The term road bicycle is used to describe bicycles built for traveling at speed on paved roads. Some sources use the term to mean racing bicycle. Other sources specifically exclude racing bicycles from the definition, using the term to mean a bicycle of a similar style but built more for endurance and less the fast bursts of speed desired in a racing bicycle; as such, they usually have more gear combinations and fewer hi-tech racing features. Certain of these bicycles have been referred to as ‘sportive’ bicycles to distinguish them from racing bicycles.
Compared to other styles of bicycle, road bicycles share common features:
- The tires are narrow, high-pressure (>=100 psi or 689 kPa), and smooth to decrease rolling resistance.
- The handlebars are bent (“dropped”) to allow the rider position to be leaned forward and downward, which reduces the forward vertical cross sectional area and thus highly reduces the air resistance.
- They usually use derailleur gears; however, single-speed and fixed-gear varieties exist.
- They either use disc brakes or rim brake (although there might be a bit technical difference, for example, road caliper brakes use shorter and wider pads than mountain bike cantilevers).
- The bicycle is of a lightweight construction.