Road bike buyers guide

Nov 23, 2022

If you live in a built-up area, or fancy commuting to work by bike, a road bike could be the option for you. From their sleek design, to lighter frames, these kinds of bikes perform very well in urban environments, but which should you buy? Buying a bike can be a bit daunting, but thankfully, you’ve come to the right article. Learn about what you should be looking out for when in the market to buy a brand-new road bike, and some other very handy tips to know before your purchase.

Essential characteristics of a road bike

Every category of bike has something unique for what they’re trying to accomplish. Mountain bikes have a sturdy frame and wider tyres, for example – but what is desirable in a road bike is actually quite different in comparison.


These kinds of bikes are built with swiftness in mind. The larger wheel sizing and narrow tyres are great at cutting through the air, reducing drag and improving aerodynamics. Think of a road bike like wearing a pair of running shoes, designed with speed in mind, not so much for running over unstable terrain (we’ll talk about road bikes that can do this later on).


Since their performance is designed for riding on hard, smooth surfaces (like roads and paths), some durability can be sacrificed with a lighter frame. This doesn’t mean that your road bike will easily break, of course not, just that there’s less chance of going through rough patches that could put strain on the frame. Since you likely won’t be climbing mountains on a road bike, it means that your bike is a lot lighter. And as you know, less mass to pedal means the faster you can go.


The emphasis on speed and reducing the weight of the machine as much as possible means that your road bike is rather efficient. Every component is designed to make your ride as smooth as possible, from the wheels, to the frame encouraging you to sit in a forward-leaning position. You’ll lean into the wind, rather than your body causing more resistance sitting upright. These tiny details and adjustments culminate into one and result in a bike which is built to get you to and from in the quickest time in flat environments.

‘Perfect road bike’ checklist

1. Group sets

If you’re unfamiliar with what a group set is, it’s simply the name for both the brakes and gears.


Like anything you buy, the more you spend the better quality you’ll get – and your group set is no different. Higher end models might come with disk brakes, which work better in wet conditions and are great when cycling on hills. However, this doesn’t mean to say that rim brakes don’t do a good job (many races have been won without using disk brakes, so they’re not an inferior product).


Better quality gears also mean that shifting up and down whilst riding is easier. You have more choice in gears and also larger cogs in the cassette, which are perfect for going up hills if you want to put less strain on your legs.

2. Wheels/tyre size

When purchasing a bike, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the wheels it comes with. If you’re just starting out, you likely won’t be looking to get better ones until you’ve gotten into the sport more, meaning you’ll want to have the best standard tyres possible whilst your passion grows.

Spokes/inner wheel support

So that you know you’re getting a strong set of wheels, it’s a good idea to observe how many spokes they have. Their strength is determined by the support inside the wheel, so knowing this will ensure your wheels can last for as long as possible.

Tyre width

To increase speed efficiency, you’ll want to look for a bike that comes with quite narrow tyres. To reduce air resistance and make your rides as smooth as possible, try to look for a bike which has a wheel tyre width between 25mm – 28mm.

Tyre frame clearance

Lastly, if you plan on going a bit more off-road with your road bike, then you’ll want to make an effort to find the tyre clearance of the frame. Opting for a frame that is a bit wider in this department can make swapping out your road wheels for something more adventurous easier.

3. Saddle

Unlike other kinds of bikes, the saddle equipped with a road bike is not cushioned. This means that if you’re riding into work without padded shorts, then you’ll most likely have to endure the working week with a sore bum.

Saddles are easily swappable, and you might find that doing some shopping around is needed to make your ride as comfortable as you like. You could easily replace the default one for a very well cushioned seat instead (hopefully you’re commute won’t be as painful if you do)

4. Pedals

This can be a bit of a surprise to first time buyers, but most road bikes actually don’t come with pedals.

Some lower end models are equipped with flat pedals, but we’d recommend for the mot efficient experience, you invest in clip-in pedals. These make it so much easier to pedal, as clipping in enables you to pull up on the pedals as you cycle along.


5. Suspension

It’s not an essential in road bikes, as you won’t likely be going over any huge dips.

Even if you invest in a gravel bike, you’ll find there isn’t really any suspension either. If you think this is a deal breaker, then perhaps a mountain bike is more your speed.


6. Frame material

If you’ve test ridden some road bikes before, you might have realised that ther material of the frame can actually make quite a difference in its performance.

The most common materials are aluminium, steel and carbon fibre.

Aluminium and Steel

Often found in the lower price point of road bikes, these frames have a high strength to weight ratio. Bikes from around the £250 – £1000 mark often use this for their frames.

Carbon Fibre

Anything from +£1000 is where you’ll begin to see this used in road bike frames. Carbon fibre is a more durable material than the others we’ve mentioned previously, but this does mean you’ll have to spend quite a bit more in comparison.

If you’re between the two, it might be a good compromise to go with an aluminium frame and have a  carbon fibre fork, as it reduces the frames weight slightly and can also cause vibrations in the handle bars.

Top Road Bikes for 2023

Ammaco Pace Road Bike

If you’re looking to get into road cycling or need a bike that is handy for commuting, then the Ammaco Pace Road model could be perfect for you.

This model comes equipped with a steel frame and double wall alloy rim wheels, so we’re sure that this bike will serve you for a long time. It is a very good starter and can of course be upgraded with better components as you progress.

Salcano GR001 Sora Gravel Road Bike

A step up from our starter bikes, this Salcano model is a great model for those looking to improve their road cycling. Equipped with high quality Shimano gear sets, and doubled walled wheels, this new addition to your road cycling arsenal is sure to take you to the next level.

Can road bikes be used on other terrains?

Whilst ‘road’ is in their name, they can totally be used off road too. What you’ll want in a road bike which can off-road too is the ability to equip it with chunkier tyres, and also some larger gears.

Adjusting your road bike to better suit terrain that is a bit looser can really spice up your rides and commutes. Making the required change to a road bike, or buying one specially made for both road and gravel will mean you can go faster than a mountain bike on road, and go off road.

How much should I be willing to spend?

It can cost £450 and upwards to get a good road bike that could last you quite a while. You can also invest in better parts as time progresses too, meaning that your bike can develop with you on your road bike journey.

We have a wide variety to suit all budgets, and our dedicated staff in store can help you in making the right decision too.

Are woman’s road bikes much different?

Apart from the obvious size difference, there are a few alterations between a men’s and woman’s road bike. From the saddle being better equipped to seat a woman, to a narrower handlebar, these small adjustments can really make a difference in the quality of ride.

However, this doesn’t mean a woman must have a woman’s bike. Whatever is most comfortable is what you should go for, and there is always the ability to customise your bike for the best experience possible.

How can we help you today?

After reading our guide on road bikes, we hope now that you know what to look out for on the most important components on a road bike. With all this knowledge, you’ll now confidently know what you want out of a road bike, and just how much you’re willing to spend.

If you’d like some extra help in deciding what road bike would be best for you, then feel free to come down to one of our 23 stores throughout the midlands and south of England. Our staff will happily help you pick out a brand-new road bike, ready for you to start riding on straight away, or take a look at our selection of road bikes online.