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Bikes Buying Guide Components News Road Road Bikes

Road Bike Guide

If you picture a road bike you are probably thinking of sleek, expensive and fast bikes that are ridden by lycra-clad pro’s and ridden in famous races like the Tour de France. You might also be thinking that this is not exactly the type of riding you wanted to do, fear not, the once limited options available to you have increased tenfold. The market has divided into subcategories and there are now a variety of ‘road’ bikes that suit every cyclist needs, a road bike is not simply a road bike these days. 

So, with all these variations and bike jargon, how do you know what road bike is right for you? Below we’ve listed the many different styles of road bikes now available and what that means for you.

First, here is a quick list on what typically sets road bikes apart from commuting, touring, mountain and hybrid bikes. 

  1. A lightweight frame, wheels and components.
  2. A drop (curled) handlebar, though some have a flat bar like a mountain bike.
  3. Narrow wheels and tyres.
  4. A composite (carbon fibre) front fork.
  5. No front or rear suspension.
  6. Men’s and women’s styles and a wide range of sizes.

The first thing to decide is what type of riding you want to do. Are you aiming to race? Do you want to tour? Will you be seeking out back roads and rough trails? At the end of the day, virtually any road bike can be ridden on any bit of road, but depending on what you want to do most of the time might mean that a particular style of a road bike would be more suitable than another. Let’s have a look at a few:

Endurance/Sportive Bikes

Endurance road bikes, otherwise known as sportive bikes, are designed with comfort in mind. The relaxed geometry is aimed at keeping the legs fresh and the posterior pain-free. This makes for a friendlier introduction to road riding if you are new to the activity. Endurance road bikes also tend to be designed to have a little more ‘give’ in the frame, without sacrificing much efficiency, this ‘give’ helps absorb the lumps and bumps of the British roads, keeping the vibrations in the bike and out of the bones.

The 9 Best Endurance Road Bikes in 2020

Several features of an endurance bike’s geometry should make it comfortable for riding long distance over bumpy terrain. Mainly being a taller head tube and slightly shorter top tube, this means you’ll be riding in a more upright position. The less stretched out you are, the less likely you are to suffer from neck and backache. 

Comfort, however, is not everything. You still want a bike that can respond and give a fast and exciting ride when you want to put the power through the pedals. You may not be hitting all the KOM’s or beating any land speed records, but rest assured, manufacturers will have balanced out comfort and speed capabilities, so you get the best of both worlds.

Performance Bikes

Where the Endurance road bikes are designed for comfort, the Performance road racing bikes are designed for speed, above all else. They are ideal race machines with geometries that allow for more aerodynamic body positions, the most dynamic handling, and punchier accelerations. Praised by professional riders and the most dedicated athletes, these bikes are most at home scaling formidable climbs, hurtling down steep descents, or attacking (this means catching and overtaking, not physically attacking) the group of riders ahead of you.

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Performance road bikes will possibly sacrifice some strength for even less weight (making it even less suitable for rough surfaces). On top of this, the geometry may be borderline uncomfortable for people just starting to get into cycling. However, for an experienced rider, this reduction in weight and more aggressive geometry can increase performance. For a rider who does race, or values speed above all else and is willing to put the training in to become better, the Racer is ideal.

Gravel Bikes

In the past year or so there has been a rise in popularity of riding extreme distances over mixed terrain, in races such as the Trans-Continental, for pleasure under the term bike-packing and in the exploits of one Lachlan Morton and co, in Rapha’s EF Gone Racing films. This has led to gravel type bikes being designed by the majority of big bike brands to excel in this type of riding, focusing on providing comfort and efficiency over long distances, and versatility.

2020 GT Grade reshapes, widens groundbreaking adventure-ready ...

The riding position is relaxed and features stable handling, while the frame will often feature mounts for various accessories like racks and panniers. The components on these bikes are also designed with more strength in mind and can handle some light off-road riding (single tracks, bridleways and forest tracks) thanks to thicker set tyres. Some riders opt for tubeless set-ups as they offer a number of benefits for gravel riding. The most advantageous being able to run lower pressures without risking pinch flats improving ride comfort and traction.

The biggest advantage of riding a gravel bike is the absolute freedom you have at your toe tips. Suddenly, road sections aren’t the same draining drags that they can be on a mountain bike. The off-road sections won’t jolt you into the chiropractors waiting room when you do hit the dirt. This new-found freedom will have you pouring over online mapping apps such as Komoot, creating that new perfect route that you’d probably never ride on a mountain bike, definitely wouldn’t on a road bike but are perfect for a gravel bike. This bike is ideal for the adventurer, someone who wants to explore roads and everything in between it.

Groupsets

So, you’ve decided what type of road bikes suits the style of riding you want to do. You’re scrolling through the different brands, reading the descriptions and spec sheet and most of it’s making sense, except one little thing…the groupset. If the word is alien to you, worry not,  a road bike’s groupset refers to any mechanical or electronic parts that are involved in braking, changing gear, or the running of the drivetrain. That means the shifters, brake levers, front and rear brake callipers, front and rear derailleurs, crankset, bottom bracket, chain, and cassette.

There are three main manufacturers of groupsets and bike components. Shimano is the largest and best known, while the other two of the “big three” are Campagnolo and SRAM. All three manufacturers offer a range of groupsets at competing for price points.

