Are you going to buy your first road bike? Well, there are multiple things to consider, especially when you are looking for a budget option.
Road bikes are perfect for commuting, or you can even use them to build stamina if you love biking. But the experience and ride quality of the bike is a big thing to worry about.
Merely searching for the best budget road bikes won't get you the right bike, and that's why we are here with this guide.
In this definitive guide, we have highlighted several factors that you need to look for in a budget road bike. From material to type and gear system, we have covered everything to help you choose the best bike.
Most people don't know the difference between a road bike and a regular bike, and that's why they often get confused when it comes to buying one.
Here are some major differences that make a road bike superior to a regular bike.
With a road bike, you get an athletic riding position. These bikes are designed to reduce the drag caused by the wind so that you can achieve great speeds without much effort.
Also, these bikes help in strengthening your glutes and hamstrings so that you can train your body for a sports event.
Road bikes don't have any suspension system because they are built for smooth roads. Most of the surface of the road bike is the frame, and there are no shock absorbers at all.
The comfort of the bike depends on the foamy seats and the tires.
Road bikes have skinny tires that help in reducing the wind drag due to the streamlined design. The width of these tires is around 23-28mm. You will find some budget road bikes 30mm+ sizes as well.
Budget road bikes are available with flat and curved handlebars. The curled handlebars provide you with multiple riding positions, and you can grab the handlebar firmly in different positions depending on the terrain-type.
Every budget road bike has a gear system, while most recreational bikes don't have them. By using the gears, you can increase the efficiency of every pedal. Gear systems help you ride comfortably for longer.
These features make budget road bikes good for covering longer distances. Also, they are faster too, when compared to recreational bikes.
Buying budget road bikes doesn't mean that you have a handful of options only. There are plenty of options available in the market that you can choose from.
But, choosing the right road bike needs extensive knowledge since there are multiple components attached to it.
Check the below-mentioned factors, and buy the best road bike for your road trip.
The first thing you need to consider is the type of road bike. Budget road bikes are available in a range of options. However, some types can be a little bit pricey if you have a tight budget.
By buying the right type, you get great performance, speed, and ride-quality with the bike.
Endurance road bikes are garnering a lot of popularity because of their stable ride quality and relaxed geometry. You can quickly distinguish an endurance bike from other road bikes by having a look at its upright sitting posture.
These bikes come with different types of brakes, such as disc and V-shape. The bigger tires of these bikes provide the rider with better ground clearance so that you won't bump into something lying on the ground.
If you are looking to ride the budget road bike on a smooth road to compete with your friends, then going with an endurance bike will be a great idea.
One of the best things about these bikes is that they aren't very expensive. Even if you have a strict budget, you can go for a good-quality endurance bike.
Aero road bikes are good for speed due to the streamlined design. The bike cuts through the air, so you can achieve good speeds even without pushing your limits.
You can quickly differentiate an aero road bike from other bikes because of the size of the tires. These bikes generally have bigger tires that are skinny for reduced weight.
Furthermore, the deep rim wheels and the hidden brake systems make these bikes amazing for speeding and racing.
The handlebar lets you maneuver the bike with ease, and you get a straight sitting posture to cover greater distances without feeling the strain.
However, an aero bike can be pricier when compared to other types of budget road bikes. The reason why these are expensive is the design and lightweight material.
Flat-bar road bikes are pretty common these days, as people love to ride them because of the relaxed riding posture. The bike has a long and flat bar that's great for riding for longer distances. However, you get the maneuverability required for cornering.
These bikes are also available with V-shape and disc brakes depending on the model you choose and the amount you put in the bike.
Often termed as all-road bikes, these bikes are perfect for riding on every type of terrain. The frame is highly durable and can withstand bumps easily.
The bike comes with a comfortable seat and bigger wheels to absorb the shocks because there are no suspensions at all.
If you have some plans to take your bike on a road trip, you should go for gravel bikes as you don't know how many difficult terrains are awaiting you.
As you can easily guess what these road bikes are for! These bikes are good for agility and maneuvering. Also, you can transport them with your SUV due to the lightweight.
Usually, these bikes have an aluminum frame because other lightweight materials are expensive and don't fall under the budget road bike category.
