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Posted on Sep 29, 2013

Road Bike Frames – The Different Types And What They Mean To You

Bicycling, or cycling, as it also called, is a favored form of exercise and recreation for people around the world. From those who pedal around their neighborhoods to get healthy, to those who count on their bicycles to get them places, to those who compete locally or nationally for speed and/or endurance on a team for bragging rights or just for fun. When getting a road bike the material the frame is constructed from is often a consideration for most cyclists.

Different Road Bike Frames

Why The Bike Construction Material Matters

Road bikes commonly feature narrower tires for greater speed and the goal is to balance the lightest frame possible with the strength needed for rough terrain or impact resistance in an accident. The reasons for lighter frames is obvious, the lighter the bicycle is, the faster the rider can propel it. Most commonly road bikes are made out of lightweight materials like aluminum, and more recently hardened carbon fiber. The first road bikes featured lightweight steel frames and some still use steel at least in part.


Steel frames are the heaviest of the road bike frames, but they are also the most endurable. Say what you want about aluminum and carbon fiber, if you are looking for a bike that will stand the test of time, you will want to look for something with a steel frame, or at least steel components. These kinds of road bikes are the ones that people use most commonly to get to jobs and families every day where top speed is less of a concern and dependability is the most important factor in the road bike.


Aluminum frames are another popular choice for road bikes because aluminum is very light. These kinds of frames are most often seen on road bikes that are used for racing. The combination of a light frame and narrow tires helps the rider attain some respectable speeds with a minimum of effort. The downside to aluminum is because it is so lightweight, it can be unreliable over rough terrain, and almost useless in an accident of any kind. Aluminum in a well designed bike can be a good choice for balancing cost as well as offering light weight aspects. One popular and well received example is the Vilano FORZA 4.0

Carbon Fiber

Road bike frames that feature carbon fiber are a relatively new innovation. Carbon fiber frames like those on the Kestrel Talon 105 combine some of the advantages of aluminum with some of the toughness of steel. Carbon fiber is also very lightweight, but it is less likely to bend or break than an aluminum piece would. The downside to carbon fiber is that is susceptible to impact damage, and could break in an accident. Carbon fiber bike frames tend to be very costly as well and are not typically used by the casual rider. These frames are best suited for people who are involved with racing and more competitive activities and are willing to pay accordingly for it.

Which One is Right for You?

There are pros and cons to each of these type of road bike frame. Each of these frames is or was designed to be used in certain types of conditions. When selecting a road bike for yourself, ask yourself what you are going to use it for most. This will help you make an informed decision and buy the right road bike for you.