How To Choose The Best Entry Level Road Bikes [Ultimate Guide]

Road biking is a fun and simple way of working out, commuting, and exploring the world around you.

In fact, road biking allows you to slow down in today’s hectic world, so that you can take in the beauty around you.
In order to take part in road biking, you need a road bike that promises you speed, efficiency, agility and safety.

When you go shopping for a road bike, you will come across a range of options that have different designs, materials, and components. And the truth is that this process can easily overwhelm you.
That is where I come in, giving you top advice on how to choose the best entry level road bike for you.

This step by step guide will ensure that you don’t get lost when it comes time to go out shopping.

Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Entry Level Road Bike

Below we are going to look at the top factors you need to take into consideration when buying your entry level road bike. These factors have been simplified, meaning that you don’t need to be a bike expert to understand the guide.

Frame Geometry/Design

When you go out shopping for your entry level bike, you will find that most bikes look alike. However, there are subtle differences between each bike, and you need to pay close attention so that you don’t miss them.

One of the first things that you will notice is that different bikes have different geometries.

There are road bikes with sport (recreational) geometries, performance (race) geometries, and flat bar geometries. The sport geometry has an upright riding position, as well as relaxed steering.

This makes it suitable for occasional riding– with this bike you can comfortably ride up to 150 miles a week.
On the other hand we have the performance geometry, which will appeal to you if you are a competitive rider. These bikes are more expensive, as they have top quality components, stiff frames, and light wheels. However, you will be happy with just how flexible and responsive they are.

Lastly, we have the flat bar geometry, which is quite similar to the sport geometry. These bikes have an upright frame design, making them great for commuting to and from work.

Frame Materials

Next we have the frame materials of your mountain bike, which will either be aluminum, carbon fiber, steel or titanium. Firstly, we have aluminum, which is extremely popular because of the smooth ride it provides.

Bikes with aluminum frames are cheaper than their carbon fiber counterparts; however, they do use a carbon fiber front fork to help absorb shock on uneven terrain.

Secondly, we have the carbon fiber frame, which is lighter, more comfortable, and better at shock absorption when compared to aluminum frames. However, carbon fiber bikes tend to be more expensive than aluminum.

Thirdly, we have the steel frame, which started losing its dominance in the 1980s. However, you might still encounter steel in touring bikes and custom ride bikes, where it provides high strength at the expense of weight savings.

Last but not least, we have the titanium frame, which combines the best that aluminum and steel have to offer. Titanium frames are lightweight and durable; unfortunately, it is usually out of the price range of most people.

Cranksets and Gearing

When you are choosing the best entry level bike for you needs, you will eventually have to deal with finding the right components. Cranksets and gearing are especially important as they determine the speeds you will be traveling at.racing-bike-603454_640

When making your biking choice go with a triple crankset, as this provides a wide range of gears for your road biking needs. Alternatively, if you like a road bike with a sport geometry, then a compact crankset will provide a wide gear range without the weight of a triple crankset.

Also ensure that your bike has quick and smooth gear shifters, so that you can switch from one gear to another without any trouble.

Wheels

Wheels are an important part of a road bike, as they impact the weight, acceleration, and aerodynamics of the bike. Look for a road bike with light wheels, as these provide a quick ride due to their reduced mass. Lighter wheels are also more responsive and nimble.

Unfortunately, your wheel choice might be limited when buying a road bike. In fact, the bike that you like might have poor quality wheels. In this case you should see if the road bike has an upgradeable wheelset, so that you have the option of putting in better wheels when you have the chance.

Pedals

The basic entry level road bike will come with platform pedals; however, any high-end models will not come with pedals. It is therefore your duty to select the pedal system that you want to put into your road bike. There are a range of pedal models that you can choose from, including Shimano, Speedplay, Look, and Time.

Always select clip-in pedals that go with your cycling shoes, as they provide the best performance. The pedals that you choose should also be lightweight, with smooth bearings which reduce friction.

Frame Size

When it comes to road biking, you need to ensure that your comfort is guaranteed. The best way to do this is to find the frame size that fits your body perfectly. Most of the road bikes on the market come in up to 6 different frame sizes, with women specific frames available as well.

While the bike salesperson will often be able to determine the ideal frame size for you, you also have the option of using a fitting system to determine the best frame size for all your biking needs.

Budget

Last but not least, you need to choose an entry level bike that fits within your budget. A good quality road bike will cost between $1000 and $3000, however, you can find a reliable entry level bike for between $500 and $1000.

Conclusion

As you can see, choosing the best entry level road bike for your needs is possible when you know what to look out for. Using the buying guide above you can now make your final selection based on your biking experience, riding style, and cycling objectives. Good luck to you!

About the Author Matthew R. Duncan

I am proud to be the go-to guy among my circle for bike advice. I take it personally when someone I know buys a new bike without consulting me first!

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