Earlier this year we revealed our brand new road bike Fusion at The Cycle Show 2022. Speaking on the innovative launch, Neil FitzGerald, Reilly Co-founder, says: “We have raised the bar again for road adventurers to create a truly cutting edge bicycle frame to enjoy the great outdoors, whether that’s planning an ultra endurance road trip or sleekly navigating the daily commute.”
If you've never considered the ins and outs of today's road bikes, you've come to the right place. Our best-selling gravel, adventure and road bikes are built to Mark Reilly’s ground-breaking frame geometry, optimised for comfort and speed. Hand-built using premium grade titanium for durability and finesse, Reilly frames come with a lifetime warranty (first owner only.)
As a rule of thumb, road bikes have always been designed to take you as far as you want to go on paved or tarmac surfaces. A road bike inherited its name from the surface it is designed to be ridden on… the road.
Compare road bikes from over 50 years ago, it may seem as though not much has changed from a technology standpoint. But, is this the case? Do they all still look the same? What are the ins and outs of today’s road bikes?
We will run through these questions throughout this blog, so if you’re interested in learning more about the riveting history and ins and outs of road bikes - keep reading along with us!
History of Road Bikes
Road bikes as a form of transport were designed in Europe during the 19th century. They were first named swift walkers and made out of wood when first built. However, they were without pedals - and this is where the first pedal bike was invented in 1839 in Scotland. This first pedal bike could ride 140 miles at an average speed of 8MPH which was revolutionary at the time!
After the first model was seen as such a sweeping creation all around the globe - more and more designs such as the velocipede were introduced in Paris in 1861. This French company was producing 400 annually and was seen as very successful and popular at this time.
After many attempts at making the ‘road bike,’ an English company created a metal-frame bicycle with a larger front wheel compared to the rear wheel. Although quite prone to accidents, it was also very popular as it was easier to stop and seen as more stable than previous attempts at this design.
Eventually, after many re-structured attempts, adaptations were made and by 1893, road bikes were made to be more advanced, more efficient and comfortability had increased tenfold. Whether it be for a triathlon, racing or any specialised event - the easy-to-use transportation had evolved. Fast forward to 2014 and Mark Reilly's unparalleled experience as the most knowledgable bike design and frame geometry expert in the UK accelerated the next chapter in the history of the road bike as part of the vision of the renowned Reilly brand.
Components That Make up a Road Bike
While technology has evolved from previous models, the most essential feature of a bike is whether it fits you and whether all the parts are where they need to be. Read along for a full rundown of the different elements that make up today’s road bike:
No matter if it's mountain bikes, road bikes, or even electric road bikes, the frameset is always the heart of any bike. Traditionally made of steel, aluminium or carbon, Reilly has pioneered the titanium road bike revolution thanks to its excellent benefits as a durable and lightweight material, making all the difference on the hills and descents.
Traditional road bikes use a sloping top tube to make a smaller and lighter weight frame to improve the standover height when riding. Reilly's founder, Mark Reilly spent years perfecting the geometry of his frames to ensure his frame design could work whatever your size.
The frames and forks are usually completed in an all-in-one system in the current market - this is why it’s known as a ‘frameset’.
Nowadays, using two chainrings is usually one of the best options compared to the traditional ‘standard double’ rings which are now becoming less popular.
Triple chainsets are fitted to a large population of cheaper bikes and give lots of range. However, like the standard double rings, these are becoming less popular due to the lighter and simpler models taking over the scene.
The last option is the basic one chainring crank - which is now very rare to see on any form of a road bike. Whether that is a carbon road bike, mountain bike or any other option in the current market.
The Wheels/ Tyres
Compared to mountain bikes - road bikes don’t have to be as robust and sturdy when it comes to bike wheels. In essence, they can have more lightweight rims and fewer spokes. As the speed you need to go at is at a faster pace, road rims are typically very narrow for aerodynamics and less flat tyres potentially.
25mm is the typical width for common race-focused bikes - whilst bikes for endurance may be up to 28mm to 30mm. However, previously there have been bike tyres that go as narrow as 18mm.
Handlebars and Levers
Handlebars and all the different styles at their current price add a number of positions for a bike rider. Whether you view several handlebars on a list from a bike shop - drop handlebars will always be the most reliable and useful for road bikes.
The positions on the top of the handlebars or to the side of them allow for a variety of grips for steep climbing or cruising - whilst the hoods are brake levers, providing an enjoyable position and leverage for standing up out of the saddle in your shoes and cycling clothing.
Depending on your preference, it is possible to get different widths and shapes to fit your grip better. The road levers and braking controls will usually come into one single unit. Whereas, the brake levers work on the same principle most of the time (pull the lever and the bike will stop).
The Saddle and Seatpost
As you will already know, this feature needs to be comfortable to make riding a bike enjoyable - without any backlash. Road saddles are usually very narrow and padded in a thinly dispersed way. Although it looks uncomfortable, after a while of riding - you will certainly get used to the feeling and padding of the bike seat.
These saddles come in a plethora of shapes with no single design standing out above the rest due to everyone having different preferences. If there are multiple widths available, you will most likely get the chance to feel the seat - to see which one you prefer.
There is only a quick view of all the brakes available for road bikes - as there are only rim brakes or disc brakes (for disc road bike).
Road disc brakes are seen as the superior model, especially in harsh weather conditions but don’t be obliged to try out rim brakes too!
There are a few minor details such as the Derailleurs and Casette that we have not discussed, so if you want to see a more detailed section on this - please let us know to find out our guide to success with these features!