Jenson USA carries one of the most extensive selections of curated bike gear online. We’ve developed learning guides to aid you in making informed decisions and we have backed this up with our expert Gear Advisors who are available by phone, chat, or email 7 days a week.
The first question you must ask yourself is, “how do I plan to use this bike?” Modern bikes are designed to excel at one particular riding style so it’s important to choose a bike that complements your needs. Road bikes can be classified into five general riding styles.SHOP ROAD BIKES
If you want to go as fast as possible on the road, climb hills easily and maybe even race, perhaps you’re looking for a road racing bike. These incredible machines are designed to take every bit of power from your legs and turn it into forward movement. Combine their nimble handling with featherlight weight and you have a bike built to challenge every road.SHOP ELITE ROAD BIKES
If you still want to go fast, but prefer a bit more comfort, take a look at endurance road bikes. These can be nearly bit as quick as a road racing bike, but tend to have more relaxed fit, handling and steering for a comfortable and stable ride. These bikes are built to be ridden all day and leave you feeling fresh afterwards.SHOP ENDURANCE ROAD BIKES
If your ideal ride includes a little road with some dirt mixed in for good measure, a gravel bike is for you. Gravel bikes are built to go everywhere and do everything. Their relaxed handling and bigger tires allow them to ride well on both dirt and pavement, making them excellent all-around rigs for those who want one bike that “does it all”. CX bikes are racier variants that are designed for tight, confident handling in cyclocross racing scenarios.SHOP CX AND GRAVEL BIKES
Tri and TT bikes take speed a step further by positioning the rider in a very tucked position for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. These bikes are designed from the ground up to do one thing: go fast, at all costs. Triathlon bikes provide a fit that keeps running muscles fresh for the final running segment.SHOP ELITE ROAD BIKES
Touring bikes are built for long-distance riding while carrying a load. The frame is built strong and optimized to handle properly with the extra weight of racks and bags packed with belongings. Touring bikes are the perfect choice for someone who wants to ride across the country and back - but they also make great commuting bikes to get you to school or work while packing your essentials.SHOP TOURING BIKES
We can’t stress it enough; choosing a road bike in the correct size for your body is the single most important thing to focus on when buying a new bike. Every rider has different proportions and flexibility, so choosing a bike that fits you properly will ensure that riding your bike is a fun experience, not a painful one.
A good fit will help you be comfortable and efficient, and will help prevent repetitive-use injuries. The rider’s position on a road bike is more static than that of a mountain bike, so choosing a bike on which you can be comfortable for long periods of time is key.
Almost all bikes are designed to be adjustable within a given size range by moving a few parts or by swapping components for a different size. This adjustment range is limited, and it is best to start with a properly fitted frame. If a bike is much too large, the handlebars will be too far away and too high. The bike will also be difficult to stand over. If the bike is way too small, your handlebars may be too close to you and too low to reach comfortably. Either extreme also will adversely affect the weight balance and handling of the bike, so make sure you buy the right size. Size charts and calculators (like ours found here) are your best friend when choosing the best size. Once you have the correct size frame, you can adjust the saddle and handlebar position to adjust your fit.
Road bikes are usually available in at least 4 sizes, with some brands offering more than 7 sizes for a given model. This close spacing of sizes allows you to dial in your perfect fit. Frame sizes are named differently by manufacturer: some bike makers use sizes like “Small”, “Medium” or “Large”, and some manufacturers name the frames by their seat tube or top tube length, such as 56cm, 54cm or 52cm.
Since every manufacturer “names” their sizes a little differently, the real measurements that matter are in the geometry chart below the bike’s description: don’t let the dozens of numbers confuse you: there’s one measurement that matters the most. Most experts suggest choosing a frame based off its effective top tube length, which is the horizontal distance from the top of the center of the head tube to the center of the seat post.
To help yout understand your bike siing and fit, check out the handy guide and bike fit calculator we developed.BIKE FIT CALCULATOR
All bikes have parts attached to the frame that allow the bike to function, like handlebars, tires and wheels, referred to as “components.” The components that transfer your pedaling force to drive the rear wheel are collectively referred to as the “drivetrain”. The parts that support your body, like saddles, seat posts, stems and handlebars are usually called the “cockpit.”
Many components on bikes are interchangeable, so you can upgrade the bike as you see fit. For example, if you don’t like the handlebars or the saddle that came on the bike, They are easy to change and there are a multitude of options available.
The component quality is a primary factor in the cost of the bike. Component manufacturers offer their parts in a variety of levels that correspond with different price points. As with most things, as quality goes up, price also goes up. Higher-end parts use higher-quality materials and more precise manufacturing. This means they shift and brake more smoothly. They also weigh less, look better and last longer as well. The highest-end components will also cost the most. Generally, the more expensive a bike is, the lighter and more functionally precise it becomes, so choose your desired components wisely.SHOP BIKE COMPONENTS
Of course, one of the biggest factors to consider is your budget. A high quality, new road bike will usually cost in the range of $1000-3000. Any bike in this price range will function very well and last a long time.
If you want to go towards the high-end, prices range from $3000 and beyond for premium models. Above the $3000 mark you’ll get into high-end component groups and exotic frame materials like carbon fiber and titanium. The frame material makes an impact on how the bike rides, so if you want a quick primer, check out our article on road bike frame material.
Riding a lightweight bike is a dream, but consider again how you will use the bike- if you just plan on using the bike for daily commuting, a $10k carbon racing bike might not be the most practical option, but of course, it’s all up to you.
Many riders buy a low-end bike with the intent of upgrading it later. While that approach intuitively makes sense, you’ll find that upgrading the bike aftermarket almost always costs considerably more than buying a complete bike with the parts you want. Opt instead to spend a little bit more on the bike with the nicer parts already installed – you’ll save money in the long run. If you’re budget only allows for a few upgrades, we recommend focusing on key areas like wheels and contact points. Upgrading wheels can reduce rotational mass, and dialed contact points will keep you comfortable mile after mile.
We want to make sure you can go from shopping to riding as soon as possible. Our expert Gear Advisors are available to help you cater your protection setup with just the right combination of protection and comfort. Contact a Gear Advisor: 888-880-3811, Mon-Fri: 7:30am to 7pm, Sat-Sun: 9am to 5pm (PST)