Road Bikes Buyers Guide

Road bikes are designed for great performance on the tarmac, with aerodynamic frames and parts meaning that they are both speedy and provide a smooth ride so you can cycle further for longer.

Road Bikes have thin, light frames, narrow, smooth tyres and a low, aerodynamic riding position. As they are built to be quick, they have larger gears and the sitting position of the rider is such that there is less strain on the joints.

Road bike components

Road bikes are usually built from one of four materials; steel, aluminium, carbon fibre or titanium, or a composition of two of these. Steel is strong yet offers a degree of flexibility making it a comfortable option and good value for beginner road cyclists. A lot of road bikes are made from aluminium as it is lighter than steel for increased speed, but it is stiffer meaning it has less give on the road. Experienced riders will want to opt for a titanium frame. Titanium is both very strong, light and durable for optimum performance. Carbon fibre is a great choice for more advanced cyclists. It’s extremely light and is the perfect balance of stiff yet flexible and so has become very popular in high performance bikes, motorbikes and cars. There are various types of road bikes to choose from, each with different features catered to your specific road biking needs. They can be categorised into two main types of bike, racing bikes and endurance bikes.

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A need for speed!

Racing bikes are aerodynamically designed so that you can hit the track hard and maximise your performance. With stiffer frames and a lower front end, they are subject to minimal air resistance and enable efficient energy transfer. They also have a short wheelbase and steep angles which provide better handling and make the bike more responsive.

Within racing bikes, there are also two different kinds of bikes; road race bikes and aero race bikes. Road race bikes are great for general road cycling, while aero road bikes are the fastest in a straight line. For those just starting their road-biking journey, the Carrera Virtuoso Road Bike is a fantastic choice. The aluminium frame is stiff yet light which will enable you to convert more of your power into speed; its hi-tensile steel forks deliver extra strength and control; its 16 Speed Shimano Claris gears are both precise and lightweight and its narrow 700c double wall aluminium wheels mean that you will fly along the tarmac.

Meanwhile, thankfully, its Tektro R312 Caliper brakes can be relied upon for controlled stopping in all types of weather conditions! The Boardman SLR 8.8 Road Bike is ideal for those who have mastered the basics of road biking and are looking to upgrade their current bike to one with more spec to increase their performance. With the new Boardman aluminium alloy SLR frame for style and speed, full carbon forks for better comfort and weight saving and Boardman tubeless ready wheels with Vittoria’s Zaffiro tyres, you will be able to achieve that all-important new PB. 18 speed Sora gearing and Tektro R315 brakes offer excellent control.

This aero race Boardman SLR 8.9c Road Bike is a fantastic specimen of a bike at a fantastic price. It features full carbon forks for improved comfort and weight-saving; lightweight, precise and reliable 20 speed Shimano Tiagra brakes; Tektro R315 brakes for ultimate control and Boardman tubeless wheels and Vittoria Rubino tyres will ensure you keep up with the competition! With its stylish 2018 carbon SLR frame, you will look the part to boot.

Go the distance

Endurance bikes are designed with distance in mind. They are ideal for riders who like to put in the miles on their outings as they have a bit more flexibility and a more upright riding position for a more comfortable ride. They have a longer wheelbase for increased stability and come with accessories such as mudguards and eyelets to keep you clean and enable you to take things with you on your outing. There are also two different sorts of endurance bikes; sportive and flat bar road bikes. Offering a slightly more upright riding position, sportive bikes carry most of the speed and efficiency of road racing bikes with a greater level of comfort. Flat bar road bikes are ideal for urban cycling and fitness training.

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Boardman road bikes

The Boardman SLR 8.6 Road Bike is an excellent entry level road bike. Sharing its DNA with the top of the range Series 9 bikes, it has aero inspired tubes and endurance geometry that will enhance your riding experience and full carbon forks which reduce vibrations from the road surface making this a brilliant option for riders keen to get into cycling and slowly increase the miles they ride. The 16 speed Shimano Claris gear system is reliable, low maintenance and gives you a comprehensive range of gears for tackling all terrains and Tektro R315 brakes providing controlled stopping.

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Are road bikes faster than hybrids?

Some new cyclists have asked us whether road bikes are faster than hybrids. Road bikes are built for speed, with higher gearing enabling you to attain faster speeds and the drop handlebars enabling you to get into a more streamlined riding position than the flat bars fitted to most hybrids. However, the most important difference is the rider. If you’re fit, you can go fast on a road bike or hybrid!

If you’ve got any more questions, visit your nearest Halfords store where you can speak to one of our trained experts. While you’re there, check out our incredible range of road bikes, hybrids and cycling accessories and upgrades!

Make sure you keep your new road bike in the best possible working order with our Performance CycleCare service which includes unlimited puncture repair, unlimited brake and gear adjusts, a 6 week Bronze service, two Silver services at 6 and 12 months, free fitting on all parts and accessories, 10% off accessories when you buy your bike and 10% off parts for the life of the bike.

Check out our full range of road bikes or in store where a member of expert cycling team will be able to help you find your perfect set of new wheels.

Make sure you keep your new road bike in the best possible working order with our Performance CycleCare service which includes unlimited puncture repair, unlimited brake and gear adjusts, a 6 week Bronze service, two Silver services at 6 and 12 months, free fitting on all parts and accessories, 10% off accessories when you buy your bike and 10% off parts for the life of the bike.

Can I use MTB shoes on a road bike?

You can use MTB shoes on a road bike, but you must use them with the correct SPD pedals. Some rider prefer to use mountain bike pedals on a road bike because they are familiar with them and find them more comfortable. Two-sided mountain bike pedals can be easier to click into the traditional one-sided road pedals. Road shoes are stiffer and some riders find that they can generate more power using them than mountain bikes shoes. .

Ultimately, the choice is yours - there is no reason to stop you using MTB shoes on your road bike if you want to. .