Bike Groupset Guide | Wheelies

Shimano Road Bike Groupsets

Shimano is synonymous with road cycling, producing and introducing some of the most fundamental technologies in cycling today. 

Shimano’s road groupsets range from Claris (R2000) as the entry-level road-specific groupset, all the way to the professional Dura-Ace (R9100). The 11-speed options begin with 105 (5800), which offers most of the top-level performance at a more wallet-friendly price point, and even the 10-speed Tiagra (4700) is a solid option for the enthusiast cyclists. For near top performance with a small weight gain is the Ultegra (R8000) groupset, following closely to the recently updated Dura-Ace (R9100), and sharing much in terms of design and technology.

All Shimano groupsets come with their own rim brakes, and from Tiagra upwards, are available with disc brake options. These hydraulic disc brakes provide greater stopping power in any weather conditions (especially wet) compared to rim brakes.

SRAM Road Bike Groupsets

Rather than using two shifter arms for each hand to control the gears, SRAM’s DoubleTap® uses a single-arm under the brake lever to shift. To choose a higher gear in the rear, a short push is needed (one tap) is needed, while for a lower gear you need to push the shifter arms further, which actuates the second tap, shifting into a lower gear. This is revered for the front gears.

SRAM offers all but their RED® groupsets in both 1x and 2x variants. This is to cater to hybrid bikes, gravel and adventure, and cyclocross race bikes that prefer a simpler 1x setup. SRAM is the only of the three big groupset manufacturers to offer three different kinds of braking options: cable-operated rim brakes, hydraulic rim brakes and hydraulic disc brakes.

Campagnolo Road Bike Groupsets

Campagnolo road groupsets combine style and performance with a long history of road racing. As Campagnolo is very much a racing focused brand they don’t offer a budget level groupset. Rather, they begin in the middle, at the level where riders are looking for race capable components. Campagnolo is a heart over head brand, that has passion running through the core of their components.

All Campagnolo groupsets now come in 2×11 speed setups with the recent reintroduction of their entry-level Centaur groupset. Above Centaur is the Potenza groupset, followed by the Chorus groupset, which offers high-quality materials like titanium and carbon for weight savings, strength and precision performance.

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Bikes Commuting Hybrid Bikes News Road Bikes Safety Training

Exercise Bikes under £1000

The new regulations imposed by Boris Johnson mean that we are no longer able to enjoy the great outdoors as freely as we’d like. We are limited to leave our homes for reasons deemed a ‘necessity’. This includes shopping for food and medicines, work, helping a vulnerable person and once a day for exercise. As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, cycling is mentioned as a permitted exercise and while the details are slightly hazy, cycling is what you should do. The distance or time isn’t specified, however, common sense should dictate your rides. Stay safe, on your own, on routes you know and with all the necessary tools and with the knowledge of how to use them.

Image result for locked inside coronavirus cyclist

France and Spain had similar restrictions in place, unfortunately, cyclists flouted them, riding in groups and long distances. The government came down hard and banned all cycling due to a few unruly riders, with roaming police, strict fines and potential prison sentences to deter anyone from breaking the rules. Let’s not get ourselves into the same position by respecting the regulations and behave responsibly.

Image result for locked inside coronavirus cyclist
Scenes in Italy with police stopping cyclists

In the meantime, do the most to enjoy riding a bike. The sun is out and no one is in a hurry. Head out into the fresh air and take some deep breaths and enjoy the feeling of your legs spinning, the lack of cars and slightly eerie quietness in the streets. If you’re currently bikeless and feeling the urge to get one, there are some great bikes out there for under £1000 and options to finance them over a selected period of time, to alleviate any financial strain. Hargroves have picked a few of our favourite bikes for under £1000 and listed them below:

2020 Specialized Sirrus X 3.0 Hybrid Bike

Available in pink and black the Sirrus X is your ticket to riding more and to places you never imagined possible. It’s a comfortable, capable “let’s do stuff” kind of bike that will inspire you to ride more than you ever have before. With bigger confidence-inspiring tires, a slightly more upright riding position, a super intuitive one-by drivetrain and plenty of mounts for racks and fenders it’s more than just a solid partner on the pavement. Specialized also equipped every Sirrus X with next-level comfort from their scientifically tested and ergonomically engineered shared platform body geometry saddle, handgrips and pedals. Here’s to your new life on two wheels. At £699 and finance options as low £19.40 a month it’s a deal that’s hard to pass.

2020 Cannondale Althea 3 Women’s Hybrid Bike

With its low-standover, mountain-bike-inspired frame, its 700c knobby tires and 50mm suspension fork, the Althea can take you from pavement to dirt, to gravel and back…with a smile on your face. It’s comfortable, popular and looks good. The women’s frame design matches the ruggedness of a mountain bike with the speed of 700c wheels. Super low standover means easy mounting and dismounting. The women’s specific geometry of the Althea delivers the speed and agility of a city bike, with the stability and heads-up comfort of a mountain bike. Currently, with 15% off at £509.99 and finance options available at £14.15 a month, it’s time to snap up the Althea and get the most enjoyment out of your ride.

