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Bike suggestions - first road bike

Hello! I'm bike shopping and having a bit of rough go not being able to try things out and get suggestions as I don't really know what I'm looking at when comparing different bikes. I'm looking for a road bike that will enable me to do some riding around the city but mainly to start riding for fitness/endurance as cross training for running. 

What bikes do you suggest and how do I figure out sizing? Would it be better to wait until I can try out in store?

I've biked some previously but never had any bikes other than old cheap commuter bikes in college. I'm looking to spend no more than $1500 (and less is always better if theres something just as appropriate for my needs).

Thanks in advance!

2 Replies

Local bike shops are open, and will let you take bikes out for test-rides. If you have a good one near you, they could probably advise you best. I stress - a GOOD bike shop with a good reputation among local cyclists. They should include fitting as part of the sale. Your $1500 limit should get you a pretty solid bike.

By "road bike" do you mean something worthy of racing? Or just a bike that isn't a mountain bike?


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@amy1 Thanks for bringing your question to the community!

Shopping for bikes can definitely be a dizzying experience! There are so many options and categories it can definitely be hard to narrow down your choices. We'll see what we can do to help you get started. You're always welcome to circle back with us if you have more questions!

From what you have described, it sounds like a 'hybrid' bike is the right bike for you. Combining a slightly more upright riding positing (like a mountain bike) with a road wheel/tire, hybrid bikes are a great option for fitness, commuting, running errands, or just riding pavement for fun. If you're thinking or hoping to do bike races, triathlons, or longer distance rides (like a century, for example) then you'll probably want to look at a true road bike with drop handlebars and a bike geometry that is designed for that end use.

For a more detailed look into the differences between bikes and why a hybrid bike might be a good choice for you, please check out our Expert Advice articles How to Choose a Bike and How to Choose a Hybrid Bike

We have several great options for hybrid bikes:

Each of these bikes is going to give you a solid starting point into the hybrid bike category. You can go up in price, and add more performance oriented components (lighter, quicker response, etc.). One other consideration; if the roads you will be riding are rough (potholes, gravel, etc) then you may want to consider a hybrid bike with a front shock, like the Cannondale Althea (listed above) or the Co-op Cycles CTY 2.2. Both of those models have a 'lockout' on the front suspension that allows you to 'turn off' the shock to add some efficiency and speed.

Lastly, please take a look at our Expert Advice article on Bike Fitting Basics to help guide you to the right size of bike. There is even a section in that article for how to fit your bike when shopping online!

Hopefully this helps get you started. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any more questions!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.