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How to Choose a Road Bike

specialized road bike and dog

Thinking about buying a new road bike? Are you wondering how to choose a road bike? At ERIK’S, we stock a lot of different road bike models for all types of riders including gravel road bikes. Whether you are a casual cyclist, an urban commuter, or an endurance racer, we’ve got a road bike perfect for you!

With so many bikes to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? This guide will help you determine that!

Answer these four questions to streamline your shopping experience. Once you’ve narrowed down your search — it’s time to take some test rides! Visit your favorite ERIK’S shop to explore the models you’re considering. Or, if there’s no ERIK’S nearby, give us a call or chat and we’ll help you choose the best road bike for you.

1. Do you want an analog (regular) road bike or an electric road bike (eRoad)?

Confused as to why someone would want an electric road bike? Maybe you haven’t ridden one yet. Well, let us fill in the blanks for you… then go to your local ERIK’S and take one for a test ride.

First, these bikes are fun! We love all electric bikes. It is tough to have more fun than when riding an eBike. Specifically for an electric road bike, these bikes will let you go further and go faster. An eRoad bike will allow you to take those longer bike trips, get less sweaty on your commute to work, haul heavier stuff by bike with more ease, and run more errands on your bike swiftly. And most importantly, did we mention they’re fun? Folks report having way more FUN riding an electric road bike. (It’s probably time you take one for a test ride.)

Interested in learning more? Check out our Electric Road Bike Guide and our (acoustic) Road Bike Buying Guide to compare the two styles of bike. And, if you’re a roadie that wants the ability to ride off-road, check out our Gravel and Adventure Bike Buying Guide.

Shop Electric Road Bikes
Shop all Road Bikes
Shop Gravel / Adventure Bikes

two road cyclists riding
 

2. How do you plan to ride?

Drop-bar road, race, endurance, commuter, gravel, adventure, electric, touring, cyclocross… oh my! With so many road bike types available today, how do you know which style is the one for you?

First, consider what kind of terrain you plan to ride on. Paved roads? Gravel/dirt roads? Both?

Second, know how you want to ride on that terrain.

Here’s a simple breakdown of road bike types based on the terrain they are built to ride on:

Terrain: Paved Roads

  • Performance: Are speed and weight your most important considerations? Maybe crits and other races are in your future? Check out our Race and Performance road bikes.
  • Performance/Distance: Gearing up for a triathlon, or maybe even an Ironman? Check out our Aero and Triathlon bikes.
  • Distance: Do you want to be on the saddle all day but you still want a fast bike? Check out Endurance road bikes.
  • Recreational: Will you be commuting around the city and do you need a road bike that’s versatile but still efficient? Check out our Urban + Commuter road bikes.
  • Recreational: Are you planning for a cross-country adventure? Touring road bikes are built to keep you safe and steady as you ride across your state or country with all of your gear.

Terrain: Gravel Roads

  • Recreational: Looking to hit the dirt? Or maybe you just want a road bike that is a little more like an SUV than a sports car? Check out our adventure and gravel road bikes.

If you want to dive deeper into these styles of road bikes don’t forget to check out our Road Bike Buying Guide, our Gravel and Adventure Bike Buying Guide, and our Electric Road Bike Guide.

Now you can hone your search online by selecting the road bike type you want to purchase, scroll through and start drooling! Or, better yet, swing into a nearby ERIK’S shop and start test-riding today!

3. What’s your budget?

ERIK’S sells road bikes and gravel bikes from top brands in the industry including Specialized and Cervelo. Models start as low as $700 and high-end models can cost upwards of $10,000. 

If you’re just getting into road biking, our entry-level models feature solid components that will ensure your ride is safe and enjoyable. If you’re more experienced and want to refine your ride you’ll probably find the gear featured on the higher-priced road bikes to your liking.

As the price point goes up on road bikes here are a few examples of how the frame and componentry change:

  • Bike frame materials get stronger and lighter — aluminum is common and top-of-the-line road bikes will often feature carbon fiber.
  • Drivetrain parts will be lighter and made to propel smoother, crisper pedaling power.
  • Wheels get lighter and become more responsive, often increasing speed potential and higher performance
  • Brake and gear shifters become more durable and light. Disc brakes become the norm.

Essentially, as the price goes up, your road bike should become lighter, ride smoother, and the components will be more durable.

Shop all road bikes.
Shop all gravel bikes.

Woman road biking on road fast

4. What size bike do you need?

No matter how awesome a road bike is said to be, if it doesn’t fit YOU right you won’t be able to experience its greatness or embody your own riding potential.

At ERIK’S we use our sizing process to ensure every road bike or gravel bike customer is on the correctly sized bike and that it’s adjusted comfortably so they can focus on maximizing their ride. And of course, when you’re shopping with us in-store you’ll be able to test-ride before you buy to really make sure you and the bike you want truly “fit”.

If you’re shopping for a road bike online, check out our Bicycle Sizing Chart. Using your inseam and height, you’ll be able to figure out which size is ideal for you. Our chart is a general reference so some brands’ sizes vary slightly. When shopping online, click the “sizing information” link in the left sidebar of the bike product page to see individual brand sizing recommendations. If you have any questions, give us a call or chat and we’ll help you select the right size for you.

Learn more about bike sizing here.

Hit the open roads!

We hope you know how to choose a road bike or gravel bike now! Road bikes are the perfect means to hit the open road for fun, for exercise, for travel, for commuting to work, or for whatever fancies you! Come into your favorite ERIK’S shop to test-ride some road and gravel bikes today. We’ll help you get out there to enjoy the world with the wind in your hair!