What is a Road Bike?

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Team Coastal is a road biking club. We love all kinds of bikes, and most of us have a variety of steeds from which to choose. Most of the posted club rides, though, are road rides, with a group of riders pedaling together in a pack (well, a line, really). With the ever-widening range of bicycles out there to choose from, we sometimes encounter some confusion about what constitutes a road bike on our rides, and that confusion can result in frustration both for our new riders and for those more experienced. 

We thought we'd check wikipedia to see if there were any insights to be found. 

In short, rload bikes have:

  1. skinny, high-pressure (~100 psi) tires on 700c wheels (except those specially built for the diminutive rider)
  2. drop handlebars
  3. multiple gears
  4. brakes
  5. usually clip-in pedals and shoes
  6. and they are generally lightwieght.

Is a fixie a road bike? 

Not really. I know one guy who rides his fixie on group rides, and while he's a nice fellow, it's dangerous. He doesn't ride with TC. Fixies are an absolute blast on the track, especially, though, and you'll become a better pedaler by riding one, for sure! (but don't try to coast, trust me!)

Is a mountain bike with slicks a road bike?

No. You might keep up for a while, but probably not for long. Lots of us got started this way, but on group rides, the wide bars, and extra resistance will pose a challenge once the speeds pop up to the 30 km/h range.

Is a Dutch city bike a road bike?

No, even though it is ridden on the road. Great fun around the seawall or picking up a bottle of wine milk, though.

A recumbent?

I suppose it is, technically, but it isn't appropriate in a group riding situation where we're close together, drafting.

What about my hybrid?

Nope. See 'mountain bike with slicks' above.


This one can work. You'll probably suffer a bit extra for those big tires in a paceline on the road, but you'll keep up with the pace on our rides. We have one member who routinely lays the smackdown on a bunch of us on his 'cross bike. These ones are indispensible in gravel, and many TC members use them for certain rides. Cyclocross is a ton of fun. 

Many bike manufacturers have a wide range of road bikes - endurance, 'free-road,' endurance, touring, racing. Any of those will work. Each brings strengths and weaknesses to the party, and finding the right bike for you demands the right fit physically, and a bike that meets your needs as a rider. Talk to Coastal members when you meet us if you're looking at bikes. We love to talk about those!

And don't get us wrong. We love bikes. All bikes. And riders. All riders. There's a time, a place for everything. Let's go riding.