Figuring out the best road bike type for your favorite kind of riding is imperative.

With all of the road bike options on the market today, choosing one that suits your needs can be difficult. Unfortunately, many people simply end up purchasing a bike that fits in their budget, rather than one that fits with their lifestyle.

Discovering the different types of road bikes and what they have to offer will help steer you in the right direction. Whether you’re looking for an option for a long cruise or you frequently ride on gravel, the type of bike you choose can provide you with the perfect fit or leave you feeling miserable, interrupting your ride.

What About a Road Bike Makes it a Road Bike?

Road bike cyclist man cycling,athlete on a race cycle

Road bikes have large wheels and skinny tires. They typically have a drop bar, and their components are made from lightweight materials. This makes them perfect when you’re riding for long-distances. Additionally, they are useful when you want to go fast.

While there are many different types of road bikes, their variations are subtle. They are designed for certain riding situations and disciplines. The differences will help ensure the road bike meets your performance goals.
Road bikes have improved a lot recently and offer much more versatility. Nowadays, words like commuter, supportive, race, and grave are used to describe road bikes. These road bikes look similar to one another. This makes it essential to look at the features and specifics to find the perfect bike for your riding needs.

8 Road Bikes and Who They are Best For

Each road bike type will be well-suited toward specific riders. Knowing the kind of bike made for your riding purpose will make choosing the perfect option easier than ever.

Race Bikes

Professional road bicycle racer in the action

Racing bikes are exceptionally durable, yet they are also exceptionally light. This allows them to move faster than other road bikes. Their frames are typically made of carbon fiber, which helps to keep the weight down while making it sturdy enough to handle high speeds.

Race bikes use top quality components. These components make for reliable braking and shifting. These are critical elements when speeding down a hill.

The frame of a race bike will be rather low compared to others. This improves the aerodynamics of the bike, providing you with more speed.
Race bikes tend not to be very comfortable. They’re not the best choice when cruising around town. These bikes are meant for speed and distance. You will be able to traverse hills easier, and they will handle the intense pace of going down long hills with ease.

Sportive Road Bikes

Cyclist pedaling on a racing bike outdoors in a sunny day

Sportive bikes are commonly called endurance bikes. They are becoming more popular every year. The options for sportive bikes are vast, making finding the right one a bit of a burden.

Like racing bikes, sportive bikes are lightweight. However, the upright design of an endurance bike makes it more comfortable to ride. You will not be able to cut corners as easily on a sportive bike compared to a race bike, but many people prefer them for long rides.

You will not get as much speed with a sportive bike. What it lacks in speed, it makes up for in comfort. So, in your riding world, if comfort and endurance are more important than speed, this may be the perfect road bike for you.

Sportive bike components are remarkably similar to those of a race bike. They are designed to optimize your performance. You will not have to worry about marginal gains regardless of your riding position.
One big difference between a sportive bike and a race bike is the tires. While the tires are lightweight, they are not as aerodynamic as the wheels on a race bike. If you do choose a sportive bike, you should look for one with disc brakes. They are the safest and best option.

Triathlon Road Bikes

Cycling sport athlete man biking on triathlon bike. Fit male cyclist on professional triathlon bicycle wearing time trial helmet for ironman race. Exercising in Kailua Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, USA.

Triathlon road bikes are also referred to as time-trial bikes. They’re made for competitive riding, including time-trial competitions. If the seconds count for the way you ride, a triathlon bike may be perfect for you.

These bikes are made to speed over flat roads as quickly as possible. Many of their features promote excellent aerodynamics and are made to lessen wind resistance. When a rider reduces wind resistance, they also reduce the amount of energy they’re using. This is going to allow you to ride farther with less fatigue.

Time-trial bikes are easily recognizable – the frames come in large, flat tubes that hide the cables. There are also a lot of angles on a time-trial bike. They are positioned very low so that your body is pretty much parallel to the ground. This position is going to enhance your speed through aerodynamics.

A triathlon road bike is the fastest type of road bike. This is due to the wheels and the fork. Each aspect of a time-trial bike is made to enhance speed.

Aero Road Bikes

Asian men are cycling "time trial bike" in the morning

The aero road bike is a combination of a race bike and a triathlon bike, and it takes advantage of aerodynamics to provide you with great speed. They hold a low position so they won’t be as comfortable as a sportive bike.

The geometry of the frame is similar to that of a race bike. Additionally, they are typically made from carbon fiber. Aero road bikes do tend to be a bit heavier than race bikes, but their superior aerodynamics will help save you time if using it for a race.

