When you’re ready to invest in a new road bike, an important challenge lies ahead. With so many brands on the market, how do you find the best one to meet your needs? Is brand really important, or are you just paying for a famous name? The answers to these questions may be simpler than you think.
Brand does matter, but it’s more important to determine what brand is best for your experience level, budget and commitment to riding than to impress your friends with a flashy, expensive bike that’s not really appropriate for you and won’t bring out your true potential.
Why Brand Is Important for All Experience Levels
If you’re a beginner, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a bike that has features you don’t need and won’t be able to appreciate. Some of the best road bike brands of 2016 such as Trek, Specialized and Giant make true entry level bikes that boast reliable craftsmanship and include the basics that you need without all the frills.
You can expect to pay less than $1000 for these, but you’ll still be getting quality that you can trust. Buying mass-marketed, big-box, cheap bikes isn’t wise if you expect to take your riding hobby seriously as these will keep you too busy dealing with their shortcomings to focus on improving your skills and eventually upgrading your ride.
Intermediate-level bikes place more emphasis on performance, motion dynamics and rider comfort. At this level, you can begin to customize your ride to meet your needs.
Because you’re still in the process of discovering your own riding abilities and parameters, brands that provide solid performance and more advanced features become more appealing. Forza, Giordano Libero and Tommaso are examples of companies that produce good intermediate-level bikes.
If you’re an expert rider, the importance of brand becomes even more clear. You’re ready to be choosy about construction details and the materials used to make your bike, and you don’t mind paying a little more to get exactly what you want.
Brand reputation tells you more about how your bike is going to perform, and you understand the technical jargon that helps you differentiate a bike’s various qualities and capabilities. As a biking pro, you’re ready to explore brands like Fuji, Cannondale and even Aurumania.
Important Brand Attributes to Look for When Buying a Bike
A brand’s general price range gives you an idea about the company’s standards and the quality that you can expect. A brand that makes 300 models priced under $100 and two or three priced in the thousands is probably more focused on profit than quality.
If you plan to ride regularly and for long periods, finding a brand with good ergonomics is essential. Some brands are more focused on comfort than others. Remember that higher price tags don’t necessarily correlate with rider comfort levels.
A bike’s frame is a critical element of its performance and durability. Look for brands that use quality materials and provide specific information about the build and characteristics of their frames. The lightest frames are generally found on high-end, expert-level models.
Don’t underestimate the importance of customer support. Look for a good warranty and a solid history of good customer communications. If the manufacturer has your back, you’ll have a much better chance of enjoying your new bike and reaching your full potential as a rider.