Guide To Buying Your First Road Bike

Speaker: You’ve decided to buy your first
road bike, amazing. You’ve taken your first

step into a much larger world. Buying your
first bike can feel a little overwhelming

and confusing because the seemingly loads
of different types made from different material

with different components on them. In this
video, we’re going to give you a handy guide

and tell you exactly what you need to look
out for and what the differences are.

I’m really passionate about cycling, anything
that gets more people on bikes and share that

passion, the better. That’s why we’ve teamed
up with Decathlon they have a really comprehensive

range of bikes with loads of different features,
and they also offer great value for money.

Meaning, this is the ideal place for me to
show you everything that you need to look

for. I also need to get a new kite surfing
kite, as well as I thought, kill two birds

with one stone.
First thing you need to establish is how much

money you’d like to spend. How much money
should you spend? Well, there is no right

answer to that question when it comes to buying
a road bike but what you can be aware of is

that good quality entry-level road bikes typically
start around €260 or £250 such as this

one here. Then as you spend more money, the
frames typically get lighter and stiffer and

the components on those frames get lighter
and more sophisticated too. For around €600

or £500, you can get yourself a lot of bikes
of your money.

Typically, something with an alloy frame,
some good entry-level components than perhaps

even disc brakes. Bikes with this kind of
spec are incredibly capable. You could definitely

ride up mountains or alps. Perhaps, you can
do a few races on a bike with this kind of

spec. I know that because they are all things
that I did on my first road bike. I would

recommend that you don’t spend all of your
money on the bike alone. It is good to budget

for all those important accessories such as
shoes and pedals and clothing and all that

stuff.
Now a bit of detail, the first thing that

you need to consider when choosing your bike
are the components that are fitted to it.

The collective term for the brakes and the
gears is the groupset. There are different

manufacturers of groupset; Campagnolo, SRAM,
Microchip, and perhaps the most famous, Shimano.

Regardless of the brand, groupsets come in
hierarchies or tiers. As you move up the groupset

hierarchies, they get more expensive and the
components get lighter. You, typically, get

more gears, more functionality. They get made
from more exotic materials, and the shifting

of the gears gets smoother as well.
Now, beginner bikes and entry-level road bikes,

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typically, come with groupsets that are lower
down the hierarchy. An excellent example is

this. This is Shimano Sora which is Shimano’s
second-tier groupset and is commonly found

on bikes around the £500 price point. Shimano
Sora might be lower down the groupset hierarchy,

we don’t let that put you off.
For a beginner or entry-level bike, it’s absolutely

perfect. My first road bike had Shimano Sora
on it and I rode it up mountains [unintelligible

00:03:47] all over the place. I even did some
races on it. One of the things you should

pay attention to is the gear ratios on the
groupset. This bike has an 1132 cassette on

the back which is what I would recommend for
your first road bike. The reason being that

this 32 cog at the back of the cassette is
really useful for hills.

It means that you can ride a higher cadence
spinning your legs more and it’ll just make

hills that bit easier. This is in contrast
to some bikes which come with a slightly harder

cassette, so an 1128, pay attention to that.
Also, the chainset. Now, there’s different

sizes of chainrings. What I would recommend
for your first road bike is a compact chainset.

That’s a 5034 like we have here.
It’s for the same reason I’d recommend the

32 on the back. It just makes hills that bit
easier when you’re a beginner. Put simply,

if you’re a beginner to road cycling and you’re
wanting gears that can help you get up hills,

you want bigger ones on the back and smaller
ones on the front. As mentioned, brakes also

form part of the groupset. Broadly speaking,
there are two

two distinct types; rim brakes, or as you
can see on this bike, disc brakes. Disc brakes

cost a little bit more than rim brakes.
If you live in a hilly area or you’re going

to be riding in a hilly area, I’d say they’re
worth the extra outlay. This is because they

offer substantially more powerful braking
that’s more consistent especially in the wet

and just better control in general. I do have
to stress though that rim brakes are perfectly

adequate. They’ve been used to win the Tour
de France for the last 100 years and they

have the advantage of being slightly lighter
than disc brakes too.

[music]
The material that the frame is made from has

a massive impact on the overall ride quality
of the bike. The most common materials are

aluminum, steel, and carbon fiber. From around
250 to 1,000 pounds, euros, or dollars, most

bikes you find will be made from aluminum
alloys. This is great because aluminum is

a really versatile material. It’s lightweight
with good strength to weight, that’s why it’s

used in aviation. It’s also very resistant
to corrosion and it can be manufactured at

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a much lower cost than carbon fiber, meaning,
the bikes can be made more affordable.

