Why should you buy a road bike?
When it comes to speed, style and efficiency, a road bike is hard to beat, and let's not even get started about how beautiful road bikes can be; the sleek contoured lines of a road frame adorned with quality parts will give you a thrill like no other!
This road bike buying guide will explore the many options and types of road bike you can purchase - saddle up and get ready to find your next dream bike.
Beginner Road Bikes
Frame: Beginner road bike frames are mostly aluminium or steel in construction. Aluminium is relatively light, strong and affordable. Steel is a comfortable and robust frame material.
Transmission: The transmission on an a beginner road bike is likely to be fitted with an 8,9 or 10 speed cassette on the rear wheel, and most likely a compact style chainset.
Wheels: Non-deep section wheels are common on entry level road bikes. A benefit of these wheels is that they offer good comfort, as they have longer spokes than a deep section wheel and these absorb shock.
Who are you? A beginner to cycling or road cycling. A first timer or returning to using a road bike and wish to commute to work, complete your first sportive or cycle for fitness and fun.
Wiggle recommends: The Felt F7 (2015) Road Bike is one of the most affordable carbon fibre road bikes on the market. Whether you're a beginner or a rider returning to the saddle, this road bike is worth checking out!
Intermediate road bikes
Frame: Carbon fibre frames are very popular in this category due to their excellent stiffness and lightweight characteristics. Steel and aluminium frames are also used for mid-level road bikes.
Transmission: 10 and 11 speed rear cassettes are standard. Shimano 105/Ultegra, Campagnolo Centaur/Athena/Chorus and Sram Rival/Force are very popular groupsets used on these bikes.
Wheels: You start to see entry/mid level wheels on mid-level road bikes. Brands such as Shimano, Mavic, Fulcrum and Campagnolo are a popular choice of wheel brand in this category.
Who are you? Sometimes classed as a weekend warrior. A regular road rider who can be found reading forums for advice on equipment and discussing training methods and plans.
Wiggle recommends: The new De Rosa R838 Ultegra 6800 2015 has tuned geometry that strikes the perfect balance between road racing and sportive riding.
Advanced level road bikes
Frame: Carbon fibre frames are the most popular frame material for advanced level road bikes. The way in which the carbon is "laid up" is an important part of the manufacturing process and gives the frame its characteristics.
Transmission: Look out for Shimano Ultegra/Dura-Ace, Campagnolo Chorus/Record/Super Record and Sram Force/Red. Di2/EPS electronic gear shifting is also available.
Wheels: Deep-section (aero) wind-cheating wheels become commonplace, alongside shallow section lightweight offerings on advanced level road bikes.
Who are you? You are a regular cyclist, setting targets in races/sportives, perhaps taking a holiday in the Alps with your bike. You know your SIS from your SLR.
Wiggle recommends: The Felt AR3 (2016) will give you the edge you need on the competition.
What materials are road bikes made from?
Carbon Fibre: This is a very lightweight and stiff material. As a non metal there are huge design advantages when using carbon fibre to build bikes. The material can be manipulated into aerodynamic shapes and fine tuned for increased stiffness and strength.
Steel: A very popular and traditional material for building bikes. Steel frames are renowned for their comfort, strength and durability. Steel can also be easy to fix as dents or bends can be repaired.
Titanium: Titanium bike frames are extremely lightweight and offer a smooth ride that is similar to the ride quality of a good steel frame.
Aluminium: This material is extremely stiff, lightweight and strong. Aluminium bikes have a reputation for having excellent power transfer and stiffness.
Wiggle recommends: The smooth welded alloy Mekk Pinerolo SE 0.2 (Sora - 2016) looks as sleek as any carbon bike, at a fraction of the cost.
What kind of riding can I do on a road bike?
Road Race Bikes: Road bike geometry is designed to be efficient on road, so they may initially feel unusual compared to the upright position of commuter or mountain bikes. At the upper end of the market, bikes tend to either be very aerodynamic or very light, or a combination of the two.
Wiggle recommends: The Mekk Primo 6.2 105 2015 is designed for one thing, to go Fast. Combined with a 11 speed 105 groupset, this could be the best value race bike on the market.
Time Trial Bikes: Time Trial (TT) and Triathlon bikes are built with speed in mind. Since TT courses and most triathlon bike stints have little in the way of hilly terrain these bikes can weigh slightly more than road bikes and the rider’s position on the bike is optimized to cut through the air.
Wiggle recommends: The Quintana Roo CD0.1 Race Ultegra 2015 is ready to race and features the critically acclaimed Shift Technology maximizing in stability and aerodynamics.