2020 Ridgeback Avenida 6

The Avenida 6 was built around comfort, with its classic step-through frame design and upright riding position coupled with the swept-back bar and suspension seat post the Avenida 6 puts you in the perfect position to ride all day and step off feeling just as fresh as when you stepped on. Fully equipped with full-length mudguards and rear pannier rack as standard it is more than capable of tackling the morning commute or the daily ride and equipped with 6 speed Shimano gearing means it can handle any route you choose. Available at £449.99 and finance options starting at £12.49 a month.

2020 Cannondale Topstone Sora Mens Gravel Bike

A personal favourite of mine, the Cannondale Topstone, is a capable, versatile gravel road bike. Built for chasing horizons, exploring routes less travelled or accelerating your commute. Its lightweight aluminium frame uses Cannondale’s SmartForm tubing to save weight and engineer comfort, increasingly important on long and off-road rides. Wide tyre clearance allows 700 x 37c tyres to come as standard, which really blurs the lines between on and off-road with their fast-rolling tread yet high volume providing plenty of comforts. Disc brakes, internal cable routing and multiple mounting points for luggage and you’ve got a seriously capable bike on your hands. At £949.99 you get some real value for money and the finance starts as low as £26.36.

2020 Cube Aim Race Hardtail Mountain Bike

If you’re looking for something a bit more fun, look no further than the Cube Aim Race Hardtail. It’s cheap, cheerful and with plenty of play, it’ll keep a smile on your face the entire time you’re on it. Whether you plan to zip around the block, delve into the local park or even a quick single track lap round the local woods this well-equipped, easy-to-handle and reliable trail companion won’t let you down. At £499.99 and starting at £14.95 a month finance you’re not going to find more bang for your buck.

Regardless of what you choose, what’s important is keeping safe, riding responsibly and being careful, but get your exercise in 🙂

To see more great value bikes please visit https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/bikes/hybrid-bikes/instock?maxprice=700

Stay safe out there everyone

Hargroves

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide News Road Bikes

Best Road Bikes For Commuting

For a daily feel-good factor, look no further than bike commuting – it’s great for getting fit, saving money and being green, too. Your commuter bike needs a combination of key traits: efficiency and comfort for making light work of the journey, resilience for all-weather performance, and upgradeability, with components that you can easily maintain, and update to better-performing replacements when you’ve racked up the distance.

While the more tarmac-friendly of the flat-handlebarred hybrid bikes make popular commuter options thanks to their terrain versatility, luggage practicality and upright comfort, dedicated road bikes are an increasingly popular option for the work-run. Their skinny wheels, lightweight frames and a racier geometry (drop handlebars encourage a lower, more efficient position) make for speedy rides and what’s more – they can double up as your weekend club run bike, too.

Road bikes come in a range of materials, with varying advantages for commuting. Carbon fibre is the lightest, while steel is ultra-durable, but heavier too. With aluminium, many find their perfect happy medium thanks to its light weight and durability, and importantly, its cost accessibility.

There’s also a range of price tags, which correlate to the materials used and the specification of the components, and while here we’ve featured some of the more popular models at around £800 to £1,000 – which also qualify for the government’s Cycle Scheme – it’s worth a search across the Hargroves Cycles site for options outside of that price bracket.

The Specialized Men’s Diverge E5 Sport, £1,000, is an aluminium-framed road bike with a FACT carbon fork and a tough 12×100 thru axle, ready for year-round riding – and just as capable of tackling off-road as it is tarmac. Its mechanical disc brakes provide all-weather stopping confidence and its clearance comfortably fits up to 42mm tyres unlike road bikes built for racing – which usually max out at 28mm.

Diverge e5 Sport

Its Shimano Sora components are reliable and, for 2018, Specialized has taken its well-received Future Shock suspension technology, serving up 20mm of travel in the head tube, and adapted it for off-road use with a stiffer spring. This makes for a smoother ride which, when twinned with endurance geometry (a bottom bracket that’s over a half-centimetre lower than the previous version, slacked-out head tube angle, short chainstays, and a short wheelbase) adds up to more comfort on your daily ride. There’s also a Women’s specific version.

SPEEDY COMMUTES
If you’re looking for a commuter that can double up as your club run, sportive or race bike, Specialized also offer a beautifully-finished aluminium commuter with a FACT carbon fork (tapered, with eyelets and an easy-to-use QR skewer) for just £799. Their Allez Sport Road Bike serves up a stiff frame with a slick finish, and fast-rolling yet wide enough 25mm tyres.

Allez e5 Sport.

As with the Diverge, components are Shimano Sora, and the wheels are robust enough to see you through the winter months. The Allez’s double chainring and 9-speed cassette provides a good ratio range, but if you want more help on the hills, consider a wider set of gears.

The Ridley X-Bow 10 Disc, £899 provides exactly this with its 22-speed Shimano 105 groupset, a popular choice for high performance on a budget. Its 105 components deliver sharp shifting and a reliability that’s all-weather capable – in fact, designed for cyclocross, this is a bike ready for whatever your commute throws at it. It’s got enough clearance for wider 32c tyres for comfort and grip, mechanical disc brakes for confidence when conditions get really rough, and it’s race-ready if you fancy trying your hand at CX.

While £1,000 and under will provide you with a fantastic commuter bike, we’ve got a range of options to suit higher budgets; delivering even better performance through higher spec groupsets, lightweight carbon frames and speedy wheels to make your commutes even more enjoyable.

With the right bike on your side, once you’re set up with the winter clothing for your daily commute – nothing will spoil your fun.

