Overall, road bikes benefit from industry economies of scale and tend to offer great value for money relative to specialist bikes such as time trial bikes, track bikes or cyclo-cross bikes. The large number of bikes produced means a bewildering choice of frames, wheels and groupsets. Here is an introduction to the range of road bikes currently available.
At entry level, £500 will buy an excellent starter bike. A starter bike at this price will include useful technology, such as smooth gear shifting, longer lasting components and up to date transmission. For £500 you can expect an aluminium bike with a lower end groupset (for example Shimano Sora, or Campagnolo Xenon), carbon forks and 9-speed transmission.
Bikes that fall into the £1000 category are capable of being raced. A fantastic choice of bikes are available because all manufacturers have at least one model for people embarking of their first racing experience. These cycles typically represent excellent value for money. To navigate through the wide variety of bikes in this category, you should focus on size and fit. Each manufacturer supplies models in a range of discreet sizes and, depending on your own body measurements, a specific manufacturers' size range may suit you better. We strongly recommend you visit AW Cycles for a professional bike fitting to help you choose a bike which fits your body shape best. At this price, you can expect an aluminium bike with carbon forks, a mid range groupset (such as Shimano 105 or Campagnolo Centaur) and additional carbon components (such as carbon seat stays). Alternatively you could opt for a full carbon frameset, although this will inevitably sacrifice the quality of the components. In addition, many manufacturers are developing a host of good mid-range wheels to complement this specification of bike (for example Mavic Aksium or Fulcrum racing 5).
For high performance racing, the bicycles available become more diverse. £2000-3000 will buy an excellent racing cycle, however, very high specification road bikes can command in excess of £5000. Buying a high performance race bike should take into account primary usage and the type of racing you will be doing. If your fortè is hilly road racing, the focus will be on weight, whereas a sprinter or criterium rider will be looking for an extremely stiff bike. Comfort may be sacrificed due to the shorter races. At this level of specification almost all bicycles will be made from carbon or specialist materials, such as titanium or magnesium.