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How to Choose a Road Bike

specialized road bike and dog

Thinking about buying a new road bike? At ERIK’S, we stock a lot of different road bike models for all types of riders — from the casual cyclist to the urban commuter to the endurance racer. 

With so many bikes, how do you know which one is right for you?

We created this guide to help you determine which kind of road bike is right for you. Give it a read and then get ready to ride!

Anyone in the market for a new road bike should answer these four questions to streamline their 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 acoustic (regular) road bike or an electric road bike?

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 riding an eBike. Specifically for an electric road bike, these bikes will let you go further and go faster. An eRoad bike can also allow you to take 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 say they were 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 here and our (acoustic) Road Bike Buying Guide here to compare the two styles of bike.

Shop Electric Road Bikes
Shop all Road Bikes

two road cyclists riding
 

2. How do you plan to ride?

Drop-bar road, race, endurance, commuter, 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?

Simple. Ask yourself, “How do I plan to ride?”

  • Is speed and weight your most important considerations?  Maybe crits and other races are in your future? Check out our Race and Performance road bikes.
  • Do you want to be on the saddle all day but you still want a fast bike?Check out Endurance road bikes.
  • Will you be commuting around the city and you need a road bike that’s versatile but still efficient? Check out our Urban + Commuter road bikes.
  • 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 & Gravel road bikes.
  • Getting ready for a cross-country adventure? Steady as you go as you cross your state or country with all of your gear? Check out Touring road bikes.
  • Or maybe a cyclocross event is in your future? Check out our Cyclocross road bikes.
  • Want to keep it simple? One gear is good enough? Check out our Single Speed road bikes.
  • Gearing up for a triathlon, or maybe even an Ironman? Check out our Aero and Triathlon bikes.

Want to learn more about road bikes? Check out our Road Bike Buying Guide to read more about the different road bike types to determine which one meets your riding desires.

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 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’s a few examples of how the frame and componentry changes:

  • 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.

View all our road bikes here.

Woman road biking on road fast

4. What size of 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 it’s greatness or embody your own riding potential. At ERIK’S we use our sizing process to ensure every road 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 and so some brand’s sizes vary slightly. When shopping online, click the “sizing information” link in the left side-bar 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 can’t wait for you to find your perfect road bike. 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 bikes today. We’ll help you get out there to enjoy the world with the wind in your hair!

And, once you’ve got your new bike all set, test out your new wheels on the Gateway Trail in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. Our Woodbury and Highland/St. Paul store are perfect pit-stops on your way there. Or, check out the 400 Trail in Wisconsin, another great scenic ride ideal for road bikers. Our Eau Claire store and Madison East and Madison West shops are nearby for you to grab any last minute supplies.