History and Types of Road Bicycles

The most popular type of bicycles in the world are road bikes, who are intended to be used on flat (almost always paved) roads by everyone who is in need of a simple way to travel on distances of all kinds. Created to be intuitive and easy to control, road bikes are the reason why the bicycles became so popular from the moment they first appeared on the market in the 2nd half of the 19th century Europe. Over the years they became highly versatile, with several sub-types of bicycle that offered different set of accessories and frame designs.

Today when you are purchasing or renting road bicycle, you can immediately spot difference between them and mountain bikes, which are another popular segment of “all terrain” bicycles that can be seen all around the world. Road bikes are created without the focus on agility, strengthened components and ability to go on all types of terrains. They are often heavier than mountain bikes, have usually just one gear (although simple rear-wheel shifter to up to 9 speed is not uncommon), no active suspension, brakes are simple but reliable, handlebar can be made in several configurations, seat is often more comfortable, frames are made with or without top tube, accessories often include pre-made spots for carrying cargo (baskets, luggage carrier, rarely even small saddlebag), and most easily to notice, their tires are narrower and smoother than all tire types that are used by mountain bikes. Road bicycles also have high air pressure (over 100 psi) which in addition to the smooth tire surface is helping drivers to better conserve their momentum and reduce rolling resistance.

Picture Of Bicycle On Road

Modern road bicycles are today separated into one of the 6 main categories:

  • Vintage road bicycles – “Vintage” bicycles have designs that usually have steel frames and are considered by many to be most durable, versatile, practical, easily repairable and timeless.
  • Hybrid bicycles – These bicycles are intended to be used on daily basis for commutes, trips to shops and travels to easily reachable distances. They are called hybrid because they feature some designs and accessories taken from many other types of bicycles, including mountain bikes (thicker tires, gearing system…), road bikes and touring bikes. They can tolerate wide range of riding conditions and use case scenarios. Sometimes they are sold under names Cross bike, Commuter bike, City bike and Comfort bike, all coming with special set of customizations.
  • Touring bicycles –Touring bikes are created to be durable and comfortable during long trips and able to carry more cargo than it is usual on ordinary city bicycles. They feature longer wheelbase, and can be used for sport, expeditions on roads and harsher terrains, some models are collapsible, or can have recumbent seating position.
  • Recumbent bicycles – Less common type of road bicycle. They feature reclined riding position that enables drivers to easily manage longer trips. These bikes are most often used for touring.
  • Utility bicycles – Made to be highly usable during transport of business cargo, running errands and shopping.
  • Fitness bike (flat bar road bike) – Simplified variant of mountain bike bicycle that is intended to be used on paved surfaces. Even though it retains many features of mountain bikes, it is more comfortable to drive due to simpler design of handlebar and seating position.
Picture Of Bicycle On Road
Picture Of Bicycle At Street
Picture Of Bicycles At The Train Station In Germany