One of the most common questions we get from new riders is whether a Road Bike or an Adventure Bike would be a better option to meet their needs. While there are many factors to consider, let's get started with some of the most basic things to think about:
Road Bikes are going to have thinner 23c or 25c tires, which offer less rolling resistance, but do not handle well off-road. The wheels on road bikes also have a lower spoke count, as they are not designed to take the abuse of off-road riding. Road bikes are more efficient and lighter weight, thanks to these attributes.
Our Adventure Bikes on the other hand are going to have wider 32c tires and 28 spoke wheels. The wider tires greatly increases the types of terrain they can handle safely. While the increase in spoke count adds durability in off-road conditions, so you don't have to worry about popping spokes. Adventure Bikes also come with disc brakes, which handle better in dirty riding and adverse weather conditions, which off-road riders are more likely to encounter.
Now that you understand the main differences, let's figure out which style is right for you!
The first thing to think about is what you want to ride and what types of riding is available in your area. Do you plan on just riding roads? Are there great rail trails or greenways in your area? Or, are you looking to do a mix of riding?
If you live in an urban area and only plan on riding pavement, a road bike is going to be the lightest and most efficient option. Road Bikes are specifically designed for riding on paved roads and trails, offering the highest level of speeds and performance. If you plan on long group rides, races, charity rides, or demanding road rides of any sort, a road bike will be the optimal choice for performance.
Adventure Bikes, while about two pounds heavier than their road counterparts and a less efficient, offer great versatility that resonates with many riders. If you like to ride dirt or mixed trail, or if you live in a more rural area where pavement cuts in and out, Adventure Bikes are a great choice.
Weather is also a factor in finding your perfect ride. For most riders rim brakes are perfect and provide great stopping power. Rim brakes perform great in the majority or riding and weather conditions. That being said, sometimes weather in your area may call for a different brake set. For example, if you are a rain or shine rider, and rains all the time in your area, a disc brake is going to perform better than a rim brake. Since disc brakes are a semi-closed system, they keep water or mud off the pads, allowing for more consistent brake in adverse weather.
If you are still on the fence, there are a few other factors to consider. Adventure Bikes have a 300lbs limit on the wheelset, while Road Bikes have a 230lbs weight limit on their wheelsets. If you are a daily commuter or touring rider, who finds yourself putting heavy gear on your bike, it is important to consider these weight limits, as you can exceed them without realizing it.
Another important factor is the elevation in your area. If you are mostly in a flat area, the difference is negligible, but if you have to frequently climb steep grades, the added weight of an Adventure Bike can weigh you down. For those who deal with lots of elevation changes, a Road Bike will offer easier climbing and faster descents, giving riders more efficiency and burning less energy on the climbs.