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The 5 Best Road Bikes (A 2019 Review)

The 5 Best Road Bikes (A 2019 Review)

Have you ever idolized the Tour de France cyclists who push through all odds and end with a flourish at the finish line? Who would have thought that so many people could look good in skin-tight cycling suits? If you want to get fit like a professional cyclist, do as the cyclists do. Add a road bike to your current fitness routine.

What makes a great cyclist? Not only do they have exceptional cardiovascular health and endurance, they also are ripped! Use the most elite cyclists as motivation to becoming one lean, mean, cycling machine! In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know to think, perform and look like a cycling pro.

In order for you to think like a pro, we will highlight all the relevant cycling information that is necessary to understanding road bikes. Also, in order for you to perform like a pro, we will give you a list of the best road bikes of 2019. Finally, at the end of the article, check out our sample workout to improve your biking skills and look like a pro.

Don’t have time to read our reviews of the best road bikes? Skip down to “The Rundown” section for an overview of the products. Use the chart to quickly compare all of the good bikes we discuss.

Road Bike 101

People Using Road Bike For FitnessIf you’ve never engaged in road cycling, but you have an interest to learn, this is the place for you to start. We will give you some basic information about road cycling and then highlight the 5 best road bikes of 2019.

The Benefits of Road Biking

You may already know that biking is a good cardio and endurance workout, but let’s dive deeper into the science behind road biking:

  • Road biking has both health and economic benefits (1).
  • Biking, especially in pleasant geographical locations, promotes enjoyment of outdoor exercise.
  • Biking is a sustainable and green way to get exercise, engage in recreation and commute.
  • For those who want to engage in biking but who are elderly or unconditioned, e-bikes have become available to provide some assistance with pedaling. These could also be used for people who want to go great distances.

The Downfalls of Road Biking

As you may imagine, there are some disadvantages associated with road biking that we cannot ignore. While there can be risks in any physical activity, consider if these risks outweigh the benefits in your situation:

  • Road cyclists may be at an increased risk of road traffic injury or fatality (2, 3).
  • Many locations may not be “bicycle-friendly,” which can deter bike usage and practicality of cycling.
  • In many geographical areas, weather may prevent road biking during certain times of year. This may force people to find other ways to exercise (or deter people from exercising all together).
  • Similarly to driving, regular road biking may lead to distracted bicycling.

Think Like a Pro: Learn the Lingo

In order to go from road cycling novice to pro, make sure you understand the key features that are offered in a road bike.

  1. Using Road Bike For Health and FitnessLightweight frame
  2. Thin tires that are best-equipped on paved surfaces (not good for rough terrain)
  3. No front or rear suspension (no shock absorbers)
  4. Carbon fiber fork straddles the front tire (this piece connects the frame to the front tire)
  5. Curled handlebars
  6. Able to bike at higher speeds than other types of bikes

Bike Lingo: Number of Speeds

During your search for the best road bikes, you may be wondering why different bikes have a different number of speeds. One bike may be a “14-speed,” whereas another may be a “20-speed.” What does this mean?

The number of speeds on a bike is, in other words, the number of gears you can shift into while riding the bike. In order to calculate the number of speeds on a road bike, you must know how many chainrings and sprockets are on the bike. These two parts combine to come up with total number of speeds.

One thing to note: Number of speeds on a bike does not determine actual speed. Rather, a higher number of speeds equates to more choices you have as to how to operate the bike in various situations, such as on an incline or decline. The more speeds you have, the more options you have to choose the best gear.

Bike Lingo: Riding Positions

If you think you can just get on your road bike and start cycling, think again! Another thing that separates the biking novice from the pro is understanding different riding positions and when to use them. Regardless of which road bike you have, you can perform these positions:

Position #1: The Sprint

When a pro cyclist wants to sprint, they go into the sprinting position. Here is how to do the sprinting position correctly:

  1. On your bike, raise your buttocks off of the seat into a standing bike position.
  2. Place your hands on the lower handle of your curled road bike handlebar.
  3. Shift your weight towards the front of the bike and pedal like crazy!
Position #2: The Seated Climb

If you come up to a low and/or long incline, you should use the seated climb position. This position helps you overcome the incline in the most efficient way. Here is the how-to for this position:

  1. Make sure you are centered on your seat.
  2. Place your hands on the top part of your handlebars.
  3. Keep breathing as you focus on pedaling up the hill!
Position #3: The Standing Climb

When a cyclist comes up to a steep incline, they use the standing climb position. While it is effective in getting up a steep hill, this is a very intense and hard position to maintain for a long time. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lift your buttocks off of the seat, and place your weight slightly forward.
  2. Place your hands on the lower handle of your curled road bike handlebar.
  3. With each pedal push, slightly move your body from side to side. Try to make smooth side-to-side movements like a snake. This snake-like motion will help you roll into those hard pedal pushes!
Position #4: The Descent

For times when you are going down a hill and are unable to pedal, use the descending position. Here’s how:

  1. Raise your buttocks off the seat.
  2. Place your hands on the lower handle of your curled road bike handlebar.
  3. Once your hands are in place, bend your knees and elbows in towards the frame of the bike.
  4. Finally, lower your head and chest towards the handlebars and glide!
Position #5: The Deep Descent

To get the most speed on a downhill slope, pro bikers will use the deep descending position. Be careful when trying this position:

  1. Shift your weight off of the seat and forward towards the handlebars.
  2. Place your hands on the top of the handlebars, and bring your chest to the handlebars.
  3. Bring your knees and elbows in towards the frame. Your buttocks should be hovering just above the top bar of the frame.

