2 is the dream of every rider that aspires to win a race. Shop Shimano Dura-Ace Level
Road Bike weight
On road cycling one very important factor is the weight of the bike, as this requires more or less effort from the rider to reach the same speed or travel the same distance.
On alloy road bikes, having a heavier frame and heavier componentry dictates that these bike weight around 9.5kgs (Shimano Claris) and 8.8kgs (Shimano 105).
Carbon frame get much lighter, due to having a lighter frame but also better and lighter componentry that helps minimize the overall weight. Having a road bike weighting 7.8kgs (Shimano 105) all the way down to 6.9kgs (Shimano Dura Ace) means that you require less effort to keep up with your riding mates and still have some spare in the tank for that quick getaway.
It’s affordable to get into road cycling on a quality bike with good enough components to get you going. Here at Bicycles Online we try and deliver the best value for money and you can start cycling with just over $500 on a brand new bike. Carbon frame road bikes start at $1800 and go all the way to $5500.
When looking for a road bike you should consider what you are doing at the moment and where you want to be doing in at least 1 year from now, as this will give you a wide enough time period to forecast where you want to take your fitness level to and get the bike that meets not only your current requirements but also your desired fitness/riding level. This way you won’t feel you need to upgrade your ride in 3 months from now. If you still have any questions or feel you need some help choosing the right bike for you, please email or call us and we’ll do our best to get you on the right bike.
Buying8 October 2016I have had a second spinal fusion and I am looking at purchasing a road bike to help in my recovery. I could use some advice on this, regards Jimmy.
Hello We can certainly help you out. Please contact our customer service support at [email protected] and they will be able to answer all your questions to find the appropriate bike.