If you are a rider looking to save time, this could be the perfect fit. They are made for flat endurance courses. The deep-section rims also help save time, and they are energy efficient and ride the best of flat roads.

Flat-Bar Road Bikes

Man on a bicycle on a road between the beautiful mountains

A flat-road bike is similar to a fitness bike. Pretty much all road bikes use flat bras instead of drop bars. This makes this bike the most simplistic road bike available.

Many people think these bikes are the same as hybrid bikes, but they are not. A hybrid bike can go off-road while a flat-bar road bike is specifically meant to be ridden on roads. The frame of this bike is different than that of a hybrid, as well. They are slimmer and sleeker.

People in urban areas love the flat-bar road bike, especially when they commute. They can go for long distances and provide you with better comfort while you ride. Their slim design also makes them perfect when traveling through busy streets.

Fitness Bikes

Young Woman Cyclist Riding Road Bicycle on Free Road in the Forest at Hot Summer Day. Healthy Lifestyle Concept.

Fitness bikes are also commonly referred to as recreational bikes. They are made for comfort more than speed. You can ride them for longer distances more comfortably than many other road bike options.
Fitness bikes are also similar to hybrid bikes. They tend to be more stylish and provide comfort features you will not find on other options. The seats are a bit wider, and they are more upright to improve comfort levels when riding for more extended periods.

Recreational bikes usually have knobby tires. This makes riding on rougher surfaces or uneven pavement easier. Roads that are not often considered friendly to bikers can be ridden on with a fitness bike.

Gravel Bikes

a dirty fat bike on a trail with deep, loose gravel - Big Hole Wash Trail in Red Mountain Open Space north of Fort Collins, Colorado

A gravel bike is also frequently called an adventure bike. They are excellent for those who want to head out for longer than average rides and want to take things with them. These road bikes have not been around for nearly as long as other types of road bikes.

Gravel bikes are going to work well on all types of roads. They have a higher bottom bracket that will work on many surfaces.

It’s important not to confuse these bikes with touring bikes. This type of bike will still allow you to keep an eye on your performance. Touring bikes, on the other hand, are meant for cruising around when time is not a focus.
Gravel bikes are a bit heavier and have steel frames. The tires on them are quite broad, which also makes them more appropriate when riding on something that is not a smooth flat surface.

Many people find these road bikes to be pretty comfortable. They offer a more upright position. You will be able to ride them for longer periods on any road surface, more comfortable than many other options. You won’t have the same speed as other options, but you will not be slow either.

CX (Cyclocross) Road Bikes

Cyclist sports on road. Sun Rays and shadows from the bike on the road. Outdoor cycling.

The CX bike is a combination of a road bike and a mountain bike. Some don’t consider these road bikes, but they actually fit the bill of many road rider’s needs. They are put into the category of adventure bikes regularly, but they should not be placed there.

The Cyclocross bike uses a frame like a road bike and the properties of a mountain bike. They designed it this way because most won’t push their cross-country mountain bikes as hard as they can go. They are geared toward those that participate in technical competitions. When your riding style falls between a road bike and a mountain bike, this bike is likely the perfect fit for your needs.

The CX road bike has become increasingly popular. The knobby tires will allow you to handle uneven surfaces with ease. The makeup of the bike is lighter than a mountain bike, which also means you will be able to keep your speed up.

Choosing the Best Type of Road Bike for You

inspecting the bike

Many people have a hard time deciding which type of bike is going to work the best. Paying attention to your biking goals and the way you ride can make the choice a bit simpler.

  • Riding for Training: If you are training, you’ll want to look toward a road bike with upright positioning. They are more comfortable and will allow you to ride them for longer periods.
  • Riding for Competition: If you like to ride for competition, you will need a bike that’s lower to the ground. It will allow you to gain more speed, which can help you to win the race or time-trial.
  • Riding for Travel: If you ride your bike to travel, going with an adventure bike or a bike that offers racks and mounts may be the most advantageous decision.

If your riding situation changes, you may need to invest in a couple of different options to meet all of your needs. Think about the way you ride the most often, so you start with a bike that will be useful right away.


Getting to know road bikes can make finding the perfect match for you and your lifestyle a bit easier. There are many different conditions that you may face when riding a bike. Riding a road bike that can handle the situations you encounter will keep you safe. Additionally, the bike you choose can help you crush time-trials, ride comfortably for long distances, and help you train for your next endurance adventure.