Perform Like a Pro: A Review of the Best Bicycles

Let’s review the best bikes that are available on the market today. To sum it all up, check out “The Rundown” section for side-by-side comparisons of the road bicycles.

Fitnessator’s Top Pick

Monza Endurance Aluminum Road Bike– The Best Road Bike for Under $1000

Monza Endurance Aluminum Road Bike by TommasoWhy We Love It:

Some road bikes can cost a fortune! The Monza road bike is a smooth, durable bike all for under $1000. This bike can be used for long-term exercise and commuting.

The Research:

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), adults should get at least 150 minutes of exercise and/or physical activity per week (4). Long bike rides, such as ones that are performed on the Monza bike, can have great health benefits to the rider. According to experts at the University of Minnesota, 100 minutes of biking per week can reduce the risk of death by 10 percent. If you biked for 100 minutes per week, you’d be well on your way to meeting the AHA goals!

Details:
  • 20-speed
  • Frame and handlebars can be custom-fit to your size
  • Available in black or blue
  • Tommaso Website Price: $949.99
Things to Consider:

Per the manufacturer, professional assembly is required for this bike. While this may be a good bike, keep in mind that professional assembly may be another cost.

Customer Reviews:

Customers love how smoothly this bike shifts gears. Riders may put in over 200 miles immediately on this bike without needing maintenance.

According to some customers, they had to put in several hundred dollars extra for upgrades and modifications that they thought were necessary. First, assembly was an extra cost. Also, the frame was not a perfect fit for some people and needed modifications.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you are looking to dedicate ample time to cycling, this may be a great bike for you. At just less than $1000, this bike is the perfect mix of investment, longevity and making your debut as a cyclist.

Fitnessator’s Runner Up

Shadow 2.0 Road Bike– The Best Road Bike for Under $500

Shadow 2.0 Road Bike by VilanoWhy We Love It:

If you are looking for an affordable road bike, the Shadow 2.0 is the best bike for under $500! Recreational bikers or commuters can utilize this bike without forking over top dollar to pricey models from the best road bike brands.

 Details:
  • 14-speed
  • Shifting and braking devices are compiled into one unit
  • Available in orange
  • Walmart Website Price: $329
Things to Consider:

If your all-in budget is $500, keep in mind that modifications for this bike (or assembly) may bring you right up to the $500 mark.

Customer Reviews:

In general, the majority of customers who purchased this bike were recreational bikers. For these types of people, the Shadow 2.0 fit the bill for value and practicality.

Compared to other bikes, the Shadow 2.0 is not as smooth or as fast as other models. While you may not be able to race with this one, it can be a great commuter bike.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Those who are looking to get a good bike while avoiding the price tag of the best road bike brands, would like this model. While this bike may not be perfect, the price can get you cycling in no time!

Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention

Imola Endurance Aluminum Road Bike– The Best Road Bike for Performance

Imola Endurance Aluminum Road Bike by TommasoWhy We Love It:

While some of the other bikes are best for beginners or recreational riding, the Imola is a great bike for performance and racing. If you’re considering a higher-priced racing bike, think again!

Details:
  • 24-speed
  • Frame and handlebars can be custom-fit to your size
  • Available in white, orange and black
  • Tommaso Website Price: $649.99
Things to Consider:

If you are a true cycling pro, you may find that there are better (and perhaps more expensive) racing bikes out there. However, if budget is a huge factor for a racer, the Imola bike may be a great compromise. 

Customer Reviews:

According to satisfied customers, the sizing chart for this model is spot on. Be sure you are getting the right size! Also, overall this bike is smooth, quiet and shifts easily.

On the other hand, customers complain of the uncomfortable and poorly-shaped seat. While usually this can be remedied with a seat cover, some people claim that the seat is just too wonky to fix.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Per the company, this bike is not designed for beginners. Rather, those with previous or intermediate racing skills would be best suited for this bike. Since this is a 24-speed road bike, those who know how to manipulate various speeds would appreciate this model.

EURXC550 Road Bike– The Best Road Bike for Beginners

EURXC550 Road Bike by EUROBIKEWhy We Love It:

Unlike the Imola, the EUROBIKE model is better suited for cycling newbies. Also, it’s a super cheap road bike! If you’re not certain that road biking is for you, the EUROBIKE is one of the cheapest models we found. Overall this is the best entry level road bike.

