Road bikes are lightweight, responsive and stable bikes for fast road rides. They should be comfortable for anything ranging from a solo after work 20 miler to a double century. Road bikes should be able to tame any mountain, so we spec low gears, strong brakes and tires with plenty of volume and traction. All of our road bikes let you level the bars with the saddle or get ‘em a bit higher. They can clear 32mm tires with no fenders or 28’s with so you can ride in the winter or after a rain storm and not get covered in road slime. Steel is the only frame material we deal with. It’s strong, can be scratched, dinged, bent and straightened, and looks good. Our road bikes are lightweight, about 1.8% heavier, all things considered, than a similar big brand aluminum bike.
You can choose from made to order Rivendell Roadeos, Cielo Sportifs, as well as off the peg frames from All City, Surly, and Soma. Prices range from about 1500 for a basic Soma build to 4500 for a decked out Roadeo or Sportif.
No prefabricated complete road bikes. Touch points, where the rider rides, how the rider rides, and how much the rider weighs all factor too heavily to make a preselected parts pick make sense. All of our road bikes are custom built, a process that starts with a conversion, via email or in person. After a final estimate is completed, a 50% deposit gets the process started.
The current big brand trend for road bikes is Carbon Fiber, and it’s hard to find a ‘serious’ road bike made out of anything else. There are also a few industry buzz words and concepts to watch out for right now: Endurance bikes, disc brakes and electronic shifting. Endurance road bikes are bikes that are marginally more comfortable and slightly heavier than traditional racing bikes. Endurance bikes bigger tire clearance or gimmicky flexible frames, and longer head tubes for higher handlebars. They still lack really low gears, and most max out at a 28mm tire. Many are coming with disc brakes, a silly notion that not even pro riders endorse. Discs are for extreme mountain biking, and every other application is purely to say “hey look that bike has disc brakes!”. Discs makes road bikes heavier, ride worse (heavier, stiffer forks to resist the braking forces at the tip of the fork), and really, look kinda weird. Road bikes are elegant and simple, and disc brakes are complex and look like metallic growths on the tips of your bike. Fine for a mountain bike where it’s all about function.
Fall back in love with Friction Shifting. It’s quiet, smooth, and rarely needs maintenance. It’s the easiest to maintain of any shifting system there is. It’s also lighter weight, tougher, and less expensive. Lastly, friction shifting lets you mix and match road and mountain drivetrain bits; critical for getting practical gearing. Electronic shifting is limiting. Even more than STI shifters, you are limited to what Shimano or SRAM thinks road riders should ride. Gearing that’s too high, 11 thin, quickly wearing gears in the back, no triple crankset up front. It’s also electronic, to make ‘riding easier’. Who has ever ridden a well adjusted mechanical drivetrain and thought: man, that sure requires a ton of effort to shift, if only a computer could do that for me.
Road bikes should be made for all roads, not just smooth, flat ones. Most current road bikes are limited to smooth roads and good weather. Few could carry a camping load, 2% could mount fenders, and no current major brand road bike will let you climb seriously long or steep hills. Our road bikes can take light over night loads in a pinch, and would work fine as go fast commuter bikes. If you never want to get onto really rough fire roads, or do loaded touring, this could be your only bike. It shouldn’t be, but it could be.