Choosing the right bike as a beginner can be quite overwhelming because you don’t know what to look for and which bike suits your needs. In this article, we’ll be discussing road bikes and their suitability for beginners. We’ll explore their pros and cons and how long it takes for beginners to get used to them.
Are Road Bikes Good for Beginners?
Road bikes are great for beginners. They are light, easy to adjust for comfort, and easy to get used to.
If you live in an area with paved and smooth roads, road bikes are the best for speed and a good cycling experience. It’s also easy to make changes to your road bike if you need to cycle on unpaved roads.
Why Choose Road Bikes (As a Beginner!)
1- Weight Matters in the Beginning
Road bikes are lightweight which makes cycling very easy. For a beginner, lightweight bikes make learning cycling easier. They are easier to handle and manage and you can ride for a long time without feeling your muscles ache.
2- Take the “Multipurpose” Advantage
Road bikes are multi-purpose or everyday bikes. They are so efficient at everything including racing, touring, commuting, etc. Even though they are made of lightweight materials, they can withstand tough terrains and are very durable.
3- Easier Adjustability Equals Easier Handling
Road bikes have drop-down handlebars that make cycling comfortable. The handlebars can be handled in various positions that suit your body type and needs, and also reduce drag.
Drop-down bars also help you put some of your weight on your hands which relaxes your back and helps you absorb shock better.
4- Don’t Look Elsewhere if Speed Matters to You
Special features like narrow/thin tires, drop handlebars, lightweight materials, large-diameter wheels, etc. make road bikes faster than hybrid and mountain bikes.
Road bikes give you an aerodynamic position that will help you create less drag and make you do faster.
Why You Might Not want a Road Bike in the Beginning
Because of the drop handlebars that require reach riding, and its high gear ratios, road bikes aren’t the most comfortable bikes for long distances.
Your muscles and wrists may begin to ache and you wouldn’t be able to ride for long or at very high speeds.
2- You are an “Off Road” Person
Road bikes have features like thin tires, light frame, wheels, etc. that ensures their high speed. However, these features make road bikes only suitable for smooth terrains. Riding them on rough or uneven terrains is difficult and can lead to accidents.
3- Not Suitable for City Riding
Road bikes are meant to go at high speeds on straight roads with no bumps or many detours. Stopping at traffic signals, bumps, pedestrian crossings, etc. makes riding at high speed difficult on road bikes which is their major advantage.
The lower riding position also reduces your field of vision while riding which isn’t safe in busy cities.
The Time It Take To Get Used to a Road Bike
Getting used to riding a road bike depends on your cycling experience. If you have been cycling on other types of bikes before, you can get used to riding a road bike in 2 or 3 weeks.
If you have no cycling experience before getting your road bike, getting used to it can take 5 weeks or more and you would have to be cycling at least twice a week.
Road bikes have narrower tires which aren’t the best on unpaved terrains. So if you want to get used to riding road bikes faster, you should ride it more on smooth terrains.
Bike fitting also matters. Before riding your road bike, it should be properly fitted to your frame and build. The saddle height and position, stem length, etc. should suit you. This way, it will take less time for you to get used to riding it.
No matter how well the bike fits, you will experience some discomfort when riding. For example, your buttocks may hurt after a short ride.
This shouldn’t discourage you though as you can only get used to riding a road bike when you ride through the pain. Ride as often as possible and you’ll be enjoying yourself in no time.
Budgeting for a New Bike
This depends on your budget, how long you want to use the bike, and if you will be riding it often.
For your first bike or as a beginner you should spend less than $1000 on a bike especially if you aren’t planning to be serious about riding. A decent road bike between $600 and $800 will do just fine.
You should avoid used bikes as you don’t know how long the previous owner had used them and the damage that it has suffered. You may end up spending way too much on repairs.
Rather, buy new bikes from popular brands or manufacturers and have them fitted to your frame.
If you want a solid road bike of good quality that will last for a long while, be ready to spend more than $1000.
The Distance a Beginner Should Bike in a Day
A beginner can bike as far as they want depending on their fitness level. If you want to ride casually or want to take cycling as an exercise to lose weight, 5 miles is adequate. After riding 5 miles for a few weeks, you can increase it by 2 0r 3 miles.
If you’re physically fit and hope to take part in organized riding as a cyclist, you can start with 10 miles at an average speed of 12mph. As you get used to riding, you can increase it by 3 miles or more.
As a beginner, you should ride between 20 and 30 minutes at an average speed between 8mph and 12mph. This should be very easy for you and help you adjust to riding easily. If you are physically fit and used to exercise, this might not be a challenge so you can do 40 minutes per ride.
If you started with 20 or 30 minutes of riding, you should be able to increase it to 40 minutes or more after a few rides. And if you started with 40 minutes, you should be doing long-distance riding after a few weeks.
Are Road Bikes Good for Everyday Use?
Road bikes are good for everyday use if the conditions are favorable. The terrain should be smooth and preferably without potholes or bumps, and the bike should be properly fitted to be comfortable.
Whatever disadvantage a road bike may have for commuting can be worked on. You can mount eyelets to help you carry loads as you commute daily, adjust the drop handlebars or change them to something more comfortable, and change your tires to sturdy and bigger ones.
Without these changes, you can still ride your road bike every day as long as you are comfortable on it and the terrain is paved.
Road bikes are good for beginners because they are fast, good for learning cycling on paved roads, and easy to control. After all, they are light so you don’t risk major injuries even if the bike falls on you.