Beginner’s guide to buying a road bike
Key factors to consider before you buy
Race and Sportive bikes
The first question to ask yourself is Race or Sportive bike? It’s all very well for Bradley Wiggins to be hunched into his aero position, but for new riders, or anyone who’s joints are not as good as they were, a relaxed, more upright position is key to keeping things comfortable. This is your Sportive bike. In the last few years we have seen a huge growth in Sportive type road bikes, from entry level to high performance.
Frame and fork material
One key area to consider is frame and fork material, as this has a significant impact on the way the bike rides. Most entry level bikes come with an alloy frame, however if your budget allows, it is worth looking for a model with a carbon fork. The basic rule is the more carbon the better; this is because this high tech aerospace material is light, strong, and also offers beneficial ride characteristics such as vibration dampening.
The second thing to pay attention to is the groupset model, that’s the bikes transmission and brakes. Road bikes will have groupsets from manufactures Shimano, Sram or Campagnolo, each have various ranges of price, quality, weight and performance. Shimano for example have 5 levels of groupset. Read on to see a list of Shimano’s range of groupsets.
Bike size and fit
It’s important to get a bike that fits you properly. We have an in-depth size guide to help make this easy. In addition each bike listed at Wiggle has its own size chart, so it’s simple to match your height to the correct bike.
Wiggle’s bike buyer answers your questions!
Wiggle’s bike buyer Steve Kitchin answers some of the most frequently asked questions by beginners in the market for a new road bike.
Q: Where might a new road cyclist look to save money on a bike? (Is there any super-duper component technology that isn’t relevant to an entry-level cyclist? Is a full carbon bike that big a deal? )
SK: Our advice is always to buy the best bike you can afford; it will reward you with a long lasting level of fun and performance, and most importantly, inspire you to get out more.
Q: Realistically, how little could you spend and still get a decent new bike?
SK: In recent years we have seen lots of technology filtering down from Pro rider bikes, the effect is that for £500 you can now buy a great entry level road bike with 18 gears and with a carbon fork. Much like a carbon frame, a carbon fork is not only lighter but provides confidence inspiring steering control, great shock absorbing qualities and smooths out some of our rough pot holed roads.
Q: What good payment plans and schemes are available for newbie cyclists?
SK: To keep things on budget, Wiggle offer 24 month credit option. It is also worth having a look at the tax saving Cycle to Work Scheme info listed on the site.
Q: What time of year is best for bike deals? (i.e buying the previous year’s model etc)
SK: September is a great time of year to buy a bike, many brands will be getting ready to launch next year’s models and you will start to see great deals on current year bikes coming online.
Q: Are there any good budget brands worth looking out for?
SK: We have seen a big increase on some of the Italian performance brands delivering great value entry level kit, look out for Moser and Battaglin with carbon forks at sub £500 prices. New UK brand Mekk have some great value, well specced carbon frame bikes worth checking out as well.
Q: Do you have any insider budget buying tips?
SK: You should look for the best groupset you can afford, it’s easy to compare values. Here is a list of Shimano’s groupsets from entry level Sora to Bradley Wiggins Dura Ace.
- Sora – Entry level
- Tiagra – Entry level performance
- 105 – Enthusiast performance
- Ultegra – Enthusiast race
- Dura Ace – Pro-race