Road bikes are the ultimate bicycles to be used for paved roads. The bikes are characterized by thin frames, narrow tires which are smooth and the drop handlebars that enable the cyclist to go into a more aerodynamic position. These bikes utilize cantilever brakes, v-brakes, calliper brakes and other variants to braking power and utilize the rims of the wheels as the braking surface. However, many have adopted the use of disk brakes as they offer better stopping power and do not wear the rims in the long run.
There are many types of road bikes available for purchase online or at your local bike shop. The traditional road bike is by far the most common. The emphasis among these bikes is on aerodynamics so the frame is specifically designed to decrease wind resistance as much as possible. The frames themselves are made of lightweight material like Aluminium alloys, composite steel like chromoly and carbon fiber to name a few. Bikes under this category can weigh as little as 15 pounds.
Those who cannot find comfort in the position the rider makes when riding the traditional roadie can look towards the comfort bike. With these bikes, the handlebars are at the same level as that of the seatpost. However the frame, the tires, and the handlebar design is more likely the same. For those who find the drop handlebars unpleasant, the flat bar bike is a great option. These bikes utilize a flat handlebar instead of thecurved handle bar hence the name. These bikes are perfect for city commutes and for recreational riding.
Cyclocross bikes are very similar to the traditional roadie but unlike the restricted for-the-road use of the bikes mentioned above, a cyclocross bike is designed for off road cyclocross racing. The tires used in these bikes are knobby and larger and the frames are designed with an emphasis on strength and durability. Due to the conditions these bikes are used, i.e. Muddy terrain, they often utilize cantilever or disk brakes. Lastly there is the touring bike. These bikes are meant for riding long distances and in most occasions can carry a substantial load with the modified panniers on the back or on the front. Due to the condition these bikes are used, they are a lot stronger in profile but stable nonetheless.
If you are in the market for a road bike, it is best to go your local bike shop and have one tested out for a short drive. Choose one that is appropriate for you size as well. Decide though what kind of riding you will be doing and what are your long terms goals for the bike. This will help you choose the right one for your needs easily and conveniently.