6 Features a Road Bike Must Have

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6 Features a Road Bike Must Have

Road bikes are designed for riders who want to cover long distances rapidly on smooth pavements. They are used by racers, tourers, and often by commuters. They are lightweight and skim the pavement, wasting none of the momentum gained in each pedal stroke. A properly selected road bike allows the rider to maintain a constant cadence on its pedals. The kind of shifters may vary by personal preference, in part according to the kind of handlebars. Some road bikes have flat handlebars, while most have downturned touring handlebars. Not all shifters may be used on all handlebar types.

The rider seeking a new or used road bike can find many options on eBay, including many daily deals on Bikes and Accessories.

Feature 1. Durable, Lightweight Frame

Road bikes have lightweight frames with limited suspension systems. These bikes are designed to be used on relatively smooth surfaces that do not require serious shock absorption. Bicycle frame materials include those below.



Features to consider

Steel and Alloys, e.g. Chrome-Molybdenum

Durable, repairable, affordable; can rust if left out often

Lower cost frames may be heavy; steel makes strong, shock absorbent forks; compromising on straight-gauge tubes saves money for better components


Lightest frame material; does not rust

Has become more shock absorbent with new alloys; forks are stiff and dampen vibrations; used by many racers


Long lasting, extremely durable

Historically popular frame among racers; too brittle for use in forks; requires special welding equipment for initial assembly and repair, causing relatively high prices

Carbon fibre or graphite

A resin-impregnated cloth; very light and durable; does not corrode

Relatively high cost; used for highly shock absorbent forks; material allows for great diversity in design

Mountain bike frames are very heavy to withstand the pounding they experience. Most riders find them clunky and slow for street riding. On the other hand, pushing that much metal does offer a significant workout. Hybrids are a compromise for the rider who wants to own only one bicycle for multiple purposes.

Feature 2. The Right Gearing for the Ride

A road bike offers multiple gears to allow the rider to maintain a consistent pedal cadence no matter what the terrain. Riders who live in relatively flat areas may not be concerned about having many gears whereas riders who enjoy touring through diverse terrains need a wider gear range. Retro one-speed bikes and old-style English three-speeds are technically road bikes, since they are designed to be ridden on roads, but the term generally refers to bicycles geared for 10 to 30 speeds.

Feature 3. Skinny Tyres for Fast Cycling

Road bikes are designed to move rapidly on smooth pavements. Their skinny tyres are inflated to high pressures and have limited contact with the pavement, producing minimal drag. They also offer minimal traction.

Some people who ride on roads prefer hybrid bicycles for the fat tyres, better traction, and lower tyre pressures. These are particularly well adapted to less well maintained rural roads, slower riders, or those who have developed balance issues as they age.

Feature 4. Convenient, Easy to Use Shifters

The kind of shifters that are convenient vary according to the rider. The kinds of shifters on road bikes include bar end shifters, down tube shifters, and integrated brake-shift levers. Occasionally, a road bike with flat handlebars has twist-grip shifters.

Bar End Shifters

Bar end shifters are the least complex shift mechanism. Since they therefore have the least that can go wrong, they are often preferred by those who make long trips. These kinds of shifters may settle into gear by friction, which is to say that the rider recognises by feel that the chain has landed where it needs to be, or be 'indexed' to the proper position for each gear. Some riders consider indexed shifters to be excessively complex and heavy: this is clearly a matter of preference.

Down Tube Shifters

These shifters, mounted on the down tube of the road bike, are considered to carry some risks by experienced riders. First, they require the rider to remove hands a significant distance from the handlebars to shift, increasing reaction time in the event of any road difficulty. Second, they are placed such that in an accident they can cause damage to the rider.

Integrated Brake-Shift Levers

This shift mechanism, nicknamed a 'brifter', makes it easy to shift without removing hands from the handlebars. They are mechanically complicated, which means that they are relatively expensive. They are also more likely to fail than other kinds of shift mechanisms, making them less popular among many long-distance tourers.

Twist Grip Shifters

Mountain bikes, hybrids, and other bicycles with flat handlebars may be made with shifters built into the handlebar grips. Road bikes are less likely to have this feature. With this kind of shifter, gears are changed by turning the grip. This feature is considered both convenient and safe for most riders. Riders with small hands, some children, and some older riders may find the grip too large or difficult to turn.

Feature 5. Handlebars that Make the Ride Easier

Road bikes are offered with two kinds of handlebars: turned-down handlebars derived from the racing tradition and relatively flat handlebars that are derived from conventional street bikes or mountain bikes. Which kind of handlebar a rider chooses depends in part on the kind of riding that is to be done.

Flat handlebars are typically comfortable for riders who use their bikes for relatively short runs at lower speeds. These riders may ride around town to do errands or use the bicycle for short commutes. This handlebar configuration is more typical of a mountain bike, a hybrid bicycle, or a retro single speed bike.

Turned down handlebars draw the rider closer to the frame of the bicycle. By increasing the forward angle at which the rider sits, they help the rider gain leverage for more powerful strokes and faster speeds.

Feature 6. A Quick-Release Front Wheel

This feature has been standard on at least the front wheel for many brands for quite a long time. It is beneficial when a tyre requires changing but the primary advantage comes when it is time to lock up the bicycle in a public place. The quick release allows the front wheel to be removed and locked together with the frame and rear tyre to the bicycle rack, post, or other sturdy object. This adds another layer of security to the bicycle's protection.

Buying a Road Bike on eBay

A person seeking a road bike can find many new and used selections on eBay. The initial Search for 'road bike' is likely to turn up a great many possibilities. Refining the Search with additional keywords, such as a preferred material or brand name, should produce a more manageable list. The Advanced search feature also allows such specifications as whether only new or pre-owned bikes should be considered.

Finding a Nearby Road Bike on Offer

For the rider who prefers to road test a bike, locating road bikes that are nearby is helpful. The Sort feature allows selections to be sorted by 'Distance: nearest first' so desirable kinds of bikes may be checked out in person.


A road bike is designed for speed on smooth pavements. Its light frame carries the rider quickly over long distances. A properly geared road bike allows the rider to maintain a constant cycling cadence. Its skinny tyres skim over the pavement, wasting no momentum. Shifters are easy for the rider to use and located for safe access. The handlebars are designed to keep the rider in a comfortable posture, whether on long trips or short jogs around town. Finally, a quick-release front wheel helps keep the bicycle safe when it is locked in public places.

The tourer seeking a new or used road bike can find many options to satisfy his or her riding goals in the eBay marketplace.

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