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide News Road Bikes

Best​ ​Road​ ​Bikes​ ​Under​ ​£1,500

Buying​ ​a​ ​road​ ​bike​ ​is​ ​buying​ ​your​ ​way​ ​into​ ​a​ ​world​ ​of​ ​cycling​ ​variety.​ ​Bicycles​ ​built​ ​for​ ​tarmac​ ​share  certain​ ​traits;​ ​their​ ​light​ ​frames,​ ​skinny​ ​wheels​ ​and​ ​drop​ ​handlebars​ ​make​ ​easier​ ​work​ ​of​ ​many​ ​types​ ​of  riding​ ​–​ ​from​ ​long​ ​distance​ ​hilly​ ​adventures​ ​to​ ​fast,​ ​flat​ ​racing​ ​to​ ​urban​ ​commutes​ ​and​ ​more.​ ​But​ ​what  should​ ​you​ ​look​ ​for​ ​when​ ​buying​ ​a​ ​road​ ​bike​ ​at​ ​around​ ​£1,000​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​ ​£1,500​ ​mark?​ ​At​ ​Hargroves  Cycles​ ​we​ ​consider​ ​it​ ​our​ ​job​ ​to​ ​help​ ​you​ ​understand​ ​how​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​the​ ​best​ ​bike​ ​for​ ​you​ ​–​ ​and​ ​here’s  our​ ​guide​ ​to​ ​sub-£1.5k​ ​road​ ​bikes.

At​ ​its​ ​heart​ ​is​ ​the​ ​frame,​ ​which​ ​can​ ​be​ ​made​ ​from​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​materials.​ ​For​ ​pure​ ​speed,​ ​carbon​ ​fibre​ ​is  high​ ​on​ ​the​ ​wish​ ​list,​ ​while​ ​steel​ ​or​ ​titanium​ ​are​ ​your​ ​allies​ ​for​ ​comfort​ ​and​ ​durability​ ​over​ ​big​ ​distances.  For​ ​a​ ​first​ ​road​ ​bike​ ​on​ ​this​ ​budget,​ ​alloy​ ​will​ ​serve​ ​you​ ​perfectly​ ​as​ ​the​ ​ideal​ ​all-rounder.

Alloy​ ​bikes​ ​are​ ​either​ ​made​ ​from​ ​pure​ ​aluminium​ ​– which​ ​itself​ ​comes​ ​in​ ​different​ ​grades​ ​–​ ​or​ ​from  aluminium​ ​combined​ ​with​ ​other​ ​metals​ ​to​ ​affect​ ​its​ ​overall​ ​properties.​ ​These​ ​nuances​ ​notwithstanding,  aluminum’s​ ​combination​ ​of​ ​lightness,​ ​strength​ ​and​ ​weather​ ​resistance​ ​make​ ​it​ ​quick​ ​enough​ ​for​ ​racing,  comfortable​ ​enough​ ​for​ ​ultra​ ​adventures​ ​and​ ​durable​ ​enough​ ​for​ ​commutes;​ ​a​ ​fantastic​ ​choice​ ​that​ ​is  further​ ​bolstered​ ​by​ ​its​ ​price​ ​accessibility.​ ​Alu​ ​frames​ ​are​ ​sometimes​ ​paired​ ​with​ ​a​ ​carbon​ ​fork​ ​set​ ​for  the​ ​‘best​ ​of​ ​both​ ​worlds’​ ​in​ ​terms​ ​of​ ​materials​ ​but​ ​without​ ​stretching​ ​budgets​ ​to​ ​full​ ​carbon  frame-and-fork.

YOU​ ​GET​ ​A​ ​LOT​ ​FOR​ ​A​ ​GRAND! 

The​ ​Cube​ ​Attain​ ​SL​ £999,​ ​is​ ​a​ ​lightweight,​ ​alloy-framed​ ​road​ ​bike​ ​that’s​ ​built​ ​for speed.

Cube Attain SL

As​ ​with​ ​some​ ​others​ ​in​ ​its​ ​class​ ​this​ ​aluminium​ ​frame​ ​is​ ​matched​ ​to​ ​a​ ​carbon-bladed​ ​fork​ ​for​ ​a​ ​winning  combination​ ​of​ ​comfort,​ ​control​ ​and​ ​weight-saving.​ ​Its​ ​2×11​ ​105​ ​groupset​ ​is​ ​Shimano’s​ ​first​ ​performance  option,​ ​which​ ​works​ ​in​ ​harmony​ ​with​ ​smooth​ ​tube​ ​joints​ ​and​ ​a​ ​tapered​ ​headtube​ ​for​ ​aerodynamics.​ ​Its  fast-rolling​ ​Mavic​ ​Aksium​ ​wheelset​ ​and​ ​vibration-dampening​ ​forks​ ​combine​ ​to​ ​make​ ​this​ ​an​ ​entry-level  option​ ​that’s​ ​quick​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​up​ ​with​ ​the​ ​pack​ ​but​ ​comfortable​ ​enough​ ​for​ ​longer​ ​rides,​ ​be​ ​that  leisure​ ​or​ ​training​ ​sessions.