It is important to check the material of the frame because the strength of the bike depends on it. When you are buying a budget road bike, there are not so many options to consider because materials like titanium and carbon fiber are expensive.
The frame material options that you get are:
Steel is the common material used to manufacture the frames of road bikes. The reason why most of the budget bikes have a steel frame is because of the price.
Steel is cheaper than aluminum and other materials. However, steel road bikes are heavy, and it can affect your speed and transportation.
Aluminum is highly durable and lightweight that's why it is a preferred choice when it comes to buying a road bike. The material is comparatively cheaper than carbon fiber and has good strength.
If you need a bike for speed and ease of transportation, you should go for road bikes made using aluminum.
Road bike frames made using carbon fiber are highly durable and can absorb the shock without breaking down. But these road bikes don't come at cheap rates. If you have a flexible budget and you don't mind spending more to get a lightweight and durable bike, go for bikes made using carbon fiber.
Understanding frame geometry is critical before buying a budget road bike. When you take a glance at a road bike, it'll look similar to other options available in the market.
But when you understand the frame geometry, you'll be able to point out the differences easily. If you have plans to ride multiple times a week, then go for road bikes with sports geometry.
These bikes give you a straight sitting position, so you don't feel pain in your back while riding. The steering position of these bikes is relaxed and good for people that love riding.
On the other hand, some road bikes have performance geometry, which is ideal for sports events and races. You get an aggressive steering position with improved aerodynamics, which is essential to reduce the drag.
If you need a road bike for day-to-day use, go for bikes with sports geometry. If you want to ride the bike in a triathlon, then you should go for bikes with performance geometry.
Brakes are important to stop the road bike before it bumps into something on the road. Well, the brakes should be powerful enough to stop the bike on the go. There are two types of brake systems available in budget road bikes.
Disc brakes are immensely popular due to their excellent stopping power. There is a round disc attached to both wheels, and there is a metal claw that bites the disc brake to stop the bike.
These brakes use a hydraulic system that supplies the power to the claw, so you don't have to apply the brakes with a lot of pressure. In terms of performance, disc brakes are better.
If you want to ride the bike at a sports event, you should opt for disc brakes. However, there are some downsides to using these brakes as well.
Disc brakes are expensive as compared to rim brakes. Also, they require more maintenance and care. The hydraulic system only works well if it has adequate amounts of fluids required for the smooth functioning of the brake.
Often termed as V-shaped brakes, these are the brakes that you see in recreational bikes. There are two rubber brakes that hold the rim. When you press the brake lever, the rubber brakes stop the rim from moving, and this is how the bike stops.
Rim brakes aren't that effective when compared to disc brakes. However, they are comparatively cheaper and require less maintenance.
One of the biggest differences in terms of performance of both brakes comes out in the wet conditions. Rim brakes aren't that great when the rims are wet because they keep on slipping.
On the other hand, disc brakes work well even when the roads are wet, so you get good stopping power.
Well, most people don't pay attention to components such as the chainring teeth. But it is important to check these elements before buying a road bike.
The chainring teeth impact the performance of the bike, as it is connected to the cogs or the cassette. The lowest gear of the bike, which looks the biggest, should have chainring teeth ranging from 23-28.
Furthermore, the highest hear, which looks the smallest, should have chainring teeth ranging from 11-12 teeth.
There are multiple elements that a road bike wheel comprises. From the rim material to the wheel's size, you should check everything to ensure that the bike you are going to buy is perfect.
The most common materials used to manufacture the rims are carbon fiber and aluminum. Also, have a look at the weight of the wheel.
Generally, budget road bikes have wheels weighing around 900-1500 grams, as they are lightweight.
The crankset is an essential component of a road bike as it's connected to the gears. The crankset is the big round metal part that has the chain wrapped over it and is connected to the pedals.
Budget road bikes are available with double and triple cranksets. Furthermore, people often go with double cranksets because they are comparatively cheaper.
Double cranksets, even known as compact cranksets, have two chainrings. The chainrings come with 10-speed cassettes, and you get a total of 20 gear speeds with the bike.
These cranksets have three chainrings that come attached with a 9-speed cassette that's on the rear. You get a total of 27 gear speeds with these bikes, which is essential to ride the bike in a triathlon.
