If you are looking for tips for buying a starter road bike then you have definitely come to the right place. I strongly believe that there are a lot of different factors that are overlooked when buying a road bike.
Too many people jump straight in and buy the first or second bike they see without doing the proper research first. More often than not they are left disappointed because the bike does not perform to their expectations.
With that in mind I have listed a few of things that you should take into consideration below.
Price is the deciding factor for a lot of people and while it is an important factor, it should not be the only one.
You will have to face the fact that a good road bike is going to cost around $500 or more. Anything less than this price is probably second hand or low quality and not worth worrying about.
The best starter road bike will fall somewhere between $400 and $750. A good tip is to look for clearance models that are being superseded by a newer model. There is nothing wrong with them necessarily apart from the fact that they are old stock
Although you can choose from up to 4 different frame construction materials (aluminum, steel, carbon fiber or titanium), aluminum is going to the best for someone starting out as it is the cheapest.
That doesn't mean that it is low quality though.
Many professionals will use aluminum because it is lightweight and very strong, making it perfect for racing and high efficiency pedalling in general.
However, aluminum does transfer many of the road vibrations to your body and once you bend it you can't bend it back because the material will start to rust and lose strength over time.
Now that you have a frame sorted you need to think about everything else on the bike. You need to make sure that the bike you do end up buying has high quality components already installed as buying cheap components to start off with and then upgrading will cost you a lot of money.
In fact, it has been said that buying components separately can often add up to be as expensive as the bike itself, so make sure you don't skimp in this area and treat your hobby with respect.
As far as individual manufacturers are concerned, Shimano and Campagnolo are the best known so look out for them.
This is an important part to get right. Light wheels are great for racing on smooth surfaces but a set of light wheels aren't the only set you should own.
Time and time again I have seen even experienced riders crack a rim on a pothole or other seemingly minor obstacle because they didn't have a set of everyday wheels that are better able to cope with everyday riding.
Moral of the story – have a backup set of wheels that are sturdier for general use.
Does it fit?
Two things which you need to keep in mind are stand over height and reach. Stand over height refers to being able to pick the bike up by the saddle and handle bars and have it off the ground.
Typically the wheels should be at least an inch in the air before the the bike hits you in the groin area. If not then you don't have the right fit.
Reach refers to the weight distribution in your body as you ride the bike. A good balance of weight should see it distributed more or less evenly between your hands and backside.
More casual riders may want more weight in the back for a better riding position but as far as general tips for buying a starter road bike are concerned, this will be a matter of personal preference.