Remember,​ ​bikes​ ​costing​ ​less​ ​than​ ​£1,000​ ​also​ ​qualify​ ​for​ ​the​ ​government’s​ ​tax-efficient​ ​Cycle​ ​Scheme ​–​ ​a​ ​good-value​ ​way​ ​to​ ​buy​ ​a​ ​bike.

Specialized’s​ ​sub-£1k​ ​contender​ ​–​ ​the​ ​£999​ ​Allez​ ​Elite ​–​ ​is​ ​a​ ​well-loved​ ​model​ ​that’s  stood​ ​the​ ​test​ ​of​ ​time;​ ​in​ ​fact​ ​it’s​ ​seen​ ​almost​ ​40​ ​years​ ​of​ ​evolution​ ​culminating​ ​in​ ​the​ ​current​ ​model.  This​ ​best-seller​ ​has​ ​tweaked​ ​its​ ​geometry​ ​for​ ​2018,​ ​making​ ​it​ ​slightly​ ​less​ ​aggressive​ ​and​ ​more​ ​relaxed  for​ ​anyone​ ​venturing​ ​into​ ​road​ ​cycling.​ ​Another​ ​alu​ ​frame​ ​and​ ​carbon​ ​fork​ ​set-up,​ ​the​ ​comfort​ ​this  serves​ ​up​ ​would​ ​make​ ​this​ ​a​ ​perfect​ ​commuter​ ​bike;​ ​there’s​ ​enough​ ​room​ ​for​ ​wider​ ​28mm​ ​tyres​ ​and  mounts​ ​for​ ​mudguards​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​you,​ ​and​ ​your​ ​fellow​ ​riders​ ​(be​ ​that​ ​club​ ​mates,​ ​family​ ​members​ ​or  fellow​ ​commuters)​ ​clean​ ​all​ ​year​ ​round.

Specialized Allez Elite

For​ ​a​ ​racier​ ​geometry​ ​with​ ​a​ ​longer​ ​top​ ​tube​ ​and​ ​shorter​ ​head​ ​tube,​ ​Cannondale​ ​makes​ ​a​ ​road​ ​bike  that​ ​blends​ ​affordability​ ​with​ ​long​ ​lasting​ ​quality.​ ​Their​ ​CAAD​ ​series​ ​has​ ​earned​ ​the​ ​brand​ ​a​ ​solid  reputation​ ​for​ ​well-crafted​ ​frames​ ​built​ ​with​ ​quality​ ​components.​ ​The​ ​CAAD​ ​12​ ​frame​ ​is​ ​made​ ​of​ ​light,  stiff​ ​and​ ​smooth​ ​alloy​ ​that​ ​incorporates​ ​‘SAVE’​ ​technology,​ ​providing​ ​micro​ ​suspension​ ​to​ ​smooth​ ​out  vibrations​ ​for​ ​comfort​ ​in​ ​the​ ​saddle,​ ​twinned​ ​with​ ​a​ ​lightweight​ ​buzz-absorbing​ ​full​ ​carbon​ ​fork.​ ​Choose  from​ ​the​ ​quality​ ​CAAD​ ​12​ ​Tiagra ​version​ ​for​ ​£1,099​ ​or​ ​step​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​CAAD​ ​12​ ​105 ​for​ ​£1,399​ ​with​ ​benefits​ ​that​ ​include​ ​the​ ​racier​ ​performance​ ​groupset.

Cannondale CAAD 12 105

MOVING​ ​ON​ ​UP

If​ ​year-round​ ​commutes​ ​or​ ​club​ ​runs​ ​are​ ​in​ ​your​ ​plans,​ ​consider​ ​a​ ​hydraulic​ ​disc​ ​brake​ ​version​ ​for  better​ ​wet​ ​weather​ ​performance,​ ​which​ ​in​ ​turn​ ​helps​ ​with​ ​confidence.​ ​The​ Cube​ ​Alloy​ ​Attain​ ​SL​ ​Disc,  £1,299​ ​is​ ​built​ ​with​ ​all​ ​the​ ​quality​ ​performance​ ​of​ ​its​ ​caliper​ ​counterpart,​ ​while​ ​its  160mm​ ​Shimano​ ​discs​ ​front​ ​and​ ​rear​ ​provide​ ​the​ ​most​ ​powerful​ ​braking​ ​option,​ ​and​ ​are​ ​paired​ ​to​ ​a​ ​105  groupset​ ​and​ ​Mavic​ ​Aksium​ ​wheels.

Cube Attain SL Disc

And​ ​if​ ​you’re​ ​dreaming​ ​of​ ​carbon,​ ​at​ ​Hargroves​ ​we​ ​have​ ​some​ ​great​ ​road​ ​bikes​ ​sneaking​ ​in​ ​under​ ​the  £1,500​ ​mark.​ ​The​ ​Cube​ ​Attain​ ​GTC​ Pro​ ​is​ ​a​ ​fantastic​ ​featherweight​ ​carbon​ ​frame​ ​combined  with​ ​the​ ​performance​ ​quality​ ​of​ ​105​ ​components​ ​and​ ​Aksium​ ​wheels.​ ​While​ ​the​ ​Cube​ ​Attain​ ​is​ ​a​ ​great  all-rounder​ ​for​ ​performance​ ​and​ ​lightness,​ ​carbon​ ​bikes​ ​at​ ​entry​ ​level​ ​prices​ ​sometimes​ ​combine​ ​light  frames​ ​matched​ ​with​ ​more​ ​basic​ ​components.