Compact or double cranksets are common among people because of the budget. If you have a strict budget and need a good road bike, you should go for double cranksets.
The performance of the road bike depends on its gearing. You should check the gear ratios to determine the performance of the road bike.
Most of the budget road bikes are ideal for entry-level users, so they have three or two front chainrings. With lesser chainrings, there are lesser chances of mechanical issues, and you can ride the bike smoothly to anywhere.
In budget road bikes, you get 9-10 cogs only. With a smaller gearbox, you can reduce the drag caused by the winds.
However, you cannot compete with a budget gear bike, so don't worry even if you get a lower gearing system.
Make sure that the bike has a branded gearbox such as Shimano, which is popular across the globe for its durability and reliability.
The size of the bike has a significant impact on performance and comfort. You should buy a bike that's perfect according to your size.
The best thing to determine the size of the bike is by checking the size chart. Most of the popular road bike manufacturers have a size chart that you can go through to understand the sizing.
Always check the tires of the bike to ensure that they are durable. Modern road bikes come with tubeless tires that have better puncture resistance. Some cheap road bikes even come with tubular tires that have a built-in tube.
Determine where you will be using the bikes as tubeless tires are great for outdoors, whereas tubular tires are great for riding within the city.
Never overlook the seat when buying a road bike. The seat of the bike should be comfortable and big enough to accommodate you for hours. Some people go for aerodynamic seats to reduce the drag. However, these seats have a lesser sitting area.
Some bikes even let you replace the seat, and you can get a big and heavy seat if required.
Are you all set to buy a good budget road bike? Excellent, but before you start looking for a road bike, it is important to buy some important accessories with it.
Here are the must-have accessories you should buy with your road bike.
Using protective gear is essential to safeguard yourself from any injuries. The protective gear comprises items such as a helmet, knee and elbow guard, and much more.
With the right biking shoes, you will have a better grip over the pedals. Invest in good quality shoes if you want to ride your road bike comfortably.
With a wind vest, you can reduce the impact of air on your chest. Buy a good quality vest that doesn't restrict your motion when riding the bike.
With a water bottle, you can keep your energy drink or water handy. Just mount the bottle into the bottle holder, and keep riding safely.
The tire repair kit will help you repair the punctures to get going. When going outdoors with your road bike, it is advised to carry a tire repair kit.
Using a chain lube is beneficial for the health of the chain. Keep it lubricated, and the gearbox and other elements of your road bike will work fine.
Installing a bike light on your road bike will let you ride in the dark. Go for powerful Led lights with great illumination.
A: When you buy the right budget road bike according to your size, and requirements expect it to offer you a smooth ride. Some people have a misconception that cheap road bikes are hard to ride. Well, it's nothing like that!
Always buy a road bike following this detailed guide if you don't want to end up with a bike that's actually hard to ride.
A: If you want to take the road bike for off-roading, go for gravel road bikes. These bikes have a flexible frame for improved durability so that you can ride them on any type of terrain.
A: Aero road bikes are good if you want to achieve great speeds. These bikes have an aerodynamic design, which reduces wind drag. However, aero road bikes can be fairly expensive when compared to regular road bikes.
A: The weight of the road bike depends on multiple factors such as the frame material and the size of the bike. As budget road bikes aren't available in a range of materials, so you can choose from steel and aluminum.
If you need a lighter bike that you can transport in your car, go for aluminum or carbon fiber if you can slightly increase your budget.
A: Yes, budget road bikes are fairly durable, and there is no need to worry if the bike will break down while riding. One thing to keep in mind is that always buy a branded road bike so that you get the assurance of quality.
There are multiple decent brands out there that offer cheap road bikes you can buy in your budget.
A: It depends on the shape of the handlebar. If you want to attach a handlebar bag, go for a road bike with a straight handlebar so that the weight of the bag gets distributed among the handlebar equally.
With this budget road bikes buyer's guide, you can expect to buy the best road bikes under your budget. Make a list of all these factors, and then start comparing different road bikes to make sure that you are investing your money in the right product.
Lastly, it is essential to check the customer reviews before you click the buy now button. The customer reviews are a great way to learn more about the bike.
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