It can be a little daunting getting started in road cycling, as there is a plethora of technical jargon and the Local Bike Shop you wander into is looking to sell you something. Quite naturally very often this is the bike they have on the shop floor, that would be just perfect for you (ask me how I know!). So as always time is rarely wasted in research.
Firstly a note on the all important gike size, as it is crucial you get the correct frame size for your height and reach. This allows you to be comfortable on the bike, so that you are not stretching or sitting too upright. Because of this one of the most critical measurements is from the nose of the saddle to the handlebars. All manufacturers publish suggested frame sizes, based on height and inside leg measurement, this could lead you to think it is all about stand-over height, but actually inside leg measurement is directly proportional to arm length and reach. Google for your manufacturers frame size guide, this calculator on Evans website is also very useful.
The choice of bikes and kit can be more than a little bewildering to say the least. New or born again cyclists thoughts often go towards the safe option of a Mountain Bike or Hybrid, as those curly handlebars on a road-bike (often referred to as a race bike) can seem a little threatening.
However, if you want to get into cycling as a sport and for fitness, it is well worth considering skipping the mountain or hybrid bike, as very soon you will outgrow them and either want or need a proper road bike. It is now illegal to ride a bike in Dubai on the road, any place where the speed limit is over 60kph, which leaves you with the rapidly growing network of cycle paths and tracks.
Road bikes are arguably nicer to ride than a MTB and are better for the cycle tracks or road, as they are lighter, faster and because of several possible permutations of hand and body position, are actually more comfortable, rather than a single upright, static seating position.
There are road bikes and road bikes, with Race, Triathlon, Time Trial, Aero and Sportive being sub-sets. Arguably a Sportive road bike is the best for a new, or indeed average rider, as the riding position is a bit softer than a full race bike and they are generally more comfortable. There is nothing Micky Mouse about Sportive bikes, as these are often used in the famously bumpy Paris Roubaix race and that stage in the Tour De France. See here for further information.
At the start bike pricing is hard to get your head around, Carbon Fibre and Aluminium frames are the most common. Generally Carbon is nicer to ride, but more expensive.
The biggest part of the price of a new bike is the level or quality of the group-sets. Group-sets include the gears, derailleur’s, shifters and brakes. There are at least six different levels of Shimano group-sets available, costing from under $200 all the way up to $4000 just for the group-set. Shimano is not the only game in town, but they are most common and well known. Many purists love their Campagnolo’s and there are even some SRAM nuts around, but Shimano probably has 70% of the market share, not without reason.
See here for a break down of Shimano Group-Sets. Bikes with the better gear sets, generally have better wheels (lighter), saddles and other fittings. A good level gear set to aim for is the 2015 22-speed Shimano 105, but the 2015 Shimano Sora which is common on cheaper bikes is not bad for the money.
Bottom line, is that you can get a perfectly good bike for as little as AED3000, but unfortunately you do get what you pay for, at least most of the time. Once you understand what you can get for your money or budget, frame material, group set, wheels and saddle, time to figure out what your best buying option is…… Read our where to buy section to see how you can optimise your cashflow!