AffordableRoadBikeReview.Wordpress is our offering of reviews on affordable, budget friendly road bikes.

It’s designed to be an antidote to ‘Bike Snobbery’ – the affliction that seems to infect many discussions or comments regarding the choice many cycling enthusiasts make to buy & ride brands of bikes that are outside the “LBS – Local Bike Shop, only” distribution chain.

Yes, there is some basis for preferring a bike procured from an LBS, but it’s not what many imply it is.  To listen to the ‘bike snob’ prattle on, the steel, aluminum or carbon fiber or paint used to pretty up the LBS bikes is of a wholly different & higher level of material.  Nonsense.

True, the components can be, and often are of a higher level of quality in the LBS, but directly related to their price point.  One does, ‘get what you pay for’.  Note this in no way means that the lower priced bikes fail to function, leave their riders stranded, or have frames that de-materialize at a certain number of miles covered !

Yet, in countless online cycling forums, this latter attitude is the prevailing assumption – and it’s certainly more based in arrogance & tribal exclusivisim than reality.

The main difference we see between the LBS brands & ‘big box / online stores’ bikes or one built up from separate frame, wheel & components is the level of competence in assembly & proper adjustment of the bike when initially unboxed & newly ridden.

Secondarily, if there are three basic levels of quality: say,  Entry, Medium & High, the BBS / Online retailers generally offer:  Entry /Medium, whereas the LBS ignore the Entry level altogether, and focus soley on the Medium / High levels.

This is seen in the fact that, for example, nearly all LBS’s (check in your area if you doubt….) lowest priced road bike will be in the $ 650-700 range, as of 2011 (Edit: Still true now, in 2017).

Whereas, the local BBS (big box store) will have entry level road bikes around $ 200 or a bit less !

That is a huge gap in retail pricing, to have a jump of 3.5 times higher in entry level ANYTHING (bike, blender, coffee maker, etc), that is a normal, retail hard good.

This huge price disparity forces the consumer to make a potentially distateful choice between marginal quality on one hand, and overpriced equipment on the other.

We believe this is an illusion; the BBS sourced bike is not marginal quality (in most cases) but may suffer from poor assembly and / or the occasional low quality part which detracts notably from the bikes’s inherent performance potential.

What this means for the quality & yet budget conscious consumer is: Are you willing to enjoy the benefits of a lower cost road bike, if you’ll need to be willing to double check (& rectify, if necessary) the assembly & adjustment of your new road bike ?

Are you willing to take the BBS / Online sourced bike into your local LBS, and hire them to do the assembly & adjustment if you’re not competent to do it ?  [There should be no shame – this is so common, most LBS have a set price for “setting up” a bike from Walmart, Target, Amazon, BikesDirect or bike]

Additionally, are you willing to make minor tweaks / upgrades, where needed, to raise the level of performance in areas where the BBS bike may be lacking ?

A personal example, our GMC Denali had terrible stock tires.  Heavy, clunky, not truly designed for a serious road bike.  Replacing them with entry level, but genuine road bike tires cut almost 2 # off the weight & cut (seemingly) the rolling resitance in half, ressulting in a bike that feels much, much closer to a high dollar road bike !

(Another Key example, true in either BBS or LBS: Seats.  Most stock bike seats are terrible.  For the same reason: they’re giving you a ‘cheap seat’ mainly to sell the bike & provide reasonable comfort on a quick test ride.  Over 20 + miles, you’ll learn why a proper seat designed to accomidate your anatomy is a must.)

If your answer is yes, then maybe these reviews can do you some good, as we’ll endeavor to highlight some affordable road bikes, that either we own already, borrow from friends, or maybe ones you’ll suggest & provide yourselves.  Please contact us at the email link with any ideas, suggestions or thoughts !

Best Regards,

David in East Texas