There are hundreds of choices when it comes to upgrading your bike, but it may be hard to choose between brands and options. Road bikes are typically broken down into two basic styles: drop-bar handlebars or flat-bar handlebars. Whether you are just starting out or are a competitive cyclist, it is important that you research the proper style and fit for you. Every bike is not made for every rider, but the editors at "Bicycling" magazine took it upon themselves to test out several models that made their 2013 "best of" list for their durability, performance and price.
Versatile Choices for Beginners
If you are new to the cycling world, you may benefit most from a bike that has versatile handlebar positions, tire options, tight breaking and enhanced stability. Specialized Allez Sport Compact lets you adjust your handlebars at will to find the fit and comfort that is right for you. The Surly Straggler has variable tire options to create a stable, solid road bike that can take the trails and road with equal comfort. Finally, the Jamis Ventura Comp offers a carbon steered fork and solid gearing components to bring a comfortable ride to new road enthusiasts and offers tight braking and enhanced stability for new riders.
Bikes for Tough Conditions
Bikes built to bounce across rough terrain include the Scott Plasma 30, the Pinarello ROKH Force/Rival and the Focus Cayo. The Scott is a great time-trialing bike with a full-carbon fork that was created for precise shifting. The ROKH seems to smooth out rough trails with its long wheel base to add stability. The Cayo can be customized from a standard frame to offer variable ride options, all with responsive handling across multiple terrains.
Bikes for Long Rides
Two options lend themselves especially well to distance rides - one from All City and one from Raleigh. Don’t let the name of the All City Mr. Pink fool you – this steel-framed beauty has a lugged forked crown and ample fender clearance to lend versatility to long rides give you that classic look while performing with modern technology. You probably rode a Raleigh growing up, but this is no longer your childhood bike company. The Raleigh Militis 3 has an 11-speed Ultegra drive train, which means great durability and power on the uphill climbs. This bike is comfortable, stable and an excellent option for those looking for a bike that can take you on long distance rides with strong acceleration and responsiveness.
Bikes for Speed
If you're looking for a bike built for speed, consider the Cervelo R3 105 or the Scott Speedster S30. The Cervelo is one bike that may convince you to cross over from casual rider to weekend racer with its stiff frame and responsive handling designed to push you through those moments you push yourself. The Scott was built with form and function in mind; this racer features Shimano Tiagra components combined with a lightweight carbon fork, creating a bike meant to run in comfort.