With the huge focus on cycling in the past few years, and more and more people getting into the sport it can be confusing to navigate the various buzzwords that come with the sport. What’s the difference between a cyclocross and a performance road bike? Who knew there was more than one type of road bike?! Which bikes are better for commuting, hybrid or a road? Don’t worry we have put together this handy guide to help you pick and choose the right one. So if you want to know your TT bikes from your touring bikes grab a pen and some paper and let’s get to it!
Performance Road Bikes
First up, the performance road bikes, these bikes are generally very sleek and made to be as light as possible. These fellas are made to go fast and get that one up on your opponent. The performance road bike frames can be made from the usual bike materials: aluminium, and steel, each giving a different feel for the rider. Whilst the upper echelons of high-end performance bikes will be made from carbon fibre, which reduces the weight of the bike considerably. Stiff frames are common, giving responsive handling that will give you the edge on other riders. Cutting through the air is the name of the game and the position of the rider is an important aspect. With these bikes, the lower front end puts the rider in an aerodynamic position, allowing a faster, smoother ride. If you expect to find yourself competing, get yourself on one of these and get over that finish line.
What we recommend under £1000: Cannondale CAAD Optimo Disc Tiagra – 2017 Road Bike – £949.99 Replacing the old CAAD8, the CAAD Optimo has the same geometry as the more expensive CAAD12, but is made from a lower grade aluminium. Not to put you off, though, this bike has got it where it counts (look at those disc brakes)!
If you want a more relaxed version of a road racer, we have the sportive road bikes. Designed for long distance riding, they accommodate slightly wider tyres, which give far more grip and comfort. Sportive bike frames have been built with more vertical compliance, allowing for a more comfortable ride over extreme terrain such as the world famous Paris-Roubaix. Slightly heavier than a road racer, this bike has it where it counts, with lower gearing helping the rider get up those big hills. If you want to push yourself to go further than before, sportive bikes are the one for you. They are your stead for your endurance rides.
What we recommend under £1000: Cannondale Synapse Disc Tiagra – 2017 Road Bike – £ The Synapse Disc Tiagra is built for versatility, combining a sturdy and lightweight frame allowing you to push yourself up those climbs and take it easy on the descents. This is a perfect entry level road bike.
Cyclo-cross bikes are the tougher, muddier cousin of the road racer. Cyclo-cross is mostly a winter discipline, with riders having to tackle an off-road course, getting extremely muddy and a touch of hurdles. Due to the obstacles on the course, dismounting and carrying their bike over with a quick remount is a common feature of the winter races. With this in mind, the more frequent frame materials are aluminium and carbon, offering a lightweight bike to pick up whilst leaping over a stray fallen log. Cyclo-cross bikes that are used for the race circuits tend to be slightly higher off the ground than road racers, this gives them great mud clearance! These bikes are probably the best if you want to feel that crisp winter air, don’t mind getting a bit dirty and especially if you like jumping over things in your path.
What we recommend under £1000: Ridley X-Bow 20 Disc – 2016 Cyclocross Bike – £649.99 The main workhorse of the Ridley fleet, the X-Bow is ideal for the introduction to Cyclo-cross. Though also a great one for commuting!
The Bear Grylls of the road bikes, the Touring bike is made for the great outdoor adventure. Pack up everything (including the kitchen sink) and leave your daily commute behind. Touring frames are built to last, with wider gaps between tubes allowing for maximum luggage space. With rear racks, mudguards and all sorts of saddlebags, the tyres of a Touring bike are designed to carry all that weight and more! The frame material for touring bikes, generally are made of steel which is easily repairable no matter where you are in the world! Disc brakes are becoming more common, which gives you a fair bit of control in all sorts of weather you will be encountering. This is the bike you take to ride from Barrow, Alaska to Rio Grande, Argentina!What we recommend under £1000: Ridgeback Voyage – 2016 Road Bike – £799.99 This bike is built to carry everything. With a classic look, full-length mudguards and a fitter pannier rack this bike will carry you all the way to Timbuktu.
TT – Time Trial/Triathlon
If you want a bike that is faster than a Lamborghini and is pushing on the speed of light, then you’ll probably have to keep looking. If you’re looking for a bike built to go as fast as possible with the most aerodynamic design, then a TT bike is for you! The majority of these bad boys are made from carbon, leaving no space for anything to weigh them down. All brake and gear cables are routed through the tubes themselves, taking away anything that is going to slow it down. The rider sits low and extended over the bike, with aero bars extending out the front for cutting through the wind. Rounding off the set up is carbon fibre rims, slicing through the air with very little resistance and using up less energy. One to pick up if you’re thinking of breaking some land speed records.
What we recommend just over £1000: Cube Aerium HPA Pro – 2016 TT Bike – £1199.20 Now I know this is over £1000, but really the lower end of the TT bikes generally don’t go below a grand. The Cube Aerium is built for speed, and if you have the need for speed then this is a good place to start! It combines a lightweight frame with an aerodynamic design to cut through the air and push you faster and faster.
Not technically a road bike and not technically a mountain bike either. Hybrid bikes are the Frankenstein monster of cycling world, taking the best bits from the road (the large/light frames and the 700c wheels) and mountain (the flat handlebars and the disc brakes) disciplines and combining them into a smooth, fast commuter’s dream. The frames, mostly made from aluminium, allow a good combination of strength and the advantage of being lightweight (useful for carrying all your work essentials). These are no nonsense bikes; not something you’ll be using in the Tour De France with, but getting you to and from work. The rider sits more upright on a hybrid, with comfort and more importantly safety within traffic in mind.
What we recommend under £1000: Charge Grater 3 – 2016 Hybrid Bike – £679.99 Simple gearing, full length mudguards, and an aluminium frame, the Charge Grater is one of the perfect commuting bikes. Nothing complicated, just get on and ride!