How to Choose Your First Road Bike for Cycling


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How to Choose Your First Road Bike for Cycling

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Road bikes are made for riding on paved streets and going fast. With its skinny tires and lightweight frame, road bikes are designed for fast rides and/or riding long distances.

 For a newbie, buying his/her very first road bike can be quite challenging and overwhelming, what with all the brands and options in styles available in the market.  More so, if one has never ridden a bike before.  “Test driving” as one would naturally do just like buying a car, for instance, will not be of much help either because almost everything would feel “wrong”.

 Take heart, keeping in mind the following can help one in making a decision:


 Even with an unlimited budget for their first road bike, it would make more sense for one not to go overboard with their first road bike, like paying for a carbon-fiber frame and super light fittings. However, cheap road bikes do not mean one has to settle for “unbranded” ones.  Most of its components are not made to last. There are many models from reputable manufacturers to suit one’s given budget.  They will not have any serious flaws and the slight difference in weight will not be that critical at this point in time.

 Size of the road bike

 Knowing one’s height and inseam measurements to determine the size of bike’s frame will guarantee a comfortable ride even if it is on a cheap road bike.  The chart below can give you a fairly good idea of the bike frame that best suits you:


Determining Your Road Bike Frame Size


Inseam Length

Bike Frame Size


4’10” – 5’1″

25.5” – 27”

46 – 48 cm


5’0″ – 5’3″

26.5″ – 28″

48 – 50 cm


5’2″ – 5’5″

27.5″ – 29″

50 – 52 cm


5’4″ – 5’7″

28.5″ – 30″

52 – 54 cm


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5’6″ – 5’9″

29.5″ – 31″

54 – 56 cm


5’8″ – 5’11”

30.5″ – 32″

56 – 58 cm


5’10” – 6’1″

31.5″ – 33″

58 – 60 cm


6’0″ – 6’3″

32.5″ – 34″

60 – 62 cm


6’2″ – 6’5″

34.5″ – 36″

62 – 64 cm



Of the two measurements, the inseam is the more important.


Cost of road bikes is determined by the material used for the frame.  Generally, the more expensive the frame (and the bike), the lighter it is.   Cheaper road bikes have either steel or aluminum frames though aluminum is becoming the material of choice for basic road bike frames. Aluminum is lighter than steel.  However, for it to be strong and durable, the frame has to be made pretty stiff which means a rougher ride.  Steel, on the other hand, though heavier, can flex more which can cushion some of the bumps.


 Another issue to consider is the number of gears.  Cheaper road bikes have three front rings compared with the new and more expensive bikes that have two rings at the front.  In either case, the chain rings form part of the crank assembly in the front along with eight or nine gears in the cassette on the rear wheel.  Given this kind of combination, it is possible to have 16  to 27 possible gear combinations, a much improved version of the old models which had a typical ten-speed.


 Basic road bikes come with old-fashioned platform pedals.  Adding toe clips to this would be a good start for a newbie to get used to the bike.  Once he gets the hang of it, one can easily convert them to the clipless pedals.

  Color and appearance

 After deciding on technical stuff, comes an equally important choice to make – the color and appearance.  If the bike looks great, it would be a natural assumption that one would look great riding on it as well.

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