[music]
Above 1,000 euros, dollars, or pounds, you

start to see entry-level carbon fiber bikes
such as this Van Rysel EDR 105 or [unintelligible

00:06:32] as they say in France, which is
where we are right now. Anyway, carbon fiber

is typically lighter and stiffer than aluminum
and steel making for better ride quality.

Carbon fiber is a great material for making
bikes. If your budget doesn’t stretch to full

carbon fiber, don’t worry. My first road bike
was aluminum but a good feature to look for

is an aluminum bike with a carbon fiber fork.
This reduces a bit of weight. It makes the

fork much stiffer and it also reduces road
vibration and buzz through the handlebars.

[music]
Choosing a reputable brand is advisable, as

that way, you’ll know the frame has been properly
designed and tested and will also have a solid

warranty. Other little details on the frame
that are worth looking out for are tire clearance.

The more, the better, I would say, as this
gives you greater versatility. You can put

some wider tires on if you want to stray off-road
and have a little adventure.

Mounting points are useful as well as these
allow you to attach things like mudguards,

pannier racks and a whole host of other accessories.
A final detail on the frame is the bottom

bracket. This is the bearings where the chainset
is. Any bike that has outboard bearings in

a threaded bottom bracket, gets bonus marks
in my book because these tend to require less

maintenance and last longer.
[music]

I’m now going to tell you about wheels. They
a key component on any bike. Entry-level bikes

tend to come with entry-level wheels. This
is because it’s the most popular component

that cyclists upgrade on their bikes further
down the line when they get more into the

sport. Typically, swap them for something
that’s lighter, stiffer, and perhaps more

aerodynamic. With these improved performance
areas on the wheel, comes increased cost.

That’s why to keep the price down on entry-level
bikes, will come with a more basic wheel.

When assessing the wheels that your bike comes
with, what I’d suggest you look for is a really

high spoke count as this helps make the wheel
stronger and more robust. I’d also suggest

you look at the rim width. You ideally want
rims that are going to suit wider tires better.

A slightly wider rim width such as 25-millimeter
tires or 28-millimeter tires. Wider tires

can offer a bit more comfort, a bit more grip
and they also have slightly lower rolling

resistance, meaning that you can go the same
speed for slightly less effort.

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[music]
I’m now going to give you some other quickfire

information that you need to know when buying
your first road bike. Road bike saddles are

designed to be used with padded shorts, which
means it’s normal for them to feel uncomfortable

without padded shorts. Also, saddle comfort
is very personal. It’s normal for riders to

often swap something out that better suits
their preference. Most road bikes don’t come

with pedals, although some low-end bikes do
come with flat pedals.

However, if you’re going to be doing longer
rides or sportives, we’d recommend you upgrade

some clipless pedals and shoes as these will
allow you to push down and pull up with the

pedal stroke making you a bit more efficient.
You can also get women-specific bikes. These

tend to have the same frame but have different
contact points on them to account for the

anatomical differences between the sexes.
You’ll get a specific women’s saddle, slightly

shorter stem, narrower bars, and slightly
shorter crank. This isn’t necessarily essential,

we suggest you go for whatever is most comfortable
for you.

[music]
You may be interested in gravel or mixed-surface

bikes. These are essentially road bikes with
a few modifications to make more versatile.

So you have increased tire clearance, bigger-volume
tires, which are much more capable off-road.

Easier gears, you can see the massive sprocket
on the cassette here, and disc brakes. This

means that you’ve essentially got a drop-bar
road bike that’s going to be much faster on

the road than a mountain bike, but also capable
of going on gravel or bridleways. Something

you wouldn’t want to do on a standard road
bike.

This versatility means they’re ideal for mixed
surfaces. People that want to go on adventures,

perhaps do some bike-packing, or maybe you’re
just a commuter who doesn’t want to stick

to rows. Also, you can swap out the knobbly
tires for some skinny slick road ones, and

you’ve essentially got a road bike. I’m a
big fan of this breed of a bicycle, and entry-level

gravel bikes can be found for around £500
or €600. The [unintelligible 00:11:16] brilliant.

I managed to find my new kite, but also a
load of other stuff that I totally forgot

that I needed.
Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed this video, have

found it informative, then please give us
a like and a follow. Now you’ve decided on

the bike that you want. You’re probably going
to need to know how to determine the size

you need. Fortunately, we’ve got videos on
that and a load of other really useful beginner

content. I’m going to go home now play with
my toys.

[00:11:51] [END OF AUDIO]

 

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