Cube Attain GTC Pro

And​ ​if​ ​you​ ​do​ ​find​ ​yourself​ ​with​ ​a​ ​bigger​ ​budget,​ ​read​ ​here​ ​​to​ ​discover​ ​what​ ​treats  await​ ​in​ ​the​ ​£2-2.5k​ ​bracket.

Choosing​ ​a​ ​good​ ​carbon​ ​frame​ ​with​ ​heavier​ ​parts​ ​is​ ​a​ ​perfectly​ ​good​ ​investment,​ ​as​ ​you​ ​may​ ​want​ ​to  upgrade​ ​parts​ ​later​ ​to​ ​decrease​ ​the​ ​weight​ ​and​ ​improve​ ​the​ ​speed​ ​of​ ​your​ ​overall​ ​build.​ ​Whichever bike​ ​you​ ​choose,​ ​wheels​​ ​are​ ​a​ ​fantastic​ ​place​ ​to​ ​start​ ​your​ ​upgrade,​ ​as​ ​they​ ​can  dramatically​ ​improve​ ​your​ ​bike’s​ ​overall​ ​weight.

Categories
Buying Guide News Road Bikes

Road​ ​Race:​ ​How​ ​to​ ​Choose​ ​a​ ​Road​ ​Bike​ ​for​ ​Racing​ ​Success 

With​ ​drop​ ​handlebars​ ​and​ ​skinny​ ​wheels,​ ​road​ ​bikes​ ​are​ ​already​ ​built​ ​for​ ​speed.​ ​But​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to racing,​ ​not​ ​just​ ​any​ ​road​ ​bike​ ​will​ ​do.​ ​At​ ​Hargroves​ ​Cycles​ ​we’re​ ​here​ ​to​ ​help​ ​you​ ​work​ ​out​ ​what’s​ ​best  for​ ​you.

Road​ ​bike​ ​racing​ ​is​ ​becoming​ ​increasingly​ ​accessible​ ​across​ ​all​ ​levels.​ ​British​ ​Cycling​ ​offer​ ​coached sessions​ ​to​ ​help​ ​you​ ​get​ ​started;​ ​and​ ​if​ ​you’re​ ​already​ ​stuck​ ​in​ ​and​ ​progressing​ ​through​ ​the​ ​ranks,​ ​there are​ ​more​ ​races​ ​than​ ​ever​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​from.​ ​Whatever​ ​stage​ ​you’re​ ​at,​ ​a​ ​machine​ ​built​ ​for​ ​purpose​ ​will  help​ ​to​ ​reveal​ ​your​ ​maximum​ ​potential.​ ​Race-specific​ ​bikes​ ​look​ ​similar​ ​to​ ​more​ ​generalist​ ​road​ ​bikes, but​ ​with​ ​relatively​ ​aggressive​ ​geometry​ ​and​ ​aerodynamically​ ​shaped​ ​tubes.

MATERIAL​ ​WORLD

First​ ​up,​ ​you​ ​need​ ​a​ ​fast​ ​and​ ​efficient​ ​frame​ ​to​ ​get​ ​ahead​ ​in​ ​the​ ​pack,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​most​ ​obvious​ ​variable​ ​is  weight.​ ​Aluminium​ ​frames​ ​are​ ​light,​ ​and​ ​with​ ​high-grade​ ​alloy-framed​ ​models​ ​with​ ​decent​ ​spec available​ ​under​ £1,500, ​a​ ​great​ ​choice​ ​for​ ​racing​ ​on​ ​a​ ​budget.

Carbon​ ​fibre​ ​frames​ ​hold​ ​the​ ​edge​ ​over​ ​alloy​ ​in​ ​terms​ ​of​ ​lightness,​ ​and​ ​they’re​ ​stiffer​ ​too,​ ​generally  delivering​ ​better​ ​power​ ​transfer,​ ​important​ ​for​ ​efficiency,​ ​speed​ ​and​ ​minimising​ ​unnecessary​ ​fatigue, and​ ​vital​ ​for​ ​performance​ ​when​ ​attacking​ ​and​ ​sprinting.​ ​Carbon​ ​also​ ​generally​ ​offers​ ​greater​ ​comfort​ ​by absorbing​ ​more​ ​road​ ​vibration,​ ​so​ ​–​ ​if​ ​you​ ​opt​ ​for​ ​alloy,​ ​your​ ​fork​ ​should​ ​be​ ​carbon​ ​at​ ​a​ ​minimum​ ​to  stay​ ​smooth,​ ​as​ ​found​ ​on​ ​the​ ​£1,399​ ​alloy​ ​Cannondale​ ​CAAD12.

The​ ​CAAD12’s​ ​quality​ ​alloy​ ​frame​ ​even​ ​rivals​ ​some​ ​carbon​ ​competitors​ ​in​ ​its​ ​lightness​ ​and​ ​stiffness. And,​ ​packing​ ​a​ ​Shimano​ ​105​ ​groupset​ ​and​ ​a​ ​Mavic​ ​Aksium​ ​wheelset,​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​perfect​ ​starter​ ​race​ ​bike. We have​ ​highlighted​ the​ ​cantilever​ ​rim​ ​brake​ ​version,​ ​but​ ​most​ ​now​ ​have  disc​ ​brake​ ​options​ ​which​ ​we​ ​also​ ​stock​ ​at​ ​Hargroves.

