Racing Bike VS Road Bike – What’s The Difference?

Aero Racing Bike

When I was getting hyped up about the buying my first road bike, I realized I didn’t know the difference between a racing bike vs road bike.

Essentially, I thought that they were exactly the same thing. This was despite the fact that I was watching professional cycling at the time, and thought I knew one bike from the next.

At first, you might not notice any difference between a racing bike vs road bike, however, there are some significant changes and modifications. They’re mostly minor, but their purpose is very important.

Both bikes are the perfect choice for the road. However, when you’re making such an investment and you’re getting yourself a new bike, make sure you learn the difference and choose the type that suits your needs the best.

What is a Road Bike?

Road Bike

As you can guess, the road bike is your best choice if you’re enjoying your rides on paved roads instead of rough terrain.

A road bike is also there to meet the legal requirements so people are able to use it on the ordinary roads.

You can spot a road bike miles away due to its frame style, very thin and slick tires, and definitely the famous handlebars. Don’t get me wrong, you can still use a road bike for some amateur races. But other than that, a racing bike will always win.

There are different types of road bikes. The main types include

  • Sportive
  • Commuter
  • Touring

Sportive Road Bikes

Sportive road bikes are excellent for long distances and battling the hills because of the geometry of their frame where the emphasis is on endurance rather than speed.

It’s a very lightweight type of a road bike with well-optimized gearing to run smoothly on flat and make no trouble in the hills.

However, they’re not a great fit for racing or short & fast adrenaline rides.

Sportive road bike

Commuter Road Bikes

Commuter road bikes are made to keep going day after day no matter the weather conditions.

Wheels offer better strength, frames have necessities such as mudguards, and you’ll even usually see disc brakes which are nowadays a popular way for quick stopping.

They offer great bike handling, comfort, and reliability but aren’t good for flat-out speed or thrills.

Touring Road Bikes

Touring road bikes are strong and long lasting all the way from the frame to the components.

They’re great at carrying loads due to their gearing system that makes it easier, and wheels are super tough to withstand the weight.

They’re perfect, well you can guess it, touring the long distances, yet aren’t so good for racing or and speed.

What is a Racing Bike?

Racing Bike

A racing bike is something you’d want to get if you’re into flat speed, racing, and short-term adrenaline rush rides.

Race bikes are lightweight and they’re basically a stripped down version of a road bike. They’re designed in a way to go fast and offer the best aerodynamic position possible, even though it might lose some comfort.

The frame is definitely stiffer and the handling is extra responsive where the gearing of a racing bike is higher for better speed. Wheels tend to be lightweight and they’re even made out of carbon for better aero efficiency.

You might not notice such details at first, but once you compare the finishing kit of a racing bike VS road bike, the difference is easy to spot.

The racing bike offers no loss of power and offers highest speed possible which makes it suitable for racing, high-speed rides, and is even great for hills. However, there might be a bit loss of comfort due to the aerodynamic position.

The most common types of racing bikes are

  • Standard (Race bike)
  • Time Trial (TT)
  • Aero

Standard racing bike is everything described above. It’s perfect for racing, battling the hills, achieving the best flat-out speed possible when compared to a road bike.

Race Bike

Time Trial (TT) racing bike is also suitable for triathlon races where athletes use it as their tool for a flat-out speed against the time. They’re built with only one thing in mind which is going as fast as possible.

Their design successfully allows them to cheat the wind thanks to their flat tube frames, where everything else is inside the frame (cables and brakes). You’ll recognize TT bike mostly by its extended armrest handlebars.

Aero racing bike is best explained as a combination of a Time Trial (TT) racing bike and a standard (legal on the road) racing bike.

They feature a lot of TT bike characteristics, they only on a regular racing bike frame. It is a perfect bike for longer flat courses where you can’t use TT bike for the race.

Aero Racing Bike

How to Choose Your Next Bike Type?

You probably know a lot of cyclists, and the one thing that cyclists differ are their bikes. You will rarely see cyclists who have the same bikes or even intend to use the same bike types.

Bicycle handlebars

That’s because your bike type depends on your personality and your needs. What type of rider are you? How much do you ride? Do you race?

These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself even before checking out some of the new bikes. This way, you’ll be able to know exactly what your needs are and what type of bike will satisfy it.

It’s easy to get the fastest bike type, however, every bike type has its own advantages and disadvantages that you should consider.

For example, while the commuter bike is definitely not the fastest road bike, it might be the most comfortable one for people who aren’t into racing.

There can be even more sub-categories of racing bikes, but don’t let that confuse you. Once you know your needs, you’ll be able to easily choose your bike type.

Choosing A Bike Type

Here are some factors you should consider before choosing a bike type:

  • How much do you ride?
  • Distances you ride
  • An average speed of your rides
  • Do you race?
  • Do you prefer speed or comfort?
  • Are you doing touring?
  • How flexible are you?
  • Are you mostly doing hill rides?

These are just some of the factors and questions that can help you get yourself on the right path. I even bet if you told me the answers to these points, I’d be able to recommend you a bike type for your needs.

It doesn’t have to be a complicated process. And the difference between a racing bike VS road bike isn’t that hard to spot once you know what are you looking for.

However, if you find it to be hard, feel free to leave a comment and don’t hesitate to ask for help!

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