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More might actually be less in a lot of instances, and the cycling sphere is not exempt from this rule. You can easily see this in the different kinds of road bikes gracing the tracks. The different types you are likely to encounter a range of models including race, aero, gran fondo, endurance bikes and so on.
Endurance models are relative newcomers to the broader category of road bikes. You can use them for racing, but they are also designed for comfort. It is a road bicycle that tries to effectively combine performance with comfort – making it suitable for the majority of riders.
In your search for the best endurance bike, one term you are likely to come across is ‘vertical compliance’. This phrase simply means the ability of the frame to cope with the harsh stiffness of carbon frames. It generally means that although the system is stiff, it is still able to protect the rider from road vibration.
Manufacturers are able to create this effect in multiple ways. They could layer the carbon fibres in specific ways by using thin stays. They could also use certain tubes to create a reasonable degree of flex in the rear triangle.
In a lot of brands, designers insert rubber elastomers in the fork, seatpost or frame to improve rider comfort. The end result of this is that you enjoy a comfortable ride, even on rough terrain. All good road bikes have compliance, but it is enhanced in endurance bicycles.
One distinctive feature of a road cycle is its frame geometry. They have an upright position because of the tall head tube and slack fork angle. This design elevates the handlebars, making for less of a bent over position for riders.
Endurance models are quite cool for those who love riding but are not keen on bending low, whether as a result of health issues or just personal preference.
One unique feature of these types is that they have smaller tightly packed gearing compared to most other types in the road category. They often have gearing with 50/34 tooth or 52/36 tooth. This is small when compared to the industry average of 53/39 which is usually too large for a lot of recreational cyclists. This is because the larger gear makes it harder for amateurs to pedal and simultaneously maintain a healthy rhythm.
A lot of endurance bicycles come with lower prices compared to race models because of their different components. Casual riders are more concerned with durability and reliability than premium quality. This potentially means that these options would have heavier wheels, a mix of carbon fibre and other alloys, and low-mid range drivetrains.
Regardless of this, you can still get rides with top quality components, but they might be more expensive.
You’ll generally find them with wider tires compared to other entry level road bicycles. The standard measurement for the tire width is 25mm. This means that this type needs more clearance on its fork and the rear stay to accommodate the tire.
On a general note, 25mm tires provide more comfort compared to 23mm tires. They also give the rider a better cornering grip, and are more resistant to pinch flats.
These are the best value road bikes for racing. Some of their unique features include aero models and weight focused frames. Although it is as much a road bike as an endurance model, they usually have certain unique characteristics.
The design of race cycles is focused on enhancing its speed. It has sharp precise steering and a low front end. They are more suited for maximizing speed than providing rider comfort.
A lot of race cycles have a standard fill sized gearing. What this means is an 11 or 12-25 tooth rear cassette and a 53/39 chainset. Professional cyclists would fit in larger chainrings for time trials or flat races.
When aero cycles were introduced into the cycling world, they were so stiff that even professionals complained. The discomfort was chiefly due to the ‘stiff as possible’ mentality and its tube profiles. The discomfort has considerably reduced through innovative constructions and the incorporation of a bit of endurance vertical compliance.
Regardless, the race cycle is still quite inconvenient for the average rider, making them the preserve of professional cyclists.
The design of race cycles is geared toward transferring big watts from the rear wheel to the ground. To achieve this, there has to be stiffness in the headtube and bottom bracket area. The challenge this poses for manufacturers is that they have to figure out a way to make the machine stiff but still rideable.
Manufacturers have come a long way from where they started. At least, race cycles today are more comfortable than their predecessors. But if you don’t really know how to handle the stiffness, it’s best you keep off.
If you want, you can actually get quality endurance models at top price. Regardless of this, it is actually the race types that have the lighter weight and higher price points.
A lot of top end race bikes are too light to qualify for actual use in racing because they come below the UCI standard of 6.8 kg. This means that professional team mechanics have to find ingenious ways of adding weight just to make them qualify.
This focus on light weight leads to delicate manufacturing processes, the use of top end components, and keen attention to detail. In the end, this makes the ride expensive. This is why quality race bicycles usually cost quite a bit.