Encyclingpedia: Road Bikes

Road Bike Overview

Road bikes are designed primarily for use on paved roadways and are generally used in most types of road events. Road bikes can be made from several different types of materials, including steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber. Each type of material has its pros and cons as individual riders usually have a preference based on weight, stiffness and overall feel. For athletes who compete in six-plus hour races and train 700 miles per week, intricate measurements of the bike’s various components and geometry are paramount in providing a fast and comfortable high-performance machine.

The rear derailleur is responsible for shifting the chain up and down the rear gear cluster. Most modern road bikes have rear cassettes with either nine or 10 speeds.

The front derailleur shifts the chain between one of two chainrings. With either nine- or 10-speed cassettes in the back, most road racing bikes operate 18 or 20 speeds.

Many bikes are also equipped with an SRM Powermeter, which consists of a specially-designed crankset that measures a rider’s true power output in watts. An SRM Powermeter collects scientific physiological data which a rider can later analyze to customize his training regimen and track progress.

Clipless pedals also come standard on a road racing bike and allow a rider to attach his shoe to the pedal, much like a ski binding. Because a rider can pull upwards during the pedalstroke in addition to pushing downwards, the overall force applied to the pedals is greater.

Standard brake pads and calipers are used to stop the bike.


The SRM Powercontrol mounts on a road bike’s handlebars and works in conjunction with the SRM Powermeter to record far more data than any other bicycle computer, storing it for later analysis. Data measurements that are calculated and displayed by the SRM Powercontrol include distance, power, pulse, speed, cadence, and energy as well as time, date and temperature.