Details:
  • 21-speed
  • This model has specific weight and height requirements
  • Model is black, white and red
  • Bike Booty Website Price: $190
Things to Consider:

Unlike the other models, the EUROBIKE has quite specific weight and height limits. Per the manufacturer, this bike can accommodate someone who is 5’3” to 5’9”. Also, the weight limit on this bike is 220 lbs. Many people may fall outside of these requirements, so always check first!

Customer Reviews:

Aside from the price, many people like to use this bike for commuting and/or weight loss. While you may not be able to cycle like a pro, you can get lots of practical use out of this cheap road bike.

To some extent, you get what you pay for in this bike. According to customers, the EUROBIKE does not shift as smoothly as other models. Also, compared to other bikes, the chain can pop off prematurely, so you may not be able to do 30+ mile rides problem-free.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Compared to the other models, this bike is the best beginner road bikeon the list. The EUROBIKE is great for someone who is not only on a tight budget, but also for someone who is skeptical as to whether road biking is something they want to pursue. With the EUROBIKE, you can trial the cycling lifestyle and walk away from it if it’s not for you.

16-Speed Road Bike– The Best Road Bike for the Money

16-Speed Road Bike by Pure CyclesWhy We Love It:

The Pure Cycle bike is a great road bike for the money. Overall, it is moderately priced while still providing several pro-level features. Per the company, this bike is highly customizable and has the ability to be upgraded depending on your needs.

Details:
  • 16-speed
  • Per the manufacturer, this bike comes 90% assembled
  • Available in gray, red, black and blue
  • Pure Cycles Website Price: $549
Things to Consider:

While the bike’s quality is sturdy, it lacks pro-level features that you would find in higher-priced bikes from the best road bike brands. For example, the tires may not be the best for long-term wear, so consider upgrading. 

Customer Reviews:

Satisfied customers say that this is a solid and reliable bike. As you may imagine, bikers love that they can get a good road bike at this moderate price point.

However, other customers complain that the shifting is not always smooth. In fact, one customer stated that he experiences rubbing in a few of the gears, so he has to shift out of them.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

For those who want to balance price and reliability, the Pure Cycle bike could be a good place to meet in the middle. While the structure is sound, you have the option to make some upgrades as needed. Even if you can’t fork over more money for upgrades initially, you could make improvements in the future.

The Rundown on Road Bikes

After reviewing the Fitnessator’s top picks in road bikes, here’s a breakdown to help you compare the products discussed:

Product

Less than $500

Assembly required?

Number of speeds

Monza Endurance (Top Pick) Professional assembly required 20
Shadow 2.0 (Runner Up) X Yes 14
Imola Endurance (Honorable Mention) Minimal 24
EUROBIKE X Yes 21
Pure Cycles 16-Speed Minimal 16

 

Sample Road Biker Workout

We’ve put together this sample workout routine to improve your road biking skills. Not only will this workout get your heart pumping, but it will train your body in several areas so that you can perform better on a road bike.

Since this workout requires certain exercise equipment, you may need to modify these exercises to fit your exercise situation. While most of these exercises can be performed at your neighborhood gym, those who work out at home may need to improvise. For even more awesome biking exercises, see the workout provided in our mountain bike article.

For each exercise, we designate the specific target areas so that you can improvise if equipment is not available. As always, be sure to discuss your personalized exercise recommendations with your healthcare team.

Exercise

Notes

Target Area(s)

Sets

Repetitions

Agility ladder with resistance band
This is a great cardio and strength exercise. Using an agility ladder on the floor, wrap a resistance band around your ankles and shuffle back and forth through the ladder. Cardio, legs, glutes 3 7 minutes per set
Reverse lunges with dumbbells
Using adjustable dumbbells, activate the core and glutes to perform these lunges. Repeat on each side. Legs, glutes, core 3 20
Weight plate planks
Prep for a plank position. Using a weight plate, place the weight plate on your back. Once the plate is set, get up into your plank and activate the core. It’s best that the plate rests somewhere between your shoulder blades and pelvis. Switch up the positioning to shred different areas of your abs. Core 4 1-2 minutes per set
Renegade rows
Grab a set of dumbbells and get in a pushup position. In a pushup position, use the dumbbells to row and engage the back muscles. To add to this exercise, add a pushup between each row. Check out these other awesome chest exercises and bicep workouts. Arms, back, core 3 20
Kettle ball swings
Activate your core and try to make your movements explosive! Glutes, arms, legs 3 25

 

Before You Purchase

As you can see, road biking is not just for elite athletes in the Tour de France. You can purchase a beginner road bike or even high-quality bikes for less than $1000. Regardless of your needs or skill level, you can use the information in this article to understand cycling lingo, choose the best road bike for you and train like the pros with our biking workout.

Are you an avid biker? A beginner? How far can you go on a road bike? Let us know in the comments!

 

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