When​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​maximising​ ​comfort,​ ​the​ ​carbon​ ​Cube​ ​Agree​ ​C:62​ ​Pro​,​ ​£2,099,​ ​is​ ​an endurance​ ​race​ ​bike,​ ​meaning​ ​it’s​ ​built​ ​to​ ​go​ ​fast​ ​–​ ​while​ ​serving​ ​up​ ​comfort​ ​over​ ​long​ ​stints​ ​in​ ​the  saddle.​ ​The​ ​tapered​ ​head​ ​tube​ ​and​ ​integrated​ ​seat​ ​clamp​ ​encourage​ ​aerodynamics,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​frame​ ​is Di2​ ​ready,​ ​so​ ​if​ ​you​ ​want,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​upgrade​ ​to​ ​electronic​ ​gears​ ​later.​ ​With​ ​excellent Shimano​ ​Ultegra​ ​components,​ ​including​ ​Ultegra​ ​rim​ ​brakes,​ ​and​ ​an​ ​aerodynamic​ ​Mavic​ ​Cosmic​ ​Elite  wheelset​ ​with​ ​bladed-spokes,​ ​this​ ​bike​ ​is​ ​not​ ​just​ ​speedy,​ ​but​ ​built​ ​with​ ​quality​ ​to​ ​stand​ ​the​ ​test​ ​of​ ​time,  too.

GEOMETRY​ ​&​ ​AERODYNAMICS

Of​ ​course,​ ​your​ ​frame​ ​choice​ ​shouldn’t​ ​be​ ​determined​ ​on​ ​materials​ ​alone,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​by​ ​its​ ​shape​ ​and  geometry.​ ​Aero​ ​road​ ​frames​ ​feature​ ​wind-cheating​ ​tapered​ ​tubes​ ​and​ ​rounded,​ ​tear-shaped​ ​contours; typically​ ​adopting​ ​technology​ ​and​ ​techniques​ ​from​ ​their​ ​time​ ​trial​ ​and​ ​triathlon-focused​ ​stablemates.

Cannondale’s​ ​CAAD12​ ​Ultegra​ ​Black​, ​£1,899​ ​screams​ ​serious​ ​race​ ​appeal,​ ​twinning​ ​a  full​ ​Ultegra​ ​groupset​ ​with​ ​an​ ​A1​ ​alloy​ ​frame​ ​that’s​ ​light,​ ​stiff​ ​and​ ​smooth​ ​feel.​ ​The​ ​American​ ​brand’s been​ ​busy​ ​upgrading​ ​the​ ​aerodynamics​ ​on​ ​their​ ​ever-popular​ ​CAAD​ ​–​ ​the​ ​tubes​ ​for​ ​this​ ​year​ ​are  sleeker​ ​than​ ​previous​ ​iterations;​ ​down​ ​and​ ​top​ ​tubes​ ​are​ ​more​ ​flowing,​ ​the​ ​top​ ​tube​ ​flattens​ ​out  towards​ ​the​ ​rear​ ​and​ ​the​ ​carbon​ ​fork​ ​is​ ​slimmer,​ ​improving​ ​compliance​ ​and​ ​comfort.​ ​The​ ​geometry lends​ ​itself​ ​to​ ​an​ ​efficient,​ ​aero​ ​position​ ​while​ ​the​ ​frame​ ​stiffness​ ​responds​ ​well​ ​to​ ​putting​ ​down​ ​the  power.

Cannondale CAAD 12 Ultegra

Its​ ​700C​ ​Mavic​ ​Aksium​ ​wheels​ ​are​ ​popular​ ​for​ ​their​ ​strong,​ ​stiff​ ​and​ ​relative​ ​lightness​ ​at​ ​1880g​ ​for​ ​the pair.​ ​Their​ ​anodized​ ​black​ ​finish​ ​suit​ ​this​ ​stealthy-looking​ ​machine​ ​–​ ​it’s​ ​got​ ​way​ ​more​ ​bang​ ​than​ ​it​ ​asks for​ ​in​ ​buck.

To​ ​achieve​ ​speed​ ​on​ ​a​ ​wider​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​budgets,​ Specialized’s​ ​Tarmac​ ​range,​ ​features  signature​ ​arched​ ​top​ ​tubes,​ ​which​ ​flatten​ ​towards​ ​the​ ​seat​ ​tube.​ ​The​ ​Sport​ ​version offers​ ​a​ ​carbon​ ​frame​ ​and​ ​Shimano​ ​105​ ​groupset​ ​for​ ​£1,750,​ ​while​ ​a​ ​step​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Specialized​ ​Tarmac Comp​ £2,600,​ ​delivers​ ​Shimano​ ​Ultegra,​ ​an​ ​aggressive​ ​16cm​ ​head​ ​tube​ ​and​ ​excellent  handling​ ​that’s​ ​built​ ​to​ ​succeed.

