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How to choose your road bike
How to choose your road bike? Well the first question is how much do you want to spend and how much cycling will you do? The answer to the first question is a difficult one, many people when they are younger they want to ride there bike all day and what to be the next winner of the Tour de France, but they can not afford to spend much on there bike. If they get fit and win some races and get in a good team they will be given a top class bike, but what usually happens is they have to give up and work, have a family etc. When they are older and have more money they can afford the bike of there dreams. As to how much cycling you do, that depends on whether you can justify having the best bike around and only doing a short ride on Sunday morning. Remember you get what you pay for.
Basic Level Bikes.
If you go to the larger sports stores or bike shops they will have complete bikes for sale, probably a alloy frame with Shimano Tiagra or Campagnolo Mirage or a mixture of cheaper components, this bike will be built to a price, will ride fairly well, wont be very light and is a good place to start. To get some thing better, start with a nice alloy frame and if you can afford it, carbon forks, then with what money you have left chose your group-set of either Shimano or Campagnolo and then you can pick your saddle, handlebars, wheel rims and tires, this is all fun, but if you are working to a budget, it can be tricky.
Mid Level, Touring and Possibly Racing.
In this range of bikes you can buy them as a complete cycle, in the cycle shop, sports store or even in the specialist magazines or on the web. It is more fun to choose the components for your frame and how much you want to spend. At this level you would probably be looking at Shimano 105 or Campagnolo Centaur road bike parts and you could possibly buy some built up wheels from Shimano, Campagnolo or Mavic, but first start with the frame, there are many frames out there to choose from, get on the net and look for what you want, it will probably be alloy again, with carbon forks. Alloy seat pin, handle bars and stem and a comfortable saddle.
Top Level Bike For Racing and Pleasure.
Now it gets more difficult, your components would be Campagnolo Chorus or Shimano Ultegra, unless you can afford the top components of both manufacturers. Wheels again would be possibly Mavic, Shimano or Campagnolo, deep carbon rims look Great and have a wonderful ride, but will probably be too expensive, best if you stick to alloy rims for high pressure tires as tubulars, even though they ride wonderfully, will be expensive and a lot of trouble. Handle bars, stem and seat pin could be alloy or carbon, if you have the money. The frame is the heart of your bike and you will want a good one, at this price range alloy is going to be the first choice with carbon forks and possibly a carbon rear triangle. If you look around you might manage to find an all carbon frame at this price, Giant make a very well priced carbon frame in a compact, sloping design, there are others but you will have to spend a lot more money.
The Top of The Shopping List.
Whenre looking at a lot of money here if you want to buy a professional road bike. The frame will be all carbon or titanium with carbon forks and maybe a carbon rear triangle or alloy main tubes with carbon front or rear end. The nicest ones on the market at the moment, in my opinion, are Colnago, De Rosa, Pinarello, Battaglin, Time, Scott, Cervelo and many more, all are available in different colours, geometries and sizes, check out there web sites for information and try to make your choice, its a difficult job. This is a professional road bike so it will have to have the best components, Shimano Dura.Ace or Campagnolo Record are your only choice at this level. Same with the wheels, Dura-Ace or Campagnolo Bora, these can be for high pressure clincher tires or tubulars, tubulars are more trouble but do ride well, but clincher tires are very nearly as nice and much more practical. Handle bars, stem and seat pin will be carbon and your saddle will have a carbon base with a leather cover and sometimes with gel for a little extra comfort.
The Best Bike You Can Afford.
You do only get what you pay for, so get the best bike you can afford, look around the magazines and the web sites and dont forget your local bike shop until you get that little jewel, but be careful not to make your partner jealous!