What is the Best Road Bike? A Definitive Buyer’s Guide

What is the Best Road Bike? A Definitive Buyer’s Guide

Road bikes are all the rage, and the different types of road bike are plentiful. More and more people are choosing to skip the queues of cars and get more exercise as they make their way from A to B along our roads. Here is everything you need to know about these swift two-wheelers.

What is a road bike?

As the name suggests, a road bike is designed for the single purpose of riding on roads, streets and paved areas, with tarmac and concrete being the usual cycling surface. Whether you are on the road alongside the cars and buses, or gliding through a park along its cycle path, these bikes give you a smooth ride that skips the queues.

Road bikes are set apart from mountain bikes due to differences in the design of the tyres, wheels, brakes and frame. Mountain bikes are made for navigating harsh bumps and drops, with special grips on the tyres and additional suspension. While mountain bikes can be ridden on roads, they are less efficient than a bicycle that has specialist tyres and a frame that take advantage of paved areas.

What type of road bike should I get?

‘Road bike’ is a term that encompasses several categories of bicycle, including both sporting and casual use. The list here is not exhaustive but will give you a general idea of the different types available.

Types of road bike

Sport road bikes include endurance bikes made for long-distance cycling, aero road bikes dedicated to pure speed, and road race bikes that are a competitor’s all-rounder which are often seen in the Tour de France.

Then there are triathlon bikes, which are built for very specific sporting events. These have specialist handlebars and frames that enable riders to rest certain muscle groups, because when they disembark from the bike they might have to continue running on foot!

The experts over at Bikexchange have more details about sport road bikes.

Casual road bikes

Most people aren’t riding their bikes in competitive sporting events and just want a reliable bicycle that will get them from A to B, although they might use them to keep fit from time to time.

If you’re going to be cycling in rural areas, you might ride on a lot of dirt tracks and gravel paths, in which case a gravel bike might be what you need. Gravel bikes feature wider tyres and flared drop handlebars to help riders comfortably navigate ground textures that are anything but smooth. However, if this makes up only a small amount of your riding, a straightforward city bike might be more efficient and more comfortable for you.

Best city bikes for urban riding

City bikes are the perfect companion for making your way into town. Whether you are overtaking every car in London’s rush hour or gliding peacefully through the local village, this broad category of road bike has several subtypes within it.

Hybrid bicycles for on and off-road

Hybrid bikes are the perfect all-rounder for people who will be cycling on both hard and soft ground. With a few neat design features of mountain bikes, such as a sprung saddle and multi-surface tyres, these bicycles will equip you to move from the road to a muddy footpath and back to the road with seamless comfort. Hybrid bikes come with 7-speed Shimano Tourney gears to empower you to ride smoothly both uphill and on flat roads. They’re not built for all-terrain riding, but people who live in rural towns will find them ideal.

For more information, check out: What is a hybrid bike?

Folding bikes

Foldable city bikes are many a commuter’s best friend, for very good reasons. These compact bicycles are ideal for people with limited storage, such as those who live in city apartments or lack garden space for a shed. The folding mechanism is simple to use, so the bike could easily go on the bus or the London Underground with you.

The main limitation of folding bicycles is the wheel size. The smaller than average wheels cause more turns of the pedals to be required to cover distance. However, a model with a powerful set of gears, such as the Fold Folding Bike, provides the cyclist with a much-needed boost to help on hills.

Vintage bikes and Dutch bikes

For the stylish cyclist who wants to ride through town with a classy appearance akin to a bygone era, look no further than a vintage bike. The colours, shape and overall style provide that classic look, but that doesn’t mean they lack speed or durability.

The Hummingbird Vintage Bike is an excellent choice due to the wide range of sizes available and the option to add a basket to the front.

Dutch bikes are a type of vintage bicycle inspired by the cycling revolution pioneered in the Netherlands. One of their most distinctive features is the low-curving top bar of the frame, which allows the rider to easily step over and straddle the bicycle without needing to swing the leg very high.

For a stylish Dutch bike that is light on the weight and heavy on the style (and even featured in Paddington 2), look no further than the Birdie Lightweight Bike.

Best city bikes for women

The main difference between bicycles for men and women is purely a matter of sizing. The size of the wheels, the frame and the saddle height will be slightly different. Beyond this, a woman’s selection of bicycle will be about utility and style.

With Dutch, folding and vintage bikes available, Bobbin’s selection of ladies’ bikes are ready for your browsing pleasure.

What is the best commuter bicycle?

What makes a good commuter bike depends partly on your local riding environment and on your personal preferences. Those who are focussed on style or comfort have a great many options of road bike to choose as they travel to their 9-5. The Kingfisher Commuter Bike, for instance, is a hybrid bike that will suit those who ride both for business and pleasure.

Cyclists who need to carry items on their travels will appreciate the utility of the Daytripper City Bike, which includes a rack for panniers and other bag attachments by default. As another hybrid bike, this is the ultimate all-rounder cycling experience for both the week and the weekend.

For a minimalist and lower cost option, Bobbin has recently unleashed the Shadowplay. This is a single speed bike meaning it has no gears, but it is a fast, slick ride that will take you through the city in style.

What is the best bicycle for a short person?

Most cyclists have experienced the frustration of not being able to mount a bike because of their height. As cycle experts, we would suggest always checking out a size guide (see below) before making a purchase. However, for a reliable and stylish bicycle for short people (or tall children), we can recommend the Gingersnap 26” classic bike.

Road bike size guide

To choose the right size of road bike, start by measuring the rider’s inside leg. This is essential to ensuring a good match.

Use this table as a guideline to see which model of Bobbin road bike will fit you, and be sure to check out the product descriptions for more detailed measurements and information.



Inside Leg

Rider Height

Brownie 7


67cm - 86cm

5'3" - 5'7"
160cm - 170cm


76cm - 96cm

5'6" - 5'10"
167.5cm - 178cm



76cm - 96cm

5'6" - 5'10"
167.5cm - 178cm


One size

51cm - 86cm

5'2" - 6'3"
152cm - 192cm



67cm - 86cm

5'3" - 5'7"
160cm - 170cm



79cm - 99cm

5'6" - 6'0"
170cm - 182cm

Birdie S/M 67cm - 86cm 5'3" - 5'7"
160cm - 170cm



74cm - 81cm

5'6" - 5'10"     168cm - 178cm


76cm - 96cm

5'9" - 6'0"
173cm - 183cm



Whether you are riding the roads for work, to go to the pub, for exercise, or on a getaway with the family, hopefully you now have an idea of the options available to you and what you should consider when choosing a bicycle.

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