COMPONENTS​ ​CHOICE

Our​ ​range​ ​features​ ​groupsets​ ​from​ ​all​ ​the​ ​leading​ ​manufacturers​ ​who​ ​offer​ ​race-quality​ ​parts​ ​at accessible​ ​price​ ​points.​ ​Shimano’s​ ​performance​ ​groupset​ ​is​ ​considered​ ​to​ ​start​ ​at​ ​105,​ ​while​ ​SRAM’s Rival​ ​is​ ​their​ ​ready-to-race​ ​option.​ ​Electronic​ ​gears​ ​(Shimano​ ​Di2,​ ​SRAM​ ​eTap,​ ​Campagnolo​ ​EPS​ ​and  the​ ​emerging​ ​FSA​ ​K-Force​ ​WE)​ ​are​ ​UCI​ ​legal,​ ​and,​ ​as​ ​long​ ​as​ ​you​ ​remember​ ​to​ ​charge​ ​them,​ ​serve​ ​up  superbly​ ​smooth​ ​performance.​ ​These​ ​high​ ​level​ ​groupsets​ ​will​ ​help​ ​your​ ​performance,​ ​but​ ​you​ ​can​ ​still  race​ ​on​ ​more​ ​basic,​ ​but​ ​still​ ​good​ ​quality,​ ​componentry​ ​(e.g.​ ​Shimano​ ​Tiagra​ ​or​ ​SRAM​ ​Apex),​ ​and  heavier​ ​parts​ ​only​ ​serve​ ​to​ ​make​ ​you​ ​stronger.

When it comes to choosing your wheels, deeper rim options perform well for racing because they experience less drag, although it’s worth considering the fact that there is usually a small weight penalty. 30-40mm depth is often considered a good racing compromise, and more experienced racers often have multiple wheelsets to get the best advantage in different conditions.

However​ ​deep,​ ​or​ ​shallow,​ ​your​ ​rims,​ ​you​ ​need​ ​your​ ​wheels​ ​to​ ​be​ ​as​ ​light​ ​and​ ​aerodynamically​ ​efficient  as​ ​possible.​ ​As​ ​with​ ​frames,​ ​alloy​ ​is​ ​a​ ​great​ ​choice​ ​for​ ​wheels​ ​on​ ​a​ ​budget​ ​while​ ​carbon​ ​wins​ ​on​ ​weight  and​ ​power​ ​transfer.​​ ​​​ ​The​ ​great​ ​thing​ ​about​ ​wheels​ ​though,​ ​is​ ​that​ ​you​ ​can​ ​upgrade​ ​them​ ​at​ ​any​ ​time;​ ​so  it’s​ ​a​ ​good​ ​idea​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​on​ ​the​ ​frame​ ​and​ ​groupset​ ​and​ ​follow​ ​up​ ​later​ ​with​ ​a​ ​wheel​ ​upgrade.

At​ ​Hargroves​ ​we​ ​have​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​race​ ​bikes​ ​to​ ​suit​ ​any​ ​budget​ ​and​ ​taste.​ ​When​ ​choosing​ ​your​ ​next​ ​–  or​ ​first​ ​–​ ​race​ ​bike,​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​your​ ​head​ ​rules​ ​your​ ​heart,​ ​but​ ​let​ ​them​ ​both​ ​a​ ​have​ ​a​ ​look​ ​in!

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide News Road Bikes

Tour De France 2017 : Champagne Bikes On A Lemonade Budget

The Tour De France is back on our screens, and boy are we turning green with bike envy.

We’ve seen bikes like Bianchi’s Oltre XR4, Scott’s Foil, Cube’s Litening c:68 SL and Cannondale’s SuperSix Evo Disc over the past week, and let’s be honest… it’s making all of us want to pack our bags and head over to France to see some of the finest bikes the industry has to offer, in all their true glory.

But with some of the Tour De France bikes coming in at an eye-watering £10,000, it’s safe to say that for the majority of us, these are bikes we can only dream of.

But, don’t panic. If you’re feeling inspired to get out on the road and race like the pros, you don’t need a £10k budget to tackle the tarmac…you need to check out our range of ‘Champagne Bikes On A Lemonade Budget’.

We’ve compiled a list of some pretty fierce road bikes so you can get out and about, for a fraction of the price!

Specialized Allez

Specialized Allez e5

Just starting to find your road cycling legs? Combining the rocket-like feeling of a race bike but with versitality, and confident and sturdy handling, the Allez e5 is a great place to start! With reliable Claris shifting, and a FACT carbon fork, this is a pretty durable bike that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come!

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Specialized Allez e5 Elite

Specialized Allez e5 Elite
It’s no secret that we’re still in love with aluminium road bikes, especially when they’re constructed to be lightweight and ultra-stiff, meaning you can make the most out of every bit of energy and power your legs can produce. Climbs, descents and all out sprints? No worries, the Allez e5 Elite has you covered.

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Specialized Allez e5 Sport

Specialized Allez e5 Sport

Versatile, and value packed, the Allez e5 Sport offers stiff alloy construction, Shimano Sora shifting and a carbon fork, meaning you can complete all your rides with confidence.

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Cube Axial WLS

Cube Axial WLS

Extraordinarily light and stiff, the Cube Axial WLS road bike is designed for women who are looking to take on whatever the tarmac has to offer. With it’s high quality aluminium frame, this great value bike is as well prepared for long climbs as it is fast sprints.

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Cube Attain

Cube Attain

Silent freewheeling, competitive drafting and speed…what more could you want from a road bike? The Cube Attain was created to go faster, higher and further. With exceptional steering precision, and a new standard of comfort, you’ll be racing like the pro’s in no time.

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